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This Saturday, NXT presents the third edition of one of it’s most highly anticipated shows of the year, NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III. It seems like just yesterday that Bayley and Sasha Banks were tearing down the house for the women’s title. NXT continues to churn out future main roster stars, and many of Saturday’s competitors could see themselves on Raw and Smackdown in the near future. Let’s take a look at what might be the best show of the weekend.
NXT Champion Booby Roode vs. Drew McIntyre
McIntyre earned a shot at Roode’s NXT title after defeating SAnityY’s Killian Dane in a number one contender’s match. Since then, McIntyre has upped the babyface quotient, promising to restore “our NXT” from the egocentric Roode.
Prediction: Although I’m not sold on McIntyre’s ability to galvanize the NXT universe around him, it’s time for NXT to give a new heel the chance at the top of the card (Itami, SAnity?). Roode’s not getting any younger so a call-up should be coming by year’s end. It’s time to see what McIntyre can do when given a chance.
NXT Women’s Champion Asuka vs. Ember Moon
Ember Moon has reestablished herself as a legitimate threat to Asuka’s title and undefeated streak, taking out the likes of Peyton Royce, Ruby Riot, and Lei’d Tapa since her return from injury. Is she about to become the one in 500 or so and one?
Prediction: It’d rather see the powers-that-be keep the belt and undefeated streak on Asuka and bring her to the main roster as a dominant force. However, WWE likes to have their NXT champs pass the torch on their way out and up, so I’m saying WWE/NXT caves and Ember Moon finally takes down the Empress of Tomorrow.
Tag Team Champions The Authors of Pain vs. SAnitY
The Authors of Pain have run through everyone in their way since taking out #DIY back in January. With the NXT tag division in a bit of a rut (maybe the Street Profits can stir things back up) the only remaining challengers are the SAnitY team of Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain. We’ve had weeks of mind games back and forth, but now it’s time to see if SAnitY’s number’s game can topple the pure power of Akam and Rezar.
Prediction: I don’t think SAnitY has proven themselves to be worthy of stopping the dominance of the Authors. However, maybe NXT is finally ready to do something meaningful with the four piece group and reveal Eric Young’s ultimate plan (he has one right?) for chaos to come to fruition. With no one else waiting in the wings, a SAnitY victory could prolong this rivalry. I’ve convinced myself…SAnitY wins it.
Johnny Gargano vs. Adrian “Cien” Almas
Prediction: Yes, Almas is being repackaged and his career is attempting to get a kick-start with the new manager in tow. However, this is a night for Gargano to continue to climb the babyface ranks and show off for the NXT Universe. I can’t see Gargano losing here.
Johnny Wrestling is back. And although he’ll have to wait to get revenge on former partner Tommaso Ciampa, he can still reestablish himself as a singles star while he waits. Almas has gained a little more momentum since adding Zelina Vega as his “manager/viciousness inducer”.
Aleister Black vs. Hideo Itami
Aleister Black remains undefeated on NXT and continues to impress with recent victories over Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly. Itami meanwhile is coming off a still-unsettled feud with former friend Kassius Ohno. Prediction: With rumors of Itami leaving WWE by year’s end it would make sense for him to put over the budding superstar, and true “A-Leister”, Black. However, the threat of Kassius Ohno is still looming and I think he gets involved in the finish of this match. This is my sleeper pick for match of the night. Black wins with help from Ohno (maybe we get a triple threat down the line).
If my predictions hold, then Takeover will be the start of a new era in NXT as we start to say goodbye to some champions (Roode, Asuka) and new stars (McIntyre, Black) begin to dominate the landscape. Tune in this Saturday 8/7c to the WWE Network to find out.