Thoughts Ahead Of NXT TakeOver 31

Once upon a time NXT TakeOvers came with thematic names. We had TakeOver: R Eveolution, TakeOver: The End, TakeOver: Aaarrrgghhh (that one was made up). Then it became TakeOver: Location. Now we have our 2nd successive TakeOver with a numeric title, and a 3rd overall. Is this the future? Or is it just for now while they are all in the same placed. Whatever the name, TakeOvers rarely disappoint.

The NXT Championship match will see Finn Bálor take on Kyle O’Reilly. I’m delighted to see O’Reilly get a big spot as a singles star. He has been an unsung hero of the Undisputed Era’s dominance, often as a tag team wrestler. Those who watched him before his time in NXT will know he can go in the ring as a singles star. I would love to see him take the NXT Championship… just not yet.

Bálor deserves a lengthy run with the belt. He’s been booked as something of an also-ran in NXT since returning, portrayed as a star, but never being allowed to show his true star power. The Prinxe should get a reign as a dominant villainous champion. It seemed he was on course to meet Walter at NXTUK TakeOver: Dublin. Dublin has been severely hit by COVID-19, leading to that events postponement, possibly until next Summer. Bálor should hold the title until close to that event, with Walter costing him the title. That can lead to the Bray man getting a heroes welcome in Dublin as he competes for the UK Championship (which I have said before, should be renamed the European Championship, and NXT UK should become NXT Europe and tour the continent). Bálor has the opportunity to have mega feuds that build new faces, while possibly forming a stable, perhaps some kind of club.

Kyle O’Reilly can take the title next year. Reports are that the Undisputed Era will explode soon, with Cole and O’Reilly as Faces, and Fish and Strong as heels. We could see Strong steal the NXT Championship from under O’Reilly’s nose, before Kyle finally takes it off him, possibly ahead of next years SummerSlam. Kyle has the charisma to carry a huge storyline involving the UE turning on eachother in an attempt to claim the gold they once shared. Just as Bálor deserves a proper reign, O’Reilly deserves a proper build.

Io Shirai defends the NXT Women’s Championship against Candice LeRae. This is one of those occasions where it could go either way. Io has been a great champion, yet it would be incredibly fun to see LeRae and Johnny gloat over the Gargano’s holding gold. We’ve had plenty of lengthy reigns in NXT, maybe it’s time for Shirai and LeRae to trade the belt a few times before the end of the year.

The other member of the Gargan’s, Johnny, challenges Damien Priest for the NXT North American title. It might be harsh if Priest drops the belt, having only just one it. The Archer of Infamy has outstanding charisma, and should be allowed to defend against a number of competitors. However possibly the most entertaining option would be Gargano winning the title by nefarious means, before immediately dropping it back to Priest on TV.

Santos Escobar defends the NXT Cruiserweight title against Isaiah “Swerve” Scott. While Isaiah is the only obvious challenger, the feud has fallen flat, and it may not be the time for him to win. A dominant heel reign may be what the Cruiserweight title needs, which has really suffered ever since it was held by a certain Real-One no longer in the company.

The other match is Kushida v Velveteen Dream. While it’s good to see Kushida get a TakeOver match, Dreams current situation makes this an awkward affair…

We recently interviewed Mikko Maestro (@MikkoMaestro), a wrestler from Finland now based in the USA. You can listen to this episode of You Can’t Fake Gravity here.

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