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WWE NXT preview (May 27, 2015): Smoke & Brimstone not required

Alexa Bliss on Instagram

Last Week

A parking lot attack on Hideo Itami lead to major shoulder surgery, and a Triple Threat became a one-on-one match to determine the next official contender for the NXT title. A procession of equally selfie-obsessed models was no match for the latest incarnation of The Demon, though, and Finn Bálor is once again #1 contender. An honor that once belonged to Tyler Breeze, and for which he still hasn't received a singles shot at the champ.

The Japanese Superstar's wasn't the only real-life injury that impacted the men's main event scene. Sami Zayn valiantly showed up for his chance to reclaim the belt from Kevin Owens - and got in a lot more offense than many of us suspected he would. But an ill-advised charge turned into yet another Pop-Up Powerbomb, and Owens vs. Zayn II ended just like their first NXT bout...with medical staff checking on The Likeable One. The difference came afterwards, when Sami was saved from multiple chair shots on his bum shoulder by a debuting Samoa Joe.

While the former Ring of Honor & TNA champ got off to a good start rediscovering his mojo, Rhyno wasn't able to get a win over a heelishly motivated Baron Corbin. The dark side didn't help Emma get her groove back, though. Despite darkening her hair and making the names of her signature spots less cutesy. She & Dana Brooke came up short against the Super-Friends team of Bayley & Charlotte.

He didn't change his character much, but Enzo Amore came out for his & Colin Cassady's match against the tag champs like a new man, hitting big spots and selling like crazy. It seemed like Unstoppable's lone title change might have been in the cards, too, but Blake & Murphy rebounded from being rejected by Carmella by adding Alexa Bliss to the team. The former Sparkle Princess paid immediate dividends, too, when she attacked the Hottest Chick in the Ring and stopped one last babyface comeback from 'Zo to help the Dubstep Cowboys keep their belts.

Didn't match matter what any of the females, or wrestlers of either gender, did with the Women's title match stealing the show. Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch put on a clinic that left both their arms as kayfabe banged up as Zayn & Itami's are in real life. BEX's intestinal fortitude converted the millions who knew she was a great wrestler but thought she was missing something, but that was the only victory she got last Wednesday. A Bank Statement earned the champ another successful title defense, and further cemented her reputation as one of the best pro wrestlers in the world today.

This Week

Starting with the ladies, the Women's division is an embarrassment of riches for an hour-long show. Since The Nature Girl still didn't make the move to Raw this week, The Boss not only has the lass who took her to the limit circling her title, but the former champ and a pair of previous top contenders in Bayley & Emma. How General Manager William Regal decides who gets next crack at Banks will be an interesting part of the next several shows.

Bálor may be the next man on the books for a shot at KO's crown, but he wasn't the talk of wrestling over the last week like the man whose music was playing when the latest TakeOver wrapped. And as you can see in this promo - which also shows that a motivated Joe is as dynamite on the stick as he is in the squared circle - that guy isn't planning on doing a whole lot of waiting in line:

The other NXT championship feud should continue, and the increased presence of Bliss and Carmella should both spice things up and solidify each woman's character. If this promo is any indication, unstoppable forces will continue to collide post-Unstoppable...

Beyond that? Is this the night Tye Dillinger's character from the house shows arrives on television? Will someone unlock the room The Vaudevillains have been locked in? Who will Prince Pretty beef with while Hideo's on the shelf?

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). 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.

What are you excited for as NXT turns the page and starts building new stories for the next TakeOver?

Let us know below, and stick around to chat about WWE's best show during and after it airs tonight!

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