On Sunday, 23rd August 2015, the Barclays Centre in New York will play host to the biggest party of the summer, Summerslam. The second biggest pay-per-view of the year will this time be a four hour extravaganza, matching the time only used by the biggest show of the year, Wrestlemania. The Barclays Centre will also then host the post episode of Monday Night Raw, a show promising to be hot and full of surprises given the event the night before. However, none of these shows will be the greatest of the weekend, as the NXT Takeover live show on the Saturday will steal the spotlight with a spectacular showing in front of the same crowd.
As of writing, ten matches have been confirmed for the show. Three title matches will take place, a bunch of singles matches will occur and the WWE Universe will see the WWE debuts of two international wrestling superstars. The main event of the show is the NXT title match between the champion, Finn Balor, and the contender, Kevin Owens, in a rematch from their title match at the Japan Live Event from last month. Both of these competitors are accomplished in the ring and have put on sensational matches in their careers. They put on an incredible match for the Japanese audience just a month ago, and Kevin Owens has been showcasing his in ring ability with a string of fine performances on the main roster, most notably his trio of matches against John Cena at the past three pay-per-views. Balor and Owens go at it again, and this time, they will contest a ladder match for the title. This match will no doubt go down as a contender for match of the year. The spots will be spectacular, Owens will deliver some crushing, vicious blows and Balor will perform some big moments jumping off the ladders. Kevin Owens also has a match booked for Summerslam when he takes on Cesaro. This match will probably be amazing given the ability of both men, but Owens runs the risk of burning his body out too much with a gruelling ladder match versus Balor where he is likely to leave it all in the ring. This may well limit the match against Cesaro, but the match against Balor has more riding on it, and is likely to be even better anyway. Aside from the main title match, the show still has bags of potential to steal all the limelight away from the main show on the Summerslam weekend.
The other two title matches see the tag team titles and the women’s championship defended. Blake and Murphy defend the tag titles against the Vaudevillians, with the contenders continuing to amuse audiences with an entertaining gimmick and superb in ring ability. Blake and Murphy haven’t enjoyed the most convincing tag team title reign, but this show will be their chance to show what they can do, and they have the right opponents to do just that. The NXT women’s title will be on the line too, with the Boss, Sasha Banks, defending her title against the incredibly popular Hugger, Bayley. Bayley’s popularity is immense, and her rise to the top is similar to the adventure Sami Zayn took to becoming NXT champion a few months back. Bayley has defeated some of the best along the way, including Charlotte, and now she has a chance to go the extra mile against the very best female wrestler in the company right now, Sasha Banks. Compare both these stories with the main roster equivalents and it is clear why NXT will steal the show. The main roster tag titles are being defended in a four team tag match, where the champions the Prime Time Players defend the titles against teams such as Los Matadores who are seen as nothing more than a joke right now. And, as for the women, there is a three team tag match between the teams currently running away with the “Divas Revolution” right now, but there is no title match. There is one sole tag match. In NXT, there is a relevant title match, and, overall, there will be three women’s matches in one night.
Aside from the women’s title match, there are two other women’s matches with high chances of being amazing matches. Eva Marie takes on Carmella in a match that will be all about Eva showing how far her training has come and how much she has improved in the ring. This won’t be the best match of the night, but it will be a decent opportunity for both women, especially Eva who is on a mission to better herself and overcome the critics who have been nothing but negative about her ability so far in her career. There is also a fatal-four-way match between Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Emma and Dana Brooke that has the potential to be match of the night as well. Charlotte and Becky Lynch have put on some incredible matches over the past year, especially Charlotte’s match vs Natalya at the NXT TakeOver event on May 29, 2014 and Becky’s recent title defeat to Sasha Banks, and are two of the divas who are revolutionising the divas division on the main roster. Emma is a very accomplished wrestler and Dana Brooke is starting to settle in the division, so this match between four women’s wrestlers will be phenomenal and show the universe why women’s wrestling is becoming a main attraction right now.
Even on top of all these matches, there is still two WWE debuts that promise to be incredible spectacles, even if they are only viewed as midcard matches for this event. Firstly, Apollo Crews makes his NXT debut is a singles match against Tye Dillinger. Apollo is a fantastic wrestler. His size and athleticism combined create a superstar, and he finally steps into a WWE ring at the NXT Brooklyn event and gets his opportunity to showcase a move set unbelievable for a man his size. Then, there is the WWE debut, even if it is only for one match, for the Japanese Lightweight phenomenon, Jushin “Thunder” Liger. Liger has a huge fan base across the world having made his name in Japanese Pro Wrestling, and it isn’t a common moment for him to be wrestling in America. He has done it before, but never in WWE, so this match will be a huge moment for both him and Japanese Pro Wrestling. He is going into singles competition against Tyler Breeze, who is arguably the most underrated superstar in the entire company right now. He has put on a string of stellar performances in his career, and this match will be no different. These two debuts are highly anticipated, giving another reason as to why this NXT Live Event is going to outshine Summerslam.
The aforementioned debuts are huge moments, but they actually sit as midcard matches on the event card. Compare these matches to the midcard matches happening at Summerslam. There is the triple threat match for the Intercontinental Title between Ryback, The Big Show and The Miz. There is hardly any excitement around this match, and, given the competitors, is hardly likely to steal any shows. The Big Show is much slower and laboured these days, The Miz has been distinctly average for a very long time and Ryback is just returning from injury. Summerslam also has the tag team match between Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose versus Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper which could be a really good contest, but we’ve seen the four men go at it so much recently in either singles matches or six-man tag matches including one other partner that it won’t feel fresh at all. There is also the guest appearance of Stephen Amell who is making his first ever WWE in ring performance, but his match won’t be even close to the standard that will be set by Apollo Crews and Jushin Liger as Amell isn’t even a wrestler; he’s an actor.
There are also further opportunities on the NXT card for ever more talent to be showcased. Baron Corbin, who has been drawing criticism recently for his repeated squash matches, gets an opportunity to finally show what he can do in the ring when he faces Samoa Joe, who is also in need of a huge night to kick start his NXT career. Enzo and Cassidy get a chance, albeit a slightly limited one, to perform in front of their hometown faithful when they are involved in an eight man tag match. NXT are giving their talents chances to be recognised, while WWE are giving spotlights to established stars such as Randy Orton and Sheamus whilst upcoming talent such as Neville are involved in a tag match with an actor just to be included in a storyline.
Agree with my opinion? Or do you think the NXT event will fail to live up to its hype and Summerslam will be the better event? Let me know by commenting below or contacting me on Twitter at @carlo_george