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How I usually feel for TakeOvers. 

Ahh, TakeOvers. It’s no secret that NXT has become my favourite brand over the past few years, and it remains no different this time around. TakeOvers have often been at the same level, if not better then the main roster PPV that it precedes. Even with the titular match in favour of the Royal Rumble, I would still bet on NXT putting on the better show. That seems to be what happens when you feature some of the best wrestling talent in the world (both homegrown & established on the indie scene) and tying that in with great story-lines. As well, the two hour format benefits wrestling fans too: It leaves them wanting more.

As always, I’m @Parkman15Love , and here are my predictions & thoughts on NXT Takeover: Philadelphia!

Velveteen Dream vs Kassius Ohno

Officially added to the card on the go-home episode, it’s simply based on Ohno calling out Dream for saying that “He would have beaten Kassius easily to qualify”. Dream pointed out that he did look better then Ohno in defeat, and there was a moderate push from Kassius! With a quick backstage vignette, the match was made. Velveteen Dream is quickly becoming one of the top wrestlers in NXT : at 22 years old, his potential is unbelievable.

I won’t lie, it’s surprising to see this match get added to the card rather then Killian Dain or Roderick Strong vs Lars Sullivan, but who am I to complain?  This should still be a great match – both of these men are among the best W̶r̶e̶s̶t̶l̶e̶r̶s sports entertainers in the company. The former Tough Enough contestant needs the win here though to keep his momentum going. Ohno winning here really doesn’t make sense. Expect a fun match to open TakeOver: Philly here, with the Dream going over. Prediction: Velveteen Dream

NXT Tag Team Championships – The Undisputed Era (C) vs The Authors of Pain

I will happily admit that I was completely wrong about the A.O.P when they made their debut. I thought that they were another pair of generic, clumsy big men who wouldn’t make it to the main roster. Looking back at their growth though, and some of the matches they’ve been a part of, sheesh. Time to admit that they’re a great team guys. Both Akam and Rezar are under 25… that’s scary. With regards to Undisputed Era, we all know how good the former ReDragon are: I don’t feel the need to elaborate on them. If not, feel feel free to watch this match.

Props to Maria Kannellis to taking that bump too. 

It does feel like the Authors of Pain should be on the main roster though, and clearly NXT is all in on the Undisputed Era. This feels like a curtain call for the Authors, who don’t need the belts to feel legitimate. With War Machine on the way too, and TM61 coming back – it seems like call-ups are imminent for NXT’s tag division. Seeing the AOP on RAW or Smackdown would be a welcome treat. And a (semi) clean win for Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly would make them feel huge here. A win here for Fish & O’Reilly makes them seem legit. Akam and Rezar, hope to see you soon on Monday Night. I feel RAW could use a monster heel tag team.

Prediction: The Undisputed Era retain the NXT Tag Team Championship. 

Extreme Rules Match – Adam Cole vs Aleister Black

WWE.com

This match is probably the match I’m most excited for. These two have become favourites of mine over the last year – both are just damn good at this wrestling thing. With Adam Cole costing the former Tommy End a chance at the NXT Championship, a shot at the Tag Team Championships, and his undefeated streak, Aleister Black will probably not respond too kindly. This feels like it should be the final step for Adam Cole to move into the main event scene. A win here for the former Bullet Club member would continue to legitimize him in the mainstream audience, and an Extreme Rules stipulation will help protect Black in a loss here.

If Cole does the job here, seeing Black beat all three members of one of the hottest teams in NXT would be a deflating blow – and lets get real, we will see the rest of the Undisputed Era in this match. Adam Cole arguably needs the win here more. Yes, it would suck to see Black lose twice in recent memory. But two losses that aren’t even close to clean is easy to build back up. I would argue that Aleister Black is someone like Undertaker – he just doesn’t need a title to feel important. Plus, there’s a lot of dream matches I want to see Aleister have on the main roster. So…

Prediction: Adam Cole wins with help from Fish & O’Reilly. 

NXT Women’s Championship – Ember Moon (C) vs Shanya Baszler

I’ve been critical of Ember Moon’s character in past previews of NXT, but damn has that changed! She’s always been great in the ring and has one of the best finishers in a long time. But since winning the belt, she has been a better character: A champion who takes on all comers. Yes, it’s a simple gimmick, but it always works. She faces another extremely strong character in Shayna Baszler, while not the best worker, but is also pretty good at wrasslin’ herself. Her build up in the past few weeks has been perfect – everything about it makes her seem like the next monster heel in WWE. She just wants to win, and she will hurt anyone as badly as possible to get there.

I rarely say this though, but it seems like NXT may have booked themselves into a corner here – neither woman can really take a clean loss here. Ember Moon taking a loss in her first TakeOver defense would make her look fairly weak, and seeing Shanya Baszler lose clean here would already damage her aura. She looked dominant through the MYC, looks dominant thus far in NXT, but will she lose clean to Moon?

Unless Moon is going to be immediately called up (similar to Drew McIntyre), then I see Moon retaining in a way that keeps Baszler looking strong – something along the lines of DQ or Baszler is submitted but doesn’t tap out. Ember Moon would be great on the main roster , and I could easily see her in the women’s rumble match if she loses the title here. To be honest, I’m not sure how this match will turn out. So, going with my gut…

WWE.com

I am still a sucker for the Eclipse though. 

Prediction: Ember Moon retains the NXT Women’s Championship

NXT Men’s Championship – Andrade Cien Almas (C) w/Zelina Vega vs Johnny Gargano

This match has legitimate intrigue surrounding it. Damn, NXT, I love you. I don’t need to tell you how interesting both characters have been over the last few months. Gargano’s downfall and rise have been great, while Zelina Vega has taken Almas to the top of card in a matter of months. The previous matches have all tied in leading to this match, with Vega constantly distracting Johnny Wrestling with a DIY Shirt to ensure victory for her client. Now, Johnny Gargano seems to be finally over it after winning the fatal 4-way and defeating Velveteen Dream to retain his #1 contender status. However, someone has been rehabbing and seems to be coming close to a return.

It’s no secret that the upcoming feud between Tommasso Ciampa vs Johnny Gargano will be a feud of the year contender, but does it need to have the NXT Championship added to it? Does Tommaso Ciampa cost Johnny Wrestling the title? Does Gargano win the title, only for a beatdown from the returning Ciampa? There are so many ways this could end. In my professional opinion, WWE always likes to make blood feuds feel bigger by putting a title in it: Think Rock-Cena II, Lesnar-Goldberg, Jericho-Owens, etc. All just recent examples that helped shape main event pictures.

I read a theory on why it would make sense for Ciampa to help Gargano win. You can read that here – Just scroll down to extra thoughts! Or read the whole thing if you wish! 

With a win or a loss here, Gargano and Ciampa seem destined to main event TakeOver: New Orleans. Making it over the biggest prize in NXT just makes it that much bigger. It It may seem far fetched (and I wouldn’t be surprised to have Ciampa cost him the match), but I see a win here for Johnny Wrestling with a Rumble appearance on Sunday for El Idelo.

Prediction: (It may be really selfish, but…) Johnny Gargano wins the NXT Championship. 

Recap:

  1. Velveteen Dream over Kassius Ohno
  2. Undisputed Era over The Authors of Pain
  3. Adam Cole over Aleister Black
  4. Ember Moon over Shanya Baszler
  5. Johnny Gargano over Andrade Cien Almas

There’s my predictions! The matches here should be fantastic, and think about the talent that still is on it’s way/ didn’t make the card. The future of NXT looks solid, but TakeOvers time is now. Will you be tuning in? What are your predictions? Let us know by tweeting us at @WCSportsCA , or follow my live thoughts on TakeOver @Parkman15Love!  Enjoy the show!

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NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia – Match Card & Predictions
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