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NXT preview (May 22, 2019): Think before you book

NXT returns to us tonight (May 22) with the second episode from the most recent set of tapings. They are building towards their TakeOver: XXV show on June 1, which is in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Advertised for tonight:

  • The Undisputed ERA is back
  • What’s next for Velveteen Dream?
  • William Regal addresses the vacant tag team championships
  • Candice LeRae vs. Reina Gonzalez
  • Mansoor in action

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

1) What the hell was Johnny Gargano thinking?

Johnny Gargano revealed last week that he went and asked William Regal to allow him to defend his NXT championship against Adam Cole. This was after he learned that the Undisputed ERA were back together.

Ummm... why?

I get it to some degree. Adam Cole keeps calling Johnny a fluke champion, pointing to the fact that he won the first fall of the 2 out of 3 falls match, claiming if it were a standard match, he’d have won.

But it wasn’t a standard match. Johnny knew that. He prepared for a 2 out of 3 falls match, planned accordingly, and won. There’s no reason to just give Adam Cole another title shot. It’s playing right into his hands. Doing it after he learned the Undisputed ERA were back in full force makes even less sense, knowing he’s going to have to contend with three men outside the ring while dealing with Adam Cole inside it.

Perhaps he’s skeptical that everything is alright with Undisputed and is planning on trying to expose the rift by making this title match. But it’s a very risky move and one he doesn’t have to make, especially since Adam Cole hasn’t done anything to earn another title opportunity.

2) Are the Undisputed ERA REALLY OK now?

Last week, Roderick Strong attacked Matt Riddle to make amends with Adam Cole. This supposedly healed the rift and everything is hunky-dory right now.

But is it really?

I have my doubts. Especially because it’s not like NXT to give up on a story halfway through. Likely this is a brief respite from the fracturing of the ERA. It can go one of two ways.

Perhaps Roddy is entirely sincere that he wants to make nice. But with Cole under more pressure now that he has a title match in his future, and especially if he loses that match, it could all blow up.

Or maybe Roddy didn’t make his gesture in good faith. Maybe he’s had enough of Cole’s BS and has opted to teach him a lesson via the long con. Will he reveal the truth in a manner that costs Cole the title, breaking up the ERA for good? We’ll have to wait for Bridgeport to find that out.

3) Who is Dream’s next opponent?

Velveteen Dream was slated to face Dominik Dijakovic for the North American title. At least it seemed that way. He sang his own rendition of the National Anthem (very poorly mind you), which is pretty much the same thing as issuing a challenge for a match.

But then Dijakovic had to leave for knee surgery and the Dream is without challenger.

Keith Lee could fill in where his former foe Dijakovic left off. He needs more to do in NXT. It’s probably earlier than they plan for KUSHIDA, who is just starting a feud with Drew Gulak. Humberto Carrillo just picked up a win, but one win, even from an athlete as impressive as Carrillo, normally wouldn’t be enough for a title shot. However, with a very thin midcard, he’s at least in the running. Otherwise, they’ll have to take someone from a tag team like Oney Lorcan or Jaxson Ryker. (This is what happens when you introduce a midcard title on a show with a limited roster.)

4) What is the tag team plan?

Instead of putting over a team in some capacity on the way out, the Viking Raiders stood tall at the end of a brawl last week and are now done with NXT.

That brawl included Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch, the Forgotten Sons, and the Street Profits. Those teams will all be involved someway. Perhaps it’ll just be a triple threat at TakeOver: XXV. Or maybe they’ll scrounge up another team in order to run a small tournament to come up with a standard two on two match.

5) Is Mansoor getting a bit of a push?

NXT’s preview this week specifically spotlighted Mansoor is having a match tonight. That’s significant because he’s mainly been used to give other people good matches. Now he’s the one they’re focusing on.

This is a good thing because Mansoor has been very impressive early on. He had a match against Dijakovic the other week where he came out looking like the star. (He had another match on NXT UK against Travis Banks the same day that was also very good.)

If you’ve only been half watching, make sure you pay attention to the up and comer because there could be big things for him.

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

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.

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