The latest set of tapings for NXT’s next few episodes have just taken place, giving us a better indication of what the landscape of the brand will be following TakeOver: Toronto and where things are heading for TakeOver: WarGames.
There are a lot of weeks before we get to Survivor Series weekend, which will give NXT lots of time to keep a slow pace. That also means this first group of tapings is only part of the equation, and the direction could change drastically by the time the card starts taking shape.
However, even with all those variables up in the air and no matches officially announced for the event, let’s gaze into our crystal balls and attempt to predict what we may be in store for come November 23, 2019.
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
So here’s the thing. We know that we’re getting this match, but we don’t know who will be involved, how many teams there will be, or how many people will be on each team. Last year, it was 2 teams of 4. The prior year, it was 3 teams of 3. Clearly, there’s no rhyme or reason to guarantee on, which makes guessing this lineup damn near impossible, because it all hinges on what the plans are for this match.
It could be something crazy random, like The Undisputed ERA against Imperium, but you’d be a fool to bet on something like that. The Undisputed ERA are safe bets to be in this match, though, likely against Johnny Gargano and three other people. If that’s the case, I think those three could be any combination of Velveteen Dream, Pete Dunne, Jordan Myles, Kushida, Tommaso Ciampa (doubtful), Breezango and even Matt Riddle. The only guarantee, I feel, would be Gargano, and I think his short thing with Shane Thorne isn’t leading to a match at TakeOver, but is just a temporary thing and Thorne will be wrestling people at random.
However, the NXT Championship was defended both in 2018 and 2017, so maybe this ends up being Cole vs. Challenger for the title, and there is a different game plan for WarGames with a 3-on-3(-on-3) setup. In that scenario, Strong/Fish/O’Reilly go up against VD and a tag team, maybe Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, or Breezango, or the slight chance #DIY reforms if Ciampa is able to return and they’re comfortable allowing him to wrestle such a rough match.
Even still, there’s a chance this isn’t the WarGames match at all, and it goes to the women, with Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir going up against Mia Yim, Rhea Ripley and…Bianca Belair? Candice LeRae?
So since this has not been at all alluded to in any way that I can decipher as being a solid direction, I’m going to toss out some suggestions of other matches as if this isn’t even on the card, just to cover all bases.
NXT Championship Match
Adam Cole retained the title against Jordan Myles, so that already nixes the idea of that title match happening. I doubt Myles would get a rematch and be pushed that fast to fighting for the title at a TakeOver.
Gargano is out of the mix. There’s no reason why he should be getting another title opportunity, and if he’s not just taking time off for this event and not in the WarGames match, then maybe there actually is something to this Shane Thorne situation and they’ll wrestle a singles match, but I doubt that.
Other contenders than Myles and Gargano are difficult to pinpoint. There are options, but none of them feel right, to me.
It’s too early for Matt Riddle, and he’s got his feud with Killian Dain. Keith Lee lost to Dominik Dijakovic, and he seems more of the North American title range with Damian Priest and others. Kushida would be a jump. Velveteen Dream would have to drop the North American title and then change his sights to Cole, rather than Strong.
What this means, then, is that I can only see the challengers possibly being Pete Dunne or Tommaso Ciampa. Since there’s a chance Ciampa isn’t back in time or healthy enough to wrestle, or that he’ll be in the WarGames match, or that he’ll be in another match detailed below, I’m leaning more towards Dunne vs. Cole.
North American Championship Match
Either Velveteen Dream loses the title to Roderick Strong on a TV episode in September or October, or they stretch out their rematch until this event. Again, it all depends on what the WarGames setup will be.
I find it hard to believe this title will be defended under any circumstances where Strong vs. Dream isn’t where they go. Something like Dream vs. Priest or Strong vs. Mansoor would just come out of left field.
Either Strong and Dream are in the WarGames match, or they’re fighting for the belt here, and in the title match scenario, Strong wins or retains the championship.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match
The Street Profits needed to drop the titles to move up to the Monday Night Raw roster, and they have. Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish are now the new champions, as everyone expected. So who would their challengers be?
Well, to reiterate the same points as above, it depends on the WarGames match, but I could see the top contenders being #DIY, Breezango, or possibly The Brit-Am Brawlers (Lorcan and Burch). It would totally shock me if The Forgotten Sons randomly got a title opportunity instead, or they decided to go with Riddick Moss and Dorian Mak, or Cezar Bononi and Arturo Ruas.
WWE could do some sort of random pairing like Jordan Myles with Joaquin Wilde or Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, or Kushida with Bronson Reed or whatever, but I doubt it.
I think I would rule out Lorcan and Burch. Lorcan is more of a 205 Live fixture nowadays and they already had that match at a previous TakeOver, so it’s either Breezango or the return of #DIY.
The Undisputed ERA would beat Breezango, but could very well lose to #DIY if Strong was already the North American champion heading into this event, but I don’t think that will be the case, and O’Reilly and Fish would leave TakeOver still the champions.
NXT Women’s Championship Match
Assuming the Horsewomen aren’t in the WarGames match, let’s go with Shayna Baszler walking in as champion and defending it against one to five other opponents.
Rhea Ripley is the latest person to be thrust into the title hunt, but they’ve made it a point to still keep Mia Yim in the loop. Since Ripley had a title shot during these tapings, which ended in a disqualification, and she is a heel on NXT UK, it strikes me as unlikely that they would do another singles match, heel vs. heel.