While part 1 of our NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III preview analysis focuses on the downside of the superstars missing from the card, part 2 shines a light on the performers who will steal the show with our predictions of who the top stars of the night will be.
This factors in everything from the quality of their performances to the importance of their wins and losses as well as WWE’s own mind games of perception in telling us who they feel were the biggest focal points of the evening they want us to talk about going forward.
With that in mind, here’s my shortlist of who I think the biggest stars will be for NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III.
Absolutely nobody has been set up to take the belt off Asuka and hand her her first loss better than Ember Moon, so if we don’t see a title change happen here, I’ll not only be utterly shocked, I’ll also be disappointed and confused about the future.
The only way around that would be that the game plan is for Shayna Baszler or Kairi Sane to win the Mae Young Classic, challenge Asuka, and become the new NXT women’s champion to kickstart her newfound career in WWE, but given the two options, I feel like Moon is the much cleaner, better way to go.
Moon’s not ready for the main roster to circumvent winning the title like Alexa Bliss found herself doing and what Peyton Royce and Billie Kay could easily do at any moment. Asuka, on the other hand, seems like she’s done everything she can possibly do in NXT and has to move up to Raw or SmackDown as soon as possible, whether it’s the Monday night following SummerSlam or Tuesday night depending on which roster she joins.
Hell, Asuka could be popping up on SummerSlam itself if WWE wants to try to spin the momentum in a different direction, having Moon win the title on Saturday night and then all of us to talk more about Asuka’s main event status come Sunday night heading into Monday.
The point of the whole thing is that I feel as though this is Ember Moon’s time and if she doesn’t win at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, she’s not going to win that championship from Asuka at any point in her career.
When it comes to the NXT Championship match, I’m less confident in my ability to predict what’s going to happen.
With Ember Moon winning the belt from Asuka, that’s your biggest thing of the night and for Drew McIntyre to do the same, it would take away part of the magic of that moment.
My gut is telling me Bobby Roode is going to retain, but I can’t help but feel a bit of hesitation in that prediction, as WWE has booked NXT shows and other pay-per-views to have multiple title changes and not worried about overstacking the card.
Brooklyn has become NXT’s WrestleMania in certain respects, so if all three belts changed hands, I wouldn’t be shocked—particularly with the rumors of a Superstar Shake-Up happening soon after Sunday night.
If the roster changes are indeed true, I could see Roode coming up to the main roster, but there’s also the lingering threat of Roderick Strong that hasn’t been completely wrapped up yet and I feel like that is what’s going to keep the glorious one down in NXT for a little more time.
This match might even end in some kind of “no contest” decision where Strong inserts himself into the match, much to the dismay of McIntyre, who could have potentially won if there wasn’t interference, setting up a triple threat down the line either at NXT TakeOver: Houston or just on a regular episode of the weekly television tapings.
SAnitY seems to have all the attention in the world going their way for months on end, but I’m not buying it. Nope. It makes too much sense for them to be the ones to take down The Authors of Pain and I’m going to be stubborn about this and remain steadfast in my prediction that Akam and Rezar will still have those belts by the end of the night.
With that in mind, I have absolutely no idea who could possibly beat them for the titles other than SAnitY, but it just doesn’t seem right to me to see a heel team beat an unstoppable heel team with the numbers game.
I’d much rather see AOP lose to some babyfaces like The Street Profits (despite how they’re more of a comedic team at the moment) than to see a switch where they lose their dominance just because WWE had a little more love for a slightly bigger stable.
Plus, SAnitY seems more ready to come up to the main roster than The Authors of Pain, so that can’t happen if they’re holding the tag titles in NXT, can it?
Andrade “Cien” Almas
Andrade Almas is receiving new life breathed into his character with the addition of Zelina Vega (aka Thea Trinidad) acting as his manager of sorts who strokes his ego while guiding him to use his talents in the right way.
To capitalize off this, he needs to continue to win matches to prove her effectiveness in channeling his bravado with actual victories rather than just unsourced pride, so setting him up to defeat Johnny Gargano is a great way to keep that ball rolling.
Johnny Wrestling is a crowd favorite and someone the audience in Brooklyn will definitely be cheering, which means when he loses, the boos will be much stronger than if Almas had just beaten Cezar Bononi or something.
With the way he’s been booked since joining the company, it definitely seems like WWE really values Aleister Black as a commodity they want to keep looking strong.
For my money, I’d rather see Hideo Itami get the win for both the shock factor as well as to keep his newfound mean streak going. The more wins he gets, the more valid it seems like he needed to find that edge that he was lacking as a babyface.
I have little to no faith that this will happen, though. More than likely, Black will knock his head off and Itami will be booked to complain about it and/or attack Black or somebody else at the next set of tapings as a result of his loss while Black will be kept in the limelight.
Those are my picks, but who do you think will end up being the primary focal points? Drop your predictions in the comments below!