NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn is only a few hours away, but there’s just enough time to get some predictions in under the wire. This is set to be potentially an extremely important event for the brand, as it’s clearly the biggest venue the show has ever run and its proximity to SummerSlam means there’s an even stronger chance for some huge things to happen.
All three championships are on the line, two stars are making their debuts in the company (one being a new recruit and the other being a legend who just hasn’t appeared in a WWE ring over the course of his career) and two of the most physically intimidating guys on the NXT roster will clash. That sounds like a surefire fun show, but what’s going to end up happening with the results?
Apollo Crews vs. Tye Dillinger
This is the easiest match on the card to call the winner for, as people rarely ever debut with a loss in WWE. That’s not to say that it hasn’t happened before, mind you, but the likelihood that Apollo Crews will fall victim to this once in a blue moon scenario is slim.
Tye Dillinger is an opponent who could have a bit of a resurgence with his Perfect 10 gimmick, but is still by all means enhancement talent sent in here to make Crews look good. A first impression means quite a bit and Crews appears to be someone WWE wishes to groom for a big spot, so putting him against someone that can be entrusted to do the job and to do it well is key.
Prediction: Apollo Crews via pinfall.
Baron Corbin vs. Samoa Joe
This match is particularly tough to figure out the winner for, as both men are in a good position to come out on top. In Baron Corbin’s case, he’s been destroying everyone in his path for months, so winning another match would be far from a shocker. Since Samoa Joe is a more worthwhile challenger than most people Corbin faces, he undoubtedly would win this in a less decisive fashion, possibly even resorting to cheating to accomplish the feat. That would get him some more heat with the crowd and could start building him up to become the next challenger for the NXT Championship.
On the other hand, Samoa Joe is by far the bigger asset and name, so WWE may wish to protect him. Rather than using Joe as a stepping stone to the title, Corbin may simply be the guy who will feud with Joe for the next two months. If that’s the case, Joe defeating Corbin could send The Lone Wolf into a frenzy, angry about his loss and setting up a rematch down the line. That’s the easier story to tell, so I feel WWE will go that route, but hopefully there’s more to it than that.
Prediction: Samoa Joe via pinfall.
Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Tyler Breeze
Does WWE give the win to the legend out of respect for his accomplishments elsewhere, or does the younger man whom WWE has invested much more time, effort and money into get the push for disposing of said legend?
There’s certainly a case to be made for Liger winning, but I feel this is Breeze’s match to lose. There’s more to come out of Breeze being victorious and getting a boost in credibility than for Liger to come in, win a random match, and then most likely disappear again. Sting’s loss to Triple H at WrestleMania this year proves that it’s not set in stone that a legend will make his debut and automatically be booked as the winner. Therefore, Breeze has the edge and is my choice to take this.
Prediction: Tyler Breeze via pinfall.
NXT Tag Team Championship: Blake & Murphy (c) vs. The Vaudevillains
Alexa Bliss has proven herself a valuable addition of Blake and Murphy’s team, helping them hold onto those tag titles and getting involved as a distraction from time to time. Supposedly, Aiden English and Simon Gotch have a plan set forth to neutralize Bliss’s interference, but exactly what that is has yet to be revealed.
The easy assumption is that one of the NXT divas will be accompanying The Vaudevillains to the ring, watching out for Alexa and incapacitating her when the time comes. Who that woman would be is up in the air, but with names like Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Jasmin, Gionna Daddio and more just waiting for something to do, any of them could potentially work.
That would seem to point to The Vaudevillains being able to capitalize and win the titles, although I don’t think the obvious is necessarily going to happen here. I do expect a title change to happen at this event, but for two to take place is stretching it, I think. For some reason I haven’t figured out yet, WWE likes Blake and Murphy, so I wouldn’t count out their chances of retaining in some way to shock the audience.
Prediction: Blake and Murphy retain via pinfall.
NXT Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bayley
That title change I mentioned? This is it.
I can’t see any reason to keep the belt on Sasha Banks now that she’s made her way to the main roster, particularly after building up Bayley in the fashion that’s happened recently. Back when Banks originally won the title, there was a good opportunity to put it on Bayley instead, as she’s been over with the crowd for a long while. Since then, Bayley hasn’t missed a step and has even increased in popularity, so after defeating Charlotte, Becky Lynch and company to build up to earning this match, it’s the best ending scenario.
Really, is there any reason not to give the belt to Bayley? Sasha hasn’t had an amazing run with it, but she’s got a main roster Divas Championship reign in her future for sure. Whereas Sasha’s reign was somewhat short, I would not be surprised if Bayley held onto it for months on end, really becoming the cornerstone of the women’s division in NXT. It all has to start somewhere, and that place is Brooklyn.
Prediction: Bayley wins the title via pinfall.
NXT Championship: Finn Balor (c) vs. Kevin Owens
In what should be the match of the night, Finn Balor and Kevin Owens are sure to tear the house down and put on a great show. Ladder matches are normally fun as is, but knowing that these two are the competitors makes it even better. From Balor’s entrance until the winner has been decided, I have faith this will be a thrill that will make the Brooklyn fans feel as though they got their money’s worth.
I also am confident in saying that Balor will retain here for multiple reasons. First off, Balor’s not held the title long enough for him to drop it without seeming weak. Second, Owens falls victim to the main roster problem where he would be spreading himself too thin to be working NXT for the foreseeable future, so he shouldn’t be given the title in that regard. Third, a ladder match is a good way to book around making Owens look bad in his loss, as Balor climbing to retrieve the belt does not seem as degrading as submitting or being pinned. Owens will make up for this by defeating Cesaro the next night at SummerSlam while Balor will move on to feud with someone else.