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WWE NXT Spotlight: Takeover “The End” Preview by Kurt Zamora

Welcome one and all to the official TJRWrestling preview for this Wednesday’s Takeover event, The End. We have five big matches signed for the show, par for the course on a Takeover show. All three NXT Titles are on the line as well. I really like this card as it’s a little bit of everything. I think there are three matches that have the potential to be Match of the Year candidates. Before I get to my official predictions on all the matches, let me answer the big overall question first.

What does “The End” mean for this show?

Ultimately, I think it means nothing more than the end of the Samoa Joe/Finn Balor rivalry. William Regal even said during the official contract signing on Facebook that this would be the end of the feud. There are quite a few theories out there that “The End” tagline could mean the end of Takeover events or the end of NXT as we know it due to the brand split coming in July. A lot of people think Smackdown will ultimately become NXT with some main roster guys sprinkled in. I personally do not think this is going to happen. The USA Network is not paying WWE any more TV revenue for moving live to Tuesdays. So there’s no financial incentive for WWE to basically uproot its most attractive appeal about the WWE Network and bring it to network TV. In fact, that would cost them money, because I’m sure there’s a good handful of fans that have the WWE Network solely due to it being the only place you can see NXT. So again, ultimately I think it was just a catchy tagline that got people talking, but it won’t mean anything more than the end of the top rivalry for the title.

With that said, let’s get to the predictions.

Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. “The Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger

Apparently we’re keeping Almas’ appearance a secret as if you’ve seen the vignettes shown for him, it’s been all about the fact that he’s leaving his mask behind. As much as this match is obviously about Almas and is a showcase for him, I want to talk about Dillinger.

If you’ve read my Spotlight’s over the weeks and months, you know I’m quite annoyed by the fact that the powers to be in NXT clearly don’t know what to do with Dillinger. This week’s episode of NXT is a perfect example. He gets a showcase match against Murphy where he is CLEARLY the babyface. The crowd goes nuts for him, as they do every week, and you start to think maybe things are going to change for him and they’re going to stick to a route. However, in a WWE.com exclusive, Dillinger goes into Regal’s office and demands to be on the Takeover event and gets lined up as Almas’ debut opponent. Thus, putting him back in a heel role. I don’t like it for him, and I really think he deserves more. All that being said, I’m sure he’ll make Almas look like a million bucks, and judging by the recent NXT Live Event reports, Almas has been doing a great job making himself look like a million bucks.

I can see this match really surprising some people with its athleticism and fluidity and at the end, Almas will win his debut.

Prediction: Andrade “Cien” Almas

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Austin Aries

The battle of “The King of Strong Style” vs. “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” to me will be the match of the night and one of the three MOTY candidates, along with the Tag Title & NXT Title matches. This is the perfect match for Aries. His debut has been less than stellar in my opinion, but I almost feel like he’s been a square peg trying to be forced into a round hole. Now that Aries has embraced his TGMTEL ego and turned heel, he’s looked much more comfortable. With this match, he can really sink his teeth into it and will be able to hang with Nakamura. Both men ooze charisma, although obviously Nakamura is on a completely different level than basically anyone else in NXT or WWE for that matter.

I’ve made no bones about the fact that I think NXT has overexposed Nakamura since his debut at the last Takeover, but I can understand WWE’s thinking with him since he didn’t have a true storyline coming out of his match with Sami Zayn. With this being the last Takeover before Brooklyn during SummerSlam weekend, I would fully expect to see Nakamura be lined up for a dream match against the winner of the NXT Title Match later in the evening.

I don’t think it’s out of the realm for Aries to win this match, but considering Brooklyn will clearly have a lot to live up to based on how last year’s show went and the fact that attendance wise it’s their biggest show of the year, they’re going to want to load up this year’s show. Nakamura vs. Joe or Balor is by far the biggest match they can do at that show, so I think that’s what they’ll go with. We’re in for a treat no matter what, though.

Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

NXT Tag Team Title Match: American Alpha (c) vs. The Revival

If you’ve happened to read any of the NXT Live Event reports since Takeover: Dallas, you’ll have seen that these two teams have stolen the show on many of nights. The modern age Midnight Express vs. Rock-N-Roll Express has lived up to the hype and has put both teams on another level. It fast tracked American Alpha to the main roster and it’s made The Revival go from NXT Lifers to a team that absolutely belongs on the main roster themselves. Their work on last week’s NXT show was spectacular and the fact they can now add very solid mic work to their prestine in-ring work, I think they’re a force to be reckoned with for a long time to come. Their match in Dallas was phenomenal and with them getting to work each other repeatedly in the last two months, I expect this match to be even better.

The obvious pick is American Alpha retaining, but I actually think we’ll have new champions. First off, as I said before, American Alpha has fast tracked themselves to the main roster with their work as of late. They are more than ready for that opportunity, and with the brand split, there will be a perfect opportunity to bring them up. Secondly, when you look at the NXT tag scene, there aren’t any heel teams ready to step up against American Alpha after The Revival steps aside. Whereas for The Revival if they were to win the titles, you have Gargano and Ciampa and TM-61 ready and waiting for an opportunity. Maybe they stretch this out to a third match in Brooklyn, but for now, I see The Revival recapturing their titles.

Prediction: New NXT Tag Team Champions, The Revival

NXT Women’s Title Match: Asuka (c) vs. Nia Jax

This is actually the hardest match to predict on the card. I’m sure a lot of you will read that and roll your eyes and say it’s a gimme that Asuka will win. I understand that opinion, and if that’s how you feel, I can’t say you’re wrong. Hear me out, though.

I may be in the minority, but I really like Nia Jax’s work. I’m a big fan of hers. Her two matches against Bayley were fantastic and show that she’s comfortable on the big stage. However, Nia Jax is a different breed in the women’s division. They clearly don’t have anyone else on the roster like her. If she were to lose her second NXT Women’s Title match already, she’s going to lose a lot of her luster. Whether you like her or not, there’s no arguing that she should be booked like a monster. To be booked to lose both of her title shots in a six month period will be hard to rebound from in my opinion. On the flip side though, the person who finally dethroned Bayley for the Women’s Title should absolutely be in a position to have a lengthy reign of her own and not lose in her first title defense.

With all that said, as much as I’d like to pick Nia to win (and honestly, I think Asuka would be at her best if she was chasing someone like Nia for the title), I see the match going like this. Eva Marie will make her presence felt at some point and it’ll look like a two on one situation. However, playing off Eva Marie’s arrogance, combined with her inexperience, I expect her to make a mistake that leads to Asuka getting the win. Maybe that leads to Eva being Asuka’s next challenger, maybe that leads to a Nia Jax face turn or maybe both.

Prediction: Still NXT Women’s Champion, Asuka

NXT Title Steel Cage Match: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Finn Balor

This will be the first ever Steel Cage match in NXT, and judging by the vignettes shown for this match, this will be a completely different cage than what we see in WWE. It looks much more like an old school NWA cage, silver steel, and much shorter than we’re accustomed to. There will be the ability to stand on the top of the cage though, should a moment call for it.

Samoa Joe has been simply tremendous since turning heel. He’s found the fountain of youth and has been delivering some of the best work in his entire career. I fully expect Finn Balor to bring out The Demon, which he’s undefeated in NXT as, but that streak ends at Takeover. I expect Balor to continually keep fighting and show a lot of heart, but Samoa Joe will be booked to look as dangerous as ever inside that cage and will really deliver the beating to Balor.

The story has been that in Balor’s two victories against Joe, he “survived” more than “won”. On this night, he will not survive. I would love to see one or both of them get some color in this match and really take the cage back to its roots. Perhaps with Triple H overseeing this show, that’s a stronger possibility than it would be on the main roster. Either way, this will be an all out war, but in the end, will be a stamp of Joe’s arrival as The Man in NXT.

Prediction: Still NXT Champion, Samoa Joe

K-Tank’s Final Take

Agree or disagree with my predictions? Let me know in the comments. I’m really excited to see this show and hopefully beyond what’s been announced, there will be a surprise or two in line for us. A Bobby Roode debut would be just lovely. I will have the live recap of the show right here on the website starting with the pre-show on the Network. I won’t write it play by play as I really want to watch the matches and get enveloped in them, but I won’t leave out any major details. I hope you’ll come join me on Wednesday!