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NXT TakeOver: New York preview - A more disjointed affair

NXT is back tomorrow (Apr. 5) with TakeOver: New York, emanating from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, with their WrestleMania weekend TakeOver show. (Aren’t they all at this point?) We’ve already made our predictions and you can find those here.

Now it’s time to look at the card. We’ll run down the matches, discuss the main roster implications, and then for a little fun, make an outrageous prediction that won’t happen. This TakeOver fells just a bit out of sorts. Let’s discuss that for a bit.

Relative to other TakeOvers, this one feels disjointed and a bit underwhelming

This show has a pretty great lineup, but it feels disjointed and comes with a splash of disappointment.

We were supposed to get the culmination of the Tommaso Ciampa/Johnny Gargano feud at this show. That story had been in the works for well over a year, has taken twists and turns, and was finally set to pay off in Barclays Center. It was meant to be the culmination of the feud and likely the match where Gargano finally won the NXT championship.

But that didn’t come to pass. Tommaso’s lingering neck injury caught up to him, and there was no waiting any longer. He had to undergo spinal fusion and the match was off.

Forced to call an audible, they came up with Adam Cole against Johnny Gargano for the vacant title two out of three falls. I can’t imagine them coming up with a better match. No doubt they’re going to kill it and there’s a good chance that we get Johnny Wrestling’s championship moment. It will be good. But it could have been so much better. And that hurts.

When the main event is thrown together last minute, it’s going to reverberate down the card.

The women’s championship match is a Fatal 4-way, which will surely deliver but lacks the drama of one woman standing against Shayna Baszler and trying to take her title. More often than not, Fatal 4-ways are tools to delay a bigger story. This would have not been an issue with the big Ciampa/Gargano story working as the anchor of the show. However, after the change, the fatal 4-way doesn’t have any emotional hook to pick up the slack for the men’s title match.

The tag team championship match is Ricochet & Aleister Black challenging against the War Raiders. It should be a great match, but there’s little drama in the finish given Black and Ric are working the main roster. I also wonder if this was the original plan or if they went this way because WWE opted to work Black and Ricochet as a team on the main roster. Did they put them in the Dusty to lend credence to the ragtag team?

Then they have a title from another promotion defended as WATER challenges Pete Dunne for the NXT UK championship. Again, like all the others, it will probably be a great match. But it’s not a match that people who don’t watch NXT UK know anything about.

The North American title match doesn’t have any issues. It’s great and we’ll talk about it in a bit.

No doubt this will be an enjoyable show. I feel I need to reiterate that. TakeOvers are almost always good. Each match has a chance to be great in a vacuum. But as a show, flowing from one bout to another, this feels disjointed. The main event that had to be decided last minute because the one they spent so long building couldn’t happen. The women’s match doesn’t have the heat to pick up the slack. The tag title match contains little drama.

This will still be a good show worth your time. But in regards to the build, the hype is lacking compared to their usual.

OK, now let’s look at the card itself:

Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole in a two out of three falls for the NXT championship

When Ciampa had to relinquish the NXT title, Triple H had to figure out a new main event for TakeOver: New York.

Since Johnny was already in it, he didn’t have to compete for the spot. The other spot was decided in a fatal 5-way between Adam Cole, Ricochet, Aleister Black, Matt Riddle, and Velveteen Dream. Cole picked up the win.

The following week, both Cole and Gargano stood face to face in the middle of the ring and made their claims to the top prize. Johnny painted himself as the underdog and framed Cole as a chosen talent. He claimed winning was his destiny.

Adam Cole doesn’t care about Johnny’s destiny. He has the Undisputed ERA in his corner and he is not afraid to use them to achieve his goal.

Main Roster Implications:

At one point, Johnny Gargano was one of the NXT guys brought to the main roster to freshen things up. He teamed with Ciampa before Tommaso’s neck injury. If he doesn’t win here, it’s entirely possible they start to use him on the main roster. However I think he will win the title so his future is likely still on Wednesdays.

As for Adam Cole, he’s gotta be a package deal with the Undisputed ERA and it feels like their run in NXT is not yet over.

Outrageous Prediction:

This goes into the third fall with both men having gone to war. It looks like Gargano is going to fire up and win, but suddenly Cole kicks him in the leg and his him with the... Fairy Tale ending?! 1-2-3. Adam Cole is champion,.

But it’s not Adam Cole! It’s Tommaso Ciampa wearing an Adam Cole match this whole time! It was all a ruse to mess with Johnny! Scooby Doo ending, bay bay!

...sigh, I wish. Get better soon, Ciampa.

Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Kairi Sane vs. Io Shirai vs. Bianca Belair for the NXT Women’s championship

Shayna Baszler has been in the title scene a year now. She hasn’t held the title the whole time, but when she wasn’t champion, she was challenger.

Most recently, she fended off Bianca Belair at TakeOver: Phoenix with the help of Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir. Because of lingering issues with the champ, Belair teamed with Io Shirai and Kairi Sane (who have also had plenty of issues with Shayna and company). In that match, Io Shirai pinned the champion.

Pinning the champion usually means getting a crack at the title, but Belair wasn’t ready to stand aside. Because of both women’s claim to the title, they were booked against each other in a number one contenders match. Easy peasy, right?

It would have been if Shayna didn’t decide to be dumb and interrupt that match. Because of that foolish move, William Regal booked her in this 4-way instead.

Main Roster Implications:

If Shayna loses, she’s going to the main roster. She’s definitely ready for it. Kairi Sane has already been champion, and she can head to the main roster at any time. However, since she’s also an occasional tag partner with Io Shirai, she’ll likely stick around for that. Bianca Belair likely will spend more time in NXT, especially because she’s still rather new to wrestling.

Outrageous Prediction:

Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir betray Shayna Baszler and align with the EST of NXT to help Belair win the title. Why? Because they’re tired living in her shadow? Because they know she plans on leaving them to the main roster? It doesn’t matter. We can deal with that later. But this frees up Baszler to move to the main roster and gives Duke and Shafir a similar role. Belair totally doesn’t need them, but that’s why it’s a good heel move.

Velveteen Dream (c) vs. Matt Riddle for the North American championship

Buckle up, folks! Because this should be a blast.

Velveteen Dream won the North American from Johnny Gargano on NXT TV. Weeks later, when he was standing literally in a spotlight, he was interrupted by Matt Riddle who just wanted a closer look at the title. And when he had that, he realized how good it’d look around his waist.

Both men were in the fatal 5-way, and because of how they mixed it up in there, William Regal opted to put them in a match one on one for TakeOver.

Last week, Riddle had a tune up match against Kona Reeves and Velveteen Dream interrupted him in the best possible way. Dream was rolled out in a couch with his music playing. To get some manner of revenge later, Riddle drank out of Dream’s chalice. That’s not some sex euphemism... maybe.

This is probably the match I’m looking forward to the most on this card.

Main Roster Implications:

I could see both men being added to the main roster soon, but it’d be a bit surprising. Velveteen Dream has been waiting awhile for it. Riddle would be a quick call up, but he’s so good I could see him not spending too much time in NXT. So it’s possible, but not likely to happen in the near future.

Nor do I want it to happen. I have no faith in how on the main roster would portray Dream’s character. And I worry Riddle would get lost in the fray with all the other NXT callups recently that still haven’t done much of anything. (Read: EC3.)

Outrageous Prediction:

This fight will spill out of the ring and onto Dreams purple coach and they will fight on it as the two women push them around. A spotlight will follow the couch. It will be slightly less ridiculous than when Becky, Charlotte, and Ronda all got arrested.

War Raiders (c) vs. Ricochet and Aleister Black for the tag team championships

The new team of Ric and Black, formed on the main roster after Ciampa went down with injury, entered the Dusty Classic. Perhaps this was to prove they had the mettle to be a legit tag team.

They defeated the UK team of Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel in the first round. They then defeated the team of #DIY (though Gargano faked an injury to screw with Ciampa so they got an assist there). In the finals, they defeated the Forgotten Sons.

Winning the Dusty Classic earned them the right to face the War Raiders for the titles in Brooklyn.

Main Roster Implications:

I think the better question is to wonder the NXT implications of this match. Blackochet is a main roster duo. They’ve got a tag team title match at WrestleMania. This could very well be their last match ever in NXT.

Outrageous Prediction:

Black & Ricochet win the titles at TakeOver and then win the SmackDown tag titles at WrestleMania. Then on the Raw after WrestleMania, they are granted a tag match against the Revival and win those titles two, holding three sets of tag titles at the same time. They struggle to figure out how to carry all the hardware down to the ring.

Pete Dunne (c) vs. WALTER for the NXT UK title

I’m going to hand this over to my man Henry T. Casey who is a bit more versed in the British side of NXT than I am and then I’ll pick it up for the prediction &main roster implications:

Pete Dunne’s quietly made history as the United Kingdom champion, and done it so long that nobody has felt like a relevant title contender. Nobody, that is, until WALTER’s giant, ALL-CAPS Austrian body strolled into TakeOver: Blackpool. Until then, it seemed like Dunne would hold the title until the end of time, after having won the title in Chicago his first TakeOver PPV in a show-stealer against Tyler Bate.

This new story is simple. Dunne is the best, WALTER’s obliterated every carbon-based life form in front of him, gaining interest from all around and giving Peter a true test.

In the meta context, though, this match is a major turning point for everything NXT UK. Dunne has done a whole lot for WWE’s European aspirations, becoming a worldwide-known name with a serious push from the company. With Pete Dunne, WWE’s been able to show young, aspiring talent that the NXT UK brand is where to go to become a star. While Dunne was great the second he walked into the United Kingdom Championship Tournament specials, his stock rose faster than you can say “Bruiserweight,” with WWE signaling that he’s their guy.

WALTER’s been a huge name on the indies, but his seemingly simple style will be put to the test on this TakeOver stage. Whether or not he feels a need to prove himself in this opportunity is unknown, but Dunne operates like there’s always a chip on his shoulder and this brings him a chance to follow up one US TakeOver classic with another. This match is one of many that will look to steal the show, but its stars likely have more to gain than any others on the card. Even in an especially jaw-dropping loss, Dunne could arrive on the main roster with the full force of WWE’s support on his back, and in a similarly strong win, WALTER will get the keys to the NXT UK castle, and help build the developing brand.

Main Roster Implications:

I can’t imagine either of these guys are main roster bound any time soon. WALTER just arrived on the scene and Dunne is their lynchpin. With NXT UK still in its infancy as a weekly product, they need Dunne. But I do look forward to the day that we see the Bruiserweight on the main roster.

Outrageous Prediction:

We somehow learn that it’s actually meant to be written as Walter but he accidentally left the cap locks on his computer one time and decided to just run with it. He will reveal this in an emotional speech after he comes up just short but earns the love of the crowd.

NXT TakeOver: New York airs tomorrow (Apr. 5) on the WWE Network at 7 pm ET.

Let us know what match you’re looking forward to and let us know your outrageous predictions below!

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