SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
I’ll say the same thing about the NXT TakeOver: In Your House main event that I say about the Chicago Bears quarterback room. With the Bears it goes like this. If you have two quarterbacks, do you really have any? Same thing with Sunday’s show. If you have four championship contenders, do you really have any?
It’s not that the fatal five-way can’t be or won’t be a good match, but with all the hedging and multi-person madness that happens on the main roster, NXT always served as a palette cleanser that delivered clean main events. This show is missing that.
The rest of the card is solid with a paint by numbers women’s championship match that should bring it from an in-ring perspective, along with a surprising million-dollar championship feud that has been built on the shoulders of Cameron Grimes. The ladder match stipulation seems unnecessary, but with two talented performers involved, it should turn out nicely in the end.
Call this a preview, a calm look into the distant future, or a gaze into a wondrous crystal ball; just don’t hold me to anything, ok?
Raquel Gonzalez vs. Ember Moon – NXT Women’s Championship
Ember Moon has done the job of presenting as a viable challenger to Raquel Gonzalez and the NXT Women’s Championship, but this match is all about Gonzalez. She needs a definitive title defense to start her reign as champion. Moon has main roster credibility, which will make sure the inevitable victory by Gonzalez is impactful.
Legado del Fantasma vs. MSK & Bronson Reed – NXT North American Champions and NXT Tag Team Championship
The feud between both these groups has worked – especially for Reed. Santos Escobar is a perfect first opponent coming out of his championship win and Reed has worked up to Escobar’s level during the build. The match is weakened by the winner take all approach in that doesn’t’ allow for a standout performance by either act. A title change in this scenario would lack significance due to the format, so look for MSK and Reed to win and retain.
LA Knight vs. Cameron Grimes – Million Dollar Championship Ladder Match
A lot of this feud has been too comedic, but Grimes has carried the load in terms of pulling it off. His ridiculousness and commitment to it has turned him babyface, but more importantly has made the feud interesting. NXT would be smart to run with that momentum and let the crowd cheer Ted DiBiase and him together.
Xia Li vs. Mercedes Martinez
Not a lot here. Li could use the win to keep the act and gimmick in a credible space. The foundation of her character takes a hit if she can’t win and renders the backstory of her act useless. For that reason, she takes the victory in what amounts to a low-card filler feud.
Karrion Kross vs. Adam Cole vs. Pete Dunne vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Johnny Gargano – NXT Championship Fatal Five-Way Match
As I said earlier, this could very well be a great match. There are loads of talent involved, so likely it will be. The match feels forced, though. It very much looks the part of a booking team admitting that they don’t have a championship challenger ready, so the strategy turned to simply throwing stars at the wall and hoping something sticks. Cole and Kross had some heat in their encounters, so the spots between them will be notable. A title change in this environment lacks impact as the champion doesn’t have to be pinned to lose the belt. For that reason, Kross retains and moves to a one-on-one feud with Cole.