NXT, WWE's Developmental flagship-turned-competing brand, will be putting on their latest live special tomorrow (Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016). And there expanding on a concept they’ve used for WrestleMania and SummerSlam (and apparently will continue to use regularly) to bring us a pre-Survivor Series event. TakeOver: Toronto comes our way from the Air Canada Centre and at 8PM Eastern exclusively on WWE Network.
Set for the card: A pair of title rematches, as Shinsuke Nakamura defends the NXT championship against the man he defeated for it, Samoa Joe, and tag champs The Revival try to keep their belts and somehow top the classic match they had in Brooklyn with #DIY, as Dash & Dawson and Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano battle in a two-out-of-three falls affair. And since Asuka cleared out the women’s division, General Manager William Regal brought in WWE legend Mickie James to fight for her title.
We’ll also be treated to the finals of the second Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, as Authors of Pain try to continue their dominant run by beating TM-61 for the Cup without manager Paul Ellering, who’ll be suspended above the ring in a shark cage. And in the only bout on the card without hardware on the line, Bobby Roode faces Tye Dillinger for bragging rights as NXT’s top Canadian.
If you're new or someone who only checks out NXT for the live specials, we've got previews of the matches coming up for you between now and belltime. Right now, 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: Toronto PREDICTIONS
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Samoa Joe
Sean Rueter: NXT’s mandate on live specials is to deliver in-ring action so good it makes their ‘smart’ fans forget there’s not a lot of suspense about the outcomes. Their answer in 2016 has been to load up these cards with wrestlers so talented that’s pretty easy to accomplish. Case in point, Joe is “guy most likely to be a surprise Rumble entrant” and Nak is probably champ until at least Mania. But knowing that doesn’t make me less excited to see them stiff the crap out of each other again. Oh yeah... Pick: Nakamura
Kyle Decker: At this point, as long as Nakamura is in NXT, he's champ. At least until they definitely decide to call him up and he drops the title prior. Until then, he'll be working to fill the role Bálor did for the better part of a year. The real question is what happens to Joe when he's unsuccessful. Is there a chance he's finally called up? Pick: Nakamura
ReverendKain: I have one request for this match, gentlemen. The fire you've shown in your brawls and even before your last match? Keep that going the whole time. I know you can do it, guys. Anyway, with a steel cage rematch already lined up it's tempting to go for the shock title change, but NXT is usually better than that. Shinsuke all the way. Pick: Nakamura
Stella Cheeks: This is mostly because I am in love with pissed off Nakamura. Anyone that can channel their anger into furious intro dancing is certainly my champion! Plus I think it's time for Joe to go to the main roster. I do hope everyone is alive afterwards... Pick: Nakamura
TMadeBurner: I love Joe. I love everything about him right now. But truly, it's just not anyone else's time with the NXT title right now other than Shinsuke. Pick: Nakamura by pinfall
Andrew Swift: Joe's skillset would work very well for Monday Night Raw. Expect a debut at the Royal Rumble, maybe? Pick: Nakamura
Asuka vs. Mickie James
Sean Rueter: Perhaps the most “dream match”y bout in the history of a brand built on them... We’ve got very little to go on here other than each woman’s reputation. Again, however, that points to good things. So it doesn’t matter too much that the result is all-but a foregone conclusion. Pick: Asuka
Kyle Decker: Really pumped for this match but the ending is not in question. Luckily there are things to watch for. Will Asuka go psycho heel at the end? Will Mickie use her old peppy WWE music or something more along the Hardcore Country vibe? If we look closely enough, we will see Magnus at ringside? There's plenty to wonder about, but the outcome really isn't one of them. Pick: Asuka
ReverendKain: Mickie James has stayed busy in her time away from WWE and is undoubtedly in fine ring shape but Asuka has been such a force of dominance that betting against her feels like a fool's game. I'd love to see Mickie take the title and hold it while the next champion makes her way to standing out of the pack, but I gotta bet on the house here. Pick: Asuka
Stella Cheeks: So excited for Mickie James to be back, but then she had to share her opinion about the Joey Styles debacle, so needless to say I can't wait to watch Asuka kick her head clear off her body. Pick: Asuka
TMadeBurner: Missed the era that Mickie James operated in and I've yet to foster much of a connection to Asuka so this is a match that rings a bit hollow for me in terms of personal investment. Much like the men, I can't envision the champ not retaining. Pick: Asuka taps Mickie out, holds on to the choke too long, Ember comes out.
Andrew Swift: The question here isn't whether Asuka wins, it's whether she stays face or not. If she turns heel (as some speculation has hinted at), Ember Moon seems to be the one to dethrone The Empress of Tomorrow. If she stays face, that opens the door for either Nikki Cross or The Icons. Pick: Asuka
The Revival vs. #DIY
Sean Rueter: Here’s where things start to get interesting, while also being another example of “match should be so good I don’t care about the result”. Another loss for Ciampa & Gargano probably triggers a break-up, and I think it’s too soon for that. Plus, I want Dash & Dawson to show up on Raw in a month or so and launch their main roster run by ending New Day’s record-setting title reign at 480 or so days. Pick: #DIY
Kyle Decker: The tag teams are where it starts to get dicey for me when it comes predicting. I think either the Revival wins and TM61 becomes the number one contender after winning the Dusty or DIY wins and then have to face off against the AoP, who win the Dusty. I think the eventual plan is for the AoP to win the titles and I think they'll do that at the expense of DIY, who win on Saturday. Pick: #DIY
ReverendKain: Now that my indie boys are full time, nothing's stopping 'em from taking out my other boys. Except for maybe the fact that they have legs. That's always a sticking point when you face the Revival, folks. The real winner is us, the fans, but I have to pick for this here gimmick and I'm going with one of the men responsible for bringing me to this dance and his slightly unhinged buddy. Pick: #DIY
Stella Cheeks: My heart says #DIY, my brain says Revival. We all know Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa are going to be a part of the cruiser weights soon so it doesn't make sense to give them the nxt tag belts. Revival is great though, not my demographic (wink), but they are great champs - win/win. This match is gonna be a barn burner! Pick: Dash & Dawson
TMadeBurner: Going to make a bold proclamation and say this match tops the Brooklyn match, which was my favorite tag match in YEARS. I thought we were going to be kinda/sorta fast tracked to a #DIY split but they've really meshed well as a tag team and crowds are super behind them. Revival (They'll always be the Orlando Wrecking Crew in my heart...) are seemingly their perfect counterparts, both in personality and ring work. I could probably gush at length about this match up but nobody is here for that. Pick: #DIY
Andrew Swift: It's time for some Top Guys in the big leagues. Pick: #DIY
Authors of Pain vs. TM-61
Sean Rueter: If the tag title match goes to the heels, flip my pick here. Otherwise, I think Shane Thorne & Nick Miller are probably just as well off with a valiant loss as a win, whereas Ellering’s destroyers can’t lose and keep the same mystique. Pick: Authors of Pain
Kyle Decker: The AoP are monsters and winning the Dusty can help cement them as the unstoppable force. While I can see a face team winning the Dusty again, I don't think that needs to be the case. If only good guys win the tournament, it'll become a spoiler. Pick: Authors of Pain
ReverendKain: Just judging by the way monsters seem to go in NXT, the Authors will get this win here and stop short of the titles next time. But also TM-61 still feel like you walked up to a man and said "one tag team please" and he gave you plain white box labeled "tag team" and you open it and there's a perfectly acceptable tag team there, that suits your purposes and nothing more. Pick: Authors of Pain
Stella Cheeks: WWE love to push their homegrown talent, & they are giant men who love to crush tiny men. Also have you ever realize that Nick from TM-61 has the same name as Nick from New Girl? Crazy right? For those two reasons... Pick: Authors of Pain
TMadeBurner: Whoo doggie do I not really care much about this one. Ellering in a cage above the ring... or not? I'm not real sure and whether he is or not really doesn't play into anything for me. It feels forced, like they desperately needed to add some heat to the match. Pick: TM-61 wins because the mighty don't kneel.
Andrew Swift: The Aussie babyfaces need a signature moment to launch themselves, as they still don't quite seem to be connecting. Pick: TM-61
Tye Dillinger vs. Bobby Roode
Sean Rueter: Like TM-61, Tye can afford a loss here more than the high-profile bad guy. The fans are behind him for the same reasons they were behind Sami Zayn, Daniel Bryan or his mentor Dusty Rhodes, and that doesn’t require wins, baby. Pick: Bobby Roode
Kyle Decker: While I can see Roode winning and becoming number one contender for Nak's title, Tye should win this. There's potential for Tye to be a major player in NXT and he'll need a marquee feud win to get there. Roode won't be harmed by a loss here and Tye could greatly benefit from it. Pick: Tye Dillinger
ReverendKain: Roode's a tough opponent. Even just considering his two reigns as a world heavyweight champion, he's got Dillinger outclassed. But Tye's got a higher power on his side if you will, daddy. He's doing it for the Dream, and that means gettin' a W and heading to the pay window. Pick: Tye Dillinger
Stella Cheeks: Mmmmm I love this match up. Roode has been established, has gotten some good wins, everyone is over for him, BUT every one loves Tye. Dillinger is the Perfect 10 that always lost until recently, abd not only has he been wronged by Roode, but this is the perfect opportunity for him to reestablish himself as the winner a Perfect 10 should be. Pick: Tye Dillinger
TMadeBurner: After the Perfect 10 video package I desperately want Tye to pick up the W here. He's been a great replacement for that Tyler Breeze type of midcard guy NXT gets over so well and let's them just sort of have fun and fall into a character. Alas, Perfect 10 isn't going to be quite so glorious this weekend. Pick: Bobby Roode
Andrew Swift: The Glorious One could be a good filler feud for Nakamura in January while a stronger heel is built up to take the championship. Pick: Bobby Roode
That's who we've got. Who are you taking, Cagesiders?