NXT returns tonight (Dec. 4) from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. The next TakeOver they are working towards is February 16 in Portland, Oregon.
Advertised for tonight:
- Rhea Ripley vs. Dakota Kai
- Killian Dain vs. Damian Priest
- How will Adam Cole respond to Finn Bálor’s attack?
- Can Lio Rush and Angel Garza be kept apart?
As per usual, here are our five questions about NXT tonight:
1) When’s Tegan Nox getting her revenge?
After Dakota Kai brutally attacked her best friend Tegan Nox at TakeOver: WarGames, count me as someone who is much looking forward to Tegan getting her revenge.
Dakota was in action last week against Candice LeRae, where she resorted to using Tegan’s stolen knee brace as a weapon. But it wasn’t Dakota’s former best friend to make the save. It was Rhea Ripley.
Rhea has issues with Kai as well. Because of the Kiwi, Ripley had to work a handicap WarGames match alongside Candice LeRae. That’s why they’re facing each other tonight.
However the big rivalry is going to be Nox/Kai. They may hold out on Tegan’s return because that’s the moment they’re building to. I could even see them turning to Mia Yim for a quick program with Dakota prior to Tegan making her big come back.
The return could happen tonight, but there wouldn’t be any harm in waiting a couple more weeks either.
2) Is tonight’s match going to have a finish?
Rhea Ripley facing Dakota Kai makes sense. But it puts NXT in the position where they have to likely book a non-finish two weeks in a row.
Dakota’s match last week again Candice was a match that neither woman could really lose. Dakota Kai absolutely can’t lose after just turning heel. It would immediately damage the character. But Candice was part of the handicap WarGames victory. Beating her right after that would lessen the impact of that achievement.
Tonight’s match fits the same bill. It’s still way too early to have Dakota lose a match. But Rhea Ripley absolutely cannot lose at this point. She’s been positioned as a superstar who’s probably going to dethrone Shayna Baszler for the Women’s championship.
So once again, a non-finish or at least a schmohz is in order. It can still be entertaining, but they shouldn’t book too may of these matches where someone can’t lose so close together.
3) What’s next for the rest of the women’s WarGames competitors?
NXT opened up its women’s division to book a 4 on 4 WarGames match. (Even though it ended up 4 on 2, there were nine women important to that story.) Now where do all these women go?
Shayna Baszler is the champion. Rhea Ripley is surely the #1 contender. And clearly Tegan Nox will have a program with Dakota Kai.
But what about the others? Does Candice LeRae continue to feud with Io Shirai? The Genius of the Sky took herself out of the WarGames match because she had to deliver a big moonsault onto Candice.
But how about Bianca and Mia? And Candice’s feud with Io is long in the tooth. That can’t go on too much longer.
They can surely mix and match and tell some good stories. Plucky Candice feuding with the powerful Belair could be great. Io and Mia haven’t had any real program, but their ladder match the other week was a blast and building a little something off that would certainly not be a bad idea.
I’m almost loathe to say it, but if they don’t have plans for all these women eventually, perhaps a move to the other brands is in order. SmackDown and Raw could use some established NXT names. Look at the teams for the women’s Survivor Series match. NXT’s was stacked top to bottom with strong candidates not even making it to that match. Meanwhile, Raw and SmackDown each had a couple spots that felt like clear weak links.
4) Are we headed towards triple threat land?
Finn Bálor made it known last week that he is friends with no one.
After the Prince accepted some help from NXT Champion Adam Cole last week in order to vanquish Tommaso Ciampa, he kicked Cole in the face. Because Finn stands alone.
NXT had been teasing various Bálor alliances, but last week, it was clear that Bálor is a lone wolf. He is out for himself and only himself. And now that he’s beat the presumed #1 contender for the NXT title, he should move into that slot.
Promotions don’t often run heel vs. heel matches (even though they’ve advertised one for tonight), though they could get away with it if those heels are Adam Cole and Finn Bálor. But it’s very likely that they add Tommaso Ciampa into the mix to give us that good guy to root for if we don’t want to cheer the heels. And it’s not like he’d be shoehorned in. It’d make perfect sense.
That being said, there are two and a half months prior to TakeOver in Portland. There are a lot of twists and turns this story can make. Perhaps the triple threat is a story we get on TV as we work our way to something bigger.
5) When are we getting the cruiserweight title rematch?
It’s a bit under the radar, but NXT has been telling a entertaining story between Lio Rush and Angel Garza.
Rush has a win over Garza, though certainly not an easy one. However, during that match, Angel ripped his pants off (which he often does) right in front of Lio’s wife. The Man of the Hour was not happy about that.
Since then, there have been some YouTube exclusives of things getting heated. Lio Rush blindsided Angel Garza backstage. Just the other day, they had some words outside. This is getting personal between two great in-ring talents and very strong, cocky characters. It may be in the shadow of all the other great things NXT is doing now, but this is a good program.
I don’t think they’ll stretch it two more months. We’ll probably get this as a main event match on an episode of NXT sooner than later. And when that happens, it’ll surely deliver.
We’ll find out if we get any answers to these questions tonight at 8 ET on USA.