Posted August 18th, 2017 by 1Wrestling News Team

By Don Murphy

Thirty years ago, the WWE’s calendar revolved around one signature event – WrestleMania. As time passed, and wrestling’s popularity increased, pay-per-view events became the monthly norm. But, over the years, the annual SummerSlam event has grown in prominence, second only to WrestleMania itself, and now extends across an entire weekend of events. The first of four events on the New York stage kicks off on Saturday night at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, as the NXT brand presents its annual “Takeover” special. Over the past year, as talent has advanced to the main roster, there has been some concern that the NXT roster would start to become flat. But, with acquisitions from Ring of Honor and Global Force Wrestling, combined with talent identified through WWE’s partner promotions, NXT has become a must-watch show again, as evidenced by Saturday night’s lineup. Every match on the card has an interesting story behind it, matched by an excellent in-ring product up and down the card. One of the biggest elements of NXT’s success, in my opinion, is the right amount of content without over-exposing their talent. Unlike the main roster shows that present two-three of hours of shows per week, NXT is one hour. And each week, different talent is featured. So, you get the opportunity for stories to breathe and grow at a more moderate pace, building anticipation for the payoff. So, when “Takeover” comes around, there’s generally a high level of anticipation and the workers deliver most of the time. Let’s run down the card….

Main Event/NXT Championship Match: Bobby Roode defends the NXT Championship against Drew McIntyre

Analysis: Consider this: Two of GFW’s main attractions are competing in the main event in front of a sold-out crowd on the high-profile WWE stage. I continue to believe that McIntyre was the “one that got away” for GFW. He played the babyface role so well and was gaining traction to the point that he could have been the face of the company. But, that’s all in the past. Since joining NXT, he hasn’t had the same presence he’s had in GFW, but he’s slowly catching on. I really like how they’re incorporating his past experience in WWE in telling the story that has built to this match, with Roode playing the arrogant, wealthy heel. There’s been talk about Roode’s in-ring style not being a good fit for NXT, and while I tend to agree, he’s steadily upped his game over the past several months and has evolved as a character. I thought the story he told in his match was Roderick Strong was stellar, and that match has been one of my NXT highlights this year. For this match, I anticipate we’ll see Strong get involved somehow. Part of me sees his interference resulting in a non-finish to the match; however, given that it’s the main event in one of WWE’s top markets, I think we’ll see Strong attempt to attack Roode and inadvertently cost McIntyre the title in the process. There have been rumblings of a potential Ring of Honor invasion, and perhaps we’ll get some more clues around that during this match, but for now, I’m going with Roode retaining due to Strong’s botched interference attempt.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Bobby Roode retains the NXT Championship

NXT Women’s Championship Match: Asuka defends the NXT Women’s Championship against Ember Moon

Analysis: To say that Asuka is ready to move to the main roster is a grave understatement. The issue, as I see it, is that I am not sure that Ember Moon is ready to fill the gap as NXT Women’s Champion that Asuka will leave. The good news, however, is that the women’s roster has filled up again with credible talent, and will most likely get another boost from additional talent appearing in the upcoming Mae Young Classic. Don’t get me wrong. Moon is an excellent worker and I’ve started to get behind her recent mic work. It’s just that Asuka has been such a dominant presence that anyone would have a hard time replacing her. The first step for Moon will be to work with Asuka to put on the amazing performance that the fans expect and know that these two can deliver. Their first match together was solid, but not memorable. So, if this is Asuka’s exit, I’m hoping she can work to take Moon to the next level

“The Predictor” Predicts: Ember Moon wins the NXT Women’s Championship

NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Authors of Pain defend the NXT Tag Team Championship against Sanity

Analysis: Historically, when heels are matched up against each other, it can be difficult for one team to adjust their style to play the babyface role. It can also be confusing for the audience. For the Authors, they’ve been blessed, as they gained experience in the ring, to work with excellent workers that could carry them to great matches. For the first time, it will up to them to set the pace and drive the match. Sanity has been a great act, but they’re not the level of Team DIY or the Revival. I do think we’ll get a decent match out of both and while there could be an opportunity down the road for Sanity to win some gold, I don’t think that this event will be that occasion. It will be interesting to see where they go from here. The tag team division is a bit barren, so I suspect that this program will continue while they figure out how to best bolster the roster.

“The Predictor” Predicts: The Authors of Pain retain the NXT Tag Team Championship

Singles Match: Hideo Itami meets Aleister Black

Analysis: This match has the potential to be the match of the night. I love the way they’ve built Black’s character and he has the potential to be a big player in WWE if he continues on this path. For Itami, this may be his time to shine. Injuries over the past couple of years have hindered his advancement and ability to get over as a babyface. But, as he has experience in the heel role, it’s been a natural transition and I’m hoping that this is the break he needs to be the talent we know he can. I’m having a hard time picking a winner here. On the one hand, a win for Itami by cheating will cement him as a heel, but may damage Black in the process. It seems that they are looking to continue to present Black as undefeated and dominant, which will make it a big deal when he finally loses. So, I’m leaning toward Black for this one, with a post-match attack by Itami to continue the feud and keep his heel equity intact. There could also be some interference by Kassius Ohno, which would also negate any damage to Itami that a loss may cause.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Aleister Black defeats Hideo Itami

Singles Match: Johnny Gargano meets Andrade Almas

Analysis: I love that, even in consistent losses, they’ve managed to keep Almas credible. He didn’t get over as a babyface, but is a natural heel, and adding Zelina Vega to his act has been a nice and needed touch. Gargano definitely goes over here, as they’ll want to keep him strong as he eventually moves into a program with former tag team partner Tommaso Ciampa; however, I’m hoping they find a way to keep Almas relevant, as he definitely has a lot he can contribute to NXT’s mid-card in the months to come.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Johnny Gargano defeats Andrade Almas
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