NXT TakeOver: Toronto airs live this Saturday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, exclusively on WWE Network. The show features a big rematch for the NXT Championship, a returning challenger for the NXT Women’s Championship and the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
Here’s your complete NXT TakeOver: Toronto card.
NXT TakeOver: Toronto Card:
1. NXT Championship Match: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Samoa Joe
2. NXT Women’s Championship Match: Asuka (c) vs. Mickie James
3. 2-out-of-3 Falls Match for the NXT Tag Team Championship: The Revival (c) vs. DIY
4. Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: TM-61 vs. the Authors of Pain
5. Tye Dillinger vs. Bobby Roode
As per usual, here’s our rundown of the show and who we think will win each match. TakeOver days are among the best wrestling days of whatever month they’re in, so get (and/or stay) hype and drop down into our comments section to let us know what you think will happen.
Tye Dillinger vs. Bobby Roode
What You Need To Know: Bobby Roode is a confrontational but inexplicably charismatic Canadian Terry Taylor who came to NXT to be its biggest star. That’s all he wants. He wants Presidents and dignitaries sitting in the front row at Full Sail instead of wrestling fans. His plan, as far as we can tell, is to win a bunch of wrestling matches. Tye Dillinger is a nice guy with weird eyebrows who tries hard and calls himself the “perfect 10” as a way to misdirect the past decade of mistakes, disappointments and failures. Roode wanted him to be his tag team partner in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, then completely bailed on him at the first sign of trouble. Now he blames him for everything, because he’s a terrible person. Dillinger wants to kick Roode’s ass for all of this at TakeOver. Roode thinks it’ll be an easy duke.
What Will Happen: This could go either way, but I’ve gotta go with my gut here. The popularity of Tye Dillinger is 100% random occurrence and semi-ironic love of simplistic gimmick turned outright full-on love. He’s the type of character that loses all the goddamn time, and we complain about it, but ultimately it’s fine, and we’re gonna buy it the next time he gets some momentum and almost wins. See also: Zack Ryder. Although I guess that one hit a wall at some point.
What I’m getting at is that in my brain, the best call here is to let everyone down. Have Dillinger come closer than he’s ever come to a high profile win on an actual TakeOver show against an actual guy, and then have Roode pull the dirtiest shit you can imagine. Have someone show up to help Roode — maybe Austin Aries? He’s well enough to trip a leg, at least — and that’ll give Dillinger TWO foils and an actual system of badness to overcome. Give him a stack of goals, instead of just, “I trusted you and that was dumb, so here we are.” When he finally, finally wins the big one, he’s made. And then he can go be one half of nobody on Raw or whatever.
Either way, I want this one to steal the show. That video package on Wednesday was great.
Bill Hanstock – Possibly the hardest match of the evening to predict. Normally WWE has the face lose the big match in their home town/country, but since BOTH men in this match are Canadian, all bets are off. It’s sure a “now or never” time for Tye to win a big match, and Roode doesn’t have anything to lose by losing. My guess is Dillinger gets the win, but Roode beats him down afterward to keep the feud going.
Justin Donaldson – I’d really love to see Tye Dillinger win this, but I think it’s all Roode.
Scott Heisel – I was convinced this would be another notch on Roode’s diamond-encrusted belt until the video package on this week’s episode of NXT that added a ton of depth to Tye Dillinger’s otherwise relatively one-note character. By simply acknowledging his failed first run in WWE nearly a decade ago, it added so much in the way of the feeling that this match is a “must win” for him to finally move forward in his career. Dillinger came off vulnerable and more likeable than ever, and the fans will certainly be in his corner this Saturday. That said, he’s still gonna lose, because Roode is the dude.
Austin Heiberg – Screw conventional wisdom, I got the Perfect Ten here! Dillinger still doesn’t have a signature win in NXT, and I’d love to see it happen here. It’s Canadian vs. Canadian, so it’s not like either outcome is going to go over poorly. Besides, I think Roode might be at his best when he’s flustered and indignant. Dillinger’s my guy.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: TM-61 vs. the Authors of Pain
What You Need To Know: Every year now, NXT honors the late, great “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes with a tag team tournament. This year’s finalists are a pair of dorky twinks from Australia who like to make church-and-steeple hands over their heads, and a pair of monsters who look like they split the Funkasaurus into two swat team guys and made them DEADLY SERIOUS. Their manager, Paul Ellering (of Road Warriors fame) cheats for them sometimes, so NXT’s suspending him above the ring in a tiny cage to prevent that from happening.
What Will Happen: I don’t know if you’ve ever actually seen a “manager in a tiny cage” match, but it doesn’t prevent shit. My prediction here is that TM-61 comes very close to winning and looks like they have it in the bag until Ellering drops a foreign object into the ring from the cage. Shane Thorne or the other one get popped in the face, and the Authors of Pain take the second Dusty Classic.
Note: If this was the NWA, I’d say Ellering drops a weapon, TM-61 manages to recover first and uses it against the Authors. So that’s a possibility.
Bill Hanstock – The Authors of Pain will finally lose a match on Saturday, but I’ll go out on a limb and guess they “lose without losing,” either by taking a countout loss or losing by DQ. Will that make the finals of the Dusty “cheap?” Maybe, but it’ll also make the Authors bigger heels and set up an even bigger match between these two teams later. Of course, we guessed shenanigans in the finals of the last Dusty Classic and it just ended up being a straight-up normal match, so TM-61 might win this one clean.
Justin Donaldson – I like TM-61, but I see a brighter future for Authors of Pain. I’m going with AoP.
Scott Heisel – This is the only match on the Takeover card where I could see it going either way. I’ve yet to be impressed with anything TM-61 does, whereas the Authors Of Pain have improved and impressed in every round of the Dusty Classic this year. I understand why TM-61 would win — not only would it be getting their win back over AOP from Brooklyn last August, it would do wonders in cementing their credibility as the face tag team to beat — but if DIY goes on to beat the Revival, what are you gonna do, run two face teams against each other? It’s gotta be the Authors here, if only so they can go up against new champs Gargano and Ciampa again in the classic David vs. Goliath style.
Austin Heiberg – I love me some TM-61, right down to their new Wolfmother ripoff theme. However, I think it’d be great to see the in-house projects win the big tournament. Dusty’s NXT legacy was all about taking his “kids” and molding them into the best possible versions of themselves, and the Authors of Pain have a really bright future ahead of them if they keep their current pace. TM-61 will be just fine without this, so I’m going with the Authors.
2-out-of-3 Falls Match for the NXT Tag Team Championship: The Revival (c) vs. DIY
What You Need To Know: The Revival are the NXT Tag Team Champions and the best tag team in the world, but they’re also kinda sorta cowardly, opportunistic scumbags. They lost a match to Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa earlier this year, and they’ve never really gotten over it. Not even after Gargano and Ciampa got a tag titles match and lost. The feeling is that DIY still has The Revival’s number, so Dawson and Wilder go out of their way to be dicks to them. They were supposed to face each other in round two of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, but Scott Dawson injured his knee and the Revival had to forfeit. But then the next week, they hid under the ring just to pop out at the last minute and cost DIY their round 3 match. So it felt less like “we want to prove we’re the better team” and more like “we want to make sure these guys don’t win, but we want to work as little as possible.” DIY is understandably pissed.
What Will Happen: This is where DIY takes the gold. I don’t know how serious Dawson’s knee injury is — if he’s in a 2-out-of-3 falls match here it’s hopefully 100%, even if the match is quicker than anyone’s expecting — but DIY has put in work over the past year and deserves a turn to shine. American Alpha was taken away from us way, way too soon, and I’m into seeing what an NXT tag team division looks like with a true, lasting babyface team on top. Or hell, they win the belts here and lose them back to the Revival on the next TV tapings and get called up. I don’t know how it works anymore.
Bill Hanstock – If this match had gotten more than two weeks of build-up, I would say this is definitely Hashtag Do It Two Guys’ time to finally capture those titles. As it stands, I’m not entirely sure. This match should absolutely rule, though, and SOMEONE has to be the bridge from the Revival to the Authors of Pain (or whatever). The Revival doesn’t have anything else to accomplish at this point, so let’s go ahead and assume Chompy and Gargle finally win the big one.
Justin Donaldson – I love both of these teams so much. Their last Takeover match was one of my favorite matches this year. It’s hard to pick a winner, but I’m going with DIY. It’s the feel-good story of the year. Plus I want The Revival to be called up to my beloved Smackdown Tag Team Division immediately.
Scott Heisel – Take the awesomeness of these two teams’ Takeover Brooklyn II matchup a few months ago and extend it out another 10 minutes or so, and the result is going to be a dynamite example in effective tag team wrestling. Even though the Indians couldn’t deliver another championship to Cleveland this year, I fully expect Johnny Gargano to bring home the gold. We’ll start his and Ciampa’s victory parade in the parking lot at Sokolowski’s this Monday — see you there.
Austin Heiberg – You would think I’d go with the throwback, Brainbuster-esque team in a two-out-of-three falls match right? Sorry to swerve you, but Gargano and Ciampa are my picks here. These two are pretty long overdue for some gold together, and I think this is the place to do it.
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Asuka (c) vs. Mickie James
What You Need To Know: Asuka is a Japanese murder pimp who has beaten the entire NXT women’s division into embarrassed submission. Anyone who can hang with her is either gone, or not “ready” in NXT character development terms. So she’s facing outside challenges … including this one, from a 5-time WWE Women’s Champion (and 1-time Divas Champion) who is also formerly a crazy lesbian Trish Stratus stalker who was once shoved in front of an oncoming train.
What Will Happen: This’ll certainly be more of a challenge than Liv Morgan, but I don’t think Mickie’s going to last very long with Asuka. Like, she probably wants her full-time WWE job back (and based on her late era TNA work, train notwithstanding, she deserves it), so she’ll be hungry. She’ll fight hard, and it’ll be fun. But I don’t see it going more than, say, five minutes. Eight if the crowd’s loving it. Asuka is just Asuka, and until Ember Moon steps up, nobody’s stepping up.
Bill Hanstock – Much like the main event, this match is a foregone conclusion, only much more so. It’s going to be really interesting to see how the greatest women’s wrestler in the world gels with one of the most beloved and well-respected “Divas” of the previous generation of WWE. Asuka isn’t going to Deonna Purrazzo Mickie or anything, but this will end up being another example of how no one, past or present, can hang with Asuka right now. (Dot dot dot until Ember Moon earns a shot.)
Justin Donaldson – It’ll be nice to see Mickie James back, but there’s no way Asuka’s not winning this.
Scott Heisel – It will be good to see Mickie James back in a WWE ring for the first time in six years(!). It would be even better if Michelle McCool and Layla also returned, half-and-half women’s championship in tow, and we put them all back on Smackdown to fully embrace the ghost of Divas division past (and also give Mickie a chance to finally get revenge for that whole “Piggy James” fiasco). I mean, if the Undertaker’s gonna be back on Smackdown full-time now, this cockamamie idea has a lot more legs than I originally thought. Make room on your writing staff and call me up, DBry! Oh, also: Asuka wins. Duh.
Austin Heiberg – I love this match on paper, and I think it’s got a good chance of delivering once these two tangle. In case you haven’t kept up with Mickie recently, she hasn’t lost a step. Hooray for a weekend of unexpected fantasy warfare! At the end of the day, Asuka’s definitely the pick here. We have to set her on a collision course with Ember Moon, remember. Just tie up every loose end from SHIMMER in NXT, please.
NXT Championship Match: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Samoa Joe
What You Need To Know: Shinsuke Nakamura is a flamboyant, straight-up weird Japanese man in leather pants who will fucking end you with knees to the face. He’s the NXT Champion, having almost kneed the former champion’s jaw off. They’re having a rematch here, and it’s gonna be violent.
What Will Happen: This sorta feels like the end of the line for Joe if he doesn’t win, right? What else does he do?
If I’m picking my favorites, I’m picking Joe to just wreck him and become the first 2-time NXT Champion, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I wish Nakamura could show a little bit of vulnerability in the ring (besides getting beaten up exactly once and put in an extremely unbelievable neck brace, only to come back with the power to beat up 6 guys by himself), but I don’t think that’s happening either. This’ll be great, no question, and … damn, Nakamura retains. NXT’s not going to have Finn Bálor keep the belt forever, have someone beat the Demon, have someone beat the guy who beat the demon and have them keep the belt any less time than Finn, are they?
Bill Hanstock – As much as I would love for Joe to become the first two-time NXT Champion … well, I wanted the guy to truck Shinsuke in their first meeting, as well. Nakamura is your champion and he’s going to remain your champion for a good long while as he leads NXT into their next phase of reality. The best we can hope for is that he and Joe tear the doors off in this match. And I believe they will.
Justin Donaldson – Smart money’s on Nakamura, but I could see Joe taking it. That’s kind of the beauty of NXT. I’d like to see Joe win it here. If he’s not coming to the main roster anytime soon, it would make total sense to me to give him another title run. I think a loss would actually help Nakamura. It would be nice to believe that there’s a chance he could lose from time to time, instead of becoming NXT’s John Cena. Still, I’m officially picking Nakamura.
Scott Heisel – This match is gonna rule, full stop. Shinsuke has to come out on top, given it’s his first title defense since winning the dang belt in August, but even though there’s very little doubt in the outcome of this match, I am still anxiously awaiting a solid 30-minute lesson in brutality.
Austin Heiberg – I think this really comes down to who’s headed to the main roster first. With that said, I think Nakamura retains here. I’m looking forward to World’s Angriest Man Samoa Joe on Raw or Smackdown, although I really wanted to see a Joe vs. Tommy End match at some point in NXT. Strong Style for the win.
That’s it for NXT TakeOver: Toronto. Thanks again for reading. Be sure to watch the show on Saturday night, hang out with us for our live open discussion thread and results during and after the matches, and drop us a comment here to let us know what you think’s going down. We need your opinions on shark cages, people.