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NXT TakeOver XXX
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NXT TakeOver XXX preview and predictions

We’ve made it to our 30th NXT TakeOver.

It felt like it was nearly yesterday when WWE had a group of young up and comers performing ridiculous tasks and competing in obstacle courses on national television under the moniker of NXT. Since those days, nearly ten years ago now, NXT has undergone quite the transformation.

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Today WWE’s unofficial minor-league brand has become regarded by many as the best product the company currently produces and one of the best wrestling brands in the world of professional wrestling. The brand’s first NXT TakeOver pay-per-view event was over six years ago and tomorrow NXT will be hosting it’s 30th.

To celebrate this impressive milestone NXT Champion Keith Lee will defend his title against the unstoppable Karrion Kross in the main event of NXT TakeOver XXX. Whoa! Don’t forget our BAY-BAY. The leader of the Undisputed Era Adam Cole will look to finally unload his frustrations on Pat McAfee. While the Empress of the Sky Io Shirai will defend her NXT Women’s Championship against the nefarious Dakota Kai. There’s a lot more matches happening, get the full preview and our predictions below.

You can watch WWE’s NXT TakeOver XXX pay-per-view this Saturday, August 22, at 7 ET/4 PT on the WWE network. Also happening this weekend is WWE’s SummerSlam 2020 pay-per-view event. Read our predictions for SummerSlam.

Adam Cole vs. Pat McAfee

NXT TakeOver XXX

WWE

Shane: WWE is notorious for outside stars winning their matches. I can’t recall a time where the WWE Superstar actually defeated the non-wrestler. “Money” Mayweather won. Akebono won. Tyson Fury won. Kevin friggen Federline beat John Cena in his Super Cena alter ego for crying out loud. No way that Adam Cole wins here.
Winner: Pat McAfee

Jason: Smarter money would be to go with the wrestler here, but Shane makes a good point about how celebrity status gives you a +5 to all your base stats. I imagine McAfee wins here as a means of furthering the dissolution of the Undisputed Era Storyline. None of the boys are doing anything of import at the moment, and a high-profile loss is a decent enough write off for the UE to suddenly be revealed as a mask-wearing anarchist collective trying to literally shock the system by blowing up a transformer.
Winner: Pat McAfee

Jay: No one knows who Pat McAfee is. Why is this happening? I refuse to watch this and you should too.

Finn Balor vs. Timothy Thatcher

NXT TakeOver XXX

WWE

Shane: I’m hoping we can see Finn Balor get some momentum back. I was really looking forward to the Balor/WALTER program that we were hinted at before the pandemic shut everything down. And it sounds like NXT UK might be starting back up sooner rather than later? However, Timothy Thatcher has been great since coming to the yellow brand. He’s been booked strongly and has been made to look like a star in his program with Matt Riddle. It’s a coin toss here but I’m going to go with Finn picking up a much needed victory to regain some momentum.
Winner: Finn Balor

Jason: Well this match feels pretty random for a TakeOver, no? I don’t really get the appeal of Thatcher, and none of his matches have really stood out to me – what I do get, though, is that he’s a bruiser who does his best work in physical battles where he can give as good as he gets. The problem there, is that Finn is a finesse performer. He’s not going to be exchanging chops with Timbo like Walter (btw whatever happened to the Finn/Walter promo we were building to?), he’s going to stick and move and I just don’t see it as a good stylistic matchup. This is an excuse to get Finn on the card, and – as such – I expect him to walk away with the duke.
Winner: Finn Balor

Jay: Finn. Finn is there to build NXT and he needs to remain relevant to do that. He just lost to Velveteen Dream and stepped aside to allow for Bronson Reed to advance to the ladder match. Thatcher can look as good with a win as with a loss. But while we’re on topic, Finn needs more of a character than just referring to himself as “the prince.” He’s just been kind of doing stuff for a year now.
Winner: Finn Balor

Breezango (Fandango and Tyler Breeze) vs. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch vs. Legado del Fantasma (Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza)

NXT TakeOver XXX

WWE

Shane: I love everything about the Legado del Fantasma faction right now. Their look. Their style. Their hostility. I love the fact that Santos Escobar is the current Cruiserweight Champion and is actually making the title seem important for the first time since Enzo Amore. I can’t see Legado del Fantasma taking a loss here, but a win over two established teams like Fandango and Lorcan/Burch will help cement their status in NXT’s Tag Division as well.
Winners: Legado del Fantasma

Jason: Don’t get me wrong, I love Legado del Fantasma. I’ve gone on record as saying Raul Mendoza is the best kept secret on NXT. That being said, he and the former DJZ are just not getting it done on Saturday. Oney and Twoey have been getting some shine lately, but I think the real winners here will almost assuredly be Breezango. The boys in bell bottoms are super popular and don’t really get a chance to show what they can do too often, so I think they squeak out a win, lose to Imperium, and then we move into Lorcan/Burch Vs. Aichner/Bartel at a Takeover that the company puts more effort into.
Winners: Breezango

Jay: Breezango. Breezango v. Imperium writes itself and NXT needs some entertainment value right now. Legado will have their moment and Lorcan/Burch are great for the hardcore crowd but many viewers can’t tell the two apart.

Bronson Reed vs. Damian Priest vs. Cameron Grimes vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Velveteen Dream (North American Championship Ladder Match)

NXT TakeOver XXX

WWE

Shane: I wasn’t expecting many of these NXT Stars to be in this match when it was announced. And this is kinda why I’m having a difficult time picking a winner. On one hand, I almost feel that the North American Title isn’t important enough any more to have Johnny Gargano or Velveteen Dream win it. On the other hand, it doesn’t quite feel like Bronson Reed, Damian Priest or Cameron Grimes are established enough to be a champion on the NXT brand. I’m almost 100% certain thatwe will be seeing a different title change hands at this event which is why I’m thinking that we will see Bronson Reed get a major baby face win here.

Winner: (and NEW NXT North American Champion) Bronson Reed

Jason: This is the hardest match to call, because really any of these guys could win, so let’s work through this logically. Dream’s too controversial to make sense at this point, so he’s out. Gargles has been North American champ before, and I think NXT needs to build people up, so he’s a no too. That leaves the three up-and-comers, and though the Thicc Boi has been built up as the obvious winner, I think that’s why he’s least likely of these 3 to win. Grimey is the next least likely, as I don’t think he really has the fandom behind him just yet, leaving us with the probable winner – Damian Priest. They gave the dude a strong performance against Balor at last TakeOver, and he was the only favorite to win his qualifier clean. It just makes WWE-style sense to give it to the Puerto Rican vampire goth.
Winner: (and NEW NXT North American Champion) Damian Priest

Jay: Cameron Grimes. This is tough. Gargano doesn’t need it and he’s likely there to direct traffic in a Christian sort of way but this is a career making moment for Reed, Priest, or Grimes. Reed is an obvious favorite but a dark horse pick is Grimes just because the powers that be have a fixation on him. Plus he could do a lot of good work as a swarmy heel who plays keep-away with the title.
Winner: Cameron Grimes

Io Shirai (c) vs. Dakota Kai (NXT Women’s Championship Match)

NXT TakeOver XXX

WWE

Shane: Dakota Kai has really surprised me since her heel turn at WAR GAMES last year. She just looks like somebody that belongs as a career baby face, so the fact that I actually believe her as a heel is great. (Speaking of heels, what happened to Raquel Gonzalez?) And I do think that a heel Dakota Kai could be NXT Women’s Champion… eventually. Io Shirai is without reservation my favorite female wrestler in all of WWE and until there is a feud that actually builds into something meaningful, I will never not pick her to win.
Winner: (and STILL NXT Women’s Champion) Io Shirai

Jason: I love both of these ladies, but there’s no world in which Dakota Kai should beat Io. Even with her own Diesel in tow. Unless the plan is to fast-track Shirai to the top of the SmackDown women’s division or something, I think Io should hold the belt for at least one more PPV cycle.
Winner: (Sometimes Evil) Io Shirai

Jay: Io Shirai. Her reign still has gas in the tank and Dakota Kai can do so much more without the title than with it. She’s arguably their strongest character currently a Rhea has cooled off, Tegan and Candice are finding their character footing, Shotzi doesn’t know who Shotzi is yet, and Aliyah and Martinez are in their own little world right now.
Winner: Io Shirai

Keith Lee (c) vs. Karrion Kross w/Scarlett (NXT Championship match)

NXT TakeOver XXX

WWE

Shane: It absolutely pains me to write this… but Karrion Kross will defeat Keith Lee on Saturday to become the new NXT Champion. I knew when they put the belt on Keith Lee it was to eventually drop it to Karrion Kross and I think now is the time. The only thing I can see that would cause Keith Lee to retain is interference from a returning Tommaso Ciampa, but I feel that isn’t going to happen.
Winner: (and NEW NXT World Champion) Karrion Kross

Jason: Yeah, much like Renee Young’s departure from WWE, the other inevitability is Lee dropping the belt to Kross in some sort of underhanded fashion. Like Young, however, I think the Limitless one is destined for bigger and better things. With a draft looming, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Thunderdome is basking in his glory sooner than later. As for Kross, NXT tends to be more entertaining with a heel as champ (Owens, Ciampa, the early part of Cole), so here’s hoping he does something interesting with his time at the top of Wednesday Night. Well, WWE’s wednesday nights.
Winner: Karrion Kross

Jay: Keith Lee in a bloody clusterf***. I expect this to be brutal. With Ciampa out and Adam Cole needing a break from the main event, these are the only two truly main event level guys right now. NXT currently rests on their backs and no good is done by having a definitive answer to who’s the better man. I expect Lee to keep the title but I predict that there will be no shortage of chicanery to get us to the next TakeOver.
Winner: Keith Lee


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