–WWE NXT TakeOver: Chicago features stars from the NXT brand, nominally the developmental level of the promotion.
–NXT TakeOver: Chicago will be held at the Allstate Arena in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Illinois
–‘NXT TakeOver: Chicago’ will take place on Saturday, June 16 beginning at 8 PM Eastern on the WWE Network
The WWE ‘Money in the Bank 2018’ event isn’t the only major pro wrestling card scheduled for the upcoming weekend. The WWE’s NXT brand will have the spotlight on Saturday via the ‘NXT TakeOver: Chicago’ event, also being held at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. As far as the mainstream is concerned it’s a lower profile event than the ‘WWE Money in the Bank 2018’ card but serious pro wrestling geeks are well aware that it could end up being much better event in terms of match quality.
One of the more intelligent things that the WWE has done over the past decade or so has been the creation of ‘developmental territories’. NXT is nominally the WWE’s current ‘developmental territory’ but more about that in a moment. The ‘developmental territory’ would historically be a smaller promotion such as Florida Championship Wrestling or Ohio Valley Wrestling. On one level, these promotions were run like many other US independent promotions but unlike other ‘indies’ the endgame was to develop talent specifically for the WWE. It served a number of important functions for Vince McMahon and company: it gave inexperienced but promising wrestlers a place to hone their in-ring and promo skills on a smaller ‘stage’, older wrestlers that were hard pressed to handle the tortuous grind of full time in ring work were often sent there to share their skills and experience with the younger talent and it gave aspiring ‘out of the ring’ talent from referees to ring announcers a place to ‘learn the ropes’. Established WWE stars could go there to rehab after an injury or just to stay busy until the ‘big promotion’ had a new program for them.
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
If you’re muttering to yourself ‘wow, that sounds like the ‘old school’ NWA territory system’ you are 100% correct. Prior to the WWE’s expansion which led to the consolidation of the pro wrestling industry things were run much differently. Pro wrestling in North America was split into a number of territories owned by individual promoters. Many of these promoters belonged to the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) which was part professional organization part mob family. Promoters would only run shows in “their” areas (usually a state or region) and wouldn’t do so in areas under the auspices of other friendly promoters (a relative term if ever their was one). Most wrestlers would spend time in one promotion and after their act got stale they’d move to one of the other promotions. This created a situation where new faces were always coming into the mix which kept wrestlers busy and the product fresh. Young wrestlers could gain experience in a smaller territory like Don Owen’s Portland circuit before moving up to a bigger organization like Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling which ran in the Carolinas and Virginia.
There is definitely some irony in Vince McMahon trying to re-invent a business model that he’s often blamed for destroying. Vince understands the history of the wrestling business, however, and he understood that there were some big upsides of the way things ‘used to be run’. Over the past two decades the WWE used several pre-existing promotions to develop talent but in 2012 they brought that in house. The NXT brand was created to fill the vacuum left by the closing of Florida Championship Wrestling and in the years since has become very popular in its own right. In fact, there are some things that the NXT brand does better than the ‘major brands’ of RAW and Smackdown.
NOT YOUR TYPICAL DEVELOPMENTAL PROMOTION
It’s debatable if NXT actually *is* a developmental territory. The wrestling media often treats it as such and will report that a NXT wrestler is ‘being brought up to the main roster’ when he joins RAW or Smackdown. Although there are plenty of ‘developing’ talents working in NXT there’s also a ton of serious talent with a wealth of experience. There are plenty of veteran wrestlers on the NXT roster ranging from ‘solid pros’ like Chris Hero aka Casssius Ono to someone like Ricochet who is a legit international star already and on a short list of the most ridiculously talented wrestlers on the planet.
Semantics aside, NXT has become known for their high quality of wrestling. In reality, it’s a different type of wrestling than the prototypical ‘WWE product’ with more in common with the better independent promotions or the top pro wrestling organizations in Japan. The emphasis is on in-ring work and the feuds and storylines have a more ‘old school’ feel. It’s more of an ‘adult product’–not in the way that the ‘Attitude Era’ WWE was an ‘adult product’ but NXT lets the wrestling itself take center stage. To be fair, the quality of wrestling in the WWE proper has shown marked improvement in the past few years. You can’t have guys like Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Hideo Itamai (aka KENTA), Finn Balor (aka Prince Devitt) and Daniel Bryan (aka Bryan Danielson) on the roster and not have decent wrestling. Even so, the business model of the WWE in-ring product just isn’t as intense as that found in New Japan, Ring of Honor–or NXT.
With the match card scheduled for NXT TakeOver:Chicago its virtually impossible for it to be a bad show. The last time that a WWE match earned a five star rating from the Wrestling Observer Newletter’s majordomo Dave Meltzer was 2011 (CM Punk vs. John Cena at ‘Money in the Bank 2011’). NXT has had three of them this year including two on the previous ‘NXT TakeOver’ show held in New Orleans. Two of these matches involved Johnny Gargano–against Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia in January and against Tomasso Ciampa at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans in April. You can make a strong case that the Ciampa v. Gargano feud has been the best anywhere in the sport during 2018–it’s definitely a very intense and ‘old school’ rivalry. The rematch of Ciampa vs. Gargano is the main event on this card. The other NXT five star match was a six man ladder match on the NXT TakeOver: New Orleans card and three of the wrestlers who competed in that match (Ricochet, The Velveteen Dream and Lars Sullivan) are on the card in Chicago.
In other words, NXT TakeOver: Chicago is pretty close to a ‘can’t miss’ event. Here’s the betting odds on the full NXT Takeover: Chicago card along with some prop bets. I’ve also got some ‘cross promotional’ props that will compare this event with Sunday’s WWE ‘Money in the Bank 2018’ event. Yeah, I know they’re technically not “different promotions” but you get the point:
NXT TAKEOVER: CHICAGO PRO WRESTLING BETTING ODDS
NXT TAKEOVER: CHICAGO MATCH BETTING ODDS
Aleister Black: -250
Lars Sullivan: +210
NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
The Undisputed Era: -350
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch: +300
NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Shayna Bazler: -350
Nikki Cross: +300
Velveteen Dream: +180
CHICAGO STREET FIGHT
Tomasso Ciampa: -150
Johhny Gargano: +130
NXT TAKEOVER: CHICAGO NXT/WWE CROSS PROMOTIONAL STAR RATINGS PROPS
WHICH WILL BE HIGHER?
Highest star rated match on the ‘NXT TakeOver: Chicago’ PPV: -350
Highest star rated match on the WWE ‘Money in the Bank 2018’ PPV +1.5 stars: +300
WHICH WILL BE HIGHER?
Highest star rated match on the ‘NXT TakeOver: Chicago’ PPV: -210
Highest star rated match on the WWE ‘Money in the Bank 2018’ PPV +1 star: +180
WHICH WILL BE HIGHER?
Average star rating on the ‘NXT TakeOver: Chicago’ PPV: -750
Average star rating on the WWE ‘Money in the Bank 2018’ PPV: +600
WHICH WILL BE HIGHER?
Average star rating on the ‘NXT TakeOver: Chicago’ PPV: -350
Average star rating on the WWE ‘Money in the Bank 2018’ PPV +1 star: +300
WHICH WILL BE HIGHER?
Total stars awarded for the ‘NXT TakeOver: Chicago’ PPV +10 stars: -250
Total stars awarded for the WWE ‘Money in the Bank 2018’ PPV: +210
WHICH WILL BE LOWER?
Lowest star rated match on the ‘NXT TakeOver: Chicago’ PPV: +300
Lowest star rated match on the WWE ‘Money in the Bank 2018’ PPV: -350
All of the above star rating cross promotional props will be based on the above five referenced ‘NXT TakeOver Chicago’ matches and 11 ‘Money in the Bank’ matches designated in our final ‘MITB’ odds report. Any additional matches will be disregarded for the purpose of the star rating bets.
NXT TAKEOVER: CHICAGO STAR RATINGS PROPS
THE WRESTLING OBSERVER/DAVE MELTZER’S STAR RATING FOR THE NXT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH?
Over 4 stars: +150
4 stars: +115
Under 4 stars: +150
THE WRESTLING OBSERVER/DAVE MELTZER’S STAR RATING FOR THE NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH?
Over 3.5 stars: +135
3.5 stars: +115
Under 3.5 stars: +175
THE WRESTLING OBSERVER/DAVE MELTZER’S STAR RATING FOR THE NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH?
Over 3 stars: +145
3 stars: +125
Under 3 stars: +145
THE WRESTLING OBSERVER/DAVE MELTZER’S STAR RATING FOR THE RICOCHET VS. VELVETEEN DREAM MATCH?
Over 4 stars: +145
4 stars: +125
Under 4 stars: +145
THE WRESTLING OBSERVER/DAVE MELTZER’S STAR RATING FOR THE CHICAGO STREET FIGHT MATCH?
Over 4.5 stars: +135
4.5 stars: +140
Under 4.5 stars: +135
THE WRESTLING OBSERVER/DAVE MELTZER’S HIGHEST MATCH STAR RATING AT ‘NXT TAKEOVER: CHICAGO’ WILL BE?
4.5 stars or Over: -180
Under 4.5 stars +150
THE WRESTLING OBSERVER/DAVE MELTZER’S LOWEST MATCH STAR RATING AT ‘NXT TAKEOVER: CHICAGO’ WILL BE?
Over 3 stars: -180
3 Stars or under: +150
THE WRESTLING OBSERVER/DAVE MELTZER’S AVERAGE STAR RATING AT ‘NXT TAKEOVER: CHICAGO’ WILL BE?
3.75 stars or more: -210
Under 3.75 stars +180
THE WRESTLING OBSERVER/DAVE MELTZER’S TOTAL STARS AWARDED AT ‘NXT TAKEOVER: CHICAGO’ WILL BE?
20 stars or more: -250
Under 20 stars +210
WILL ANY ‘NXT TAKEOVER: CHICAGO’ MATCH BE AWARDED A RATING OF FIVE STARS OR HIGHER BY THE WRESTLING OBSERVER/DAVE MELTZER?
All star rating props will be based on the above five referenced matches on the ‘NXT TakeOver: Chicago which were the listed ‘official’ matches as of the time of this writing. Any additional matches will be disregarded for the purpose of the star rating bets.