WWE NXT will be putting on their latest live special this weekend. Seeing as this 33rd TakeOver is happening on Valentine’s Day (Sun., Feb. 14), they’ve given it the subtitle Vengeance Day... a callback to an old Ruthless Aggression Era PPV name that plays on the holiday.
Names aside, the card set to come our way Sunday at 7PM Eastern from the Capital Wrestling Center and exclusively on WWE Network looks to be the usual high quality we’ve come to expect from the black-and-gold brand.
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 NXT-following Cagesiders to give us their thoughts & predictions on each.
Let’s get to it.
WWE NXT TAKEOVER: VENGEANCE DAY PREDICTIONS
Finn Bálor (c) vs. Pete Dunne for the NXT championship
Sean Rueter: Unless you want him to hold onto the belt for a long while (and probably until Karrion Kross either takes it back, unless he skips that step and just goes to the main roster), you strip Finn while he was out for months with a broken face. Now you just hope the Bruiserweight doesn’t break his face again. Pick: Finn Bálor
Kyle Decker: I don’t see any reason for the title to change hands here. I like Pete, but this feud did nothing to make me think he should be champion instead of Finn Bálor, who’s doing a great job right now. Pick: Finn Bálor
Rev. Claire Elizabeth: I’m gonna be totally honest here, I just don’t like the pic of Finn’s broken face we ran the other day. Let the man go home! Pick: Pete Dunne
Stella Cheeks: Topknot Pete Dunne is formidable, don’t get me wrong, but he doesn’t feel like the right guy to take it from Finn. There isn’t a real reason for Dunne to win and Bálor is the man you want with the gold when you don’t have a plan. Pick: Finn Bálor
Henry T. Casey: Both could be king. And the “who faces Edge?” question feels like a misdirect. Kross is headed towards this title, and NXT tells us he is? Sorry Peter. Pick: Finn Bálor
Toni Storm vs. Io Shirai (c) vs. Mercedes Martinez for the Women’s title
Sean Rueter: Ahhh, a Triple Threat. They’ve played up Io & Toni’s history so much, I feel like that’s the feud coming out of this match. Does it need the belt? Or do they kick each other’s asses so badly it allows a savvy veteran to steal a pin - and hold a WWE title before she transitions into gatekeeper and player/coach roles? I don’t think it needs the belt. Pick: Mercedes Martinez
Kyle Decker: Unless they want to move Io to the main roster suddenly, and there isn’t any indication or reason they’d want to right now, they should keep her as champion. I think both Toni or Mercedes would be great choices to hold the gold, but I think whoever does beat Io (and it’ll be Raquel), they should do it in a one on one match. Pick: Io Shirai
Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Oh how I’d love to see Mercedes Martinez get a title reign... but I feel like Toni Storm has been hovering over the title for ages, and 250-ish days feels about right for Io’s title reign, based completely on me going to Wiki and looking at the list of champions to eyeball it. Pick: Toni Storm
Stella Cheeks: Io has been a FANTASTIC champion, but it does feel like she’s held the title for a long time. Both of her competitors would make excellent champions. My heart says Mercedes. My brain says it’s Toni Time. Pick: Toni Storm
Henry T. Casey: Toni pinning Mercedes and then defending against Io on TV feels like something I can see. Pick: Toni Storm
Kushida vs. Johnny Gargano (c) the NXT North American championship
Sean Rueter: The comeuppance Johnny got last Wednesday makes me think he’ll have a better scheme to get the last laugh this weekend. But I don’t think it’ll be the last laugh... just a way to extend this until the next TakeOver and crown Kushida then. Pick: Johnny Gargano
Kyle Decker: Until yesterday, Kushida as my easy pick. But then on the go-home show, Kushida once again got the better of Johnny Wrestling, something he seems to do every week. Maybe that’s hinting at Gargano retaining. However, I think Kushida would be more hurt from the win than Gargano, who is pretty bullet proof right now. If he can handle losing to Leon Ruff, he’ll have no problem losing to Kushida. Pick: Kushida
Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Give the man the ALLCAPS he deserves and let him kick Johnny’s face in until he remembers how to be the WWN Icon again. Pick: KUSHIDA
Stella Cheeks: Johnny Gargano is a chump. Pick: Kushida
Henry T. Casey: Kushida’s already tapped into his violent side. A loss now would not be what he needs, and we get the picture that Trips loves that Kush. Pick: KUSHIDA
Grizzled Young Veterans vs. MSK in the finals of the Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Tournament
Sean Rueter: Zack Gibson & James Drake were bridesmaids last year, and another showcase match for Wes Lee & Nash Carter should cement them as fan faves regardless of whether they win or lose. Soon to be recognized as Dusty’s #1... Pick: Grizzled Young Veterans
Kyle Decker: The one factor that’s making this a tougher pick for me is the fact that the winners face the champs - and those champs are Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch. The Grizzled Young Vets feel like the team likely to win this, but I’m not at all interested in a heel vs. heel tag bout between the champs and GYV. And I don’t think the titles are going to change hands prior to the winner getting their title match. Because of that, I’m going to go against my gut and pick the newcomers. Pick: MSK
Rev. Claire Elizabeth: As the cranky member of the panel familiar with these guys from the indies who doesn’t watch NXT TV, I would like to take a moment to complain about the NXT name generator once again. Thank you. Anyway, the Vets are fine but Zack Gibson is better as a solo act, and
Scarlet & Graves the Rascals MSK do that sweet shooting star spot where Dez Wes shoves Wentz Nash over for the impact... Pick: MSK
Stella Cheeks: From the moment MSK made their NXT debut they have had a rocket strapped to their backs. Winning the Dusty Cup is their moon landing. Time to plant that flag boys! Pick: MSK
Henry T. Casey: So the GYV and MSK could both use this to cement themselves. MSK makes sense for the match against The Brand, but GYV could use it more to make them an NXT team and not just an NXT UK team. But the latter could be accomplished with more time on TV. Pick: MSK
Raquel González & Dakota Kai vs. Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon in the finals of the Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Tournament
Sean Rueter: Ember’s WWE gimmick finally makes sense as the running buddy of a tank-riding, wolf-howling maniac. Who’d a thunk it? I guess Triple H & team. Anyway, something or things will be done to protect González, but plans for her go far beyond the tag division. Eclipses and sentons it is. Pick: Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon
Kyle Decker: Raquel González barely loses. Sure, Dakota can take the pin, but I think she wins here too. And unlike the men, I think it may be awhile before we see them face the Women’s tag champs, who are off doing their own thing on Raw. Pick: Raquel González & Dakota Kai
Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Shotzi! Shotzi! Shotzi! Pick: Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart
Stella Cheeks: The duo of Shotzi & Ember is just so wildly delightful and full of rock-n-roll talent that I can’t even formulate a real answer. They are cool and I want to ride in their tank! Be my friend!! Pick: Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon
Henry T. Casey: Winners face main roster talent? Something tells me they want to give Shotzi and Ember that rub, and use a loss to split Kai and González. Pick: Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon
That's who we've got. Who are you taking, Cagesiders?