NXT TakeOver Phoenix: Will DIY Rule NXT?
Saturday, January 26, 2019
One of WWE’s biggest events of the year takes place this past Sunday, which means there was another NXT TakeOver during a jam packed four days of wrestling. NXT has consistently set the bar high for the main roster competing the following night and this event looks like it will continue that trend.
No matter which top NXT performers have been called up in the past, the brand hasn’t declined in overall quality and has seen others rise to the occasion, put their talent on full display and seize the opportunity of working in front of the larger crowd. This TakeOver card features a nice collection of veteran talent, high-flyers, and fresh faces to make this an entertaining show.
NXT TakeOver Phoenix will be headlined by the NXT championship match between champion Tommaso Ciampa and former NXT champion Aleister Black. Other matches on the card include: Bianca Belair vs Shayna Baszler (c) for the NXT Women’s championship, War Raiders (Hanson and Rowe) vs The Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly) (c) for the NXT Tag Team championship, Johnny Gargano vs Ricochet (c) for the NXT North American championship, and Matt Riddle vs Kassius Ohno.
NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs Aleister Black
Aleister Black will attempt to capture the NXT championship for the second time in his career when he takes on Tommaso Ciampa. Black first won the NXT championship last April, when he defeated then champion Andrade “Cien” Almas. The title reign didn’t last too long as he was defeated by Ciampa on an episode of NXT in July.
Since then, Ciampa has continued to prove himself as one of the top heels not only in NXT, but one of the top heels in WWE. His feud with former DIY teammate Johnny Gargano put his character work and in-ring ability on full display for fans of the product and WWE management.
I believe that Ciampa will once again retain his NXT championship to set the stage for a main roster call-up for Aleister Black, maybe even in the Royal Rumble match the following night. This match could be a great way to write-off Black from NXT programming and make way for a new challenger for Ciampa.
Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa retains
NXT North American Championship: Ricochet (c) vs Johnny Gargano
The North American championship match has match of the night written all over it. As seen at NXT WarGames, these two performers know how to get fans on their feet. At the event, Johnny Gargano had a great match with Aleister Black and Ricochet was a member of the winning team in the War Games match, where he stood on-top the cage with Pete Dunne as the focal points to end the PPV.
Much like Ciampa, Gargano has taken full advantage of his heel turn and made improvements since his change in character. Before turning heel, Gargano was one of the company’s top babyface’s along with WWE champion Daniel Bryan, John Cena, and Roman Reigns. Gargano has also been able to adapt to his opponent’s in-ring style and steal the show on multiple occasions, which is why he has earned the nickname Johnny TakeOver.
Ricochet is also no stranger to stealing the show; his incredible display of high-risk offensive moves led to his matches being considered among the best matches and moments of 2018, and this match will be no different. Both Ricochet and Gargano have the ability to wrestle a technical style wrestling match and even a high-flying cruiserweight-style matchup, so it should be interesting to see what these performers have planned for Saturday night but one thing that is for certain is that fans will surely be in awe of what they’re witnessing once it’s all said and done.
Prediction: Johnny Gargano wins to become the new NXT North American champion
It would be interesting to see what would happen on NXT programming if both Ciampa and Gargano walk out with singles gold.
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Photo Credit: WWE