NXT TakeOver: Phoenix is scheduled for this Saturday and since the full card has been established, we know which talent from the yellow brand will be competing and which men and women are not scheduled for the event.
As always, cards are subject to change and there could be any number of alterations to this lineup with surprise appearances, impromptu matches and so on, so nothing is truly set in stone. However, as far as the event is currently being advertised, the following NXT talent is not being promoted as part of the program.
It’s your call to judge whether these missing stars are being left off the card for justifiable reasons or not, so let’s take a look at the superstars missing from NXT TakeOver: Phoenix.
From the NXT Men’s Division
— The Brit-Am Bruisers (Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan): For the time being, Lorcan and Burch are going to be focusing on challenging for the NXT UK tag titles, rather than the NXT tag titles.
— Cezar Bononi: When was the last time this guy was even on television? Apparently, August 23, 2018. Yeah.
— Dominik Dijakovic: Right now, Dijakovic is in that stretch of time where he’s being fed people to destroy and once he’s done with the squash matches, he’ll probably feud with someone like Keith Lee to start working his way up the roster. I expect him to be on the card for TakeOver: New York.
— European Union (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel): This team just recently formed and are sharing their duties with NXT UK. Give them more time and they’ll make a bigger splash as the year goes on, or they’ll fail and fade into obscurity. We’ll just have to see.
— The Forgotten Sons (Jaxson Ryker, Steve Cutler, Wesley Blake): I guess WWE forgot to do anything with them since their debut, eh? Eh? I’ll show myself out.
— Keith Lee: Lee is not as much of a focal point right now compared to Matt Riddle, so they’ve used him as a stepping stone for Kassius Ohno to defeat to help further along the Ohno/Riddle dynamic. That’s better than nothing, since Lee is still getting wins, but it’s a shame he hasn’t wrestled at a TakeOver yet or had much of a solid feud going.
— Kona Reeves: He’s a jobber. He’s not doing anything at TakeOver as he hasn’t been on television even to lose since September.
— Raul Mendoza: As a resident jobber around these parts, Mendoza isn’t likely to ever wrestle on a TakeOver event unless somewhere down the line, they have a battle royal or something.
— Riddick Moss: Moss has apparently been cleared from his injuries, but has only wrestled on live events, rather than televised episodes.
— Shane Thorne: Since Nick Miller left WWE and The Mighty split up, WWE hasn’t utilized Shane Thorne on television since November in their final match together. He’s wrestled on live events, though.
— The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford): They’ve said 2019 will be a year where the doors will be open to them, and it might very well be (and I hope so), yet right now, they aren’t the priorities heading into TakeOver: Phoenix and they aren’t truly set up for a feud yet.
— Tino Sabbatelli: Supposedly, while Sabbatelli is still not ready to come back from his injuries, WWE is trying him out in other capacities.
— The Undisputed ERA (Adam Cole and Bobby Fish): Technically speaking, The Undisputed ERA are being represented by Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong as they defend the NXT Tag Team Championship against War Raiders, which also means Cole and Fish can show up and hang out ringside. However, if we’re talking about people officially booked on the card’s lineup, those two aren’t on the list.
— Velveteen Dream: I get the feeling NXT and WWE in general is in a bit of a limbo state right now, not knowing what to do to build to New York and trying to just get Phoenix out of the way before giving someone like Velveteen Dream his next feud. Right now, he’s somewhat in the midst of the Johnny Gargano thing, so it wouldn’t shock me if we see Dream/Gargano at that TakeOver for the North American Championship.
From the NXT Women’s Division
— Aliyah: She’s the jobber of the division. She’s not going to any TakeOver events any time soon.
— Candice LeRae: Since she’s still a babyface and Gargano is a heel, she won’t be accompanying him ringside like she’s done a few times in the past. Instead, she’s just hanging around with nothing to do, which is a shame.
— Dakota Kai: The captain of Team Kick is currently out with an injury. No timetable has been reported on when she’ll return.
— Deonna Purrazzo: The Virtuosa is just getting started and it will take time for her to build up enough momentum to get things going for a TakeOver event.
— Io Shirai: I’m wholly expecting Shirai to be the next challenge for the NXT Women’s Championship, so while she isn’t being given the spotlight now, I’m anticipating that to change as soon as Phoenix is over and done with.
— Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir: While they are technically not scheduled for the card in any official capacity, it’s safe to assume they’ll both be making an appearance accompanying Shayna Baszler ringside and possibly even getting involved in the match to cause Bianca Belair to lose her undefeated streak.
— Kairi Sane: She’s already had her matches with Shayna Baszler. It was simply time for her to step back and let someone else take on that role.
— Mia Yim: Much like Shirai, you can tell WWE likes Mia Yim (which, they should) and that she’s being treated fairly enough to give her wins even though she isn’t on some hot undefeated streak or something. She could be the next challenger for Baszler if it isn’t Shirai, or she could even fight Belair if she wins the title, instead.
— Taynara Conti: To be honest, it sounds harsh, but I don’t know why they haven’t just cut Taynara Conti yet, or at least tried to utilize her more as a manager/valet for Cezar Bononi and Adrian Jaoude. She just doesn’t seem to be improving to me and she’s had more than enough time to make some waves.
— Vanessa Borne: Not everyone is a top talent and it seems Vanessa Borne is one of those people WWE doesn’t want to put in that upper echelon. I think she has more to offer than what they’re allowing her to show off, but then again, I’m on the outside looking in.
Performance Center Recruits
There isn’t much to say about these men and women. They’re not regular members of the NXT roster yet, so there’s literally no reason for them to be there on this card with limited spots.