NXT TakeOver 31: 3 wrestlers who need to win

WWE, Kushida (Photo by New Japan Pro-Wrestling/Getty Images)
WWE, Kushida (Photo by New Japan Pro-Wrestling/Getty Images) /

On the night where the lights shine the brightest – these three wrestlers need a win at the penultimate WWE NXT TakeOver of 2020.

WWE NXT TakeOvers always bring out the best in everybody on the card – they leave it all in the ring. It doesn’t matter if NXT TakeOver 31 is their first event, like Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott or their 14th like Finn Balor, the show is always special – however, some superstars need a victory more than others.

A competitor could be defending their championship for the first time, at a TakeOver, or revenge could be on their mind – either way, this night is can make or break a performers future. At this event, losing isn’t an option, these three superstars have to win this Sunday at NXT: TakeOver 31.

Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott should beat Santos Escobar at NXT TakeOver 31

The feud between Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott and NXT Cruiserweight Champion – Santos Escobar has been one of the highlights of NXT in recent months. The two have been trading shots on television and social media, they have highlighted the division in a way that it hasn’t been in a while – the NXT Universe is fully invested in this feud.

Since turning heel and aligning himself with Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde, Santos Escobar has preached about bringing “pride” and “honor” to the cruiserweight division but met his biggest resistance in the form of his opponent this Sunday. The champion claimed he would “make an example” out of his challenger and make him “relevant”.

Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott called his rival a “coward”, stating on an even playing field “he is better” than the champion, and will beat him the next time they go one-on-one for the title. The reason for Scott’s confidence is clear – he is the only man in NXT to pin Santos Escobar. His first win was in the Cruiserweight Tournament, in April, then in a 6-Man Tag Team Match last month. The most recent singles match the two had, the leader of El Legado del Fantasma, won under dubious circumstances – he used a ‘loaded’ Lucha mask to knock the number one contender out to pin him.

This match is all or nothing for the challenger, he’s done a lot of talking, he has to back it up on his TakeOver debut. This is his second title shot, in five weeks, and if he fails to win the championship – it will be to the back of the line for him. Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott is extremely talented, he’s featured more prominently on NXT lately, his out of the ring activities are being showcased, it looks like he in line for a push. Sunday would be the perfect time to pull the trigger and make NXT “Swerve’s House”.

Kushida must win at NXT TakeOver 31

Since making his debut, on the Black and Gold brand in April last year, Kushida hasn’t had the best of time. He’s suffered from inconsistent booking and was sidelined for three months, after injuring his wrist last October. He was then absent from television, between May and August this year, when he returned – he was brutally attacked by the Velveteen Dream after the Triple Threat Match that also included Cameron Grimes.

After missing a few weeks, Kushida made an explosive return, attacking the Velveteen Dream – displaying aggression we haven’t seen from his in NXT. Kushida had a new attitude – it was great to see that level of intensity in a superstar that was aimlessly drifting along on Wednesday’s night without making an impact. On the Go-Home show for TakeOver 31, Kushida made quick work out of Tony Nese – his ruthlessness was on display once again.

The Velveteen Dream is a great dance partner for the former Time Spitter, the master of Purple Rainmaker performs as if his life depends on it at TakeOver events. Kushida hasn’t had the opportunity to have a break out performance – this has to be his moment – he’s far too talented to be lost in the shuffle.

There is no point in giving Kushida a new lease of life if he loses the first TakeOver match in his NXT career; it is imperative that he goes over this Sunday or fans will have no reason to believe in the new version of him. Velveteen Dream won’t be damaged in defeat. It is Kushida’s time to shine.

Finn Balor puts his title on the line at NXT TakeOver 31

Yes, the man who has won the most matches in TakeOver history, does need to retain his NXT Championship against Kyle O’Reilly this Sunday.

During his first run as champion, The Prince held the gold for 292 days – he should have a reign similar this time around. Previous champions – Keith Lee and Kevin Kross (injury forced him to relinquish the title) didn’t hold the gold for long – the belt feels more prestigious if it is held for an extended period.

Kyle O’Reilly is a brilliant wrestler – this will be his breakout moment as a singles star in NXT – but this is Balor’s time – he has to start his second spell as champion with a win. Finn Balor put over his adversary verbally, in the build-up to this collision, that’s where the generosity should end. The Undisputed Era representative will put up a hell of a  fight however it won’t be enough to beat the Irishman – who won’t be letting his title go anytime soon.

Next. 5 things that must happen at NXT TakeOver 31. dark

This will be Finn Balor’s first title defense, since regaining the title last month, it would damage his credibility if he loses it straight away.