Final Picks, Predictions for Every Match on WWE NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2019 Card
NXT's first event after moving to the USA Network is TakeOver: WarGames 2019, which is set to feature two of its titular cage matches.
Rhea Ripley will lead her crew against Shayna Baszler's quartet, while Tommaso Ciampa has assembled a group to battle it out with The Undisputed Era.
Pete Dunne, Killian Dain and Damian Priest will also fight for a title shot at Survivor Series, and Finn Balor will wrestle his first NXT match in years against Matt Riddle.
What is going to happen this Saturday at TakeOver: WarGames 2019? Let's toss out some final predictions before the event unfolds.
Triple Threat Match: Damian Priest vs. Pete Dunne vs. Killian Dain
When this Triple Threat match was just a feud between three guys who had a grudge against each other, there was more flexibility as to who could come out on top at WarGames.
However, once the stipulation was added that the winner would receive a title shot against Adam Cole at Survivor Series on Sunday, it became clear Pete Dunne will win.
He's the only babyface of the three, is more savvy in the ring to put on a better match in front of the bigger crowd and matches Cole's size better than the others. He's also the only one to have a title after reigning supreme as United Kingdom champion for 685 days.
It'll be tough to overcome two guys as imposing as Damian Priest and Killian Dain, but The Bruiserweight will figure out a way to be victorious.
Pick: Dunne wins.
Matt Riddle vs. Finn Balor
Clearly, this match wasn't supposed to take place at WarGames, as Johnny Gargano was being set up to face Finn Balor. When injury took him out of the equation, Matt Riddle was slotted in as a replacement.
Already, that should speak to Balor being the one to carry the momentum going forward so he won't eventually face Johnny Wrestling with a random loss to tarnish his record.
Riddle is past the point of needing to be protected as undefeated and won't lose anything by coming up short against a former universal champion.
Plus, The King of Bros was the one booked strong on Wednesday's go-home episode of NXT. More often than not, the person who gets the rub prior to the event loses to balance out that equation.
If Balor did lose in his first match back in NXT, fans would view it as proof he has failed on the main roster and is worse off than when he left developmental brand in July 2016.
Pick: Balor wins.
WarGames Match: Team Ripley vs. Team Baszler
For the first time ever, there will be a women's WarGames match featuring Shayna Baszler's group of heels against Rhea Ripley's babyfaces.
Perhaps the most interesting part about this storyline has been how Dakota Kai was rejected for Team Ripley and her absence from the match. Normally, that would be suspicious and a possible heel turn could be on the horizon, but there's no logical excuse for why she'd help Baszler's crew.
Then again, logic and WWE don't always sync up, so while everyone will be waiting for Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir to get involved, it might be Kai who holds the keys to who wins this match.
Barring any shenanigans with her, though, the edge still goes to Team Baszler based on their accomplishments.
Bianca Belair had an impressive undefeated streak, Io Shirai made it to the final of the Mae Young Classic, as did Baszler, who is the nearly unstoppable at the top of the food chain, and Kay Lee Ray is the NXT UK women's champion.
In comparison, Ripley is the only one on her team to have won a title.
The babyfaces are up against some tough odds. While they can certainly pull it off, it's more likely the heels, who already have the advantage heading into this match, will stand tall.
Pick: Team Baszler wins.
WarGames Match: Team Ciampa vs. Team Undisputed Era
The Undisputed Era is a well-oiled machine decorated in lots of gold, so it's easy to imagine a scenario in which they beat the ragtag group of Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic and a mystery partner.
But that would be discounting how talented the opposition is, as well as a few other key elements that may turn the tides in favor of Team Ciampa.
Lee and Dijakovic are the biggest guys in the match, which puts the power game on Ciampa's side. The team leader is no slouch, either, as a former NXT champion who only lost the title due to injury.
The mystery partner is a wild card who could sway things toward Team Ciampa, depending on who it is. No hints have been put out there, so it could be anyone from an injured Velveteen Dream to a returning John Morrison or CM Punk to even a legend like Edge or a member of the Raw or SmackDown rosters.
That element of the unknown and the possibility that a win for Ciampa's team would go a long way in building toward a future match against Cole for the NXT Championship is enough reasoning to say The Undisputed Era could well lose.
Goldie will still be in possession of Cole at the end of this night, but it will be Ciampa's team who will be celebrating.
Pick: Team Ciampa wins.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.