How does a brand follow the (just my opinion before you start) best professional wrestling show in history, as they had last time out at NXT Takeover: New Orleans? Well… Takeover: Chicago last year had a somewhat underwhelming build, but turned out to be an awesome show (as are pretty much all NXT shows). So this show… we have a potentially great technical, pure wrestling tag match, a potential for match of the year or at least one where the crowd will be absolutely outstanding and one guy could be a made man afterwards, a women’s title match that sees an absolutely insane challenger against a strong and powerful champion, an NXT Championship match that sees an absolutely insane challenger… against a strong and powerful champion… and also the re-match of the WWE match of the year so far (again, just my opinion). So all in all a great show to come right? Lets preview it…
NXT Tag Team Championship: Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong) (C) v Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan
This (as good as these 4 are as characters, particularly Strong and O’Reilly) will likely be one of the matches that comes after an epic, and the crowd are a little tired during. But much like the 3 way tag at Takeover: NOLA the in-ring stuff will be more than fine I’ve no doubt. Result wise it seems a foregone conclusion that the champions will retain, despite a recent multi-man match win I don’t see Burch and Lorcan or anyone else for that matter taking the tag titles from the Undisputed Era anytime soon.
Prediction: Undisputed Era
Velveteen Dream v Ricochet
I don’t mean to put to much pressure on neither, but this could well end up being my match of the year if this gets enough time. Ricochet is one of the very best in-ring workers in the world with his incredible athleticism-fueled arsenal of moves, and the Velveteen Dream whilst not yet the finished article is INCREDIBLY talented in between the ropes… and he’s 22!!! Ricochet in his promos comes across as so believable that the views of Ricochet you feel are very much aligned to those of Trevor Mann (that’s Ricochet’s real name btw) and as I always say if it comes across as real-like it’ll be so good, because the more real wrestling appears the better it almost always comes across. And I could go on and on and one about the Velveteen Dream’s Prince-like flamboyant, vainglorious persona for days and days because it’s one of the best characters I’ve seen in wrestling (he’s 22 YEARS OLD btw). Just YouTube any promos or hype videos of the Velveteen Dream and you’ll see what I mean. The interactions between these two have been electric, and I’ve no doubt the match between the 2 will steal the show. expectations are so high, fingers crossed they can delight us all with a masterclass in wrestling and storytelling. This COULD be incredible. Oh and fyi after you’ve seen any of the Velveteen Dream’s work… I’d like to remind you again that he is 22 YEARS OLD! Ricochet will win I’m almost certain, but as with his match vs Aleister Black last year this could be another match where despite taking the L, everyone afterwards is talking about the Velveteen Dream. Just as he likes it. (btw the Velveteen Dream was born on the 19th August 1995, he is ONE day younger than me… I’m going to take a moment now to let that sink in).
NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler (C) v Nikki Cross
2 of the best female characters in WWE. Because both are so in-tune with who their character is they just act it out so well. Shanyna Baszler is so incredibly good for her relatively short time as a wrestler it’s silly, she just oozes heel qualities. As for Nikki Cross, the psychotic-Scot has proven to be the only one willing to put up a real fight to the dominant champion. This promises to be an overtly fun encounter, one that I’m almost certain will end with Baszler crushing the fans by putting Cross to sleep. The finish of this match will surely see Nikki PASS out rather than TAP out in order to maintain her position as one of the top women in NXT. I’m really unsure if she will indeed go to Smackdown and join up with her former Sanity brothers, simply because she’s so good on her own as a singles star. I’d LOVE this to be a longer term feud, but they’ve made such a big thing in recent weeks of building up the entire women’s division in NXT I’d assume this will see a number of different contenders compete for the championship, and as a result I’m saddened that I assume Shayna and Nikki may be a one and done affair, although I’d absolutely LOVE for it to continue after Chicago. If Nikki Cross does win the title though, I may very well cry real tears of joy…
Prediction: Shayna Baszler
NXT Championship: Aleister Black (C) v Lars Sullivan
So my prediction for this match is based on one simple idea, once you lose your title chance in NXT it usually means you’ve had your peak and you’re off to Raw or Smackdown. And whilst you could argue that was not the case for Johnny Gargano unlike Mr Wrestling I just don’t see anything else left for the monstrous Sullivan in NXT after he’s done chasing the NXT Championship. So with that in mind, as well as them pushing Aleister Black as the face of the brand (pretty much from day 1) I don’t see Black losing that title for a long time. Not even Sullivan I think with all his obvious talents will be enough to warrant taking the NXT title from Black at the first time of asking. Expect Black to be pushed very, very close before finally hitting his Black Mass for the win (I would not be surprised at all if Lars kicked out of 1 or maybe 2 Black Mass kicks before that too, maybe even at a 1 count I think that’d be great). I trust that Aleister Black could tell a good story with just about anyone in the ring, and expect another sleeper-classic from him here. Once again though Black will likely have a 4-4.5 star match on a card but is still overshadowed by a tremendous match elsewhere on the same night.
Prediction: Aleister Black
Johhny Gargano v Tomasso Ciampa – Chicago Street Fight
So how do you have 2 guys follow up the match of the year (again my opinion)? You let them do it again I guess with the same no rules/anything goes stipulation!!! One of the most compelling stories in recent years in WWE will continue in the same venue at the same event that Ciampa turned on his beloved former tag team partner last year. Big things were expected of the match and feud that would follow. It has not disappointed. You couldn’t tell a more personal rivalry if you tried. I was at first puzzled as to where this feud could go after their all time classic at Takeover: New Orleans, but in the intervening weeks both men have sunk to new levels as the animosity has continued to spiral out of control, and the violence to new extremes. I’ve absolutely no idea what they will come up with for this one, but it will be one hell of a match to watch!!! Result wise… I would assume Ciampa will get the win here, especially after such a match that he lost last time but really as long as the storytelling continues to be first class, I have eternal trust in both men and NXT that it will be done well. I want and think Ciampa should win as I see him as an obvious next challenger for Aleister Black’s title, the question is what would you then do with Johnny Gargano? With that being said I’ll be far from angry or disappointed if Gargano takes the win, what comes after this for both men though is much more a mystery. One I absolutely cannot wait to see unfold!!!
Prediction: Tomasso Ciampa
NXT Takeover: Chicago 2 will be great. I URGE you to watch. Sit back, relax, and enjoy 3 hours of compelling, all-action and down right incredible professional wrestling!