The first NXT TakeOver of 2018 hits Philadelphia on Saturday night at 7pm EST. The card is stacked and all three championships will be put on the line on the night before the Royal Rumble. The NXT TakeOver series usually delivers with high quality events and tonight's show should be no different. Here is the match card for NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, and don't be surprised if you see some of these same Superstars enter the Royal Rumble.
Andrade Almas vs Johnny Gargano for the NXT Championship
The cross section of Superstars that have been in possession of the NXT Championship in the title's relatively short lifetime is pretty incredible. From Neville to Seth Rollins to Samoa Joe, some incredible wrestlers have been NXT Champion. Right now the brand's top guy is Andrade Almas. The luchador's luck really turned around when Zelina Vega took it upon herself to manage Almas and focus his talents. Clearly it worked and the Mexican star is on top of the world right now. Well Johnny Gargano has been working his way to the top of that same world for an awfully long time. He overcame all sorts of odds to get this title opportunity and currently feels so supremely confident in his talent right now that he even put that shot up for grabs against The Velveteen Dream. Gargano won of course and on Saturday he has the chance to tick that one last thing off of his NXT bucket list.
Kassius Ohno vs The Velveteen Dream
As touched upon above The Velveteen Dream was unsuccessful this past Wednesday night in his attempts to try and earn himself an NXT Title shot at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia. Dream will have a match though, against Kassius Ohno. The pair's dislike for one another started a few weeks ago when Dream insulted Ohno after he lost to Gargano. The Knockout Artist was on hand this week after NXT went off the air to remind Dream of that fact, stating that it's not as easy to beat Garagno as he might have thought. Dream responded by taking a shot at Ohno's physique and got shoved to the floor for the insult. While this match will be a great one, it is a bout where fans will likely not want to see either man lose. Something's got to give though.
Shayna Baszler vs Ember Moon for the NXT Women's Championship
NXT fans will have become extremely used to the only woman defending the NXT Women's Championship at NXT TakeOvers being Asuka. The still undefeated Empress of Tomorrow held the title for an extremely long time and defeated all comers, including current champion Ember Moon a couple of times, eventually relinquishing the title so that she could move onto Raw. Now Moon does have the title but it will be a tall order defending it in Philadelphia. Just weeks into her NXT career Shayna Baszler has landed herself a shot at the gold. The former MMA star pushed all the right buttons and could realistically be the new Women's Champion once all is said and done this Saturday. If she manages to synch in that choke hold on Moon, then it will be game over.
Aleister Black vs Adam Cole in an Extreme Rules Match
An argument could be made that the NXT Championship isn't currently being fought over by the two most talented wrestlers on the NXT roster. Take nothing away from Gargano and Almas as that will likely be a great match, but the two men in this match are both Superstars that should have WWE World Championships in their future. It seemed odd when Aleister Black and Adam Cole squared off on a throw away episode of NXT. The match determined who would be making it through to the number one contenders fatal four way bout and it was Black who won out. Cole naturally didn't take kindly to that loss and has been tormenting the Dutchman ever since. On Saturday they will settle the score though, and it will be in an extreme rules match.
The Undisputed Era vs The Authors Of Pain for the NXT Tag Team Championships
While The Undisputed Era's fearless leader has his hands full with Aleister Black at NXT TakeOver, Kyle O Reily and Bobby Fish will have a pretty tough task of their own. The NXT Tag Team Champions will be defending their titles against the Authors of Pain, no laughing matter. The tag division on NXT has been an extremely strong one for the last couple of years so these four men will have a lot to live up to. The likes of The Revival and DIY have paved the way for them by staging match of the year contenders on previous TakeOvers. All three of The Undisputed Era have been doing their level best to shock the system, pun very much intended, since arriving on NXT. A win for them in this one could very much send Akam and Rezar to the main roster.