Coming up next Saturday is the latest in the line of NXT TakeOver events as the yellow brand heads to Toronto, Ontario, Canada to precede Sunday’s Survivor Series pay-per-view. This will be the culmination of various feuds along with the second annual Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament.
Which wrestlers will make the biggest impact by stealing the most amount of the spotlight either through their performances, wins, or overall importance to the event? Here’s my predictions for the top stars of the night that I can see standing out among the crowd.
Samoa Joe’s time in NXT is coming to an end. He won’t be winning the NXT Championship back just to hit the restart button and go back to what he was doing once he dethroned Finn Balor. Shinsuke Nakamura is more than capable of remaining champion and not making the roster look like it has an unworthy champion at the top of the food chain while Samoa Joe has more important things to do on the main roster, hopefully on SmackDown. I would be very surprised if he didn’t make his debut at the Royal Rumble to transition himself fully as a main roster competitor in time for WrestleMania, even if he just wrestles in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal match.
Thus, Joe has to lose and Nakamura has to retain. At the end of the night, the championship will stay with Nakamura, who will celebrate the exorcism of Joe from being a thorn in his side. This will be the last confrontation the two have at a TakeOver event and their paths will deviate from each other going forward. Then, Nakamura just has to keep his eyes open for Bobby Roode, who I think is a shoe-in for the next NXT champion soon enough.
Speaking of Roode, there isn’t as much to say for him as others, but he’ll definitely be one of the biggest stars of the evening. He’s not only one of the most popular names in general, he’s also going to get the Canadian pop and it’s although I’m a major supporter of The Perfect 10, Tye Dillinger’s only real hope to win the match is if the feud is going to be prolonged for quite some time, as that would be a motivator for them to keep facing each other. All in all, this is Roode’s match to lose, and that’s probably not going to happen. Roode will have a glorious day, to say the least.
There’s no way Asuka is going to lose the NXT Women’s Championship to Mickie James, so even if you’re a fan of her like I am, it’s better to come to this realization now and accept it as an inevitability. Rumor has it Mickie James wasn’t even the first choice for who would face Asuka, as that would have gone to Trish Stratus. That would make a lot more sense, seeing as how she’s been more involved in the company than Mickie over the past few years and the event takes place in Canada, where Trish is from, but her pregnancy nixed those plans from happening.
Seeing Mickie James back in a WWE ring will no doubt be exciting and she’ll get a great reception from the crowd, but ultimately, she’ll come up short. Asuka has been undefeated since her debut and when she loses to someone, it will be someone who can benefit from the rub. In my mind, that future woman is Ember Moon, but that remains to be seen. James will give Asuka a good match and respect will be earned, but it will be Asuka standing tall with her music playing and the championship still in her grasp.
Although I honestly don’t see what the big deal is about them, I’m leaning towards TM-61 being the winners of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament. Not only did they knock off Austin Aries and Roderick Strong, they also defeated SAnitY, which was a bit surprising. SAnitY was the newer team with more of an imposing nature about them. Shane Thorne and Nick Miller are just two generic guys who haven’t really gotten as much over with the crowd as most people probably would have liked, so for them to take the new heel team out of the running was a shock.
Who says it has to end there? The Authors of Pain are the most dominant tag team in NXT since the credible version of The Ascension before they moved up to the main roster and became jokes. Akam and Rezar are a force to be reckoned with and could very easily win the tournament, but where would things go from that point? The Revival are still the tag team champions and WWE doesn’t often book heel vs. heel matches like that, and even if DIY takes the titles away from them, they’d just drop them to The Authors of Pain very soon after, which would feel like a hot potato situation. I’m still convinced Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa are coming up to the main roster in time for 205 Live and will be leaving NXT, too, so there’s even more doubt in my mind that The Revival will be dropping the titles.
If TM-61 wins the tournament—particularly seeing as how Paul Ellering won’t be ringside to help The Authors of Pain in any way—they can easily be declared the new #1 contenders to the NXT Tag Team Championship, defeating The Revival somewhere down the line and losing them even later in the future to either The Authors of Pain or SAnitY.
For more predictions for NXT TakeOver: Toronto, check out the latest PAY-PER-VIEWPOINT edition of the Smark Out Moment wrestling podcast SMACK TALK below:
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