While we debate the health and future of NXT, they're straight up selling out arenas. We'll get a better picture of what the show in that sold out arena, TakeOver: Brooklyn, will look like at 8PM Eastern on WWE Network.
Road to Redemption - all Red, with Hugs
Despite a really solid match last week, not that much has changed in this story. But, even in a transition state, the women remain the best thing about NXT, so...revolutionize that.
Bayley was nursing an arm injury and missed out on Stephanie McMahon being the savior of women's wrestling. Despite their call-up by the beneficent Missus Haitch, champion Sasha Banks, Charlotte & Becky Lynch are not done with Wednesday nights for good. As such, Izzy's favorite wrestler announced her intentions to make like Sami Zayn and vanquish her demons by clearing out the division on her way to Sasha's belt.
After an unsuccessful attempt to win back the Women's title from Banks, Charlotte dealt with the upstart Dana Brooke, and then answered Bayley's call. That prompted The Hugster to ask General Manager William Regal for a championship match, and she'll get it...provided she can clear one last hurdle in the Irishwoman from PCB.
The rest of the women's scene has kind of been shuffled off to the side to make room for this story arc, but given all the buzz about my boss' favorite wrestler, Eva Marie, is unlikely to be absent for much longer. The same probably can't be said for Brooke and her running buddy Emma, or the new girls Peyton Royce, Billie Kay & Nia Jax, who will probably have to wait until after August 22 to play a bigger role.
Though, word is that a woman may side with Aiden English & Simon Gotch in Brooklyn to counteract tag champ Blake & Murphy's manager Alex Bliss...but I think I've been convinced that that one-time honor will go to someone whose pants are blue.
Tonight: Bayley tries to clear the last level on her way to the final boss, or Boss, of NXT when she faces BEX.
The trick: Getting us to pretend we don't know how the match ends, for one thing. I have great confidence in these two women to tell a great story in the ring, and I wouldn't want to see any kind of swerve. But they need to keep it fresh...and they need to main event, as opposed to last week's upside down match order.
Kevin Owen is paranoid, or William Regal does his best Dario Cueto
In a moment that felt both like a throwback to this show's glory days and evidence of their over-reliance on one of those players, a sitdown interview with KO revealed that a couple of his brief interactions with the GM weren't throwaway moments, but a way to add a stipulation the men's championship rematch taking place in a week and a half.
A punch landed on Regal, and comments by the old villain after Owens apologized, have given the former champ reason to doubt his ability to fairly oversee his attempt to reclaim the title from Finn Bálor in New York. Since both the new and old titleholder are okay with the suggestion that a ladder match would keep things fair, the GM agreed.
For his part, Finn likes Legos, and is still thinking about putting on the make-up with which he's undefeated in WWE.
Tonight: The champ gets a tune-up against the French monster Marcus Louis. With one more show to go before TakeOver, a showdown with Owens is unlikely, but they'll almost certainly find a way to stick a microphone in KO's face to get his reaction to the ladder stip becoming official.
The trick: Leaning heavily on both the New York location and the new match type, two Big Kev specialities, and the best weapon in their arsenals to convince us that he has a chance in hell of ending Finn's reign after only a month and a half. Of course, that means letting him talk more - which is alway entertaining, but doesn't help Finn or anyone else in "Developmental" that needs to develop their mic skills.
Other stuff to keep an eye on:
- It's not quite the spot me and my fellow Uggos for Tyler mates have been pining for, but getting to face Jushin "Thunder" Liger in his first WWE appearance is a pretty big honor for Prince Pretty.
- 50/50 booking from the main roster has infected the NXT tag scene, as the team that beat former #1 contenders Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady a couple of weeks back, Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder, took a loss against Hype Bros- who are so far immune to that Creative approach. Mojo Rawley & Zack Ryder are still undefeated since joining forces.
- Enzo, Big Cass & Carmella were missing from last week's show, and they're still missing from WWE's plans for New York...despite their whole gimmick ensuring they'd be massively over there for NXT, SummerSlam or Raw. Chad Gable & Jason Jordan did diss them in their last promo, so I'm holding out hope that the cocky amateurs end up taking The Port Authority into Brooklyn (howudoin?).
- The Baron Corbin squashes will continue until morale improves. Or someone stands up to him. Or something.
- Bull Dempsey got the gang at the Performance Center to help him flip a big tire last week. Now if only someone will help him with his cardio...and his fashion choices.
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 in the results thread. If anyone wants to put a match listing in the comments, please use spoiler tags.