We meet again, NXT TakeOver. The special event franchise for WWE’s third brand has been going on since the WWE Network’s inception a couple of years ago and they haven’t put on a single disappointing show. Every NXT TakeOver thus far has delivered, bringing amazing in-ring action and storytelling everywhere from NXT’s Full Sail home all the way down to Dallas, Texas, across the pond to London, England, and twice in Brooklyn, New York, among other locations. This Saturday sees them head North of the border as a part of Survivor Series Weekend to the country that has bred some of the greatest in the industry: Canada! Toronto, to be exact. This is an event that sees two Japanese wrestlers walk in as champion (for what I assume to be the first time ever in WWE history given their track record of not booking Japanese stars in the most politically correct or dignified manner) and hope to walk out with their belts intact. But in order to do that, they both must defeat two stars who rose to prominence in the mid-to-late 2000s and are regarded as some of the best in the game. Also, we have a couple of tag team matches on the card to evaluate as the tag team division continues to rebuild. There’s also a rumor that a third tag team match pitting Ember Moon, Liv Mogan, & Aliyah against Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, & a mystery third partner, but it’s not confirmed. If it gets added, I’ll update this post and break it down. But for now let’s work with what’s confirmed on the card for NXT TakeOver: Toronto.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Final
The Authors of Pain vs. TM-61
Rezar and Akam, along with their manager, the iconic Paul Ellering, apparently wrote the book on pain. That or they plagiarized it from Ruthless Aggression Era team 3 Minute Warning, but I’m not gonna fact check that, especially when you can follow the link and decided for yourself. The point is that these mammoth men have taken NXT by storm since their debut. Not my favorite current NXT tag team, mind you, but that doesn’t really matter since their success speaks for itself. They made it all the way to the finals of the 2nd annual Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament. The brackets started with a ton of thrown together tag teams, as well as actual legitimate acts like the debuting SAnitY. But when the dust settled, only two teams remain: the aforementioned Authors of Pain and TM-61. Yup, it’s not a wrestling robot. TM-61 is an actual tag team name. And truth be told, they haven’t really stood out to me as a team aside from that fun little tidbit. But maybe a great performance against the AoP can bring me around to them. And they won’t even have a distraction to worry about because they’re sticking Ellering in a cage so he can’t interfere.
Who I Want to Win: This is honestly hard for me to decided since I’ve mentioned I’m not really a fan of either team. But for now, Authors of Pain is slightly higher up on the totem pole for me, so Authors of Pain.
Who Will Win: Normally I’d say TM-61 to give the tournament a happy conclusion like last year, but I just don’t see that happening. I see the Authors of Pain winning this and soon riding it straight to the Tag Team Title scene.
Bobby Roode vs. Tye Dillinger
This is a battle built in a mountain of fabrication. The video package that was put together for it shows The Glorious One presenting his side of the story, followed by clips that prove that every word out of his mouth is a bold-faced lie. Despite his claims, it was ROODE who decided to enter the Dusty Rhodes tournament, it was ROODE who asked Dillinger to be his partner, and it was ROODE who left Dillinger high and dry in round one against SAnitY. Dillinger, who has been the new Tyler Breeze since the actual Tyler Breeze got called up to waste away into a flamboyant puddle of absurdity with Fandango, is now out for revenge for what ROODE has done to him lately. Dillinger might be in way over his head here; Roode has already taken advantage of him and proved him to be gullible once, so the chance that Roode will be just as crafty here is still looming. Then again, this isn’t TJ Perkins falling for Brian Kendrick’s crocodile tears, so maybe Dillinger will actually keep that in mind.
Who I Want to Win: Tye Dillinger, because this man needs some wins and momentum bad. I’m just starting to come around to the “Perfect 10” gimmick. Now’s not the time to make him look like a total loser.
Who Will Win: Bobby Roode. Dillinger will no doubt put up a fantastic battle, proving how underrated a talent he actually is, but in the end, the Glorious One will get a glorious win most likely by gloriously cheating. Not that the crowd will mind since the show is taking place in his HOME COUNTRY OF CANADA!
2-Out-Of-3 Falls • NXT Tag Team Championship
The Revival (C) vs. #DIY
First of all, the # that was originally in DIY‘s name. Was that Gargano and Ciampa‘s idea or did WWE do that to get some marketing momentum behind it? I thought we agreed to stop adding needless hashtags to things after that string of hit songs from Mariah Carey, will.i.am, and The Chainsmokers a few years ago. But more importantly, we have the fact that this match is nothing new. This match took place at the previous NXT TakeOver special. An amazing match from two of the best tag teams around right now, and the match that finally made me admit that The Revival are actually good at what they do. Little did the “top guys” know, that match wouldn’t be the last they see of these two former Indy darlings, who are now officially on NXT and not just unsigned recurring character. And this time around, they’re gonna have a much tougher task ahead of them because his match is not one-fall-to-a-finish. It’s 2-Out-Of-3 Falls. It’s a test of stamina and endurance, something that all of these men obviously have to possess since they’ve all been at this for a decade, long enough to have withstood enough to survive this kind of a challenge.
Who I Want to Win: DIY. I may have finally come around to appreciating The Revival, but that does not mean that I want them to be Tag Team Champions forever. Johnny Wrestling and The Sicilian Psychopath for the win this time.
Who Will Win: Gargano and Ciampa have to win it this time. It was emotional moment when they failed at TakeOver: Brooklyn II, but if ever the phrase “You’ll get ’em next time” needed to be said, it was this. This is that “next time”; strap them
NXT Women’s Championship
Asuka (C) vs. Mickie James
What a year for comebacks in wrestling that 2016 has been. Not only we see the return of male stars such as Shane McMahon and Goldberg, but even women who we thought were done came back. Melina is wrestling in the U.K. now and already has two championships. Meanwhile, her former rival Mickie James is also back at it as well. Along with two other former WWE stars, Jazz and Victoria, she competed in the CHIKARA King of Trios tournament earlier his year. This last weekend also saw her debut in SHIMMER, teaming with Saraya Knight & Rhia O’Reilly to defeat Nicole Matthews, Cherry Bomb, & Kimber Lee in six-woman tag action. So Mickie James certainly won’t have a case of ring rust when she makes her WWE return to challenge Asuka for NXT Women’s Title. With the rest of the NXT women’s roster having yet to properly be built up, this legend was called in to give Asuka a challenge. The match has potential to be great, but will Mickie add another achievement to her resume that already includes WWE Women’s, Divas, and TNA Knockouts Titles?
Who I Want to Win: I should probably be rooting for Asuka since this will likely be a one-time NXT appearance for Miss Hardcore Country. However, I would actually love to see Mickie James add to her long list of achievements with this one. Go, Mickie!
Who Will Win: Asuka. Like I said, this may end up being Mickie James’ one-and-only NXT appearance; a gender-swapped Jushin Thunder Liger moment. So unless she sticks around to help build up the new generation, she’s not winning. No, Ember Moon‘s name is written all over that one eventually.
Shinsuke Nakamura (C) vs. Samoa Joe
Yup. Another rematch from NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II. Not every Takeover special is going to contain fresh material like it did in its earlier days, especially given that they’re starting to build longer rivalries in most cases with this show. And if I can be honest, Samoa Joe‘s feud with Shinsuke Nakamura might be my one of my favorite wrestling feuds of the year. Shinsuke Nakamura skyrocketed onto the NXT roster at the start of the year in an outstanding match with Sami Zayn. Just months later, he was NXT Champion. The problem with how he won the best is that he woke a sleeping giant in Samoa Joe. A vicious, violent man with a fuse as short as his sweat glands are easily irritable, he’s been on a rampage since losing the NXT Title in Brooklyn. Making matters worse is the fact that Nakamura also broke Joe’s jaw, which might have been just as bad as leaving him bloody and wounded on the mat. Joe even tried to break Nakamura a couple of weeks later. He couldn’t keep him down, however, and the rematch clause has officially been cashed in. The contract is signed, a table has been smashed, and it’s time for the war to officially maybe reach it’s conclusion.
Who I Want to Win: Shinsuke Nakamura. Spoilers: Nakamura is going to be on my Year-End Top 10 Male Wrestlers list due to his natural charisma and energy. Just goes to show how awesome he is as NXT’s top dog; keep him as that top dog.
Who Will Win: Shinsuke Nakamura; in fact, how about an add-on? Remember I mentioned Bobby Roode winning against Tye Dillinger earlier? I get the feeling that’ll lead to him challenging Roode for the title afterward. How’s the for fantasy booking?