The Rope Break #28: NXT Takeover: Philadelphia & Royal Rumble Predictions!!

By Curtis Suthard – 1/26/2018

 

It’s time to officially kick off 2018 here at Nerdnationradio.com, with the first Rope Break of the New Year! And, as an added bonus, I, your humble wrestling fan, Curt, am here to give my thoughts and predictions on not ONE, but TWO big shows coming up this weekend from the WWE. So, without any further nonsense, let’s jump right into…..

Credit: WWE.com

NXT Takeover: Philadelphia Predictions

Credit: WWE.com

Kassius Ohno VS. The Velveteen Dream: After having one of the best matches of 2017, Velveteen Dream is primed and ready (following his brief shelving due to a minor injury) to take his rightful place as one of the top NXT guys. The only thing standing in his way is that “Knockout Kid”, veteran Kassius Ohno. Ohno has been on shaky ground in NXT recently, though he has been getting more wins than losses lately. I don’t see NXT stifling the momentum that Dream has built up from his breakout match with Aleister Black and this match seems to be just one more step in building the guy up. He has great presence and charisma, and has done wonders with a gimmick that could have just as easily failed as it has seemingly won everyone over with. The guy has earned his spot, undoubtedly and a win over Ohno only seems right.

Credit: WWE.com

My Pick: The Velveteen Dream

Credit: WWE.com

The Undisputed Era VS. The Authors of Pain (NXT Tag Team Championships): I was pretty certain that The Authors of Pain would have gotten the nod to make the jump to the Main Roster by now. But, I guess I was wrong. So, instead they have stuck around long enough to, sort of, start to tarnish the reputation that they had cultivated as an “Unstoppable” team. Now, the much more talkative Rezar and Akam, are being pitted against the current NXT Tag Champs, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly of the Undisputed Era. Fish and O’Reilly recently took the titles off of Sanity and seemingly sidelined those guys, maybe paving the way for the group to make the Main Roster jump. The Undisputed Era has been on a roll lately and seem to be set as the new heel group, who will be running roughshod in NXT as a whole. So, I don’t see Fish & O’Reilly dropping the titles this quick and will probably win due to some heelish chicanery, leaving The AoP stuck in that prime position to climb the ladder sooner rather than later….maybe?

Credit: WWE.com

My Pick: Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly

Credit: WWE.com

Shayna Baszler VS. Ember Moon (NXT Women’s Championship): Shayna Baszler made her debut recently…and what a debut it was! Instantly, she drew heat by bullying her way to the top and getting the attention of current NXT Women’s Champ, Ember Moon. Now, I like Ember and hope that she gets a bit more time to shine in NXT before getting a call up, but I’m starting to think that her run may be coming to a screeching halt. Though, if she does drop the title to Baszler and manages to come out the other end without a kayfabe injury (or legit one, for that matter), Ember Moon could be primed to be one of the surprise entrants in the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble on Sunday. I may be going out on a limb here, but I can’t see NXT stifling the hype that has been built up behind Shayna so suddenly. Unless, she gets herself DQ’d?

Credit: WWE.com

My Pick: Shayna Baszler

Credit: WWE.com

Adam Cole VS. Aleister Black (Extreme Rules Match): So, a real surprise to me came when NXT decided to honor ECW by making this Extreme Rules match for their first Takeover show from Philly. It’s kind of cool, though I’m sure this match will be good, possibly even great, it will only be a weak homage to the defunct Extreme Championship Wrestling (or Eastern Championship Wrestling, if you’re nasty!) I’m sure that there will be chairs and tables and kendo sticks, but it just won’t be the same. The good news though, is that it doesn’t really matter just how Extreme things get, as the real focus of this match is just the confrontation between the white hot Aleister Black and Adam Cole, Bay Bay! Both men are currently stealing the spotlight in NXT. Black has had some incredible matches and his character and gimmick are very cool. Cole, who has only started to make a name for himself in NXT, is currently standing out along with his compatriots in The Undisputed Era. I’m really torn with this one but, I really think that Cole is going to come out the victor, leaving Black’s undefeated streak to fade away.

Credit: WWE.com

My Pick: Adam Cole, BAY BAY!

Credit: WWE.com

Johnny Gargano VS. Andrade Cien Almas (NXT Championship): So, for anyone who has read any of my previous Rope Breaks: Firstly, my apologies, but it’s your fault, really that you keep reading ;and, Numero Dos, I have whined and griped endlessly about how NXT was holding back Andrade Cien Almas. But, finally, Almas scored the NXT Championship in a great match with Drew McIntyre just a few months back. Since then, there was a little tournament, of sorts, held to find his next opponent. And, after getting shoehorned in, by replacing the aforementioned, injured Velveteen Dream, Johnny Wrestling has earned his shot. Unfortunately, there are two other things that Johnny Gargano is great at, besides wrestling: taking bumps and being the underdog. And, a big part of being the underdog is losing…a lot. Which is what I see happening Saturday Night. Now, the one thing I’m not sure of, but wouldn’t be surprised by, would be the long anticipated return of Johnny’s former Tag Team partner, Tommaso Ciampa, which will probably come after the match and will end with another Gargano beat down.

Credit: WWE.com

My Pick: Andrade Cien Almas

 

Alright, there’s NXT Takeover: Philadelphia down! so, let’s move on to the big show….

 

WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Predictions

Credit: WWE.com

So, this year’s Royal Rumble looks like it could be one of the more unpredictable Rumbles in recent history. Not only that, but, we get not ONE but TWO Rumbles! With the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble adding to the excitement. Hopefully, this year’s show will make up for some of the previous Rumbles *cough* Roman doesn’t win *cough*. But, I guess we will just have to wait and see, with our handy pillow nearby to scream into, so as to not wake the kids, who have school tomorrow.

Credit: WWE.com

Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin VS. The Usos (Smackdown Tag Team Championships): I’m a little confused when I think about this one. See, The Usos went full on heel-ISH last year and, I believe, really amazingly reinvented themselves. Since then, they have been having one incredible match after another and have consistently been the highlight of any show that they’re on. Meanwhile, Shelton Benjamin teamed with Chad Gable, replacing the RAW-jumping, Jason Jordan, and were seemingly on their way to becoming another “good guy” Tag Team. But, somewhere along the way, Benjamin and Gable kinda’ went astray and have started taking the heel-ISH route. Which means that the “good guys” here are The Usos? Ya’ know what? Who cares! This match has the potential to steal the show, a bit, as both teams are fully capable of producing some jaw-dropping moments. I’m not sure that putting the titles on Benjamin & Gable is the right move, right now. But, with Jey Uso’s recent DUI troubles, maybe a little punishment will be handed down. Probably not, though.

Credit: WWE.com

My Pick: The Usos

Credit: WWE.com

The Bar VS. Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan (RAW Tag Team Championships): So, I don’t usually pay super close attention to all of the rumors and stuff, especially when it comes to making these predictions. Ususally, I make my picks based more on emotion and my own fanboy biases. Which, would probably explain why I get things so wrong, most of the time. With that being said, the persistent rumor that Jason Jordan is working with an injury that will need to be taken care of, any time now. So, that is factoring into my pick for the winner. But, also the fact that I just don’t really get the whole Rollins & Jordan team-up thing. It doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me. Yeah, I know that Jordan seems to be filling in for the also injured, former partner of Rollins, Dean Ambrose. But, why? Shouldn’t Seth’s fellow SHIELD member, Roman Reigns been the one to pull double duty and pick up the slack? Well, whatever. So, I guess I’m going with The Bar and hoping that RAW does something to revitalize their Tag Team Division.

Credit: WWE.com

My Pick: The Bar

Credit: WWE.com

Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn VS. A.J. Styles (WWE Championship Handicap Match): Another rumored injury may just come into play once again, with this pick, so, maybe I’m just a big, fat liar when I say that I don’t take much stock in rumors. But, Kevin Owens is rumored to have a persistent back problem. That’s not a lot to go on, but it could have explained away the weird lack of action that he has seen off and on the last few weeks. But, I really want to see Owens and, especially Zayn, get some time as Champion. Which, they both would be, if they win this one, because they would be Co-Champions, which has the potential to be a comical situation. Not to mention, that it would ultimately lead to the inevitable break up of the two and their newly rekindled friendship. With that being said, I feel, in my gut, that Styles is set to head into WrestleMania as WWE Champion, possibly to face down one of my potential picks for the winner of the Rumble. More on that on a minute (or couple of paragraphs).

Credit: WWE.com

My Pick: A.J. Styles

Credit: WWE.com

Kane VS. Braun Strowman VS. Brock Lesnar (WWE Universal Championship Triple Threat): Remember when I said that I make my picks based on fanboy driven emotions? Well, strap yourselves in for this one. Everything points to Lesnar winning this. I know that! On the other hand, almost nothing points to Kane winning this. Nothing! But, I can’t help myself, I have to go with Strowman…again. Yes, I know, he stands a better chance then Kane does of winning, but still just a centimeter above a snowball’s chance in hell. Lesnar is heavily rumored to be heading to WrestleMania as the Champ, for yet another showdown with Reigns. But, I refuse to do it! I’m a rebel and I’m going with the Mountain Amongst Men and am fully prepared to be let down once more.

Credit: WWE.com

My Pick: Braaaaaauuunnn Strowman

Credit: WWE.com

Women’s Royal RumbleSo, I’m not going to go over each and every entrant in the Rumble matches, so these picks may be rather short. Hooray, right? Anyway…I have to go with Asuka and I’ll tell you why: She’s undefeated, she’s fantastic and she’s…ASUKA! You really think that they’re going to make her look weak by not allowing her to completely dominate the Rumble? Maybe, but probably not. Now, with that being said, I know that the rumored debut of Ronda Rousey seems like a definite for most people. But, if there is anything I have learned from being a multiple decades long fan of WWE, and especially after watching RAW’s 25th Anniversary, WWE is highly skilled at not living up to the fans expectations. Not to mention that Rousey claims that she won’t be at the Rumble, which really doesn’t mean anything. Isn’t that what someone who “for sure” was going to be at the Rumble say, if they didn’t really want anyone to know that they were going to be in it? HMMM… I’m still going with the Empress of Tomorrow.

Credit: WWE.com

My Pick: Asuka

Credit: WWE.com

The Royal Rumble: Just like the Women’s Rumble, I’m not going to go over every entrant, or possible one, just some of the more likely ones. Now, it seems very likely that Roman Reigns will walk away Rumble winner, much to the chagrin of a whole buttload of fans. And, as I mentioned before, WWE doesn’t really seem to give a f*&# what you want. They know you’ll be watching regardless. So, Reigns is a very likely contender. But, I feel like we’ll be getting a winner from Smackdown here. One reason is that RAW has a PPV, Elimination Chamber, coming up to help setup their storylines for WrestleMania. So, they’ve got another chance to setup the Universal Championship match that way. So, who’s it gonna’ be from Smackdown? Orton, again? Please, no! Dolph Ziggler? That’d be weird, but maybe cool (?), since the guy vacated the US title and walked away, never to be heard from again. Daniel Bryan? Yes, that is one of the big rumors floating around and, as cool as that would be, I don’t see it happening. Bryan wrestling for WWE again has become the new “CM Punk returning”-wishful thinking. So, that leaves me with Nakamura. Shinsuke VS. A.J. at WrestleMania would (could) be incredible and a win at the Rumble would give Smackdown just enough time to truly build this match up properly. So, I’m going with Shinsuke Nakamura……unless, CM Punk returns and wins it all! (I’m kidding…sorta’)

Credit: WWE.com

My Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

 

So, there you have it! Two huge shows, both have the potential to be great and I’ll be back here afterwards to review it all. So check back here for that! Also, check us out on our Nerd Nation Radio Facebook page or even our Twitter, which we use….sometimes….

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You can also feel free to drop me a line at Curt@nerdnationradio.com and let me know what I’m doing right!

Thanks for reading!