Here we are, on the precipice of one of the most loaded cards in NXT history. You know that a card is stacked when you can legitimately make an argument for 3 different matches to be the main event and finish the show. I don’t know if it will have the magic of the crowds in London or Brooklyn from last year, I expect this to be a hot crowd. Let’s run down the card and I’ll give my predictions. I’m listing the matches in the order that I think that we may see them, but it’s an effort in futility with 3 title matches, and the other 2 matches featuring NXT debuts.
Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura
This is Shinsuke’s NXT debut, and this guy has been just as hyped, if not more than KENTA (Hideo Itami). Now Itami came in at a bad time and got lost in the shuffle prior to his injury. I’m inclined to speculate that this will not be the case for Shinsuke. This dude looks incredibly charismatic, and that will go a long way if he has any in ring talent. Look no further than Finn Balor and how charisma can take you far. This match on many other cards would have a legit claim to the main event as this is Sami’s last NXT match (I think that is a fair assumption), and this is Shinsuke’s debut. Sami Zayn has meant more to NXT than most, if not any wrestler there so far. I’d say Bayley, Enzo, and Cass, and that’s really the list. I’d put Sami at #1. This match matters. Sami will do the job, and really sell the hell out of Shinsuke’s offense. They could go a cheap route and have Kevin Owens interfere to get one last promotion for the IC title match, but I assume Zayn just does a clean job.
Baron Corbin vs. Austin Aries
I will admit a few things right now. I think Austin is more entertaining that AJ Styles, who I really love. I really like Austin, but I don’t know how over he will get in NXT. I hope this works out fine for him. The next thing I have to say may shock and appall. Aside from Enzo and Cass, Baron Corbin is probably my favorite in NXT, along with Asuka. That’s twice I have referenced Enzo and Cass, yet no match? Baron is going to be money in about 5 years, if not sooner. He has made huge strides in all facets of his overall presentation. The thing is, he shouldn’t win this match. As a matter of fact, I would have Baron lose via DQ and prolong this feud. Like he is on the verge of losing, so he uses a chair or something, and then lays down another vicious beat down. Austin is money as well, but I wish this was 5 years ago. Still, he has a chance to be great, but I think he will be more Neville than Rollins on the main roster.
Winner: Austin Aries
American Alpha vs The Revival for the Tag Team Championship
Man, I don’t know what the right call is. How long can American Alpha ride this wave of popularity? Do you pull the trigger to ride the wave, or do you allow the Revival to keep on bringing back and old school way of tag team wrestling? Ideally, I think I would have involved Enzo and Cass and made this a 3 way dance. When the hell are they getting moved to the main roster? They have been great at every NXT Takeover, plus Roadblock in March. I cannot tell you how livid I will be if Enzo and Cass are poorly booked when called up. They are a nice mix of the New Age Outlaws, and the short lived HBK & Diesel teams. I don’t foresee The Revival getting a call up until Fall at the soonest, unless there is a roster split, and even then, I have my doubts. I think you put it on American Alpha, ride the wave. WWE doesn’t strike when the iron is hot way too often, and it is really idiotic. Fandango anybody? Daniel Bryan and CM Punk and Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens and Wade Barrett and Bray Wyatt and Rusev all come to mind in various instances. Oh, and of course, The Ascension. If I was booking, I’d give the belts to AA, but I don’t think that they are going to have all 3 titles change hands, and because WWE misses the boat way too often, I can’t see them making the better call, and I love watching The Revival, make no mistake about it.
Winners: The Revival
Bayley vs. Asuka for the Women’s Championship
I love Bayley, and she should be an instant hit on the main roster, when they finally pull the trigger. She has grown so much as a performer. Looking back, the Brooklyn match with Sasha last year, may have been the most important match of the year. Bayley belongs, and she should sell merchandise like crazy to the kids and adult males who may be Bronies. So I have nothing but love, respect, and admiration for Bayley. With that being said, Asuka’s gonna kill her. Asuka is the first legit female bad ass since Karma’s run. Asuka is better than the 4 horsewomen (Sasha, Charlotte, Becky, and Bayley), better than Paige, the Bellas, and even my girls Emma and Alicia. Asuka is legit, she just needs to cut back on working too stiff. Both girls have great entrance songs too, which is very important. The only way Asuka doesn’t win is if there is interference. Also, can they fire Nia Jax? I hate to be totally mean, but she is actually worse than Eva Marie, and Eva looks better, and gets a crowd response. Nia just doesn’t have it. She’s a poor man’s Tamina. Ouch. If American Alpha wins, I expect some fuckery in this match, but I feel that Bayley is getting called up in late spring or early summer. They may hold off til Brooklyn though. There is no reason to rush the Charlotte, Becky, and Sasha story line, and maybe involve Paige. As much as I want to see Bayley up on main roster, no sense in rushing it when there aren’t many girls who are ready in NXT. They have Asuka, Alexa Bliss, Emma, and then a second tier of Dana and Eva, then everybody else, then Nia Jax.
Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship
I think one of these guys will be up on the main roster by the end of April. The loser of this match probably debuts the night after Mania. The question is, who makes more sense? I would actually bring Joe up sooner to get as much mileage out of him as he is older. Finn is the more popular choice. Come on though, AJ vs. Joe. Joe vs Owens or Zayn or Neville or Bray or Dean or Roman or Cena or Rusev or Sheamus or Orton. Yeah, Joe should get called up, and I do like Finn, but he is held back a bit in the ring I feel by WWE style. Finn needs a memorable call up, and now is not the time in my opinion. Finn vs Shinsuke, Itome, Baron, Aries, and hopefully Apollo all work well for me at the moment. I’m thinking logically. My prediction sadly goes the opposite route. By the way, another match of 2 of the best NXT entrance theme songs.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Also, is Elias Sampson taking on Apollo? I Thought that would be tossed on the show, but according to wwe.com, that’s a no go.
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