Sunday, October 4, WWE presents NXT TakeOver 31.
Kushida vs Velveteen Dream
I really haven’t enjoyed Dream much lately. I can’t say why, but he’s not the Dream he once was. On the other hand, Kushida has really stepped up and looks like he can completely stand on his own and do some serious damage to Dream. Before NXT this week I wasn’t at all interested in this match, but Kushida really showed some solid fire this week and I hope he continues to ramp it up. This is the Kushida I can see making it somewhere in WWE. This is the Kushida who needs to win this match.
Winner – Kushida
Say what you will but Velveteen Dream has more than proven himself in the ring. There’s nothing he can’t do – even at his young age. Kushida has been a beast in the ring forever. These two are likely to put on a clinic. Yet another one that could take the night quite easily. It’s hard to know what’s going on with either one of them, really. Both have been started on and stopped. I got nothin’. I’m throwing this up in the air.
THE WINNAH! – Kushida
I do not know much about Kushida, but from what I have heard and read he is a really good wrestler who is just starting his WWE run (ok just over a year and half) but I would love to see more of him. Dream on the other hand is a particularly good wrestler as well, I’m not fond of his character, but I like and respect his wrestling abilities. I’m going to take a page from Queen KB’s book and go with my gut feeling, yes Botch feelings! Kushida will win, he will win soundly, but it will be an amazing match to watch and will have you on the edge of your seats.
Kushida for the win.
I want to see a more aggressive Kushida in this match and Dream is going to be his usual cocky self in which he has earn being cocky. I’m hopeful that this match gets a good 15 to 20 minutes for them to work their magic in the ring.
Lewis – Kushida
NXT Cruiserweight Championship – Santos Escobar (c) vs Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott
I have little interest in Escobar so far. I love that he’s in a faction with my brother in abdominal pain Juaquin, but that’s pretty much all I know so far. I have like Swerve all along, but it appears as though Escobar is in a push and will continue with the push for a bit. Sadly I don’t think Swerve is going to win the strap here, especially with Escobar’s backup ringside.
Winner – Santos Escobar
I’m kinda amazed that Swerve has been able to hold on to his entire name this long. Better yet, I’m very glad WWE snapped up the former Shane Strickland and they’re doing something with him. This is another that could steal the whole show if they play their cards right. Really, anything here could now that I think of it. This may be a long-desired return to the NXT TakeOver shows that have us on the edge of our seats from beginning to end. We’ve needed one of those again for a while and we may just get it here. The best part of this has been the storytelling. Escobar took off his mask and has positively come alive as a character. Swerve is the only one to beat Escobar so far and it’s a great device to hang a feud on. I’m also glad they’re making the NXT Cruiserweight title mean something. It didn’t for a long time. Swerve is just BEGGING to be more than he is. That said…
THE WINNAH AND NEWWWWWW! – Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
Yes, I had to look them up to be sure I knew who they were. I am excited for this match. Swerve is a good wrestler and I enjoy watching him. Escobar I want to know more about and, more importantly, I want to see more from him. In the meantime, I am going to sit and enjoy this match and it will be good. Swerve to win, simply because I went “oooooohhh” when I realized who he was.
I hope that this match gets time as they are both great in the ring and can really gom and like with the Kushida/Dream match, hopefully they get 15 to 20 minute match.
Winner and still Champion: Escobar
Lewis – Santos Escobar
North American Championship Match – Damian Priest (c) vs Johnny Gargano
I’m quite excited for this match. I’ve been in love with Gargano since DIY and Priest is a WWE PPV main eventer in the making. Honestly, he’s more than in the making, he’s ready after sixteen years in the industry, now it’s just building him for the WWE audience. When the fans get to know him, he honestly shouldn’t be long in NXT. As I’m typing this I’m completely changing my idea for this match. I was thinking Priest would retain, but he’s so ready to go up, and I’d love to see what he could do against King Corbin, no matter what show Corbin ends up after the Draft. I’m hoping it’s SD and Priest gets drafted there too. They would be amazing together! Now, don’t get me wrong, Johnny Gargano would be amazing on the main roster, and we all know he could be there in a heartbeat and everyone would love him, but I worry about how McMahon would book Gargano for a variety of reasons. Priest, on the other hand is someone McMahon would love and could easily book for the casual WWE fans as well as the crazies like us. So as I planned on Priest retaining, I think Gargano is going to win this and win the strap so Priest is unencumbered when brought over to Raw or SD.
Winner & New North American Champion – Johnny Gargano
This one could be a lot of fun. The only area this one isn’t doing it for me is in the story. I want more visceral anger from both and I haven’t gotten it, though both could give it to us if the story were more solid. We’re gonna get a great match so it might not matter. Both have been wrestling for many years so this may even steal the night (you must go see Priest’s work as Punishment Martinez). As for who will take this, I think Damien would benefit more from the win. Gargano has been in NXT forever and I’m just not that excited about the idea of a Gargano North American title run. Further, if he loses, we’re more likely to see him drafted and I’d be into that. Still, it could be kinda fun to see Gargano as North American champ and Candice as Women’s champ. Still, I gotta go with my gut…
THE WINNAH! – Damien Priest
Johnny Gargano has held all the NXT titles from what I can tell. He doesn’t need this, but he does want it. Damian Priest is standing in his way and boy is he a huge roadblock. They both can wrestle and have proved it many times. However as much as Johnny should move to the main roster he’s not going to yet. Johnny will win and Damian will get called up to the main roster where I hope his character will shine and be oh so fun to watch. I look forward to seeing if he can menace some of the big-name guys over there.
Johnny for the win.
This match is one I’m going to enjoy as I hope that Gargano get the whipping that he deserves. If this match is after the Mrs. Gargano’s match, then I could see them help each other to win their respective matches in order to be the first couple champions.
Winner and new Champion Gargano
Lewis – Damian Priest
NXT Championship Match – Oi Shirai (c) vs Candice Le Rae
Now this prediction is one that I’m not going to change as I type it. I think Io is ready to be moved to Raw or SD, so I’m hoping Candice wins this one. While Io hasn’t had the longest reign with the NXT Championship, not every championship run in NXT has to be terribly long. Rhea’s wasn’t, but it worked really well for her and she’s more than ready for Raw or SD, and I think the fans are chomping at the bit to get her. Io’s evolution to a ‘main roster’ star has been a lot quieter than most, but she seems like a much quieter person, but that doesn’t mean she’s not ready for the move. For that reason, and because Poison Pixie is amazing and would be a fantastic NXT Champion, I’m going with her and keeping my fingers crosssed.
Winner & New NXT Champion – Poison Pixie Candice LeRae
Candice has really done brilliantly as a heel. She’s every bit the heel she never was as a face. The bad acting and lack of commitment are all gone. Now, she’s fun. Io is great in the ring – no question at all – and her mystique is fun. The issue is that she can’t talk. Because she can’t talk, it’s harder for me to connect that closely to what she’s doing. Who wins? Io’s been champ long enough and I think Candice getting the prize will make her even more insufferable.
THE WINNAH and NEWWWWWW! – Candice LeRae
This is a hard one to call, both are really good wrestlers. Candice needs this win almost as much as Io needs to lose. Io needs to lose so she can move to the main roster and really help flesh out the Women’s Division.
Candice to win.
This match is more of a revenge match for LeRae for her lost at a previous Takeover to Shirai. This match, if it’s before the NA title match then I see Mr. LeRae interfering in this match to help his wife win the title.
Winner and new Champion LeRae
Lewis – Candice LeRae
NXT Championship Match – Finn Balor (c) vs Kyle O’Reilly
I was kind of pushed to reveal this prediction in the NXT Dignified Discussion this week because I didn’t agree with others and had to explain why. See, for me, I’ve found Balor’s run as NXT Champion has been boring as all get out. I’ve seen him work the ring at TakeOvers, but little else. He’s not given me enough character of any sort to give a flying fig, and for that reason I’m just not behind his run as NXT Champion. It hurts me to say that because I love Balor. On the other hand it looks like both Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly are turning face. As Cole’s parting shot before being moved, as he has nothing left to accomplish in NXT, should be making sure O’Reilly becomes NXT Champion. I don’t mean by blatant cheating, as O’Reilly really is good enough to not need to cheat to win, but having his long-term faction partner ringside should be enough to get him over that hump and defeat Balor. Now, I know I’ve predicted the majority of straps to change hands, but why not shake things up going into the Draft? I think it would be fun to really change the course of things in a very unexpected way.
Winner & New NXT Champion – Kyle O’Reilly
This is a nice wrinkle. Kyle and Adam are both turning face and I kind of like it, though it is gonna take a minute to get used to. If you’ve seen Adam on LeftRightLeftRight, you know how nice a guy he really is. Kyle has been just magic lately in the ring. That encounter with Finn and Shawn this week was just stellar. This is another match that could likely steal the night. My only real issue here is the storyline between them. It hasn’t been that rich and I would have liked more. I’ll still watch and it’ll still be incredible regardless. Who wins? It’s likely obvious here. Finn hasn’t had the title that long so…
THE WINNAH! – Finn Bálor
Finn is a favorite of mine, he’s a strong wrestler and interesting to watch. Kyle I honestly don’t know much about, but from what I hear he is good too. However, he’s not going to be good enough to beat Finn. Its to soon for Finn to drop the belt, he needs a good long run.
Finn to win.
This is the first test for Finn as Champion and I don’t see him losing the title this soon after winning it. It will be a great match from start to finish and I have no doubt about it.
Winner and still Champion Bálor
Lewis – Finn Balor
As always, there will be a WWE NXT TakeOver Dignified Discussion. I hope everyone will join us for what is almost guaranteed to be an exciting adventure of a PPV. Further, share your ideas below, because I’m sure we have only touched the surface of ideas for how they could book this show.
Queen, Botch, Natalie, Eleazar & Lewis