by Frank Lucci
Despite the ominous title, the newest NXT TakeOver live event special is not the end of the highly praised series – but it does have some finality hanging over it.
With many of the top NXT talent already on the main roster and several more possibly leaving NXT for Raw or SmackDown! when the brand split occurs in July, this may be the last TakeOver event with some of the classic NXT talents people first latched onto when WWE first began having live specials for the developmental brand.
Here are Spaceman Frank’s predictions for NXT Takeover: The End.
Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Tye Dillinger
Poor Tye Dillinger. Despite having lots of crowd support and a marketable gimmick, the poor guy lives just to put over new talent. With so many of the old NXT guard on the main roster, would a push for “The Perfect Ten” be too much to ask?
His opponent, the former La Sombra, has been working NXT live events (as well as a dark match at NXT Takeover: Dallas) and has received rave reviews from live audiences. Random side note: I like that Andrade has “Cien” as a nickname instead of being “Cien Almas. ” As much fun as No Way Jose is, it’s hard to take him seriously with no real name. In addition, it’s rumored that Almas is going to be heavily featured in the Cruiserweight Classic this summer, so it’s pretty clear that he’s going to beat Dillinger.
America Alpha (C) vs. The Revival (NXT Tag Team Championships match)
This matchup is a big toss-up. For one, champs American Alpha are super over with the crowd and have routinely handled The Revival at live events. However, the champions are frequently discussed as the next tag team to jump to the main roster, so they could easily lose the titles and then move on. The Revival are a better version of the now broken up Blake and Murphy and shine as the talented yet generic heel tag team that make good diabolical champs. It’s time for a two time champion in NXT and The Revival will reclaim their belts so Jordan and Gable can make their leap forward.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Austin Aries
The big new dream match for The End sees the two men who debuted at NXT Takeover: Dallas clash and have an unofficial number one contenders match for the NXT Championship.
Nakamura can do no wrong at Full Sail as the crowd pops big time whenever his theme song hits. Meanwhile, Aries has the crowd begging for his heel turn; as A Double would be the perfect bad guy to slide into the main event picture. The big question here is if Aries turns on the live special or if he saves it for NXT’s weekly programming. I’m predicting Nakamura wins clean here, causing Aries to descend into madness later – making Swagsuke look good while the cameras are live.
Asuka (C) vs. Nia Jax (NXT Women’s Championship Match)
First teased at Takeover: London, this match is brimming with potential.
Asuka was able to take down Bayley, but can she handle a motivated Jax who’s been taking down every other woman on the NXT roster? Conspicuous in her absence is former champ Bayley, who (kayfabe) was injured by Jax and thus unable to get her rematch. It seems blasphemous to leave Bayley out of a TakeOver, as NXT could have easily added more drama or intrigue by having this be a triple threat or having Bayley be the guest referee. By having her out it seems plain as day that Asuka hangs on to her title so the two can have their big rematch in front of the much larger NXT Takeover: Brooklyn crowd while Jax gets valuable reps so she can be NXT’s next big heel.
Samoa Joe (C) vs Finn Balor (Steel Cage Match for the NXT Championship)
The fourth and (probably) final match between these former friends is sure to be memorable. When it was assumed this feud was played out, NXT pulled a shocker when Joe won the NXT Championship at an untelevised show. Instead of having Balor immediately jump to the main roster to join his mates in The Club, he’s been showing more fire than ever in trying to reclaim the gold.
Joe has been perfect on the microphone as champ and I’m sure WWE wishes they could give their main roster champion Roman Reign’s half the ability this Samoan has. Throw in not only a rare stipulation but the first-ever NXT cage match at Full Sail and this could be a classic feud finisher that has been sorely lacking in this age of 50/50 WWE booking.
Both men deserve to make it to the main roster ASAP, but I see Joe retaining so WWE can begin hyping Balor coming to the main roster and Joe can lay down the groundwork for a match with Nakamura that will be so heavy Iron Maiden will write a concept album about it.