An untimely injury to former NXT Champion, Tommaso Ciampa, upset what was possibly going to be one of the best payoffs to a long-term story in recent memory. Triple H and co. have had to regroup and reshape the pay-per-view but still have a mouth-watering show in prospect. All titles, including the NXT UK championship, will be on the line at NXT TakeOver: New York.
NXT North American Championship Match: The Velveteen Dream (c) vs. Matt Riddle
This will be the King of Bros’ (or the Original Bro as he is now known) first one-on-one title opportunity in NXT. Matt Riddle beat Kassius Ohno at the last TakeOver event as his stock continues to rise.
After both men fell short in their attempt to become the no#1 contender for the NXT Championship, Riddle concentrated his focus on the eccentric one, the Velveteen Dream. The Dream is one of NXT’s greatest creations and his style and charisma knows no bounds. The former Tough Enough competitor won the NXT North American title from Johnny Gargano a few weeks back on NXT TV.
Both men have been playing a game of one-upmanship since then. Dream has been trying to get inside the head of Riddle but to no avail. Matt Riddle’s eventual goal in WWE may be to retire Brock Lesnar but an NXT North American championship win in his first title match would not be a bad start.
It will be interesting to see where both competitors, especially the Velveteen Dream, go post-WrestleMania. The walking Instagram filter, as Mauro Ranallo once called him, may be main roster-bound. Many wonder though whether that would actually be a good thing for his career.
NXT United Kingdom Championship Match: Pete Dunne (c) vs. WALTER
Ever since WALTER debuted at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool, fans have been wondering whether he will be the man to dethrone Pete Dunne. The Bruiserweight has been the NXT UK Champion for almost two years now. He became champion by defeating Tyler Bate for at NXT TakeOver: Chicago in May 2017.
WALTER has been walking on a path of destruction ever since his arrival in NXT UK and that path leads straight to a car crash with the equally-physical and intimidating Dunne. So far, the pair have been kept away from apart and avoided any physical confrontation in typical Triple H storytelling.
Dunne demanded this match claiming that NXT UK belongs to him. Pete Dunne may be another post-WrestleMania shake-up casualty though, especially if he loses his title to WALTER. A full debut and a very exciting future awaits Pete Dunne on the main roster.
This has the potential to be match of the night if not a match of the year contender.
NXT Tag-Team Championship Match: The War Raiders (Hanson & Rowe) (c) vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet
Once touted as this generation’s version of the Undertaker, it is mildly disappointing to see a character like Aleister Black stuck in Tag-Team Championship matches in a randomly thrown together tag-team with Ricochet.
Nevertheless, the former NXT Champion and his new tag-team partner have impressed in their combined showings on their way to winning the Dusty Rhodes Tag-Team Classic. Black and Ricochet defeated the European Union (Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner) in the first round before overcoming the newly-reunited and soon to be re-broken DIY in the semi-finals. They would then defeat the Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake) in the finals to lift the prestigious Dusty Rhodes Classic trophy.
The War Raiders won the Tag-Team titles at the last TakeOver show from the Undisputed Era. Having been a tag-team together for years and with their title reign just beginning, it is hard to see Hanson and Rowe taking a clean loss to Black and Ricochet in New York. Especially considering the lack of great tag-teams in NXT right now.
NXT Women’s Championship Fatal Four-Way Match: Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Bianca BelAir vs. Kairi Sane vs. Io Shirai
Io Shirai is the only one of these women not to have received a one-on-one crack at Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship. If a new champion is crowned, Io does look the likeliest.
Bianca BelAir just had a one-on-one title opportunity at the last TakeOver so it would almost be a step back if she won the title in New York. Kairi has already held the gold twice so it seems unlikely the WWE will pull the trigger on a third reign. However, let’s not count out the possibility of Kairi turning heel on Io Shirai and the two real-life best friends starting their own feud in NXT.
Shayna Baszler’s dictatorial reign has been carried out to perfection and some wouldn’t be disappointed if her reign continued here. Her fellow Horsewomen are improving all the time and after WrestleMania may be the perfect time to go all-in on a four Horsewomen of MMA vs the four Horsewomen of WWE angle.
There is a possibility that all four WWE Horsewomen of WWE may be holding gold come the end of WrestleMania. A slow build starting after WrestleMania towards a traditional Survivor Series match in November may not be completely out of the realm of possibility.
NXT Championship Match: Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano
NXT fans were robbed of what would have been an epic culmination to one of the great rivalries of the past few years when Tommaso Ciampa was forced to relinquish “goldie” and undergo surgery.
Nevertheless, one man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity and two men who have never held the NXT Championship are on the verge of their crowning moment.
Adam Cole promised that 2019 would be the year of the Undisputed Era and he could start the gold rush for the faction by winning the big one in New York. Johnny Gargano has taken the longer route to get here as the former Cruiserweight Classic competitor and NXT Tag-Team Champion looks to realize a dream.
It is undisputed that a new era (sorry for the puns) will dawn on NXT after TakeOver: New York. Will Adam Cole and his cronies rule the black and gold brand for the rest of 2019 or Johnny Gargano who fulfils his destiny?