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NXT preview (Nov. 13, 2019): Intrigue

NXT returns tonight (Nov. 13) from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. They are making their way to TakeOver: WarGames in two and a half weeks.

Advertised for tonight:

  • Io Shirai vs. Mia Yim in a ladder match to decide what team gets the WarGames advantage
  • Lio Rush (c) vs. Angel Garza for the NXT Cruiserweight championship
  • Is Killian Dain still on the warpath?
  • Will the takeovers continue?

As per usual, here are our five questions about NXT tonight:

1) Is Finn Bálor aligned with anyone?

Finn Bálor’s return to NXT has been big in a few ways. It’s a name from the main roster that more fans know. Then they turned him heel, which was a side of the man we’ve never seen in WWE. That in itself is exciting. But now there’s a new level of intrigue that acts a storyline hook for fans tuning in week to week.

The mystery surrounds possible alliances.

Last week, he seemed to give a slight aid to former Bullet Club allies the AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows. It wasn’t obvious but it certainly wasn’t antagonistic. He fired the gun motion to AJ who gave the “Too Sweet” signal to Finn. Hmmm...

Then Adam Cole attacked Styles and Tommaso Ciampa as Finn just looked on. Just like he looked on when he turned on Johnny Gargano and the Undisputed ERA beat the hell out of Ciampa. Is there any sort of alliance there?

I’d prefer Finn Bálor to act as a rogue agent and just do what helps Finn. If that benefits the OC or the ERA, so be it. But teasing these other options makes for fun television because we can speculate about what his game is. We can pick apart the things he does and wonder what it means. That’s fun in wrestling.

2) What’s the play with Dakota Kai?

Speaking of intrigue, there’s some of that in the building of the NXT women’s WarGames teams.

Last week, Dakota Kai was left off Rhea Ripley’s team, that spot going to Mia Yim instead. That left her on the outside looking in at a team she seemed like a lock for. Her best friend Tegan Nox is on the team, making it sting even more.

But there is an opening on Shayna Baszler’s team. Would the Queen of Spades give that spot to the jilted Kai, banking on bitterness to motivate the Kiwi to fight against her friends. It’d be a brilliant mind game if she could pull it off. Though she’d always risk Dakota’s heart not being fully in it or even worse, it being a ruse to get her to make that move.

The other option is tonight’s ladder match is going to lead to an injured member of Team Rhea and they have no choice to grab Dakota, who accepts but harbors resentment. Both could be interesting options.

3) Are they going to eschew tradition for this WarGames match?

The heels always have the advantage as WarGames begins. That way they can always beat down the babyfaces and then the entering babyface gets a pop when they even the score. It’s quite predictable and honestly, that takes away from the match when I watch. It’s a long, predictable beginning.

So Io Shirai will probably win this match unless NXT deviates from the standard formula to do something different. But the babyfaces having the woman advantage wouldn’t really help anyone either.

4) Are there more invasions coming?

The OC made their presence known on NXT last week. Will someone else from Raw or SmackDown show up instead?

Shayna Baszler has been a fixture on both shows since this invasion started so NXT alums and her Survivor Series opponents Becky Lynch or Bayley would make sense. Both would be a huge return, especially the Man who reached great heights last year.

While they could take the week off from invasions, this seems to be a common theme on all shows during the build to the pay-per-view. And with this giving them a ratings bump last night, I doubt they’d back off this week.

5) Who’s the fourth man?

Tommaso Ciampa still needs a final member for his WarGames team. He’s got Keith Lee and Matt Riddle already. But he needs one more to face off against the Undisputed ERA.

It sounds like Velveteen Dream’s injury is going to keep him out, which is a damn shame. Not only is he missing the PPV, but also the chance to show up on a Raw or SmackDown. Johnny Gargano was surely going to be tied up with Finn Bálor at TakeOver, but it was announced on Backstage last night he is going to miss the show due to a neck injury.

Dominik Dijakovic is an option. His feud with Keith Lee was never personal and they surely earned each other’s respect during it. Plus, he’s dealt with Undisputed sticking their nose into his business. Another option is Kushida, who has been out with a hand injury, but the report NXT released said it’d only be about a month. Kushida has already taken up the mantle to defend NXT from NXT UK’s brief invasion so representing the brand is something he’s used to.

The Blackheart has two weeks to choose someone who can help challenge the WarGames veterans of the Undisputed.

We’ll find it out if we get any answers to these questions tonight at 8 ET on USA Network.

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