#NXTTakeover takes place this Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the night before Survivor Series, in what, on paper, looks like another tear-the-house-down card featuring some of the industry's best and brightest stars.
Although #NXT is an arm of the slick and polished #WWE, NXT possesses a grit and authenticity that the main WWE Smackdown Live and Raw brands do not. NXT feels like an independent promotion, but extremely well-funded, yet simplistic in its presentation of wrestling.
The storylines are direct and straightforward, and the wrestling is more often than not, extraordinary. NXT also features some of the sport's most dramatic and exciting ring entrances.
If you are tired of Shane and Stephanie McMahon constantly nagging each other, then NXT might be a better show for you than the #SurvivorSeries.
Here is your guide and predictions for NXT Takeover: Toronto
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Samoa Joe (NXT Championship)
These are two of the best wrestlers in the world. #Nakamura is a veteran of New Japan Pro Wrestling and Samoa Joe is the real "Underground King," a veteran of Ring of Honor and TNA. If you have an opportunity to see these two guys wrestle, take it. Nakamura is the most charismatic man in all of wrestling. With a theatrical gait, facials not seen since Vince McMahon was a regular performer, and a stiff style of wrestling, Nakamura is the future of the WWE. Not to mention, he has one of the greatest ring entrances ever.
Nakamura matches are filled with loud chants of his name and even singing of his instrumental walkout music. Nakamura is an experience. Joe is the polar opposite. He's a Samoan, no-nonsense tough guy who also works stiff, and uses many MMA moves to submit and defeat his opponents. Even against Nakamura, Joe is widely cheered and respected by the fans. Nakamura defeated Joe for the championship and now Joe wants his title back.
Prediction: Both Nakamura and Joe are headed to the WWE at some point. The question is when. Look for Nakamura to defeat Joe again here, in another stiff, classic match, paving the way for Joe to appear as an entrant in the WWE's #RoyalRumble in Janurary. In the WWE many matches await Joe, from Rusev to Brock Lesnar. We all need to see a Nakamura vs Bobby Roode feud before Nakamura joins the WWE.
Asuka vs. Mickie James (NXT Women's Championship)
The Japanese invasion of NXT continues. #Asuka is the best female wrestler in the world, and we all want to see her take on Charlotte at some point in 2017. James makes a return to the WWE after a long run in TNA. She's an odd pick to challenge Asuka. There must be some backstory to James getting the title shot here, but it would be a major step backwards for women's wrestling if the 37-year-old James, whose prime was in the WWE a decade ago, wins the championship here. Asuka has the respect of the fans and is a better all-around performer.
Prediction: Asuka needs to win here. James, if anything, could go to the WWE and work as a manager or lead a faction of young female wrestlers. The title stays with Asuka.
Bobby Roode vs. Tye Dillinger
The Glorious One takes on The Perfect 10, in a match that could be a show-stealer. The wrestling gods smiled on #BobbyRoode, bestowing him with an amazing ring entrance and gimmick, afters he toiled for years in TNA as a member of Beer Money.
Roode has a great old school look, as if you combined Arn Anderson and Magnum TA into one person, and he's good in the ring. Along with his cult-like ring entrance, Roode is one of those special things about NXT. He's one of the guys people really want to see perform. Dillinger, too, is blessed with an amazing gimmick. The crowd chants "10" when he strikes his opponents and "zero" when his opponents get some offense in against him. Dillinger is a good worker, and with Roode, this match will be electric.
Prediction: Bobby Roode, a Canadian, needs to win in Toronto so we all can sing "Glorious" twice on the show. Dillinger will survive the loss and go on to do great things in NXT.
Authors of Pain vs. TM61 (Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals)
NXT has done a great job developing tag team talent. We have been treated with several good tag team matches during the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, and it all ends with the Authors of Pain, with Paul Ellering vs. #TM61.
TM61, formerly TMDK (The Mighty Don't Kneel) before they joined NXT, are the epitome of tag team wrestling: Teamwork, frequent tags and great timing. They are wrestling their opposites; the Authors of Pain are huge brutes who smash everyone who gets in their way. This is a tough one because both teams bring value to NXT, and they play their roles well. This will be a good one, with TM61 carrying the match.
Prediction: Authors of Pain will win. They have been portrayed as indestructible beasts and, after all, we are wrestling fans. We want to see the big guys kick some butt.
Finn Balor and Samoa Joe, by the way, won last year's tournament.
The Revival vs. #DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa) Two-out-of-Three Falls Match for the NXT Tag Team Championship
This match is gonna be so good that it needs two-out-of-three falls. Expect to hear plenty of "This is Wrestling" chants during this match. All four members of the these two teams are tremendous workers. The Revival's Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder are widely considered to be NXT's greatest tag team ever. The two-time champs will take on #DIY, who are hot and on fire both in the ring and with the crowd. We're gonna see some classic professional wrestling in this match. This won't be comedy hour. These four will put on a tag team wrestling showcase and set the bar for the televised portion of the Toronto show.
Prediction: #DIY will do it themselves and win the tag team championship. The true winners are the fans, who will see some tag team throwback wrestling, as if it were the 1980s and The Rock 'n Roll Express were battling the Midnight Express.