NXT TakeOvers are usually among the best moments of Big 4 PPV’s (or 5, if you consider MITB) weekends. As WWE gets ready for the traditionally awesome Royal Rumble show, NXT brings an absolutely stacked lineup for Takeover: Phoenix. As well, we’re likely to see a few big new signees in the crowd!
We’re seeing some fresh new match-ups in the mid-card, with a huge NXT Championship rematch headlining the show. With Takeover a few days away, your panel at Win Column Sports has your official Match Card & Predictions for NXT Takeover: Phoenix!
- Matt Riddle vs Kassius Ohno
- NXT Tag Team Championship Match – The Undisputed Era© vs. War Raiders
- NXT North American Championship – Ricochet© vs. Johnny Gargano
- NXT Women’s Championship – Shayna Baszler© vs. Bianca Belair
- NXT Championship – Tommaso Ciampa© vs. Aleister Black
Matt Riddle vs Kassius Ohno
Spencer: There’s always one match on every TakeOver card that shocks me, and I’ve got a feeling that this one will be it. After a devastatingly quick loss to the King of Bros at the last TakeOver special, Kassius Ohno’s shifted more and more to the dark side of the tracks. While not quite a full-fledged heel yet, he’s looked to be on the edge of a turn for months now. I don’t think this feud is done, and we all know WWE’s penchant for 50/50 booking. Riddle’s primed for big things, this much is true – however, he can afford a loss here so that Ohno can make a statement. Prediction: Kassius Ohno
Parker: Riddle vs Ohno has been a very solid feud in my opinion, and I do enjoy seeing KO have something to do. However, he’s settled into his gatekeeper position very nicely in NXT, and the black-and-yellow brand clearly has big plans for the King of the Bros. I don’t see a reason to have Ohno go over here, no matter how I look at it. Prediction: Matt Riddle
NXT Tag Team Championship Match – The Undisputed Era© vs. War Raiders
Spencer: The Undisputed Era is set to be the most dominant faction in NXT history, and there’s no way they lose until they’re all ready to be called up. Prediction: The Undisputed Era
Parker: Strong & O’Reilly have been mainstays in the Tag Division, having a fantastic match with just about every single team thrown against them. Lorcan & Burch? Fantastic. Moustache Mountain? Incredible. Hell, put them against two inflatable men and they’d get a good match out of it. I have no doubt that this match will be incredible, but it just feels like the War Raiders need the win. Clearly, these two are ready to hold the titles in the tag division. My only question, however, is whether this will be a changing of the straps or a dirty win here where the Era retains. Prediction: War Raiders win, whether it be clean or whether it be by DQ, setting up a Mania weekend rematch.
NXT North American Championship – Ricochet© vs. Johnny Gargano
Spencer: Either man could benefit from a huge win here; Johnny hasn’t picked up a victory since turning to the dark side, while Ricochet needs to continue to ascend the card and build prestige for the North American Championship. He’s done an excellent job thus far: why not continue? Besides, another loss from Gargano may take him even further down the dark path he’s already begun. Perhaps, he won’t have to do it himself? Prediction: Ricochet
Parker: NXT has booked Ricochet very well, in my opinion. He’s not going to be in the NXT Championship scene soon, so why not have him hold the secondary title? Besides, it allows him to have fantastic matches for said belt and allows him to continue developing his other skills that are vital in WWE. This match will more than likely be the best match of the night, and I’m quite curious to see how dark Johnny will go here with his new heel persona. But to me, a loss here would hurt Ricochet – as much as I would LOVE to have the closing of Takeover: Phoenix be a reunion of Dark DIY. Johnny has a WrestleMania weekend date with Ciampa in my booking, so… Prediction: Ricochet retains the North American Championship.
NXT Women’s Championship – Shayna Baszler© vs. Bianca Belair
Spencer: Two possible routes exist for Shayna Two-Time: either a loss on Saturday night preempting a Royal Rumble debut the next night, or a victory preempting one of the most dominant championship runs in the brands’ history. Belair is the only female on the NXT roster who’s been built well enough thus far to conceivably beat the Queen of Spades, and even then that could be considered a bit of a stretch. There’s simply no one else ready on the NXT roster ready to step up to Shayna, and conceivably removing her from the NXT roster would be a huge loss at this moment. Baszler is dominant, and with Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir by her side, I don’t see her losing the title for a long, long time. Prediction: Bianca Belair
Parker: I may be in the minority here, but I am pretty excited for this match. Heel vs. heel is always something I can get down for in NXT. Baszler’s second title reign may not be the most necessary considering how good her first reign was, but there’s no doubt she’s a good heel. I mean, just tell me you don’t want to see her lose. Additionally, people forget that Belair is an extremely talented wrestler that’s very early in her career. I really do expect a breakout performance from her, but I just can’t see the title coming off of Shanya here. The Queen of Spades wins here. Prediction: Shayna Baszler
NXT Championship – Tommaso Ciampa© vs. Aleister Black
Spencer: Aleister Black is excellent, but Tommaso Ciampa is simply excellenter. Keep Goldie on Tommy Sports Entertainment forever. Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa
Parker: Black vs Ciampa. I still can’t believe that they gave this title match away on free TV last summer, cause it really is a money match. Both men are extremely good at all aspects of Sports Entertaining. And this match should be insane on a bigger stage. While Black winning here wouldn’t be a huge shock, Ciampa has been one of my favourite NXT Champions. Black’s run in NXT has been fantastic, but what else can he accomplish as champion again? Besides, there’s a certain event the next night that would be perfect for a debuting superstar. I see a win here for Ciampa, and a call up for Aleister to become a top guy. Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa retains his NXT Championship
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