We’ve already taken care of the superstars missing from NXT TakeOver: Chicago, but who are the lucky few who will not only perform, but likely steal the show in some capacity?
Whether it’s in a scripted or a non-kayfabe sense by factoring in everything from wins/losses, how much of an emphasis WWE puts on that superstar, their momentum heading into the next television episode, match performance and everything between, here’s my shortlist for who I think will be coveting the most of the spotlight:
Back before Bobby Roode even won the championship from Shinsuke Nakamura, my projection was that Roode would be the next champion and he would drop it somewhere down the line to Roderick Strong or someone who would be brought into the company that wasn’t part of the roster at the moment.
Since then, we’ve seen Kassius Ohno and Drew McIntyre make their returns as well as a few video packages setting up Roderick Strong in an attempt to get him to connect with the audience more.
All three of those men are much, much more likely in my mind to take the NXT Championship from Roode than Hideo Itami—a man who has spent what feels like the majority of his WWE career sitting out with an injury.
The only momentum Itami has right now is the post-injury return buzz, but even that has died down. Without building up steam and with the knowledge that he could go down with another injury at any time, WWE really has no reason to put the belt on him, rather than just keeping it on Roode, who is as good as he’s ever been.
When the Fatal 4-Way was announced, my suspicion was that it was booked purely as a stalling tactic.
This would allow Asuka to get another win without having to directly defeat Ember Moon, dragging the storyline out until NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, which seems to be NXT’s version of WrestleMania.
There, Ember Moon would finally dethrone Asuka, who would be ready to move up to the main roster following her loss.
Then, Moon suffered an injury, causing her to be pulled from this fight, which turned it into a Triple Threat match instead.
I still think the same plan is going to happen here, only without Moon being involved in the action.
This is still Asuka’s match to lose and the chances of her dropping the title are even slimmer now that Moon is out of the equation, as Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot will put up a fight, but ultimately succumb to The Empress of Tomorrow.
The Authors of Pain / #DIY
This is a little tough to call, so I’m actually saying it will be an even trade-off between the two teams.
When it comes to The Authors of Pain, I think they’re the easy pick to win the match and retain the belts. Their track record points to them being the favorites, so it’s hard to go against that bet.
On the other hand, #DIY could very well be called up to the main roster after losing this match. If that is to happen, they’re likely to receive some sort of sendoff from the crowd, being able to take some time in the ring to thank the audience and move on to either Raw or SmackDown.
In that regard, who really works out the best here? Is it the team that holds the titles but stays in developmental, or is it the former champions who lose the match but graduates to the next level in the company?
I have a hard time believing WWE is going to have the United Kingdom Championship change hands before the regular show is up and running, as it’s difficult already to get people acclimated to what is effectively the D-brand.
Explaining to newcomers to the program that Pete Dunne is the second champion in this title’s lineage isn’t a hard concept for them to grasp, but for them to think Tyler Bate is worth a damn, that’s a different story. If he’s viewed as not being good enough to kickstart the show on his own, he’ll look like a failed champion.
My guess is this is more of a means to keep the title and these guys in our memories so we don’t entirely forget about them, rather than an instance where the title is going to change hands, which means Bate is the one who receives the attention.
Those are my picks, but who do you think will end up being the primary focal points? Drop your predictions in the comments below!