Tuesday, August 17, 2021

NXT TakeOver 36 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to the predictions for possibly the final good NXT TakeOver special before Vince totally ruins the brand.  It's TakeOver 36!

Yup, the decree has come down from on high.  NXT will no longer be a viable brand in its own right with accomplished workhorses and an eclectic collection of up and coming stars.  Nope, we'll be going back to the 2005-2013 era where developmental is just a place to try and teach wrestling skills to a bunch of uncoordinated bodybuilders who all look and wrestle the same.  Imagine how out of touch a wrestling promoter has to be in 2021 to think the key to success is for every new star to look like Batista.  Hey Vince, NO ONE GIVES A FUCK WHAT THE GUY LOOKS LIKE ANYMORE.  We want to see wrestlers who can wrestle and connect with us.  The concept of a guy having THE LOOK went out the window a long fucking time ago.  Either let this shit go or step down.

Words cannot express how depressing NXT is about to become....

Anyway here's the lineup for Sunday.

Million Dollar Championship: LA Knight vs. Cameron Grimes

I didn't give a sloppy deuce about the Million Dollar title back in the day and I certainly don't now, thirty years on.  Why they brought back this gimmick I'm sure I don't know.  Neither of these guys does all that much for me either, so I don't expect much of this match.  I do expect both of these guys to get called up in the somewhat near future and not used.  Because that's what NXT is going back to.

Pick: I guess Cameron wins the belt?

NXT UK Championship: Walter vs. Ilja Dragunov

Walter is awesome.  Walter is one of the best guys in the entire company.  Walter will probably get released soon, the way things are going.  Because Walter doesn't look like Batista and English is not his first language.  I expect this match to steal the show because it's Walter.  I know nothing about Dragunov.

Pick: Walter retains

NXT Women's Championship: Raquel Gonzalez vs. Dakota Kai

Raquel has gone full babyface now that Dakota turned on her, like the female version of Diesel vs. Shawn.  This match should be quite solid as Raquel has become a strong worker and Kai is very good.  It's too soon to take the belt off Raquel, so I expect her to retain.

Pick: Raquel retains

Three Stages of Hell: Kyle O'Reilly vs. Adam Cole

This match should be incredible.  O'Reilly vs. Cole is automatically a helluva bout, and I've always loved the Three Stages of Hell format.  They're going with the original match structure from Austin vs. Triple H - the first fall is a traditional match, the second is a Street Fight and the third is a cage.  Cole as far as I know has not re-signed with the company (though I've read unsubstantiated rumors that he took a million-dollar deal to stay), so this could be his final NXT match.  If that's the case, Kyle has to win this.  Side note: How dysfunctional is WWE where they forget that a top star's contract is expiring and have to scramble to get him for another month.  Jesus H. Christ that company is fucked.  

Pick: Since Cole has yet to re-sign I'll pick Kyle for now.

NXT Championship: Karrion Kross vs. Samoa Joe

As with the main roster, NXT has their top champion facing a semi-retired dude.  Don't get me wrong, I love Samoa Joe, but for the developmental brand to not have *developed* any new contenders for Kross is pretty bad.  I don't expect this match to be all that noteworthy, as Kross still does nada for me.  Thus I expect Kross to be Vince's next pet project for a few weeks.  I don't really see Joe winning the title here, I think this is just a way to re-establish Kross as a monster.

Pick: Kross retains

Well this is a pretty solid lineup - I'm interested or very interested in three of the five bouts - but it's also going to be a bittersweet moment for NXT.  Vince has begun fully sinking his claws back into what used to be WWE's one good brand, and in a few months I predict it will go back to being the not-ready-for-prime-time feeder system it was in 2012.  Johnny Ace will stack the roster with bodybuilder types who can't wrestle, just like he did in the mid-2000s, there may be a gem or two in there somewhere but NXT will just be the developmental brand no one cares about again.  Fuck this place.

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