Welcome to another edition of WWE Heat Index, wherein we discuss the interest level for the various feuds heading into the pay-per-view events. This time around, we’re focusing on NXT TakeOver: Chicago 2018 coming this Saturday night.
The way this works is a pretty simple three-way breakdown of Hot, Lukewarm and Cold. If you like something and you’re very interested in how WWE is setting up the program, it’s Hot (aka Good). If you’re a bit on the fence about it and see some problems, but it’s not awful, then it’s just Okay or Lukewarm. The ones that are the most problematic that you have no interest in are Cold (aka Bad).
Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section to let everyone know what your thermometer reads for each feud as I tell you what my thoughts are below!
Without further ado, let’s get started!
NXT Championship Match: Aleister Black (c) vs. Lars Sullivan = Lukewarm
Admittedly, I’m not as into this feud as I was hoping I would be, which I think is partially due to how bland it has been.
For the most part, it’s just been two segments of Black talking about how he’s going to fight and beat Sullivan, with the monster saying “no you won’t” and brawling. That isn’t particularly enthralling.
I do think Black has a great track record of solid matches and I do think there are some positives of Sullivan we haven’t quite seen yet, and I even think they could work well together, but I’m just not feeling it enough to really be psyched about it.
Street Fight: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa = Hot
They sold me on a fight between the two of them during their #DIY days and their Cruiserweight Classic match, and fulfilled their destiny with their previous match, so I have no reason to believe this will be any different.
I am trying to keep my expectations at a reasonable level, though, so as to avoid building it up too much in my brain and then being disappointed it couldn’t live up to the hype.
With this being a street fight, they have the ability to do pretty much whatever they want and aren’t limited to staying in the ring, so I’m excited to see how they implement foreign objects and a more brutal physicality to their feud, rather than focusing on in-ring technical skills—even though, technically, their “unsanctioned match” had a similar idea behind it. But hey, why complain about getting more of a good thing?
It could be better than the last time, or it might not be as good, but I’m excited nonetheless and will lean more towards the optimistic hopes that it will be amazing.
Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream = Hot
When you take two people who are clearly very gifted in the ring and build a feud around the idea of them one-upping each other to prove who is the better performer, you’re setting up what could be a potential Match of the Year candidate.
These two killed it at the last TakeOver event as participants in the ladder match for the NXT North American Championship, and I’ve enjoyed their other matches as well, so I’m not expecting anything short of something great.
Like with Gargano and Ciampa, I’m trying not to over-hype myself and then be disappointed, but I’m looking forward to this match more than nearly everything on the Money in the Bank card, even.
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Nikki Cross = Cold
If I had absolutely any thoughts whatsoever that Baszler’s title was in jeopardy, I’d care about this a lot more, but I don’t. I think this is as basic as you can get, feeding Cross to Baszler so she has a longer title reign.
I don’t think we’ll see a new NXT women’s champion until at least TakeOver: Los Angeles, if not TakeOver: Phoenix, as I’m imagining Kairi Sane still has to be fed to Baszler and either Candice LeRae or someone else like Toni Storm or whoever wins the next Mae Young Classic will be the one to dethrone her—not Cross.
The match itself could be good, but I have a feeling it’ll be ultimately forgettable and by the time this event and Money in the Bank both end, I’ll have mostly erased it from my memory. Hopefully, I’m wrong.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Undisputed ERA (c) vs. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch = Cold
Well, somebody has to lose in order for the tag team champions to retain their titles now and again, right?
I don’t think this will be a bad match by any means, but I would be shocked if it were anything noteworthy, and since I have zero faith whatsoever in a title change, that really hinders my curiosity about it.
I’m imagining this will be a fine affair that just ends with Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly winning and moving on to some other team like War Raiders for a more important match at the next TakeOver event. This match, in comparison, won’t matter.
Those are my thoughts, but how do you feel about these particular feuds? What’s hot and what’s cold in your mind? Fill us in on your point of view in the comments below!