NXT, WWE's Developmental flagship-turned-competing brand, will be putting on the biggest show in their history this weekend (Saturday, August 22, 2015) at Barclays Center in New York, New York. The two-hour TakeOver: Brooklyn airs at 9PM Eastern exclusively on WWE Network
Set for the card: Finn Bálor defends his NXT title against former champ Kevin Owens, Sasha Banks puts hers on the line against frequent contender Bayley, and much, much more!
If you're new or just getting back in to what many feel is the best wrestling show WWE produces week-in and week-out, we've got previews of what each of the matches on the card coming up for you later today. And, we've assembled a motley crew of Cagesiders who watch & love NXT to give us their thoughts & predictions on each.
Let's get to it.
WWE NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn PREDICTIONS
Finn Bálor vs. Kevin Owens
Sean Rueter: Really, really want to find some fantasy booking or story thread that would justify a KO pick here. He's utilized so much better on this show/brand, I want him to stay as their top heel for the next couple of years, at least. Unfortunately, everything I "know" from the business-side of things says that's not happening. Pick: Finn Balor
KDidz: Despite Owens' big push having cooled down on the main stage, he's a main roster fixture now. While KO can pull double duty, I doubt that Finn is going to drop the title after his big title win in Japan. C'mon. Losing the first title match after a big, emotional title win? Who is he? Sami Zayn? (sigh) Pick: Finn Balor
ReverendKain: This one might be the toughest of the night to predict, despite how obvious the outcome has seemed. Logic dictates that the main roster guy must lose, but Kev's main roster arc has sent him crashing to ground again-- where I was dead sure he'd be defending his US Championship against Cena (and/or Cesaro and Rusev) the next night at SummerSlam, now he's relegated to "hot opener" against Cesaro, and so maybe this Summer of Owens was an aberration and he'll be picking up right where he left off, to headline Takeover: Final Battle against Samoa Joe. But the Demon is still undefeated, and you can't unspill milk, so I've got Balor winning in what will hopefully be an excellent show of Owens' mastery of the ladder match. Pick: Finn Balor
TMadeBurner: I'm going to keep this one short and sweet. The Owens promo on the go home was great. Finn's part in the go home was awesome. They're going to put on a great match and Balor is going to retain his NXT Championship because Owens is on the main roster now. Pick: Finn Balor
Vidence: Kevin Owens is done in Florida. His family has moved back home to Canada, his Titantron background no longer has the NXT graphic, he's up full time in WWE, and this is merely his final battle in NXT, after he buried Full Sail six feet under on Wednesday. Finn Balor is the guy they see as the face of NXT now. Pick: Finn Balor
Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
Sean Rueter: Expected to watch this one in full on smark mode. As high as I am on The Hugster, my adoration for all things Boss makes it pretty impossible to root against the reigning Women's champ. But then Sasha did her best Kevin Owens, Bayles channeled her inner Mick Foley, and I'm with Izzy. We'll probably spend Sunday morning debating if this was as good as NXT''s best women's matches, and I'll probably end up deciding it doesn't matter since it was all about the story. And Bayley's moment. Pick: Bayley
KDidz: This one is pretty cut and dry for me. Bayley and Sasha have an awesome match (because of course), Bayley claws her way to victory, she is overcome with emotion and maybe, just maybe there's a Curtain Call with the NXT 4. And I definitely end up getting misty throughout the entire ending. Pick: Bayley
ReverendKain: I mean, c'mon. Sasha's the best woman on the roster overall, and in a vaccuum, she can hold the title for as long as she likes. But a loss here, at this point in her story, makes even the boldest hugger a chump. It does feel at least a little possible, since it's not like the Bayley gimmick is a main roster slam dunk, and maybe they use a loss here to shift her into a different role, but I gotta assume she's winning this one. Pick: Bayley
TMadeBurner: This match. This @#$%#@^ match. It had to end with this match. There was no other way for the story of Bayley to end other than this match. I'm not going to lie, as much as I've enjoyed the matches for Bay's redemption tour it's felt off a bit to me. Then the go home show happened and I'm back to full bore fired up to watch this one go down. Funny how great segments can do that right before a big match.
I expect a great match because there's no reason not to with these two and Bayley is going to realize her dream and become THE NEW NXT WOMEN'S CHAMPION!!
Vidence: With Bayley's settling all family business redemption arc over the past few weeks, including victories over Emma, Charlotte, and then finally Becky Lynch, I can't see any result other than Bayley finally accomplishing the girlhood dream. On Saturday, she will become the standard bearer for this next generation of NXT women trying to live up to the lofty expectations created by the herself and the other Four Horsewomen by defeating the final Horsewoman that stands in her way. Pick: Bayley
Blake & Murphy vs. The Vaudevillains
Sean Rueter: The fact that Aiden English & Simon Gotch have parleyed their upset of Enzo & Cass into TWO title shots doesn't change my belief that they're just killing time before the rest of the division is established. The kayfabe victory will be when their lady friend smacks down Ms. Bliss, but Barbie and The Australian One retain. Pick: BAMF
KDidz: I really love what Alexa Bliss has been doing as the heel manager of Blake and Murphy. However, given all the talk of the Vaudevillians finding a neutralizer, I think it's finally the time they crown new tag team champions. It's still surprising that it's Gotch/English and not the Realest Guys Enzo/Cass getting a title shot, so I'm going to throw in a special added prediction. I bet Enzo, Big Cass, and Carmella debut on Raw the following Monday. Pick: The Vaudevillains
ReverendKain: The 'villains have some great equalizer (my money's on Nia Jax making her debut as an old-timey strong-woman), but Alexa Bliss is on fire and this really should be Enzo and Cass's match in the first place. Or Gable and Jordan's, for that matter. Pick: Blake and Murphy
TMadeBurner: I may be flogged but I don't care all that much about this one. Alexa has been great, I thought Gotch and English both did really good work on the go home show. I just don't really care, I thought it was going to be Zo and Cass.
Match'll be good, Blue Pants will probably come out in pantaloons or a girdle or something. I think BAMF retain because if anything Alexa is too good to take the titles off of right now.
Vidence: This one is pretty tough. On the one hand, I think WWE really likes Alexa Bliss (as they should, she's a supernova of a star) and thus might be less than inclined to take the titles off her boys, but given the angle of someone "containing" the evil pixie to even the odds at Takeover, it would be surprising if that assistance isn't enough to allow the Vaudevillains take the tag team championships. Pick: Vaudevillains
Tyler Breeze vs. Jushin "Thunder" Liger
Sean Rueter: Even at his age, Liger losses in the States usually only come to a promotion's top acts. And I'm officially worried that the Duke of Delish is stuck at one rung down the ladder from that status. Will they try to protect him with an Itami appearance or maybe even an equalizing appearance by a New Japan legend like the current NXT champ? That's my guess, since it would set up his next, upper mid-card move. Pick Jushin "Thunder" Liger
KDidz: While I am looking forward to the women's match the most, this has me the most curious. Liger in a WWE ring? That's just awesome. From what I have seen of Liger when he shows up at ROH here and there (and I'm not a huge ROH follower so I could be wrong) it seems like when a title isn't on the line, Liger goes over. I have a feeling the same will be here. Breeze will look good, but Jushin Liger gets the win. The only thing that upsets me about all of this is we haven't heard Breeze refer to Liger as "Justin." Pick: Jushin "Thunder" Liger
ReverendKain: 50 year old Jushin Liger coming to teach WWE-only cats that age is just a number in pro wrestling when he does his cannonball off the NXT ring apron! But seriously, Liger does spot shows in the US all the time, and he's almost always there to put a guy over. Awesome match, Breeze picks up a quality win, and hopefully we start a tradition of guest stars wrestling at NXT specials. Pick: Tyler Breeze
TMadeBurner: I am honest to goodness still pretty shocked we're getting Liger in the WWE and against the Duke of Delish no less. I think I've got the vapors. Tyler's promo work hits all the right notes for me so I've enjoyed the build and been fairly impressed with the way Breeze has been able to carry the whole thing on his own.
I might be shooting for the moon here but I expect a great match out of these two. I think this is the one and only WWE match Liger will ever have and it's Breeze's chance to try to cement himself as that kind of early to mid 90s Shawn Michaels of NXT where he really can steal the show from the bigger names atop a card. I admittedly may be going overboard, but I think Tyler has become a really great wrestler.
BREEZUS wins with a Beauty Shot after a stellar match.
Vidence: While Jushin Liger does often win in the states, at fifty years old, he tends to put over the cream of the crop type talent he faces, like Jay Lethal at Supercard of Honor this year or Adam Cole at War of the Worlds last year. This seems like a similar scenario. While Itami should be coming back soon enough, it makes sense to have Tyler Breeze be the next challenger for the NXT Championship, and a win against a legend (and uggo) like Jushin Liger should be a big statement win to put him in that position. Pick: Tyler Breeze
Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin
Sean Rueter: We'll know more about Joe's future in WWE after this one. Happen to think they still need him for at least the rest of the year in NXT's main event scene, and as long as The Lone Wolf proves he can work a five-plus minute match as a heel, he comes out of this one a winner. Pick: Samoa Joe
KDidz: Normally I'd say this is definitely Joe doing the job for Corbin, but part of me wonders if they have bigger things in mind for Joe now instead of Corbin. And with an open title picture after Owens leaves, the Samoan Submission Machine would slot in well. That all being said, I feel NXT is still really high on Corbin and the Lone Wolf does get the win here, possibly by some nefarious means now that he's heel. Pick: Baron Corbin
ReverendKain: Joe needs momentum. Corbin needs a challenge. This ain't the first Baron Corbin match I've felt would go about 12 minutes and surprise the world with how good it was, but I think this time's the charm. Totally expect the Lone Wolf to bring a devastating post-match beatdown if it goes the way I expect it to, too. Pick: Samoa Joe
TMadeBurner: If you asked me about this match even last week, after Joe choked Corbin out, I'd have been less than enthused for it. But after this week and Corbin just losing his mind? Oh ya. I can dig it.
I keep asking myself if Joe really would need a win here or does Corbin? And if they're going to keep Corbin on NXT he needs to look like a legitimate threat and while I know he's got W's over Rhyno and all those, ehem, other guys he needs a statement. We get a nice 8-10 brawl, Corbin hits End of Days again for the 1-2-3.
Vidence: I'm going out on a limb here and say that Samoa Joe picks up the win. Unless they're planning to call Samoa Joe up to the main roster and he goes out on his back, it seems strange to already have him lose, and Corbin has not shown nearly enough thus far to be elevated to the top of the card at NXT if they're planning to keep running these large arenas. Whereas Joe could be the type of guy at the forefront of NXT in its role as an alternative brand along with Balor, Itami, and Breeze. Pick: Samoa Joe
Apollo Crews debuts
Sean Rueter: Watching for two things here...(1) What's Crews' character? Will he get some talking time, or are we just rolling with the hype videos we've seen and a win where he gets to hit his big moves? (2) How much offense will Tye Dillinger get in on the future star? The Perfect 10 gimmick could be more than a jobber-to-the-stars, at least in the NXT Universe. But if he follows up his win over jobber-to-the-stars Solomon Crowe by not getting anything done here, I question if he'll ever get the chance. Pick: Apollo Crews
KDidz: Yeah, it's going to be Crews. Pick: Apollo Crews
ReverendKain: Oh man. This is a real tossup. "Incredibly muscled specimen with amazing high flying abilities" vs. "very good wrestler who made the mistake of being Colt Cabana's friend in HHH's promotion". Immovable object vs. unstoppable force, this ain't. The main point of interest here for me is seeing what they do for Apollo's music, honestly. U! HAA! U! HAA! Pick: Apollo Crews
TMadeBurner: Yeah, Crews is debuting! Awww, it's against Dillinger. Of course Crews wins, probably squashes NXT's Perfect Ten. I just hope this doesn't necessarily lead Tye down the path of The Moonchild because I really like him in ring and the gimmick is fun reminds me of Prince Pretty.
Vidence: Apollo is not losing his debut match. The former Uhaa Nation with the Apollo Combination. Pick: Apollo Crews
That's who we've got. Who are you taking, Cagesiders?