Welcome to another edition of WWE Heat Index, wherein we discuss the interest level for the various feuds heading into the pay-per-view events. This time around, we’re focusing on NXT TakeOver: Portland coming this Sunday night.
The way this works is a gauge range of Scoring, Hot, Lukewarm, Temperate, Chilly, Cold and Freezing. The hotter, the better, as that indicates your level of excitement, anticipation and faith that it will be good.
NXT Championship Match: Adam Cole (c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa = Hot
Here’s hoping Ciampa’s injury doesn’t hurt this match, cause I’m incredibly interested in what they have to offer. These guys have been at the top of this brand for so long for a reason. They’re that damn good.
Is Adam Cole going to win by himself, or will shenanigans come into play? Where are they going to go from here? Can they top Adam Cole’s matches with Johnny Gargano?
I’m all for this, and I’m even glad it isn’t a gimmick match. Normally, I would consider it an upgrade if it were a Street Fight or something, but I say they should save that stuff for Tampa, depending on the title’s direction.
Prediction: Adam Cole wins.
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Bianca Belair = Hot
Admittedly, part of me is worried that Bianca Belair works best when she can be dominant in a match and Rhea Ripley won’t be the best dance partner for her, as they will fight for that spot. After all, Bianca Belair vs. Shayna Baszler wasn’t as good as it could have been.
However, I do still have faith these two will put on a very good match and I’m excited to see how it is booked. If they do this well, Rhea Ripley should walk out looking strong for beating such a strong opponent in Bianca Belair, who can use that momentum (even in a loss) to do big things going forward.
Prediction: Rhea Ripley wins.
NXT North American Championship Match: Keith Lee (c) vs. Dominik Dijakovic = Hot
After seeing so many matches between Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic, you would think I would be harping on how it’s been done before and I’m over it and want something new. However, all of their matches have been so good that I can’t help but to be super excited about this one.
I’m very curious if the North American title hunt is a multi-man match at Tampa. Damian Priest, Roderick Strong, Velveteen Dream and others could get in the mix. If that’s the case, I don’t think Dominik Dijakovic should just flat out lose and still stick around the belt, but I can’t see Lee coming up short, either.
Prediction: Keith Lee wins.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly) (c) vs. The Broserweights (Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne) = Hot
As far as match quality goes, this could be the sleeper. Tag team matches at NXT TakeOver events normally steal the show or at least deliver extremely well. With these four guys in the match, I’m very confident they will kill it.
The title situation is a bit hazy. I’m almost 50/50 on this. On one hand, I can see why The Undisputed Era would just retain. I know a lot of people are expecting a heel turn, but I don’t think that will happen even if Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne lose, though. Instead, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly could just cheat or something.
But I’m really starting to think WWE is going to see how well The BroserWeights have worked together and go with a title change instead.
Right now, I’m about 55/45 in favor of The BroserWeights, but this is the toughest one to call.
Prediction: The BroserWeights win… but don’t trust that prediction.
Street Fight: Dakota Kai vs. Tegan Nox = Lukewarm
I’m very glad to see WWE didn’t drop this feud with their one match on NXT TV. This was hot enough that they needed a bigger blow off and a Street Fight is as good a way as any to finish things.
Since I do think this will finish things, I expect Dakota Kai to come out on top. Tegan Nox isn’t going to be the next challenger for Rhea Ripley, as both are babyfaces, but Dakota Kai can fill that role. In fact, if Dakota Kai isn’t challenging Rhea Ripley for the title in the lull before WrestleMania, I’ll be shocked.
I say give Dakota Kai the victory to offset her loss to Tegan Nox before, have Dakota Kai vs. Rhea Ripley happen in March at some point or even Tampa, and then move on after that. But in order for that to happen, Dakota Kai has to win this.
Prediction: Dakota Kai wins.
Johnny Gargano vs. Finn Bálor = Hot
On paper, this match could be the best of the show. Finn Bálor can get the job done and Johnny Gargano is arguably the best in-ring performer in NXT and one of, if not the best, in WWE entirely.
All WWE has to do is let these two plan out the match the way they want to and it should be a gem. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if this doesn’t hit Match of the Year caliber, I’ll be shocked.
As far as the winner goes, I’m a bit at a loss because I don’t know where they can go with the main title picture. I can just as easily see both Finn Bálor and Johnny Gargano winning, so I’m mostly flipping a coin in favor of Finn Bálor as he’s the heel and can cheat to win, if need be.
Prediction: Finn Bálor wins.