One night before the Royal Rumble, NXT and NXT UK will go head-to-head in Worlds Collide.
Sparks are sure to fly in the Toyota Center in Houston, TX, as both brands battle for supremacy and bragging rights. Regardless of who comes out victorious, however, it will surely be a hard act to follow.
Let’s take a look at each match-up and see who I picked to walk out the winners Saturday night!
Pre-Show: Mia Yim vs. Kay Lee Ray
Kicking things off is the only match currently scheduled to be on the pre-show.
Yim and Ray have a bit of history with each other, dating back to their days on the independent circuit. They were even a tag team at one point, but all that went up in flames once both women were signed to WWE.
On the November 13th episode of NXT, the NXT UK Women’s Champion interfered in a ladder match between Yim and Io Shirai that was going to determine which team gained the advantage in WarGames. Ray pushed Yim off the ladder, sending her crashing onto another one positioned outside the ring and helping Shirai pick up the win for her team.
This one should be a pretty good start to the show, but I don’t like that it had to be on the pre-show, to begin with. It could have easily been on the main card, but I digress. I’m picking Ray to win this one; having her lose would not help her at all, especially as the champion.
So, as much as I love Yim, I’m giving this one to the NXT UK Women’s Champion.
Winner: Kay Lee Ray
Finn Balor vs. Ilja Dragunov
Up next is a match-up that is sure to be one of the hardest hitting of the night.
Returning to NXT has breathed new life into Balor’s career, giving him the opportunities to show why he was severely underused on the main roster. Over in NXT UK, Dragunov has been quite busy in his own right. Most recently he joined forces with Gallus in a rivalry against Imperium. He even defeated Alexander Wolfe in a brutal no-disqualification match on the January 2nd episode of NXT UK.
I think this one has the potential to steal the show on Saturday night. Both men are out to prove why they should be taken seriously and will stop at nothing to do so. While picking Balor would be the easy choice, I’m actually going to go with Dragunov. Between the two of them, I just think he needs the win more.
Balor will put up quite the fight, but after the dust settles, Dragunov will walk out victorious.
Winner: Ilja Dragunov
#DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa) vs. Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate)
Then we come to a tag team bout that has “match of the night” written all over it.
On the January 15th edition of NXT, Gargano came to Ciampa’s rescue after another attack at the hands of The Undisputed Era. This led to Seven and Bate issuing a challenge to the two on Twitter shortly after, which they accepted.
This is going to be a battle of two of the best tag teams in both NXT and NXT UK. Each team has put on absolute clinics over the years, which means this match should be no different. I could pick either team to win and it wouldn’t be a problem, so I’m going with Gargano and Ciampa. Them reuniting is a big deal and them losing wouldn’t really make a whole lot of sense here.
So, while Moustache Mountain would be a good pick here also, the edge goes to #DIY.
NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Angel Garza (c.) vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Jordan Devlin vs. Travis Banks
Up next is a fatal four-way match to determine the top dog of the cruiserweights.
Garza has been riding a wave of momentum since winning the title from Lio Rush last month, but he has quite the challenge in front of him. Scott earned his opportunity by defeating Rush and Tyler Breeze, while Devlin defeated Ligero and Banks beat The Brian Kendrick.
This match is definitely going to be high-energy and wildly entertaining. I’ve written before about how Scott is going to be NXT’s next breakout star, and I still stand by that statement. But as much as I would love him to win the title here, taking it off Garza after only a month isn’t the right choice.
Someday it will be Swerve’s time, but for now the champion retains.
Winner: Angel Garza
NXT Championship: Rhea Ripley (c.) vs. Toni Storm
Then we take a look at a battle for the NXT Championship.
Ripley and Storm are no stranger to one another; each have beaten the other for the NXT UK Women’s Championship. After losing the title to Storm at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool, Ripley moved over to NXT and took its women’s division by storm. It was capped off on the December 18th edition of NXT, where she dethroned Shayna Baszler for the NXT Championship.
On the other hand, Storm has been working on gaining back momentum after two big losses. The first was when she lost the NXT UK Women’s Championship to Kay Lee Ray back at NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff. Then, she failed to recapture the title in a triple threat match against Ray and Piper Niven at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II.
I think this is a rather easy pick: Ripley is going to retain the title. She’s not going to lose it any time soon, and that includes against Bianca Belair at NXT TakeOver: Portland.
While Storm will surely put up a fight (and possibly use some underhanded tactics in the process), The Nightmare will reign supreme in Houston.
Winner: Rhea Ripley
The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly, & Bobby Fish) vs. Imperium (Walter, Fabian Aichner, Marcel Barthel, and Alexander Wolfe)
Finally, we come to a war between the top two factions in NXT and NXT UK.
Both teams have been at odds in recent weeks, especially when The Undisputed Era attacked Imperium at the end of NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II. Imperium returned the favor on this week’s episode of NXT, ending the show in an all-out brawl after Strong lost the North American Championship to Keith Lee.
Tensions will be running high in this one, and no one will leave this match the same. The Undisputed Era have been dominating for a while now, but I don’t think it’s going to happen here. While they have already been established as a legitimate threat, I think Imperium just needs that final push and they’re going to get it on Saturday night.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @Shalenehixon21. Thanks for reading!