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Spaceman Frank’s NXT Takeover: Chicago Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

NXT has snuck in a TakeOver event several weeks after WrestleMania, and the general reaction I’ve seen from people talking about this event is “There’s a TakeOver going on that week?”

It seems very random that WWE would pick Backlash of all Pay-Per-Views to piggyback a Takeover event onto, but when you consider that waiting until SummerSlam would be far too long for a TakeOver and the fact that Chicago is consistently one of the best crowds for wrestling, it makes a little bit more sense.

NXT has had a good run of television since ‘Mania and I dare say after a bit of a lull, the developmental brand has reemerged as the best weekly program WWE has going. Chicago promises to be a weird blend of established NXT talent with some new people thrown in to replace departed stars, which should be an explosive mix to watch. However, there are several notable people missing from the card (Kassius Ohno, Alister Black, Cien Almas, etc), and with only five matches announced as of this writing I expect a last minute match added just to screw with me. That said, I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my NXT Takeover: Chicago predictions!

Roderick Strong vs. Eric Young (with Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain)

The only (as of this writing) non-title match sees The Messiah of the Backbreaker taking on Tye Dillinger’s role as the thorn in Sanity’s side as he gets a one on one match with their leader Eric Young.

Strong has had a hell of a time in NXT since ‘Mania as he went from generically handsome dude who does not talk into someone I generally want to succeed. Part of this is the excellent vignettes NXT produced that addressed the gaping void where his personality should be. Another large part was his supremely enjoyable number one contender’s match with Hideo Itami that sold me on him being someone who can have main event matches. Finally, during his amazing vignette he wore an Every Time I Die “Hot Damn” album cover t-shirt, which is a golden ticket into Spaceman Frank’s heart.

Strong has all the momentum here, but since Young has the number’s game here I think he will get the win. He has a solid TakeOver record thus far, and I think this feud has legs so Young will draw first blood for Sanity.

Tyler Bate (c) vs. Pete Dunne (WWE UK Championship Match)

The title match with the least build, mostly because WWE shot the UK show tapings out of order so we knew Dunne was getting a rematch before we actually saw him win the privilege of facing Bate.

Bate was excellent during the UK tournament, but I can see Dunne on the main roster now and immediately becoming a player in the main event scene a la Samoa Joe. I’d go as as far as to say Triple H needs to make Evolution 2.0 (EV 2.0?? Oh wait…) with Joe, Dunne, Triple H (as Ric Flair) and Brock Lesnar where the group feud over who is Brock’s number one contender by proxy while The Beast Incarnate is off strangling Emu’s or whatever he does on his farm.

Anyway, Bate wins here because I feel like if they make the switch it will be on the new UK show to build interest in that rather than prop up a TakeOver special.

Asuka (c) vs. Ruby Riot vs. Nikki Cross (NXT Women’s Championship Match)

Ember Moon’s injury and subsequent withdrawal from this match has really deflated the hype surrounding it.

Moon vs. Asuka still feels like the endgame for the women’s division, though Asuka vs. Cross has me much more hyped than any other potential matchup. That leaves Ruby Riot to take the pin, and with Asuka oh so very close to breaking Goldberg’s record for longest undefeated streak there is no reason for her to lose. As of late, we have seen WWE make sure to break every possible record they can, and Goldberg’s will be next. Cross and Riot keep brawling with the Empress of Tomorrow avoiding them until she can kick Riot in the head and keep her title.

The Authors of Pain (c) (with Paul Ellering) vs. Team DIY (NXT Tag Team Championship Ladder Match)

I want to see the big boys known as the Authors of Pain fall of a ladder.

I am ready to see this match, and it is far and away the match I am most looking forward to. Team DIY constantly have the best match during TakeOvers, and even though they are tasked to carry the massive dudes in AOP in a match best fit for smaller guys, I’m all in. I see bodies flying, amazing feats of strength, and above all else, people tumbling off of ladders. NXT only does a handful of gimmick matches during the year, so it is telling how much DIY has management’s faith if they get the nod for a Ladder Match. With rumors swirling that Ciampa is getting a new theme and confirmation that Gargano’s new theme is in the works, people think DIY will split soon. Not sure about that leap in logic, but I think AOP gets the win here.

Author’s note: With the news that Ciampa has suffered some sort of leg injury, it seems even more in doubt that Team DIY will win the belts back. Triple H has gone on the record to say that the guy has turned an ankle and should be good to go, but reiterated the fact that it is up to the medical staff to make the final call. This gives AOP even more of an excuse to beat up Johnny Wrestling for 15 minutes as Ciampa recovers outside the ring for extended periods of time.

Bobby Roode (c) vs. Hideo Itami (NXT Championship Match)

Hideo is finally back (for real this time), and immediately punched his ticket to the title scene by beating Roderick Strong. It makes sense that he would face Roode, as he is a holdout of a class of WWE signees that, for the most part, have vacated NXT. It also makes sense that he goes right back to the main event scene since that’s where he was suppose to be this entire time if not for injuries.

However, plenty of time has passed, and now many of the attributes that made Itami stand out in 2015 are par for the course in WWE. Honestly, I can see him getting hot-shotted to the main roster, but only as a Cruiserweight on 205 Live. Roode is an engaging as ever, and he is a prime candidate for a callup in the summer. For now, I predict he keeps his championship and the sudden influx of main event caliber guys in NXT leads him to losing it in a multi-man match down the road.

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Manopera! Episode 38: WrestleMania 33 Part 1 – NXT TakeOver Orlando

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For the first half of our WrestleMania 33 coverage, we begin with NXT TakeOver: Orlando. Spaceman Frank cuts a promo on Amy Schumer and her recent swimsuit cover controversy.

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Spaceman Frank’s NXT TakeOver: Orlando Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

It’s time again for WWE to put on their biggest show of the year. Lately, that big show had been overshadowed by the critically acclaimed Takeovers that precede it, which act like the Guardians of the Galaxy films to the populist Avengers movies. They are not suppose to be better, but really, with this cast, how could they not be? This year it seems like WWE has made a concentrated effort to tamper or even dull the NXT before Wrestlemania, with the build being built primarily on video packages as other people who are not even on the card (cough, Kassius Ohno) to keep the weekly NXT shows running in the meantime. I mean, I get that WWE does not wanting for Shinsuke during the main event of their big show like last year, but why not just try to make Mania better rather than hurt NXT? Petty conspiracy theories aside, until NXT actually disappoints me I will be all in on their live events, and their is plenty to like here despite the promo package heavy build. I am Spaceman Frank, and here are my NXT: Orlando predictions.

Team Perfect Best Friends (Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, No Way Jose, and Ruby Riot) vs. Sanity

The big question here is if this will be the standard WWE mixed tag match, or if NXT will be bold and allow Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross to mix it up with the boys. It would make sense for Cross to attack the men since that would very much be in her character, and I believe the best way to get the debuting Ruby over with new fans is to have her stand up to Sanity and lay into them  regardless of gender. I like everyone here, and given that this is one of the best built up feuds in NXT, I think NXT can have a brawl for the ages here. If this is a plain jane mixed tag natch I see Cross getting the win to give Sanity some cred and herself some momentum because I think she is next up for the Women’s Championship. If everyone can hit anyone I think this will end up being an epic chain of finishers that give Tye a win that he is desperate for. Dillinger has put in the work in NXT, and her deserves a Big Damn Hero moment for once. In front of the Mania crowds right in the backyard of NXT and I think The Perfect Ten gets the pin.

Aleister Black vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas

Another big debut sees the former Tommy End get his proper debut (after showing up during the UK Tournament in an exhibition loss to Neville) against Almas. Almas has gotten so much better as a heel, and honestly I see him taking over the mantle of cocky heel for Bobby Roode whenever he gets called up. It seems odd then that NXT would feed him to their next big debut, and it is even stranger that Kassius Ohno is nowhere to be found despite being all over NXT TV the past weeks. Ohno has not exactly impressed since coming back, and NXT honestly seems to be punishing him by having him lose and wear unflattering outfits. I think a triple threat between the three would have been dynamite and add an air of mystery here, but without Ohno I see Black getting the win. He is knew, he has a stellar look, and he can be the star power NXT will need post-Mania. I just hope Almas gets his stuff in and looks good here because NXT is going to need him to step up even more in the weeks and months to come.

Asuka (c) vs. Ember Moon (NXT Women’s Championship Match)

Asuka is facing literally the only women possible that seems to have a remote chance to take her championship. I should be super hyped for this and yet…I am not. Triple H is on the record for saying he is not pleased that the NXT Women’s Division was gutted by the WWE draft, and it really shows that only Asuka and Moon are the legit ladies left who can get the crowd into a singles match for the belt. But the booking has done Ember Moon no favors, and she has been hot and cold since her debut the past summer in Brooklyn. She is undefeated, sure, but she appears infrequently and did not face as stiff competition as Asuka has. I think Asuka will win here in a competitive match, then go the main roster (preferably Smackdown because in generally I think they handle people much better there). She is very close to breaking Goldberg’s streak, and if there is one thing WWE loves is stats they can parade around every week. Have her keep the streak intact so she has a default storyline and drawn out her beating each person on the roster as she gets closer. Then we get Asuka vs Charlotte in the battle of ladies with have/had streaks to get her past 176. Asuka is ready and we need new blood ASAP. Meanwhile to cover the cost of getting to the main roster she gives up her NXT championship without losing it and the long rumored women’s tournament crowns a new champ in Moon leading to an eventual rematch down the line. Book it Triple H the Spaceman demands it (please don’t hurt me).

Authors of Pain (c) vs. The Revival vs. Team DIY (Triple Threat Match for the NXT Tag Team Championships)

This is NXT’s (and WWE’s by extension) Big Giant Indy Exhibition Craziness Matchup of the weekend. The important (aka only) tag teams in NXT go at it all at once, and this will surely big the match that people talk about when the dust has settled on the weekend. Team DIY and The Revival are opposite sides of the same workhorse coin, while The Authors of Pain are the stereotypical team WWE craves while at the same time showing of some impressive moves when asked. Something special is here, and what I really want is a Wrestlemania 17 TLC match between the three to crown the next wave of stellar tag teams going forward. Instead, we get an elimination match between the teams, which is fine but I really want to see something that requires people to crash and burn to achieve glory. I could almost see the two smaller teams teaming up on Authors of Pain to take them out, but I think they are keeping the belt her and sticking around to dominate for a long time as is customary in NXT I could also see the long standing split between Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Wrestling actually happen if not for the fact that NXT (and WWE) are desperate for tag teams. I think The Revivial are the ones out first because they are the most main roster ready (Evolution 2.0 with them, Joe, and Pete Dunne with Triple H being the shadow puppet master please!) and to balance things out between face and heels. But in the end AOP needs the belts to stay relevant, as heel tag teams have a bad record in NXT once they lose the belts.

Bobby Roode (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (NXT Championship Match)

After putting on a psychological showcase, we now get Roode trying to fend off a pissed off Nakamura in Orlando. What I do not get is WWE first running the injury angle of Nakamura, followed by backstage or pre taped segments of the former champ. I can give a pass on the whole injury angle if I believed for a second Nakamura was actually inured. Meanwhile, Shinsuke is best in front of a live crowd to feed off their energy and showcase his charisma, as he just does not have the same effect over Twitter updates and taped footage. Roode has suffered as well, though props go to the props department for adding little things for people to praise the champ over such as the picture of himself behind the champ during his sit down interview. Bobby is such a dastardly heel that my roommate Kim has wished get dies in a fire, so he must be doing something right. I think he will retain here cause Nakamura has nothing left to give NXT and needs to be on the main roster. Roode is the evil champ the brand needs as it collects some new stars, and Nakamura is the exciting new babyface both shows needs. I think this match will be fine, but I am ready to see what’s next.

For more of Spaceman Frank’s antics, check out Spacemanfrank.com and listen to our pro wrestling podcast, Manopera!

SSEP: SSEP – Episode 11: WrestleMania 33/NXT Takeover Orlando Preview

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by Jonathan Schorr

Jon and Matt go on the ultimate thrill ride with their WrestleMania 33 and NXT Takeover: Orlando predictions while watching WrestleMania 13 from 1997.

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SSEP: Episode 7 – Jon and Matt Review Rumble Weekend/’Mania Predictions

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by Jon Schorr

Jon and Matt review NXT Takeover San Antonio, The 29th annual Royal Rumble, WrestleMania possibilities, the loss of Seth Rollins and do a quick preview of Superbowl LI.

Donate to our Patreon at www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Manopera! Episode 33: NXT TakeOver: San Antonio Review

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Spaceman Frank and Chris review NXT TakeOver: San Antonio and talk a bit about the WWE UK Tournament.

Donate to our Patreon at www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Spaceman Frank’s NXT San Antonio Predictions

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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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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….
  1. 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.

Spaceman Frank’s NXT TakeOver: Toronto Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

A big Four Pay-Per-View is here, which means that WWE is rolling out the NXT brand the night before for a (probably) superior show of their own. What’s most likely is that the last major show for the developmental brand of the year promises to be an exciting event, and considering the event will be around one-third of the time Survivor Series promises to be that is very welcome. With an emphasis on tag team action reflecting the overall Survivor Series theme, Toronto has massive potential to show why WWE deserves to invest in more serious tag teams instead of the multitude of joke tag teams that populate the main roster. While it’s unusual for no new talents to be making their debut during a live special, Toronto features several grapplers having the highest-stake matches of their careers, plus the return of a legendary women’s wrestler. I’m Spaceman Frank, and here are my NXT TakeOver: Toronto predictions.

The Authors of Pain vs. TM-61 (Finals of Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic)

It’s smart of the WWE to only have the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic on the Toronto show rather than the semis and finals in one night. It’s also smart of NXT to have two up and coming teams clashing for the trophy rather than having a superteam win it like last year. While I would (and honestly) rather see Team DIY and The Revival clash for the NXT Tag Team Championships and the trophy, I’ll take this alternative instead. What I don’t like is Paul Ellering being suspended from a cage above the ring. If we had seen the dastardly manager interfere in more matches it would make sense, but since the Authors have been pretty dominate it doesn’t seem necessary. It’s tempting to say that the Authors of Pain will win…so I will. TM-61 is a fine team, but to me they are discount Team DIY until they fully establish themselves.

The Revival (c) vs. Team DIY (Two Out of Three Falls Match for the NXT Tag Team Championships)

Having this be a two out of three falls match is perfect. This was already shaping up to be the match of the night, and guaranteeing there will be high drama throughout the match. These four can steal not only this NXT special, but the whole wrestling weekend as well. I think The Revival will win, so they can bide their time until AJ Styles brings them in to be his henchmen in the SmackDown chapter of The Club (please let it happen WWE). There is a lot of fertile ground for Johnny Wrestling and the Sicilian Psychopath to begin feuding, and the smart money says that losing their chance at the belts for a second time will lead to the split. I could also see them splitting up while trying to take the Cruiserweight Championship on the main roster, considering how many times we’ve been teased with their divorce. Either way, the stakes in this match are high, and I’m ready for The Revival to pull out some shenanigans and Team DIY to lay some some serious hits that echo so loudly I hear it from Buffalo.

Bobby Roode vs. Tye Dillinger

The only singles match on the card not for a title involves Dillinger finally getting a match on a live special he is not guaranteed to lose, and it’s about time considering how long the dude has been working away at NXT and has been overdue for some sort of push. The crowd is solidly behind the guy, as they have wanted The Perfect 10 to get the spot he finally deserves. On the other hand, he’s going up against the immensely popular Bobby Roode, whose theme song admittedly is more over than he is. NXT is in need of some main event heels besides Samoa Joe, and Roode fits the bill to a “t.”

In order to do this, I predict he will bully and batter Dillinger to get the win, earning him some heat so people begin to turn on him. Roode wins to set himself up as the next challenger for the NXT Championship and Dillinger solidifies himself as a midcard face with a strong outing.

Asuka (c) vs. Mickie James (NXT Women’s Championship Match)

Asuka is facing her stiffest competition yet…or at least that’s what WWE wants you to believe. Mickie James is a legend and probably a future Hall of Fame candidate, but rumor has it that the only reason she’s here is because Trish Stratus was not available. I also have concerns over how their styles will mesh, but considering the biggest thing I know about James is that she sexually assaulted Stratus at ‘Mania 20 I’m probably not a good reference point. Asuka seems destined to hold on to the belt until Ember Moon (or someone else) steps up, so she’ll win this match and will have to wait awhile until someone becomes the clear-cut choice to take her title away. Either that or NXT books her in a multi-women match so she can lose the belt without being pinned.

Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Samoa Joe (NXT Championship Match)

While I predict the Tag Team Championship match will be the highlight of the show, these two are engaging every time they face off. While their first encounter was built around the dream match potential, now there are personal stakes involved as Nakamura and Joe have taken turns beating the bejesus out of each other. I predict these two will lay down some serious lumber, and if Brock vs. Goldberg II matches 50% of their intensity I’ll be shocked.

I know NXT is reluctant to throw around gimmick matches, but if any two needed a Street Fight stipulation this is the pair. Joe has nothing left to prove in NXT, and is an early candidate for a 2017 Rumble entrant. Therefore, Nakamura is walking away with the title. Maybe he’ll have one final encounter with Joe, or maybe Roode will sneak into the main event scene, or maybe No Way Jose turns heel and uses an actual baseball bat on the champ. We shall see.

Manopera! Episode 23: SummerSlam 2016 Spectacular Part 1 – NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 2

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Chris and Spaceman Frank sound off on the “glorious” NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II in part 1 of their SummerSlam 2016 Spectacular.

Spaceman Frank’s NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 2 Predictions

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It’s that time of the year where the weather is hot and the wrestling action is hotter (that’s right, I went there). The wrestling world has been abuzz after the WWE’s brand split and SummerSlam, the first Pay-Per-View of this new era.

Meanwhile, things continue to chug along on NXT. Despite losing some top talent (along with Mojo Rawley and the now suspended Eva Marie) in the Brand Split,  buzz is high for the company’s return to the Barclays Center. Spaceman Frank is here to hopefully follow up on his perfect predictions for NXT TakeOver: The End with predictions for NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 2.

Ember Moon vs. Billie Kay

Do I even need to say who will win this? I have been waiting for Ember Moon (formerly Athena on the independent circuit) to debut for some time, and am subsequently predicting big things for her. Kay seems to be the frontrunner of the new crop of unheralded women the WWE has debuted on NXT, but there is no way she’s coming up the winner here. At least Kay can take comfort in the fact that she has some sort of personality a.k.a. she is allowed to talk on air.

No Way Jose vs. Austin Aries

While some may see this as a demotion for Aries (having faced the number one contender Nakamura at TakeOver: The End), NXT has played this feud fairly well. Aries finally initiated his heel turn to give Jose something meaningful. I had the feeling that if NXT did not give Jose something to sink his teeth into the fans would have turned on him, but giving him The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived prevents that.

Jose could have been a joke, but showing fire and initiative against the veteran has helped him develop what could have been a one-note character. That being said, Aries is going to win this one to humble the newcomer and help keep himself in line for title contendership.

Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Bobby Roode

Roode has been killing it on the microphone, and has already made chicken salad out of chicken shit considering he alone built this feud with an opponent who’s apparently not allowed to talk in one week. Almas has quickly transitioned from the hot newcomer to just another guy in NXT, and now he’ll be the one jobbing to the next big newcomer. I have a feeling that the WWE sees money in Roode, and one day I hope to see him face off against Triple H. Until then perhaps an NXT title run is in store? Possibly even a quick call up?

The Revival vs. Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa (NXT Tag Team Championship Match)

After getting some sneaky wins over the champs, the longtime tag team finally get a shot at being them on a TakeOver program. The champions have been doing their thing for a while now, and this matchup seems natural considering there are few face tag teams in NXT these days. Many have been calling for Ciampa to turn on Johnny Wrestling after losing to him in the Cruiserweight Classic, which will likely happen at some point. I don’t see it happening at TakeOver, but instead on NXT TV (like Aries’ heel turn after The End). The Revival just got their titles back, and I don’t seem them losing them so soon after making history as the first-ever two time champs.

Asuka vs. Bayley (NXT Women’s Championship Match)

One of the most hyped matches of this TakeOver sees Bayley trying to recapture the magic of her previous NXT: Brooklyn match against the mighty Asuka. Asuka still remains undefeated, and I don’t see that changing in Booklyn. Bayley is well overdue for a callup, and her tease at Battleground hints that it’s coming sooner rather than later (like the night after SummerSlam, maybe?).

Asuka needs more time to adjust and fine tune her character to become either a face or heel, as right now it seems as though audiences don’t know whether to cheer or boo her. This may be because she is going after the top babyface in NXT’s history, but it makes more sense that Asuka wins and gives Bayley her big curtain call.

Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (NXT Championship Match)

Joe has been on fire since winning the title, and he’s played against Nakamura’s swagger and craziness well. In particular, his reaction to the “got your nose” segment had me on the floor then praying Nakamura makes it out of Brooklyn with all his limbs. It’s tempting to say that Joe will keep his belt here to build to a rematch. It’s also likely the red-hot Nakamura wins the championship triumphantly to help Joe get to the main roster sooner as he continues to work on his English speaking skills. When push comes to shove, I believe Nakamura will win here after a brutal match that makes me wince several times in sympathy agony  (great band name).