Well, it is about that time of the year where WWE starts to really pack the heat with good shows. It all starts this weekend on the Road To Wrestlemania, as they make a trip to Pheonix Arizona for NXT Takeover: Phoenix and WWE Royal Rumble. Both shows have bangers of match cards so let’s break it down (Not a DX reference).
NXT Takeover: Phoenix
The weekend of great wrestling starts with NXT Takeover on Saturday night. Top to bottom the best looking match card we probably have ever seen from NXT. This will be the 23rd Takeover event and will be taking place at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Matt Riddle Vs Kassius Ohno
So this will be their third match since Riddle came to NXT, and Riddle embarrassed Ohno at the last Takeover event by beating him in 6 seconds. Ohno quickly turned heel on the sight of Riddle’s arrival and since then has had more of a “hero” like mean-streak. I still think Matt Riddle wins this match as Ohno is the veteran to put over new talent kinda like the Dolph Ziggler of NXT. This match if given enough time could be a really great striking contest.
Shayna Baszler Vs Bianca Belair For The NXT Women’s Title
This match is odd to me. On one hand, I’m intrigued by this new kind of challenger, but on the other hand, it shows how weak the Women’s division can be in NXT at times. I think all this match will be is filler for Shayna and I believe they are trying to get past this weekend to start building for Shayna Vs IO Shirai at the next takeover event. Belair has talent and can work well but I don’t think this match will be that good and might be the match I use the bathroom for if I’m honest.
The Undisputed Era Vs The War Raiders For The NXT Tag Team Titles
This could be the sleeper match of the night. Here we have two great tag teams that wrestle with two different styles that honestly mesh up very well. I do think WWE has high value in the War Raiders and such a high value that they will finally capture the tag belts in this match. Now, WWE can pull a switch and have a screwy finish to set up a match at the next Takeover, but I really think the War Raiders need to look dominant and not stupid in this finish. My pick is The War Raiders, I see real champion material to that tag team.
Johnny Gargano Vs Ricochet For The NXT North American Title
This is the match that sold me on the show. Two of the best workers in NXT in a main event level style of match that honestly will easily steal the show. The story of Gargano has been told brilliantly as he is tired of losing big matches, but I fear he will lose yet another big match. Gargano winning this belt does nothing, but him losing adds so much to the story. I have no doubt that this will be a great match but I really hope they tease a Gargano snapping moment, as I believe that is the route they should go. Expect a fast-paced nonstop action war between two of the best wrestlers in the world.
Tommaso Ciampa Vs Aleister Black For The NXT Title
This rematch is a few months in the making. Gargano screwed Black out of the NXT Title in a rare NXT Title change on a weekly episode. Since then, Ciampa has dominated NXT with victories over Gargano and Velveteen Dream. Black beat Gargano when he returned at the last Takeover event and, since the win, we knew his battle with Ciampa was near. Many would say Black will get his revenge, but I personally, am against that. Ciampa is the best thing going in NXT and him being champion is the best thing to do going forward. Black losing also adds speculation of him showing up at the Rumble and honestly I have been vouching for a Black vs. Ambrose feud for over a year now.
Royal Rumble 2019
I fully expect NXT Takeover to wow the fans in every way possible. But the next night, the main roster has a chance to up their game for the fans. The Royal Rumble will take place at Chase Field and I honestly think this is the best Royal Rumble card we have seen since 2001.
Shinsuke Nakamura Vs Rusev For The WWE United States Title (Pre-show Match)
Now before I talk about this match, can we just see how far Nakamura has fallen in just a year. Nakamura last year won the Royal Rumble match and now he is on the pre-show fighting for a mid-card title. If given time, this match will be good, but I highly doubt they will even get 10 minutes and it just feels like a throwaway match that no one honestly cares about. I think the best result is actually having Rusev win and have him rebuild the title much as Cena did a few years ago. You need to book Nakamura better or he will leave the company for NJPW or even AEW. The sad part about this match is a year ago I would have been excited for this but I honestly don’t even think it will be the best pre-show match.
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Buddy Murphy Vs Akira Tozawa Vs Hideo Itami Vs Kalisto For WWE Cruiserweight Title
If you do not watch 205 Live then you are missing out on the some of the best weekly matches that the WWE produces. This match right here will again prove my point that 205 Live has some of the best workers in the company. This will be the best match on the pre-show and honestly if given enough time could be the best match of the whole show. I think Buddy Murphy will retain because the fans are still behind him and he is the crown jewel of the division. My heart wants Itami to finally win a title, but I just don’t see the WWE having enough faith in him to stay healthy.
Ronda Rousey Vs Sasha Banks For The Raw Women’s Title
Feels like forever since Sasha Banks has been in the title picture, hasn’t it? Rousey is already in like three different feuds so I highly doubt we’ll see her lose the belt here to Sasha. I do think Sasha is a good enough worker and has the right style to get a really high-quality match out of Rousey. Is this a throwaway match? Not exactly, as we don’t really know how long Rousey is staying and if she left without doing this match it would leave a bad taste in a lot of fans’ mouths.
Asuka Vs Becky Lynch For The Smackdown Women’s Title
This match will go one of two ways. One way is the match ends in count-out and the fans hijack the show, or you have Rousey screwing Becky Lynch, which will excite the fans. Becky Lynch is not winning this match and she shouldn’t as I foresee her having much bigger plans for later in the show. Asuka needs another big win after being used average for most of 2018 after failing to beat Charlotte at Wrestlemania. The issue here is you have two women who the fans love and both need big wins to keep up their momentum.
The Bar Vs Shane Mcmahon & The Miz For The Smackdown Tag Team Title
I really do not want this match to happen, mainly due to the result of it. The Bar who is one of the best tag teams in the world is about to lose to The Miz (great wrestler) and the bosses oldest child, Shane McMahon. The fact that WWE really pushes Shane as this amazing unstoppable wrestler has always bothered me and them winning the titles is just a spit in the face to the whole tag division. Who do I think wins? Easily Shane Mcmahon & The Miz for the story to build up for Wrestlemania, but trust me, The Bar should win. Unfortunately, we all know that they won’t.
Brock Lesnar Vs Finn Balor For WWE Universal Title
So we finally get a match we were expecting to get a year ago. We have the longest running Universal champion against the first ever Universal champion. A great matchup of power and speed with a very little story behind it. The match itself will be great as Lesnar has always worked great with smaller guys (Daniel Bryan and CM Punk to name examples). Does Finn Balor have a chance here? Not really he was just a last minute replacement for Strowman and this is only to build Brock up for his match at Wrestlemania.
Daniel Bryan Vs AJ Styles For The WWE Title
This is the match that I am the most excited about, apart from the Rumble matches. Two of the best workers, who are behind a really good story, having a meaningful title match. Daniel Bryan is the best heel on the main roster, meanwhile, Styles might be the best babyface on Smackdown Live. I fully expect 15 minutes of great wrestling all to end with Bryan finding a cheap way to win to keep Styles strong and get even more heel heat.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
What should we really expect? I think this will be much better than it was in 2018, but I think it’s because we will have a different kind of match. I expect Charlotte Flair to enter the match early and last until the very end but I also expect for Becky Lynch to take out Carmella and take her number 30 spot. The ending of the match will be an unsatisfying finish to most fans but it is the only proper finish; and that is that Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair both win by eliminating each other, setting up a big match at Wrestlemania with Ronda Rousey Vs Charlotte Flair Vs Becky Lynch.
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
This match can go many ways and those many ways are all good in my opinion. One way is having Strowman take out R Truth for his number 30 spot and come in and destroy everyone to face Brock Lesnar at Mania where he finally wins it. The issue with that is the fans don’t want that match and I really think they will boo Strowman if it happens. The second choice is to have a Smackdown guy win to set up a new challenge for either Bryan or Styles. Who could they pick that fans will care about? The most logical choice would be Jeff Hardy because I really think a Daniel Bryan Vs Jeff Hardy story could really put butts in the seats. The last choice is the most obvious one, and that is Seth Rollins winning and maybe even going coast to coast to win the whole thing. I think the plan is for Seth to win and beat Brock Lesnar for his buddy Roman Reigns to have a feel-good moment at Wrestlemania.
This weekend is gonna be full of surprises, great moments and matches. Make sure you download the WWE network to check it all out. But, if you can’t, make sure to come back here, because I will be posting a deep dive on both shows right after they happen.
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