Since the concept’s inception on February 27th 2014, NXT TakeOver events have seen a plethora of incredible matches, debuts and moments.
From Bayley’s monumental Women’s Championship win at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn to Johnny Gargano and Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas’ iconic NXT Championship clash at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, one thing has remained constant and that is wherever NXT TakeOver goes something special is soon to follow.
Ahead of NXT TakeOver: In Your House on Sunday, June 13th, Inside the Ropes’ Liam Alexander-Stewart takes a look at the incredible event and identifies five things he would like to see happen at the show, including a shock WWE NXT debut and a paradigm-shifting title change.
1 – Cameron Grimes wins the Million Dollar Championship…with an assist from Virgil.
NXT TakeOver: In Your House sees ‘The Million Dollar Caveman’ Cameron Grimes go one-on-one with ‘The Namer of Dummies’ LA Knight, with the recently revealed stipulation that the match will be conducted under Ladder Match rules with the legendary Million Dollar Championship on the line.
Ted DiBiase made his NXT debut on the May 26th edition of WWE NXT, the appearance following weeks of comedic skits with NXT Superstar Cameron Grimes during which the newly crowned Cryptonaire, Cameron Grimes, would find his financial flexes one-upped by the iconic WWE Superstar.
Since his debut, both Grimes and recent NXT signee LA Knight [formerly Eli Drake] have competed for the affections of the ‘Million Dollar Man’ with the rivalry set to culminate in a much-anticipated Ladder match at NXT TakeOver: In Your House.
Both Grimes and Knight are relative newcomers to NXT with Knight debuting at NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day in February 2021 and Grimes under his new name in June 2019 following a brief Pineapple Circuit run as Trevor Lee.
Grimes and Knight alike would benefit massively from the elevation of status that a championship win would provide, however, Grimes, in particular, has shown on a wide array of occasions that his strength lies in his creative ability and comedic skills on the microphone. Although he is still, much like the majority of the NXT roster, an incredible in-ring athlete.
Knight faced some early criticism online with comparisons to former NXT Champion Bobby Roode [now Robert Roode] immediately taking place alongside criticisms of the reused trope of an attractive, wealthy heel insulting others for their apparent lower status. However, since his transition into feuds with Dexter Lumis and Cameron Grimes, Knight has begun to largely win fans over with his incredible charisma and microphone talents shining through.
The question heading into NXT TakeOver: In Your House then becomes, who would benefit most from the legendary Million Dollar Championship?
This writer believes that Cameron Grimes, in particular, would see his characters glass ceiling in NXT elevated as a result of capturing the iconic belt at the event. Although both performers shine on the microphone, Grimes’ portrayal in NXT has been much more comedy centric than Knight’s with Knight portrayed regularly as a big name and potential NXT Champion since his debut.
We have already seen Grimes’ incredible ability to take something small and run with it, his repackaging following his destruction at the hands of NXT’s Zombie Referee and Dexter Lumis has led to this angle coming to fruition in the first place. Thus, it makes complete sense for the man responsible for elevating the angle to TakeOver status to be the one to capture the belt.
Furthermore, Knight’s role as the natural heel within the feud due to his confident demeanour and recent portrayal, creates the perfect combination of a big positive babyface victory heading into what could otherwise be a heel dominated show.
Additionally, Knight’s momentum would not be harmed due to the loss and neither would his legitimacy as a credible threat to the NXT Championship or North American Championship. This is due to both Grimes’ previous portrayal as a comedic character who remains a credible in-ring threat and also in the manner in which Grimes would receive the victory…with some outside help from Ted DiBiase’s legendary manager Virgil.
Since this angle’s inception there has been a constant social media discussion surrounding who would be Grimes’ version of Virgil as the modern Million Dollar Man with names such as Robert Stone being mentioned regularly alongside the return of the original and best model Virgil himself.
As much as a Virgil manager run in NXT would be great, I feel like it may detract too much from NXT as a showcase of the up and coming talent in the WWE. However, a cameo from the former one time Million Dollar Champion would act as the perfect piece of fan service to a generation of fans that aren’t always attracted to NXT’s heavy in-ring focused product.
Virgil appearing as a one-off to help Grimes capture the Championship, possibly sending Knight falling off the ladder when it looked like he had the job done would be an incredible shock moment to help get the crowd in attendance and at home roaring with excitement and laughter perfectly setting up the remainder of the matches to deliver in front of an electric audience.
Moving forward with both the Million Dollar Championship and the Grimes vs. Knight feud, there is incredible comedic potential in Grimes defeating Knight to force Knight to become Grimes’ servant for a duration of time, or should NXT aim to continue a face push for Grimes then they can have the inverse occur and Grimes’ finally earn his freedom at the rumoured SummerSlam TakeOver event.
2 – The ‘Winner Takes All’ Match to open NXT TakeOver: In Your House.
On the June 8th edition of WWE NXT it was announced that following weeks of feuding and a combination of singles and tag team matches that Legado Del Fantasma would get a shot at both the NXT North American Championship and the WWE NXT Tag Team Championships in a Six-Man Tag Team watch against NXT Champions Bronson Reed and MSK.
NXT TakeOver: In Your House features four championship matches on the five match card, with Xia Li vs. Mercedes Martinez the only non title match announced thus far. With 80% of the matches announced being championship matches it is highly likely one of them will need to open the show and I would like to see this match take that role.
There are a couple of reasons Reed & MSK vs. Legado Del Fantasma is the perfect opener for the show. Firstly, the match features some of NXT’s fastest paced in-ring competitors with MSK, in particular, capable of incredible high octane feats of athleticism that are sure to grasp the attention and awe of audiences at home and in attendance. We have seen both in their many clashes with Wilde and Mendoza as well as in their clash with the Grizzled Young Veterans that when the spotlight is on MSK they make sure to utilise every second of it.
NXT is built on a unique in-ring style that differs to the more traditionally slow-paced and methodical style of RAW & SmackDown. With Raquel González vs. Ember Moon more in line with that style of NXT Championship match and the five-man NXT Championship match confirmed as the shows main event, the stars have perfectly aligned for MSK, Bronson Reed and Legado Del Fantasma to replicate Moustache Mountain and Grizzled Young Veterans at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool and steal the show from the opening spot.
Additionally, opening with the ‘Winner Takes All’ match allows the high energy and charisma driven Ladder Match of Grimes vs. Knight to go on prior to the main event and following the NXT Women’s Championship match as both a change of pace and pallet cleanser. This would allow the audience to recover and create a more aptly primed crowd going into was is set to be a vintage NXT-style main event.
If the Million Dollar Ladder match was to open the show then this leaves no truly different style match to segment the show and allow for differentiation of the highly in-ring focused encounters that make up the rest of the card.
Finally, Bronson Reed has shown on several occasions now that he has the ability to be the most talked about performer on any show, after his show-stealing performance against Johnny Gargano at NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver. Therefore, the opening spot allows the defending NXT North American Champion a value match placement to once again attempt to grab the spotlight and get the momentum rolling heading into the rest of the night.
3 – Xia Li to defeat Mercedes Martinez.
Following their otherwise forgettable encounter during the 2017 Mae Young Classic, Xia Li and Mercedes Martinez are set to clash at NXT TakeOver: In Your House in what is possibly the most intriguing match of the night.
Xia Li’s July 2019 clash with Mercedes Martinez was her first recorded professional wrestling match following her WWE signing in January earlier that year. Since then, the WWE’s first female Chinese Superstar has wrestled over a hundred times against some of NXT’s biggest names including Dakota Kai, Bianca Belair, Candice LeRae, Shayna Baszler and Io Shiari.
Between 2019 and 2021 Li was a peripheral figure in the Black-and-Gold brand existing mainly as an enhancement talent winning just four matches in 2020, however, following reports the Wushu expert had approached Triple H regarding her utilisation in NXT, Li has gone on to become a regular part of the show.
Since re-debuting as part of Tian Sha, Li has gone undefeated on NXT TV, winning all six of her matches in 2021 with a combined in-ring time of around 11 minutes.
NXT TakeOver: In Your House will be the first true test of Xia Li’s abilities in-ring, as outside a shocking squash style victory over Martinez, this is likely to be longest match in Li’s career and will afford the Martial Arts expert her first opportunity to shine on the big stage.
Martinez made her TakeOver debut at NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day taking on Toni Storm and Io Shiari for the NXT Women’s Championship. The match would indicate Martinez’s third NXT Championship opportunity in 2021 following a Tag Title match teaming with Toni Storm and a second Women’s Championship shot against Raquel Gonzalez.
This presents the primary reason I believe that Xia Li should be victorious at In Your House, the legitimacy and the momentum gained by Li for defeating Martinez is vastly greater than Martinez defeating Li and ending her dominant streak at the first main show hurdle.
Furthermore, assuming this match acts as an unofficial Number One Contender’s match for Raquel Gonzalez’s NXT Women’s Championship Xia Li vs. Raquel Gonzalez is not only a far fresher championship match but it does not make sense to reward Martinez with a fourth Women’s Championship match this year when she has failed at every opportunity thus far.
Furthermore, recent reports have named Martinez as one of two names being considered by WWE Creative as a potential enforcer for Eva Marie on Monday Night RAW [the second name being that of NXT UK Superstar Piper Niven], assuming these rumours are true, it is not necessary to feed Martinez Li’s undefeated streak when there is a plethora of back catalogue footage that WWE can utilise to present her as a legitimate threat on Monday Nights.
Xia Li has been one of NXT’s breakout stars of the COVID-19 era and her unique presentation and character work is something completely unique on a show that is often criticised for having easily blended together characters who rely on their in-ring work.
The primary hope for Li at NXT TakeOver: In Your House is an impressive in-ring performance and ideally an incredibly memorable one that allows Li to move upwards within the NXT Women’s Division and begin to cross paths with the Shotzi Blackhearts and Ember Moons of the division.
4 – Kay Lee Ray to debut full time at NXT TakeOver: In Your House.
On the June 10th edition of NXT UK, just days removed from NXT TakeOver: In Your House, Meiko Satamura defeated Kay Lee Ray to capture the NXT UK Women’s Championship ending her 600+ day reign as NXT UK’s most highly featured champion.
During her reign as NXT UK Women’s Champion, Ray defeated a plethora of challengers including the likes of Toni Storm, Mia Yim and Dakota Kai with her victory over Storm sending the former NXT UK Women’s Champion to NXT full time.
The former ICW sensation previously appeared at NXT TakeOver: WarGames as part of Team Shayna Baszler, being defeated by Team Rhea Ripley, featuring Dakota Kai, the current manager/tag partner for NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez.
Kay Lee Ray is universally acknowledged a future superstar of WWE’s main roster and the next step in that process is a full-time run in WWE NXT. When better to have her shock re-debut occur than in front of an electric crowd following the NXT Women’s Championship match?
Ray’s incredible in-ring style makes her a perfect match for performers of every style. However, her work against taller opponents in particular is fantastic, with her high risk offence matching perfectly with a dominant base such as Raquel Gonzalez. If this feature was to include a more detailed look at what I would like to see Ray do in NXT in particular, it would be phenomenal to see Ray usurp Dakota Kai as Gonzalez’s mouthpiece and tag partner, allowing the Kiwi Superstar to transition back to her more suited face role and face-off against her former partner in Gonzalez possibly with the assistance of a returning Tegan Nox.
Regardless of what NXT choose to do with the ‘Hardcore Daredevil’, one thing is for sure, debuting the Scottish Superstar at a major event in-front of an electric crowd is a crucial step in immediately establishing her as a major player within the Women’s Division. The added shock factor of Ray appearing just days after dropping the belt to Meiko Satamura would go a long way in garnering an incredible reaction from fans online and in attendance.
5 – Pete Dunne to capture the NXT Championship during the main event of NXT TakeOver: In Your House.
When Pete Dunne confronted William Regal whilst being berated for a pre-match attack during the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament before being approached by Triple H himself, fans instantly new that ‘The Bruiserweight’ was destined for huge things in the WWE.
The WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament was four years ago and during that time Dunne as reigned supreme as WWE UK Champion and had a brief spell as NXT Tag Team Champion. However, in terms of singles gold in NXT, Dunne has never truly been established as the guy to lead the division outside of the UK.
Dunne’s booking has been undisputedly strong with his portrayal as part of ‘The Kings of NXT’ doing wonders to reinvigorate him following Riddle’s move to the traditional main roster. Dunne is more than capable of leading not only a division in NXT but the entire brand, and with questionable ratings and fan response in wake of Karrion Kross’ reign it only makes sense to utilise the multi-man aspect to transition away from Kross without harming his credibility ahead of an almost certain move to RAW or SmackDown by the end of the year.
Gargano and Cole capturing the NXT Championship would feel like NXT looking backwards, going against the grain of both what NXT means and what this TakeOver event is all about. In many ways NXT TakeOver: In Your House is a demonstration of the new guard of NXT, with Balor no longer featured and the likes of Bronson Reed, Xia Li and Kyle O’Reilly in prominent positions on the card.
Kyle O’Reilly may be the favourite to win outside a Kross retention, however the inclusion of Cole makes the story between the two feel incomplete. While a possible Friday Night TakeOver before SummerSlam could be the perfect platform for an I Quit/ Loser Leaves NXT match between the two former best friends creating a launchpad for O’Reilly’s banishing of Cole from NXT and giving Cole the audience his departure deserves.
WWE Management including Triple H and Vince McMahon are reportedly very high on Karrion Kross and with shake ups backstage being reported due to dwindling viewership of WWE’s flagship show, it is very possible that management will want Kross on Monday Nights sooner rather than later. This creates a difficult scenario where NXT need to move the NXT Championship from ‘The Harbourer of Doom.’ However a loss prior to his call up would harm his dominance in a similar way to Asuka dropping the belt via loss would have caused ahead of her own main roster call up.
Pete Dunne ending NXT TakeOver: In Your House as the new NXT Champion would signify a drastic shift in the future of NXT and would leave fans with a desire to seek out the following weeks programming and future programming that I do not believe a Kross retention or Gargano, Cole or O’Reilly victory would achieve.
Additionally, Pete Dunne capturing the NXT Championship creates a success story of the NXT UK programme and also get’s us one step closer to a potential SummerSlam weekend clash with Daniel Bryan and for that reason alone this needs to happen.