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: Phoenix 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: Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Aleister Black = Hot / Lukewarm
I can’t help but to feel that there’s a mistake being made here and this should have been a Fatal 4-Way with Johnny Gargano and Velveteen Dream involved instead, but I guess we’ll have to see what the plans are for the next TakeOver.
In the meantime, these two are great and I know that they’ll put on a good match, even if I think it’ll be the second or even third best, rather than the true standout performance.
I’m a bit meh on the story and I don’t think the title is changing hands, so that’s a bit flat, but I also think it shouldn’t leave Ciampa’s grasp anyway, so it’s ultimately a Hot for the match quality and a Lukewarm for the story elements.
Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa retains the title.
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Bianca Belair = Hot
Either Baszler drops the title and we get the potential ability for her to enter and win the Royal Rumble or build her way toward a title shot at WrestleMania against Asuka, or Belair loses her undefeated streak.
Either way, something important is happening and I’m excited about that, along with the possibility that this match could be really great.
Both have proven themselves interesting in the ring and capable of putting on a good show. It’s just a matter of whether they have the right chemistry together, and I think this could end up being one of those pairings we see work so well that we want multiple matches between the two down the line.
Prediction: Shayna Baszler retains the championship.
NXT North American Championship Match: Ricochet (c) vs. Johnny Gargano = Hot
There’s no way this isn’t awesome. I expect it to be the best match of the night, hands down, and I’m also thinking it’s time for a title change, which is even more exciting.
I still don’t like the decision to turn Gargano heel, but if the result of it is matches against people like Ricochet that allow a different dynamic for him to not just be the equal babyface who respects his opponent, I’m intrigued and I can’t wait to see what these two pull off.
Prediction: Johnny Gargano wins the title.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Undisputed ERA (c) vs. War Raiders = Lukewarm
I know it’ll be good, but I don’t think it’ll be as good as the other matches these guys have had. Plus, I’m over this feud and I’ve seen enough matches between them that the only thing I’m particularly interested in is whether the titles change hands or not.
If they don’t, I’m done and I don’t want to see this stretched out any longer. If they do, then I’m interested in what happens for TakeOver: New York. But in reality, I’m not so much hyped about this particular segment, as much as I am about moving on from this story.
Prediction: War Raiders win the titles.
Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno = Cold
I liked the quick knockout. I thought the idea of a rematch made sense to do. But now, Riddle has won twice and there’s no reason for Ohno to get another match.
Even more so, why is there no gimmick attached to this to spice it up? It’s literally just a pitch of “you’ve seen it before, and you’ve seen it again, well now see it again-again” and that doesn’t do anything for me.
I’d much rather have seen Ohno vs. Lee for the first time here, or Riddle vs. someone else, or for this spot to go to something else, like featuring Dominik Dijakovic against a member of the main roster who isn’t doing anything, such as Apollo Crews or whatever.
Prediction: Matt Riddle wins for the third time in a row.
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!