NXT comes to The City of Roses this Sunday February 16 with an absolutely stacked card that puts every championship on the line. At the top of the card are Adam Cole and Tommaso Ciampa in one of the most anticipated matches ever to grace a TakeOver card. Ciampa was forced to give up his title due to injury nearly a year ago and Cole is on the verge of becoming the longest reigning champion in NXT history. Meanwhile, Rhea Ripley will have her hands full defending her title against the EST of NXT, Bianca Belair, who wants to show everyone that she’s championship material and Charlotte Flair is the least of Ripley’s worries. Finn Balor looks to clip the wings of the angle of NXT, Mr. TakeOver himself, Johnny Gargano. While the unlikely duo that is Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne, The BroserWeights, look to capture gold against The Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish. And that isn’t even the full card!
Dakota Kai vs Tegan Nox – Street Fight
Dakotai Kai and Tegan Nox have a lot to prove on Sunday as this will be the first time each of them has competed in a single’s match at an NXT TakeOver event. Take an already high pressure situation and add in a long personal history of friendship between the two competitors that was destroyed in an act of betrayal, and we’ve got one hell of a bad blood match on our hands. Kai betrayed Nox, injured her, and stole her opportunity at a No. 1 Contender spot. Nox will be out for revenge and to prove to the entire WWE Universe that she deserves a spot at the top of the card.
Jason: I want to be more excited about this match, but it largely feels abandoned by the NXT creative team. Sure, the NXT Faithful are familiar with Captain Kota, but what (outside of an apparent appreciation for Captain Marvel) do we know about Tegan Nox? That she’s got flimsy knees and is super gullible. Not great marks against a cunning heel who needs to prove her worth. I can’t help but feel a street fight goes to the heel, so calling this one for Kai.
Winner: Dakota Kai
JJ: This feud has woken me up to Tegan Nox and made me realize that she’s much better than she gets credit for. That being said, it’s plain as day that they’re pushing Dakota Kai. Nox is completely secondary to Dakota and hasn’t won a single match since this feud began, in fact, besides wrestling Kai, I don’t think she’s competed against anyone. Kai went over big against Candice LaRae this week and has been at the forefront of every part of this feud. Zero question who NXT is looking to put over here.
Winner: Dakota Kai
Finn Balor vs Johnny Gargano
Hello what have we here? Oh, why it’s a future five star match in the making. Finn Balor and Johnny Gargano are two of the most talented wrestlers in the world, let alone WWE, and they’ve got a pot of bad blood that’s been brewing for months between them. Things will come to a boil on Sunday where Gargano will look to exact revenge on Balor for sidelining him with a brutal neck injury. On the other side of the fence Balor is looking to bury Mr. TakeOver and in doing so cement himself as the biggest and baddest threat to the NXT Championship in all of WWE.
Jason: If this isn’t match of the night I’ll eat my hat. The rest of the matches on the card could be “Boa and Dexter Loomis in a handicap match against Kona Reeves” and the event could still be show of the year. I’m digging evil Finn, and though it would do wonders for Gargles’ credibility to topple the Prince, I think Fergal’s taking this one. Once again, you need to validate this heel turn with a massive win – and Gargano’s certainly not afraid to put over a major heel here and there.
Winner: Prince Balor in an instant classic
JJ: This match could easily steal the show. These two guys are of the caliber of talent that they don’t need a belt to be at the top of the card, so it’s safe to say everyone is expecting a 4+ star match.. Finn’s landing in NXT made quite the shock wave but he’s yet to truly destroy a top babyface since arriving. Johnny Gargano is Mr. TakeOver, the angel of NXT, and quite possibly the most beloved star in NXT history. Defeating Gargano will propel Balor into the position of the top pure heel in NXT.
Winner: Finn Balor
Keith Lee (c) vs Dominic Dijakovic – North American Championship
Keith Lee and Dominic Dijakovic are low-key the Goku and Vegeta of WWE. These two have a long and storied friendship and rivalry that predates their time together in NXT. We’ve watched them redefine what big men can do inside of the squared circle and on Sunday we’ll watch them write another chapter in the book of an incredible rivalry. Keith Lee looks to continue to bask in the glory of the NXT North American Championship, while Dominic Dijakovic is still thirsty for his first taste of NXT gold.
Jason: I fully appreciate that Dijakovic is destined to be Keith Lee’s arch rival, but there’s no universe where he should win this match. Keith Lee is in the middle of the biggest upswing of his nascent WWE career (how you sleep on a guy like that I’ll never understand), and Dijak just doesn’t have the charisma or presence to stand up to Keith Lee – even if he does sound an awful lot like David Puddy from Seinfeld. That’s not a huge mark on Dijak, mind you, few people are on Lee’s level. Though I’d love to see Lee in the main title picture, he’s walking out of Portland with the maroon midcard strap, no doubt.
Winner: Keith-by god-Lee
JJ: These two dudes create magic together when they’re in the ring and that’s what I’m expecting to see when they go to war Sunday night. But Dijakovic isn’t fooling anyone. While he may be a genetic freak at 6’7’’, 270lbs he just doesn’t have the character and mic work to back up his incredible physique. I sincerely hope he gets there one day, but ever since Roderick Strong called him a dork, that’s all I’ve been able to see.
Winner: Bask in his glory! Keith Lee
The Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) vs The BroserWeights (Matt Riddle & Pete Dunne) – NXT Tag Team Championships
The 2020 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic winners Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne will get their first opportunity at the NXT Tag Team Championship this Sunday at NXT TakeOver: Portland in the form of what are quite possibly the most dominant champions to ever grace NXT’s Tag Team division, The Undisputed Era’s Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly. Riddle and Dunne had quite the journey to Portland on Wednesday, by land, sea, and air, now we’ll find out if all that effort was worth it.
Jason: It’s time for the Undisputed Era’s descent from the top of the NXT landscape to kick into high gear, and unfortunately for Kyle and Bobby, that means they’re dropping the belt to a walking stoner comedy. All 4 of these guys are great in the ring, so it should be an awesome match, but I think NXT is more invested in Riddle and Dunne (it’s a thing) at the moment, and that spells doom for our beloved ReDragon. Bro.
Winner: The Bro-serweights
JJ: This is easily the hardest match on the card for me to call. When it was first announced I was so sure that The Undisputed Era would be a no question for retaining their titles, but things have quickly and unexpectedly changed. Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne isn’t a tag team that I would have ever expected to be something special, but shockingly enough, NXT has found lightning in a bottle with these two. Their on-screen antics are hilarious, with Riddle saying the most ridiculous things possible in an obvious effort to make Dunne break character. And Dunne not so subtly dropping marijuana references. Add their incredible in-ring ability to the mix and you have one hell of a tag team. I think we’re going to witness the downfall of the Undisputed Era Sunday night.
Winner: The BroooooooserWeights
Rhea Ripley vs Bianca Belair – NXT Women’s Championship
Bianca Belair earned this fight after winning a No. 1 Contender’s Battle Royal and has felt justifiably ignored ever since. The Nightmare Rhea Ripley has instead set her sights on taunting The Queen of WWE Charlotte Flair into challenging Ripley for her NXT Women’s Championship at Wrestlemania. Unsurprisingly, Belair has taken serious issue with Ripley essentially ignoring her presence and the threat that she represents. Sunday Ripley will look to quickly put Belair away and focus all of her attention on Flair. While Belair will look to show Ripley, Flair, and the NXT Universe that the EST of NXT is championship material and not a woman to be ignored.
Jason: This one hurts because I would love to see Bianca win the belt and be more than a placeholder title contender – but the WWE has already laid their (WrestleMania) cards on the table, and we don’t get to Charlotte Vs. Rhea without the Nightmare holding on to that title. It’s a shame because the EST of NXT is undeniable, and I don’t want her lost in the shuffle, but Ripley is currently the hottest thing in NXT, so you can’t really blame them for turning into that skid. Rip’s taking it, but I’d love to see the rematch go the other way in the future.
Winner: Rhea Ripley
JJ: I love, love, love Bianca Belair. She has future hall of famer written all over her, but there’s almost no chance she’s winning this match. Quite simply, it makes no sense from a story-line perspective. WWE has been quite obviously building Charlotte vs Rhea since The Queen won the Royal Rumble and I’d be shocked and amazed to see them derail those plans now. NXT does not need Bianca Belair and she’s high enough a caliber of talent that she doesn’t need the NXT Championship to go over. Her performance at the Royal Rumble proved that. SmackDown’s Women’s roster is in desperate need of an injection of talent and excitement, and Bianca Belair is the perfect medicine. I hope to see her gracefully lose this match and go straight to SmackDown to capture the Women’s Title there.
Winner: Rhea Ripley
Adam Cole vs Tommaso Ciampa – NXT Championship
Nearly a year ago Tommaso Ciampa was forced to give up his title due to an injury that was rumored to be career ending. Well now The Blackheart is back and he wants Goldie back home where she belongs, with Daddy. Except there’s one little problem and that’s the scion of The Undisputed Era and NXT Champion, Adam Cole BAYBAY. Cole is on the verge of becoming the longest reigning Champion in NXT history and he isn’t about to let anyone, not even The Blackheart, stop him.
Jason: Oh chompers. It’s going to be so sad when you fail to win the NXT Title in this match. I don’t think it’ll be clean, but Adam Cole (Bay Bay) is holding that belt until TakeOver Tampa at least. I think the UE story needs to have Cole be the sole champion and lord it over his cohorts for a while. Maybe they implode, maybe they don’t, but the Panama City playboy is still top heel in the brand, and the best big matches have heroic faces chasing heel champs. As such, Tommy Sports Entertainment is gonna have to wait to hold Goldie again. This one’s staying with the champ, and that’s undisputed.
Winner: Adam Cole(Bay bay)
JJ: Adam Cole can deny it as much as he wants, but at the end of the day everyone knows the truth—he’s afraid of Tommaso Ciampa. And with good reason. We’ve heard Ciampa echo it time and time again, he never lost the NXT Championship, he had to relinquish it. Cole likes to claim he’s the greatest champion in NXT history, but how many times have we watched his cronies save him from the jaws of defeat? No one ever saved Ciampa and that’s because he never needed them to. It’s time for Goldie to go home to Daddy.
Winner: DADDY’S HOME! COME TO DADDY GOLDIE!
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