World Wrestling Entertainment is kicking off Wrestlemania weekend the right way as they gear up to present NXT TakeOver: Dallas live on the WWE Network.
Check out InKayfabe for all your NXT TakeOver: Dallas coverage. Follow @In_Kayfabe for a live tweeting of the event, and make sure to take a look at the site shortly after for our recap.
Mauro Ranallo, everyone’s favorite new announcer, will join Renee Young and Lita on the expert panel prior to the special.
Here’s the final match card for tonight’s event.
- NXT Championship: Finn Balor (c) v. Samoa Joe
- NXT Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) v. Asuka
- NXT Tag Team Championship: The Revival (c) vs. American Alpha
- Shinsuke Nakamura v. Sami Zayn
- Austin Aries vs. Baron Corbin
- Apollo Crews vs. Elias Samson
–Apollo Crews vs. Elias Samson:
- After back to back instances between Apollo Crews and Elias Samson, the two will test the waters in the ring go kick off the event. Crews’ momentum isn’t run-away train momentum, but compared to Samson, the guy is freaking Shawn Michaels. Crews will pick up the easy victory to start the event after a convincing, but short period of control from Samson. The win will at least give Crews a win on a big stage, and do little to hurt Samson’s sinking ship.
Winner: Apollo Crews by Pinfall.
-Austin Aries vs. Baron Corbin
- This match was the hardest match for me to predict. Both of these guys could use the win in their own ways. Corbin is being primed to overtake Samoa Joe as the brands op heel. Some might Argue that’s already happened. Aries on the other hand is a fresh face in NXT, and losing so abruptly after being put out of action by Corbin as soon as he debuted would start Aries off on some pretty ugly footing. I’m going to say Corbin gets the win here though do to his time with the company and his position in NXT. Aries isn’t going to get a substantial push if he wins or loses here due to his age. Expect a win by roll-up, or a quick grab of the tights. Something to that effect.
Winner: Baron Corbin by dirty tactics. keeping the feud open for Aries to get a few revenge pin falls in the future at a lesser event.
-Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn
- The second in-ring debut in a row, Shinsuke Nakamura is a lock to get the victory against Sami Zayn. The WWE have treated Nakamura’s signing as a big deal, and his arrival in NXT is only going to shake things up after he gets the ball rolling with his first NXT victory. This match is also the only thing keeping Zayn from being a full member of the main roster, which makes a win for Zayn very unlikely. A post match interaction will likely occur after the match, leading to a new feud for Nakamura, after a gentlemanly handshake with Zayn.
Winner: Nakamura, clean.
-NXT Tag Team Championship: The Revival vs. American Alpha
- The internet might like The Revival and their refreshing tag team style, but it’s clear the general mainstream fan sees them with complacency each and every time they enter the ring. Easily the least responsive tag team in NXT, it’s time for Dash and Dawson to drop the belts, so they can finish off their feud with Enzo and Big Cass. Big Cass and Enzo Amore have seemingly been in limbo for the last couple of months, but after losing to Dash and Dawson at last months WWE Network Special: Roadblock, the two could use a nice capstone to their feud to propel them to the main roster with some momentum. American Alpha have worked their asses off since becoming a team, and their the perfect team to take the belts from The Revival. With the Vaudevillians currently working heel, and Blake and Murphy still floating around somewhere, American Alpha can back up their win over The Revival with some title defenses against some weaker opponents.
Winner: American Alpha, clean
-NXT Women’s Championship: Bayley v. Asuka
- Built on a foundation of respect, Asuka v. Bayley has the chance to completely steal the show. The lead-up to match highlighted Asuka’s innovative striking skills versus Bayley’s never-say-die spirit. It’ll be interesting to see how they weave those two into the narrative. Will the two be booked to look even matched? or will one play the aggressor? Only time will tell. Unless NXT throws us a swerve and turns Asuka heel, Bayley will walk out of Dallas as champion. Without any real animosity between Asuka and Bayley, a loss would be ineffective. Fans will be in for a wrestling clinic in Dallas as they class over the strap.
Winner: Bayley, clean
-NXT Championship: Finn Balor v. Samoa Joe
- The demon rises in Dallas. The main event of the night promises to be a good one, as months of battles culminate in Dallas as Balor defends his title against Samoa Joe. Earlier I mentioned how much difficult I picking an outcome in Corbin/Aries match, this one is just as hard. Finn Balor’s run in NXT seems to be coming to an end, with reported main roster plans leaking as far back as January. Joe beating Balor for the title seems very likely, if those rumors are to be believed. The main roster is thin, and Balor is the next big thing in wrestling if handled properly. Joe can help build the NXT brand as champion until a hot, young, babyface is ready to dethrone him. I’ve always saw this event as NXT’s Wrestlemania, A big title change would really help that notion.
Winner: Samoa Joe, clean.