It goes without saying that the third instalment of NXT Takeover emminating from the New York City of Brooklyn has a considerable amount to live up to! Stellar matches hound the event like a persistent bad smell.; the inaugural Takeover Brooklyn event gave us Finn Balor and Kevin Owens in a ladder match for the title as well as THAT Sasha Banks and Bayley encounter that so righty won so many accolades. Then Takeover Brooklyn II entertained us with #DIY and The Revival providing a tag Team masterclass, Bayley and Asuka for the Women's title in Bayley's last match before her doomed call up to the main roster, and Shinsuke Nakamura taking the title from the dominant heel Samoa Joe!
Now we find ourselves hurtling headlong toward the third and latest special from Brooklyn, and though the landscape may be very, VERY different to the previous two shows, it's still a show that has got me very excited indeed. Therefore, here are my predictions for the forthcoming NXT Takeover Brooklyn III;
Match #1 - Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade 'Cien' Almas
Since the untimely and heart-wrenching break-up of everyone's favourite Tag-Team - #DIY - at Takeover Chicago, both members have taken a backseat to heel injuries and the like. However, Gargano is back and he is taking on the man whose sole job it is currently to put over other people. I would personally be amazed if anyone has Almas to win this match! Even with the addition of Vega in this match, I can't see past JOHNNY GARGANO for this match. What would be nice however, is a run in from Mae Young Classic competitor and real life wife of Gargano, Candice LeRae, if Vega does attempt to get involved in any way.
Match #2 - The Authors of Pain (c) vs. SAniTy
Fun fact, this is the first Takeover NXT Tag Team title match since the inaugural Takeover Brooklyn event to not feature either #DIY or The Revival. This is the one match on the card I have slight reservations about. Akam and Rezar are dominant and can have good matches as proved by their encounters with the aforementioned #DIY and The Revival, however they are untried and untested in matches without these experienced competitors.
Coupled with this, it thrusts SAniTy into the spotlight and in particular, Alexander Wolfe. Killian Dain is clearly set for big things in the WWE and is held in the highest regard, yet we are still to see any promise from Wolfe. AUTHORS OF PAIN should win this and I hope they do, mostly because I would love to see SAniTy, with or without Nikki Cross, on the main roster as soon as possible.
Match #3 - Aleister Black vs. Hideo Itami
This really is a headliner-quality match.
Black is the hottest new thing in the WWE at the moment and undoubtedly a future NXT and WWE champion. Throw Hideo Itami into the mix, a man who has been so very unlucky when it comes to injuries - injuries that have stopped him becoming the star he was as KENTA in Pro Wrestling: NOAH, and you have the makings of a match of the night candidate.
These two are capable of magic together, as proved by Itami's excellent match against Bobby Roode for the title in Chicago and Black's hype and mystique so far. For me, it has to be ALEISTER BLACK winning this one as it seems fairly nonesensical to give the victory to Itami. Handing Black his first defeat now would only harm him in his quest to become NXT champion, which is a path the WWE have so clearly plotted for him.
Match #4 - Asuka (c) vs. Ember Moon
Asuka, Asuka, Asuka what a problem you have caused the WWE!
The Empress of Tomorrow has caused somewhat of an issue for the creative team of NXT as she has been so utterly dominant in her 400+ days as champion, beating literally everyone of any note whatsoever, that it is going to take something fairly spectacular to take the title off her; Ember Moon is not that. Much as I think Moon has a bright future and that she has definitely been primed to be the next NXT Women's champion, I haven't been given any reason to care about her, or her character. What started as a half-assed supernatural gimmick has now petered into nothingness, and whilst she still has an unbelievable finishing move in the Eclipse, I just don't see her taking the belt of ASUKA! Best thing to do from a creative stand-point would be to have Asuka relinquish the title, claiming that she seeks healthier competition, and have her go up to the main roster after Summerslam with her record intact. What a debut that would be!
Match #5 - Bobby Roode (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
This match has me positively salivating at the very thought of it!
Roode has done absolute wonders with the title, and two consecutive wins over Shinsuke Nakamura has given some real creedence to his title credentials. Drew on the other hand has honed his craft after his departure from the WWE in 2014, and has come back to NXT a legitimate main-eventer. The man looks and carries himself like an absolute God in the ring, and no-one at all has any issue with him carrying the NXT title! Will this happen at this Takeover?
Not in my opinion no.
Don't get me wrong, this will be an absolutely barn-storming main event and both men will bring the best out of each other, but there are two reasons for me to think that BOBBY ROODE will retain: firstly, McIntyre came back to WWE after Takeover Orlando and announced his desire for the NXT title, why on earth would they jump to that so soon after his re-debut? Surely leave it for a few months and then give Drew a run with the title! Secondly, you have to ask yourself who has more to gain from being champion - and the answer is Bobby Roode. Give the man until the Takeover before Survivor Series with the title, a year long reign, and this man comes up to main roster with all of the momentum in the world. You have taken a mid card talent and turned him into a bonefide championship contender.
So there you have it folks, my predictions for the ensuing Takeover Brooklyn III are as follows; JOHNNY GARGANO, ALEISTER BLACK, AUTHORS OF PAIN, ASUKA & BOBBY ROODE.
I am fully aware that I have predicted no titles to change hands at this Takeover and whilst this may seem foolish, I have to ask, are any of the title changes necessary? With the exception maybe of the Women's title, I would have to say no. Keep things as they are for now and the stakes are raised for the next Takeover in November. However, one thing we can say, is that this Takeover, whatever happens, is going to be absolutely sensational!