by Frank Lucci
It’s time for a major WWE Pay-Per-View so you know what that means! It’s time for several indie feds to put on shows in and around the area of said PPV (Oh, and also for WWE to roll out NXT shows the day before). While previous NXT PPV’s always threatened to overshadow their big brother PPV shows (and they universally did), San Antonio seems destined to comfortably fit in the background.
First off, it’s behind Royal Rumble, the most unpredictable WWE PPV of the year. Second, the build to this Takeover has been…bad. NXT no longer has time to breath and have periodic specials that make sense, and now they fit more of the WWE model of “well, something has to fit here.” Throw in several episodes focused on international tours and this definitely has been a weird time for NXT. Granted, NXT has the benefit of the doubt with me and most fans, but still, this may be a case of what could have been. Spaceman Frank is here to predict NXT Takeover: San Antonio.
Roderick Strong vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas
Roderick Strong was someone I was excited to see come to NXT, but once he got there I started wondering what the hype was about. I know he is grand and all, but seeing him in NXT makes me think he is destined to get lumped into the Cruiserweight Division. Meanwhile, he is “feuding” (I consider it a strongly worded argument) with Cien Almas, who is much better as a bad guy but still needs lots of work. I think this match could be a great match, because it needs to be a great match in order for these guys to have any sort of meaningful impact in 2017. Considering the field is wide open for a couple of top guys to get into the main event of NXT, hopefully these guys show us what they got. A coin flip of a match, I think Cien is due for a big win over newcomer Strong.
Eric Young vs. Tye Dillinger
Out of the two non-title matches, I have more hope for this. For one, Dillinger is as hot as he has ever been, and NXT fans are desperate to see this guy get a win. I do not expect a Sami Zayn-style push for him, since he seems destined to leave NXT sooner rather than later, but a significant win for The Perfect Ten would be nice. When everyone seems to leave NXT by losing, sending him off with a win and momentum would be fantastic. On the other hand, besides entering the Rumble at number 10, what is he going to do on the main roster? Especially in Wrestlemania season? I see him going the Tyler Breeze route. Actually, him going Breeze and Fandango would not be that bad…and they could all be henchmen for The Miz (Holy cow I just stream of conscious booked main roster Dillinger and saved Fandango).
Eric Young and Sanity in general are my dark horse candidates to have an excellent 2017. While not particularly impressive so far, I think they can go far in the new year. Sawyer Fulton’s injury is unfortunate, but replacing him with Big Damo catapults this group to the top. NXT has been missing a stable like this for some time, and having a dominate group take on the undefeatable babyfaces that populate NXT is a good idea. I don’t’ see Eric Young as NXT champ, but I see the group having plenty of gold in the near future. Tye gets a sneaky win, only for Sanity to beat down the guy immediately afterwards so that Tommy End or Chris Hero can come in and make the save.
Team DIY (c) vs. Authors of Pain (NXT Tag Team Championship match)
Team DIY (refuse to use the hashtag) have been the show-stealers for the second half of 2016, but now they face the massive but green Authors of Pain. I think the Authors of Pain are better than people give them credit for, but they really need to have Paul Ellering cut more promos and get involved. Perhaps one of the biggest things going for this match is that Team DIY (especially Johnny Gargano) are masters of selling, so the big men should look like a million bucks as they beat up the champs. I think DIY deserve a good run with the belts, and while Authors of Pain seem to be on the up and up they will get humbled here. The champs retain while the specter of The Revival looms over this match.
Asuka (c) vs. Nikki Cross vs. Billie Kay vs. Peyton Royce (NXT Women’s Championship Match)
This is the type of match that gives me pause that Asuka may get her first loss here. Much like Charlotte losing her title in a fatal four way with the rest of the Four Horsewomen, this is a way for Asuka to lose while not getting pinned. However, I still have doubts. Here is how it breaks down for me, from least likely to most likely to win:
- Peyton Royce: When you are the second Australian in the match and the default henchmen in the match, you ain’t winning. Not to say that she is bad, but the “Venus Flytrap of NXT” just reeks of failure. Maybe she will prove something here, but really I think she is here to eat a pin.
- Billie Kay: Has going into a multi-man match ever worked out for anybody? Has anyone successfully planned out having someone win in advance? Really, the smart move would have one person pin another as soon as the bell rings. Anyway, Kay actually has a character and is the only other person besides the champ to work a singles match on a Takeover Special, so at least she has that. Kay can be a worthy wrestler, but she needs a chance to shine one on one like Becky Lynch did to really show her stuff.
- Nikki Cross: The wildcard of the whole match. Cross has not had a chance to show how good a wrestler she is, but NXT has perfectly established her character and shown her to be the crazy wild women in the match. I really hope NXT takes advantage of the No-DQ rules inherent in Fatal Four Ways to have her go nuts on the other women. Considering she keeps losing matches because she gets herself disqualified, have her bite and claw her competition to make things interesting. I think she and Asuka take themselves out at some point leading to some close near falls from the Aussies. However….
- Asuka: The NXT Women’s Champion is winning this. While there are enough variables to make me sincerely doubt the outcome, as champ I give her 51% of winning. The rumors always swirl around her taking on Ember Moon, and really she is the only one who can walk in and take on the champ that the hardcore fans of NXT will accept as a worthy contender. With WrestleMania coming up, it seems like the logical step. Throw in the serious doubt that Asuka makes the main roster before ‘Mania, and I think she is keeping the belt.
Bobby Roode vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (NXT Championship Match)
Shinsuke has nothing left to prove as champ, and the extremely abbreviated feud with Samoa Joe (noticeably in his absence on this Takeover) on the international circuit has me thinking he may jump to the main roster in 2017. He is a two time champ, he has beaten everyone noteworthy in the past year, and he needs to move on. Give him the Sami Zayn route where he loses here, faces the hot new wrestler in NXT (Kassius Ohno), then leave for the main roster. Roode is one of the few people who can take on his mantle, and he can spend several weeks on NXT TV hyping his feuds and save his wrestling for when it matters. Hell, he sold this match in one promo for me, and has one of my roommates hating him like my Grandma hated Ric Flair. Roode grabs a handful of tights, becomes champ and NXT gets glorious.