This Saturday marks the turning of a page and the dawn of a new chapter for the yellow and black brand known as NXT. This is a time of transition, as the likes of Carmella, Alexa Bliss, Nia Jax, American Alpha, & Finn Balor all have moved on to the main roster. What is left is a roster full of talent, but a lot of unknowns as well. Who will step up and be the yin to The Revival’s yang? Who will fill the huge void now in the women’s division? Most importantly, who will step up and take the throne as the Crown Prince of NXT that Finn Balor relinquished last month? In front of another rabid crowd in Brooklyn, hopefully this Saturday night at Takeover: Brooklyn II, we’ll find out those answers. Typically there are five matches on each Takeover show, but seven have been announced per the event card t-shirt that WWE released. TM61 vs. The Authors of Pain hasn’t been “officially” announced, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that is taped for the following week’s NXT show. They said this week on NXT that Ember Moon would be debuting on Saturday against Billie Kay. Since one of those matches hasn’t been announced and the other has nothing to go with in terms of storyline and not knowing anything about Ember Moon as a character, I will not be previewing those matches.
No Way Jose vs. Austin Aries
As much as I thought this storyline would be a step down for Austin Aries and was an indicator of his standing in the brand, I think this program has actually increased the profile of both individuals. No Way Jose has done a great job showcasing a fiery side to him to go along with his dancing persona. Austin Aries has transitioned to a evil heel that feels underutilized on the roster and will make everyone pay for this. I really hope this match delivers and makes No Way Jose a credible contender in the ranks of NXT, at the same time showcasing Austin Aries abilities to be one of the best in the world. This is a really tough match to call as both men rightfully deserve to win and need the win. I’m going to pick No Way Jose, only because Austin Aries is already an established name and a loss won’t hurt him too much. Plus he can use that loss as more fuel against the fans that turned on him. As for No Way Jose, with NXT needing new stars to help fill out the depth of the brand, getting Jose a big win against someone like Aries will give him a boost that he can parlay into even bigger matches. The good thing is though, NXT has a lot of options here.
Prediction: No Way Jose
Bobby Roode vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas
This should be nothing more than a showcase match for Bobby Roode. Between his outstanding debut promo, to the #GLORIOUSBOMB posts that are going viral, Bobby Roode is on fire right now. He should use this match as a stepping stone to go straight to the top of the card against the likes of Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura. As much as I’m sure Triple H wanted Almas to be a big star and expected his debut to go off better than it did, Almas comes across as nervous and hesitant. I stated last week when the match was announced that it’s possible Almas is still getting used to life without a mask, as he just doesn’t look comfortable in his matches. He looks forced. I think with time, he’ll get better. Bobby Roode has star written all over him though and can be a headliner for the brand for months to come. I expect him to get a massive reaction for this match, or should I say, a glorious reaction.
Prediction: Bobby Roode
NXT Tag Team Titles Match: The Revival (c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano
Mark my words, this is the match that will steal the show. The Revival have gotten better each and every week, with their promo work now officially on par with their in ring work. Ciampa and Gargano weren’t used to their full potential when they came into the company a year ago, but now that they’ve signed full time with NXT, they have really come into their own. They have a ton of momentum right now after their all time classic at the CWC, and I would really love to see them win the titles here. The crowd will clearly be 100% behind them. Filling the role of American Alpha will be tough, as I really feel NXT caught lightning in a bottle with that team, but Ciampa and Gargano have the ability to do so. The tag team division is in a lot of flux, much like the women’s division, as beyond the top four teams, there just isn’t much there. The Authors of Pain will need to get a title shot sooner rather than later, so that’s another reason I can see a title change here. I would love to see this match get 20+ minutes to tear the house down and tell everything afterwards to FOLLOW THAT.
Prediction: New NXT Tag Team Champions, Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano
NXT Women’s Title Match: Asuka (c) vs. Bayley
I was there live for their first encounter in Dallas, and I can say with certainty that no one in that building was ready for a title change. It caught everyone by surprise. Especially with the finish they used. Ever since then, Asuka has been a shaky champion at best. I don’t think she was ready for that role and despite the fact that she has been carrying the title, there was no doubt that Bayley was still the #1 woman in the company. I look at their respective matches against Nia Jax and whereas Bayley brought Nia to another level, Asuka exposed Nia to still be green and couldn’t carry her the way Bayley could. I say all that because I think Asuka needs a real definitive win here. Asuka started like a house of fire and had everyone clamoring for her, but that momentum has seemed to be derailed as of late. Just my opinion. Bayley on the other hand, is more than ready for the main roster, as Battleground showed us. Once she leaves though, Asuka is going to be in a world of unknowns. She will 100% have to carry the division while we wait on the likes of Billie Kay, Liv Morgan, & Ember Moon get developed. In order for people to take the division seriously still, they need a champion they can believe in. Even though at first watch, I wasn’t big on Asuka’s heel tendencies she showed a couple weeks ago, when Bayley followed it up with an aggressive side of her own, I actually thought it was for the best. I think now that this match could possibly be the most physical women’s match we’ve ever seen under a WWE banner. Asuka’s ass kicking, take no prisoner style vs. Bayley’s never say die attitude. This should be an official passing of the torch to Asuka as she ventures into a very questionable future for the women of NXT. I don’t think Bayley can repeat her performance from last year, but she’s sure as hell going to try.
Prediction: Asuka by Submission
NXT Title Match: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
As funny as it sounds, I think the loser of this match is the real winner. In my opinion, whoever loses this match will end up on the main roster. Both of them clearly deserve to be there. Despite being only 37, Samoa Joe has seemingly found the fountain of youth in NXT. He has the viciousness of Samoa Joe circa 2005/2006, just with loads more experience and confidence. Nakamura, as I’ve said repeatedly in my Spotlights over the past couple months, has bordered on being overexposed. His popularity has just continued to grow though, so you can’t argue with results. In a perfect world, this would be a New Japan style match, hard hitting, with multiple chants of “Fight Forever”. In the end, Nakamura has one more trick up his sleeve than Joe does and becomes the new NXT Champion, filling the role of Finn Balor, while Samoa Joe quickly moves on to the main roster and puts himself in position for that match with Brock Lesnar that he wants. I would not argue though if they decide that Nakamura’s time is now and being such a special entity the likes that no one has seen before, and let Joe retain while bringing Nakamura up. Either way, I think we’re all winners.
Prediction: New NXT Champion, Shinsuke Nakamura
K Tank’s Final Takes
– For you diehards that want to know what happened on this week’s episode of NXT, Hideo Itami defeated Mustafa Ali and the team of Carmella, Liv Morgan, & Nikki Glenncross defeated Alexa Bliss, Daria Berenato, & Mandy Rose. The rest of it was all preview pieces for Takeover. Since neither match had anything to do with Takeover, I decided not to cover them this week. Sue me.
– This Takeover honestly feels like it has less buzz than any other before. Is that a product of the card or just the fact that SummerSlam this year is so loaded? The secondary market for tickets isn’t anywhere near the levels they were for Dallas, which also shows a lack of buzz for the show.
– One thing is for sure, the effort will be there. Everyone on this card is going to want to show that NXT is still in good hands and that the levels we’ve come to expect, will not dropoff just due to a roster turnover.
– Our fearless leader, John Canton, will have your play by play live on Saturday. He is filling in for me as I have prior engagements, but I will be coming back on Sunday with a recap of the show from my vantage point.
– Don’t forget that The Match Beyond podcast that I will be hosting on TJRWrestling will be debuting on Monday, September 5th. I have some really fun episodes planned for you guys.
Until next time, enjoy Takeover: Brooklyn, and don’t get suspended on your birthday.