NXT, WWE's Developmental flagship-turned-stand alone brand, will be putting on their latest live special tomorrow (Fri., April 5, 2019). This time, they’re in familiar Brooklyn environs, but they’re calling their pre-WrestleMania 35 live event... TakeOver: New York.
The card comes our way from Barclays Center at 7PM Eastern, exclusively on WWE Network. It will feature five matches, and five titles will be on the line.
If you're new or someone who only checks out NXT for the live specials, we've got a full preview 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: New York PREDICTIONS
Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole in a 2-out-of-3 falls match for the vacant NXT title
Sean Rueter: We know they had to improvise to get to this match. Will they try to stick to whatever plan they had for what lies beyond, at least as best they can? I’m thinking maybe not, if only because there are tons of babyfaces for a heel champ to face. There’s only established main event heel on television might already be in this match. Pick: Adam Cole
Kyle Decker: It’s tough to predict a match that was put together last minute. If Ciampa didn’t have to get surgery, I’d pick Gargano with high confidence. In that sense, they could just go with the plan they had. But they may want to make Gargano chase the man he eventually wins it from. I say he’s been chasing enough and Johnny Wrestling wins it here. Pick: Johnny Gargano
Rev. Claire Elizabeth: I really want Johnny to lose and move on to the main roster here, but given that he disappeared from Raw and SmackDown the second Ciampa had to go on the shelf I don’t think that’s happening. I dig this match though, because right as I was starting to pay attention to the indies, Gargano and Cole were the two guys I knew I had to look out for because they had been heavily scouted by WWE for some time, so finally seeing them meet (in an Evolve 4 rematch!) for a major title on pay-per-view is cool as hell. So, Cole picks up the first fall, heroic babyface Johnny Wrestling fights from behind, Bob’s your uncle and the WWN Icon and longest-reigning DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate Champion adds the yellow brand’s belt to his legacy. Pick: Johnny Gargano
Stella Cheeks (of the always awesome NYD podcast, and Cageside social media maven): Someone needs to fill the giant gap that Ciampa left and that someone has to have capital C charisma. Hate to say it, but without Ciampa to fuel is fire, Johnny Wrestling is Johnny Boring. Adam Cole, on the other hand, is dripping in charisma and who doesn’t love a heel champ? Pick: Adam Cole BAY BAY
Henry T. Casey: I’m a bit torn, because both have the same reasons for why they should win. A top title win is the missing notch in their belts (aka their time in NXT), and they’re both champs to build the division around. But because Cole’s buddies Kool Kyle, Righteous Roddy and Babe-ish Bobby aren’t in a title hunt themselves (I feel like they’re all gonna win at once, when they do), it’s not Cole’s time to takeover NXT. Pick: Johnny Gargano
WALTER vs. Pete Dunne (c) for the United Kingdom title
Sean Rueter: If we knew when (or if) there will be another UK TakeOver, I’d say hold off. We don’t, and they need to something big with this spotlight to make more of those happen. Pick: WALTER
Kyle Decker: Do they pull the trigger on a show that’s technically a different promotion? I don’t think so. I think Dunne wins here and WALTER wins on the next UK TakeOver. Pick: Peter Dunne
Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Pete Dunne has been champion for over 680 days. Don’t you think he looks tired? Pick: WALTER
Stella Cheeks: This show is still a thing? Pick: WALTER?
Henry T. Casey: Pete’s been the man WWE built its UK territory around, and symbolized the reason to sign with Trips. Maybe it’s not time for him to leave NXT UK just yet (maybe it is, I can’t tell), but this “story” has gone on long enough. So, to paraphrase MF DOOM: Remember all caps when you spell the new champ’s name. Pick: WALTER
Matt Riddle vs. Velveteen Dream (c) for the North American championship
Sean Rueter: More than almost any match on the card, this one feels like the old “loser’s in line for a call-up” approach. And I really don’t know who that should be. Both men have the tools to succeed at the next level if the creative is there and, well, you know how that goes. Taking that out of the equation, The Purple One has proven pretty loss proof and his tenure probably earns him a shot at a bigger belt (a shot he probably should have taken with his Worlds Collide win? But whatevs). Pick: Matt Riddle
Kyle Decker: Feed me this match while I lounge on a couch rolled around by two women. That’s how much I’m here for it. Dream can use a marquee TakeOver win and the undefeated streak becomes an albatross in NXT. Pick: Velveteen Dream
Rev. Claire Elizabeth: I would also like to lounge on a couch attended by two women, please. Can we get a group rate? How does this work? Anyway, I’m torn. After Johnny Gargano’s one-day reign (going by taping dates), it feels silly to hot potato the title barely two months later but like, dang I want our Bro to have some gold around his waist. In the end I’m going with my mark feelings and... Pick: Matt Riddle
Stella Cheeks: BROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, is there even a choice bro? Pick: Matt Riddle
Henry T. Casey: Matt Riddle, who is probably the future of NXT and then the future of WWE, is not losing cleanly for a very long time, and Dream isn’t in cheater mode, or even near it. Pick: Matt Riddle
Io Shirai vs. Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Bianca Belair for the NXT Women’s title
Sean Rueter: Is it going to be a good weekend to be a Queen? I don’t see why not. And since this will be no DQ, look for the lesser Horsewomen to get involved, protecting the losers and leaving everyone’s options open for the road to San Jose. Pick: Shayna Baszler
Kyle Decker: The numbers usually favor the champ in these situations. But it may be time to bring Shayna up to the main roster. She can lose the title here and they can continue an Io Shirai/Bianca Belair feud for the title from here. Pick: Io Shirai
Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Valid choices all, but I think the move here is a (relatively) short reign for Shirai while Bianca chases and picks the title up sometime in the late spring or at the SummerSlam weekend TakeOver at latest. Pick: Io Shirai
Stella Cheeks: The women’s division in NXT, while FULL of talent has gotten a little stale storyline wise. Shayna has been a great champ, but we need to mix it up. Plus, I think Shayna will be moved to the main roster sooner rather than later since 4HW vs 4HW is on the horizon. I think Io picks up the win, but Bianca remains unpinned and the Bianca/Io feud continues. Meanwhile, Kairi goes on a pirate hunt or whatever...idk, what pirates do. Pick: Io Shirai
Henry T. Casey: There is no story here, really. Just three contenders who will get in each other’s way. Pick: Shayna Baszler
War Raiders (c) vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet for the NXT Tag Team championship
Sean Rueter: THIS is the one where “loser’s in line for a call-up” most applies, because one team’s already been called up. NXT has a history of delivering thrilling tag matches even when the outcome is pretty clear, though, so I’m still optimistic. But I don’t think I’ll be surprised. Pick: War Raiders
Kyle Decker: Black and Ricochet are a main roster act. I can’t imagine them winning the gold here. Should be a great match, though. Pick: War Raiders
Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Literally Al and Ric have a match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship the next day. I honestly wouldn’t be shocked if this runs less than ten minutes to make Hanson and Rowe look dominant and preserve our challengers for some big WrestleMania spots. Pick: War Raiders
Stella Cheeks: Remember when the Dusty Classic meant something? Black & Chet (cute right?) are on the main roster now. Why on EARTH would they win. Plus, I think multiple other titles are going to change. We need one to stay where it is. Pick: War Raiders
Henry T. Casey: Triple H’s tattooed sons will show up to Mania, two days later, with their wrestling refractory periods completed and the NXT titles in hand, to win again and prove that they’re the best. Hell, at this point, unite all the Men’s tag titles on Raw on Monday. It’s good enough for the Women’s Division, right? Pick: Blackochet
That's who we've got. Who are you taking, Cagesiders?