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NXT TakeOver Preview: 'The End' is near for the Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor feud

For the first time since October, an NXT TakeOver event comes home to Full Sail University! NXT's 11th quarterly special may be living up to its own subtitle as this may be the end for several of the men and women on the show. With the WWE brand extension just five weeks away, odds are half of the competitors on this show won't be on NXT in time for SummerSlam weekend.

Before we deal with the future, let's deal with the now, shall we?

NXT Champion Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor in a steel cage match

This is the first ever cage match in NXT history and has the potential to be the most violent match in NXT history. This is the culmination of the longest feud ever in NXT and one of the longest continuous feuds in WWE, period. Samoa Joe has been NXT Champion since April 21 when he beat Balor in Lowell, Massachusetts. However, this was after Balor had defeated Joe at TakeOver events in London and Dallas. On a side note, Joe is the first man to win the NXT, TNA, and ROH titles -- one of the more random accomplishments in wrestling today.

Each match was better and more violent than the previous bout, with the two men waging war on each other. Now NXT is locking them within the confines of a cage, which should only encourage the match to be more violent. My only hope is Joe does not bust himself open in the first 30 seconds causing the ridiculous sight of a cage match being halted due to blood.

- Prediction: Balor has been in NXT longer and Joe just won the belt. I'm going with Joe to win, setting up a series of matches with the winner of the semi-main event.

Austin Aries vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

NXT's acquisition of Nakamura has led to a series of never before seen, one of a kind matches. Some have been excellent (Sami Zayn) and some not so much (The Drifter), but this could very well not only steal the show, but steal the pro wrestling month.

Aries debuted in March and has had quite the different road than Nakamura as he hasn't had the chance to have that one amazing showcase match. While Aries hasn't had any bad matches, he has obviously been holding out for the right time and this is it.

While not officially announced as such, this match will probably set up the next challenger for the NXT title. Aries is better off as a heel and has been teasing aturn the last few weeks, bringing up that Nakamura's debut got all the press clippings, leaving Aries in the lurch.

Prediction: Nakamura wins, setting up future title matches with Joe, pissing off Aries more, and setting up his eventual heel turn.

NXT Women's Champion Asuka vs. Nia Jax 

This match has the chance to overachieve. Jax is a lot better than she's given credit for, while Asuka is arguably the best woman wrestler under WWE contract. While the money, for lack of a better word, is in an Asuka-Bayley rematch, Jax has been a very effective monster and laid out the champ just last week.

This match has really been built up from each lady's debut. Both ladies had their debuts being built up at the same time and had their first tv match within a week of each other. Asuka has had a series of hard hitting bouts with Emma, Dana Brooke, and Bayley, while Nia has beaten every B-level NXT woman before flattening Bayley just 3 weeks ago on TV.

Prediction: Asuka wins and leads to Asuka vs Bayley in Brooklyn, one year after Bayley won the title the first time.

NXT Tag Team Champions American Alpha vs. The Revival

This is a rematch of a solid match from Dallas with both teams just getting better since. Jason Jordan and Chad Gable are easily the most popular team on NXT while The Revival have become better characters since losing the titles. This is yet another match where the losers will probably end up on the main roster, so you are left wondering if WWE needs a third super popular baby face tag team or another team of solid, yet unspectacular workers.

Prediction: American Alpha wins because WWE doesn't care enough about tag teams to have 3 super popular teams at the same time.

Andrade Cien Almas vs. Tye Dillinger

My #1 question is wondering why they changed Manny Andrade's name -- a perfectly fine name that rolled off the tongue, while Andrade Cien Almas sounds forced and fake. Dillinger has won less than five tv matches and despite winning last week, I doubt he picks up two in a row.

The TakeOver: Dallas dark match against Chris Girard was a better match than three other matches on that show, so I am expecting a really good showing here. Dillinger has a fun gimmick and is popular with the crowd. However, his job is to lose.

Prediction: Almas wins and moves into a feud with Austin Aries.


I honestly believe this could be the best TakeOver show since Brooklyn and possibly even better. Money in the Bank is being built up as perhaps the best PPV in WWE history, but after tonight, it will be second best of the best.