Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Who's Taking Over, Really? NXT Takeover Preview

What if Kidd's behind the real takeover?
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NXT's first "special event" was called ArRIVAL, a show name that fit the bill of description in two separate ways. Much like the WWE Network was arriving into the mainstream of the company's distribution methodology, the NXT superstars were arriving into the general consciousness of the fans at large. Of course, WWE officials didn't count on coming in so low on its projections for subscribers, but still, NXT in 700K+ households is better than the program in front of far fewer people who bothered to check it out on Hulu Plus. The emphasis on the word "RIVAL" in the name rang true as well, given the top three matches - Antonio Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn, Paige vs. Emma, and Bo Dallas vs. Adrian Neville - were rematches in feuds that had at least one if not more marquee matches preceding.

If ArRIVAL was the perfect name for the first NXT supershow, then where does Takeover rank for its second? Does the name fit the card thematically? Who is taking over? If it's a reference to how NXT wrestlers are slowly but surely taking over the main roster, the card presented is not a representation. Camacho, Nattie Neidhart, and Tyson Kidd don't even represent the chaff on the floor of the WWE mill (well, Camacho and Kidd do... Neidhart at least has Total Divas to fall back upon). They're physical stalks that get thrown out when the wheat buds are removed during threshing. If anything, the NXT system is doing those wrestlers a favor instead of the other way around. Superstars like Cesaro, Paige, Emma, and Dallas who have made it to the main roster have about as much to do with this card as I do with creating Federal policy on intervention in politics abroad.

Neville, Adam Rose, and Charlotte defeating Kidd, Camacho, and Neidhart respectively don't represent taking over anything. Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze, frankly, is a step down for the former and a slight step up for the latter. The only match that might resemble a true takeover would be El Local and more fittingly Kalisto yanking the Tag Team Championships away from an Ascension team that needs a better set of tests laid before its feet. But what if the takeover isn't being perpetrated by NXT of WWE superstars, but rather the other way around?

The doomsday scenario for tomorrow's highlight show would see Kidd and Neidhart capturing their respective belts, and Camacho chasing Rose away to the main roster with a loss. Or would it? NXT right now is in a period of flux. The people who made the show so hot last year are slowly filtering onto the main show, and the next crop of wrestlers are either still being prepped for television or they haven't been signed yet. Mojo Rawley aside, those who remain in NXT comprise a solid if unspectacular core led by a guy in Zayn who is the best WWE prospect in years but who will also probably be called up in time for the build to SummerSlam. In the absence of a transcendent wrestler, an ensemble cast banding together to fight bitter, jaded low carders from the main roster jealous of the platform these rookies are getting might not be the worst idea ever.

So if Kidd suddenly gathers an army that features his wife Neidhart as well as Camacho, Brodus Clay, Curt Hawkins, and Kofi Kingston for test purposes and good measure, the name of the show would not only fit, but the gap between welcoming guys like Simon Gotch, Solomon Crowe, Becky Lynch, and those rumored to have signed already (Kevin Steen, Willie Mack, KENTA, Prince Devitt, possibly Kota Ibushi) to the roster would have something interesting holding the fort down. Of course, since this reverse Nexus idea is supremely interesting and makes too much sense, I doubt WWE will run with it.

And even if the company doesn't have some kind of big swerve, this show ought to be at least half as enjoyable as ArRIVAL was. For as awful as his promos have been in the lead-up to his title match, Kidd at least has proven at times to be an invaluable hand in the ring. He and Neville have similar yet complementary styles, and their main event should at least be worth the $10 subscription fee for the month. Zayn has never had a bad match that I've seen, and Breeze is a more than capable in-ring player himself. It won't be Zayn/Cesaro IV, but to be completely fair, maybe one or two matches all year have been as good as the opening match from ArRIVAL.

Basically though, unless WWE has something mostly unexpected up its sleeve, I wouldn't expect Takeover to live up to its grandiose name. Not every supershow can be as epic as ArRIVAL was, but not every show NEEDS to be ArRIVAL. If you're going in expecting something huge, then I would wager you'd be setting yourself up for disappointment. But if you're looking for a show with matches that have solid builds to them, well, Takeover might fit the bill, even if the name doesn't fit the show.