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NXT preview (Dec. 25, 2019): Holiday Episode

NXT returns tonight (Dec. 25) with their last official episode of 2020. This episode is not live as the matches were taped prior.

Advertised for tonight:

  • Roderick Strong North American title open challenge
  • Keith Lee & Lio Rush vs. Damien Priest & Tony Nese

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

1) Is this show worth watching tonight?

It’s Christmas night. Many of y’all with be with the family after a day of celebrating. Is it worth sneaking out and watching NXT at 8 PM?

Probably not.

They know it’s Christmas and that a lot of people won’t be tuning in. Last week was really positioned as the big end of year episode with the two big title matches and Rhea Ripley’s big win. The matches tonight were taped prior and they’re certainly not going to run any huge angles with them.

At the same time, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch it. The two matches announced are good. Roderick Strong is a great wrestler who always has good matches. The tag division has a ton of talent and charisma, especially on the Lee/Rush side.

It may not be something you need to watch live though, especially if it involves sneaking way from the fam or trying to get that hour of the TV. Even if the two matches they taped prior to NXT (which weren’t the two advertised) are on it, it’s going to be a decent amount of filler and the DVR may be the way to go.

2) Who is Roddy’s opponent?

Mystery opponents are always fun just for the guessing game aspect.

In this case, we can be pretty assured he’s not losing that title. Knowing that, we can rule out any real contenders for that title. Guys like Dominik Dijakovic, Tyler Breeze, or Kushida. Though if they’re looking to start a longer program, these guys could fail to win the title due to Undisputed interference.

They’ve really been pushing this World’s Collide thing a ton, so it would not be at all surprising if the man accepting the open challenge comes from NXT UK, like Travis Banks (even though he just took a loss to Pete Dunne) or Jordan Devlin. I’d love to see Tyler Bate vs. Roddy Strong, but former UK Champion Bate could be too established in that promotion to take this loss.

On the main show, they can use it to help elevate newer talent. Someone like Isiah “Swerve” Scott or Mansoor.

3) Keith Lee or Damien Priest?

It’ll be interesting to see which big man picks up the win tonight given they both have been positioned well.

Keith Lee has been positioned very well given his build to Survivor Series, his showing at that PPV, and huge moments in the weeks after. He did take the pin in the #1 contenders match, meaning him picking up the win here would help him get back to his winning ways.

Damien Priest has just picked up a big win on Killian Dain, which felt like a match positioning him to move up from that feud. Though it could just be their desire to book Pete Dunne, Dain, and Priest on the same level. Pete and Damien were 1 and 1 in a series. Then Dunne pinned Priest in the triple threat. But after that Dain defeated Dunne one on one. The week after that, Priest beat Dain. No one is getting the clear upperhand in this program.

No matter which big man comes out on the winning side, the chances are neither of them taking the pin. Sorry, Tony Nese!

4) Is Nese in the NXT cruiserweight picture?

Tony Nese is the only one of these four men in this match that doesn’t have big things happening in NXT. Lio Rush may have just lost the cruiserweight title, but he’s coming off that program. Given Nese has not been seen on Wednesdays lately, he does make the most sense to eat the pin in this match.

But the other reason he can be there is to start expanding the cruiserweight presence on the black and gold. Usually cruiserweight representation consists of the two guys involved in the title scene. Introducing Nese, a former champion himself, could be used to showcase a little more of the division.

5) How do they fill the rest of the time?

Let’s assume the matches taped prior to NXT last week are also going to be included on this show. (It would also be possible they slot them in as part of the End of Year awards show on New Years Day). Those aren’t going to fill out a two hour show.

So I’d expect the recaps from last week’s episode and some character video packages mixed in with backstage interviews. They could do some “year in review” videos as well, but I figured they were going to do that next week when they do the Year End rewards. (Full Sail doesn’t have tickets for a live NXT until Jan. 8 so they’re going to have to find filler for next week as well.)

They likely taped a few more matches at some live events to fill the rest of the time as well.

We’ll see if we get any answers to these questions tonight at 8 PM ET on USA.

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