Freelance: Preview- NXT Takeover- Orlando
WrestleMania weekend is right around the corner meaning that so is “WrestleMania Monday,” a night featuring the perennial best crowd of the year, shocking twists and turns and, most importantly, the debuts of new male and female superstars. How might WWE’s farm team do during their Saturday night network special? See below and share your thoughts!
5. Eight-person mixed tag team match
Sanity (the group of Eric Young, Nikki Cross, Killian Dain, Alexander Wolfe and Sawyer Fulton) is white-hot with fans and perfect to get this special underway. They also seem to be the clear-cut winners in part due to the comedic element of opponent No Way José. The Cuban dancer teams with “The Perfect Tent” Tye Dillinger, indie wrestling darling and Ring of Honor veteran Roderick Strong. The team will be rounded out by Ruby Riot in what is her pay-per-view debut.
The feud stems from Dillinger’s refusal to join the dominant stable and ensuing attacks by Sanity in response. The others then came to his assistance.
What can be expected?
This rivalry may finally be put to bed in Orlando, but Sanity is on a roll since debuting in NXT, going largely untested. This randomly assembled pack of scrappy underdogs should be no different and Sanity will most assuredly target Tye Dillinger throughout the contest- a one-sided beat-down.
Predicted Winner: Sanity by pin
4. Aleister Black vs. Andrade Almas
Andrade “Cien” Almas is finally gaining some traction with the NXT fan-base in his recent heel role. Still, this bout is predicted to be a squash match in favor of debuting talent, Aleistair Black (formerly known as Tommy End.) Black is considered to be a monster thanks to a frame of six feet and 208 pounds.
Black brings with him a unique kickboxing-type style from his native United Kingdom. It’s possible that his first storyline could come from this match-up (with Almas portraying a shocked opponent who’s convinced the loss to Black was a fluke.) A path of figurative blood a la Braun Strowman seems more probable.
Predicted Winner: Aleistair Black by pin
3. Triple threat tag team elimination match for the NXT Tag Team Championship
The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) have been a part of the NXT system since 2014 and already have two reigns as NXT tag team champions to their credit. It makes no sense to keep the pair in developmental any longer.
With the elimination stipulation for this contest, The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) can take the win in dominating fashion by picking off each opponent with the victims of the fall itself could be the team of DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa.) to set up another feud with The Rival moving on to bigger and better things.
The Rival will either be distracted outside of the ring or beaten down. Cue The Authors of Pain’s Super Collider (stereo power bomb) finishing maneuver for the victory. Setting up a longer feud with DIY would also make sense for NXT’s weekly programming as DIY had their lone brief title run (70 days) between November of 2016 and January of 2017 was brought to an end courtesy of The Authors of Pain.
Predicted Winner: The Authors of Pain with Paul Ellering by pin.
Call-Ups: The Revival
2. Asuka vs. Ember Moon for the NXT Women’s Championship
NXT women’s champion Asuka is also a toss-up when it comes to predicting outcomes. If she were to be added to Monday nights, Raw would have a powerhouse female division that also includes Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Bailey. However, Asuka could also be used to bolster the division on Smackdown Live as well.
Either way, her debut on primetime television still feels a little further down the calendar. The challenger in Ember Moon has been booked to like as if she’s almost indestructible by winning eight of ten matches dating back to February 4. Her only losses came against Asuka, who also defeated Moon four consecutive times (twice by submission) at various NXT house shows in December of last year.
Expect Asuka to continue to carry the NXT women’s division for a few more months as she is its biggest name at the moment. A submission finish in which Moon either taps or passes out after a war in the ring would be a good way to go.
Moon would still be highly thought of and Asuka’s winning streak as champion (she is the longest reigning to date) would continue to grow and keep her looking impressive until the time is right for her top-level debut.
Predicted Winner: (C) Asuka by submission
1. Bobby Roode vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the NXT Championship
Fortunately for the WWE universe, Shinsuke Nakamura may very well be getting called up to the main roster. Unfortunately, WWE has become a little predictable when it comes to hot prospects moving up the proverbial ladder.
Both the Raw and Smackdown Live rosters could really use the stiff martial arts-based “strong style” of Nakamura’s home country of Japan but both he and champion “Glorious” Bobby Roode look formidable. With that in mind, the match will most likely kick off with a slow build-up that showcases various tie-ups and early submission holds. Add in Nakamura’s striking and maybe some classic heel stalling by going out of the ring along with the standard big moves that keep fans invested, and then the match will come to its big finish.
This is where that predictability rears its ugly head: Nakamura must lose so as not to bring the d-league’s title with him to one of the major brands. Still, you want him to have momentum when he debuts (likely on Raw.) With Roode in the heel role, the finish may be by disqualification or due to interference rather than the champion getting a clean victory.
Roode keeps the belt, but Nakamura will still appear like a tough challenge for any foe. Expect the main event to run around 20-25 minutes.
Predicted Winner: (C) Bobby Roode by interference/ DQ
Call-up: Shinsuke Nakamura
NXT Takeover- Orlando takes place on Saturday, April 1 at starting 8 p.m. ET from Orlando’s Amway Center. WrestleMania 33 will follow suit on Sunday, April 2 beginning with the pre-show at 5 p.m. ET and the main card kicking off at 7 p.m. ET.