Who can create the best NXT TakeOver card?
One of the most consistent events in wrestling over the past years has been NXT TakeOvers. They frequently have some of the best matches of the year, especially in WWE. With 33 TakeOvers in the books spanning seven years, we wanted to take a crack at drafting our own legendary NXT TakeOver cards. Evan, Javier & Kaden took turns drafting matches to create their cards. Here are the rules:
- The big rule: once a match was chosen, no one could take a match including those wrestlers for their own show. If someone picked a Johnny Gargano versus Adam Cole match, all of Gargano & Cole’s TakeOver matches were off the table.
- Each person chose five matches: one for the NXT Championship, one for the NXT Women’s Championship, one for the NXT Tag Team Championships, and two wildcard matches. The wildcard matches could be for other titles, but not the ones mentioned above.
Here is the round by round results, and check out the final cards (listed in order from opener to main event) and explanations below:
- Kaden: Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa – Unsanctioned Match, TakeOver: New Orleans
- Evan: Bayley vs Sasha Banks (c) – NXT Women’s Championship, TakeOver: Brooklyn I
- Javier: Pete Dunne vs Tyler Bate (c) – NXT UK Championship, TakeOver: Chicago
- Javier: Sami Zayn vs Adrian Neville (c) – NXT Championship, TakeOver: R:Evolution
- Evan: Adam Cole vs Aleister Black – Extreme Rules Match, TakeOver: Philadelphia
- Kaden: Kyle O’Reilly vs Finn Balor (c) – NXT Championship, TakeOver: 31
- Kaden: Ember Moon vs Asuka (c) – NXT Women’s Championship, TakeOver: Brooklyn III
- Evan: American Alpha vs The Revival (c) – NXT Tag Team Championships, TakeOver: Dallas
- Javier: Io Shirai vs Rhea Ripley vs Charlotte Flair (c) – NXT Women’s Championship, TakeOver: In Your House
- Javier: The VaudeVillains vs Blake & Murphy (c) – NXT Tag Team Championships
- Evan: Samoa Joe vs Shinsuke Nakamura (c) – NXT Championship, TakeOver: Toronto
- Kaden: Sanity vs Authors of Pain (c) – NXT Tag Team Championships, TakeOver: Brooklyn III
- Kaden: Dominik Dijakovic vs Keith Lee (c) – NXT North American Championship, TakeOver: Portland
- Evan: Tyler Breeze vs Jushin Thunder Liger – TakeOver: Brooklyn I
- Javier: Cesaro vs Ilja Dragunov – NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff
- NXT North American Championship: Keith Lee vs Dominick Dijakovic – TakeOver: Portland
- NXT Tag Team Championship: AOP (c) vs Sanity – TakeOver: Brooklyn III
- NXT Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs Ember Moon – TakeOver: Brooklyn III
- NXT Championship: Finn Balor (c) vs Kyle O’Reilly – TakeOver 31
- Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa Unsanctioned Match – TakeOver: New Orleans
While this wasn’t the card I went in wanting, I’m very happy with the matches I ended up with. I decided to open the draft by picking Gargano and Ciampa at Takeover New Orleans. My card needed a solid hardcore match and I couldn’t think of a better one in NXT. This is also my favorite NXT match of all time, making this an obvious choice. Next up I decided to take Finn Balor and Kyle O’Reilly off the board with their Takeover 31 match. I ended up choosing this since it gave me a solid technical match that was probably the best NXT championship match from 2020. My card now has a technical match and a hardcore match, filling two important needs for a well-rounded card.
I kept rounding out my card by picking Asuka vs Ember Moon at NXT Takeover Brooklyn 3. This is the better of their two takeover matches along with one of the better women’s matches at a Takeover. Now I did make a mistake with this pick. My goal was to take this off the board and I didn’t think anyone would choose American Alpha vs Revival, but of course, it was taken immediately after. I should have chosen the tag match and then waited for a women’s match.
Going into my last two picks, I needed a tag team championship match and one more extra match to add to the card. For the tag match, I went with AOP vs Sanity. I’m gonna be honest, this was more of choosing what was left on the board with most tag champs taken. Now for my last match, I went with Keith Lee and Dominick Dijakovic from Takeover Portland. This was the high-flying match I was missing from my card. You might see those two guys and think that what I just called this match is crazy, but it felt like the beginning of 305 Live. This match was incredible and I’m glad to have it finish up my card. I look at my card and while I don’t see the best card possible, I see an incredibly well-rounded out one. My goal was to have a match that fit each niche and I believe I accomplished that.
- NXT Tag Team Championship: American Alpha vs The Revival (c) – TakeOver: Dallas
- Extreme Rules Match: Adam Cole vs Aleister Black – TakeOver: Philadelphia
- Jushin “Thunder” Liger vs Tyler Breeze – TakeOver: Brooklyn I
- NXT Championship: Samoa Joe vs Shinsuke Nakamura (c) – TakeOver: Toronto I
- NXT Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs Sasha Banks – TakeOver: Brooklyn I
My plan for the card was simple: matches I love, with just a touch of strategy. I chose my main event first, and it’s one of the strongest women’s matches & feuds in history. Bayley & Banks put on a show-stealing performance in Brooklyn, and I think it is just a touch better than their Iron Woman match. Next, I chose Cole-Black because I love the intensity of it and wanted to take Adam Cole off the board for the other two.
My crown jewel is my opener: two of the best tag teams in NXT’s history in a tremendous contest. Both The Revival and American Alpha are incredible tag teams and will set the tone for the night. I chose Nakamura-Joe since surprisingly both were still on the board. Having been in attendance for their Toronto clash, I chose that one.
Finally I took one of the strangest matches in NXT history. Liger versus Breeze is something out of a 2k Universe Mode, but it was a great match and adds variety to my card. I think this card has a bit of everything to keep everyone entertained.
- NXT UK Championship: Pete Dunne vs Tyler Bate (c) – TakeOver: Chicago
- Cesaro vs Ilja Dragunov – NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff
- NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai vs Rhea Ripley vs Charlotte Flair (c) – TakeOver: In Your House
- NXT Tag Team Championships: The VaudeVillains vs Blake & Murphy (c) – TakeOver: Brooklyn I
- NXT Championship: Adrian Neville (c) vs Sami Zayn – TakeOver: R:Evolution
How do I even begin to explain my dominant card? With one word: calculated.
I knew the first two picks would be a Gargano match and Sasha versus Bayley, which was exactly what I wanted. It allowed me to get Pete Dunne versus Tyler Bate at Takeover: Chicago, my opener and still one of the absolute best matches in Takeover history and follow it up with the match that made me fall in love with NXT in the first place, Sami Zayn versus Neville at Takeover: R-Evolution. Everything else was a surplus, but are all genuinely good matches. The Cesaro/Dragunov match is a physical match that is a great follow-up to the high of the opener. The women’s title match between Io Shirai, Charlotte, and Rhea Ripley is a trainwreck that was excellent from beginning to end. Finally, my tag title match may not have been my first choice, but Blake & Murphy versus the Vaudevillians is a gem of a match that was one so over with the crowd in Brooklyn that night. It’s perfect in the spot before the main event, which is an emotional match that takes some time to build.
I love my card and believe it is the strongest. With that said, what a set of cards we were able to build with the stipulations! NXT truly is a special promotion.
Who do you think built the best card? There are some notable names missing, like Kevin Owens, Shayna Baszler, Matt Riddle, Baron Corbin and more. Let us know what card you think is best in the comments or on Twitter at @FPC_Wrestling.