Last week's show tore Cageside Seats in two, as Eva Marie was held up as everything from the future of women's wrestling to a waste of airtime, and everything in between.
Can just a normal episode compare to the debut of "All Red Everything" (and some Irishman as NXT champ)? I mean, we're not even sure she'll be on the show!
NXT Tag Team Division
Simon Gotch & Aiden English have been here before. The Vaudevillains chased the Lucha Dragons when they were NXT tag champs, but despite being the most chivalrous heels in streaming wrestling show history, they could never win the big one. That they disappeared from our screens for months afterward lead many of us to believe that their window had closed. But a quick rehabilitation win put them opposite Enzo Amore & Colin Cassidy, themselves trying to earn another shot at their nemeses BAMF.
Popularity made The Realest Guys seemed destined for a run atop the tag division, but a loss to the 'Villains and reports of them travelling with the main roster raises the possibility that they pass on an accomplishment that, frankly, has never done anyone any favors and go straight to teaching Raw crowds how to recite their entrance promo.
Thanks to new pairings like Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley and Chad Gable & Jason Jordan, the scene is suddenly quite deep. A promotion for Enzo & Big Cass would allow one of those squads to enter the title chase, since there are plenty of enhancement teams like The Mechanics and Sawyer Fulton & Angelo Dawkins as well.
Tonight: Alexa Bliss' boys Blake & Murphy put their belts on the line against The Vaudevillians, getting English & Gotch's shot out of the way so someone else can have a chance, or a Triple Threat can go down, in Brooklyn.
The trick: Convincings us that Simon & Aiden are doing much more than killing time. NXT's tag division has been the place for shocking title changes before - very few predicted that the current champs would dethrone Kalisto & Sin Cara when they did - but BAMF's Kingdom routine still feels like it has miles to go.
NXT Women's Division
A win over Emma and post-match promo made it clear that we're getting Bayley's version of the Sami Zayn story over the next month or so. The Hugster called out her hero/rival Charlotte, and The Nature Girl accepted...once she takes care of self-proclaimed "Total Diva" Dana Brooke, whose been complaining for weeks that she doesn't get the same opportunities as Ric Flair's daughter.
Brooke's running buddy Emma had her program with Bayley abruptly end tonight, but not in a way that can't be revisited quickly down the road. And Char's mention of wanting to win the Women's title in order to take it to Raw would mean there are lots of possibilities for the division if queen Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch are remaining a part of it for the long haul.
Then there's my boss' new favorite wrestler, who was helped to victory last week by the training of The Brian Kendrick and the skill of her opponent, Cassie. I don't see the charisma Geno does, unless managing to somehow construct sentences like "In honor of Brian Kendrick, I hit sliced bread, or also known as, The Brian Kendrick" while reading off cue cards is charismatic. Anyway, good for her blah-blah-blah ratta-tah-tah, and we'll see if she really gets the year or so she'd need to reach competence or if she's going to be fast tracked to the top because of her
breasts 'reality' show connections winning personality.
Tonight: Charlotte gets her chance to fast-forward a feud, only unlike Bayley vs. Emma, this one has been so one-sided a lot of folks may not have even realised it was an ongoing thing.,
The trick: Can The Dirtiest Diva in the Game and the "Total Diva", two ladies whose work varies wildly depending on the quality of opponent, get a passable match out of one another? And since it seems safe to assume that the woman starring on the main roster will win tonight, what's Brooke's role going forward - especially with Eva working a similar angle to hers, on the same show?
Other stuff to keep an eye on:
- Last week's contract signing may have ended with another instance of former champ Kevin Owens scurrying away from a fight, but at least he apologized to General Manager William Regal for hitting him. Right?
- KO may not need them given it looks like he's feuding with Cesaro on the main shows, but current NXT champ Finn Bálor should probably get a match or two in on his road to defending the belt at TakeOver in three weeks.
- Since it seems like they were signed to sell tickets to live events more than to have a meaningful role on this show, Samoa Joe and Rhyno have a match scheduled for next week.
- Though they've already spoiled it at house shows and on Twitter, Regal has not yet officially responded to Tyler Breeze's demands for a big match in Brooklyn.
- Bull Dempsey may stll have a food addiction, or that may have joined the league of forgotten gimmicks with Marcus Louis' stalking of Prince Pretty and Baron Corbin having "presence".
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 - you can find one of those instances here). If WWE.com 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 tips would you offer NXT tonight?
Let us know, and be sure to come by tonight for the open thread and Reactions!