Hey everybody, it’s Sam, bringing you my predictions for the winners of WWE’s NXT TakeOver 31 show, happening today, Sunday, October 4, 2020, at 7 pm.
Anyone else think it is a little weird to be having a TakeOver so soon after the last one? They just had one in August about 5-6 weeks ago. Do you feel like this one is ready? Is it built up enough for you to be interested? Let’s go through all of the matches and break them down (so I can convince you I’m right in my predictions, of course!)
Kushida vs Velveteen Dream
I think the show starts off with this match. Ok, I have to admit that I STILL do not understand why Velveteen Dream is in this match or on WWE TV. No, I’m not letting it go until WWE actually investigates, and that means talking to the accuser instead of just Velveteen Dream. All of you that listen to my podcast know that I go nuts when he is put on TV.
Velveteen Dream was accused of sending sexually explicit photos of himself to a 17-year-old and asking for reciprocation during the #SpeakingOut movement. WWE talked to him and he denied it, so he is back on TV. Yes, I know he is extremely athletic and extremely charismatic. Dream draws fans in and makes them want him to win. Yeah, not me. Not anymore. Not ever.
So, I’m picking Kushida. One of the reasons is I think Kushida needs a big win to propel him forward and start his push. I think that Kushida is going to be the one that takes the Cruiserweight Title next.
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Santos Escobar vs Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
Let’s talk about the NXT Cruiserweight Championship match: Santos Escobar against Isaiah “Swerve” Scott. Now, I’m just going to be real honest with you. I’m tired of seeing this match over and over. Legado Del Fantasma against Swerve and Breezango wears me out. I don’t care how you mix them up, whether it’s a singles match, it’s a tag team match or it’s a 6 man match. I’m done with them and I’m almost at the point where I don’t care who wins. Yes, that’s awful, but WWE seems to get stuck on certain opponents.
I really was on Swerve Scott’s side at the last TakeOver. I thought it was his time to win and see what he could do. However, in the six weeks since TakeOver and Breezango winning the tag team titles as babyfaces, I don’t think WWE will give him the championship now. I think they’ll keep it on a heel. Santos Escobar will pick up a cheap win by either using his buddies to interfere or getting under the ring for his loaded mask. I’m not sure how they do the exact finish, but I think Escobar continues his winning streak.
Winner: Santos Escobar
However, I always have to give you a tip. I think WWE starts Escobar’s next program after this match or on Wednesday with Kushida. I also believe that Kushida will have his number and take the championship from him.
NXT North American Championship Match: Damian Priest vs Johnny Gargano
Now, the next match that I think will go down is the NXT North American Championship because it is a rung below both the women’s and the men’s championships. So I think this is going to be the next match that actually happens. It is Damian Priest vs Johnny Gargano. Now, you know I love Johnny Wrestling. I think he is wonderful and, to me, he is Mr. NXT.
I would love absolutely love for him to win. So, if he wins then you can count on me Sunday night to be celebrating. I may even have to write a Johnny Gargano article. Now, my boss may not approve it and you might not get to see it (Editors note: I would and you will!). But I think if he wins, I should at least celebrate. The problem is, I don’t think he wins.
Here’s why. Damian Priest just won the title in August. He did so in surprising fashion by winning a 5 man ladder match. Are they going to take away that accolade from him just 5-6 weeks later? Then why bother to give it to him in the first place? No, I don’t think so. Unless there’s an injury that we don’t know about or he is getting called up to the main roster then there’s no reason for him to lose. Johnny Gargano doesn’t need a championship right now. He is Mr. NXT, so he can take the loss.
Winner: Damian Priest
NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai vs Candice LeRae
Next, I think we get the NXT Women’s Championship with Io Shirai vs Candice LeRae. I cannot see Candice LeRae winning this. Maybe I’m totally wrong. I know they’ve been building her up by preaching the Gargano Way and showing the ‘at home’ segments. The possibility is that IF—and that’s a big IF—Gargano wins, then LeRae wins too so that they can gloat and get on everyone’s nerves. However, as I said above, I can’t see them taking the championship away from Priest this fast. One other thing WWE could do is have LeRae win with Johnny losing. She would have a championship and he wouldn’t. It causes him to snap and go totally over the edge.
The issue is, when you really sit back and think logically, and not just about the storyline—can anyone realistically see Candice LeRae on Io Shirai’s level? Can you honestly pick Candice to win? I think it is impossible. Io Shirai is probably the best female wrestler in NXT. She is holding down that title and making it a legitimate division. If anyone other than Vince McMahon was running WWE then Io Shirai would have been up on the main roster a year or two ago.
I think Io Shirai keeps the championship here and, maybe after the bell, we see a run in which I think should be Raquel Gonzalez. I know, I know, all of you are rooting for Dakota Kai or Rhea Ripley to get another chance at the championship. Well, I think Rhea Ripley is going to SmackDown in the WWE Draft to play the total badass heel that Shayna Baszler should be on Raw. So I see Io Shirai’s next program being against Raquel Gonzalez. Here’s your future ball prediction: Raquel Gonzalez will be your next future NXT Women’s Champion…just not tonight.
Winner: Io Shirai
NXT Championship: Finn Balor vs Kyle O’Reilly
The main event of the night is the NXT championship match of Finn Balor vs Kyle O’Reilly. I don’t know about you, but I’m shocked. How did we get here? We went from the four cornerstones of NXT fighting for the NXT Championship to the last man of Undisputed Era wrestling Finn Balor? What?!?!! This can’t be the main event of an NXT TakeOver, can it? Did I miss something? This isn’t even a good Wednesday night match.
Who is Kyle O’Reilly? I wasn’t a big NXT watcher from the beginning. I’ll admit that I enjoyed checking in and loved Bayley vs Sasha Banks at TakeOver: Brooklyn. However, honestly, until they started last year on the USA Network I didn’t watch consistently. I thought Finn Balor, Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, and Adam Cole did excellent work down there, but it wasn’t enough for me to watch full time.
So when I would see Undisputed Era, I knew Adam Cole and Roderick Strong from other promotions. Bobby Fish was the guy playing air guitar and who’s the other guy? I would always forget him and his name. He was just Bobby Fish’s tag team partner. I never saw Kyle O’Reilly being a big deal. He left for a little bit recently and I didn’t realize he was gone.
I’m not even really sure how he got this match. In case you haven’t figured it out. I’m picking Finn Balor. Now, I know it will be a good match because Finn Balor always makes everyone look good and Kyle O’Reilly is a good worker. This just doesn’t have any drama for me. It is not a great, ‘go down in NXT TakeOver‘ history match for me. Unless there are some shenanigans that happen, or Triple H just wants to swerve us, I don’t think that O’Reilly is winning this.
Winner: Finn Balor
When I sit down and think about this TakeOver, I’m not impressed. I am left wondering again why are we having another TakeOver so soon? This card is awful and I’m not real excited about any of the matches. The build was too quick. It is almost like Vince McMahon sent some of the WWE Creative team down to NXT to write.
Now, I know some of you are going to say, ‘Johnny Gargano vs Damian Priest is going to be a good match’. I agree and think they will have the best match of the night. Imagine what it would have been like with a normal NXT build though. We would have been dying to see it and yelling at each other while picking sides. Just a little disappointed that’s all, but happy to have wrestling on Sunday night. I look forward to talking to you about it. Tell me your predictions below and what you think of this card.