While there’s been no official word from WWE, it looks like Aleister Black will have to miss Takeover: Brooklyn IV due to an injury sustained at a live event. The injury has not been specifically revealed outside of it being some sort of damage to the groin area, but Dave Meltzer has noted that it is “more serious” than a tear.
I was really hoping that it wouldn’t be too serious and Black could just take a lessened role in the triple threat, but no dice. Takeover: Brooklyn is going to be my first live NXT show, and the promise of mashing my two top attractions (1, Black, and 2, Ciampa vs. Gargano) into one match was so sweet that this is majorly disappointing news.
I wish Black good health and a full recovery, but now there’s a question burning:
What the hell do you do at Takeover?
It’s been floated around the internet that you pull a mild Wrestlemania 30: open the show with Dream vs. EC3 and put the winner in the main event. I’m into this idea, even though it wouldn’t really fit the storyline, for two reasons. One, it would get someone fresh a moment in the main event, even though he obviously wouldn’t win. Two, it prevents an artificially-early ending to the Gargano/Ciampa blowoff, which the original triple threat idea with Black was pulling off perfectly. (Three, the special guest can take the pin, or at least somehow factor into a slimy Ciampa win somehow.)
Another simpler option would be to simply slap a gimmick on and run Ciampa vs. Gargano III. This could go well depending on the gimmick – especially something like a ladder match – but I have reservations about having a third match between these two after a build focused on something else. A third match doesn’t always mean a blowoff, but having another singles victory and then a fourth match just muddies the water going into the finale.
I see a lot of “just debut Matt Riddle in the main event” thrown around, and I love Matt Riddle but this is a terrible idea. One of NXT’s biggest problems until recently is the tendency to just chuck the newest hottest indie star at the title too quickly, and this would be the pinnacle of it. Matt Riddle is 100 percent a future NXT champ. Just not at this Takeover. Let it simmer a while.
None of these are perfect solutions. However, given the hand Aleister Black has been dealt, I think the first option is the best. Delay the final Ciampa/Gargano brawl into the fall and give someone new a moment of glory, even if it’s not perfect storyline-wise. In situations like this, you can’t go looking for perfect. If we did, the plan would just be to rush Black back.
We can always pray that official word from WWE comes and shocks us all with news that Black is fine or this was a weird work. But a little brainstorming and doomsday thinking never hurt anybody.
-Bobby Murphy (@RobertJMurph)
Image courtesy WWE.com