(CBSNewYork/CBS Local Sports) — The last time NXT held a TakeOver event, most of the world was just beginning to hear of COVID-19 and social distancing sounded like something you’d only find on Urban Dictionary. It had only been a couple weeks since health officials confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the United States, and for the most part life was very much moving along as normal. WWE’s creative staff were busy rolling out storylines that would reach their crescendo at NXT TakeOver: Tampa, the biggest show of the year on the night before WrestleMania.
Those were the good old days.
Of course, coronavirus turned into a global pandemic, and the entire WrestleMania week was washed out, including NXT’s big night. On Saturday, TakeOver will ride once again. And, for kicks, WWE is dusting off the old In Your House pay-per-view name to celebrate. The last time it was used was back in 1999, long before NXT was even a blip on the radar. It’s fitting that it is being brought back now since the only place fans have been able to watch wrestling for months now is their couch.
The show is headlined by a backlot brawl between NXT Champion Adam Cole and Velveteen Dream that will likely be filmed in the cinematic style of the recent Undertaker vs. AJ Styles match at WrestleMania or the main event at the Money In The Bank pay-per-view a few weeks later.
Also on the card, Charlotte Flair defends the NXT Women’s Championship against Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai in a triple threat match, while Keith Lee looks to hold on to the NXT North American Championship as he squares off against Johnny Gargano.
The show is scheduled for Sunday, June 7 at 7 pm ET with the pre-show kicking things off at 6:30.
Here is a look at the full card and how things might shake out.
NXT Championship Match – Last Chance Backlot Brawl
Adam Cole (c) vs. Velveteen Dream
The stipulation here is that Velveteen Dream cannot challenge for the NXT Championship again as long as Adam Cole has the title, which does add a layer of excitement to the match. Cole and The Undisputed Era have been touting the one-year anniversary of his championship reign, which typically foreshadows the end is near. There is no doubt that Dream has the potential to be one of the biggest Superstars on the roster and his day as champion will come. But will it come on this night? I don’t think so. Whomever wins the title next will likely wind up losing it to Dream. Then again, this is wrestling, so he may wind up winning it from Cole in the future anyway. It just isn’t likely to be this night. As for the match? It will be interesting to see how WWE puts this one together, since it will be pre-taped. Expect to see something special. Pick: Adam Cole
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Karrion Kross (with Scarlett)
This is Kross’s TakeOver debut, and he’s going to have a strong showing here. When I spoke with Ciampa last week, he said he knew that would be the case.
“It’s clear who some of the top guys are in NXT. I’m clearly one of them, and he wanted to make a statement… So I think more so than anything, it was a combination of fans wanting to see it as a pseudo dream match and him wanting to make an immediate impact and name for himself.”
The best way for Kross to make that name is to win here. Oddsmakers think he’ll do it, and there is no reason to doubt that he will. Ciampa has a big enough name that he can take a loss without losing any shine. Expect something brutal. Pick: Karrion Kross
NXT Women’s Championship – Triple Threat Match
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai
Is Charlotte truly a long-term champion, as she continues to split time between brands? Probably not. She’s been the toast of the NXT women’s division since winning the title from Ripley at WrestleMania while pulling double duty and stirring the pot between SmackDown women’s champion Bayley and Sasha Banks on Friday nights. I’m thinking she’s being stretched a little thin and the belt will be returning to Rhea Ripley. In the future, Io Shirai will follow in the footsteps of Asuka and Kairi Sane to become the third Japanese woman to win the NXT Women’s Championship. Right now, however, it looks like the gold will go back to the woman from Australia. Pick: Rhea Ripley
Finn Bálor vs. Damian Priest
This one is all about payback for Bálor, who was the victim of an unprovoked attacked by Priest. Priest is one of the talents on the roster who I feel could go either way right now. I would love to see the NXT brass continue to give him a push to help him reach the next level. However, he runs the risk of getting lost in the shuffle and having a more difficult time rising through the ranks if he doesn’t come out on top. How about this? Since Bálor should get his revenge here, this may only be the first match in a long-standing feud between the two. That way Priest can continue working with a top talent and not lose momentum since the series will continue. Pick: Finn Bálor
NXT North American Championship
Keith Lee (c) vs. Johnny Gargano
Gargano is in a similar position to Ciampa in that he can take a loss and hardly lose any shine while Lee would benefit from his generosity. The current champion finds himself on the short list of talents who could become the future face of NXT and beyond. So this would be a signature win for a career that has nothing but upside. It is also a chance for Gargano to really turn up the heat as a heel and make Lee look like Superman. Pick: Keith Lee
Mia Yim, Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox vs. Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai and Raquel González
Someone in the Gargano house needs to get a win on the show. And since it doesn’t look like Johnny will get it, the onus falls on his wife Candice LeRae to pick it up. You can expect that Tegan Nox will get her shots in on Dakota Kai and Candice as well. Pick: Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai and Raquel González.