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WWE NXT preview (September 2, 2015): Making headlines

Leva Bates' Instagram

Following two shows of divergent quality in Brooklyn, NXT returns to their home turf of Winter Park, Florida's Full Sail Live tonight. Okay, they aren't actually there tonight - and between the swerves of one night of taping and the travel the brand has and will be doing, I'm not sure when tonight's episode was filmed exactly.

But I do know that this should mark a clear step into the future for Triple H's "Developmental my ass" promotion. Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Kevin Owens presumably said goodbye in New York City. Apollo Crews joined the band, while Bayley, Aiden English and Simon Gotch assumed new roles.

How will this new era begin?

Tagging for the Dream

Largely, with a renewed focus on a suddenly deep and robust tag division. The rumored call-up of Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady doesn't look to be happening in the next couple of months, leaving them and the other three teams from last week's week eight man bout (Hype Bros, Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder and Chad Gable & Jason Jordan) available for The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, which kicks off with two matches tonight.

A full bracket or listing of teams for the event hasn't been publicized - in fact, we don't even know the identities of three-quarters of one of tonight's first round contests. We do know that former NXT tag champs The Ascension are back, possibly to job for a merging of former rivals in Baron Corbin & Rhyno. And former NXT titleholder (and two-time tag champ) Adrian Neville asked General Manager William Regal for a chance to honor The American Dream by participating. Regal granted his request, but we don't know who his partner will be...or who they'll be facing.

However many teams and rounds there end up being, the whole shebang will wrap on October 3 at the next live TakeOver show from Full Sail.

Tip: Don't overload the bracket with singles guys. In fact, cap it at The Lone Wolf & The Man-Beast and The Jumpin' Geordie & (pleasebeBopleasebeBopleasebeBo), with only one of those teams making it deep into the tourney. As with the women, this is a great opportunity for NXT to once again deliver on something the main roster often neglects. The Dusty Classic should make several teams and establish as many long running beefs between them. Don't spend too much of it on creating feuds for solo stars.


Despite a botched finish to last week's Fatal 4Way between Dana Brooke, Charlotte, Emma & Becky Lynch, NXT may have arrived at the right result. From the perspective of history and character, the Australian who pinned BEX in Brooklyn is the best challenger for Bayley's new reign atop WWE's most prestigious women's division.

Regarding the botch, many reports put the blame on Brooke. Her so-bad-it's-good character work aside, the trip to the Big Apple showed that it should be a little while before The Killah Barbie, Eva Marie or even Enzo & Cass' girl Carmella is ready for the spotlight. But tonight, the power behind former tag champs Blake & Murphy, Alexa Bliss, will get a chance to show that she can carry a match with her workrate as well as she does with her sexy heelishness when she looks for revenge against Ole Blue Pants.

By all reports, Leva Bates (the indy wrestler and cosplay enthusiast behind the BP gimmick) is not under contract to WWE, so her value as enhancement talent probably doesn't change tonight. Helping Bliss look great and maybe furthering The Vaudevillains program at the same time can't hurt her employment opportunities, though.

There's an opening for Nia Jax, regardless of how that match goes. The powers-that-be clearly have big plans for The Rock's other cousin as a monster heel-type in the women's scene, and if she can hold her own, a program with ultimate underdog The Hugster could be epic.

Tip: Start developing characters and angles for Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. The Shimmer alums can go, and they may be needed if Alexa's wrestling hasn't improved significantly, or Jax is a bust. Even if everything goes smoothly with all the current projects, the sooner NXT can get fans invested in the Australian duo, the better.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- He may have fallen to the Japanese legend on a show were babyfaces ruled the night, but Tyler Breeze - and WWE - isn't done with Jushin "Thunder" Liger.

- Bill Dumpster is fit, and he's looking to motivate people, and he's inherited Mojo Rawley's butt-based offense, and...sorry, Bull, I already don't care again.

- After delivering his finest match since joining NXT, Samoa Joe is talking title shot again. And if he can spit fire in promos and keep up the intensity he brought to his shotgunned feud with Corbin, I wouldn't even hate it if they did a face vs. face fight for honor-type deal between him and NXT champ Finn Bálor.

- Crews is excited to be on television, and needs a feud. His match with Tye Dillinger at TakeOver was competitive, and fun, enough that might be worth considering for an ongoing program.

- Plans to turn Solomon Crowe heel for a bout or two with Apollo or any NXT babyfaces may be on hold again, since his new house show valet got fired for being a bit too much of a villain in real life.

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 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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