NXT Takeovers usually have a good line up, but this card is INCREDIBLE! It could well be their best ever. The Takeover that opened WrestleMania weekend last year was one of the best shows in WWE or NXT history so this year’s has a lot to live up to. We return to the spiritual home of NXT Takeover in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York, so the atmosphere should be excellent. It’s amazing that even with the recent injury to Tomasso Ciampa that forced him to vacate the NXT Championship and deny us the big blow-off match between him and long term tag partner turned bitter rival turned tag partner again turned rival again Johnny Gargano we STILL have one hell of a show coming up on Friday night. So without further or due, here is my preview and predictions for NXT Takeover: New York!
NXT Tag Team Championship: Ricochet & Aleister Black V War Raiders (Hanson & Rowe) (C)
With Black and Ricochet recently stating after their Dusty Rhodes Classic win was taped that it was their final night competing at Full Sail, and with their recent call-up to the main roster and their impending main roster tag title shot at WrestleMania, it seems the result here is very obvious. BUT… these are 4 excellent in-ring performers who never disappoint on the Takeover stage, so we should get a great match here. Aleister Black has to go down (presuming this is his last NXT appearance) as one of the all-time great NXT stars, and in a year since his NXT debut Ricochet has been everything we all hoped he would be in WWE so will be sure to put on another spellbinding showcase here. As for the War Raiders appearances can very much be deceiving for these two Vikings, as their amazing athleticism considering their size makes them an incredible tag team to see perform. The tag team title matches on Takeover shows have consistently been good-great in the last two years or so and I expect nothing different here.
Prediction: War Raiders retain
NXT North American Championship: Matt Riddle V Velveteen Dream (C)
If you like showmanship, extravagance, taunts, crowd interaction, big and wacky entrances then THIS is the match for you. Two of the potential future stars of the entire WWE taking on one another on the big stage, this is going to be super fun. Matt Riddle just oozes star power and is about as likeable a character as you could get. On the other side our current NXT North American Champion in the past year has had a consistent great run of Takeover showings and his potential continues to rise and rise. When I first heard about this match I was excited of course, but unsure and a tad nervous about how they would mesh in a match together. BUT by all accounts their matches on NXT Live shows against one another have been really great, so hopefully they have a great match on the Takeover stage. Result wise I’m really unsure, it seems everytime we get a big Takeover we here that Dream is getting a call up, then he doesn’t… so it’s clear they think highly of him that I could see Dream winning in a screwy way to look after Riddle. But they haven’t pinned Riddle yet, and although I wouldn’t know how they would eventually get there I see him as a future challenger to the NXT Championship either at the June or August Takeover shows. So I will say Riddle to win, with low levels of confidence.
Prediction: Matt Riddle to win and become the NEW NXT North American Champion
WWE United Kingdom Championship: WALTER V Pete Dunne (C)
I predict this will be the best match all weekend. I was privileged enough to sit front row at the recent NXT UK Tapings in Coventry and witnessed this match being made official, a call I correctly predicted when I was on the way to the show…
I also got to see the official contract signing between the two and the crowd were absolutely electric in anticipation for it. These two haven’t touched physically at all in the build up so they’ve been really leaving it all until the match, which excites me greatly. WALTER has been top of the ‘WANTED’ list for WWE/NXT fans like myself for a long time, and when he made his debut to confront Dunne at the end of the NXT UK Takeover in Blackpool in January the crowd went wild, and it laid the ground work for where we are today with an NXT UK match getting the big Takeover stage, and in New York, in the Barclays Center, two nights before WrestleMania. I can’t really quantify in words how great I think and hope this match is. Even though we are in the midst of Pete Dunne’s record breaking title reign of over 680 days, I think now is the time to end it. And less now I just think if anyone is and has ever been the perfect opponent to finally conquer The Bruserweight, it HAS to be WALTER. I’d even say there’s an outside chance Pete Dunne goes to the main roster as part of the ‘INTERNATIONAL superstar shakeup’ in a couple of weeks. Expect stiff strikes, grimacing submission holds, and just all-round tremendous professional wrestling. And quite possibly the end of the longest title reign in modern WWE history.
Prediction: WALTER to win and become the NEW WWE United Kingdom Champion
NXT Women’s Championship: Kairi Sane V Bianca Belair V Io Shirai V Shayna Baszler (C) with Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir
I see few reasons why this wont be great as well, other than if they give it little time (which they don’t tend to on Takeover shows) or maybe it’ll be hurt by being sandwiched by two classics… which I have it as on my card but I trust the crowd to be hot all night so they should be fine. This match has 4 of the best female in-ring workers in the WWE and I think their alternative styles will mix really well. And the fact we might get some offence between The Sky Pirates Sane and Shirai excites me greatly. I think the thing here will be if you think Shayna is going to the main roster and that’ll decide the result. And I personally DO! Kairi has had her run and is SOOOOO good I don’t think she needs the championship and could be one of the very best on either Raw or Smackdown tomorrow if needs be, Bianca is the future and lost her singles shot at the title before, so to me it seems clear that it’s Io’s time. She’s exceptional she really is and would be a brilliant person to be champion. This will be fun. Hopefully Jessamyn and Marina don’t get too involved that it takes away from the match but I could definitely see some form of mini 6 woman’s tag, even if Bianca has showed more heel tendencies recently. So yes a really fun match ahead, and Shirai to win.
Prediction: Io Shirai to win and become the NEW NXT Women’s Champion
NXT Championship: Adam Cole V Johnny Gargano – 2 Out Of 3 Falls Match
WOW OH WOW OH WOW. If there was ANYTHING that could come close to making up for no Ciampa in the main event, it’s replacing him with Adam Cole… BAY BAY! So it looks to me like Gargano was gonna beat Ciampa and then feud with Cole after for the title, which would have been great, but it wasn’t to be. But Adam Cole is one of the best all rounders in NXT and the whole of WWE so he’s a more than adequate replacement. If anything the lack of Ciampa makes this match nearly impossible to predict, as it previously seemed obvious their incredible story would culminate with Gargano finally winning the championship from Ciampa on NXT’s biggest stage. So will they stick with the originally laid out match AND result of Gargano FINALLY becoming the NXT Champion? Or will they skip and go right ahead to Cole? It’s a really intriguing thing to see unfold, and it just makes a great match even more exciting. And I’m delighted to be able to say I really don’t mind who wins, heart says Cole, head says Gargano for the big babyface finale… hmm… I’ll go with my HEART.
Prediction: Adam Cole to win and become the NEW NXT Champion
Takeover before Mania 3 years ago was in Dallas and was incredible (see my NXT Takeover: Dallas review blog). Takeover Orlando the night before Mania 33 2 years back included the debut of Aleister Black and the announcement Drew McIntyre had returned to WWE. And Takeover: New Orleans last year was the best Takeover of all time. So who on earth knows what Triple H and co will come up for us this year to open WrestleMania weekend? One thing is for sure though is that it’ll be really, really, REALLY good!