Wednesday night the NXT Arena at Full Sail University will be abuzz, as NXT Takeover: The End comes to us live from Orlando, Florida. This will be the first Takeover special since the historic event Wrestlemania weekend in Dallas.
It’s a stacked card as we have come to expect from NXT and on paper it looks like one to remember. You’ve got the end to a bitter rivalry that has been going on since November 4, 2015, when Samoa Joe brutally attacked Finn Bálor following his title defense against Apollo Crews. You’ve got a highly anticipated tag team championship rematch, two women on a collision course for the Women’s Championship, plus the debut of Andrade “Cien” Almas. Not to mention a little thing called Shinsuke Nakamura versus Austin Aries.
This show is going to be epic, as it should be given what is on the line in the main event.
Samoa Joe defends the NXT Championship against Finn Bálor inside of an unforgiving steel cage. This is the first time a steel cage has been used in NXT, and I am very much looking forward to what form of creative calamity Finn and Joe will inflict upon each other. It’s bittersweet to see this feud coming to a close, as the first seeds were lain shortly after NXT Takeover: Respect back in October. These two tore it down in London in December, Dallas in April with Joe coming up short both times. That was not the case during an NXT live event in Lowell, MA on April 21. On that fateful evening, Joe would finally claim the NXT Championship in front of a shocked crowd that was not expecting a title change.
This feud has built towards this final confrontation like a beautiful symphony. It culminated in an intense confrontation this past Wendesday on NXT television that reminded me of the famous interview between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin prior to Wrestlemania X-Seven.
When the dust settles Wednesday night, I believe we will have witnessed one of the best cage matches in recent memory from WWE, and I believe Samoa Joe will leave STILL NXT Champion.
Asuka will defend her NXT Women’s Championship against up and coming women’s division competitor Nia Jax. This feud has been teased for months, and it recently blew open following Jax scoring the pinfall in a triple threat match involving Alexa Bliss and Carmella to determine the new number one contender to Asuka’s throne.
Nia Jax should have been booked as an unstoppable monster since her arrival on the scene in NXT, but she has dropped several matches to Bayley and was tagging around with Eva Marie for several months. Fortunately, she has been rehabilitated and she has taken her position as the monster of the women’s division in NXT. Asuka has been the dominant female in all of her battles in NXT until now, how will the silent, but deadly Japanese star deal with the imposing presence of Nia Jax?
I expect a no decision finish in this match, as I don’t see Asuka dropping the title, but she should not defeat Jax in the middle of the ring either. I anticipate that these two women will brawl all over the arena leading to a no contest, and a rematch set up later this summer in Brooklyn during Summerslam weekend.
American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable) will defend their NXT Tag Team Championships against the duo they defeated in Dallas, The Revival (Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson), in what should be an incredible bout if their last confrontation is any indicator. These two teams exemplify everything good about the increased focus on tag team wrestling in World Wrestling Entertainment currently. Both are technically sound, crisp teams with something to prove. I look forward to both of these teams arriving on the main roster someday. The comparisons have been made between American Alpha and The World’s Greatest Tag Team, and The Revival have been compared to The Brainbusters. Those comparisons are extremely accurate, and no matter the outcome we are going to see a clinic tomorrow night.
As for who walks away with the gold? My gut says American Alpha retain, but with the brand split on the horizon, I could see them getting the call up rather quickly. Could that mean The Revival walk out as champs? Not necessarily, but it wouldn’t surprise me. However, I’ll go with my gut and STILL NXT Tag Team Champions American Alpha.
Shinsuke Nakamura burst onto the scene in tremendous fashion back in Dallas during Wrestlemania weekend, scoring a victory over Sami Zayn on his way to the main roster. During that same show, Austin Aries debuted against Barin Corbin. He also won his contest, but all the shine went to Nakamura and Aries has had enough of it. Tomorrow night these two mega-stars will collide, for what I believe is the first time, and I and you should be very excited.
I don’t believe Aries has had an opportunity to showcase what he is really capable of so far in his NXT run. Nakamura is the opponent that he will be able to do that with. Both of these men have an international pedigree that has taken them all over the globe. Championship have been won, and legends have grown. Tomorrow night The King of Strong Style will meet The Greatest Man That Ever Lived.
As for who walks away with the victory, I’m going with Shinsuke Nakamura, as I believe the momentum he has right now should not be squandered. Have no fear, I fully anticipate Aries will take the loss less than graciously, and he will go on the attack and turn full heel on Nakamura and we will be in for at least one rematch this summer.
Last, but certainly not least is the debut of Andrade “Cien” Almas against The Perfect 10 Tye Dillinger. I am extremely high on Dillinger, and believe he has perfected his gimmick. Just watch as he enters the ring, he knows who he is, and what his motivations are. For Dillinger, this is his opportunity to prove to everyone backstage and in the office at the Performance Center that he has what it takes to perform at a higher level than he has been allowed to most of his career.
With that said, Dillinger is absolutely losing tomorrow night. Almas will stand victorious over Dillinger in his debut, and it’s the right call. Almas competed under a hood for many years in Mexico’s CMLL as La Sombra. As LaSombra, Almas was able to secure many titles including the CMLL Universal Championship, the NWA World Historic Welterweight Championship and he helped form one of the most popular international stables, perhaps second only to the Bullet Club, Los Ingobernables. Almas has all the ability, talent, and charisma to become a huge star in WWE. We will see how the company launches his character tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to his debut, and Dillinger getting his shot on a Takeover special as well.
That rounds out he card, I don’t believe there will be any other matches added to the card as these five matches all have great stories and deserve as much time as possible to tell them. I look for Nakamura and Aries to steal the show, but would not be surprised in Joe and Bálor burn the NXT Arena to the ground.
Let me know in the comments section what match you are looking forward to the most, and be sure to check back with Pro Wrestling Iowa late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning for the NXT Takeover: The End Audio Review with myself and Darnell Mitchell.