NXT: Takeover: Chicago will air this Saturday on the WWE Network for the first time outside of their quarterly, big four schedule. (The big four I reference of course being the WWE events Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam, and Survivor Series.) Taking place at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois, the show features the best and brightest of the WWE NXT brand. Since the NXT brand has consistently put on some of the best shows of the year for the WWE, I thought we'd take a few minutes to go through the card for the show while I offer some predictions on who may win.
Roderick Strong vs Eric Young
Roderick Strong has been on one heck of a roll as of late. He's still pretty young despite his years in Ring of Honor and other organizations. The WWE has a blue chipper on their hands with Roddy and I think they realize the goldmine of a talent they have. Eric Young is talented as well yet someone in a position that can serve as a stepping stone for younger talent. I think of Jimmy Snuka in the early 90's when he faced off against the likes of The Undertaker. Snuka would consistently lose yet the loses ended up helping the younger talent. In this case, the WWE would be wise to slowly build up Strong as he could easily be headlining Wrestlemania in a few years time.
Prediction: Roderick Strong gets the pinfall
WWE UK Championship Match
Tyler Bate vs Pete Dunne
The WWE has taken their time establishing the legitimacy of the UK Championship but with ITV in Britain balking at filming the World Of Sport wrestling show, the WWE UK Wrestling Specials which start tomorrow with Jim Ross coming back to the company to provide commentary will do a lot to fill in that gap. The two big stars of the UK Championship Tournament that was shown earlier this year on the WWE Network, Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne, will face off at Takeover. While Tyler Bate really impressed me with his in ring work despite being shy of 20, I think the WWE sees star making material in Pete Dunne. He was the main focus of the Championship Tournament earlier this year despite losing. With a raucous crowd in Chicago, I see Pete Dunne finally getting the UK championship.
Prediction: Pete Dunne by cheating to become UK Champion
NXT Tag Team Championship Match
The Authors of Pain vs #DIY
The big news coming into this match is Tommaso Ciampa injuring himself at a house show earlier in the week. It is unclear at this point if he will be on the show. If he doesn't make the show, who replaces him? If he does make the show, will we finally see #DIY split with the long rumored heel turn from Johnny Gargano? The injury really puts into question what type of match we will see but in my mind, there's no doubt who wins.
Prediction: The Authors of Pain retain the championships
NXT Women's Championship Triple Threat Match
Asuka vs Ruby Riot vs Nikki Cross
This was originally a fatal four way match but Ember Moon ended up injuring herself which resulted in the match we have tonight. While rumors of Asuka making her way to the main roster have been on the rise since the Superstar Shakeup a few weeks back, I think the original plan was to have Ember Moon be the one to end Asuka's winning streak. While I think Ruby Riot is a capable performer and there is BIG money in Nikki Cross, I think NXT officials still want to make Ember Moon the big star of the NXT Women's Division.
Prediction: Asuka retains her championship
Bobby Roode vs Hideo Itami
There once was a time where Hideo Itami was set to be the next big face of NXT. Then he got injured. Twice. While I think the WWE still sees money in him, they are understandably reluctant to pull the trigger on giving him a big push. This will be a test for him. Bobby Roode is a reliable hand. He's doing the best work of his career now with his Glorious gimmick, ripping off Ric Flair in all the right ways. Hideo needs to prove that he can be reliable before the WWE decides to give him the NXT Championship or pull the trigger to send him to the main roster. Bobby Roode is in a spot where it seems they're really shaping the NXT brand around him being the centerpiece which I don't think is a bad thing at all. Hideo can gain a lot by losing this match.
Prediction: Bobby Roode wins in Glorious fashion
So what do you think? Are the predictions good choices or would you pick other choices? What matches are you looking forward to at NXT: Takeover: Chicago? Sound off in the comments section below.