I gotta be honest, I haven't been keeping up with NXT current events very well these days, and it's not easy when the main roster has scooped up so much of their top talents. NXT's been in a rebuilding phase for the last six months or so, and while the wrestling quality is always very good to excellent, it's felt like a developmental brand again, which hadn't been true since before the Owens-Zayn signings. That said, TakeOver: Philadelphia is looking like a pretty terrific show.
Let's get to it.
Kassius Ohno vs. Velveteen Dream
This match was just officially announced last night. Dream has been quite the breakout young star of late, with monster charisma and a great grasp of his character. He had an unexpected show stealer with Aleister Black at the last TakeOver, and many were sad he didn't win that match. Well I think this will be his consolation prize. Dream is a hot commodity and now's the time to give him his first major win.
Landon: Dream wins. No offense to my personal Hero, but Kassius is here in the player coach role mostly I feel. I don't know if he'll ever make it to the main roster or not.
NXT Tag Team Championship: Undisputed Era vs. Authors of Pain
Hmm, which tag team name is better, reDRagon or Undisputed Era? What precisely about this era is undisputed? Or does the name suggest that there's no dispute that this is indeed an era? What asshole came up with this name? It sucks. If you're not gonna use reDRagon, at least come up with something similar. Or something that references Ring of Honor, like Code of Honor maybe. Just something. Christ. Anyway this should be a fine contest. AoP have come a very long way since their 2016 debut. O'Reilly and Fish are the balls. This could be the sleeper hit of the show.
Justin: reDRagon retain, as I think AoP are main roster-bound sooner rather than later.
NXT Women's Championship: Ember Moon vs. Shayna Baszler
This has a lot of potential as well. The accomplished pro wrestler vs. the grizzled MMA fighter. Baszler's real beef is with Kairi Sane, who defeated her in the Mae Young finals, so I imagine Ember holds onto the belt. But this should be a very gritty fight.
Justin: Ember retains
Extreme Rules Match: Aleister Black vs. Adam Cole
I like the sound of this one. Black is finally in the main event mix and I predict this will be the final TakeOver before his inevitable title shot. We could very well see a rematch of this one for the belt in six months actually. Anyway, this should be a wild, flashy match, and likely the match most people are talking about after this show is over. The build to this has been simple and old school - Black beat Cole in a qualifying contenders match, Cole cost Black the #1 contender spot later on and then cost Black and Strong (Black & Strong, the Coffee Brothers) a Tag Team Title win. I miss old school booking in WWE.
Justin: Black wins
Landon: Black wins a blowoff match
NXT Championship: Andrade Almas vs. Johnny Gargano
Damn, there are four matches on this card that could easily steal the show. This is the fourth. It's still surreal to me that Almas is the champ - he spent so long floundering before they turned him heel and he found a persona that worked. The athleticism in this should be fantastic, and with Mr. Babyface in Peril, Johnny Wrestling involved, the drama will be too. Gargano will come oh so close to capturing the gold before coming up short, possibly due to a returning Tomasso Ciampa's interference.
Justin: Almas retains
There's your TakeOver card. Looks pretty great. It's gonna be a busy wrestling weekend between this, the Rumble and the two NJPW shows. I better cancel my weekend plans......
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