UPDATE: Full match results below.
WWE is is full WrestleMania swing this week, and while most of the focus is on WrestleMania 32 this coming Sunday, NXT, is set to have its next Takeover event this Friday in Dallas, Texas. tonight in Dallas, Texas. While most fans consider NXT to be the minor leagues to WWE’s main roster, the matches that are set for the card are stacked with all three championships set to be defended, and in some cases, the debut matches for some of NXT’s newest signees. Both Austin Aries and Shinsuke Nakamura battle in non-title matches, while American Alpha, Asuka, and Samoa Joe will challenge the current champions for their title gold.
This can be seen as NXT’s version of WrestleMania, in a sense. There are a lot of matches that can have big implications for current Superstars on the card, and can also have big implications for those who are notably absent from the event. The booking is solid, the stories leading into the event make sense, and the competitors involved are some of the best wrestling talent in the world. It looks to be one of the best professional wrestling events of the year, and having it air the same weekend as WrestleMania just adds to the hype and gets more people excited.
Let’s take a look at just what NXT Takeover: Dallas has in store for us.
NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival vs. American Alpha
Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder have been a fantastic tag team up to this point, and their heel personas have benefited from their aggressive style of wrestling. They further cemented themselves as legitimate champions during their two title bouts with Enzo Amore and Colin Cassidy. But Jason Jordan and Chad Gable have been on a roll recently, and are looking to prove themselves with an NXT Tag Title win at Takeover.
A rather sad trend that has followed the NXT Tag Titles has been the fact that teams are only ever able to hold the titles once, and once they are lost, are almost never able to even compete for them again. The Lucha Dragons, The Vaudevillans, and Blake and Murphy have all held them once, and then, as far as actual title competition goes, are never seen again. It would be a welcome sight to see these two teams go at each other’s throats numerous times with the championships on the line, helping to legitimize the titles while building up the fan reaction for both teams.
Either team claiming a victory in this match is a good thing. If American Alpha win the championships, they become further involved with the WWE Universe as contenders for a future main roster debut. If The Revival retains, they begin to look more like the dominant competitors their characters would imply. But, knowing given previous Takeover booking, Gable and Jordan will most likely take the championships and make a name for themselves in the NXT Tag Team division.
Prediction: Gable and Jordan defeat Dash and Dawson to become the new NXT Tag Team Champions.
Result: American Alpha defeats The Revival.
Austin Aries vs. Baron Corbin
WWE has recently been going after some of the wrestling profession’s hottest free agents (a trend started by signing A.J. Styles back in January, that continued with Shinsuke Nakamura early last month), and now Austin Aries, the former face of Impact Wrestling, steps inside an NXT ring with the Lone Wolf Baron Corbin.
WWE is solidifying Corbin’s heel persona by having him attack multiple fan favorites to stay relevant, as seen with his attacking Apollo Crews and setting up a match between the two at NXT Takeover: London back in December. Corbin then attacked Aries while the former TNA World Heavyweight Champion made his first appearance at an NXT taping. The two of them have been at each other’s throats since.
While it makes sense to have an NXT newcomer win his debut match, it may actually be more beneficial to have Corbin win this match to build up his credibility. He’s lost at the past two Takeover events, both against competitors who were relatively new to the division. It feels as though WWE is building him up for a future NXT Championship run, due to his recent conflict with NXT General Manager William Regal, but having him lose at Dallas will stall any momentum he has built up since his loss to Crews in London.
Aries is also the type of competitor who wouldn’t lose any credibility with a loss at Takeover, but because WWE wants to build him up as a legitimate contender. there really isn’t any way they will have him lose his debut.
Prediction: Austin Aries defeats Baron Corbin.
Result: Austin Aries defeats Baron Corbin.
Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Yet another situation where a new signee takes on an already-established NXT star, Shinsuke Nakamura will face Sami Zayn in his debut match.
The buildup for this match was unexpected. After Zayn lost the number one contender 2-of-3 falls match to Samoa Joe a few weeks ago, many fans thought that Zayn would take his talents to the main roster, but stayed in NXT for an unknown reason. NXT General Manager William Regal announced two weeks ago that he would still have a match at Takeover, but didn’t officially announce who until a video of Nakamura appeared on the Titantron, confirming that he would be Zayn’s first opponent.
WWE announced the Nakamura signing after the end of WWE’s Fastlane pay-per-view in the hopes of taking the heat off of the finish to the show’s main event, but now that Nakamura actually has an opponent, it’s going to be exciting to see how he performs within WWE’s style of sports entertainment.
Nakamura, when he was with New Japan Pro Wrestling only a few short months ago, was known as the “King of Strong Style,” a nickname earned because of his hard-hitting work in the ring and his finishing move: a running knee to the side of an opponent’s face. The Strong Style Knee Strike is actually quite dangerous for Nakamura’s opponents, but it is part of what makes Nakamura who he is. It would be an absolute shame if he were forced to retire the move due to WWE’s wish to avoid accidental injuries to their wrestlers and keep the shows as PG as possible.
Because it’s Nakamura’s debut, and because Sami Zayn is involved with a match at WresteMania two nights later, this match will most likely go to Nakamura.
Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Sami Zayn.
Result: Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Sami Zayn.
NXT Women’s Champion Bayley vs. Asuka
The second of the night’s three title bouts, current NXT Women’s Champion Bayley will face Asuka for the title in a match where the two finest female competitors in NXT will square off to see who will reign as champion.
Bayley’s prolonged stay in NXT came as quite a shock to many fans as Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Becky Lynch all were called up to the main roster as part of the “Divas Revolution.” As the four of them were considered to be “The Four Horsewomen” of NXT, Bayley not getting called up to the main roster was a bit of a shock. Looking back, Bayley’s career credibility and standing with the fans has increased exponentially since she has been the Women’s Champion, thus making a main roster debut all the more sweet when it happens.
Asuka, another one of NXT’s NJPW signees, took a contract with WWE back in August, and has since proven herself to be one of the best competitors to grace NXT television due to her unique style of wrestling. Her winning the belt from Bayley is a good choice, and accomplishes much the same effect as Dash and Dawson retaining the Tag Titles: it increases her reputation and character as a hard-hitting stiff fighter and acknowledges her skill. She has been on a roll since her debut, and a loss here would only slow her momentum. Plus, it allows for a potential main roster debut for Bayley somewhere down the road.
Prediction: Asuka defeats Bayley to become the new NXT Women’s Champion.
Result: Asuka defeats Bayley.
NXT Champion Finn Bálor vs. Samoa Joe
This is the culmination of a series of events that saw the two winning the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic during the summer of last year, eventually breaking up their tag team, and Samoa Joe being portrayed as NXT’s version of Brock Lesnar. Joe won a 2-of-3 falls match against Sami Zayn to become the number one contender for the second time, and has proven in the past that he will do anything it takes to win. But Bálor has also proven himself, having been the NXT Champion since July 4, 2015 while taking on all challengers to his title, hence gaining even more credibility with the WWE Universe. This match, realistically, could go either way, but only one outcome is beneficial for both Superstars.
Holding a championship in NXT is like a prison that you’re happy to be in: it prevents much main roster competition (perhaps with the exception of Kevin Owens), but lets a wrestler wear the gold around their waist. Bálor has so many main roster-type talents that he could easily be utilized on RAW, and with the WWE signing of his former Bullet Club stablemates Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows, he could be in for a storyline that involves a stable rather than championship gold. Joe, on the other hand, is a former TNA champion, and a fantastic competitor that, at this stage in his career, deserves to be champion again, especially after losing to Bálor back in London.
It’s a fantastic matchup to close out the show, and one that will surely excite the crowd in Dallas and hype up the action to be had at AT&T Stadium two nights later at WrestleMania.
Prediction: Samoa Joe defeats Finn Bálor to become the new NXT Champion.
Result: Finn Bálor defeats Samoa Joe.
Tell us your NXT Takeover Dallas predictions @getfandom.