Posted June 15th, 2018 by 1Wrestling News Team


By Don “The Predictor” Murphy

Happy Father’s Day weekend to all of my wrestling dads out there. It’s great that WWE has made Father’s Day events an annual tradition. This year, we’re fortunate to have two big events to talk about, the first of which takes place this Saturday night, as the NXT brand presents Takeover Chicago from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL. It’s interesting – as good as these shows typically are, some are designed to be “filler”, as we approach higher profile shows in August, November or April. But, I have to say that this particular show has the same big-match feel as some of the other more prominent ones and I think we’ll be looking back on this one in our year-end highlights. Let’s run down the card!

NXT Championship Match: Aleister Black defends the NXT Championship against Lars Sullivan

Topline Thoughts: I like this match on so many levels. For one, we’re just starting to add layers to Black’s calendar. We’ve been drawn in by the mystique that accompanies his excellent in-ring work. Now, he’s starting to come in to his own, in terms of promos and establishing a personality. Sullivan is poised to be a major player in the years to come. He’s a throwback to the big men of the 60’s and 70’s and I see similarities to guys like Archie Gouldie and Mad Dog Vachon. He’s a still a bit rough around the edges but he’s got the look, the presence and the facial expressions that will propel him to greatness. This should be a fun match and I’ll be interested to see how the two work off of each other. I don’t think we’re quite there yet to have a Sullivan title run and I think there’s more of a story to tell on Black’s title journey.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Aleister Black retains the NXT Championship

NXT Women’s Championship Match: Shayna Baszler defends the NXT Women’s Championship against Nikki Cross

Topline Thoughts: This is another match featuring talents that have great things in store. I love the presentation of both characters. Whatever limitations Baszler has in the ring, the creative team has done a masterful job masking it and creating this intimidating bully persona. And, she’s in there with Cross who’s an absolute dynamo and has the potential to be a main event player in years. The one thing I’ll be watching for is the way they’ll have Baszler work her slower, more methodic style against Cross’ explosiveness. Like the men’s title, I don’t see a change just yet, but do see this as the beginning chapter to a spectacular program.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Shayna Baszler retains the NXT Women’s Championship

Chicago Street Fight: Johnny Gargano meets Tommaso Ciampa

Topline Thoughts: This is arguably the best feud of the year and their match in April is a leading candidate for Match of the Year. It’s refreshing that in an era where solid babyfaces and heels are hard to come by, these two have managed to crack the code. This should be another gem and I don’t see this as the end to the program by any means. I see Ciampa getting his win back, setting up a rubber match in August. I am wondering if and how Candice LeRae factors into the finish. She’s been a part of the story, and I could see a scenario where she turns on her husband and aligns with Ciampa. I would much rather her play a footnote in this match, instead of a main player, but it will be interesting to see how it all fits together and what the next chapter holds.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Tommaso Ciampa defeats Johnny Gargano

WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match: Nia Jax defends the WWE Raw Women’s Championship against Alexa Bliss

Topline Thoughts: As I’ve said before, Alexa Bliss is one of the best heels in the company. Even without a physical altercation over the last several weeks, she’s managed to build anticipation for this match, positioning Nia as the bully, while getting jabs in at the same time. I do think they should do a better job at building Nia as a babyface and giving the fans a reason to rally behind her, much like they did going in to WrestleMania. Perhaps this will be the next step after the program with Bliss concludes.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Nia Jax retains the WWE Raw Women’s Championship

NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong defend the NXT Tag Team Championship against Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch

Topline Thoughts: I love that they’re elevating Burch and Lorcan to the main card. They’re veterans of the game, but they have a lot to offer, either in the tag team division or as singles competitors. I think we’re only seeing a small taste of how good the Undisputed Era will be. O’Reilly still needs to break out and Strong has been a nice addition to the group, as his heel turn was much needed. This should be a solid outing and I expect the champions to retain

“The Predictor” Predicts: Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong retain the NXT Tag Team Championship

Singles Match: Ricochet meets the Velveteen Dream

Topline Thoughts: This is going to sound repetitive, but NXT has such a wealth of talent, that this is yet another scenario where you have two competitors destined for greatness. It’s always interesting to see guys come in from NJPW, Impact or ROH and see if they can get over with a WWE crowd. Ricochet has done that and more! I am concerned about his style eventually catching up with him, but so far so good. The Dream is fantastic and he will be a big player on the main roster someday. While this is a spotlight match for Ricochet, the Dream will have a fantastic performance that will undoubtedly keep him in the main event conversation moving forward.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Ricochet defeats the Velveteen Dream

Follow me on Twitter: @DonThePredictor

Category: Wrestling.

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