Well, here we are once again, with another weekend chock full of wrestling. In addition to being my daughters' birthday weekend, WWE will bring to us not one but two special events; Backlash and Takeover Chicago. Backlash will be a fine show, what with the debut of Shinsuke Nakamura on the main roster and a match between AJ Styles and Kevin Owens. However, Takeover, in my opinion anyway, will be the highlight of the two. So without further ado, here are my predictions for how the card will play out.
A recent addition to the card, this match should be a damn fine showcase for Mr. Strong. NXT has done a solid job building him up these last few weeks and his number one contender's match against Hideo Itami was excellent. Strong is about as good as it gets in the ring and could very well be NXT champion in short order. Eric Young is very good too, and has really put in work as the leader of Sanity. I'm expecting a damn good match from these two that will end with some manner of shenanigans from the rest of Sanity setting up some matches down the line. Prediction: Eric Young
I've already written about Tyler Bate for this column so my feelings are well documented. I'm all in. at just 19 years old, this kid has already got everything going for him. He's the complete package, as evidenced by the fact that WWE saw fit to make him the very first UK champ. Standing opposite him will be Pete Dunne, the man he beat for said championship. Dunne is also very young and very, very good. He is a phenomenal heel and is only getting better. Their first match was fantastic and I am positive that this one will be as well. This very well may be match of the weekend which is saying something considering the rest of this card and Backlash. I'm torn as to where this will go though so my prediction is more of a gut feeling than anything else. Prediction: Pete Dunne
The day will come when Asuka will lose a match in NXT and the NXT Women's championship. Today will not be that day. The story is there for Ember Moon to eventually take the belt from her. Ember, who was originally scheduled to be in this match before getting injured, is the perfect choice to dethrone the empress. But, with the Women's tournament coming this summer, and the relative newness of both Riot and Cross, this one seems a solid W for Asuka in a good match. Prediction: Asuka
For two guys with no experience two or so years ago, the AOP have made incredible strides in their in-ring work and overall storytelling. These two dudes certainly look the part, (the part of giant fucking monsters), and play their roles well. #DIY on the other hand, have been in the game for a bit now. Both Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa have tons of experience on the indies and have been putting in solid work in NXT. Their time as a tag team may be coming to an end soon as both are better off as singles competitors. My guess is that Ciampa will turn on Gargano at some point, maybe even this weekend. He is nursing an injury though so maybe not. Either way, this match is a huge test for the AOP. Ladder matches are a ton of fun when done right and these teams do have very good chemistry. I'm hyped for this match and you should be too, Prediction: AOP
The main event of the evening for the NXT championship sees Bobby Roode take on Hideo Itami in what is an almost make or break moment for him. Itami has been signed to NXT for about two years, give or take, but has been injured for most of that time. When he was first signed, he was the biggest Japanese star to make the jump to WWE. Then Shinsuke Nakamura made the jump and Itami was almost an afterthought. But, now healthy, Itami needs a big showing if there is any hope of salvaging his WWE prospects. The story of him beating Roode in Chicago with the GTS, his move originally but arguably made more famous by Chicago's own CM Punk, is almost too good to be true. Roode though, is fresh into establishing himself as the face of NXT. He was a big deal in TNA and a guy many thought would work in WWE, but he needs to really make a name for himself before he gets the call up. Now, I know what I want to happen. I want Itami to hit Roode with the GTS and then the lights to go out, only to come back on with Adam Cole (baybay) standing in the ring leading to a superkick for Itami and a win for Roode. Cole is a free agent and is WWE bound at some point. Why not now? Will it happen? Who knows really. There are so many ways this could go. I honestly have no idea. Prediction: Roode
So there it is. A really nice card with some really solid matches. Follow me on twitter, @geekadedan, and let me know what you think. And join me next week as we look at another reason to love wrestling. Until then....