John: Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE NXT Takeover In Your House Preview. It’s a Sunday night Takeover show just like the last one was, but this one is unique because it’s the first Takeover with no fans. I like the “In Your House” name for it because this year is 25 years since the first WWE In Your House pay-per-view and with no fans in attendance, the only way to watch is at home. That’s why the title works.
There are six matches on the show so it should run over two hours and maybe up to three hours. The lineup is pretty good featuring some new talent like Karrion Kross in his first Takeover match and there might be some title changes as well. The NXT Championship will be unique since it’s some sort of Backlot Brawl match, so it will definitely have a different feel to it. I’m also interested to see what the setup looks like with the In Your House theme. Joining me for the preview are Kurt Zamora and Lance Augustine.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.)
Tegan Nox, Shotzi Blackheart and Mia Yim vs. Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez
Kurt: This was a match that was built during a brawl on this past week’s episode of NXT. As you’ll read later in my preview, I would’ve done something else for Mia and Candice on this card, but this match along with the women’s title match on the show, shows how deep and talented this roster is in NXT. There’s rumors Chelsea Green could already be on the move to a Raw or Smackdown, but you can throw her in this talent pool for the time being and there is just so much talent and potential. I like Shotzi a lot, she’s unique and different. I need to see more of her in ring ability, but I like the presentation so far. Dakota has been meh as a heel to me, honestly. I loved her as a babyface and I really thought the heel turn was so beautifully done. So I thought she would be positioned better in the company after that turn, but really, all she’s done is help make Raquel shine. She hasn’t been the focal point. I’d like to see that change, as I think she has a ton of ability. I do get a vibe though, that maybe she wasn’t meant to be a heel. Tegan is a star, but I’m sure they’re a little timid to go all the way with her after two back to back serious knee injuries. But I love her personality and ability in the ring. She just needs to get over that hump, so to speak. This could be a fun match if it’s not rushed. I think the babyfaces gain more with a win here, so I’ll go with them.
Prediction: Mia Yim, Shotzi Blackheart & Tegan Nox
Lance: The one benefitting from getting on the show the most out of these six is Candace LeRae. She has recently turned heel with Johnny Gargano and the two, I would think anyway, will be a focal point in NXT in the coming months. You also have the underlying tension between Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai which has led to some memorable matches between the two. Throw Mia Yim, Raquel Gonzalez, and Shotzi Blackheart into the mix, and you have the potential to be a standout match. I think LeRae and company pick up the win here, because of the reasons I have previously stated. Low key keeping my eye on this match to be a real solid outing.
Winner: Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez
John: This should be a fun match featuring six NXT women that are a mix of established talent and others that are on the rise. It’s been interesting to see Candice as a heel because she’s such a traditional natural face and so is Dakota Kai, but they are making it work. The trio of Yim, Blackheart and Nox feature women that all have a lot of potential. I feel like they’re going to use this match to put over the heel team of LeRae, Kai and Gonzalez getting the win because I can see LeRae getting into the NXT Women’s Title picture. I think Candice is going to win the NXT Women’s Title at some point this year, so it’s important to get her a meaningful win in a match like this.
Winners: Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez
Finn Balor vs. Damian Priest
Kurt: If there was ever a time to make a turn stick, whether babyface or heel, this would be that time when you don’t have crowds dictating what you’re doing. Yes, people want to cheer Finn Balor. His heel turn was doing just fine though, so why change him babyface when there’s no crowd to make the change necessary? I guess with the likes of Matt Riddle leaving, they needed to adjust some things on the babyface side, especially with Pete Dunne stuck overseas. But I wonder if we’ll be left thinking down the road, what did they leave on the table with Balor as a heel. His work in New Japan was tremendous, but we didn’t get to see hardly, if any, of that in NXT. Another name rumored to be leaving is Dominik Dijakovic (another babyface), so that leave a big man spot on the roster needing to be filled and it certainly seems like HHH and the NXT higher ups like Priest. I liked him a lot in ROH as Punishment Martinez, there was clearly potential there, and now he’s working to fulfill it in NXT. I like Priest finding ways to make sure he “lives in infamy” so the reasoning behind attacking Balor makes all the sense. This is a toss up match for me, because Priest needs the win to become established, but if Balor is going to be a top babyface (why else would you switch him?), I can’t see him losing to someone at the level as Priest. I think I’ll predict a non finish and let this storyline continue.
Prediction: Finn Balor by DQ
Lance: Priest attacked Balor during a match a few weeks ago on NXT, and this is the first shot at revenge Balor has been able to get. Priest was in the NXT North American Title hunt but fell by the wayside recently. This isn’t a bad spot for him to land, though. Balor is one of the better wrestlers in the company and I truly think he can get a good match out of just about anyone. I don’t think Priest is a slouch, but you get what I am saying. If you are trying to build Priest up as a legitimate threat, then he should pick up the win here. If you are trying to keep Balor as strong as possible, then he will pick up the dub. I will choose and go with the latter because I don’t know the direction for Priest after this show.
Winner: Finn Balor
John: The story here is okay and it’s a big match for Priest because he is stuck at a certain level in NXT. Priest is in the midcard in NXT, he has some good matches when given the chances, but he’s yet to really break through to that top level. The story has been decent between them. This feels like a match where Priest is going to look like a viable threat against the bigger name, but I expect Balor to get the win. I also think, if Adam Cole retains the NXT Title in the main event, then Balor is going to be the guy to take the title off him. That’s just a gut feeling on my part because I think WWE moved Balor to NXT to give him another title run.
Winner: Finn Balor
NXT North American Championship: Keith Lee (c) vs. Johnny Gargano
Kurt: If there was a dream match to be had for me, it’s this one. I’ve been very vocal for my love of Keith Lee, and Johnny Gargano continues to be the lifeblood of NXT and refuses to have a bad match on a big stage. I feared he and Candice would fall flat on their face as heels. They’re the prototypical babyfaces, ones that you could never see as a heel, but they’re pulling it off wonderfully so far. I loved the turn of Candice during the final battle with Ciampa and Gargano. I know it was one of the cinematic matches, so they could edit it this way, but the way it was presented was done perfectly. As this feud has started up, I thought they would do a mixed tag match here and save this title match for later. I think that’s the way I would’ve done it as it gets Mia and Candice a spot on this card, would’ve been a unique match you don’t see very often under a WWE banner, and considering the talent of the 4, it would’ve been a hell of a match, as we saw a glimpse of this on the last episode of NXT. Nevertheless, I don’t know that I would’ve gone with this title match right away.
This is another toss up match, as Gargano in his newfound persona can use the title to further establish his agenda. Lee has been built as a top guy and I don’t know that I’d want him losing the title this early in the storyline. As much as he’s built up the title in epic matches, I’d rather him lose it after a long drawn out feud with Gargano. I’m probably a little too biased though and if I think with my head only, I know it makes more sense for Gargano to win, especially after wounding Lee on Wednesday.
Prediction: New North American Champion, Johnny Gargano
Lance: Keith Lee won the NXT North American Title in January at one of the last shows that actually had fans in the arena, and his title reign since has suffered a bit, not to any fault of his own. He had a huge moment in the Royal Rumble match around the same time, and they haven’t been able to properly capitalize on his momentum due to the pandemic breaking out and fans being absent from the arenas. Gargano has already had a reign with the title, but since he has recently turned heel, a smart play here might be having him win it back with some dirty tactics. It all comes down to what the plans are for Keith Lee coming up. I do believe they go that route and have Gargano win the title to jumpstart the heel turn and either move Lee up to the main roster or have him feud for the NXT Championship down the line.
Winner and NEW NXT North American Champion: Johnny Gargano
John: It’s hard to predict what will be the best match on the show because there are a lot of potentially outstanding matches on this card. If I have to pick one match in terms of what I think is going to be the best then I would go with this one with Lee defending against Gargano. They are not similar in style or look at all with Lee as the much bigger man, but the cool thing about Lee is he can go in the ring with big guys or smaller guys like Gargano, who is arguably the best worker in NXT. I would be shocked if this wasn’t a great match because I’m sure they have wanted to wrestle eachother for a long time.
It looks like it will be a clean sweep in our predictions for this match because I’m also going with Gargano just like my buddies up above. I think Gargano will be in control for most of the match, Lee will make the big comeback, there will be a lot of great nearfalls for both guys and I think the crafty heel Gargano is going to win the NXT North American Championship for the second time in his career. Lee might get a push to be the next NXT Champion, but I think it’s more likely that Lee will be on Raw or Smackdown later this year. Gargano is the kind of guy that will remain one of the key guys in NXT. Anyway, I’m looking forward to this match.
Winner and New NXT North American Champion: Johnny Gargano
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Karrion Kross (with Scarlett)
Kurt: I knew nothing about Kross when he was signed to NXT except for the fact that he was in a real-life relationship with Scarlett and that Scarlett is a HOTTIE. I never watched Impact, so I didn’t know what to expect. Clearly those rumors that NXT was high on him were true when he came out to what was, at the very least, the greatest entrance in NXT history. It could be a top 3-5 entrance of all time already honestly. You don’t have an entrance like that and be long for NXT. You need a bigger stage (literally and figuratively) to reach the full limits of both the entrance and the persona. Maybe you have Dream beat Cole to be a transitional champion and have Kross become the face of the brand, but I really think there are bigger ideas in store for Kross. Ciampa isn’t the biggest guy, but even I was surprised at how much bigger Kross was than him. Where the first two matches were toss ups, this is very much predictable. Ciampa is being used to build a new star here and I actually don’t expect this match to be that competitive. Ciampa isn’t going to be hurt by a loss here, especially if Kross isn’t long for the brand, but a win for Kross establishes him immediately.
Prediction: Karrion Kross
Lance: Kross and Scarlett have come to NXT with a lot of fanfare from the indie wrestling scene when he was known as Killer Kross and made an immediate impact by going after Ciampa as their first victim. I personally haven’t seen a whole bunch of Kross’ indie work, but have been really liking what I have been seeing in NXT thus far. Scarlett will play a big factor in the match, even if it’s not in the finish. I don’t think there is any way Kross can lose this match if you are trying to build him as a legit NXT star. Ciampa can afford a loss here because his work has been outstanding when he hasn’t been out with an injury. Do I think it’ll be on the level of Gargano/Ciampa? Absolutely not, but I do think both men will be on a good showing. I think Kross picks up the win here in a more decisive fashion than people probably expect, although I still think it’ll be competitive.
Winner: Karrion Kross
John: I have been watching Kross for a few years. We met in 2016 at a hotel bar in Dallas during WrestleMania weekend and it was right around when he started appearing on Lucha Underground. He’s a great guy that found pro wrestling after doing some other things in his life. After that, he had an impressive run in Impact Wrestling and he became a top free agent in wrestling. I like a lot of things about his in-ring work, but I think the way that WWE has presented Kross with his lovely girlfriend Scarlett has made them really stand out.
It would be a surprise if WWE paid all that money to get Kross to keep him away from other wrestling promotions and then have him lose his first Takeover match. I don’t see that happening. I also feel like Kross’s act with Scarlett is going to win over the bosses very quickly and he’s probably going to be on Raw or Smackdown later this year or early next year. It makes a lot of sense to use an established NXT top name like Ciampa to put over Kross in order to make Kross look like a big star early in his NXT run. It’s a big match for Kross to show how good he can be. This should be an intense, hard-hitting match with Kross getting the biggest win of his WWE career so far.
Winner: Karrion Kross
NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Io Shirai vs. Rhea Ripley
Kurt: It’s hard to say whether someone has lost steam or momentum when there’s no crowd reactions to base it by. Typically, the pops die down and you can just feel the air has been let out. However, if someone has lost steam during this no crowd era, I think it’s Rhea Ripley. I know there were rumors as to why Rhea lost the title at WrestleMania, but in hindsight it just makes no sense. Charlotte could’ve still been on all three shows even without the title, and it would’ve been a defining win for Rhea. However, I think they’ll put the title back on Rhea and let her carry the division again. They have to know they need to go with her, and despite my feelings on her losing steam, ultimately when they get back to having crowds, the fans will be excited to see anyone and they’ll love Rhea just as much as they always have. Io Shirai has really come into her own since turning heel and now in that tweener role it seems. It feels like she’s only in the match, however, to be the one to take the fall so Rhea and Charlotte can be pushed out further. Charlotte, love her or hate her, knows what it means to be in a big time match and deliver. She’s just got “it.”
Go out of your way to check out the Prime Target video for this match that was shown on NXT this week because it’s phenomenal. All three women come across like stars, all with their own story on why they need to win. But as you see the video play out, it’s clear the story is Rhea needing redemption for her Mania loss. Which is why I said earlier, I think Io is only in this to take the fall. Rhea wins the match but Charlotte can come back and say Rhea still hasn’t beaten her, and set up another big match, maybe during SummerSlam weekend.
Prediction: New NXT Women’s Champion – Rhea Ripley
Lance: Flair and Ripley had what could be argued as the best match during Wrestlemania weekend for the NXT Women’s Championship. Charlotte not only won the title that night but also has been on NXT regularly since. Ripley has proven she can hang with the best in the company, and I wouldn’t mind seeing those two squaring off one on one in the future. Io Shirai hasn’t been too shabby herself recently, and this has my pick to be one of the matches of the night (subject to change if it underdelivers).
The one thing I am positive about this match is that Charlotte will not walk out as champion. With Becky Lynch gone off television for the long haul (congratulations to her and Seth Rollins), they need that money attraction for the Women’s Division on the main roster, which Charlotte Flair has been for years. Honestly, if Lynch would have stayed on TV, I could see them keeping Charlotte in NXT a little while longer after this match and having that blow-off with Ripley during Summerslam weekend. You have to play with the cards you are dealt though, so here we are. I think Ripley winning isn’t a bad avenue to go, but honestly, I could see them going the other way and having Shirai pick up her first title victory in the company. The Ripley/Shirai feud will be the one that carries the women’s division into the latter part of the summer.
Winner and NEW NXT Women’s Champion: Io Shirai
John: This is a tough match to predict because it can really go any way with all three women making sense as the winner. In Flair’s case, we know she’s not going to be on NXT long term and with Becky Lynch out of action due to pregnancy for the rest of the year, it makes sense for WWE to want to feature Flair on Raw more without the NXT Title around her waist. Shirai has been around the NXT Women’s Title for most of the last year, so it makes sense for her to finally break through. I also think there’s a possibility that Ripley wins the title back because then she can carry it as a leader of the NXT women’s division.
I think they’ll have a match full of nearfalls and some exciting moments throughout. They have all worked well together in the past, so I have no concerns about chemistry issues. Since I think Flair is going to move on from NXT after this show, I’ll go with Ripley to win the title back because I believe the rumors of Shirai going to Raw or Smackdown soon. They don’t need to go 20 minutes, but if they get 12-15 minutes I’ll be happy with that.
Winner AND NEW NXT Women’s Champion: Rhea Ripley
NXT Championship: Adam Cole (c) vs. The Velveteen Dream
Kurt: This looks like it’ll be the latest in WWE’s string of cinematic matches, a ring surrounded by cars with their lights on, the premise being the spotlight on Dream like he wants. Also known as a Backlot Brawl. It’s been a while, but WWE has actually had some success with good matches in a setup like this. Ken Shamrock and Steve Blackman had an “Iron Circle Match” with no ring surrounded by cars. Also, Eddie Guerrero and John Cena had a parking lot brawl in 2003 with a similar setup. This will look differently obviously, but with a similar premise. I think it has a lot of potential.
I would like to see Dream hit a Purple Rainmaker off something onto Cole who’s laid out on the hood of a car. Dream is a character that needs fans. He says it himself, he’s an Experience. Except no one is there to experience it right now. He’s missing something without the vibe of a crowd. I know Cole has been champion for over a year officially now, and some people are clamoring for Undisputed Era to be given a break as the top act in NXT, but I think the NXT Title is one that you need to change hands at a show with a crowd. Especially when you’re going to be changing from your top heel to theoretically your top babyface. You need that feedback from the crowd accepting the new champion. It gives the moment validity. I understand there’s no telling when that’s happening, but even in the state of Florida where they’re filming these shows right now, I would expect an announcement for fans to be allowed any day now. Texas as of this writing has allowed 50% capacity for indoor and outdoor shows. My point being, I don’t think they’re that far off from having some type of crowd, and you know Vince wants to be the first event that has a crowd. You can hold off on Cole losing the title, even if ultimately you want Dream to be the one to dethrone him. I’ve got the other two titles changing hands tonight, and despite the lurking Dexter Lumis that apparently has Dream’s back and could fend off some of the rest of Undisputed Era, they still have a numbers game that I think will come in handy once again.
Prediction: Adam Cole retains NXT Title
Lance: This seems like another cinematic type of match since it’s going to have some cars surrounding an area in a match they are dubbing “The Backlot Brawl”. Velveteen Dream has been on fire since returning from a back injury, first feuding with fellow Undisputed Era member Roderick Strong, and now going after the biggest dog of them all. He locked himself inside of a cage with Cole a couple of months ago on NXT and they have been off to the races ever since. Cole’s run at the top has been quite impressive and had just recently reached the one-year milestone making him by far the longest-reigning champion in the title’s history. Rumors have been swirling, like they tend to do in wrestling, about Cole’s contract coming up in a few months and the next move he may make. If you are going by that mode of thinking, then picking Dream to win the title here is the easy move.
I think this match will have an interesting dynamic and each guy will shine throughout and I am sure they are going to do all kinds of crazy stuff because of the way it was shot. Part of me likes it, but part of me also wishes it was just a regular one on one match. I understand why they do these types of matches though, and it does keep it fresh since there is no crowd. I am giving a slight edge to Dream to win the title here, but Cole winning wouldn’t shock me either.
Cole does need to lose it on a big show like this because his reign at the top has been so dominant and it would give whoever beats him a huge rub. I am legitimately torn on who will actually win the match, but I do think Dream will win the title and send Cole packing to his next destination, whether that be to the main roster or taking his talents to Jacksonville, Florida.
Winner and NEW NXT Champion: The Velveteen Dream
John: I’m intrigued by how they are going to present this match. They’ll be brawling around cars, so that means they can do some creative spots in the match. I think Cole is one of the best in-ring technicians in the business while Dream has shown flashes of greatness, but he’s still in his mid-20s and learning a lot as he goes. Due to Cole not being in the ring in a traditional match I doubt we will be able to compare this to some of Cole’s classics in the past. It should still be very interesting. There’s a stipulation that if Dream fails to win here then he won’t be able to challenge Cole for the title again. Cole’s reign as NXT Champion recently passed the one year mark, so it may be a good time to do a title change since Dream has never held this title.
I’m going with Adam Cole to retain the title here. I feel like the stipulation of the match suggests there is going to be some interference so whether it’s Undisputed Era helping Cole or Dexter Lumis turning on Dream, I feel like Cole is going to find a way to escape with the title. I think the next champion will be either Finn Balor or Keith Lee. It may be something they choose to do on an episode of NXT on USA Network rather than on a Takeover because that way you can do a big title change on TV to try to boost the ratings for NXT on USA Network. That would make a lot of sense for them to do that. Anyway, I’m sure that WWE will come up with a unique presentation for this match and I have faith in the NXT creative team that it will be good.
Winner: Adam Cole
The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most
Kurt: Gargano vs. Lee because it’s a matchup I’ve always wanted to see.
Lance: There are two and it would be both the NXT Title match and the NXT Women’s Title match. It’s been a long time since the matches I have looked forward are the two top singles titles in NXT.
John: I really want to see how they present the Cole vs. Dream match in a unique setting, but in terms of a regular match then it’s Lee vs. Gargano.
The Match I Care About The Least
Kurt: Priest vs. Balor.
Lance: Finn Balor vs. Damian Priest.
John: Six-woman tag due to lack of story. That doesn’t mean I think it will be a bad match. There are no bad matches on this card.
Kurt: Women’s NXT Championship match.
Lance: The NXT Championship match. Just from the cinematic standpoint, I think it’s going to go over 30 minutes.
John: Cole vs. Dream.
Kurt: Ciampa vs. Kross.
Lance: The Six-Woman Tag Team match since it was thrown on the show last minute.
John: Kross vs. Ciampa because I think they will want Kross to look impressive in victory in a match that gets around 12 minutes. Maybe the six-woman tag will be shorter.
Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)
Kurt: The card is fantastic, but it would be so much more if it had a full arena/crowd. Knowing that it won’t have the full Takeover experience, I’m gonna say a 7.5. If it was a normal Takeover with this card, it’d be a 10 honestly.
Lance: ): I am going to go with a 7 here. It might be for nostalgia purposes because this is an “In Your House” show, but it’s probably more because NXT always puts out quality shows. I really hope the rumors of the classic In Your House set is true, and it just makes us all feel like we are kids again. If there was any WWE show that can hit it out of the park with limited resources, it’s going to be this one.
John: It’s a 7.75 for me because I’m confident in the NXT brand delivering a great show as usual whenever there’s a Takeover. The reason I’m not going as high as an 8 is because the wrestlers as fans in the crowd aren’t as enthusiastic as the usual Takeover crowd, so I will miss that energy from the fans. I think all six matches have the potential to be great because I don’t expect them to be too short and NXT rarely has bad finishes in Takeover matches. I’m looking forward to this Takeover.
John: I’ll be back with a review of WWE NXT Takeover In Your House on TJRWrestling.net on Sunday, so check that out during the show or after it’s over.
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