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NXT preview (Jan. 15, 2020): Guest Stars


NXT returns to us tonight (Jan. 15) from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. They are building their way to Worlds Collide on Jan. 25 and TakeOver: Portland on Feb. 16.

Advertised for tonight:

  • Kushida & Alex Shelley vs. the Grizzled Young Veterans (Dusty Classic)
  • Matt Riddle & Pete Dune vs. Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster (Dusty Classic)
  • Women’s title #1 contender battle royal
  • What is the fallout from Undisputed ERA invading TakeOver: Blackpool?

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

1) How far do the Time Splitters go?

NXT is very good at getting some special guest wrestlers for their product. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s great.

Like when Jushin Liger faced Tyler Breeze. Or when Mickie James came back to fight Asuka. Hell, one time Too Cool fought the Ascension. Now we can add Alex Shelley reuniting the Time Splitters tag team to that list.

I don’t expect Shelley to work more than this run with Kushida. But that’s fine. The limited time only part of it is what makes it exciting. So knowing that this former New Japan tag team likely isn’t around in the long run, how far do they advance?

I could see them going all the way to the finals if they want to put over a young tag team (and give Kushida that spotlight). But that means they have to defeat Undisputed ERA. With Imperium surely gunning for Cole’s boys, that could help Kushida and Shelley get to the finals. But the Time Splitters should at least win tonight to set up that big dream rematch.

2) Are we in store for a Pete Dunne/Matt Riddle feud?

The odd pairing of Pete Dunne & Matt Riddle looked like a way for NXT to develop a feud between those two men. And why not? These two would have an excellent feud. They’re both excellent workers with a unique style and a stark contrast of personalities.

But after Matt Riddle’s superb explanation for their tag team last week, I kinda want to see them advance a little further. These dudes could bring some weird chemistry as a team, and seeing a couple matches showing that off would be fun. Plus, that will make their inevitable feud with each other mean just a little bit more.

Either way, I’m already a little sad the Broserewights are likely a short lived team.

3) Is this Candice’s battle royal to win?

After last week, it really feels like Candice LeRae is going to be the next to get a shot at Rhea Ripley’s title.

(That is after Toni Storm, who gets an opportunity at Worlds Collide in a week and a half.)

Last week, Candice was on the winning trios team alongside Rhea and Toni to defeat Io Shirai, Kay Lee Ray, and Bianca Belair. With signs pointing to Shirai and Belair feuding since Shirai attacked Belair during the match last week, Candice is left as the most likely challenger.

4) Does Imperium answer tonight?

Undisputed ERA’s attack on Imperium at the UK TakeOver last Sunday demands an answer. It’s just a matter of when.

Perhaps they don’t wait and storm Full Sail tonight. After all, there are only two episodes prior to Worlds Collide. Otherwise, they wait until next week and perhaps interfere in Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish’s second round Dusty Classic match.

With UK teams participating in the tournament, it’s not an outright invasion for Imperium to show up. In fact, if we’re doing second round matches next week, they’re actually fighting then. But I bet WALTER’s group doesn’t want to wait. I’d bet they answer Undisputed tonight.

5) Who else will join Robert Stone’s brand?

Chelsea Green finally debuted on NXT as a member of Robert Stone’s brand. The former Robbie E told fans she was just the first, obviously implying that he’s going to amass more talent for his ranks.

Some fans are speculating that Deonna Purrazzo could also join Stone. Purrazzo and Green teamed on the Florida house show circuit and the Virtuosa has been waiting in the wings to finally debut.

I don’t know who’s waiting in the wings as much with the men. Robert’s worked with a team called the Outliers (Dan Matha & Riddick Moss) on house shows so could always reconnect with them. Or he could try to recruit someone who’s been on TV prior, such as Breakout Tournament wrestler Boa or his old pal Joaquin Wilde.

Over the next weeks or months, Stone’s brand should be more realized.

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

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