NXT has less than a month until its next TakeOver live event, so we were expecting their taping held at Full Sail last night (Dec. 3) to give us most if not all of the card for their Sat., Jan. 26 show in Phoenix on the eve of Royal Rumble. And we probably know what’s happening, but there was a conspicuous lack of formal announcements in the arena.what went down in the arena was
Here’s the card for next year in Talking Stick Resort Arena, as it stands based on Thursday night’s spoilers (get them in full here):
- Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Bianca Belair for the NXT Women’s championship
No changes here, just some standard build with The EST cutting a promo vowing to win the title and having a confrontation with the champ & her sidekicks, I want to say Jessica and Mary? (NXT Future Star of the Year nominees Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir).
- Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Aleister Black for the NXT championship
Things got even more complicated around this story on Thursday night, but it looks like the title match will remain one-on-one. Johnny Gargano is definitely still involved but not aligned with either side (although maybe a little more aligned with his former tag partner than his wife would like?). It looks like Gargano will have a match of his own in Phoenix...
Those remain the only officially booked bouts, but possible directions for another three seem pretty clear:
- Undisputed ERA (c) vs. War Raiders for the NXT Tag Team titles
This seems the most set in stone of any of the non-announced trio. Hanson & Rowe returned for the first time since WarGames 2 to run off Undisputed when they were beating down EC3 after his match with Adam Cole. Considering their win in the main event of the last TakeOver moved them to the front of the line for another shot at Roderick Strong & Kyle O’Reilly’s belts, this was always gonna happen as soon as the Raiders were healthy.
- Johnny Gargano vs. Ricochet (c) for the North American championship; possibly also involving Velveteen Dream & Bobby Fish/Adam Cole
This is the match Ciampa wants Johnny Badass to have, and Ricochet is willing to fight that fight (and did on and off through the tapings). But the One And Only’s old rival Dream also said he wants a piece of this action. And Cole interrupted him with Fish at his side, continuing to promote a 2019 that will see the ERA dripping with gold.
- Kassius Ohno vs. Matt Riddle; possibly also involving Keith Lee
As we saw on the episode that aired on Jan. 2, issues between Ohno & Riddle are far from over. The King of Bros buddy Lee got mixed up in things via a match with KO that ended with Riddle showing up to run Kassius off.
Whether those last two end up being one-on-ones or multi-man affairs, that would do it. There was also a pairing of Io Shirai & Kairi Sane which might not mean anything, but if talk of the new Women’s Tag titles covering the black-and-yellow brand in addition to the red & blue is true, could mean something interesting, if not for this TakeOver, than future ones.
Let us know what you think - about what we know and what’s still unanswered - below.