This Saturday (May 20), NXT hosts its first TakeOver special since WrestleMania weekend, TakeOver: Chicago. In the first night of a double-header weekend with SmackDown Live’s Backlash show, TakeOver: Chicago has a stacked card from top to bottom. Four championships are being defended, from all the NXT titles to the WWE United Kingdom Championship. Let’s take a look at what the WWE Universe is in store for in the Windy City.
Roderick Strong vs. Eric Young
On last week’s episode of NXT, Roderick Strong was competing in a #1 Contender’s Match against Hideo Itami to determine who would face Bobby Roode for the NXT Championship. By looking at this match’s header, you already know the result of the match. Strong lost, and after NXT went off the air that night, SAnitY ambushed and assaulted Strong. He demanded a match with Eric Young, and Young accepted the challenge last night.
Roderick Strong was battling SAnitY alongside Tye Dillinger, Kassius Ohno (originally No Way Jose), and Ruby Riot in Orlando. Hopefully after this match, Strong can finally find a new feud. Winner: Roderick Strong
Tyler Bate (c) vs. Pete Dunne – WWE United Kingdom Championship
Out of all of the matches on the card, this one has the most potential to shatter expectations. Tyler Bate has occasionally appeared on NXT, but Pete Dunne has only competed in front of the WWE Universe during the United Kingdom Championship Tournament, where he lost to Bate in the finals. Most of the NXT Universe has probably not seen the performances that both of these men can pull off, and this match is sure to get everybody talking.
With the United Kingdom Championship weekly show apparently coming to the WWE Network “soon,” a title change would be a great way to spark some interest. Bate has been a good champion, and a history-making one by being the first UK Champion and the second youngest titleholder in WWE history at 19 years old and change. Dunne has a ton of potential, and this would be a great start for it to show. Winner, and NEW United Kingdom Champion: Pete Dunne
The Authors of Pain (c) vs. #DIY – NXT Tag Team Championships (Ladder Match)
Akam and Rezar captured the NXT Tag Team Championships from Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa back in January at TakeOver: San Antonio and #DIY have yet to get their one-on-one championship rematch. Last week, William Regal granted their wish and made their title match against the Authors of Pain a ladder match. Since no team has been able to pin AoP, this stipulation evens the playing field and freshens up the match a bit.
As much as I would love for #DIY to become two-time NXT Tag Team Champions, it doesn’t seem like The Authors of Pain are dropping the belts anytime soon. Perhaps they will lose the belts to Heavy Machinery after they gain some traction, but it doesn’t seem to be in the near future. Winners, and STILL NXT Tag Team Champions: The Authors of Pain
Asuka (c) vs. Ruby Riot vs. Nikki Cross – NXT Women’s Championship
A few weeks ago, there was a #1 Contender’s Battle Royal to determine Asuka’s newest challenger. Ruby Riot, Nikki Cross, and Ember Moon were the only women remaining when Asuka decided to attack them all and cause a no contest. William Regal disapproved of her actions (as only Regal can) and made a match for her to defend her title against all three women she attacked. However, Ember Moon was injured when Asuka threw her out of the ring onto her shoulder, so only Riot and Cross will be challenging for the gold.
I’m not a huge fan of predicting matches based on rumors, but here we go. Io Shirai and Kairi Hojo, two incredibly talented Japanese wrestlers, have been recently signed by WWE and could easily go toe-to-toe with the Empress of Tomorrow. If they debut before the Women’s Tournament this summer, they could easily be the ones to dethrone the undefeated Asuka. Winner, and STILL NXT Women’s Champion: Asuka
Bobby Roode (c) vs. Hideo Itami – NXT Championship
This match has not had a lot of build to it. After Bobby Roode retained his NXT Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura in Orlando, he decided to go to the ring two weeks later and gloat about his victory. At this point, Hideo Itami made his triumphant return from injury to hit the champion with the Go to Sleep. Itami would then go on to defeat Roderick Strong in a #1 Contender’s match, and one last time he would knock Roode out this week on NXT.
With guys like Drew McIntyre, Roderick Strong, Kassius Ohno, Aleister Black, and Andrade “Cien” Almas all crowding the top of the NXT card, it is hard to see Bobby Roode and Hideo Itami staying around much longer. Itami could get called up to the main roster at any time, so a loss for him here could set Roode up to lose it to perhaps McIntyre. Winner, and STILL NXT Champion: Bobby Roode
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