NXT TakeOver: XXV takes place at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut tonight. All NXT Championships are on the line and former NXT star Tyler Breeze makes his return to the brand with his match against North American Champion Velveteen Dream. With The Viking Raiders, Aleister Black, Kairi Sane, and Ricochet being called up to the main roster and Tommaso Ciampa sidelined for the next year with injuries, NXT's roster looks very different than it did two months ago for TakeOver: New York. The new faces of the brand will be cemented tonight as NXT builds its touring brand up again this summer while it stays in Florida for most of June and July before TakeOver: Toronto.
Below is a preview of each match on the card including what to watch for and predictions of how things may play out based upon recent booking. In the comments below, share your thoughts on the show and other favorite moments from the past 25 TakeOvers.
Johnny Gargano (c) vs. Adam Cole
Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano were put in the incredibly difficult position of trying to make a match that had over a year of build-up with Tommaso Ciampa mean just as much with a substitute thrown in a few weeks before. As we all know, Gargano and Cole had a fantastic match with help from Cole's Undisputed Era cohorts. Cole got the first fall in their match before Gargano made his incredible comeback to win his first NXT Championship. Although Gargano beat Cole twice in a row, Cole will always be able to point out that first fall he got on the champ. Aside from that first fall in their 2 out of 3 falls match at NXT Takeover New York, Adam Cole has never defeated Johnny Gargano in a singles match in NXT.
Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole are the two best wrestlers in NXT and they have tremendous chemistry together. This is their second NXT title match. Let's hope we get one more out of them at TakeOver: Toronto. The videos put out by Jeremy Borasch building up each of their two matches highlighting each man's path have been top notch. The Undisputed Era interfered heavily in their previous meeting and it's very likely they will in this match as well. In spite of all that, it's hard to imagine Johnny Gargano losing his first title defense. The Wrestling Observer reported last week that Gargano has been dealing with a knee injury since March, explaining his absence from house shows & lack of title defenses. If Johnny's knee injury is worse than reported, Cole could take the title from him here but it feels too soon for that change to take place before Toronto. Gargano will find a way to lock Cole in the Gargano Escape and win his first title defense.
Johnny Gargano via submission
Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Io Shirai
NXT Women's Championship
Shayna Baszler has been at the top of the mountain in the NXT Women's Division for over 340 combined days as Women's Champion. She has been a dominant champion but is not invincible. Her growth as a personality and wrestler since debuting in the MYC in 2017 is evident and she is very ready to be a star on the biggest stage in WWE. With Ronda Rousey gone from the main roster for the foreseeable future and Nia Jax injured for at least another 6 months, it makes sense for this to be Shayna's last match in NXT. SmackDown & RAW are both sorely missing a monster heel and Baszler is ready to fulfill that role. NXT will be just fine without her as Io Shirai, Bianca Belair, Candice LeRae, Marina Shafir, Jessamyn Duke, Dakota Kai, & Kacy Catanzaro will make up for the loss of Baszler.
Io Shirai debuted in the MYC in 2018 and this is her first title shot in a singles match. Shirai is no stranger to Baszler, being the only person to get a pinfall on Baszler in 2019 on the February 6th episode of NXT. Shirai and Baszler also faced each other multiple times on the indies before coming to WWE. It's hard to imagine the dominant Baszler losing cleanly here, but her services are sorely needed on the main roster. This seems like a good time for Baszler to make the move.
Io Shirai via pinfall
Velveteen Dream (c) vs. Tyler Breeze
NXT North American Championship
At NXT Takeover: Brooklyn in 2015, Jushin Thunder Liger showed up in NXT to take on one of its most talented wrestlers and brightest personalities: Tyler Breeze. Almost four years later, Breeze returns to NXT to take on one of its most talented wrestlers and brightest personalities: Velveteen Dream. The North American Championship has provided some of the most fun matchups since its creation a year and a half ago. Buddy Murphy recently returned to NXT to challenge for the title against Velveteen Dream and the two had a fantastic match. According to Triple H in this past week's conference call, Tyler Breeze's return to NXT is not a one-off appearance.
Since Velveteen Dream's character debuted two years ago, he has proven himself to be a bona fide star. NXT has used him so well that it's hard to see any weaknesses in his wrestling, speech, or creativity. SmackDown found plenty of ways to utilize Tyler Breeze's comedy chops in the highly entertaining "Fashion Files" segments, but failed to capitalize on his in-ring ability. This match is more important for Tyler Breeze than it is for the Velveteen Dream. On the surface, it appears that this match will be a clash of styles between two wrestlers with similar wrestling styles and characters. Without a clear heel in the match, these two will have to work extra hard to keep the crowd emotionally invested in this match.
This match has potential to steal the show or fall flat on its face, making it the most compelling of the entire show. Dream has 20lbs on Breeze, so look for him to work in some more power moves against the smaller Breeze to add a little contrast to the match. Although Tyler will establish himself as a force in NXT, Velveteen Dream owns the North American Championship and will carry it all the way to SummerSlam weekend in Toronto.
Velveteen Dream via pinfall
Matt Riddle vs. Roderick Strong
After losing an incredibly close match to Velveteen Dream at TakeOver: New York, Matt Riddle got swept up in The Undisputed Era's conflict with Johnny Gargano on the April 24th episode of NXT. Riddle then took on Adam Cole in a singles match on the May 8th episode and was able to force Cole to submit despite interference from Roderick Strong.
After being NXT Tag Team champions with Kyle O'Reilly for most of 2018, Roderick Strong returned to singles competition this past March putting on great losing efforts against Tyler Breeze (Worlds Collide) & Johnny Gargano (NXT), respectively. Strong got a big win in the Worlds Collide Battle Royal, but he desperately needs a singles victory here to re-establish himself as a singles star in NXT. Although Riddle has more significant victories recently, expect Roderick Strong to pull off the upset here and steal a victory from Matt Riddle as he rebuilds his image as a singles competitor.
Roderick Strong via pinfall
The Forgotten Sons have been doing everything they can to make a mark in NXT. They ruined The Viking Raiders' final match and title defense in NXT against The Street Profits and Lorcan and Burch have been unable to defeat The Forgotten Sons cleanly in a televised match. Each of these three teams have been intertwined and have issues with one another.
With Bobby Fish finally reuniting with his tag team partner, Kyle O'Reilly, the former NXT Tag Team Champions are clear favorites to win this match. These two men work so well together and have proven themselves in WarGames matches but they haven't participated in a ladder match together in NXT.
Expect this match to be a star-making performance for Montez Ford but he and Angelo Dawkins will come up short this time. NXT's ladder matches have been the most thrilling ladder matches in recent history and this one will not disappoint. As great as these younger teams are, they're not ready to beat The Undisputed Era.
The Undisputed Era