Once upon a time, NXT’s whole thing was that it wasn’t as bloated as the main roster, which allowed its talent to really step out and shine. Four TakeOver’s a year may have seemed too few, but pumping out a PPV every month has felt like way, way too much. Gotta give those Peacock viewers their money’s worth, I suppose. At least this Sunday’s lineup looks solid, with the Dusty Cup finals and a handful of title matches.
Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: MSK vs Grizzled Young Veterans
With WWE’s love of singles wrestlers getting tag belts, I probably would have put money on Thatcher and Ciampa making it to the finals, but here we are instead. Both teams are incredible tag wrestlers; GYV were the first ever NXT UK champs in the only episode of NXT UK that I’ve ever watched, while MSK are making a big impact in their NXT debut. It should be some really good wrestling come Sunday.
Prediction: MSK. Both teams could and should sky rocket in NXT very soon, but this is still MSK’s first showing- this feels like the way to do it.
Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finales: Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai vs Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart
This will be a very interesting match up with some different styles to cap off a solid first Women’s Dusty Classic. This tournament hasn’t exactly been full of surprises, but the finals feel like a tough call. Gonzalez and Kai have been a dominant force in the women’s division, while Shotzi and Ember have a Toys R Us tank, so it’ll be close.
Prediction: Moon and Blackheart are the feel good faces, I’m giving this to them. Gonzalez and Kai have had a good run, but it might be time to see what Gonzalez can do as a solo act.
NXT North American Championship: Johnny Gargano (c) vs Kushida
Gargano attempted to fake a variety of injuries to get out of this match, but big boss Regal wasn’t convinced. While Kushida has been coming in hot every since he started wrestling in jeans, Gargano’s got The Way in his corner, which potentially feels more like an obstacle than an advantage when you factor in how much the crowd will be booing Theory. But as Kellie Pickler taught us, a cheater is always a cheater, and Johnny loves nothing more than shenanigans right about now.
Prediction: I can’t see Gargano losing the belt just yet- I’d bet on interference from one of his three friends to keep him NA champion.
NXT Championship: Finn Balor (c) vs Pete Dunne
A real battle of men I’d love to understand someday. Dunne has demanded a shot at the NXT title after he and his boys beat up Undisputed Era half a dozen times, and Balor finally say ‘kay. This should be a hard hitting fight; last month, Balor put away Kyle O’Reilly’s jaw in a tight half hour, and he’s got ten whole fingers for Dunne to snap. Dunne running NXT alongside Lorcan and Burch feels like a huge win for the British community, but the Prince might have something else to say about that.
Prediction: Balor retains. His recent alliance with O’Reilly means he’s got some rough and rowdy boys in his corner too, which could help keep the tag champs at bay.
NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai (c) vs Mercedes Martinez vs Toni Storm (Triple Threat)
Martinez politely announced her intent to challenge Shirai by knocking her through the commentary table last month. Right around the same time, Toni Storm left the thriving ship of NXT UK to tell us the very same thing. Storm and Martinez even formed a short-lived partnership in the Dusty Cup over their mutual Shirai dislike, but there’s only one way to properly settle this, and I can only hope it involves several moonsaults.
Prediction: While Shirai has had some very good defenses, it’s a bummer there hasn’t been a ton of focus on giving her stories as the champ. It feels like her time in the sun may be waning, but I can’t see Martinez or Storm taking the belt just yet. A longer feud with Martinez could cement Mercedes on NXT and give Io a strong send off as champ.