NXT TakeOver: Dallas
April 1, 2016
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
Dallas, Texas

Watch: WWENetwork

Can you believe it has only been three-and-a-half months since the last NXT Takeover event? It feels like three-and-a-half years thanks in large part to the advanced recordings and WWE.com debut announcements for two of this Friday’s major matches. Even if the weekly NXT episodes have been somewhat skippable, NXT Takeover: Dallas has three big title matches, plus an amazing debut that only months ago wasn’t thought to be possible.

Your Voices of Wrestling preview team for Takeover: Dallas…

 

Austin Aries vs. Baron Corbin

Alex Wendland: The outcome of this match really depends on Austin Aries level in the WWE stratosphere. Baron Corbin is an indy killer who hasn’t really killed any indy guys yet. One or two more losses against newcomers and Corbin will become a Tyler Breeze big match punchline. Aries, for his part, hasn’t done a whole lot in the month since his debut was aired. Even if Corbin wins one, Aries is good enough to eat the loss and move on. I’m going with Corbin for the flexibility in booking. Prediction: Baron Corbin

Aaron Bentley: It seems the wrestling bubble has come around on Baron Corbin but I have not joined them on that journey. Despite that, Corbin had a very good match with Samoa Joe at TakeOver: Brooklyn and Austin Aries is in the same stratosphere as Joe when it comes to making opponents look good. Corbin has eaten a lot of big losses of late. If WWE thinks The Lone Wolf has a future, and they apparently do, it’s time for him to get a big win. Though Aries is new to NXT, the crowd will treat him as a big enough deal that a win for Corbin will have some weight. Prediction: Baron Corbin

Taylor Mitchell: It says a lot about how stacked a wrestling card is when there is the potential that Austin Aries could be in the worst match of the night. A-Double was signed to NXT for one reason. When world class talent, Asuka, wrestled the inexperienced Dana Brooke at the previous Takeover show I tweeted that it was the perfect example as to why NXT’s formula of signing talented Internet darlings is a winning concoction to make WWE’s manufactured robots better wrestlers. This match is the male equivalent. A-Double will make Corbin look better than he ever has and Corbin will become better because of it. Corbin wins here as they continue to rebuild him. Prediction: Baron Corbin

Jeff Hawkins: Part of Baron Corbin’s gimmick is killing indy darlings. I think it’s time for a build of Corbin into a main event player again, and it starts here. Austin Aries isn’t full time as yet, and it wouldn’t shock me if they gave him a win, but for prognosticating purposes, I can’t pull the trigger on it. Prediction: Baron Corbin

NXT Tag Team Championship
The Revival © vs. American Alpha

Alex Wendland: The NXT Tag Team Championship match has the potential to steal the show – even on a card with Balor-Joe II and the WWE debut of Shinsuke Nakamura. This still has a chance to steal the night for me, that’s how all-in I am on American Alpha. I’ve been waiting for these two teams to lock up since Takeover: London, and this is really the only build on the card that’s felt earned. The Revival have been a fun team for months, but their match at Roadblock painted them in new colors in terms of match quality. This is going to be a classic NXT tag team firestorm and I can’t wait. I’m picking a title change, but I don’t think Dash and Dawson will be leaving NXT in the near future. Prediction: American Alpha

Aaron Bentley: American Alpha was smoldering hot when they entered the NXT tag team division but their output has diminished of late. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a tried and true formula for matches but Gable needs work playing the face-in-peril. As for The Revival: not to be the wet blanket again, but this team has never done anything for me. I find them to be completely competent and not much more. As hyped as everyone seems to be for the match, I think it’s more than plausible it could be a letdown. That said, after the promotion missed the boat on paying off Enzo and Cass’ road to glory, it’s time to change these titles and American Alpha is an excellent candidate for that change. Prediction: American Alpha

Taylor Mitchell: As a guy who loves tag team wrestling, I couldn’t be more excited about the quality of NXT’s tag team division. This match will be a fantastic clash of the New Age Steiner Brothers vs. the Modern Day Brainbusters. Expect a super hot crowd reaction when American Alpha win their first championships of their careers. Prediction: American Alpha

Jeff Hawkins: I hate that NXT teams either have conceptual names (The Ascension, American Alpha, the Revival) or are generic names (Dash and Dawson, Blake and Murphy). These aren’t team names. Give me an “Express” any day of the week. Nevertheless, I think the team formerly known as the Mechanics have overdelivered as a throwback gimmick, both in the ring and out. Certainly doing more for the titles than Blake and Murphy. That said, it’s coronation time for Jordan and Gable and this crowd is going to lose it. The match is going to be great too, and I couldn’t be more stoked Prediction: American Alpha

Apollo Crews vs. Elias Samson

Alex Wendland: The only way I see this match being truly successful is the use of Chekhov’s Guitar, finally. Elias Samson has been putting on the most cookie-cutter matches across any level of WWE and Apollo Crews has shown just how far he has to go to match the levels of some of the true indy darlings to come into NXT. Johnny Gargano ended Samson’s undefeated run on last week’s NXT so a Crews win wouldn’t be out of place. I think the result of this one will tell a lot about the trajectory of The Drifter character. For the sake of me reviewing NXT every week, and the sake of Elias Samson, I hope I’m right… Prediction: Apollo Crews

Aaron Bentley: I’m on record as saying Eva Marie is a better worker than Samson. Having seen both in person and in way too many TV matches, I stand by that. Apollo Crews, for his part, has certainly been a disappointment in NXT. His work is below par for his reputation and he hasn’t caught on with the crowd. However, when you look at his Cagematch match listing, he’s largely been forced to work with the Samsons and Tye Dillingers of the world, which can’t be a positive in trying to develop Crews into what he needs to be. At TakeOvers, Crews has generally given way too much offense to lesser opponents when he should be squashing these guys. Hopefully, they get it right this time and let Crews move on to working with performers who can help him elevate his game. Prediction: Apollo Crews

Taylor Mitchell: I know I already hyped the card by saying Aries could be on the worst match of the night, but that illustrious award will most likely go to this match. We haven’t seen a wrestler/gimmick in NXT as bad as “The Drifter” since “Mr. Peace, Love, and Don’t Pollute” CJ Parker. Samson is so generic and lame that the most casual of fan will find themselves agreeing with everything heel commentator, Corey Graves, says about him. Apollo Crews is being served with the toughest task of his NXT career by trying to make something out of this match and we can only hope that it won’t hinder his status with the NXT brass. Prediction: Apollo Crews

Jeff Hawkins: Crews redemption or does his rumored “cooling” continues to see what they have with the cleanest drifter known to man, Elias Samson. Guitar shot coming? Possible, but I think they don’t want a Samson win turning people here. Prediction: Apollo Crews

Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Alex Wendland: This is going to be as much of a celebration as it will be a match. A celebration, not only of Shinsuke Nakamura’s much-awaited debut, but a farewell to Sami Zayn’s incredible run in NXT. I don’t think it’s out of place to say that Zayn is the guy associated with the exceptional two year run NXT has had and he deserves the biggest send off NXT’s offered. How’s about a Boma Ye? Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

Aaron Bentley: This is the match I’m most looking forward to this weekend. Nakamura surely feels the need to prove himself to a new audience. Zayn, too, knows the stakes. I expect nothing short of a classic. No matter what, it will be over too soon and anyone who hasn’t wrestled yet will be left wondering how the hell they are supposed to follow it. I miss Sami Zayn in NXT already. Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

Taylor Mitchell: The ultimate dream match that none of us ever knew we wanted, but realized, upon announcement, that we desperately needed. It almost seems awkward to think about these two wrestling because of the distinct paths of their careers and the diversity in their typical opponents that they’ve had. Expect the crowd to be molten hot for this match. The floor for this match is four stars with the ceiling being a blizzard of snowflakes. Both guys know how to make you laugh, cry, and leave you jumping off of your couch. This match will be incredible. Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

Jeff Hawkins: This might be Zayn’s weekend. He might steal the ladder match at Mania. Here, he’s going to earn his worth to the company as the guy who can make anyone look good. I could not be more excited. A nice strong introduction to Shinsuke for the NXT crowd and a show of respect after. Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

NXT Women’s Championship
Bayley © vs. Asuka

Alex Wendland: The Asuka run can’t last forever, but Bayley is in line just behind Zayn for the main roster as far as I’m concerned. Bayley has been an incredible champion and carried the NXT women’s division with pride since October when she became the only Horsewoman left in developmental. Asuka still has a lot of faces left to kick in and the women’s developmental division has the most robust rankings (and midcard) of any title race in the company. It’s time for Bayley to move on. Prediction: Asuka

Aaron Bentley: Though Bayley was not on the same level as Sasha Banks as a wrestler, they told a story that convinced me Bayley could beat her. As of right now, I don’t have any reason to believe Bayley can actually beat Asuka in a wrestling match. Apart from that, it must be time for Bayley to move on. I would rather watch her in NXT matches forever but it’s time to give her a shot on television. Yes, it goes against how NXT has usually seen off its women’s champions but I think it all makes too much sense. Prediction: Asuka

Taylor Mitchell: Asuka is more ready to be the top female wrestler on the main roster than anyone else WWE has to offer. That’s not a knock on the Four Horsewomen, it’s a proper assessment of Asuka’s talent. My opinion, while unpopular, is that Asuka should be the one being promoted to WWE ahead of Bayley. The immediate impact Asuka could make in the WWE Divas Title scene would be bigger for business than Bayley, who would be lost in the shuffle and need more time to build the same connection with the WWE audience that she has worked hard for with the NXT audience. With all of that said, Bayley wins here to continue her reign and Asuka makes the jump to the main roster three days later on Raw: Prediction: Bayley

Jeff Hawkins: I’m probably going to be contrarian here but I don’t see a title change. It wouldn’t shock me, but I’m going with history. In order to make their women seem like a big deal, both Paige and Sasha were introduced as NXT Women’s Champions while holding the belt. My theory is that Bayley is going to win, then challenge Charlotte for whatever the rechristened WWE Women’s Belt will be. It gives her challenger credibility. Asuka can win on the next Takeover or perhaps a tournament might be forthcoming. Prediction: Bayley

NXT Championship
Finn Bálor © vs. Samoa Joe

Alex Wendland: At this point in the preview I realized I have no freaking idea what’s going to happen on this show. The feeling is refreshing and unusual given how absurdly far in advance the lead-in episodes were recorded. Finn Balor isn’t long for NXT, but I think this is the spot to debut the Balor Club and usher in a different kind of Balor. No matter what the three members do on this show they’re going to be cheered, so they won’t heel it up too much, but as they continue in the following weeks they’ll ramp up the smarmyness and essentially become vicious heels. I don’t know where Samoa Joe goes from here, other than the main roster, but Balor isn’t losing on the Balor Club debut. Prediction: Finn Balor

Aaron Bentley: It’s Balor Club time. I have no clue what WWE is planning to do with Finn or Joe with regard to a main roster promotion but it would make a lot of sense to put the title on Joe and let him be the main NXT guy while Balor moves on to RAW. However, it seems unquestioned that Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows will show up here in some capacity so it’s highly unlikely they won’t ensure a Balor win. However NXT debuts Guns and Gallows, it is going to need to be big to outshine what Zayn and Nakamura will surely have already accomplished. Prediction: Finn Balor

Taylor Mitchell: The outcome of this match is completely up in the air. Word on the sheets is that Joe could be making the main roster jump, Bálor could be making the main roster jump with Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows as the WWE version of Bullet Club, or that neither make the jump and stay in NXT through 2016. Who knows? And that’s when wrestling is the most fun. I predict a Bullet Club formation here to give Bálor the win. Joe loses, but debuts on Raw three days later. Prediction: Finn Bálor

Jeff Hawkins: Both guys have been rumored to be making a roster jump post-Mania. Both guys would be great champs. Balor has been a bit more heel-ish of late which is welcome. I think Joe gets the win here, perhaps even debuting Anderson and Gallows to assist Balor as an appetizer for a main roster showing. But a title switch here freshens a lot up. Prediction: Samoa Joe