NXT TakeOver: Phoenix 2019 Preview and Predictions - Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

NXT TakeOver: Phoenix 2019 Preview and Predictions - Triple Threat POV

Posted by Robert DeFelice Thursday, January 17, 2019
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Robert DeFelice, Callum Wiggins, and Greg Coleman will be giving their thoughts on what may happen at NXT TakeOver: Phoenix!

It is time to talk about everyone's favorite brand, NXT! As we head to Phoenix, we have a lot to think about. Who will walk out with gold? Let's discuss...

Question 1: Bianca Belair goes up against Shayna Baszler. Who wins this first time clash?

COLEMAN: This is the toughest of the 3 title matches to call because I have no idea what the vision is for the NXT Women’s division. Baszler has nothing left to accomplish in NXT as she is the first and only two-time NXT Women’s Champion. I feel it’s about time for her to get called up and join her fellow Horsewoman Ronda Rousey. Bianca Bel Air is a star in the making and is currently undefeated in NXT. While she still has room to improve in some areas, you would have to be blind to not see how much better she has gotten over the past year but is this enough for them to put the title on her? Io Shirai seems destined to be champion at some point but Bel Air getting the shot here instead of her signals to me she isn’t ready for that spot yet. I’ll predict that Duke and Shafir help Baszler retain by DQ and Bel Air wins the title at Takeover WrestleMania weekend.

DeFELICE: Considering Bianca Belair is my favorite superstar in NXT, I would obviously like her to win. However, that's not practical and I think the belt belongs squarely in the camp of the Four Horsewomen for now.

WIGGINS: It will be interesting to see where NXT goes with this match, as frankly there is a reason for either Shayna Baszler or Bianca Belair to win. Baszler feels right as the dominant champion and is still establishing a heel faction with her, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke. Meanwhile, Belair is a potential megastar for the brand and WWE as a whole, and people aren't clamoring for her to lose her undefeated streak.

Gun to my head, I think there's sense extending this feud to WrestleMania weekend. So, that means either Baszler break Belair's winning streak through devious means/interference, or Belair keeps her record intact by DQ or countout. NXT doesn't do dusty finishes on TakeOvers often, but this is one scenario I'd be happy with (as long as the match is as good as I'm expecting it to be of course).

Question 2: Johnny Gargano clashes with Ricochet over the North American Championship. Does Johnny Wrestling finally win singles gold?

COLEMAN: Johnny Takeover will eventually hold NXT singles gold, it just won’t happen at NXT Takeover Phoenix. This will be the best match of the weekend and will be one of the best matches in the history of NXT. Johnny Gargano is too involved with the NXT Championship picture to now have a North American Title reign. Johnny Takeover will finally get his hands on NXT singles gold when he wins the NXT Title from Tomasso Ciampa at NXT Takeover WrestleMania weekend.

WIGGINS: I'm sure most people believe that Johnny Gargano's presence in the NXT North American Championship picture is just a stop-gap before he inevitably faces Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Championship at WrestleMania weekend. While that certainly isn't a bad shout and could easily end up happening, I think there's a longer story being weaved here.

Let's face it - there's a serious possibility Gargano and Ciampa are never moved to the main rosters. They are the foundations of NXT right now. So, I'm going to boldly predict Gargano defeats Ricochet for the title and moves a step closer to officially reuniting DIY with Ciampa as the dominant heel pairing. In my mind, this story on the balance of good and evil is far from over.

While there is a story they can tell with both Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa holding the two NXT singles championships, I don't expect that's the one they're telling. Gargano has seemingly had a clear, thought-out direction for his character for 2-3 years now, and all roads point to eventually defeating Ciampa.

DeFELCE: Listen, if Johnny doesn't pull it off here, he may never win gold in NXT. However, I think he will win and this will further the DIY reunion. More on that below.

Question 3: Tommaso Ciampa and Aleister Black will finally face off for the NXT Championship. Who wins and how?

DeFELICE: I think this is Black’s swan song in NXT. No shame. He had a great run! I am going to echo Callum’s sentiments below and say Johnny helps Ciampa retain.

COLEMAN: At the end of NXT Takeover Phoenix, Goldie will still be in the possession of Tommaso Ciampa. This will be the 2nd best match of the weekend and will be extremely physical. Black’s rage will get the best of him and an attempt at a 2nd Black Mass will allow Ciampa to roll him up for the win.

WIGGINS: Tommaso Ciampa will retain the NXT Championship over Aleister Black thanks to interference by Johnny Gargano. I love Aleister Black and would be more than happy to see him as champion once more. But the journey that Ciampa has been on to the top of the mountain has been so compelling, and he fits that championship arguably more than any of its other holders before him. It is a perfect pairing.

A victory in this manner keeps Black strong, cements the long-anticipated reunion of DIY, and extends the wait for the inevitable final clash between Ciampa and Gargano at another time and place.

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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Robert DeFelice is a journalist and marketing student. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram as well as his apparel website Time Killer Apparel and his pro wrestling blog PandemoniuMania.


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