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NXT New Year’s Evil Predictions

by Rob Furness
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Over the last couple of months, NXT has been, for my money, the best wrestling that is happening on TV from start to finish. On Wednesday, January 6th, several storylines will culminate at NXT: New Year’s Evil. New Year’s Evil is a special episode, virtually a PPV-quality card on network TV, and includes several championships and stipulation matches. Last week, the complete match card was revealed by the event’s host, Dexter Lumis.

Regardless of the outcomes, the evening will undoubtedly be thrilling. However, it’s not fun to sit back and enjoy the show. No. I am a wrestling fan, dammit! And I have thoughts and opinions and a platform from which to spew them, so let’s predict the winners of New Year’s Evil!

NXT Cruiserweight Championship Match

Santos Escobar v Gran Metalik

Winner: Santos Escobar – Via shenanigans

Of all the matches on this card, this one probably is the least interesting as far as storytelling. If you missed it, last week Legado del Fantasma essentially said that they represented the best that Lucha libre wrestling had to offer. Well, wouldn’t you know it, Lucha House Party had some thoughts about that. Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado came out and a brawl erupted, which led to a match between Lucha House Part and Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde (such is tradition in wrestling). Lucha House Party won the match by pinfall. After the match, Metalik was doing the discount double-check in the ring, which is apparently grounds for an NXT title opportunity, so here we are.

All cynicism aside, this should be a good match. Legado del Fantasma – and more specifically, Santos Escobar – has a can’t-miss quality aura about them. Conversely, Gran Metalik is as talented as they come. While I think Escobar will win the match, the most significant variable is Lince Dorado. If he can prevent Mendoza and Wilde from interfering in this match successfully, Metalik might be able to pull off an upset (if you could call it that).

Last Woman Standing Match

Ribley v González - WWE.com

Winner: Raquel González

Honestly … I don’t know who wins this one. This is probably the only one in which I think it’s right down the middle. These two giants have been feuding for a while now, and finally, FINALLY, these best-friend-turned-enemies will battle in a Last Woman Standing Match. Last week, NXT aired a memorable match vignette that explored their history and the betrayal that led to this point. Chilling is the best word to describe it. There is a main-event match feel to this feud, and it really could be the first chapter in a long-storied rivalry.

Ultimately, I think González picks up the victory, and she ultimately moves on to dethrone Io Shirai. Maybe at that point, Ripley could then become the babyface in pursuit of a vendetta and championship. Regardless it’s going to be a great, physical match.

Fight Pit Match

Ciampa vs Thatcher - WWE.com

Winner: Timothy Thatcher

One recent development that I have thoroughly enjoyed in NXT is specific match types associated with individual wrestlers. The Undisputed Era has War Games, Dexter Lumis has the Strap Match, and Timothy Thatcher has the Fight Pit. The Fight Fit is similar to a cage match, but the only way to win is via tap out or KO. The rivalry between Tomaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher has been brewing ever since Ciampa took exception to Thatcher “taking liberties” with his trainees. They have been harassing each other ever since. Their last match at NXT: War Games was a bloody mess, but ultimately Ciampa proved to be victorious. Thatcher may have been defeated, but he wasn’t done. And now they will face off again, this time the match is firmly in favor of Thatcher. In his last Fight Pit match, Thatcher defeated Riddle via tap out.

I am going to be honest here: neither of these guys do anything for me. Thatcher is a great technical wrestler in a promotion that is absolutely stacked with them. And Ciampa is only now starting to grow on me. The IWC overhyped his whole NXT title run I thought, I just never got the appeal. Regardless, I enjoyed their last match, and I think that the added stipulation will enhance the viewing experience (and maybe bloodshed).

Karrion Kross vs. Damian Priest

Kross vs Priest - WWE.com

Winner: Karrion Kross

There is no way that Priest wins this match. He’s basically DOA. But that’s okay. It’s still going to be an excellent match between two big guys that can go. Kross is returning from injury after relinquishing his title due to injury a few months back. Now that he’s returned, I don’t think there’s anyone that can stop him from becoming a 2x NXT Champion. Priest is little more than a tune-up match for Kross’s eventual championship match. Don’t get me wrong, I like Priest. But ya know, when you’re the toughest guy in a small town and then you move to the big city and pick a fight with the toughest guy in the big city? Priest is the small town tough guy, and Kross is about to give him some perspective. (I personally don’t have any firsthand experience with being a tough guy, hence “JobberRobb.”) All that aside, Priest showed that he could hang with Kross for at least a little bit. Last week, the two of them brawled all around the ring before collapsing on some tables by the technical area.

NXT Championship Match

Balor v O'Reilly - WWE.com

Winner: Finn Balor

I know I said that González vs. Ripley was right down the middle, but the NXT title match is another one that feels very closely contested. Kyle O’Reilly earned the “privilege” of facing off against Finn Balor once again by defeating Pete Dunne a few weeks back. A lot has been said about KOR and Balor’s first meeting at War Games. Not so much by Balor because his jaw by a knee strike that landed just a bit too snug. However, the injury only adds more intrigue and fuel to this rivalry. Honestly, I want to see KOR capture the title. Mainly because I want to see him come out and do the guitar strumming on the NXT title, I also think it would be kind of interesting to see how Undisputed Era would handle having a former and current world champion in the ranks. Cole has been rather selfless in saying that there is no leader in the UE. However, the viewers at home can tell that’s not true. Regardless of who wins, they will have a tall task in fending off the inevitable wrath of Karrion Kross.

Other Surprises?

While there are only five matches on the card for New Year’s Evil, there are some noticeable absences, mainly the NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai. It seems like Toni Storm or Mercedes Martinez are next in line for a title shot after both staked their claim a few weeks ago. We also won’t see NXT Tag Team champions Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch defend their titles. The tag division is kind of in a state of rebuilding, but Killian Dain and Drake Maverick seem to be poised for an opportunity. Maybe we could see a match or two made the night of? Regardless, it should be an exciting night of wrestling. What are your predictions for New Year’s Evil? Leave your comment below!

Follow me on Twitter: @JobberRobb

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