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WWE NXT preview (December 2, 2015): Drifting upstream

Enzo Amore on Instagram

Their Thanksgiving eve show continued to move pieces into place for TakeOver: London in two weeks...while at the same time feeling like a major event itself thanks to the big Eva Marie angle culminating with her main event title shot at Bayley.

With only two matches official for the December 16 live show, here's what we're thinking about heading into the second episode made from the most recent taping in Florida.

WWE NXT: Enzo Amore & Big Cass Attack Dash & Dawson

#EnzoAmore and #BigCass do NOT have patience for #SAWFT #TagTeamChamps! #HowYouDoin #WWENXT

Posted by WWE NXT on Friday, November 27, 2015
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Are Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady the latest recipients of the kind of delayed push to the top that NXT used for mega-popular babyfaces like Sami Zayn and Bayley?

Most of us had the New York/New Jersey duo pencilled in for a tag title win when the promotion hit Brooklyn last August. Instead, they were bumped to the equivalent of the pre-show, partnering up with Hype Bros to defeat current champs Dash & Dawson and a duo that now rivals them for most over in the division, Chad Gable & Jason Jordan.

A disappointing showing in the Dusty Rhodes Classic tournament followed, although the Realest Guys were eliminated by eventual winners (and current rivals for the NXT title) Samoa Joe & Finn Bálor. It was in defeating one of the surprise finals teams on the first show after the tourney that Enzo & Cass returned to prominence. Their win over Dash & Dawson set them up for a retaliatory sneak attack, establishing the tactic which would win them the titles when they put Big Cass on the shelf by targeting his knee.

Last week, the champs were celebrating the latest victory in a string of them when the Certified G & the seven-footer returned to give them a taste of their own medicine...and setting Enzo & Cass up for their first title shot since losing to BAMF last Summer.

Trick: I've been spelling "soft" wrong with these two for years now, so I have to wonder if their time in NXT is winding down and, if so, why they should be carrying tag gold as we head into 2016.

Amore & Cassady are in that weird position where they feel too big for the feeder system and too unknown for the main roster. Dash & Dawson are just getting some traction as champs, and the focus seems to be on building Gable & Jordan now that they've been turned as opposed to giving the spotlight once more to the Realest Guys.

Are those kinds of meta/booking questions enough to sell this feud to NXT's smark audience?

Tip: Whatever layers are added to a Mechanics vs. Zo & Cass feud by questions about either teams' prospects on Raw are all well and good, and no booker is going to argue with something that gets fans invested in the product. But they'll keep the focus on the kayfabe story of a more mature and pissed off Realest Guys seeking revenge for Dash & Dawson's cowardly-if-pragmatic assault from late October.

It pains me to admit it, but I hope the titles stay with the current champs. I enjoy the old school villainy of Dash & Dawson, and think they deserve a chance to establish themselves with a decent run. Plus the eventual matches with Jordan & Gable will be dynamite - especially if the amateur standouts figure out their good guy characters over the coming months.

A feud with Big Cass & the Smacktalker Skywalker buys them time to do that, and can be paid off in a way that the champs get their comeuppance in the form of a beating and maybe even a John Cena-esque mocking promo rather than a title loss.

The consolation prize for the babyfaces is a trip to the bigs, where the dominant tag team is in desperate need of a duo that can battle them on the microphone - and pop the crowd such that they forget how much they want to cheer The New Day.

Sounds like a job for the Realest Guys.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- She overcame the odds when it seemed like the fix was in for Eva Marie, but even though Bayley kept her title - she also caught a beating from Nia Jax. How will the Hugster respond, and do we now have a match for London?

- In the other women's feud, Dana Brooke & Emma's plan to get back at Asuka for her (pretty humilating) wins over the Killer Barbie worked when the Aussie snuck up on the division's new star and put her in a submission hold. That can't be their final plan, however...and it won't be something Asuka takes lying down.

- Finn Bálor still has the NXT title, but his old buddy Joe just might have the Irishman's number. At last week's contract signing, the Samoan Submission Machine once again took advantage of the champ and put him to sleep with a choke hold.

- They only traded words last week, but the personal issue between Apollo Crews and Baron Corbin is now an official match for TakeOver.

- As you can see above, Elias "The Drifter" Sampson is poised to join the ranks of Bull Dempsey and Tye Dillinger as name brand enhancement talent. But maybe a clever song about past NXT champs will help him break through where those guys haven't?

Note: I know some folks have come looking for a more definitive match listing - we strictly avoid NXT spoilers here at Cageside central (except when we don't, like right here). 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 in the results thread.  If anyone wants to put a match listing in the comments, please use spoiler tags.

What tips do you have for NXT as it races into the future?

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