What are you expecting from Bobby Roode’s TakeOver debut Saturday?
Daniel DeMarco: Not too much really. I’m absolutely positive Roode will pick up the victory. And I would not be surprised if at the end of the match, or at least by sometime before the end of the event, a new solid angle is set up for Roode. Though that may be saved for an NXT TV taping in the near future also. Roode will have the fourth best match on the card, at best. Not because he’s not good, but because three matches on the card are basically guaranteed to be hot and deliver. Much like Samoa Joe, I think it will take a little more time for Roode to really settle into NXT and get some strong momentum going.
Jason Hall: Gloriousness. But seriously, I expect Roode to win his match. Roode has the potential to be NXT’s biggest heel, especially if Samoa Joe is bound for the main roster. Although Andrade “Cien” Almas could still use some early wins, I see Roode being victorious.
Joseph Nardone: Hopefully a good performance. He has been terrific on the microphone thus far. It would be incredibly disappointing to see him be lackluster inside the squared circle.
However, considering Brooklyn isn’t exactly a safe heaven for failing, if Roode looks lackluster, we can very well see a man booed in his in-ring debut.
Riley Kontek: I am expecting a great match. I am also expecting the superb in-ring presence and psychology that Roode has always had in his career. He is a true veteran and a guy that would be in the main roster main event had he jumped ship a few years earlier. The match itself has Match of the Night written all over it. Not only is Roode a fantastic worker, but Andrade Almas is one of the best lighter-weight workers in the world. They will help establish a raucous environment for NXT diehards.
Travis Wakeman: I’m expecting him to be booked in a way that shows fans that he will soon be a main player within NXT. Bobby Roode has some of the best heel work in the business and that will be put on full display Saturday night. Of course, I expect him to defeat Andrade Almas, but I expect it to be with some sort of underhanded tactic such as a low blow or hooking the tights to get the pin. Almas is still one of the bigger names in NXT as well so protecting him would be wise. That said, if you’ve never seen Roode in action, you’re in for a treat. WWE will play to his strengths and he will come out of this match looking very strong.
Between Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bayley, Asuka or The Revival, who’s the most ready for the main roster?
DD: There’s really no wrong answer between Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura, but I suppose you can give the slight nod to Joe based on the absence of a language barrier and him having been performing at the highest level of the business for over a decade since his days in Ring of Honor. Joe is the monster heel WWE needs, who will be there year-round. If you think back to when Kevin Owens debuted on the main roster, that character can be Joe, but even more. Just a big hoss, powerhouse who would fit ever so nicely at the championship level.
JH: This is tricky. At first glance I’d say Bayley, especially considering how many other female Superstars have been called up before her. But there is literally nothing else for Samoa Joe to learn. His promos have been outstanding, but that’s never been a question. I’d say it’s 1A. Samoa Joe, 1B. Bayley.
JN: Wow. Way to paint me into a corner here, as I think everyone mentioned – save for Samoa Joe – should be on the main roster. But if forced to choose only one human, I will go with Bayley.
She’s not going to get any better in NXT at this point. In fact, keeping her down for far too long might result in regression. I know a similar thing can be applied to every other talent mentioned, but Bayley might have the potential to make the biggest impact in the division in which she competes. That’s not something I’m so sure about for the others.
RK: I think they are all main-roster ready. That said, I will treat this as a “who is going to be next on the main roster?” That answer is simple; It’s Bayley. NXT needs all the tag teams it can get, so The Revival, who I think will be dethroned, will stick around. Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura are set to have a good, long feud that will be the crown jewel of the NXT brand, so they will be sticking around for a bit. Asuka is the dominant, undefeated champion. She will defeat Bayley and stick around for as long as they need her. This is probably Bayley’s swan song before heading to Raw or SmackDown.
TW: You could make the argument that they all are ready, but as far as most ready, I’d say Samoa Joe just because in my opinion, he would have been ready without ever having a single match in NXT. Unlike the other four mentioned, he already had mainstream appeal in the U.S. because of his lengthy, successful tenure in TNA. His work in NXT, from his 5-star matches to his promo skills has shown that he could appear on Raw or SmackDown at any time and not just fit in, but be one of the top guys there too.
At this point, is NXT or WWE in greater need of the talent atop the NXT brand?
DD: WWE needs talent, and it needs it quick. Only a month removed from the brand split, and everything basically feels back to normal, except now the rosters are essentially half as strong. It’s bad. Quite frankly, it was a chore to get through WWE’s weekly programming aside from the CWC, which is technically a separate entity entirely. It is too much programming to fill; that’s not breaking news. So either cut down the hours, or bulk up on talent so you can actually fill the time out with quality.
JH: Definitely NXT. I think, at this point, that’s the only reason they’re still there. Granted, the delayed Bálor call-up proved to be the right decision, but I still think most of that as because NXT needed him to carry the brand. Bayley and Asuka deserve to be on the main roster, but there are several capable main roster competitors, while there’s nothing left in the NXT women’s division until Peyton Royce, Billie Kay and Ember Moon become weekly characters. Aside from Nakamura, Roode, Aries and Itami there is little at the top of the NXT male roster as well.
JN: I am still going with NXT. My long standing believe is that NXT needs to keep guys like Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode down forever. The federation is meant to be a developmental type of deal, and using it as such will mean a forever depletion of talent. When you get aging talent – mostly folk beyond their prime – someone needs to reinforce the idea that they are in it for the long haul.
Let the Joe and Roode type talent be the “faces” of NXT, while allowing the younger, less broken talent use it as a stepping stone. Even with that being the case, however, NXT still needs more top guys. There’s roughly 10 guys on the main roster I trust enough to be near or around the main event scene. I’m not a Samoa Joe “guy” or whatever, so to me there’s only Nakamura and the idea of Roode.
RK: I think NXT has enough talent hanging around the top of the brand, despite the fact that the draft took some of their talent. That said, the draft really only took top stars Finn Balor, Nia Jax and American Alpha, while taking middle acts in Mojo Rawley, Alexa Bliss and Carmella. NXT still has Nakamura, Joe, Asuka, the Revival, Gargano & Ciampa, the Authors of Pain, Roode, Almas, Dillinger, Aries, etc. I think both brands are deep with talent.
TW: NXT is, because you still need to have names that can draw crowds and interest if you’re going to have WWE Network specials. There is a bevy of talent on both Raw and SmackDown, and that is what helped convince WWE to do a brand split again. The company knew there was enough talent to go around. Following WrestleMania and then into the WWE Draft, I felt like too many wrestlers were called up from NXT, so I feel NXT is in greater need of names like Samoa Joe, Nakamura, etc. until there has been enough time for some of the young talent there to develop into stars.