Velveteen Dream vs. EC3
As a rule, non-title matchups with low stakes can be hard to call. This in particular is a perfect crowd warm-up match, and also happens to be pretty straightforward. EC3 wins a battle of strength easily, but Velveteen Dream has agility and mind games on his side. Everybody, myself included, likes both, but I think as a pure crowd-pleaser or cooldown, The Velveteen Dream experience comes out of this on top.
Mustache Mountain vs. The Undisputed Era – Tag Team Championship
I hate to think in meta terms and foregone conclusions, but the existence of the WWE UK show seems to make this one a slam dunk for The Undisputed Era. Besides, it feels like there’s more for TUE to do in NXT, despite also feeling like they’ve already done so much. It’s obviously going to be a great match, though the standards are high after their previous universally-lauded collision.
It’s definitely going to be close, but I think The Undisputed Era takes it, further represented by…
Adam Cole vs. Ricochet – North American Championship
I’d like Adam Cole to get a nice, long run with the North American championship, with plenty of defenses under his belt. It would be good to build him up and, more importantly, it would be good for a new title to have its first reign be astoundingly legitimate.
But I think Ricochet’s going to win the big one.
There’s no question that he deserves it, and he’d definitely fit a “fighting champ” mold better than Adam Cole, whose stable is currently in NWO cool heel territory. Plus, it gives the crowd a nice, climactic, just-surprising-enough Takeover: Brooklyn title change, which they’ll sorely need; after all, I think this is the only belt that changes hands.
Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler – Women’s Championship
As far as pure face/heel dynamics go, it’s harder to find a cleaner case in NXT right now than the immensely likable Kairi Sane vs. the grating monster Shayna Baszler. The latter has perfected the fine line between killing everyone on the roster in a cool way and killing everyone on the roster while also being a huge asshole. Sane, on the other hand, has the type of easy, charismatic character that’s easy to latch onto. She’s a pirate! Everybody likes a good pirate.
Unfortunately for Sane, this doesn’t feel like the end of Bazler’s reign of terror. It’s partially just because of timing, but largely because it just seems like Dakota Kai’s destiny to be the one to take the title after all the abuse she’s been put through. The Mae Young Classic could complicate this, but I doubt it will have a huge impact on the NXT title scene.
Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa – NXT Championship
It’s a shame that circumstances surrounding Aleister Black’s injury have forced Ciampa/Gargano into singles competition again so soon. The triple threat really was the perfect way to keep this feud going just a bit longer.
The idea of a double turn is patently ridiculous by virtue of Ciampa being completely irredeemable for a year straight, but Johnny’s newfound dark side is going to be what ultimately costs him this match. It may just be because he goes too far, or explicitly because Black interferes as much as possible, but Nega-Gargano is going to ensure Johnny Wrestling doesn’t get back up. Ciampa may not either – we could have a draw, especially in Last Man Standing – but the certainty is that Gargano doesn’t win the title in Brooklyn.
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