Wow, I’ve been thinking about this article for over a week and as luck would have it, today became an insanely busy day so I’m just now getting to writing it and it’s already the day of the show on the East Coast.
Anyway, without further ado, here are my predictions for NXT Takeover: Respect.
NXT TakeOver: Respect Predictions
The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament
Well, obviously we don’t know in advance what the finals of the tournament will be so let’s start out with the two semi-final matches that have been announced.
Semi-Final match #1: Finn Balor (NXT Champion) & Samoa Joe vs. Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder
As much as I like the wrestlers previously known as the Mechanics, I don’t see them winning here. Obviously, the big rumor surrounding this show is Balor turning heel on Joe, and I see that going down in the finals. Maybe some sort of miscommunication happens in this match to telegraph the turn in the finals – but this is NXT so they may not make it that obvious.
Prediction: Balor & Joe advance into the finals.
Semi-Final match #2: Jason Jordan & Chad Gable vs. Rhyno & Baron Corbin
I don’t really see the Rhyno and Corbin team advancing much further than this. Corbin seems geared towards a single run if they ever decide to pull the trigger on the guy and give him a personality. Rhyno seems to be in NXT for the nostalgia pop and to give the younger guys someone experienced to work with. Smart money here is on Jordan and Gable who are both really good and have gelled as a team in recent weeks.
Prediction: I’m Ready, Willing, and Gable to predict Jordan and Gable advance to the finals.
My predicted Finals Match-Up: Finn Balor & Samoa Joe vs. Jason Jordan & Chad Gable
Chad Gable is scary good in the ring and has the potential to be this generation’s Kurt Angle. I see something, maybe a worked blown spot, causing Joe to take the loss and if they’re doing the Balor turn it happens here. I was skeptical about the Balor turn, but perhaps it’s why he’s coming out in the leather jacket and flashing the title now. It would be incredibly courageous to have the champion switch alignments while holding the belt, but Balor seems like the kind of character that could pull it off. Plus, you could make him responsible for jumping Hideo Itami, who is about ready to return from injury, and have a built in feud ready to go.
Prediction: Jordan & Gable bring home the trophy and Gable finally gets Jordan to say his name – with a bonus of a Balor heel turn on the side.
Asuka vs. Dana Brooke (possibly w/ Emma)
Out of the entire card, okay, except the main event, I’m most looking forward to this match. Asuka debuted a few weeks back and Dana and Emma immediately started to push her around. William Regal makes this match and then shows them footage of what Asuka can do – and Emma wants nothing to do with the match. I’ve only seen bits of Asuka on YouTube of her working as Kana, so I’m more than excited to see her finally debut in the ring for NXT. Dana has really come into her own as a heel on the mic. Her in-ring work is probably the best so far of this next wave of the NXT women’s division, so this has the makings of a “better than decent” women’s match. Of course, it really only has to be decent with Sasha and Bayley headlining. Post-Bayley these two are my front-runners as the next NXT Women’s champion. Keep that belt far, far away from Eva Marie, please?
Prediction: Asuka kicks the Hell out of Dana and wins. Considering she was shamed by Dana/Emma in her contract signing debut, I can’t see them doing anything but have Asuka totally catch Dana off guard and destroy her.
Tyler Breeze vs. Apollo Crews
Breeze has sort of fallen into this role of “guy who has a really elaborate entrance, can work really well, but is always the bridesmaid and never the bride”. He has regularly turned out quality matches with whomever he works with, but possibly has a gimmick that is keeping him from crashing through the NXT glass ceiling and onto the main roster at WWE. It’s kind of a shame, but at the same time, it’s great having someone at NXT that you can count on to deliver no matter who he is matched up against. NXT is clearly planning to push Apollo Crews to the Moon (pun actually not intended) and rightly so. Crews has been great to watch in the ring so far and definitely has a look that will translate well to a spot on the main roster.
Prediction: Crews wins but Breeze continues to look good as one of the most competent workers at NXT. As much as I’d like to see Tyler pull out a victory on a PPV after his losing streak, I don’t think giving Crews a setback like that makes a whole lot of sense right now.
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks (NXT Women’s Championship match)
I could go into this match for hours. Seriously. Their match at TakeOver: Brooklyn did more for women’s wrestling than any number of “Diva revolution” six woman matches with no stakes could ever hope to do. Seriously, here’s a link to watch it if you have the Network and haven’t gotten around to checking out that match. That match was the first time in a long while a WWE produced match made me feel actual, honest emotion. It’s easily the best match I’ve seen since I started watching WWE’s product again and easily in my top matches of all time.
I don’t expect them to surpass that match here. I know a lot of people seem to think they might, but as good as this will be I don’t think it can eclipse the Brooklyn match. I don’t think anything can top the raw emotion of seeing Bayley’s chase for validation as the top woman in the company finally happen. That said, I don’t expect either of these women to phone it in here either. WWE has been keeping Sasha off TV, save for last night’s Raw, either by happenstance or by design – which makes it appear she’s really putting in extra work to make this match special. She even has the plausible motivations to take the NXT title to the main roster and use it as bragging rights to be next in line for Charlotte’s Diva title. Bayley is out to prove that TakeOver: Brooklyn was not a fluke and she has earned the spot she now has. Wow, motivations and a story line that is simple, but hits all of the right spots to make for a compelling story. Imagine that. NXT also has had the benefit of not shoving both women down our throats in random tag team matches and non-title matchups so by the time this match hits we’re sick of seeing them work together. In other words, they’ve done everything right once again.
Prediction: Bayley retains. The only way I could see them pull the title from her is if she was facing someone new here. So, unlike Sami Zayn and his brief NXT title run, I don’t see them switching the belt back to Sasha . It’s an Iron Woman match, so I see both ladies winning falls, but likely Bayley just squeaking this one out at the end to keep the title. Sasha doesn’t lose much face here, because if there is anyone sane writing for WWE TV, she’s got to be who Charlotte feuds with post-Hell in a Cell.
EBible Fellowship End of the World
Prediction: The world doesn’t end.
Okay, that about does it. See you late Wednesday night for my review of NXT TakeOver: Respect!