Here Are Your NXT TakeOver: Chicago Predictions And Analysis

NXT TakeOver: Chicago airs this Saturday, May 20, live on WWE Network. NXT’s latest live special features NXT Champion Bobby Roode defending against the returning Hideo Itami, as well as a triple threat match for the NXT Women’s Championship between Asuka, Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot, and a ladder match for the NXT Tag Team Championship between the Authors Of Pain and #DIY. As always, we’ll be here all night with reactions, results and discussion.

Here’s the complete NXT TakeOver: Chicago card as we know it.

NXT TakeOver Chicago card:

1. NXT Championship Match: Bobby Roode (c) vs. Hideo Itami

2. NXT Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match: Asuka (c) vs. Nikki Cross vs. Ruby Riot

3. NXT Tag Team Championship Ladder Match: Authors Of Pain (c) vs. #DIY

4. WWE United Kingdom Championship Match: Tyler Bate (c) vs. Pete Dunne

5. Roderick Strong vs. Eric Young

As always, we’ll be here on Saturday night with an open discussion thread, live results and reactions to the show. And, also as always, here’s what we think will happen, and what you need to know. Make sure to let us know who you think will win and why in our comments section below.

Roderick Strong vs. Eric Young

What You Need To Know: Eric Young is the leader of SAnitY, a post-apocalyptic, possibly jet fuel-huffing gang that’s been terrorizing NXT for the past nine months. Earlier this year, SAnitY leader Eric Young set his sights on Tye Dillinger, who ended up enlisting Roderick Strong to even out the odds. Recently, Dillinger beat Young in a steel cage match with the help of Strong, which made SAnitY move their crosshairs squarely onto him. A beatdown ensued, resulting in Strong demanding this match.

What Should Happen: NXT creative has jumped through flaming hoops in recent weeks to try to evolve Roddy Strong from “a guy who wrestles” to “a guy who wrestles that you should be cheering,” and it’s starting to work. The way to continue his ascent? Have him lose to Young here. We know he’ll be outnumbered and we expect outside interference, so a loss isn’t nearly as damaging to his underdog character as would be a victory over a presumably dominant faction (one which needs their own rehabilitation after Young lost to Dillinger a few weeks back). I say Young takes it, and Strong starts working his way through SAnitY’s ranks to earn another shot at Young at TakeOver: Brooklyn III.

Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock — This sure is a match! The error here in Rod demanding this match is that you never fight just one member of SAnitY. I think shenanigans will ensue and Strength Rod will get another beatdown. The decision will either be Eric Young via cheating or Rod by DQ via getting beaten up.

Chris Trew — As per tradition for myself and With Spandex, I will Venmo $1 to anyone who screencaps this and tweets it to me after Roderick Strong loses. Cuz Roderick Strong ain’t losing.

Danielle Matheson — lol pass.

Brandon Stroud — NXT should do a roster split and have two shows, “NXT” and “TNA Xplosion.” Strong Rod wins by disqualification when the referee forgets what he’s doing and suddenly thinks Eric Young’s doing convoluted neckbreakers to a child.

WWE United Kingdom Championship Match: Tyler Bate (c) vs. Pete Dunne

What You Need To Know: Tyler Bate is the youngest singles champion in WWE history, becoming the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Champion at the ripe old age of 19 earlier this year following a two-day tournament in which he pinned Pete Dunne in the finals. Now a grizzled vet at age 20, Bate has successfully defended his championship against the likes of Jack Gallagher and Trent Seven — but in order to make it out of Chicago with the gold, he must once again beat Dunne, who has been waiting for four months for another crack at the gold.

What Should Happen: They don’t call Pete Dunne the Bruiserweight for nothing: Expect him to absolutely demolish Bate with extreme malice, possibly even to the point of a referee and/or William Regal stoppage, and leave the Allstate Arena the new WWE U.K. Champion. A babyface is only as good as the heel he chases, and Bate will have a chance to truly define himself as he pursues the championship on WWE’s new U.K.-specific weekly show coming later this year.

Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock — The Dunne vs. Bate story during the two-day U.K. Championship Tournament was impeccably done, compelling, and pretty much perfect. They’ve also taken care to make sure Dunne and Bate have been kept pretty well apart since January. They’re showing the U.K. special on Friday night so we can get an idea of how important this title is to all involved, and that sets up the dastardly Dunne capturing the belt at TakeOver. Let’s let these lovable Brits chase the Bruiserweight for a while, what say?

Chris Trew — It’s important that Pete Dunne takes this match so I can use him as a role model for my little nephew who somehow looks exactly like him. Also I really like Pete Dunne a lot. I think I like him more than my nephew.

Danielle Matheson — I could never pick against Baby Moustache Tyler Bate no matter how much Pete Dunne is probably gonna win. William Regal’s gonna be so mad.

Brandon Stroud — Vegan Lawful Good takes on Vegan Lawful Evil! Note: Daniel Bryan is Vegan Chaotic Good, UltraMantis Black is Vegan Chaotic Netural. Current Austin Aries is Vegan Neutral Good, I think. I’ll pick Dunne to pick up the strap here, to give the show a title change and to add a little spice to a division that currently feels more like a window display than a division.

NXT Tag Team Championship Ladder Match: Authors Of Pain (c) vs. #DIY

What You Need To Know: The monstrous team of Akam and Rezar, collectively known as Authors Of Pain, have been in charge of NXT’s tag team division since January, when they abruptly took the gold from #DIY and dared them to win it back. The team of Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano almost pulled off the upset in March, only to have the Revival interrupt the match, resulting in a disqualification. But now the Revival have moved on from NXT, so the only things stopping #DIY from becoming two-time NXT Tag Team Champions are themselves — oh, and also a bunch of ladders.

What Should Happen: Making this a ladder match seems like an advantage for Gargano and Ciampa at first blush, until you remember how freakishly strong AOP is (and how ladder matches are inherently no-DQ). Expect Paul Ellering to interfere on AOP’s behalf, and also expect one of the Authors to chuck a ladder containing at least one member of #DIY completely out of the ring. No, I don’t mean chuck a ladder into a member of #DIY; I mean take a ladder which has a member of #DIY climbing on it, pick it up and chuck it into the first five rows. AOP retains.

Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock — I am not buying any sort of rumors indicating Gargano and Ciampa will be breaking up any time soon. Having said that, if #DIY was ever going to become two-time champions, it’s here in this ladder match. Having said that, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think the Authors will retain, the match will absolutely rule school, and we’ll continue paving the specially reinforced road to Authors vs. Heavy Machinery. Hooray!

Chris Trew — The Authors Of Pain have a special place in my heart because heel managers are bae. Bae > diy. Note to WWE: Bring in more heel managers. P.S. — check your email, WWE, bring me in as a heel manager.

Danielle Matheson — The tall ones.

Brandon Stroud — Match of the night, because duh. Prepare for the biggest pop in the world when the Authors are about to pull down the titles, but Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder (wearing a Cody Rhodes mask) run out and tip the ladders over. I say Hashtag Do It Two Guys come as close as you can to winning without winning, and the Authors retain. “Big guys vs. little guys who should have an obvious advantage in a match where you have to quickly climb ladders” almost always goes to the big guys in WWE.

NXT Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match: Asuka (c) vs. Ruby Riot vs. Nikki Cross

What You Need To Know: There’s no other way of saying it: Asuka is the queen of NXT. She has mowed through the competition multiple times over, and as a result has held the NXT Women’s Championship for more than 400 days. Lately, though, she’s had an attitude shift, ceasing to respect any potential challengers. This resulted in her almost being taken down by Ember Moon at TakeOver: Orlando, where she was only able to retain by cheating. Originally, this match was slated to be a Fatal Four-Way, but Asuka took out her biggest threat to date, Moon, and will now face off against Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot, who are currently embroiled in a blood feud with one another. Will her opponents find a way to work together to usurp the Empress Of Tomorrow?

What Should Happen: Nothing would please me more than to see an uneasy alliance between Riot and Cross to try and keep the champ down at least temporarily, a la the epic Seth Rollins/John Cena/Brock Lesnar triple threat at Royal Rumble a few years ago. Adversity makes strange bedfellows, right? My prediction is Riot and Cross briefly work in tandem to neutralize Asuka, then absolutely wreck each other in and around the ring, leaving Asuka to magically reappear, physically assert her dominance and submit Riot when Cross isn’t looking.

Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock — When this was a Fatal 4-Way, I was convinced that the title would change hands without Asuka being involved in the finish. But since Ruby and Nikki have such a blood feud going (and Asuka is really just beginning to be an overt bad guy), I think the champ can sit back and let her challengers tear each other apart, then swoop in to pick the bones and retain.

Chris Trew — Asuka can’t lose the belt and break the streak in a triple threat match. She must only lose it in a match against a literal tank with arms and legs that William Regal made in a tank lab for the sole person of breaking Asuka’s streak.

Danielle Matheson — So have we talked about how weird it is to just call a person “Moon” like it’s a totally normal thing to do? Yes, and what about it Danielle? Oh okay cool. Without Ember Moon I don’t see much of a challenge given that Riot and Cross just want to beat each other to a pulp, so I’m hype to see a more manipulative Asuka intelligently letting them destroy each other while she makes sexy eyes at Cross until she swoops in and gets a pin. A million bests if Ember Moon swoops in and is like, “Hahaha, I only need one arm to O-Face a motherfucker” and takes out Asuka after the match to really hype their title match and leave Asuka shook.

Brandon Stroud — Ember Moon going out really threw a wrench into this. I can’t imagine Asuka taking a loss here, especially when Cross and Riot are so dead-set on murdering each other. If I’m booking it, Cross and Riot do something dramatic like fight each other on top of the stage and hurl each other off to their doom, and Asuka just stands around in the ring posing like she accomplished something.

NXT Championship Match: Bobby Roode (c) vs. Hideo Itami

What You Need To Know: The cocky, egotistical Bobby Roode somehow was not only to dethrone Shinsuke Nakamura and win the NXT Championship at TakeOver: San Antonio in January, he managed to retain against the King Of Strong Style at TakeOver: Orlando in April. But before he could get too comfortable in his title reign, another challenger from Japan emerged in Hideo Itami. Itami’s career in NXT has been one of false starts and unfulfilled potential: He debuted to serious fanfare in September 2014 but since then has been plagued with injuries, spending significantly more time outside the ring than in it. Now, the man formerly known as KENTA is back with a few grisly scars on his body and a new, darker attitude, as if he knows his long-anticipated first shot at NXT gold could also potentially be his only shot before his body betrays him once again.

What Should Happen: While I’ve yet to be thrilled with any of Bobby Roode’s actual matches, he is endlessly entertaining on the mic and in video packages and vignettes. He looks and acts the part of a champion, and it feels like there’s still a lot more for him to do before he drops the belt. It would be cool to see Itami finally reach the level he seemed destined to hit before his shoulder sabotaged him, but the NXT landscape has changed immensely since 2015, and he isn’t ready to carry the title nor the brand. Roode wins through some sort of shenanigans.
Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock — Man alive, I want Itami to win this match and justify his entire NXT existence. Unfortunately, all roads would seem to lead to Roode vs. Drew McIntyre as the eventual mega-heel vs. mega-face title change. I anticipate Itami will look like a world-killer, but Roode will get desperate and resort to cheatery, drawing the DQ and retaining his title.

Chris Trew — Bobby Roode definitely wins here, so let’s predict the entrance. I vote for a spotlight beaming directly on an arena suite as the piano boils up. Then all of the people in suits just mingling in the suite rip them off, revealing robes and start singing the intro.

Danielle Matheson — I have missed Itami desperately, and any minute he isn’t kicking the shit out of someone is a waste of my time. That said, as much as I want him to have a nice thing after being gone for a hundred years, I think Roode keeps it. But barely. And gets kicked a lot (please and thank you).

Brandon Stroud — If Bob Roo is cunning enough to defeat Shinsuke Nakamura twice, he’s smart enough to just boot Hideo Itami in the arm a few times and DDT him to death. I don’t want Bobby Roode’s title reign ending here (or ever, honestly), and as much as I want to see TAFKA KENTA be as important as he’s always supposed to have been, I don’t think victories over Sean Maluta and Roderick Strong should be his path to the championship. Roode wins via being an opportunistic scumbag, and he has the best ring entrance of the weekend.