NZPWI Roundtable: NXT TakeOver: Phoenix

One day before WWE Royal Rumble 2019, The Valley of the Sun plays host to NXT TakeOver: Phoenix!

All four NXT Championships are on the line during Sunday’s WWE Network special.

NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa defends against the man he beat for the title, Aleister Black. Bianca Belair attempts to keep her unbeaten streak alive and dethrone Shayna Baszler in the process. War Raiders home in on the NXT Tag Team Championships around the waists of The Undisputed Era. And, Ricochet defends the North American Championship against Johnny Gargano.

Who will head into 2019 with NXT gold? Join the NZPWI Roundtable as we break down the card for NXT TakeOver: Phoenix.

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NXT Championship:
Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Aleister Black

Grady Hooker (@GradyHooker):
Ciampa may not have been the one who attacked Black, but Aleister still isn’t very happy with him. Will this anger get in the way of a win here? I could see Black making a simple mistake and Ciampa capitalising for the successful title defence.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa

Mister J (@misterjcomics):
I’m gonna go with Ciampa in this one. He’s probably the best pure heel in wrestling today (not including Kevin Dunn), as well as being probably the most entertaining. On top of that, he has grey in his beard, and that is a look I can totally get behind. The Sicilian Psychopath has this one.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa

Richard Butler:
Ciampa is such a force to be reckoned with defending that title at all costs and I don’t see that changing. 
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa

Sammy G (@RealSammyG):
I’m loving this rivalry! Running in tandem with Johnny’s feud with Ricochet has made for some great moments on NXT. Both Superstars are extremely physical, intense, and entertaining. I’m a fan of both men, so looking forward to a great match, but in the end, there can be only one Ciamp-ion.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa

Steve McCleary (@syxseed):
Ciampa is already 1-0 against Black, with a completely legitimate victory that ended his undefeated streak. He’ll do it again.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa

 

NXT Women’s Championship:
Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Bianca Belair

Grady:
Bianca Belair may have earned the title shot, but I don’t think she is quite ready for the powerhouse that is Shayna Baszler. Baszler will rip her into pieces and then discard them ready for her next challenger.
Winner: Shayna Baszler

Mister J:
This is one of those title vs. the streak matches, right? Usually, I would back Baszler all the way, but WWE has invested a lot in Belair, and I’m wondering if perhaps we might see Baszler make a main roster debut at the Rumble. I’m going against the grain and calling a win for the EST of NXT.
winner: Bianca Belair

Richard:
Shayna Baszler is unstoppable so Belair may as well just go home now.
Winner: Shayna Baszler

Sam:
As the rolling thunder of the Horsewomen’s collective hooves grows louder in the background of the main roster, back on NXT, this impending apocalypse could spell the end of Shayna’s reign as NXT Women’s Champion. I think a loss to Bianca here would be a much-needed breath of fresh (Bel)air to kick off 2019!
Winner: Bianca Belair

Steve:
Another person with the greatEST win streak going, Belair is going to send this Horsewoman to the glue factory.
Winner: Bianca Belair

 

NXT Tag Team Championship:
The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong) (c) vs.
War Raiders (Hanson & Rowe)

Grady:
It’s time for some new champions and War Raiders are massive forces, so why not them?
Winners: War Raiders

Mister J:
For over 300 years, Vikings raided and traded all over Europe… I have no doubt the War Raiders are going to follow suit here in Phoenix. The Undisputed Era are a great team, but they are overmatched by the former ROH and IWGP tag team champions.
Winners: War Raiders

Richard:
I’m a big fan of the big man tag team of War Raiders. I know Undisputed Era will play dirty to retain at all costs, however, I think it’s War Raiders time.
Winners: War Raiders

Sam:
After a magnificent performance from both teams at NXT TakeOver: War Games in the main event, I’m excited to see how the next chapter in their TakeOver story ends! Instinct says The Undisputed Era retain – going with the charisma and technical skill of TUE over the brute strength and agility of War Raiders.
Winners: The Undisputed Era

Steve:
It’d be a pretty big shock to the system if this war led to new champions. I think these titles are safe.
Winners: The Undisputed Era

 

NXT North American Championship:
Ricochet (c) vs. Johnny Gargano

Grady:
If Ciampa is NXT Champion, maybe Gargano can get the North American Championship off of Ricochet and both members of the on-again-off-again tag team will hold gold in NXT.
Winner: Johnny Gargano

Mister J:
Johnny Wrestling’s last name is wrestling, so one would think he is good at it. As such, he has to win… it’s basically science.
Winner: Johnny Gargano

Richard:
Can Johnny finally get a championship? Not yet. I’m looking at Ricochet to retain.
Winner: Ricochet

Sam:
I’m loving this rivalry! Both men are extremely talented in the ring, but this new edge to Johnny Gargano over recent months has me fully invested in his future. One with the NXT North American Championship around his waist.
Winner: Johnny Gargano

Steve:
They don’t call him Mr TakeOver for nothing! Johnny has the talent, the drive, and the skill to dethrone this so-called king. 
Winner: Johnny Gargano

 

Kassius Ohno vs. Matt Riddle

Grady:
Bro! Bro! Bro!
Winner: Matt Riddle

Mister J:
Matt Riddle is the closest thing to a prodigy – to a natural – professional wrestling has seen in years. Kassius Ohno may be Broba Fett, but I think Han Brolo (Riddle) will send him careening into the deepest, darkest sarlacc pit available… bro.
Winner: Matt Riddle

Richard:
Matt Riddle is out for revenge now and that will make him very dangerous. I expect him to walk away victorious.
Winner: Matt Riddle

Sam:
I wish I could be as excited as others are about Matt Riddle’s presence in NXT, but currently, not feeling the hype… sorry, bro!
Winner: Kassius Ohno

Steve:
Ohno has got to stop biting off more than he can chew. The answer to this riddle … is bro, bro.
Winner: Matt Riddle

 

NXT TakeOver: Phoenix Picks Summary

NXT Championship:
Aleister Black: 0 (0%)
Tommaso Ciampa: 5 (100%)

NXT Women’s Championship:
Bianca Belair: 3 (60%)
Shayna Baszler: 2 (40%)

NXT Tag Team Championship:
The Undisputed Era: 2 (40%)
War Raiders: 3 (60%)

NXT North American Championship:
Johnny Gargano: 4 (80%)
Ricochet: 1 (20%)

Kassius Ohno: 1 (20%)
Matt Riddle: 4 (80%)

 

WWE NXT TakeOver: Phoenix
Sunday, January 27
1pm NZDT (NXT TakeOver Preshow from 12pm)
WWE Network