NXT comes home as, for the first time ever, a TakeOver special emanates from WWE’s home state of Connecticut as we celebrate the 25th time that NXT has taken over with NXT Takeover XXV.
After a string of underwhelming main roster call-ups in the Mania season, it has been left to the NXT old guard and some of the newer faces to fill some big shoes. With the added motivation (or distraction?) of a new player in town putting on a great show in Las Vegas the previous Saturday, Triple H and co. will surely be looking to remind everyone just why NXT is called one of the best things going in all of pro wrestling right now. Here’s what to expect from NXT Takeover XXV!
NXT Takeover XXV
Roderick Strong vs. Matt Riddle
Riddle came up short in his quest to become the North American champion at the last TakeOver. In Bridgeport, he looks to get some payback on Roderick Strong who did the Undisputed Era’s dirty work, laying Riddle out in the back a few weeks ago.
This should be a fantastic mesh of styles and striking with the hard-hitting Riddle up against the in-ring technician that is Roderick Strong. In terms of storyline, with Fish, O’Reilly, and Cole all busy on the night, it doesn’t make sense for Strong to go over clean on a babyface like Matt Riddle. It will be interesting to see how Strong’s teased secession from the Undisputed Era plays into proceedings either during or post-match.
Being one of the biggest babyfaces now, Riddle needs this victory especially after coming up short at the last TakeOver. Can he win this potential show stealer at NXT Takeover XXV
NXT North American Championship Match: The Velveteen Dream (c) vs. Tyler Breeze
This match has almost come out of left-field with NXT OG, Tyler Breeze, returning home to confront Patrick Clarke. Breeze called the Dream an inspiration but remarked that an inspired Prince Pretty would be too big and too much to handle for the upstart North American champion.
The Velveteen Dream provoked the former NXT star by telling him that just because he couldn’t hack it on the main roster, doesn’t mean he deserves to come back to NXT and demand the spotlight. Manager William Regal made this match official after Breeze struck Dream with a cheap shot during their impassioned promo exchange two weeks ago.
It’s hard to look past Velveteen Dream in this one. Tyler Breeze might not even stick around in NXT for much longer after this TakeOver. The walking Instagram filter is the future of the brand and the company. The Dream should overcome Prince Pretty and cement himself as the prince (pun intended) of NXT at NXT Takeover XXV.
NXT Tag Team Championship (Ladder Match): Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish) vs. Brit-Am Brawlers )Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch) vs. The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) vs. The Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake)
All four members who took part in the NXT Tag Team Championship match at the last TakeOver are now busy being misused on the main roster. This makes for an extremely unpredictable dynamic as any of the four teams realistically could walk out with the gold.
The British-American duo of Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan would complete a long odyssey if they win tag-team titles. They came up short this time last year at TakeOver: Chicago II against the Undisputed Era. That match was one of the best TakeOver openers of all-time and Lorcan and Burch came out with the respect and admiration of everyone. Both members of the team competed in the inaugural Cruiserweight Classic in 2016 as well. Winning the championships would complete a DIY-esque journey to the top of the tag-team division.
Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake have, well, sort of been the forgotten members of the Forgotten Sons given how Jaxson Ryker has been booked. Ryker is the undisputed star of the group and management clearly has big plans for him. If Cutler and Blake are to win the NXT Tag-Team titles on Saturday, the big man at ringside should play a big part in their victory. This would be a second NXT Tag-Team championship reign for Wesley Blake who has previously held the gold with Buddy Murphy.
The Real Contenders
The infectious charisma and confidence of the Street Profits earned them a tag-team title show a few weeks ago against the outgoing War Raiders (refuse to call them by the other name). However, the young upstarts came up short against the grizzled veterans, Hanson and Rowe. In some nonsensical booking, Hanson and Rowe went on to relinquish the titles anyway. The former champs are now busy being irrelevant on the main roster. It will be extremely interesting to see whether, storyline-wise, Triple H decides to pull the trigger on a championship reign for the highly over team of Dawkins and Ford.
Adam Cole promised that the Undisputed Era would be “draped in gold” in 2019 and this TakeOver could be the beginning of the fulfillment of that prophecy. Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish have the opportunity to become the first and only three-time NXT Tag Team champions if they take home the titles in Connecticut this Saturday. If that happens and Adam Cole also walks out the NXT champion later in the night, Cole might have the reason he needs to kick Roderick Strong out of the Undisputed Era.
This match should be a jaw-dropping spot-fest with the potential to be one of the matches of the year. All four teams can go and the storyline implications make for some compelling viewing.
NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Io Shirai
These two women were part of the fatal-four-way match at the last TakeOver as well with Baszler making Bianca BelAir submit to walk out still champion. Things have drastically changed in the Women’s division since then, however.
Kairi Sane has now moved up to the main roster and BelAir is no longer a realistic contender after twice tapping out to Shayna. Having a pinfall victory in a tag-match over the champ on her CV, Io Shirai was the only real contender for a singles match. Baszler’s reign of tyranny has shown no signs of stopping, however, but Io found a friend in a kendo stick last week on NXT as she leveled the odds against the MMA Horsewomen. This match is personal for Shirai with her best friend Kairi Sane needing to be avenged (although she seems to be doing just fine on Smackdown), Dakota Kai and Candice LeRae needing to be avenged as well as the entire Women’s division needing liberation from Shayna Baszler.
If Shayna’s reign continues here, it is hard to see where her next contender is going to come from. Io Shirai’s momentum is sky high at the moment and it would hurt her credibility if she comes up short against Baszler here. However, if there’s one thing NXT excels at, it’s creating stars so building her and the Women’s division back up should not be a problem no matter who walks out of NXT Takeover XXV as NXT Women’s champion.
NXT Championship Match: Johnny Gargano (c) vs. Adam Cole
These two put on an instant classic in their 2-out-of-3 falls match in New York. There is no reason for that not to be the case this Saturday as well.
As mentioned before, Adam Cole’s prophecy should be kept in mind as he promised the Undisputed Era would hold all the gold in 2019. The build-up to this rematch has been about Cole finding it in himself to believe that he can beat Gargano. His realization and fury with Roderick Strong and the rest of the UE is not completely unfounded as he did beat pin Gargano fair and square for the first fall at the last TakeOver.
Cole sees himself as the uncrowned champion while this is Johnny Wrestling’s first title defense as he looks to cement himself as the face of NXT. For all of Adam Cole’s mic skills and conniving capabilities, it’s hard to see where his next NXT title shot is going to come from if he falls short here.
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