NXT TakeOver: Portland is scheduled for this Sunday night, and now that the go-home episode of NXT has aired, we have a firm grasp of which superstars will be participating in the pay-per-view and which men and women are being left out in the cold.
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: Portland.
From the NXT and 205 Live Men’s Division
— Angel Garza: A match at TakeOver would have been good for Angel Garza, but if he were to just lose to Jordan Devlin, it wouldn’t push his career as far in comparison as a win on Monday Night Raw like he’s been doing lately.
— Ariya Daivari and The Brian Kendrick / Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan: Daivari and Kendrick have partnered up on 205 Live recently to feud with Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan.
— Arturo Ruas: Outside of that quick plug that he would be coming soon, despite how he already wrestled many times on NXT, WWE hasn’t followed up any promotion for him. Did they decide not to build him up? Is everyone just waiting a little longer? If we don’t see something soon, I’ll start to worry they stopped his push.
— Austin Theory: Give him time. He’s fresh to the roster and he already had a North American Championship shot. This guy has future star written all over him and is young enough that they don’t need to rush.
— Boa: Boa’s been out of action for a long while now due to an injury. I’m unaware of any timetable for his return.
— Breezango (Fandango & Tyler Breeze): Fandango is still injured and Breeze has been wrestling more in the cruiserweight division.
— Bronson Reed: While NXT has taken major steps toward being an equal brand to Raw and SmackDown, its still also a developmental program. Reed is one of those guys still under the learning tree. Give him time to break out.
— Cameron Grimes: Grimes is in that same class as Reed, has no feud going on right now and didn’t need to be a priority.
— Cezar Bononi: For the life of me, I don’t understand how Bononi went from being a Future Star award winner to a guy that only wrestled twice on television last year (and lost both matches easily). Ouch. For that matter, he only wrestled 3 times in 2018 (and lost all) and 7 times in 2017 and lost all but one of those, too. Bononi has won 1 out of 12 televised matches in THREE YEARS. Good lord.
— Damian Priest: After the good showings he’s had over the winter, I’m shocked Priest isn’t in the North American Championship match. I was so sure they’d go with a multi-man match. Maybe that’s the plan for Tampa, though, and maybe Priest will get involved in Lee vs. Dijakovic.
— Dexter Lumis: It boggles my mind how Lumis was part of the breakout tournament and hasn’t wrestled a single match since then on television. I thought he was pretty damn impressive and had an interesting enough gimmick. What’s the hold up?
— Dorian Mak: Things aren’t looking good for Dorian Mak. The former Dan Matha’s run so far has been getting punked out by Samoa Joe, amounting to nothing in the Greatest Royal Rumble, losing alongside Riddick Moss on NXT UK and then losing that tag team partner to Raw. Will he be partnered back up with Kona Reeves? Is this Austin Theory tag team going to be a thing? Truthfully, does anybody care?
— The Forgotten Sons (Jaxson Ryker, Steve Cutler, & Wesley Blake): Insert typical joke about them being forgotten about. That never gets old.
— Gentleman Jack Gallagher: Gallagher has been struggling for months (if not years, if we’re honest) to find relevancy. After a few heel and face turns, this current absence has me questioning if he’s done and just waiting to move on outside of WWE. That’s just a hunch and not a scoop, though.
— Isaiah “Swerve” Scott: Swerve has been doing very well for himself since coming to NXT, but he’s not at the top of the totem pole yet. Simply put, there were bigger fish to fry this time. But he’ll get a spotlight soon enough, I’m sure.
— Joaquin Wilde: Wilde is in that limbo of NXT and 205 Live wherein he has lots of opportunities, but they aren’t amounting to too much quite yet. Even if there was a Fatal 4-Way for the Cruiserweight Championship, I could think of people higher up on the ladder to book over him.
— Killian Dain: It seems Dain’s role in NXT went from a top potential to someone who failed on the main roster, came back with some renewed hype and then turned into a jobber to the stars. He’s lost enough important matches now that I don’t think anyone is questioning why he was overlooked in favor of Dominik Dijakovic and others.
— Kona Reeves: The Finest is a jobber who only managed to pop up a few times here and there over the past couple of months. Next!
— Kushida: Reforming The Time-Splitters was such a random one-shot deal. I don’t quite get why WWE wouldn’t bother signing Alex Shelley and why these two aren’t still working the tag team scene in NXT. However, their loss in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic warrants Kushida’s absence here.
— Lio Rush: Let’s be honest. If Lio Rush were facing Jordan Devlin for the Cruiserweight Championship at TakeOver instead of on TV, would you think he would win? I doubt it. The momentum isn’t on his side, right now. It’s best to just keep him off the card.
— Mansoor: This guy stops existing to WWE unless a Saudi Arabia show is around the corner. Funny enough, Super ShowDown IS around the corner, but no effort was made to give him any momentum on NXT recently. That’s so transparent and lame.
— Raul Mendoza: Mendoza has been featured more heavily the past few months than the first stretch of his WWE career, but still not in any capacity worth booking on this card.