NXT TakeOver: Respect Preview, Predictions

NXT TakeOver: Respect, also known as “NXT: Sorry For Having All The Important Shows In Other Cities, Full Sail, Here’s Something For You,” airs live this Wednesday night, October 7, on WWE Network. The show is headlined by the NXT Women’s Championship — as it should be — as new champ Bayley puts her title on the line in a 30-minute Iron Man Match against the former champion, “The Boss” Sasha Banks. Also on the show, the winner of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic is decided, and we have a solemn, somber funeral for Dana Brooke.

Here’s your NXT TakeOver: Respect card:

1. Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Finals Match: Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe vs. Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson

2. Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Finals Match: Rhyno and Baron Corbin vs. Jason Jordan and Chad Gable

3. Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Winner of match 1 vs. Winner of match 2

4. Tyler Breeze vs. Apollo Crews

5. Asuka vs. Dana Brooke

6. 30-Minute Iron Man Match for the NXT Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks

As always, here’s our analysis and predictions. Let us know what you think will happen in our comments section below!

Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Finals Match: Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe vs. Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson

What You Need To Know: The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic started as a 16-team tag team tournament to honor the memory of the late, great “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. This is the first one they’ve ever done, and we aren’t totally sure what the winning team gets. A trophy? Cody and Dustin Rhodes are supposed to be on the show to hand it out, so that’s pretty cool. We’re down to the semi-finals, and here’s who we’ve got:

Finn Bálor is a demure, theatrical little Irishman who loves LEGO and can also sometimes transform into a brutal, unbeatable Demon. He’s teaming with Samoa Joe, a heavyweight indie legend who wrestles like a lightweight indie legend and is absolutely not interested in Finn’s NXT Championship. Nope! They’re a team and nothing bad can possib-lie happen. They’ve made it to the semi-finals, where they’ll face Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder, two faux Andersons who are great in the ring, but literally a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a paper cone.

What Will Happen: People have been calling a Finn/Joe breakup to set up an NXT Championship match for NXT UK in every round of the tournament so far, so if they do it, they won’t do it here. If it happens on this show, it’ll be in the Finals. Dash and Dawson got an upset win against the Vaudevillains in Texas, but there’s not a snowball’s chance in f*ck they’re going over the objective and subjective top stars in the company. Finn and Joe should roll here to give the crowd all the fun top-tier stuff they want to see, and we’ll worry about the set-up booking later.

Staff Picks:

Austin Heiberg – While the Mechanics have slowly but surely been growing on me, I gotta give it to Finn and Joe here. I think Dash and Dawson will be okay in the long run if they can flesh out just who they are a little bit more, so I’m not at all worried about them losing to the bigger stars here.

Jessica Hudnall – Drawing on the power of Dusty’s Driving Lessons, Finn will wreck house on these two jamokes. Balor Club advances to the finals.

Danielle Matheson – I didn’t expect Balor and Joe to just fart and knock over the Vaudevillains, so this one is now suddenly tougher to call? You would hope it would be two purely-NXT teams in the final, and going over Balor and Joe would make you look mega tough. I’m not particularly fond of them, but sure, let’s say they Dash wilder, harder, and faster than the other team and head into the finals.

David D. – Finn and Joe are going to win this one. Dash and Dawson have been compared to the Andersons so much, and it’s really weird because I’m not sure where Ole Anderson fits in the modern version of wrestling. But whatevs. This is their chance to showcase themselves against Finn and Joe. But they’ll lose.

Nate Birch – Okay, so it’s the NXT Champion, who also happens to be a living Predator/demon, and the legendary Samoan wrecking machine against two average white dudes who look like car mechanics and are actually called The Mechanics. Hmmmm. Gonna go with Balor and Joe on this one.

Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Finals Match: Rhyno and Baron Corbin vs. Jason Jordan and Chad Gable

What You Need To Know: In semi-finals match 2, we’ve got a battle of elitist super smark preferences vs. the WWE Universe. On one side we’ve got Chad Gable and Jason Jordan, two Team Angle-ish super collegiate athletes who work so well together that their camaraderie borders on physical love. They haven’t gotten much time to develop personalities beyond “we’re good at wrestling” and “one of us has an embroidered hand towel,” but they are dope. The dopest. On the other side, we’ve got a guy who was relevant 18 years ago teaming with a tall football player who always looks like he’s just been woken up from a nap. They aren’t great in the ring, but the casual WWE fan would want to watch them and buy their action figures. Well, Rhyno is still pretty good. Baron Corbin may secretly be a Miyazaki character with a false head and a torso that’s actually his face.

What Will Happen: Joe/Finn vs. Corbin/Rhyno is the obvious choice for the finals, but it’s not the choice I want to see. They’ve made a point to say that the only thing that can stop Corbin and Rhyno is “themselves,” suggesting they’ll turn on each other at some point and lose, but that’s also what we’re predicting for Joe and Finn, so … what happens?

It’s probably not the best booking decision for anyone involved, but I want to see Jordan and Gable go over Corbin and Rhyno. If you have to play them against one another, so be it. Have Rhyno gore Corbin, let Gable get the pin and have Corbin and Rhyno punch each other for a while afterwards. That’d move JJ and Chad into the finals against Finn and Joe, where they could maybe, I don’t know, beat them clean and infuriate Joe for a post-match heel turn beatdown. That way you’ve given Gable and Jordan the tournament, put them over the two toughest teams AND allowed those teams to save face. Right? Can we do that?

I just really believe the first edition of a tribute tag team tournament should be won by guys who are actually a tag team.

Staff Picks:

Austin Heiberg – How do you NOT give this to Jordan and Gable? Of course I’m picking them. In fact, I’ve already moved on to the part where I’m trying to think up a tag team name. So far, it’s down to “Singlet Squad” or “NCAA-Holes.”

Jessica Hudnall – Even if they aren’t called it, my love for SHOOT NATION remains as strong as ever. Jordan and Gable will win this because they know all about the Turk and the Whizzer.

Danielle Matheson – Every time I see Jason Jordan I’m shocked (shocked!) that his name isn’t Jordan Jenson. I don’t know why. I know his name, I’ve watched him wrestle, I’ve seen him in person, and yet… how is that not his name? Gable’s totally a Chad, though. If you know a Chad, you know what’s up. Anyways, I want these two to win the whole thing, and Baron Corbin always looks like he just woke up, so he should be groggy and easy to beat. Rhyno doesn’t even go here.

David D. – Do you think Baron Corbin used to be Krang from Ninja Turtles? Anyway, Jordan and Gable or we riot. I don’t know what I did to deserve two Jordan and Gable matches in one night, but praise Based God for allowing this to happen.

Nate Birch – Well, we need to have one real tag team in the finals, and Jordan and Gable have their own wacky thing going on. Also, LOL, Rhyno and Baron Corbin. Jordan and Gable win.

Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Winner of match 1 vs. Winner of match 2

What You Need To Know: “How tournaments work.”

What Will Happen: As mentioned above, I’m hoping Jordan and Gable take the entire thing. That’s who I want hoisting the cup, or whatever. If we can’t have them sneak through the semi-finals on a heel team breakup and win the finals clean, why not use this as an opportunity to reform Shoot Nation? People who go to NXT house shows know what I’m talking about. It’s basically a collegiate wrestling Nexus, and having round-one jobbers Angelo Dawkins and Sawyer Fulton show up in matching gear to help Gable and Jordan trounce their opponents would be choice. NXT hasn’t even had a heel faction since what, the Wyatt Family? Let’s do it. Have them destroy Joe and Finn, and maybe destroy Dustin and Cody for good measure.

If it gets the Rhodes Brothers back together and wrestling on NXT, sh*t, I’ll take anything I can get.

Staff Picks:

Austin Heiberg – I think we can expect a lot to happen here. Like most people, I’m on board with the idea that Samoa Joe has to turn on Finn at some point during the night. If I’m Joe here, there’d be nothing more frustrating than advancing to the finals of a Dusty Rhodes memorial tournament, only to lose to catch-wrestling buddies with a novelty towel. So, in a shocking turn worthy of the American Dream himself, I’ve got Jordan and Gable winning the tournament, thereby causing Joe to lose his mind on Balor.

Jessica Hudnall – Part of me says that Finn and Joe take it, because Joe’s a beast and Finn is the champ. On the flip side, Jordan and Gable are more of an established tag team, and I do like the logic of a strong tag team comprised of individually weaker guys being better than two top-tier dudes randomly thrown together. SHOOT NATION is Ready, Willing and Gable to win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

Danielle Matheson – Smaller Chad and his larger friend Jordan win, and then we all get the most sobby over Dusty Rhodes and his sad but amazingly talented children.

David D. – People are predicting that Joe vs. Balor is happening and a heel turn is on the horizon. I agree, but I don’t think that turn will cost them their match. I think Joe and Balor are going to win, get the trophy and fight during the ceremony. Because, naturally, the trophy has to get destroyed, and Joe destroying it over Balor’s head is the way it should happen.

Nate Birch – So, most people are expecting Balor and Joe to suffer some sort of miscommunication in the finals, leading to a loss and a feud for the NXT title, but that feels too hacky to me. Too mainstream WWE. I think Balor and Joe get bested fair and square by Jordan and Gable and that leads to the falling out.

Tyler Breeze vs. Apollo Crews

What You Need To Know: Tyler Breeze is a talented but increasingly mopey guy with no real confidence who seems to barely care about wrestling, but becomes enraged when he can’t easily get what he wants from it. He’s constantly overlooked in favor of the New Hotness in NXT, despite being a cult favorite and top-shelf character who is more or less the most well-rounded and dependable hand on the show. He’s nearing a breaking point, and can’t even beat the worst people on the show without struggling and cheating. Apollo Crews is everything Tyler Breeze isn’t. He’s a muscular guy who can do cartwheels and backflips, never stops smiling and is so naturally gifted that he’s yet to ever even seem like he’s in trouble in a match. He happily believes he’ll flip-murder Breeze.

What Will Happen: As much as I love Apollo Crews, I need Breezus to take the win here. He needs it so badly. Crews is going to lose at some point in his career, so why not just get it out of the way to help someone? Crews is fresh as a daisy and will be instantly fine no matter what happens. He’s can’t-miss. Breeze needs some f*cking help, and after years of him getting sh*t on, I’m ready for him to get it.

Staff Picks:

Austin Heiberg – Tyler Breeze CANNOT go out with a whimper. No way. He’s up against a phenom in Apollo Crews, but I think beating him is exactly the exclamation point he needs right now. He might have a reputation as a loser, but he’s so beyond NXT right now. I think he beats Crews and then sets his sights on the main roster. Praise Breezus.

Jessica Hudnall – I expect Crews to win, but hot dog, this’ll be a rad match. Actually, you know what, I’m changing my mind. Breeze wins when his new pal, UGGO STEVE (A debuting Biff Busick) socks Crews in the face.

Danielle Matheson – Tyler Breeze is totally going to lose this, and I feel horrible and torn, but I am SO PUMPED to watch it. I’ve been saying for years on this website that Uhaa/Crews needs to be on TV, and it’s happening and it’s real and it fills me so much joy. I love Tyler Breeze and will continue to point out how sadly underrated he is as a wrestler. Fun fact: The only two NXT shirts I own are these dudes. I am both not okay and the most okay with this.

David D. – I have to say: I’m a bit disappointed in Crews’ offense so far. His moves look sort of soft and his finisher doesn’t do it for me. I hope Breeze brings out the best in him here. I wouldn’t mind Breeze winning with a pulled tights rollup to shock the world and get him his first big win in, like, forever.

Nate Birch – I know some NXT diehards won’t want to hear it, but Tyler Breeze is what he is in NXT. He’s hit the ceiling there, and a win here would hurt Apollo Crews more than it would help Breeze. It’s time to repackage Breeze, and see what they can do with him on the main roster. On the other hand, Crews could be the super sympathetic rock that can anchor NXT once Sami Zayn and Bayley move on. Crews should, and probably will, win.

Asuka vs. Dana Brooke

What You Need To Know: Asuka is one of the greatest and most unforgivably violent women in wrestling history. Dana Brooke is a weird lady from Cleveland who is in great shape and is getting better, but hasn’t totally put it together in the ring. At TakeOver, Dana Brooke might die, and it might be for real.

What Will Happen: Liberal use of the STOP, HE’S ALREADY DEAD scene from The Simpsons.

(note: I’m starting to believe this is Asuka’s on-screen tryout match. If she can get through an entire thing with Dana Brooke without seeing red and shoot-kicking her to death, she’s ready for NXT. If she can’t … well, at least we didn’t let her kick Peyton Royce.)

Staff Picks:

Austin Heiberg – You guys. YOU GUYS. This is going to be wild. Wrestling Asuka is like debating a Sharknado. You are entering with the wrong skillset and you’re going to pay with your well-being. Now, I don’t think NXT is suddenly going to go full JWP and have Asuka kicking people in the face so hard that they’re having conversations with dead relatives, but she’s still going to destroy Dana. Asuka wins, and it’ll be interesting… either because it’ll be the most dramatic example of someone adapting to “the WWE style,” or because Dana will become a walking bruise and quit wrestling forever.

Jessica Hudnall – Oh, poor Dana, chuckle chuckle (I guess Asuka is laughing all the time because she really is a hi-heena). Asuka is going to kick Dana in the face super duper hard and there will be much rejoicing. Wait, hold on, let me check my Magic 8-Ball: Will Dana win this match? Asuka gain later.

Danielle Matheson – Dana gon’ die.

David D. – Asuka’s gonna kill youuuuuu. Asuka’s gonna kill youuuuuu. I’m all in on this feud because Asuka’s going to take Brooke to finishing school. This could be the feud that turns Dana into a legitimate person capable of good matches. I’m with it.

Nate Birch – Okay, so, realistically, Asuka should kick Dana Brooke so hard in the face she’s once again capable of real human expressions, but man, WWE and Japanese wrestlers. The history is so terrible, I can’t get myself worked up. Emma runs in for the DQ, Asuka runs them off and everything’s fine, but not as good as it could/should be.

30-Minute Iron Man Match for the NXT Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks

What You Need To Know: At NXT Brooklyn, Bayley and Sasha Banks were advertised as a “co-main event,” which is a pleasantry given to a match that should be important, but isn’t important enough to go last. They stole the show, and completely overshadowed the main. Sasha was supposed to leave at that show — watch the WWE 24 special for confirmation of that — but it was so good that we’re doing it again. Full Sail didn’t get the beautiful payoff to the two-ish years of Bayley/Sasha stories they’d been watching, so this is their “thank you.”

What Will Happen: A great match without a lot of heat and an obvious outcome. Maybe there’s a chance they Sami Zayn the Women’s Championship and give it back to Sasha so she can parade around with it on Raw, but it’s slight. Bayley is the link between the old and new generations of NXT Women, so she definitively defeats her blood rival, sends her packing from NXT permanently, and moves on to her next feud. I fully expect this to end with a hug that gets interrupted by the next big challenger, who I really f*cking hope is Asuka. If not, maybe Emma can hit her in the face with a pink snake puppet.

Jokes aside, this is going to be epic. I can’t wait. I hope it’s 0-0 after 30 minutes, and they fight for another 30 in sudden death.

Staff Picks:

Austin Heiberg – The search for my favorite match ever has kind of been like the search for my dream car. For years, I would look at cars and just think “That one’s nice” or “That one sucks.” I knew I really liked cars, but I didn’t have a favorite until I saw the 1970 Chevelle SS and knew in my heart and soul that it was The Best Ever. Bayley and Sasha Banks at TakeOver is my No. 1 right now, but I feel like it’s a placeholder. I’m really hoping that this Iron Man match is my Chevelle… the one I can instantly identify as the best, no qualifiers. Also, I’m really hoping that I haven’t overhyped this for myself, because Lord knows I have a knack for doing that. Bayley for the win.

Jessica Hudnall – Since my prediction can’t just be “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” as a sign of overwhelming excitement, I will say that Bayley retains (2-1) because as much as I want $a$ha Bank$ to have all the titles, I think she’s basically done with NXT at this point. SAD FACES FOR EVERYONE, BUT ALSO HAPPINESS BECAUSE SHE DONE MADE IT TO THE MAIN ROSTER, YAY.

Danielle Matheson – Is there enough added to the story that was told to give this any real heat? Naw. Does anyone expect Sasha to win? I would be shocked. Is this more of an epilogue to a great story that gives these ladies a for-real main-event, and gives us a match that we all want to keep watching regardless of the gravity? Well, yeah. So, Bayley retains, we watch Sasha say goodbye to all of the hobbits and sail off to the main roster, and then we all wait patiently for the next women who will come through NXT and tear sh*t up. It’s bittersweet, and we’re in a transitional period that is, at times, pretty depressing, but we’ll get thirty minutes of a thing we all love first, and that’s pretty freakin’ great.

David D. – I’ve seen people talk about this match and its chances of upstaging the Brooklyn match. That’s the dumbest conversation ever. Who cares? This is possibly Sasha Banks’ last NXT match (though I wouldn’t mind her going a few rounds with Asuka) and a guaranteed great 30-minute contest. My heart couldn’t take the Brooklyn bout (and Seth Rollins cried while watching it, too) and I can’t even handle this one. I just know I’m going to be a mess of tears and ice cream for the rest of the night. Bayley wins, 4-3.

Nate Birch – Sasha Banks is kind of unavoidably stuck spinning her wheels on the main roster. Charlotte just got the title, so she had to hold it for a while to shore up her credibility, and they’ve established Nikki Bella as this dynastic record-setting women’s champion, so they can’t just brush her out of the way. Bottom line, Sasha ain’t winning the Divas title until at least Royal Rumble, so why not give her another run with the NXT Women’s belt? Do a mini Summer of Punk thing where Sasha’s the NXT champ, but too busy with main roster shenanigans to actually show up on NXT to defend the belt. To really rub it in, I’d have one of Sasha’s main roster cohorts show up to help her win. Nothing would generate more heel heat than Sasha robbing Bayley of the title with the help of friggin’ Tamina.