Though it seems as though other matches may likely be added to the card ahead of Saturday as there are currently only six matches set for the event. It is also possible that there will not be any other matches added and the matches that are announced could be getting a ton of time. This would be the first official premium event under the creative direction of Triple H. Remember normally on the original NXT Takeover events each match especially the major matches were given a ton of time to really put on display why they are the featured matches.
An NXT inclusion is always a possibility to try and elevate the youngsters on the developmental brand. Planning and placement will really put on display the plan for the rest of the year and I expect some unexpected matches to get real time to be on display and correct more of the past damage. One name missing from the card that has been busy on Raw is United States Champion Bobby Lashley. Lashley has been busy with Miz, Ciampa, and AJ Styles in recent weeks so it could be expected to see the United States Champion featured on the card.
Honestly, I can't pinpoint one or two stars that will be elevated or are expected to put in a career making performance. It is expected that Triple H will look to elevate and or correct the career path of individuals that suffered under Vince McMahon. Riddle has been hitting his strides in recent weeks and is one many helping to create a bit more depth on top for WWE in the coming year. Based on his reign as UK Champion Gunther has the track record to become the most dominant Intercontinental Champion in recent memory and I believe Hunter will be looking to that reasonable plan. Especially the draw of Pete Dunne floating in the background as a viable challenger for Gunther if things continue with Sheamus.
Two of the most talked about matches on the card are the Undisputed Universal Championship contest with Roman Reigns defending against Drew McIntyre. The other match is Bayley, Dakota Kai, Io Sky up against Raw Women's Champion Bianca Belair, Asuka, and Alexa Bliss. Expect the spotlight to be turned up bright on this match and the biggest question will be answered will Drew McIntyre finally be the one to dethrone Roman Reigns.
At first it seemed like the yearly draft was set to take place following the upcoming Clash at the Castle event in Cardiff. However, it seems like those place might be on hold for the time being as the draft is going to happen after Clash at the Castle as of now. The timing does make sense due to the current crop of changes taking place within WWE, but at the same time the old placement of the draft made so much more sense. During the original split and for a time before Smackdown moved to Fox the draft would take place soon after Wrestlemania.
Considering the idea of brand vs brand at Survivor Series it seems a bit shortsighted to have new members of a brand competing against one another so soon after joining a brand. I would like to acknowledge the fact that with the unification matches that have taken place this year it seems like the battle for brand supremacy might be a thing of the past as they can't do champion vs champion anymore. However, moving the draft to earlier in the year would allow for talent to be a on brand for longer and create more loyalty rather then an expectation of loyalty.
In the past the draft was soon after Wrestlemania which in effect would keep the fans interest following Wrestlemania as the company would be hitting the reset button to shake things up following the "season finale." I still remember the old commercials where Vince would say "It's time to shake things up again." I know that this may put off the NXT call ups, but it would also allow for NXT wrestlers to call up during the year outside of the draft. This may end up allowing for NXT call ups to once again be a special surprise rather than something anticipated or expected.
A video has been circulating with Paul Heyman taking center stage offering advice to the recruits who hope to make themselves stick out from within the WWE. Sell me your name is what Paul Heyman implored the recruits to try and stick and get those who were running the show to remember them. Since the retirement announcement from Vince McMahon news has been spreading about the likelihood of Paul Heyman taking a more active role in creative due to his friendship with Stephanie and Hunter. In the past when Heyman was given minor control of Raw you saw a small piece of his plan to establish young stars, but he was never given enough control to allow his vision to take shape.
Heyman has always been a creative genius and an expert at getting the most out of the least. Hiding the negatives and exploiting the positives of wrestlers. Heyman isn't perfect, but being kept focused and being given a direction where he doesn't have to do everything will only make Heyman that much better. Triple H has shown what he can do on a lower level within the ranks of NXT developing the brand into something special much more than anyone expected.
For the last forty years the WWE has had one direction fixated on the simple concept of sports entertainment. At its height NXT was pro-wrestling and the polar opposite of WWE, but the reality is the main company is at its best when they find a balance. The first goal should be setting up a white board in the office with Wrestlemania and Summerslam the main points and building backwards. The amount of times that I've heard stories about Vince McMahon building backward from a Wrestlemania aka long term booking it used to be commonplace. Triple H has more of an old school approach and with that comes a likely return to long term booking.
Having multiple avenues is a perk, but micromanaging week to week is a danger to any business especially in television. A story arch is something commonplace in television and pro-wrestling having no direction or story arch makes having "storylines" pointless, because what ends up being the payoff. Wrestling still fits the simple formula: every feud ends with a payoff and the weekly television is supposed to build and give fans a reason to watch the PPVs. I have doubts especially with Heyman's help Triple H will adjust well into his new position and that by Wrestlemania next year we should be seeing a new vision for the WWE that leads the company into a brighter future.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present