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