NXT TakeOver: Chicago airs this Saturday, June 16, live on WWE Network. The latest NXT “pay-per-view” is headlined by a Chicago Street Fight, a trio of NXT Championship matches, and the first meeting between Ricochet and the Velveteen Dream. We’ll be here on Saturday with an open discussion thread for the show and results, and here’s the card as we know it.
NXT TakeOver: Chicago Card:
1. Chicago Street Fight: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa
2. Velveteen Dream vs. Ricochet
3. NXT Women’s Championship Match: Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Nikki Cross
4. NXT Championship Match: Aleister Black (c) vs. Lars Sullivan
5. NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Undisputed Era (c) vs. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch
As always, we’ve got your complete rundown of the card and analysis below, featuring predictions for all five matches. Make sure to drop a comment and let us know who you think’s winning, and be here on Saturday for another TakeOver that definitely won’t overshadow the next night’s WWE PPV.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Undisputed Era (c) vs. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch
What You Need To Know: Undisputed Era are a team of former Ring of Honor blowhards who think their independent wrestling street cred, Nexus arm bands and wacky hand signals make them the New World Order. They lost a six-man tag match to United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne and two relatively under-appreciated undercarders — Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan — and keep coming up short in battles with them. Will the scrappy underdogs win, or will the NXT No Remorse Corps be too much? And are we ever going to make Mustache Mountain a real thing on NXT TV?
What Will Happen: This should be the sleeper match of the night given the momentum of the guys involved, but I don’t see Undisupted Era losing those tag straps any time soon. Lorcan and Burch are the perfect team of babyfaces to give them a real fight, take them all the way to the limit, and ultimately come up short. They’re MADE for that. Plus, we honestly still don’t know that much about them as NXT characters. Giving them the win here would be like putting the belts on Blake and Murphy. It’d work, but it’s not the best idea.
Elle Collins – I like Lorcan and Burch and their bald camaraderie, but I don’t think they’re getting the belts away from those Undisputed Era jerks anytime soon. Having belts is what those guys do now, and that trend seems likely to continue.
Raj Prashad – Undisputed Era keeps rolling, making easy work of Lorcan and Burch. Here’s to hoping for more Kyle O’Reilly shenanigans before and after the match.
Robby Kalland – Undisputed Era retains due to the Damned Numbers Game™.
NXT Championship Match: Aleister Black (c) vs. Lars Sullivan
What You Need To Know: Aleister Black is the NXT Champion and a Dutch occultist who believes no man is ever truly good, and that no man is ever truly evil. Lars Sullivan is a hateful pro wrestling Shrek who is pretty close to truly evil. Maybe he donates to the Salvation Army or something, who knows.
What Will Happen: It’s interesting to me that this is an NXT Championship match and it feels like it’s the least important match on the card. The Women’s Championship has a story and heat, the Tag Team Championship has story and heat, Velveteen Dream vs. Ricochet has no titles on the line but has story and heat. This is just Lars attacking Black a couple of times and boop, we’re having a match. To me, that suggests that Black’s going to retain after a hard fought match, to show that he’s a capable, fighting champion. If he can beat a monster like Lars, he can have a little more story and a little more heat on the next big title defense. We need to see Velveteen Dream vs. Aleister Black II in Brooklyn this year, after all. Lars will be fine. Send him to Raw and let him dance in a conga line.
Elle Collins – I enjoy Lars Sullivan because he’s such an old school monster heel, but then I look around at the rest of the WWE and wonder what his future can possible hold with so many other huge scary guys around. I think Aleister Black retains here, and the match should be a lot of fun.
Raj Prashad – This one is tricky. Sullivan seems like a prime contender to take the title and run with it. At the same time, Black has really just gotten going as the main guy in NXT. Going Black here to keep the belt.
Robby Kalland – Black retains in a pretty spectacular hoss fight.
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Nikki Cross
What You Need To Know: Shayna Baszler is an MMA bad-ass who uses fear and intimidation to make sure nobody in the NXT women’s division can confidently challenge her for the Women’s Championship. Nikki Cross is an insane Scottish lady who hangs out with an anarchist street gang and isn’t afraid of ANYTHING. What happens when the champ who uses fear as a weapon faces someone with no fear?
What Will Happen: I’m not totally sure what they’re planning for Nikki Cross. She’s amazing, clearly, but she was always packaged with Sanity. Then Sanity got “called up” to Smackdown without her, and then whoops, they didn’t even debut. So now 3/4 of the team is in limbo, and we’re waiting to see if that’s because they wanted to give Cross this goodbye match and send her up, or because they wanted to completely distance her from them and repackage them. As “Chaos,” maybe? Who knows.
As for the match, I think Baszler retains. There are too many stories to tell with her as champion and too many marquee matches to build, unless they’re going to hot shot her up to the main roster to be Ronda Rousey’s lackey/rival. I’m smelling a non-finish here, maybe to set up a stipulation match in the future.
Elle Collins – Nikki Cross is my favorite wrestler, and I would really love it if she wins the belt here. I don’t particularly expect it to happen, because a longer Shayna Baszler run seems more likely, but it’s what I’m hoping for. On the other hand, Nikki would make a great opponent for a lot of the up-and-coming women in the division, and it’s possible WWE wants to rush Baszler onto the main roster for Rousey-related reasons, so you never know. So yeah, I’m going to vote my hopes and say Nikki Cross wins this, even though I have doubts. One thing I definitely don’t want to happen is for Nikki to rejoin Sanity for their belated Smackdown debut. I loved Sanity in NXT, and Nikki was a great part of that, but they already feel DOA on the main roster and I’m not sure being part of an otherwise all-male faction is a great way to join a main roster women’s division these days anyway.
Raj Prashad – Nikki Cross has been groomed to hold the women’s belt for more than a year it seems, but it’s too early to take the belt off Baszler.
Robby Kalland – Baszler retains in a very physical and brutal (in a good way) match.
Velveteen Dream vs. Ricochet
What You Need To Know: Ricochet is an “indie” (counting Lucha Underground and New Japan as “indies”) wrestling darling who can do fantastic athletic feats. Velveteen Dream is a self-obsessed, genderqueer wrestling Prince Rogers Nelson who doesn’t accept anyone doing ANYTHING better than him. Dream wants to make Ricochet respect him, and Ricochet’s looking to make a name for himself by defeating the guy everyone on the WWE roster says is the next big thing. This should be special..
What Will Happen: Match of the night, unless Ricochet’s injured. Even if he is, probably the match of the night. A real life injury might even rein it in and make it better. Either man winning will be fine, but I’d give the duke to Dream so he can continue his upward momentum and dive elbow-first into a championship match sooner rather than later.
Elle Collins – This match could really go either way. I could see it ending with a cheap victory for Dream that leads to a rematch, but I can also imagine it leading to the two of them becoming a tag team. Or Ricochet might win solidly and then they move on to other things. I guess I have to pick one because that’s how these things work, so I’ll go with a Ricochet win. He should be a little dominant, so fans who don’t know him from the indies catch on to how great he is.
Raj Prashad – Early favorite for match of the night. Ricochet and Dream can really go, and these two are going to tear the house down. Ricochet picks up the win.
Robby Kalland – Dream wins in the most fun match of the night (not necessarily the best, but the most fun). I just want this to get 30 minutes to be great.
Chicago Street Fight: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa
What You Need To Know: Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa used to be happy scrappy tag team of best friends. After a while, Ciampa started to feel overshadowed and underappreciated, so instead of talking it out, he turned into Kratos from God of War and keeps trying to literally murder his friend. They had a classic match in New Orleans, but Ciampa won’t take “I lost” for an answer and has driven Gargano completely out of his mind.
What Will Happen: I feel like it’s impossible to be someone who’s watched wrestling before and is paying attention and pick Johnny Gargano to win. Gargano’s win in New Orleans felt definitive, after an epic brawl that covered their entire history as a tag team and rivalry as singles competitors. It was the ending, really. So if you’re doing another match, you have to make this one Empire Strikes Back and take Gargano to a dark place of failure, right? Ciampa has to win, or else there’s no point to redoing it and no point in doing a rubber match in Brooklyn. But yo, if they’ve already done an unsanctioned match and a Chicago Street Fight, what’re they going to do for match three? No ropes death match? Exploding ring? Inferno match?
Elle Collins – I don’t think I’m out on a limb here when I say that this has been one of the best feuds anywhere in WWE in a long time. And now they’re back in Chicago, having a Street Fight in the same arena where Ciampa first turned on Gargano last year. This feels like the climax to the storyline, and as such it seems like Gargano has to win. If you let a feud continue past Street Fight level, you just end up with two guys out in the woods trying to kill each other, and I don’t think NXT is going to take it there.
Raj Prashad – I’ve loved everything about this feud, and the Chicago Street Fight takes this one to the old Triple H-Shawn Michaels days. Ciampa takes it, because at some point he’s got to win one.
Robby Kalland – Ciampa winning would create the best possible heat to end the night on. Gargano winning at Takeover: NOLA gave the fans the cathartic win they needed from Johnny Wrestling and I think the best way to continue this exceptional feud is to give their best heel in the company a major win to carry forward and lord over Johnny for a bit.