Tonight’s show is a two-hour special featuring action from NXT’s first show in Japan. with matches filmed on Dec. 3 from Edion Arena in Osaka.
Skipping my usual format, because this is pretty far from a usual show.
On the one hand, I love a good house show and am down with another one making its way onto WWE Network - however it happens.
On the other, we’ve already seen a lot of the main event... including the finish... and already watched the final chapter of the Shinsuke Nakamura/Samoa Joe feud (which we may be getting again as part of Jan. 4’s Melbourne-centric episode). Plus, the other matches they’re promising are a detour away from the road to TakeOver: San Antonio with exactly a month to go until that show and only two matches announced.
Let’s just say it doesn’t do much to dispel the notion NXT has turned into the “indie dream match” arm of the WWE empire.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
The excellent thing about it is that WWE’s reach gives them access to some really interesting talent who might not show up otherwise. The tag title match we’re getting on this episode (the first televised bout for Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa as champs, if I’m not mistaken) is a good example. #DIY vs. Akira Tozawa & Tajiri? Yes, please... and something which would never happen anywhere but a WWE brand ring.
Ditto that for Asuka vs. Nia Jax, which will be a nice check on the NXT Women’s champ’s ability to carry a match and Jax’s development (or regression) in working longer bouts since her promotion. And are you kidding me with Oney Lorcan vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas? If this was 2014 and their names were still Biff Busick and La Sombra we’d be making “have you seen my pants” jokes?
And then there’s Peyton Royce & Billie Kay vs. Aliyah & Liv Morgan, which... they can’t all be winners. And really that match is kind of like the NXT title bout: we’ve already seen it and weren’t blown away the first time.
Unfortunately, the two other matches from Osaka sound like they’ll be cut for time and/or not fitting into current storylines, which is a shame, because I miss The Revival (Dash & Dawson faced Tino Sabatelli & Riddick Moss) and Tye Dillinger vs. Bobby Roode (who battled in a Triple Threat with Elias Samson) is always fun.
Will we get any backstage interviews or video packages advancing current angles along with the Japan footage? Finding out will be part of the fun, I guess, along with some house show goodness and the always novel experience of seeing a new crowd react to NXT.
Looking forward to finding out along with you tonight, Cagesiders!
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