It’s about time WWE decided to run an NXT TakeOver show in Chicago, Illinois. The Windy City, one of the hottest towns in all of America for pro-wrestling, and home to a pro wrestling crowd just can not let go off. Seriously, CM Punk has clearly moved on from us, but so many fans have tied themselves to the road and refuse to move on without him. His name echos off the walls anytime WWE emanates from the Allstate Arena, and not everyone has the wit to shut them down like Stephanie McMahon. But I’m not sure if we’ll have to worry as much on this show, unless the fans really want to get under Triple H‘s skin. NXT TakeOver shows are usually shining with quality, with not one terrible event in it’s lineup. So the action on this show could very well keep fans entertained enough to start more significant chants and shelve that one. We can only be so optimistic. What does this card have to offer? Four title matches and a grudge bout. Let’s dive right into the predictions.
Roderick Strong vs. Eric Young
Even after ending their beef with Tye Dillinger, albeit on the losing end, SAnitY continues to be the big, funky cloud of NXT., living to make life miserable for everyone else on the roster by way of murky, savage beatdowns. And despite their presence, it’s a little difficult to pinpoint the purpose behind most of their actions or even what their ultimate end goal is aside from just being able to do it. NXT used to be really good at filling this information in, but SAnitY is still shrouded in mystery somewhat. This makes the upcoming battle between SAnitY leader Eric Young and Roderick Strong so baffling. Roddy did go into battle at the previous TakeOver show, but was backed by Kassius Ohno, Ruby Riot, and Tye Dillinger, all who have moved on to other things. Roddy, a replacement for No Way Jose in the eight-person tag, looks to be next in line to attempt to drag SAnitY down for good after their attack on him this past week. Will he be able to do it? Will the rest of SAnitY get involved? And most importantly, who feels like starting a Roderick Strong Back-Breaker Count?
Who I Want to Win: Eric Young primarily because after that loss to Tye Dillinger, SAnitY can’t afford to lose much more, let they enter a Bray Wyatt-level of damaged potential.
Who Will Win: Eric Young; short of a lucky roll-up, I just don’t see Roddy winning here, with the numbers game eventually playing a factor in it.
WWE United Kingdom Championship
The WWE United Kingdom Championship tournament was seen as a huge success; taking place over an entire weekend in the U.K., it showcased British talent – primarily from Insane Championship Wrestling – who could really use the exposure to a worldwide audience. The tournament was won by Tyler Bate, a then-19 year old talent who could easily be described as Jack Gallagher with more muscle and pigmentation. Not only do the two share a posh, gentlemanly vibe; they both also have an amusing in-ring style that displays creativity, personality, and technical prowess and connected with audiences instantly. But the tournament also featured a standout villain, and I’m not talking about Marty Scurll. Pete Dunne was a dirty fighter, showing no remorse for any of his despicable acts, even assaulting one of his fellow competitors at the close of the first show of the tournament. He instantly become loathed, but also loved by many people who love his unapologetic style. These are clearly the two biggest breakout stars from the tournament. Now they get to ply their trade on a TakeOver show on an American venue.
Who I Want to Win: Tyler Bate; I don’t really have a valid reasoning aside from really enjoying his work from the U.K. Tournament.
Who Will Win: Pete Dunne; the justification I have in believing he’ll pull out the win is the potential he’d have as a heel champion, especially with how he walks out with belts.
WWE NXT Tag Team Championship
This isn’t meant to be a comparison of their size or anything, but if you feel it’s apropos, feel free to think so; but Akam and Rezar, the two gentlemen who make up The Authors of Pain and have held the NXT Tag Team Championship for several months now, are kind of an iceberg in the NXT Tag Team Division. The Division itself isn’t all that deep right now, with The Revival being called up to RAW following WrestleMania, SAnitY being preoccupied with whatever Eric Young is up to, and TM-61 & Heavy Machinery not making much of a dent, if at all since they’ve arrived. It’s no wonder The Authors of Pain constantly find themselves standing across the ring from Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. Former champions #DIY hope to win back the Tag Team Championship with a good old-fashioned Ladder Match, and they could believably win if not for one tiny setback. Ciampa’s ankle is apparently in a bad state, and though he’s still penciled in to compete at the time of this writing, it means he’ll either risk his well-being or have to sit this one out, both of which play in the Authors of Pain’s favor. But they seemed confident when Cathy Kelley interviewed them, so they’re clearly laser focused on getting the belts and won’t be distracted by setbacks.
Who I Want to Win: #DIY; I am just not here for the continuation of The Authors of Pain’s reign.
Who Will Win: #DIY; as the boys themselves have said in the Cathy Kelley interview, Chicago is integral to their careers. This might not move McMahon, but NXT is Daddy Hunter‘s house, and he’s more lenient for stories like this on his show.
Triple Threat for the WWE NXT Women’s Championship
The NXT Women’s Division has quite the dilemma on their hands; following Ember Moon’s loss at NXT TakeOver: Orlando, it seems like all hope is lost for anyone being able to defeat Asuka. Not only for the title, but at all. She’s run through every notable name in the division. She took out Billie Kay and Peyton Royce on more than one occasion. She put away Liv Morgan in less time than it takes to make a Hot Pocket. Even though she had to resort to cheating to defeat Ember Moon, the fact remains that she still walked away with the title. Even one of her challengers in this match, Nikki Cross, technically lost to her on a TakeOver special, albeit in a 4-Way where she wasn’t pinned. And women like Lacey Evans, Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose, and Bianca Blair haven’t been on TV enough to earn a shot, if at all. And Asuka’s arrogance over being dominant for so long clearly shows; just look at that silly walking-dance she does as she gleefully causes mischief. Even her recent kayfabe interview made her seem Mariah Carey-levels of premadonna. Logistically, the odds are in Asuka’s favor in this 3-Way, which was originally a 4-Way before Ember Moon went down with an injury. Given that Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot want to tear each other to shreds, they may be too distracted with one another to even focus on Asuka’s title.
Who I Want to Win: Nikki Cross; if Ember Moon is unavailable to snatch the title from Asuka, Nikki Cross will do. She’d make an awesomely deranged champion.
Who Will Win: Asuka; I feel like they’re gonna keep the title on her until either A) Ember Moon returns or B) She gets called up, is forced to relinquish the title, and they have to do a tournament to crown a new champion. The Paige Treatment, basically.
WWE NXT Championship
I’m already scared to see what would happen if Hideo Itami was sent to the main roster, and not just because of WWE’s generally terrible history in regards to writing and booking Asian wrestlers. The former KENTA has had a miserable run in WWE developmental, all due to the fact that something in Full Sail has caused his body parts to become more fragile than graham crackers. He’s been on the roster for three years and spent a large chunk of that time injured. This is the first time I’ve even gotten to hashtag his name in a post because he’s been so absent. Even while sitting on the injured list, however, he remained a hardcore favorite through reputation, so it was only a matter of time until he’d be able to come back a challenge for the top prize given that the main roster took some of NXT’s more eligible names. Bobby Roode sent one of those eligible names packing to Smackdown, and finds himself moving on from one popular, stiff-working Japanese fighter to another popular, stiff-working Japanese fighter. KENTA’s finisher of choice is a move that I know Chicago is itching to see in-person since it was also performed by a certain hometown boy of ours. But will he even hit it and would it score him the win?
Who I Want to Win: Bobby Roode; Hideo Itami’s awesome, but I feel like this would be a premature victory given how short the feud has been so far.
Who Will Win: Bobby Roode; I get the feeling that they’ve been waiting to give him the title for a while, and but they won’t pull the trigger here. And if Roode takes a GTS (which is likely, because again, Chicago), it won’t be the game-ender. He’ll roll out the ring or something.