WWE NXT TakeOver: Chicago on May 20, 2017
Watch: WWE Network
Allstate Arena – Chicago Illinois
Here’s everything you need to know about NXT TakeOver: Chicago, which airs live on the WWE Network starting with the pre-show at 4:30 P.M. PT/7:30 P.M. ET/11:30 P.M. GMT. WWW will have written and audio coverage of the event.
Roderick Strong vs. Eric Young
The heated rivalry between Roderick Strong and the leader of SAnitY, Eric Young, reaches its boiling point. After failing to become the number one contender to the NXT Championship, Stong was laid out by SAnitY. The premise of this feud is very similar to that of Eric Young vs. Tye Dillinger, in that Young is trying to play mind games and Strong simply won’t give in. With Strong being built up as a potential dance partner for Bobby Roode, I expect him to pick up the win in a competitive affair. Prediction: Roderick Strong
WWE UK Championship Match: Tyler Bate (c) vs. Pete Dunne
Tyler Bate, fresh off a title defense against Mark Andrews at WWE’s UK Championship Special, puts his title on the line against the man he met in the finals of the UK Championship Tournament, Pete Dunne. Dunne earned a title shot by defeating Trent Seven at the UK Championship Special in Norwich earlier this month. I see the match going one of two ways; either Dunne picks up the victory and moves on to another challenger or Bate retains, further establishing himself as the face of the WWE UK franchise. Dunne’s body language after his match with Mark Andrews in February indicates that things are far from over between them, which leads me to believe that is the next title program. Give these two fifteen to twenty minutes in front of a hot Chicago crowd, and they may steal the show. Prediction: Pete Dunne
NXT Tag Team Championship Ladder Match: The Authors of Pain (c) vs. #DIY
I adore the dynamic between these two teams. Both members of The Authors of Pain have made tremendous strides since their first encounter with #DIY in last year’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. They thrive in an environment where they can ragdoll their opponents, which is what Gargano, and to a lesser extent, Ciampa, provide. When you add the Ladder Match stipulation, things become infinitely more dangerous (and exciting). #DIY has been clamoring for a two-on-two rematch for the NXT Tag Team Titles since they lost to the Authors of Pain in January, and William Regal has granted their request. Gargano and Ciampa have nothing left to accomplish as a tag team in NXT, but who knows…maybe their journey doesn’t end there. A victory would allow Akam & Rezar to advance to their next program, presumably against Heavy Machinery. I anticipate a chaotic, emotional blow-off to the feud between these two teams. Prediction: The Authors of Pain
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Asuka (c) vs. Ruby Riot vs. Nikki Cross
During a battle royal to determine the number one contender to her title, Asuka hit the ring, laying out the final three competitors: Cross, Riot, and Moon. Afterward, William Regal announced that Asuka would defend her title against Cross, Riot, and Moon in a Fatal 4-Way match. With Moon sidelined by a shoulder injury, that leaves us with a Triple Threat. Let’s start with the champion – Asuka’s story is one I find incredibly fascinating. On the outside, Asuka’s cool, calm, and fierce. But on the inside, there exists a vulnerability so deep, so overwhelming that she’s now willing to do whatever it takes to remain champion. One of my biggest criticisms of Asuka’s title reign has been that, despite her vulnerability, she lacks a viable contender to the throne. That said, the upcoming Women’s Tournament seems like the perfect opportunity to establish a new talent and freshen up the NXT women’s division. The two wildcards in this match are Cross and Riot, who are in the midst of a heated rivalry. Video packages have provided much-needed character development for both challengers in recent weeks, but it feels too soon to pull the trigger on them and ultimately, that’s why I think Asuka will retain. Prediction: Asuka
NXT Championship Match: Bobby Roode (c) vs. Hideo Itami
Hideo Itami’s various injuries over the past few years seem to have lit a fire underneath him. Since he returned to NXT last month, he’s assumed the position of a scrappy underdog. Roode, when motivated, is an excellent competitor. With that said, his reign hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. With Shinsuke Nakamura behind him, this match provides an opportunity to revitalize the main event scene. Expect a motivated Itami, fighting valiantly to capture gold and Roode doing everything in his power to remain on top of NXT. Prediction: Bobby Roode
Overall, NXT TakeOver: Chicago looks to be a can’t-miss show with each match bringing something different to the table. Conspicuous by their absence are Kassius Ohno, Drew McIntyre, Andrade “Cien” Almas, and Aleister Black, who could always appear at the TV taping that takes place before the main show.