The first TakeOver special of the year is edging closer with six matches currently announced for the two-hour event at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas.
In the main event, we have Finn Balor defending his NXT Championship against Samoa Joe. If rumours are to be believed, then one man will leave with the championship title while the other will make his main roster debut the night after WrestleMania.
NXT officials won’t be worried about how this match plays out, although it’s the night before WrestleMania and everyone involved will be eager to impress; Balor and Joe are two of the most reliable stars, and they will excel under the pressure.
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There are certain matches on the card involving stars that do need to impress; it’s not necessarily a make or break situation but good performances at a TakeOver the night before WrestleMania could go a long way.
The stars that impress are the ones that will be remembered on NXT, officials will be high on them, and they may even receive big opportunities. Here are the superstars I believe need to impress the most at NXT TakeOver: Dallas.
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There’s no denying the fact that Austin Aries is an incredible wrestler who deserves his opportunity on NXT, but this is his first big test on the show, and he’ll be looking to make his mark.
He’s going up against Baron Corbin, who is perhaps the most improved superstar in all of the WWE over the past year. Although he’s not too good on the microphone, he’s improved as a wrestler and is a natural heel who can succeed on the main roster.
That means Aries needs to be even better than Corbin to make sure fans are talking about him and now how good The Lone Wolf was in the match. It’s a match which will probably take place early on in the evening but it’s a match which could be one of the best on the night.
Corbin has been on NXT for quite some time, even though he isn’t the champion and hasn’t held the championship title he’s often seen as the man to beat to make a mark. If Aries can do that impressively then he’ll be fine going forward.
American Alpha go up against Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder – now going by the name of ‘The Revival’ – with the NXT Tag Team Championships on the line. Dash and Dawson have been brilliant tag team champions, but Jason Jordan and Chad Gable are the one tag team the world is talking about right now.
This is their biggest opportunity to date on NXT as their stock continues to rise. Fans shouldn’t be disappointed if they don’t walk away with the titles this time round. That’s because Dash and Dawson are doing great work as a heel tag team. If anything, a loss could benefit them as it would give them time to work towards the titles again.
They both have a big future, and they’ll be looking to make an impact. A solid team performance here can get them noticed even more by the higher-ups in the WWE and with their ever-rising popularity, a win would make them one of – if not the best - tag team in the WWE today.
Apollo Crews is in an interesting situation right now, he’s one of the finest athletes in the WWE today and has the perfect look to be the face of the company, the problem is that he’s always smiling.
Of course, he’s happy to be in the WWE, but something as simple as that is harming his chances of developing his character in a way where he can become ‘the man’, whether it’s on NXT or the main roster.
He goes up against Elias Samson, and neither man is in contention for the NXT Championship just yet, but an impressive performance and a win could help Crews move up to that level once again. We don’t want to see Crews go down as another overhyped independent star who failed to make the grade when it mattered the most.
He’s more than ready for the main roster; he needs to remain consistent and continue developing his character, and the last thing he wants is being another Solomon Crowe on the NXT roster.
Elias Samson is one of the newer stars on NXT competing at this TakeOver event, and that alone adds huge amounts of pressure on him. There are guys and girls on the roster who have been there for a while and aren’t going to compete on this show whereas Samson is being thrown into a big match with Crews.
It’s clear the pressure of wanting to make a good first impression at a TakeOver special will be there for Samson. He has a great character, and he stays in it which benefits him massively, he’s also not an NXT Championship contender yet but has a good look to move in that direction in the coming months.
A win over Crews at his first TakeOver would be massive and the perfect way to kick things off for him. A loss won’t hurt him either, but that means he needs to take Crews all the way and show that he isn’t here to put anybody and everybody over.
It’s still not sinking in that Shinsuke Nakamura has signed a deal with the WWE, and he’ll be making his debut in Dallas against Sami Zayn, what more could you possibly want as a wrestling fan?
First off, I have no doubt that the King of Strong Style will exceed all expectations and won’t falter under the pressure. Although you can’t deny the fact that he will have pressure on his shoulders to mark his arrival in the best way possible. He has a great opponent standing opposite of him so already we’re expecting the match of the night to come from Nakamura and Zayn.
He needs to bring the same energy and charisma, as well as his move-set. There’s so much hype surrounding his arrival, and the fans who aren’t even aware of his work will have set their expectations from somebody the world cannot stop talking about.
The card has shaped up nicely heading into a record-breaking weekend in early April, and it will be up to the stars of NXT to set the tone for the huge weekend.