• NXT TakeOver: Chicago Preview and Predictions

    We like NXT again.

    Giving their thoughts and predictions on what to expect from the PPV are members of the site @JoeyOnEarth, @TimWelcomed and @TomBlargh.

    Roderick Strong vs. Eric Young

    Joey:

    The Roderick Strong videos on NXT have made me more invested in him than I ever was during his indie career. Still, this doesn’t seem like a very exciting matchup on paper. I’m sure they will do fine opening the show, but I would have much rather witnessed Kassius Ohno/Andrade Almas, a Drew Galloway match or Aleister Black meditating in this spot.

    Interest Level: 7/10
    Prediction: Roderick Strong wins.

    Tim:

    I’ve always been a fan of Roderick Strong as an in-ring talent but he has always been either bland or unlikable outside of his wrestling skills. The recent mini-docs they’ve aired for him have been super helpful. I’m not the biggest Eric Young fan but he can be a solid hand in a match. I have actually grown to really like the whole Sanity aesthetic and how they all carry themselves. WWE is on the verge of having too many “edgelord” characters but Sanity is the most fun for me to watch right now. Eric Young is a fine mouthpiece for the group but probably the least entertaining to watch wrestle. I don’t know how these two will mesh but I have hope Roddy can kick it into third gear and show off a bit. At the very least I am interested in seeing how it turns out.

    Interest Level: 5/10
    Prediction: Eric Young wins.

    Tom:

    So, I’m going to level with you right here – I’ve not been keeping up with NXT TV at all, so I haven’t seen the hot Roddy video packages which have apparently been very good and given him much needed character. As a result, I’m not that excited for this! I do like that SAnitY’s entrance has pretend helicopters though.

    Interest Level: 5/10
    Prediction: Roderick Strong wins.

    Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne for the WWE UK Championship

    Joey:

    Aside from Mark Andrews, these are the main two wrestlers from the WWE United Kingdom tournament that stood out to me. I’m so glad they are putting this match on TakeOver. I don’t watch PROGRESS (sorry not sorry) so as far as I’m concerned, Tyler Bate is still pissed off that Pete Dunne tried to injure him!!! The match should be awesome and I hope it adds some momentum to whatever the WWE UK project is.

    Interest Level: 9/10
    Prediction: Tyler Bate wins.

    Tim:

    As The Last Real Wrestling Critic I find it not only necessary but an essential part of life to watch every bit of wrestling possible. Now, I am not here to gloat but I have watched a considerable amount of Progress… especially when compared to my two friends here. Please don’t hold it against them, this is just life for me. These two are incredibly young and bright. Pete Dunne is a wonderful character that WWE handled very well at the U.K. Tournament. Tyler Bate is very entertaining to watch wrestle and I feel like he was a great babyface pick to win the tournament for the belt. I think handing it over to Dunne here is the right choice. Dunne just sticks out way more than Bate at this juncture. I have no doubt this match will be a great time and am looking forward to it.

    Interest Level: 8/10
    Prediction: Pete Dunne wins.

    Tom:

    I like these two a lot and I have watched at least three (3) Progress shows so I consider myself a VERY big fan (though not enough to do the silly all caps thing for their name). It’ll be interesting to see how they’re received in Chicago, given all the UK stuff has been treated sort of weirdly so far. I think it’ll be a good match, albeit not everyone’s cup of tea (TEA, BECAUSE THEY’RE BRITISH). I think Pete Dunne’s a great character and his interactions with Regal have been golden, so I’d like to see him win the belt and become a more persistent thorn in Big William’s side.

    Interest Level: 8/10
    Prediction: Pete Dunne wins.

    Authors of Pain vs. DIY in a Ladder Match for the NXT Tag Team Championship

    Joey:

    DIY have given us a classic match at the past few TakeOver shows and it’s hard to imagine them dropping the ball in a Ladder Match. I’m not sure how to feel about Authors of Pain as a team yet but they definitely have superb chemistry with Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. You have to bet on them once again stealing the show considering the ladders usually improve already great match combinations.

    Interest Level: 10/10
    Prediction: DIY wins.

    Tim:

    This is the night where DIY can step up to show they can be just as brilliant without The Revival in the opposing corner and where Authors of Pain will have to step up to the plate without the convenience of two great teams who are known for exceptional storytelling in their matches working around them. Authors of Pain played their part great in the last match against DIY and The Revival but this is a ladder match against just one other team. I am very excited to see how this one goes and I doubt Gargano and Ciampa let me down here.If Authors of Pain step it up I think we’ll have another NXT Takeover where the tag team division steals the show. Oh, I also think this is where we get the Ciampa turn. That sucks!

    Interest Level: 8/10
    Prediction: Authors of Pain win. Ciampa turns on Gargano.

    Tom:

    I badly underestimated their WrestleMania match and, even though this one doesn’t have the benefit of The Revival for them to play off of, I’m still expecting great things from this. DIY work exceptionally hard and while the Authors of Pain are still learning, they’re perfect big guys for Ciampa and Gargano to bounce off of in a ladder match. Ciampa’s injury is a bit of a worry, but I’m still hoping for something special.

    Interest Level: 9/10
    Prediction: Authors of Pain win.

    Asuka vs. Nikki Cross vs. Ruby Riot for the NXT Women’s Championship

    Joey:

    Ruby Riot is my favorite addition to the NXT women’s division in quite some time. She instantly became my favorite when she dived (or …dived?) off the stage onto Nikki Cross. I’ve been enjoying their feud and adding Asuka to the mix is obviously great stuff. I have very high hopes for this being the best NXT women’s match since Bayley left.

    Interest Level: 10/10
    Prediction: Asuka wins.

    Tim:

    NXT has been so much better since Wrestlemania weekend. Look no further than the Nikki Cross/Ruby Riot feud. I would be hyped just for a Takeover one-on-one but they upped it and added Asuka. I would bet Asuka retains here and will eventually lose it to Ember Moon at the Summerslam weekend Takeover. Either way, this has everything needed to make a memorable match.

    Interest Level: 8/10
    Prediction: Asuka wins.

    Tom:

    I haven’t been watching NXT TV so my exposure to Ruby Riot has been minimal, but both she and Nikki Cross seem like really strong, interesting new characters that deserve to be in title matches. I think the story of Asuka being the arrogant champion who demands competition is great stuff, and placing her in multi-woman matches before they come back to another Ember Moon singles match is a fun way to keep that run going. So yeah! Should be a good time.

    Interest Level: 9/10
    Prediction: Asuka wins.

    Bobby Roode vs. Hideo Itami for the NXT Championship

    Joey:

    I didn’t realize how much I missed Hideo Itami until he returned. Itami’s match with Roderick Strong was pretty good and I hope he is getting back to where he was before the injuries sidelined him. Bobby Roode desperately needed a new opponent and Itami at least adds intrigue of a first time match.

    Dear Chicago fans: Please don’t ruin the moment of Itami hitting the GTS.

    Interest Level: 8/10
    Prediction: Bobby Roode wins.

    Tim:

    I will always have a soft spot for Hideo Itami. This is his moment to finally shine in NXT and I really do have confidence that he will bring his best. What is his best in 2017? I just don’t know but I am very anxious to find out. After all of the unfortunate setbacks he has had since arriving I am very glad he is in this position. Bobby Roode isn’t everyone’s favorite type of wrestler but I personally think he is very good. I enjoy his work but I do think his style is meant more for the main roster than an NXT main event. It never goes over well for various reasons but I don’t really put the blame on him specifically. If Itami brings it and they don’t keep this match too long I think we will have the best Bobby Roode NXT main event yet. Yeah, yeah, yeah… “wouldn’t be that hard to do.” Good one.

    Interest Level: 7/10
    Prediction: Bobby Roode wins.

    Tom:

    I sincerely hope things work out for Hideo Itami because it’s depressing how many setbacks he’s had since joining WWE, especially since all his NXT contemporaries are big parts of the main shows now. I still enjoy Roode and I think he’ll be a good opponent for Itami, though it doesn’t seem time for a title switch. This whole card is a good one, but it does feel very much like a TakeOver B-show, in terms of my expectations for the core dynamic switching up. Speaking of which, why no Ohno or McIntyre on the show? That’s weird, right? Maybe it’s explained on NXT TV, what a shame I don’t watch it.

    Interest Level: 7/10
    Prediction: Roode wins.