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WWE NXT preview (January 21, 2015): All-around game

Last Week really easy to recap.  One hour, four matches.

The story coming into the opener was that Tyson Kidd was maybe looking past Finn Bálor based on his recently getting heavy exposure all across the WWE Universe for his work here and on E!  And that may have just come back to bite him on his cat-loving ass, because after neither man could stay in the driver's seat for long, the Irishman escaped a Sharpshooter and proceeded to finish the FACT-man off.

Only one person got an interview last week, and that person was...Bull Dempsey?  He said all the right things and sounded good doing it.  Unfortunately for him, his promo lasted almost as long as he did against Baron Corbin,  After some initial brawling, the throwback missed his flying headbutt and got yanked right into an End of Days.

Things felt a little rushed for the women of NXT.  Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Natalya and Charlotte worked hard, but weren't entirely in synch.  That they only got a main roster-amount of time didn't help much either.  The takeaway was that The Boss got a pin on the Women's champ.  So, go Team BAE!  And the new #1 contender for Ms. Flair's belt might be the same as the previous one.

Main event time saw Adrian Neville exercise his rematch for the NXT strap against Sami Zayn.  While these two had a lot to live up to after their classic at R Evolution, they managed to deliver something that felt fresh.  Each man was one step ahead of his opponent, but the champ - motivated by his Zayniacs - found the extra gear and won his first defense.

Then that ratfink Kevin Owens appeared out of nowhere and Pop-up Powerbombed him into next week.  At least he landed on a flat surface this time.

This Week

We might not know what's coming at the next live event - the show that has the dubious challenge of following R Evolution - but we know when it's coming.  We're less than a month away from the next Takeover on February 11th.

Actually, I allowed myself a small piece of spoiler knowledge that didn't seem like a big deal at the time.  It seemed like a foregone conclusion.  But now that they've announced that a tournament to determine the #1 contender to Zayn's crown starts tonight, I kind of wish I'd skipped even that little bite from the tree of foreknowledge.  But no matter, assuming the names you'd think will be in the tourney...Bálor, Hideo Itami, Tyler Breeze, Tyson Kidd, Owens and Curtis Axel (I'm not the only one hoping for THE AXE MAN, am I?)...a slightly spoiled result won't ruin what should be a slammin' few weeks.

What I really hope we get is a lot more definition to what amounts to NXT's mid-card.  It's hard for a classify anything on a show that only has an hour a week as unimportant, but that's how things like the newer acts, the tag scene and, yes, even the Women's division have been treated of late.

It's time for advancement on the Port Authority storyline (Carmella is totally a heel, amitrite? Howudoin?).  Where has Marcus Louis been?  What will come of Tye Dillinger & Jason Jordan's oft-discussed but rarely seen communication issues?  Where have Wesley Blake & Buddy Murphy been?  Can the tag champs show some character?  Is Sin Cara even still on the NXT roster?

We love you NXT.  But having seen what you can do with the coolest toys with all the gadgets on them, we want to see you do the same thing to the whole toy box.

(Note: I know some folks have come looking for a more definitive match listing - we strictly avoid NXT spoilers here at Cageside central. If releases or the performers tweet more information on anything that's officially going to take place on tonight's show, that'll be updated here.  If anyone wants to put a match listing in the comments, please use spoiler tags.)

It's not reasonable to expect every Wednesday night to be like the debut, but maybe NXT can wow us with a different kind of show - one that will make it a more well-rounded product.

Either way, they know they've got us.  Watch along with your fellow NXT-ophiles tonight at 8PM Eastern, and look for my attempt to not give the episode another 'A' grade after that!

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