NXT Tag Team Championship
The Revival (c) vs. American Alpha
Two duos who get a lot of wrestling fans fired up with finally go two-on-two with the top pairs prize in NXT on the line.
The Road to TakeOver
A major theme for this show, the 10th live event and ninth branded as TakeOver, is showdowns between acts which don't have much history of direct confrontation. It's been something to which some fans, this writer included, have needed to adjust. Raised on a steady diet of matches and rematches from the main roster, NXT's concentrated effort to keep what distance between the players in what they see as big money programs feels weird.
The strategy should pay off tonight (April 1) in Texas, however, and this tag title match should be a prime example.
Our champions have spent most of the time since the last live event feuding with the team who challenged them in London. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady are conspicuously absent from this show - fueling the latest in several months worth of speculation they're main roster bound - but they've been a thorn in Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson's side almost the entire five months they've held the belts. As was the case on the main roster special Roadblock, the Realest Guys were never able to beat the Revival, but they kept them occupied.
While that was going on Chad Gable & Jason Jordan have been on a tear. There was buzz about Gable, a former Olympian, from the time he signed with WWE, and that only grew during his roll-out in vignettes where he slowly convinced collegiate standout Jordan to partner with him. By the time the hit the United Kingdom in December, fans were all the way onboard, and American Alpha has become one of the hottest acts in tag wrestling, for any company.
This showdown has been fantasy booked by viewers since Dash & Dawson won the belts, and once Gable & Jordan were turned babyface, it's been the only story the tag scene has focused on (even as the champs were finishing up with Enzo & Cass, and American Alpha earned their title shot by beating Vaudevillains in a #1 contender match).
A video package (it's above, watch it, it's great) established the challengers as men on the cusp of achieving a dream that's long alluded them - Gable didn't medal at the London games, and Jordan fell short of a NCAA title - and both squads got a warm-up match on the 'go home' show.
What's at Stake?
American Alpha's future seems secure, win or lose. Their rise points to a win here, but you never know with NXT's tag division. Nobody would have guessed Dash & Dawson, Blake & Murphy and Aiden English & Simon Gotch would be champs while Zo & Cass never captured gold.
But even a loss will be seen as a temporary setback, and likely only increase their popularity as long as they deliver in the ring. And Gable & Jordan are pretty much incapable of not delivering in the ring.
The Revival's position seems more precarious. Their 70s and 80s-style heel work has not gotten over with everyone, and even their biggest supporters worry about what would happen to them on the main roster - if they ever got the call. The track record for former tag champs isn't stellar, either, as their predecessors have all either gotten called up and got lost, or become enhancement acts within NXT.
There's very little chance this won't be a fun match, and that we haven't seen American Alpha's technical mastery collide with the Revival's efficient brutality gives it a chance to steal the show, even on as loaded a card as this one.