NXT TakeOver: New York
Friday, April 5
Brooklyn, New York
Meet our Previewers
- Ricardo Gallegos: If my anxiety allows me to survive the New York underground transportation system, you’ll be able to find me losing my mind for Dunne vs. WALTER inside the Barclays Center. If I don’t make it, you can remember me with this and other sweet Wrestlemania Weekend 2019 previews. Follow me on Twitter @TheUnderwally.
- Lee Malone: I love nothing more than an NXT Takeover preview where I can wildly speculate on what is going to happen and gets things very wrong. Follow me on Twitter @Malone_713 and my WCW Thunder podcast @WCWThunderPod.
WWE UNITED KINGDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
PETE DUNNE (c) vs. WALTER
Ricardo: The best, most simple build of the entire weekend of WWE action that will likely deliver the Match of the Weekend. You just have to look at the contract signing of last week’s NXT UK TV show to get your blood pumping for Dunne vs. WALTER. We are looking at two wrestlers that have done nothing but deliver incredible matches in the last couple of years, both huge stars in Europe whose brief interactions in TV have been electric. NXT UK has done a great job of presenting WALTER as the killer he is and I’m sure he will end Pete Dunne’s 675+ days title reign.
The only thing that kind of worries me is that nobody seems to be paying attention to NXT UK so that could hamper the crowd’s involvement in this match, but Dunne is already a huge star and the Barclays Center is going to be hot as a volcano during the entirety of the show; and even if some fans are not interested in NXT UK, I’m sure they will be screaming their heart out after a couple of minutes of this dream European battle. Prediction: WALTER.
Lee: This is a match between two of my favorite wrestlers of the modern era that I have been lucky to see live multiple times. Both guys consistently deliver when a big-time performance is expected and this match will be no different. I have no doubt that the crowd will be well aware of who both these men are and just what to expect.
Pete’s reign as WWE UK Champion has been epic in length if not always full of epic in-ring performances. The moment WALTER showed up in NXT UK for the first time at the end of the awful Pete Dunne vs Joe Coffey match at Takeover Blackpool we all knew this was the match to build to and I’m happy it’s happening on the biggest stage possible and not on a UK Takeover. This match could potentially be not only the best on this show but if given enough time and freedom it could just be the best match of the weekend and a very fitting end to Dunne’s record-breaking run reign. Prediction: WALTER
NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
SHAYNA BASZLER (C) VS. IO SHIRAI VS. KAIRI SANE VS. BIANCA BELAIR
Ricardo: Takeover after Takeover we speculate on when will Shayna go to the main roster. Right now, she’s my favorite female wrestler on Earth so I don’t want her to go to the creative wasteland, but with the impulse of having women main eventing WrestleMania, WWE could reach at the chance of boosting the female roster and no one is more prepared than Shayna to accomplish that task. And a Fatal 4 Way is a perfect way to take the title away from Shayna while protecting her.
Who could win this match? Bianca is still claiming to be ‘undefeated’ and a title win would push that little gimmick, she showed great fire at NXT Takeover: Phoenix but also a lot of inexperience and that’s why I don’t think she would be the right choice. By giving the title to either Io or Kairi you could push for a singles feud between those two that would lead to awesome matches. You can’t go wrong for either Io and Kairi, but I’m picking the latter just because she’s more established with NXT crowds. As for the match, I expect this to be very good and fast paced with the occasional hiccup: we’ll see how much Bianca has progressed in this tough environment. Prediction: Kairi Sane.
Lee: Ok I’m just going to say it, I’m worried that this match could be a mess. It’s not that I think any of the participants are bad because they are not, I just have this feeling that all four might not click together. If this match is planned out in advance spot for spot like we know they have done in the past and something goes slightly wrong, will they be able to keep calm and adapt on the fly?
My worries aside, the time is now to get the NXT Women’s Title off of Shayna and the big question becomes which challenger is the right choice to dethrone the Queen of Spades. I would immediately eliminate Belair from contention as despite her undoubted talent she is not yet ready to lead the division as champion. So it comes down to a straight choice between the two former Stardom ladies in Io and Kairi. Kairi has already been NXT Women’s champion and is very very popular with NXT crowds however I’d like to see Io get the biggest win of her fledgling NXT career and really become the focus of the NXT Women’s division. Fresh feuds with Kairi, Blair, Candice LeRae and even Rhea Ripley post WrestleMania could really freshen things up. Prediction: Io Shirai
NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
WAR RAIDERS (HANSON & ROWE) (C) VS. RICOCHET & ALEISTER BLACK
Ricardo: A couple of years ago, I was a huge fan of Hanson and Rowe but now I feel like all of their matches are the same, their appeal has worn off and I fear that, if they get called up, they will quickly get lost in the shuffle. I do not understand why Ricochet and Aleister Black are a tag team and I don’t find their mix too interesting, so I’m not invested in them winning the titles. However, Ricochet is a magician and he will bump like a madman for the War Raiders’ offense and I’m sure it will be very entertaining seeing all these four men delivering a fun match, even though I do not care a single bit about the outcome.
Since Black and Ricochet are semi-regulars on the main roster, it wouldn’t make sense to give them the NXT Tag Titles. Despite my lack of interest for them, I think the War Raiders should – and will – remain champions. Prediction: War Raiders.
Lee: This is a match filled with gringey gimmicks and Ricochet. It’s also a match with one of the best thrown together tag teams of all time and a team that have always delivered on the big stage. Say what you will about the War Raiders Viking cosplay, it is over and it doesn’t hold them back from having great matches. They are the perfect NXT team and I hope for their sakes they never get called up because all that awaits them is a main event feud with Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins.
Thrown together as they are Black & Ricochet have developed quite the chemistry. I can’t put my finger on it but they just work as a duo. That said I don’t think the result is in any doubt as already Black & Ricochet are regulars on Raw & Smackdown Live. While the match feels designed just to get Black & Ricochet on the card, it will still be an awesome match. This doesn’t need to go to long and be a classic traditional style tag match, give us a ten-minute sprint and it just might be the best tag team match we will see all year. Prediction: The War Raiders
NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP
THE VELVETEEN DREAM (C) VS. MATT RIDDLE
Ricardo: Velveteen is an electric star that oozes charisma in everything he does; he’s constantly upping his game and improves every time I see him inside the squared circle. I have no doubt that he will have a banger of a match with Riddle, who we know can deliver any day of the week. By Velveteen Dream’s high promo standards, the build of this match has not been great, heck, even the Twitter banter has been pretty lame.
I think having Velveteen as a secondary champion is a good spot for him right now and Riddle should be pushed to the main event. However, I can see the exact same opposite happening, with Riddle holding this title for some months, feuding with midcard talent such Dijak or Lee for a bit while Velveteen goes on to main event for the NXT title. Prediction: Velveteen Dream
Lee: I am going to disagree with Ricardo slightly. The North American Title has never really had an identity or a reason to exist. Putting the title on Riddle and allowing him to spend the next 12 months having hard-hitting wars with guys like Keith Lee, Dominic Dijakovic, Punishment Martinez and Danny Burch among others seems like the perfect way to differentiate the North American Title from the NXT Title.
Dream winning the belt from Johnny Gargano back in February felt more like a right place right time situation than the culmination of his journey to a championship in NXT. Although, I think this match could, in fact, be Dream’s last NXT match as I have a sneaking suspicion that he will be called up to RAW or SmackDown Live post WrestleMania. I’m not quite sure what exactly to expect from this match but both men are capable of producing something special and neither will want to disappoint in the biggest match of both of their careers so far. Prediction: Matt Riddle
NXT CHAMPIONSHIP, 2-OUT-OF-3 FALLS MATCH
ADAM COLE VS. JOHNNY GARGANO
Ricardo: I guess the original plan was to have yet another Gargano-Ciampa match, this time to close the circle and probably put Johnny as the main champion of NXT but Ciampa got injured again. Adam Cole defeated Riddle, Dream, Ricochet and Black in a tremendous match in NXT TV to earn this shot and soon later the 2-out-of-3 falls stipulation was added. During the build-up, it bothered me that after months of having to endure the melodramatic ‘WHAT HAVE I DONE’ persona, Johnny is a babyface again. Why did we even have to go through that phase?
This match is a guarantee. Johnny Gargano is one of the most consistent performers on the planet and Cole has shown numerous times he can deliver in big-time matches like this. The crowd might be exhausted at this point of the show, but I’m sure that won’t stop them from screaming their hearts out for the two most popular stars of the yellow brand.
I’m finding a bit difficult to predict this outcome. Johnny has never won a match in Barclays Center and as mentioned above, it seems like he was set to finally vanquish his demons against Ciampa and close the circle. Some recent rumors suggest that he might go to 205 Live, but I refuse to believe them, so I still think Johnny will win here and the Undisputed Era will finally move to the main roster: for months I’ve felt that NXT’s creative team has been stalling for time with them. And a ‘Raw After Mania’ debut for Adam Cole and his lackeys would be the perfect way to introduce them. Prediction: Johnny Gargano
Lee: Make no mistake about it, this match is going to be awesome. Honestly, the floor on this match is ****½ and I think I am being slightly conservative with that expectation. This will be one of the most talked about matches not only coming out of this weekend but also when the year-end polls come around.
Adam Cole has a reputation for picking his moments and not going all out unless absolutely necessary. Well, this is the moment he’s been waiting for his whole career for and you know that he’s going to deliver. He’s delivered in War Games (twice), he’s delivered at Takeover New Orleans last year in the ladder match and he’s delivered against Aleister Black at Takeover Philadelphia. We may as well call him The Mailman because he’s proven time and again that he will deliver.
Johnny Gargano….His story in NXT is well known. This was to be his big redeeming moment but sadly Tomasso Ciampa had to have major neck surgery and the #DIY story will never get the ending it deserved. After a soft call up to Raw and Smackdown Live similar to Black & Ricochet where does this leave Gargano’s future? If not main roster bound is 205 Live a real possibility?
WWE has done the best they could with the little bit of TV time to build this match in place of the Gargano Ciampa blow off so I commend them for that. This was to be Johnny’s moment and it still can be. Cole and the rest of The Undisputed Era have done all they can in NXT and Gargano will need fresh opponents post Takeover, so The Undisputed Era getting moved to the main roster seems the logical thing to do. This is a must-see match of the weekend. Prediction: Johnny Gargano