This weekend is the WWE Royal Rumble, the first major WWE pay-per-view of the year (see complete 2019 WWE PPV schedule here). Since this is one of the Big 4 WWE events of the year, it always starts off with an NXT TakeOver event.
The WWE presents their NXT TakeOver: Phoenix show on Saturday night, January 26. The show will air on the WWE Network with a start time of 7 p.m. EST.
This year’s event is NXT TakeOver: Phoenix and will take place at the Talking Stick Resort Arena, the home of NBA’s Phoenix Suns. The next night, the Royal Rumble will take place at University of Phoenix Stadium, the home of the Arizona Cardinals.
WWE NXT TakeOver: Phoenix matches
There will be five matches on the show this year, and four of them will feature every WWE title in NXT Wrestling.
- NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Aleister Black
- NXT Tag Team Championship: The Undisputed Era vs. War Raiders
- NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler vs. Bianca Belair
- NXT North American Championship: Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano
- Kassius Ohno vs. Matt Riddle
WWE NXT TakeOver: Phoenix preview
It seems like every time the WWE holds an NXT TakeOver event, it is something the fans excitedly await and the wrestlers on the main roster watch with a small level of dread.
That is because, almost every single time, the matches on the TakeOver event blow away everything on the main roster’s WWE PPV event.
NXT TakeOver: Phoenix looks to be lining up to match that streak.
The biggest storyline heading into the event involves the former tag team partners turned deadly enemies DIY. Since they broke up and had a blood feud throughout 2018, something has changed between Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano.
Ciampa has flourished in his role as the WWE NXT Champion, one of the best villains in NXT and one of the best WWE wrestlers on the roster hands down.
Gargano was beaten by Ciampa and then started to get an edge of his own. The pure babyface that was Gargano attacked Aleister Black in the parking lot and has since started pretending to still be a babyface while acting more like a heel every week.
On the final NXT episode before this weekend’s WWE PPV, the two almost shook hands after beating downRicochet and Aleister Black. It wasn’t until Gargano’s wife Candice LeRae came out to stop him that he left without shaking hands with the man who destroyed him for over a year.
This weekend at WWE NXT TakeOver: Phoenix, Tommaso Ciampa will defend his NXT Championship against Aleister Black while Johnny Gargano will get a North American title shot against Ricochet.
If both men win, DIY will hold the two men’s singles titles in NXT.
On the women’s side, Shayna Baszler (Ronda Rousey’s BFF) is the current NXT Champion and will defend her title against the undefeated Bianca Belair. Will Baszler end Belair’s undefeated streak or will Belair win her first women’s title?
The tag team champions Undisputed Era will put the titles they have held for over a year (with the exception of a one-week loss and win) against the monster tag team of the War Raiders.
Finally, former UFC fighter Matt Riddle will take on WWE veteran Kassius Ohno for the third time.
WWE NXT TakeOver: Phoenix predictions
While Ricochet has been a fantastic champion, it seems like NXT has a lot to gain if it puts their two main titles on Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano and allows these two men to run all over the company leading to WrestleMania 35 weekend.
With that said, Undisputed Era will probably hold on to their titles a little while longer, winning by any means nessesary.
On the women’s side, Bianca Belair’s time might be now. If she wins the NXT women’s title, Shayna Baszler might be one of this year’s surprise entrants into the women’s Royal Rumble match.
Finally, there is no way that Matt Riddle loses to Kassius Ohno at a TakeOver event.
WWE NXT TakeOver: Phoenix airs on the WWE Network on Saturday night, January 26, at 7 p.m. EST.