So, this is going to be a long one. This weekend we've got both the NXT Takeover special on Saturday night AND SummerSlam on Sunday. (4 Hours long!) All told, that's about six hours or so of predictions to make. And I know what you're thinking, "Dan, it's okay, you don't have to do ALL of them, we understand, you have a life, a wife, kids, a dog, white picket fence, we get it." Well, to that I say, "How the hell do you know those things about me?! Are you stalking me? Trailing me? Hiding in my bushes? Don't do that shit, it's not cool." But I digress... I'm actually really excited for this weekend. There are a ton of great matches and the WWE debut of Jushin Thunder Liger! (click here to see my past article on him) Read on intrepid followers as I consult the ol' crystal ring bell and let you know who will win, who will lose, and who will get booed out of the building. (hint: it's Eva Marie)
A bunch of matches (not sure what will make it to TV) including the debut of Apollo Crews (aka Uhaa Nation)! This is an absolutely staked card and has implications for the following night at SummerSlam. Here we go...
Apollo Crews vs Tye Dillinger
Dillinger has recently been repackaged with a new "Perfect 10" gimmick so he would usually get the nod here. However, Apollo Crews is making his in-ring debut and there is next to no chance he loses. His signing is a big deal for WWE as Crews, wrestling under the name Uhaa Nation, was one of the more over guys on the indys. He's jacked like a body builder and can fly like a cruiserweight. He has all the tools to be a WWE Champion one day. This should be a great match and a hell of an introduction for Apollo Crews.
Prediction - Crews
Jushin Thunder Liger vs Tyler Breeze
After way too many years, Liger is finally making his WWE debut. Breeze is the perfect opponent for him as he will be able to sell Liger's offense better than almost anyone else in NXT. This match puts Breeze in a bit of a weird place as he needs a win to be credible in the title picture but a loss against Liger does nothing to his standing. I have a hard time thinking that WWE would bring in Liger to put Breeze over but I've been wrong before in this type of situation. (see: Sting vs Triple H at Mania) I'm going with my gut though in what should be a really great match. The NYC crowd is going to pop huge for Liger and he will deserve every single decibel.
Prediction - Liger
Blake and Murphy (c) vs The Vaudevillains - NXT Championship
Man I'm torn on this one. On the one hand, The Vaudevillains are more than due for a run with the belts. They have been the proverbial bridesmaids on more than one occasion and deserve a run as champs. They are big time over with the NXT crowd working a gimmick that should be failing miserably. (chances are it will fail miserably on the main roster) They are an incredibly fun team to watch. On the other hand, what else would Blake and Murphy do? They are good in the ring, have a decent look, are paired with the very good Alexa Bliss, have had a strong run with the belts, and will absolutely not get over on the main roster. They may be the most forgettable champs in quite some time. That isn't to disparage them as people, I'm sure they're great. It's just that as professional entertainers, I find them lacking. Ultimately, I think this one is a toss up. But, that's not what you read this for, you want etched in stone predictions. Therefore...
Prediction - The Vaudevillains.
Samoa Joe vs Baron Corbin
Boy howdy has the NXT crowd turned on Corbin. Only a few scant months ago the entire crowd was counting the seconds of Corbin's matches. It usually went entrance, punch, punch, whip, End of Days. It was pretty fun if not a little Goldberg-esque. But then, something changed. The crowd started to boo. Hard. And Corbin, to his credit, rolled with it and started acting more and more heelish. He started running his mouth about being unstoppable much to the chagrin of one Samoa Joe. Joe came out, they brawled, they have a match. (see, wrestling can be so simple sometimes, two guys punching each other, good stuff) While the win would do quite a bit for Corbin's stature, Joe still has to prove himself in NXT as well. Joe is a big name and it will be interesting to see where he goes in WWE. For now though, this should end up being Corbin's first loss and the start of a decent feud.
Prediction - Samoa Joe
Sasha Banks (c) vs Bayley - NXT Women's Championship
This might be the match I am most hyped about on this card. I am a huge Bayley fan as well as a huge Sasha Banks fan. Both of these women can wrestle their asses off and both are super over with the crowd. Sasha has been called up to the main roster recently though and that puts her standing as NXT champ in question. Historically, though to be fair there aren't that many examples, when a wrestler gets called up to the main roster they lose their NXT belt. Kevin Owens kept his the longest but eventually lost it to Finn Balor after about three weeks of being on the main roster. (more on that in a sec) Sasha also holds a win over the WWE Divas champ Nikki Bella so she is clearly being built as a major threat. That said, if Sasha drops the belt to Bayley, and stays up on RAW with Charlotte and Becky Lynch, the NXT Women's division is suddenly very thin. Bayley as champ leaves Dana Brooke, Emma, Alexa Bliss, and Carmella as the only "real" contenders. (obviously other girls are there but they all need time) Four women gunning for Bayley isn't terrible but it isn't great either. (Dana and Carmella need more time as well, to be honest) I'm definitely torn as it makes more sense to put the belt on Bayley than to leave it with Sasha. This prediction is not being made with total confidence.
Prediction - Bayley
Finn Balor (c) vs Kevin Owens - NXT Championship Ladder match
So about Kevin Owens... He isn't winning this match. He was great as the super dick champ but he is main roster through and through. It was never the plan for Owens to be in NXT long, he simply didn't need it. (to be fair, neither does Balor) This is a guy who beat Cena clean on a PPV, main-evented RAW, has been given a ton of mic time, and has a major match with Cesaro at SummerSlam all within his first six months. If WWE really gets behind him, he is a major star. This match has to happen because, wrestling. I lost, I get my rematch. That's how it works. The ladder element certainly adds a bit of flair but overall, I just can't see Owens winning. Balor is perfect as NXT champ right now. He is the face of the brand, perhaps the most over guy on the show, and can carry the torch until Sami Zayn is ready to come back or someone else (Samoa Joe) is ready to step up. There is no reason to take the belt off of Balor as there really isn't any story to tell there. Sure, he could lose and have a rematch with Owens but to what end? It just doesn't make a lot of sense to have a main roster guy holding the NXT belt. (much the same as Sasha Banks above) This should be a fantastic match and possible match of the year contender. I'm excited to see what spots these two come up with and I can promise the crowd will be great during this match.
Prediction - Finn Balor
And that I believe does it for the televised portion of the event. There are a few more matches on the night and you can see them in the really cool, retro styled posters below. I won't be giving them full write ups though so here we go: Hype Bros/Enzo & Cass win (this might and probably should be televised), Becky Lynch takes the fatal four way, Bull Dempsey gets a big pop and a quick loss, and Eva Marie goes over on Carmella and gets booed out of the building. Make sure you follow me on twitter and instagram, @geekadedan, and let me know what you think is going to happen at Takeover. Also, don't forget to check out part two of this double feature covering my predictions for SummerSlam.