Monday, July 13, 2015

Kevin Owens' Match at Takeover Brooklyn Is Not the One Expected

Are you ready for the rematch?
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Ten days ago in Tokyo, Japan, Kevin Owens lost the NXT World Championship to Finn Bálor in one of the best matches of the year. Many suspected WWE pulled the trigger because Owens was too beautiful a snowflake to be bogged down by the Big X and needed to spread his wings on the main roster. Many people also figured that if he was going to be working the next Takeover special, his final big-name NXT opponent would have been Samoa Joe. Well, Thursday at San Diego Comic Con, William Regal made the announcement for Owens' match at the extravaganza to be telecast live on WWE Network, and it was not the one anyone expected.

Owens will get a crack at regaining the Big X from Bálor in what is suspected to be the second match from the top at the show. The Women's Championship is expected to main event the card at this point, but who knows. The announcement threw a lot of preconceived notions about Owens' immediate future into disarray. As of right now, he was expected to take the United States Championship away from John Cena at Battleground in their rubber match.

Now, Owens is likely to either lose the match outright, or for Cesaro to interject himself with shenanigans, setting up something bigger at SummerSlam. WWE has done an unexpectedly good job rebuilding the Uniteds States title with Cena's reign, and having the reigning and defending Champion lose to someone not nearly ready to make the main roster in Bálor might undo that in the warped minds of Vince McMahon and company. IN reality, the belt would be fine because Owens seems to be bulletproof. But then again, I'm not a booker, so why listen to me?

However, the silver lining would be that Owens will work both Takeover Brooklyn AND SummerSlam, and the inevitable loss to Bálor could give way to a much bigger moment, say, pinning Cena for the US Championship at the actual main show. It also speaks to how much the company values Owens right now, banking on him to draw for Takeover and be a supplemental attraction for SummerSlam (with Brock Lesnar being the main guy, obviously).

Of course, this decision leaves Joe without an apparent opponent for Takeover. Joe/Tyler Breeze could be a decent attraction, but the injuries to Hideo Itami and Sami Zayn really have wrecked the versatility in matchups on the men's side of the ledger, unless Uhaa Nation gets to debut and be pushed to the moon, or if this renewed focus on Solomon Crowe isn't another red herring. For the first time, a NXT live special actually feels way up in the air in terms of what the suspected card will be. Now is not the time for such uncertainty, since the special is going to be at the friggin' Barclays Center and not some 1,000-seat amphitheater or Full Sail University.

Thankfully, no fewer than five women on the roster (and Dana Brooke, who has improved noticeably since her debut) will be ready to answer the call to fill the show out. I expect Sasha Banks to have a defense of the Women's Championship, even if her opponent still feels up in the air. Banks/Charlotte: THE FINAL CHAPTER would be an ideal match to put on if it indeed is going to close the show, but don't sleep on Emma as a challenger either. Then again, Bayley and Becky Lynch could easily team up to take on Evil Emma and Brooke in one tag team match, while the Dubstep Cowboys take on the Vaudevillains for the Tag Titles in the other.

But Owens' announcement is the monkey wrench that kicked off all this uncertainty, and yet, the result of his match seems the least certain of them all. He's headed to the main roster for good, and I don't see Bálor's Demon Forme taking its first L so soon into its tenure. Still, if Beast in the East was any indication, the rematch should be worthy of its billing.