The 25th edition of NXT TakeOver is going down this Saturday, but something’s off. There’s no major main roster event happening the next day, and instead of a major city like Chicago or New York, this TakeOver is emanating from…Bridgeport, Connecticut. Hence the “XXV” moniker rather than the city name. Regardless of where the show’s taking place, the card is absolutely stacked, and should almost definitely deliver.
Matt Riddle vs. Roderick Strong
Adam Cole claims Undisputed Era is stronger than ever, but cracks are clearly starting to show in the foundation of the group that shocked the system. It seemed that Roderick Strong was the odd man out after tensions flared between him and Cole, but all was right with the world when he attacked Matt Riddle, who has been a thorn in Era’s side. Can Strong finish the job Saturday, and prove there’s no problem with Undisputed Era?
Brian: One of the best things about NXT is their ability to weave importance into a match with nothing on the line. This is the only non-championship match on the card and stems from the age-old wrestling trope of “one guy is cool and the other is an a-----e.” I know that it’s considered a borderline insult at this point, but I mean this in the best way: Roderick Strong is a good hand. You can put him in with anyone and they’ll look like a million bucks. Matt Riddle is something completely different in the world of pro wrestling (especially in WWE) and getting into a smash mouth fight with The Messiah of the Backbreaker will ensure a hell of a match. Watch for Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly to get involved, possibly leading to more tension in the Undisputed Era.
Winner: Matt Riddle
Jason: Every member of the Undisputed Era has a match on this TakeOver card and the way I see it, either all of them win or none of them do. As such, unless Johnny Gargano’s purported injury is worse than they’re letting on, I’m expecting the Ring of (dis)Honor crew to be shut out. The workrate for this match should be incredible though, as Roddy’s got the best cardio in the game and while I’m still not crazy about Matt Riddle’s character, bro can go. Bro. Riddle in the match of the night.
Patrick: With “dissention in the ranks” being the story of Undisputed Era the past few weeks, and Matt Riddle seemingly on the fast track to a NXT Title shot sooner rather than later, Riddle should almost certainly get the win here, probably thanks to miscommunication on the part of Undisputed Era.
Winner: Matt Riddle
Velveteen Dream (c) vs. Tyler Breeze for the NXT North American Championship
Velveteen Dream may be one of the hottest acts in NXT right now, but it wouldn’t be unfair to say that Tyler Breeze helped pave the way for him. The two are brash, unabashedly unique, and let’s face it, obsessed with themselves. Tyler Breeze laid the groundwork for all self-absorbed pretty boys who came after him, but the Dream? The Dream has no memory of that. Prince Pretty is back where he belongs on the black and gold brand, but can he capture his first piece of hardware in WWE this Saturday?
Brian: Well, The Gorgeous One is officially part of the NXT roster again, a fate certainly better than being lost in the abyss that is Monday Night Raw. This match should be another feather in the cap for Dream and a chance for Breezy to show his chops in front of a friendly audience.
Winner: Velveteen Dream
Jason: A literal dream match between pretty boy doofuses who are secretly the best wrestlers in the room, I am super psyched for the Velveteen Dream taking on Prince Pretty. First off, we all owe Tyler Breeze an unending debt of gratitude. This is SOOOOOOOO much better than the Dijakovic match it looked like we were heading toward. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Breezy in a real competitive match, but I expect the Dream to get the best out of the former Fashion Popo. Though I long for the day when Tyler’s draped in gold, it won’t be this Saturday. Tyler’s an important part of NXT’s past, but Dream is the future — and he’s too good and too over to drop the strap just yet.
Winner: D-R-E-A-M (iiiiiiissss)
Patrick: Congratulations to Tyler Breeze for being one of the few who have been called up from Raw to the big leagues of NXT. I’m excited to see him used well, or hell, used at all on my television screen again. This match is a no brainer if you’re gonna bring Prince Pretty back to the black and gold brand, and Velveteen just seems to keep getting better between the ropes. I think Dream will hold onto the title here, but this could be match of the night.
Winner: Velveteen Dream
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch vs. The Street Profits vs. The Undisputed Era vs. The Forgotten Sons for the NXT Tag Team Championships (Ladder Match)
Brian: Hey, remember
War Machine War Raiders The Viking Experience The Viking Raiders, Hanson and Rowe Erik and Ivar? They ruled NXT with actual Viking-ish entrances and had a Viking wedding where everyone cosplayed Vikings. Then they met Vincent Kennedy McMahon and Monday Night Raw. Now, they are nowhere to be found on any show and their NXT Tag Titles lay vacant. At this point, I think that only Lorcan and Burch are on the “not going to happen” side of this match. I’d prefer a heel win here, so remove Street Profits. I think UE is going to be involved in shenanigans from earlier, so The Forgotten Sons have a shot at relevance. Best of luck with that.
Winners: The Forgotten Sons
Jason: While Brian is living in the darkest timeline, I prefer to be optimistic and live in a world where the Forgotten Sons fade into obscurity never to be seen or heard from again. I’ve already mentioned my thoughts on the Undisputed Era’s chances, and with Oney Lorcan spending most of his time on the 205 Live roster nowadays, I think it’s high time for them to give Montez Ford a damn title. I guess Angelo Dawkins can get one too. The Street Profits are the only over team in this match that have never held the straps, so let them run with it for a little while and show the NXT Universe what they already showed Evolve a few months ago: that these dudes make for great babyface champs.
Winners: The guys who “Bring the swag like nobody can!“
Patrick: I have no idea why this match doesn’t actually feature the Viking Raiders, especially since they’ve been doing f*ck-all since being called up to Raw (seriously, some days I even forget Raw has a tag team division). Either way, if the Viking Raiders were putting up their titles, I think it would have been a passing of the torch to the Street Profits, who have been clawing their way to the top of the division for some time now. So I think that’s what we’ll get here, albeit in a more convoluted, but probably more entertaining way.
Winner: Street Profits
Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s Championship
The Queen of Spades has had a stranglehold on the NXT Women’s division for what feels like forever, including dispatching of Io Shirai’s best friend, Kairi Sane. Kairi is now off to (hopefully) greener pastures as a member of SmackDown LIVE, but Io Shirai remains, and she looks to settle the score by taking the only thing that matters to Shayna Baszler: the NXT Women’s Championship.
Brian: Looks like being left behind by her Pirate Princess bestie, Kairi Sane, was a blessing in disguise for Io Shirai. The most beautifully gifted and graceful athlete in NXT, Shirai has an opportunity to shine against the rougher and tougher Baszler. I’d love to see the Kabuki Warriors, Asuka and Sane, show up to battle Baszler’s flunkies Maria Shafir and Jessamyn Duke, but that seems sensible, so no way that will happen. It’s time to move the title from Baszler into some fresh competition and Shirai is the right one to do it, especially with WWE Tokyo around the corner.
Winner: Io Shirai
Jason: Never bet against the Queen of Spades. Sure, Io’s going to have Candice Lerae in her corner, but I think the Horseladies in Waiting will cancel her out. Honestly, I’d love Io to win the title, but I just don’t see it happening yet. I think this one ends under dubious circumstances to keep the Genius of the Sky strong, but she then wigs out at the end and wrecks everyone (Candice included) after the match. With a new tweener personality in place, THAT’S when I see Io knocking Shayna off. Till then? Baszler rolls on.
Winner: Shayna and all her friiiiiieeeends!
Patrick: I’m with Jason. You never bet against the Big Dog, and now, you also never bet against the Queen of Spades. If Bianca Belair couldn’t dethrone the Women’s Champion after months of build and an un-de-fea-ted streak, I’m not sure I see the Genius of the Sky pulling it off just yet.
Winner: Shayna Baszler
Johnny Gargano (c) vs. Adam Cole for the NXT Championship
Mr. TakeOver and Adam Cole (Bay Bay) had a classic 2 out of 3 falls match over WrestleMania weekend at NXT TakeOver: New York, where Cole came up short despite heavy interference from the Undisputed Era. He gets one more shot at NXT’s top prize — with UE supposedly a well-oiled machine once again, will Adam Cole be successful?
Brian: Everything with NXT/WWE is in such flux right now and getting called up to the main roster seems to be the death knell to a successful start in NXT. Johnny Gargano not only escaped that fate, he won the NXT Championship over Adam Cole (BAY-BAY) in an amazing match at TakeOver: New York in April. Cole has had some problems with his stable mates and they might not help him in his quest to be the second NXT Triple Crown Champion. Gargano, on the other hand, is the whitest-meat babyface in the entire company not named Kofi Kingston, and has the entire NXT Universe behind him. I don’t see Gargano losing his title so soon after winning it and moving on to face some new competition heading to Takeover: Brooklyn V in August.
Winner: Johnny Triple Crown
Jason: Spoiler alert: I’m going with Gargles. I think the natural motion of the story is to further tension between the guys in the Undisputed Era, and having the goon squad attempt to interfere but end up costing Cole the match seems like a natural place to start. Gargano’s got a lot of value as champ and it’s still early in his run, so I think Johnny keeps the belt for a couple more weeks. Adam Cole (Bay Bay) will likely have a #1 contender match with Matt Riddle, which he’ll lose before settling into a feud with stablemate Roderick Strong.
Winner: Rebel Heart
Patrick: Even though Undisputed Era’s internal strife is one of the major stories in NXT right now, this still feels like a “villain of the month” kinda feud for Gargano until they figure out what exactly to do with him in a post-Ciampa world. All signs point to Matt Riddle coming after the title next. I suppose Riddle/Gargano would be face vs. face, which WWE doesn’t like to do too often, but it still somehow feels like the right choice.
Winner: Johnny Gargano
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