The John Report: WWE NXT Takeover 36 Preview

Welcome to the TJR WWE NXT Takeover 36 Preview. Takeover 36 takes place on Sunday on Peacock in the US and WWE Network everywhere else. If you live in Canada like me, I believe Sportsnet 360 will show all of it commercial-free like they have done for the last couple of Takeover shows. I’m getting this preview up a few days early because there are going to be some busy days ahead. My review of this week’s NXT show went up earlier today. I’m doing this preview solo because the team is going to join me for SummerSlam later in the week and I just felt like moving forward it was best to do the previews on my own.

I think WWE made a mistake by not booking this in a bigger arena. It doesn’t have to be an NBA arena, but they should have found somewhere to have a real crowd instead of 200 fans at the Capitol Wrestling Center. I know SummerSlam is in Vegas on Saturday, so they should have booked a building in Vegas on Sunday. If not Vegas then stick to Florida, pick an arena in Orlando and Tampa and run the show there. I don’t know why they are hesitant to go into bigger buildings for NXT when the Raw/Smackdown brands are in bigger buildings all the time over the last month. A bigger building would have made this show feel fresh compared to the stale nature of the CWC. The fans there do make a lot of noise. I just wish there was a bigger crowd.

Like most Takeover shows, it’s a simple card with five matches and all of them are singles matches. A few of the matches feel like they are the end of some rivalries (like Cole/O’Reilly, Knight/Grimes and maybe Joe/Kross) while the other two matches (WALTER/Dragunov and Gonzalez/Kai) could lead to more matches in the future. There are four title matches on the card as well, so there’s a lot at stake. It’s a shame that there are no tag team matches, but that’s just how it worked out this time.

(Note: All graphics are from WWE.)

Million Dollar Championship: LA Knight (c) vs. Cameron Grimes

(Note: If Knight wins then Ted Dibiase becomes Knight’s butler.)

This is likely the end of this rivalry and if this doesn’t end in Grimes winning the Million Dollar Championship then I’ll be very surprised. Knight has won his previous matches against Grimes, which led to Knight winning the Million Dollar Title and the comedy skits with Grimes as the butler. Now that Grimes is in full babyface mode, it is the right time to have Grimes go over in a clean manner. If Dibiase is there to punch Knight during the match or after the match then that would be cool too since Knight has cheap-shotted Dibiase multiple times.

I also think this would be a good choice as an opening match since the fans like Grimes a lot, so it’s a smart move to put him on first to give him a big win like this. I feel like this result is the easiest match on the card to predict. Grimes has to win here.

Winner: Cameron Grimes

NXT UK Championship: WALTER (c) vs. Ilja Dragunov

The story here is that the match was going to take place on an episode of NXT UK, but Walter was dealing with a left-hand injury and needed several weeks off to heal. That led to WWE pivoting a bit by bringing Walter and Dragunov to the US to put them on this Takeover event. I’m all for it because it’s a live match on a Takeover, which is going to have a bigger audience than the NXT UK episode that really doesn’t have a big audience. This is the rematch of their October 2020 match in front of no fans that was the WWE Match of the Year in my opinion and the opinion of many fans.

Walter won the NXT UK Title in April 2019, which means he’s held it for over 860 days. Is it time to lose the title? Yeah, I think so. Should Dragunov be the guy to do it? He seems like a good choice to me. Dragunov is the kind of babyface that is easy to get behind since he has the fighting spirit you want to see in a face. Dragunov can take a beating from a guy like Walter and keep coming back for more, which is what made their last match feel so special. I think they can have a match that is as good or close to as good as their last match. If it isn’t, I’ll be a bit surprised by that. As for the result, I’m going with Dragunov to get the win to become the NXT UK Champion for the first time. The rematch would draw a lot of interest too and maybe Walter could be featured in the American version of NXT more although I know he has said he wants to keep living in Europe. Anyway, I’m as excited about this match as any match this week. It’s going to be a classic. Trust me on that.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW NXT UK Champion: Ilja Dragunov

NXT Women’s Championship: Raquel Gonzalez (c) vs. Dakota Kai

This feels like the first of multiple matches between them. When Dakota turned on Raquel a few weeks ago, I assume that WWE probably felt like it would turn Gonzalez face. However, when it comes time to have the match, I don’t know if Gonzalez will be cheered because I expect the fans at the CWC to support Kai since Dakota has been in NXT for several. The NXT fans want Kai to win the Women’s Title for the first time. I wonder if Kai will ever win the NXT Women’s Title because I think she might be moved to Raw or Smackdown soon to provide depth as a heel on those shows.

It should be a pretty good show, but I think compared to the four other matches, I don’t think they are going to stand out in terms of the match quality. That’s not to say it will be a bad match. I just feel like it might just an average match while the other four matches stand out to me more as better matches. Anyway, Gonzalez wins here and maybe Kai wins it in the future, but I think it’s still Raquel’s time to be champion.

Winner: Raquel Gonzalez

The Undisputed Finale: Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly (2/3 Falls Match: 1. Regular Match, 2. Street Fight, 3. Steel Cage Match)

This feels like Adam Cole’s NXT farewell match, so I feel pretty confident in picking Kyle to win. With that said, I have no idea what is next for Cole. I get asked about it a lot since the news broke a few weeks ago that Cole’s WWE contract apparently expires after Takeover on Sunday. That means Cole could leave WWE for a company like AEW where his girlfriend Britt Baker is one of their biggest stars or Cole may get a big raise to remain in WWE while moving to the Raw/Smackdown brand. If Cole got a big raise it would likely mean a significant push as well since it makes sense to want to utilize somebody you are paying a lot of money to.

I think this story has had some great moments, some very good and others not as interesting. Cole is definitely the stronger talker of the two, but O’Reilly has more than held his own. Their previous two matches were both outstanding although maybe some people had higher expectations for them. Kyle won the first match, Cole won the second match and now we get the final match (they are calling it “The Undisputed Finale for a reason) with Kyle likely picking up a big win to “win” the feud. It makes sense since Cole was the established singles wrestler while Kyle was the tag team wrestler that has done well in singles, but if Kyle wins here then this would be the most significant victory of his career. I’m certainly intrigued to see how good it will be. I can see them getting 20-30 minutes in this match and having a lot of fun moments. I’m looking forward to it.

Winner: Kyle O’Reilly wins 2 falls to 1

NXT Championship: Karrion Kross (c) vs. Samoa Joe

The likely main event of Takeover 36 is an interesting matchup for a number of reasons. As a Samoa Joe fan for the last 20 years, I’m excited to see him back in action considering his last match was about 18 months ago in early 2020. Joe has been an announcer and an enforcer since then, but now he gets to do what he does as a Samoan Submission Machine that’s trying to become the first three-time NXT Champion ever. Let’s not forget that WWE actually fired Joe earlier this year until Triple H made a call and brought Joe back for NXT. Immediately after Joe was brought back, he started feuding with Kross, who has had no issues with provoking Joe. Let’s not forget either that Kross debuted on Raw in July, so it’s very possible that this is his last match in NXT.

I think this match would be better if it was a Falls Count Anywhere or Street Fight style match, but since the Cole/O’Reilly match has a second fall that’s a Street Fight I guess the NXT decision-makers wanted to make this a regular match. I think from a stylistic point of view, it might be better if it’s a match with weapons and things like that. In a regular match, it should still be good, but it won’t be as good as some of the other matches on this show. With that said, I am rooting for Joe to win even though I’m sure somebody out there is bitching about how a guy is getting an NXT Title match even though he hasn’t had a match in 18 months. I get it. I really do, but I think in terms of storylines, this was the right match to put in this spot.

I’m going with a victory for Samoa Joe. I think this is the NXT farewell for Karrion Kross even though it’s not like they are going to announce that. I think when Kross is on Raw on Monday, they’ll say he’s exclusive to Raw and that’s it for him. Joe will begin his third reign as NXT Champion. There are a lot of fresh matches for him and since Joe has a lot of credibility, it’ll mean a lot whenever he loses the title. I’m going with a Joe win with a Coquina Clutch with Kross passing out rather than tapping out. Let’s say it goes about 15 minutes. Joe winning will send the crowd home happy. Welcome back, Samoa Joe.

Winner AND NEW NXT Champion: Samoa Joe


The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most

WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov, but Cole/O’Reilly and Kross/Joe are close.

The Match I Care About The Least

Raquel Gonzalez vs. Dakota Kai. I like them. I just like the other matches more.

Longest Match

I can see Cole vs. O’Reilly going 30 minutes or more.

Shortest Match

Raquel Gonzalez vs. Dakota Kai. Everything will probably get more than ten minutes. I see that match going about 12 minutes.

Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)

I’ll go with an 8 because my excitement level for WALTER/Dragunov, O’Reilly/Cole and Kross/Joe is really high. I can see them going around four-star level or higher for all of those matches and in a best-case scenario, we could be talking about multiple match of the year contenders on the same show. I don’t think there will be a bad match either. That helps a lot. I also think this Takeover will be the end of an era in NXT for guys like Karrion Kross and Adam Cole, who may be in their last matches in NXT this Sunday. Predicting three title changes on a show with four title matches is a bit risky by me, but I just think it’s time for those titles. I don’t know what the future of NXT is or if it will change that much, but I know I am excited about Takeover on Sunday. Takeover events do not disappoint. I think most of you would agree with me on that.

In Closing

I’ll be back with a review of WWE NXT Takeover 36 on on Sunday night. Check it out live, after the show or whenever it’s convenient for you.

If you’re out there on Twitter you can message me @johnreport any time. If you want to send an email, send it to me at as well. Thanks for reading.