Bill Bodkin, MJ Rawls, & Michael Dworkis give their predictions:
NXT Title Match: Bobby Roode (C) vs. Drew McIntyre
MD: I’m pulling for Drew McIntyre, while there have been a number of top contenders, McIntyre poses the most serious threat since Nakamura. McIntyre is no rookie, he, like Roode is a seasoned vet. The other consideration, is the NXT Championship now seems to be held by known stars as opposed to the homegrown talent. Now, McIntyre is an interesting pick, as he has already been on the main roster, however being NXT is his new home, it is a home for him to flourish rather than flounder. His years away on the indys and in TNA/GFW/Impactyland have changed his attitude and sharpened his skills. Roode’s reign has been long and quite stellar, and a loss to a name such as McIntyre wouldn’t hurt the guy’s rep at all. Just throwing this out there, I can easily see Roode regaining the title and then defending against Aleister Black at the next TakeOver event.
BB: I have been a McIntyre fan ever since he departed WWE and reinvented himself on the global independent scene. I want to see him win. However, I just can’t see him taking the title due to the Roderick Strong factor. I cannot see Strong not getting involved in this match especially given the fact Strong has been embroiled in a feud with Roode for months, and McIntyre just skated by him to get into this match. So I can easily this being the old “I meant to hit Roode but I hit McIntyre” scenario which allows Bobby Roode to continue his GLORIOUS title reign. I think McIntyre will win this title eventually (and move onto a feud with Aleister Black.
MJR: It’s time for Bobby to drop the title. I don’t think he moves up yet. I think he builds to his rematch. McIntyre is a strong challenger that can win, turn heel, and battle Rodrick Strong.
NXT Women’s Title: Asuka (C) vs. Ember Moon
MD: I want Asuka to stay as champ, I really do. However I feel Ember Moon will finally have her day. I believe she was slated to win the title before, but the injuries threw a wrench in those plans. Asuka is an outstanding and well above average athlete, and it may be time for her to pass on the title. The good thing about this scenario, is Asuka will never look weak. With her steamrolling over everyone, a loss to a top caliber contender makes sense. Look at the rest of the roster, there is no one else who could believably win the championship.
BB: I think we’ve been thinking Asuka’s going to lose this title for at least a year now. I think Ember Moon needs this win — she needs something to make her standout as a top player, and defeating Asuka would make this happen. Much like when the NXT Women’s Division felt a bit stale last year with Bayley at the top seemingly forever, we’re at that breaking point with Asuka. Unless she’s going to feud with the winner of the Mae Young Classic — which would be amazing (I have no idea who the winner is), I think Ember could come out on top.
MJR: I have two trains of thought on this. Eventually Asuka has to lose, but I don’t want her to. And I’m torn that it has to be Ember Moon. Heart says she retains. Head says the era of Ember Moon begins.
NXT Tag Team Titles: Authors of Pain vs. Sanity (Alexander Wolf & Killian Dane)
MD: Authors of Pain. I enjoy Sanity, but the AoP are built to be indestructible. While Heavy Machinery has an old NWA/WCW-vibe, I see a feud between AoP and H.M. as inevitable, but neither team strike me as championship material. I will say, I won’t be shocked if AoP loses the titles, but it would seem odd to do so.
BB: AOP retains. There’s more mileage in this feud than one match. I feel like there’s a cage match or some sort of plunder match coming down the road for these two. The tag division is a little light in NXT right now as Street Profits just started, and that Heavy Machinery push kinda stopped. So for now AOP wins, with more to come with this feud.
MJR: The monsters that AoP are, it’s a nice twist to see them over powered. Calling an upset here and saying Sanity wins. Gives the group clout with a title.
Johnny Gargano vs. Cien Almas
MD: This has Johnny Boy Wrestling written all over it. He’s been the beaten down guy for the last year. Injuries, the “break up” with Tommaso Ciampa, he’s got to get a big win someplace. His reign as tag champs, while celebrated was way too short. I get Almas is getting a push with his new lady-friend, but I am just no fan. If NXT is going to increase the heel level for Almas, he will get the win, however I think we will all hate him regardless.
MJR: This will be a competitive match that will showcase Gargano’s abilities as a singles star. Competitive match. Gargano gets the W.
BB: Almas doesn’t need this win, as I think he’s kinda bulletproofed by his gimmick, and his new manager. Gargano does need this win. The only way he loses is if Ciampa (who is legit injured) comes out and causes him to lose. I think Gargano is really going to shine in the next 365 days, and when he feuds with Ciampa it’s going to be a huge draw.
Aleister Black vs. Hideo Itami
MD: Is this the main event? They sure tout this to be. This will be a brutal fight. I am about to say an unpopular opinion. I don’t like Aleister Black. I don’t. I’m not sure what Triple H sees in him. He has some “big moves” but as of yet I am not impressed. This makes it a hard call. If Black is being pushed, a win makes sense, but there are tons of Itami fans out there would not be pleased. This match will be a true test of how far Black can push himself. I’m taking the plunge, going with Hideo Itami for the win.
BB: Unlike my colleague, I love Aleister Black. He’s an absolute killer in the ring, and WWE has yet to scratch the surface with this guy. Go look at his work as Tommy End, and you’ll see what he has yet to offer. This match is going to be STIFF, and I think it makes more sense for Itami to win because the dude has not had any traction. I also think he’d be a perfect addition to the Titus Brand when he gets called up (if that happens). This is another feud which should be more than one and done.
MJR: Aleister Black has all the intangibles and nothing left for him in NXT. Itami has given his character a much needed face lift with the “anger,” but this is the Aleister show.