Welcome to another round of NXT predictions, here at Enuffa.com!
Well, since I signed back up to the WWE Network a couple weeks ago to watch the Royal Rumble (which was a middling show), why not revisit the one good part of WWE's current programming, the NXT brand? This Sunday is the latest TakeOver special, and it looks like quite a doozy actually. It's been a full year since I watched any NXT, so this will be refreshing. Three strong title matches and two Dusty Classic finals. Pretty stacked little card I'd say.
Men's Dusty Classic Final: MSK vs. Grizzled Young Veterans
I don't know squat about either of these teams. I think they're both supposed to be good, so this match oughta be good. I guess I'll go with GYV to take this. Why? Well because they're grizzled. And they're young. And they're definitely veterans.
Pick: The allegedly gray, not-so-old, experienced wrestlers
Women's Dusty Classic Final: Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs. Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart
Kind of an underwhelming final here, but I reckon there's enough talent involved to make it work. Kai & Gonzalez are the big heel duo in the NXT women's division so I think I'll pick them. Remember when Ember was on the main roster? Why didn't that work out?
Pick: Dakota & Raquel
NXT Women's Championship: Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm vs. Mercedes Martinez
This should be a fine piece of business. Shirai is always great. Storm is an excellent young rising star. Martinez is a wily veteran of the indies. Since Storm and Martinez were a tag team in the Dusty Classic I have to assume they won't be able to agree between themselves who should be the one to win the title and Shirai will use their dissension to her advantage to retain. It's that old chestnut.
Pick: Shirai retains
NXT North American Championship: Johnny Gargano vs. Kushida
This right here could steal the show. Gargano is an NXT legend at this point, while Kushida is one of the world's great junior heavyweights long overdue for an NXT push. I'd love to see Kushida take this one down, but on the other hand the North American Title has been bouncing around like crazy. So I'll pick the champ to retain I guess.
Pick: Gargano retains
NXT Championship: Finn Balor vs. Pete Dunne
Man, what a one-two punch. Gargano-Kushida and Balor-Dunne. That's a goddamn helluva pair of matches. While it sucks that the main roster never figured out how to use Finn, it's great to see him in a place where he can be the big fish. I'm sure he's a lot happier in NXT too (Anyone know how much time is left on his contract? Asking for the Bullet Club...). Pete Dunne is also a tremendous worker who also sadly wouldn't fit well on the main roster. Vince needs to let go of his "type" and just push people who are talented. Anyway this should be a pretty spectacular main event. I'll go with Finn to hold onto the strap. He's my son's favorite.
Pick: Balor retains
While I don't watch the NXT weekly shows (and from the sounds of it they're fine even though the booking has been iffy since Vince took an active interest), it'll be of comfort to strap in and watch a TakeOver special again. They were consistently a welcome throwback to the old NWA Clash of the Champions shows and I've always appreciated their "substance over style" approach. The black & gold brand has provided most of WWE's greatest shows over the past five years and this should fit right into that pantheon.
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