With WWE’s latest methodology of scheduling pay-per-view events, it seems as though there are only four chances during the year for NXT stars to make an appearance on a TakeOver event—the first of which in 2017 being NXT TakeOver: San Antonio. This means every spot on the card is highly coveted as most of the roster won’t be seen beyond the weekly television shows for the entirety of the year, making it harder to gain traction with the WWE Universe.
That being said, TakeOver events are only two hours long, so there isn’t much time available to be given to nearly everybody on the roster. Some people will unfortunately have to sit them out, and when looking at the leftovers who aren’t currently booked for NXT TakeOver: San Antonio, there are more than a few decent names who aren’t scheduled to make an appearance.
In no particular order, here are the superstars currently missing from the card who will likely not be wrestling or doing anything else at NXT TakeOver: San Antonio.
After several years away from WWE, Kassius Ohno made his return on the January 5th tapings, although his segment wouldn’t air until the 25th. This meant there was basically no time to set up a match for him as most other people were busy with other feuds or so low on the hierarchy that it would seem out of place to put them against Ohno. For example, would anybody care to see his return match be against someone like Steve Cutler? Doubtful.
Ohno’s return came with an indication that he will be pushed straight to the main event scene, possibly to make up for the absence of a few people who should be moving up to the main roster during the Road to WrestleMania. The best course of action is to hold off on him until after San Antonio where he doesn’t have to share as much of the spotlight.
The top heel is conspicuously absent, you might say. At this point, you’ve already read numerous articles of mine detailing my predictions for Samoa Joe to insert himself into the feud with John Cena, if not also to be in the Royal Rumble itself (although I think interfering in the title match is a more likely scenario between the two and he doesn’t have to do both).
Because WWE is already moving on to Bobby Roode against Shinsuke Nakamura, it’s 100% reasonable to not book Samoa Joe for this card. Having him wrestle anybody in any capacity would take away from his involvement in the Royal Rumble event, as a match against a loser would seem petty and a match against someone who puts up a good fight would undermine his effectiveness the next day.
Hideo Itami recently tweeted out that he is ready to return, but since it was a rather vague statement that provided no set timetable for when he would come back, this is kind of a no-brainer. WWE will likely be unwilling to invest much in him due to his track record of being injured the majority of the time he’s been in the company, although he’s still arguably one of the most important talents on that roster.
With the possibility of Samoa Joe and maybe even others coming up around the next few months, NXT could use Itami back in the regular fold as a contender to Bobby Roode’s championship (if he wins the title here) or at least feuding with someone in the midcard like Andrade “Cien” Almas, Elias Samson or Eric Young.
For now, though, this is all too early to rush anything for San Antonio and the card has filled up nicely as it is, so there’s no need to bend over backwards to get Itami on the show.
No Way Jose / Elias Samson
Based on the most recent tapings, No Way Jose and Elias Samson appear to be lined up to feud with each other. Although it’s clear Kona Reeves has a problem with Jose, he’s merely a stepping stone along the path to Samson.
Both of these men are on that odd level where at any time, WWE could choose to push them and make them fit the upper-midcard of the division, but they’re still quite far behind plenty of other names. Because of that, it makes sense for them to not be scheduled to compete over some of the other people with matches like Tye Dillinger, who has been around longer and has a better response from the crowd.
Don’t be surprised if a match between these two does take place at the same arena, though, as they tend to record the next episode of NXT TV before each TakeOver event. The February 1st edition should consist of highlights and recaps of San Antonio as well as a match between No Way Jose and Elias Samson along with possibly another match or two featuring some of these other names below…
It’s somewhat odd that the Fatal 4-Way for the NXT Women’s Championship consists of Asuka and three heels rather than incorporating at least one more babyface in the mix. That spot would have undoubtedly gone to Liv Morgan, Ember Moon or Aliyah, but all three of them are not going to be on this card. Mandy Rose and Daria Berenato are the two other women missing, but they are both still relatively new compared to the other three.
All of those women save for Daria are in action on the January 25th episode as Liv Morgan and Ember Moon face off in somewhat of a #1 contender’s match while Aliyah wrestles Mandy Rose, who is the newest of the bunch and definitely would be the least likely to receive a match for San Antonio.
With the Fatal 4-Way match happening, there’s no more room for these five women, although Ember Moon and Liv Morgan will assuredly be back into the title hunt come February 1st. Aliyah, Rose and Berenato will have to wait a little while longer.
Kona Reeves was mentioned above as being some side action for No Way Jose (don’t read into that sentence more than intended) while Steve Cutler was most recently seen losing to Roderick Strong in a similar capacity. On the babyface side of things is Oney Lorcan, who has actually had more appearances than I would have expected over the past few months by even showing up on SmackDown. Still, if he’s to show up soon, it’s most likely to be in a match where he loses to Elias Samson or another midcard heel.