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WWE NXT preview (Sept. 7, 2016): Free the Flame

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It’s the second show from Aug. 26’s taping at Full Sail (spoilers from which are here), where NXT will look to reset after TakeOver: Brooklyn II. Here's what to expect from the show.

The Headliner

There have been criticisms of NXT, including from yours truly, that the brand has a tendency to hide their champions. There’s definitely been evidence of this during Asuka’s Women’s title reign.

To their credit, they’re not hiding the Empress of Tomorrow in the wake of her second defeat of Bayley. She’ll be interviewed in the featured segment of the Sept. 7 episode. It’s “sit-down”, which likely means backstage and pre-taped, which should give the Japanese champ the best opportunity to shine. She’s been working on her English and shown good progress, but not asking her to deal with an energetic Full Sail Live crowd is the right call.

Asuka needs to shine in pretty much every situation they put in her in, because with the Hugster gone to Raw, NXT and its Women’s division are relying on her heavily. There’s good talent coming up - and we’ll get a look at a possible #1 contender when Ember Moon works a match on this show - but they’ve invested heavily in the champ. She’s never been pinned or submitted, for crying out loud.

What’s been one of the most exciting scenes in pro wrestling over the past couple of years now belongs to Asuka. Consider tonight her “State of the Division” address.

The Title Scene

They also didn’t waste any time getting NXT champ Shinsuke Nakamura on the show after Brooklyn, but that could just because even the bookers love his entrance. He acquitted himself well with a brief promo the Florida crowd ate up last week... will that be all he does this taping? There’s no clear cut #1 contender, and while Samoa Joe has a rematch coming, he’s not cleared due to a jaw injury suffered at TakeOver (among other not disclosed ailments).

With Johnny Gargano nursing his knee injury from Brooklyn and the Cruiserweight Classic (CWC), Tommaso Ciampa was outnumbered against tag titleholders The Revival. The Sicilian Psychopath tried striking first, but ended up shattered following Dash & Dawson’s finisher. Will Johnny Wrestling return for a rematch, or, with those fellas headed to Raw, will new contenders emerge.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- With or without socks, Hideo Itami is back and kicking people in the head.

- One of those people was Austin Aries, who is still recovering from eardrum damage suffered at Hideo’s... well, knee. It made it so he couldn’t hear the challenge laid down by Andrade “Cien” Almas, which could lead to a match tonight.

- TM61 continues to get hype videos, but they’re probably still licking their wounds after being the latest victims of Paul Ellering’s Authors of Pain.

- After getting back on a win streak, No Way Jose found his head being admired by Bobby Roode. Seems like the basis of a feud to me...

- Somebody’s gonna show up as a result of the Sanity vignettes, we just don’t know who. Or when.

NOTE: Spoilers are out there for these pre-taped broadcasts (including here), but many Cagesiders don't partake. If you are going to post or discuss spoilers for this show before they happen, or results of future shows, please use the spoiler bar in your comment.

See you tonight for NXT, Cagesiders!