TJRWrestling WWE NXT Takeover: Toronto Preview (Cole vs. Gargano III)

Kurt: Welcome one and all to a special edition of the NXT Spotlight here at TJRWrestling. It is again that time for a Takeover, and once again we have a five-match card. We were led to believe the Breakout Tournament Finals would be here at Takeover, but it was announced that will take place on the TV show taped before Takeover and air on NXT’s regular show next week. Between that match and the other storylines such as Matt Riddle & Killian Dain, Keith Lee & Punishment Martinez, and The Forgotten Sons & Breezango that do not have a spot on the card, it sure feels like we need more than five matches. John, I know you’re bummed about Matt Riddle not being on the show, but is it officially time to go to more than five matches on each Takeover? Also, what are your initial thoughts on the show?

John: I think this card is pretty good, but it’s a bit of a step down from the last two Takeover events. The only reason I’m not going (Toronto is over two hours away) is because I have a family anniversary party that was booked months ago, so I can’t really miss it.

I’m disappointed by the lack of Riddle on the show because he beat Roderick Strong on the last Takeover, yet Strong is in the North American Title match. This isn’t the main roster where wins and losses are ignored. They should reward them. I would have added Riddle vs. Dain to this card. I don’t think six matches is too much. They could fit six matches in a 2.5 hour show easily and some Takeover’s have been over three hours. I don’t see fans complaining about a Takeover event being too long.

Lastly, I’m going to include some of the match promotions videos from WWE’s Youtube channel because they do a tremendous job of getting us set for the matches.

Candice LaRae vs. Io Shirai

Kurt: This will be the first time in three years that the women’s division gets two matches on a Takeover card. Kudos to Candice and Io for getting on the show, but I think that speaks to the lack of depth the division has had and not being able to develop a second heel behind Shayna. All things revolved around her for the most part. I think a lot of us would agree that Candice has been underutilized since coming to NXT. She had made a tremendous name for herself on the indies, but has seemingly been used more as “Mrs. Johnny Wrestling” than as her own competitor. So it’s good to see her finally get a storyline of her own.

I’ve loved the heel turn for Io. She looks great as a heel, her lack of English doesn’t hurt her because her facial expressions and mannerisms are spot on. All she needed to actually say was that she didn’t need any of us, and she let her actions do the rest of the work. A tough matchup to call, right off the bat, because both women “need” the win. You’ve got to be able to establish a top heel not named Shayna Baszler and Io has a lot of momentum to do that with her. However, as I said, Candice has been underutilized and needs a signature win of her own. I’m going to go with Io because if the title match goes the way I think, you’re going to need heel opponents. John, how do you see this one going?

Prediction: Io Shirai

John: This should be a pretty good match and it’s a big opportunity for both women because it’s Shirai’s first Takeover as a heel while Candice gets a Takeover match for the first time. I think they’ll have an entertaining match with Shirai dominating most of it, Candice comes back and then Shirai does something evil to win. You can make a case for either woman winning, but I think Shirai needs it more to help establish her as a heel.

Winner: Io Shirai


NXT Tag Team Title Match
The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) (c) vs. Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish)

Kurt: I enjoyed the back and forth these two had on TV this week, but other than that, this has felt like a largely forgettable match on the card. I’m disappointed having to type that, being as big a fan of the Street Profits as I am. However, as soon as they won the titles, they were brought to Raw and it just felt like they immediately transitioned into a way to get the titles off of them in NXT. I hope I’m wrong, as I’d like to see them have a more definitive reign in NXT. I really don’t have much to say on this match John, just because the build has been a week and it feels like a foregone conclusion to me. I’m sure it’ll be a fun match. Do you get the same feeling for this match?

Prediction: New NXT Tag Champions, Undisputed Era

John: The build hasn’t been great as Kurt said, but the contract signing segment on NXT TV this week was great. The Street Profits have only been the champions for a few months and this is their first title defense at a Takeover. Normally, I would pick a team in that situation to retain, but since the Street Profits are on Raw already, I don’t see this title reign lasting that long. I know that Ford and Dawkins haven’t wrestled on Raw yet, but WWE clearly needs babyface teams on the main roster. They have are great at getting a crowd to support them. I’m going with The Undisputed Era to get the win in what should be a pretty good tag team match.

Winners and New NXT Tag Team Champions: Undisputed Era


NXT Women’s Title Match
Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Mia Yim

Kurt: When it comes to Shayna Baszler matches, I sound like a broken record… but if not Mia Yim, then who? If not now, then when? I think the build up for Mia has been really well done. I loved having her turn the tables on Shayna and attack Duke and Shafir from behind, making sure she gets a one on one match with the champ. I saw these two have a match at a NXT live event in Dallas and had it not been for Adam Cole & Keith Lee in the main event, they would’ve had the best match of the night. They killed it, fed off each other well, and if they’re setting up for a title change, they had a great finish set up at that live event.

I won’t spoil the finish in case that’s what they go with, but it involves Baszler’s stomp of the exposed elbow that she used to injure Dakota Kai and Kairi Sane. We’re at a point where we need new blood in the division and I think Mia is now popular enough to carry the title. Do you want to see a title change here John?

Prediction: New NXT Women’s Champion, Mia Yim

John: I think it’s time for a title change. When Baszler won the title back a second time, I wasn’t that excited about it and all these months later, I still think it was a bad decision. Baszler’s matches are fine and no matter the opponent, they can pull off a decent match, but it’s never that exciting.

I’m going with Yim winning the title. She’s got a lot of experience even though she hasn’t been on NXT TV regularly for that long. At some point, I think WWE will want to see what they can get from Baszler on the main roster. With Becky Lynch and Bayley both likely to retain their titles at SummerSlam, one of them is going to need a fresh opponent. That might be Baszler. A lot of things are leading to believe in a win for Yim. New champ.

Winner and New NXT Women’s Champion: Mia Yim


Triple Threat NXT North American Title Match
Velveteen Dream (c) vs. Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong

Kurt: As John has pointed out to me in our conversations about the show, Strong lost to Matt Riddle on the last Takeover, but somehow ends up with a title shot here while Riddle isn’t even on the card. Insert shrug emoji here. It does seem a little shoehorned to get Dunne into this match, but any time we can get Pete Dunne on a Takeover is a good thing. He may be my favorite wrestler that currently wrestles under a WWE banner right now.

I would honestly open with this match and give them as much time as possible. Dunne and Strong just showed how hard-hitting of a match they can have, and Dream has never shyed away from a fight, so I expect this to be one hell of a battle. The story is Undisputed Era leaving with all the gold, and although I do think there’s a real chance that happens, I just think Dream is too big right now to lose his title. Roddy is coming off two losses, so it doesn’t make sense for him to become champion. John, do you see a title change here?

Prediction: Velveteen Dream retains

John: This is going to be a lot of fun. Unlike the main roster, NXT doesn’t overdo triple threat matches so when they take place, they don’t feel that repetitive. My understanding is that NXT wants to use Dunne regularly more, so I think it’s a great idea if he were to win the title. If Strong wins then it might be a case of WWE wanting all of the Undisputed Era to hold titles at the same time like Evolution did about 15 years ago. Who was the leader of Evolution? Triple H, who also runs NXT.

I enjoy Velveteen Dream as champion and he’s done well in that role, but it wouldn’t shock me if he’s on the main roster in October when Smackdown is on FOX. To me, that makes a lot of sense because he’s a future main eventer that has all the tools that WWE likes. That’s why he should lose the title here.

It’s going to be tough for any match to beat the main event in terms of having the best match, but if there is a second match that really stands out then it will be this one.

Winner and New NXT North American Champion: Pete Dunne


3 Stages of Hell – NXT Title Match (1st Fall – Standard, 2nd Fall – Street Fight, 3rd Fall – ??)
Adam Cole (c) vs. Johnny Gargano

Kurt: I appreciate the logic Cole used to pick just a standard wrestling match for his fall, but when I initially heard it was going to be a 3 stages of Hell type match with stipulations tied to each fall, I was expecting them to go all out like HHH & HBK did back at Armageddon when they had a street fight, a cage match and a ladder match. As personal as they’ve tried to make this feud and how even it’s been, I think you needed something to that level to make this really stand out. As it is, once you get through the 2nd fall, Regal is going to determine what the 3rd fall would be. That immediately eliminate any chance of a cage match or Hell in a Cell because they won’t ruin the surprise by having them hanging over the ring and they take too long to set up.

A strong part of me thinks someone is winning this match 2-0 and the reason they’re not announcing the 3rd fall is because they don’t want everyone to just assume it’s going three falls. If it does go three falls though, I think the stipulation will be an I Quit match. It’s a stipulation that Gargano and Cole haven’t been in yet, so it won’t come across as a repeat of something else either have done, specifically, Last Man Standing and a Ladder Match. I Quit will put finality to the storyline and there will be no doubt who the better man is. As much as I love Johnny as champion and it seems weird for him to lose this feud after working so hard to become champion, Adam Cole is just over on another level. He’s the face of the franchise and he’s the guy you want people chasing for the title. John, who should walk out of your beloved city with the title?

Prediction: Adam Cole retains 2 falls to none

John: It’s the second 2 out of 3 Falls match for Cole and Gargano this year. Gargano won that first match in New York, then Cole beat him for the title in Connecticut and I thought both were five-star matches out of five. I know Dave Meltzer went even higher for one of the matches. It’s gotten to the point where if they don’t have a five-star match then fans might call it “disappointing,” which is crazy to think about. Those first two matches also went 38 and 32 minutes respectively with neither man showing any signs of fatigue. I think this is going to be another match in the 30-minute range.

The regular match first fall, Street Fight second fall and mystery third fall (if necessary) is intriguing. I think an I Quit match would be fitting because they are billing it as the end of this rivalry no matter who wins. Since Gargano uses the Gargano Escape submission, it makes a lot of sense for him to win with that move. I think a Ladder Match is possible too. The idea behind it is they would be so exhausted from the first two falls, so if they were to hang the titles above the ring, it’s easy to sell exhaustion while setting up some cool spots. My prediction is Ladder Match for the third fall, but if they go with I Quit like Kurt said then that’s fine too. With Cole and Gargano, I’m not really worried about stipulations because I know it’s going to be an awesome match.

I’m going with Gargano to win the title. If Undisputed Era and Strong each win their titles then I would pick Cole to win to give Undisputed Era titles for all four guys, but I don’t think it’s going to happen that way. I think Johnny’s more of the NXT lifer of the two guys and I would love to see him have a significant reign as champion. The last run only lasted two months. I’d like to see him have a championship reign at least until the January Takeover and even longer if possible. I mentioned Velveteen Dream to the main roster in October. I think Undisputed Era to the main roster around October is very possible too, so taking the title off Cole makes a lot of sense.

No matter who wins and no matter what the mystery third fall is, this will be one of the best matches of the year. It is also likely the best feud of the year, which would be the second year in a row where Gargano is in the best feud after his classic Ciampa feud last year. I hope you enjoy the match because I know I will.

Winner and New NXT Champion: Johnny Gargano

Did I really just predict all four titles to change hands on this show? I guess I just did. That’s just how I’m feeling.

There was a 23-minute “Prime Target” video that WWE released about Gargano and Cole that you should definitely check out if you haven’t seen it yet.

Thanks as always for joining us on this preview. Kurt will have live coverage of the show Saturday night and John will have his take on Sunday morning before he gets set for his SummerSlam marathon. Be sure to follow us on Twitter in the meantime.

Kurt – @KTankTJR

John – @JohnReport