Tonight is NXT Takeover Philadelphia, and although it may not be the most stacked card in Takeover history, it is bound to give us some great matches. It will also go a long way in setting up the Takeover over WrestleMania weekend, which may be the best card in NXT history. Some people are so down on this show, that they believe the Royal Rumble will overshadow it for the first time when a main roster PPV and Takeover are on the same show, but NXT never disappoints, and we’ve got our predictions here for what we think will be another fantastic show.
Kassius Ohno vs. The Velveteen Dream
After his star making performance at Takeover: War Games, The Velveteen Dream was hotter than anyone in NXT. But an untimely injury kept him out of the race to be crowned #1 contender, so he’ll have to settle for a bout with the veteran, Kassius Ohno. It may seem like a step down to some, but this is a chance for Dream to prove himself against another veteran, and to see if he can deliver another great performance without such a strong story heading into the match. Ultimately, it seems like Dream is the only choice here, as management are clearly behind him, and there have been rumblings that Ohno could be appearing a night later, so this may be the final time we see him in NXT.
Predicted Winner: The Velveteen Dream
The Undisputed Era (c) vs. Authors of Pain – NXT Tag Team Championship
The trio consisting of Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish and Adam Cole only made their official Takeover debut last November, but they’re already the hottest group in NXT. While winning the titles from Sanity may have been a challenge, keeping them against the dominant Authors of Pain will be much harder. The Undisputed Era seem the obvious choice here, as AOP’s days in NXT have to be numbered, but pulling a shocker here would be something that NXT would do. Ultimately, this one is going to be very hard fought with a lot of physicality, but it should be The Undisputed Era duo of Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly to retain.
Predicted Winners: The Undisputed Era
Shayna Baszler vs. Ember Moon (c) – NXT Women’s Championship
After two failed attempts against Asuka, Ember Moon finally reached the mountain top at the last NXT Takeover. But WWE hasn't given her long to enjoy the victory, as they’ve put her up against the dominant Queen of Spades, and former MMA Champion, Shayna Baszler. Baszler hasn’t been in NXT for very long, but she’s already proving to be one of the most dominant forces the brand has ever seen. She’s still quite young in the wrestling business, so they have to be very careful with how they book this match. The management at NXT clearly have high hopes for Ember Moon, so she’ll have to come out on top, but you can’t risk making Baszler look weak. You can use her inexperience as a story to the way this match finishes, and we think that may come into play late in the match.
Predicted Winner: Ember Moon by DQ
Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black – Extreme Rules
Whether you like either of these guys or you don’t, this match is going to be absolutely phenomenal, and it could very well decide the future of NXT. Black is undefeated still, and arguably the hottest wrestler in WWE, but Cole comes in with the name recognition and the partnership of Fish and O’Reilly, and both are likely to figure into the outcome of this match. We know WWE can't go too brutal with Extreme Rules, but War Games got fairly violent and bloody, and if these two can tap into their experience, skill and pure violent sides, this one will no doubt steal the show. In the end it’s a toss up, as Black could challenge in New Orleans, or you can derail his momentum here by going with Adam Cole Bay Bay, and that’s what we’re predicting.
Predicted winner: Adam Cole
Andrade “Cien” Almas (c) vs. Johnny Gargano – NXT Championship
This match was fantastic the first time around, and with higher stakes and more character development, the second installment of Almas vs. Gargano could be even better. The WWE have to be smart here, as they can’t overbook it, because these are two of the most talented performers in the WWE. But we all know that Tommasso Ciampa, and perhaps even Candice LeRae may get involved in the match. At the end of the day, the most simple path in wrestling can often be the best, and having Almas go over here to set up Gargano vs. Ciampa in New Orleans is the best play, and the one we are backing.
Predicted Winner: Andrade “Cien” Almas