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NXT preview (Dec. 23, 2020): All Over the Place

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NXT returns tonight (Festivus) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida. They are building towards the New Year’s Evil special on Jan. 6.

Advertised for tonight:

  • A Gargano Christmas
  • Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch (c) vs. Drake Maverick & Killian Dain in a street fight for the NXT tag team championships
  • Rhea Ripley vs. Dakota Kai
  • Kyle O’Reilly & Finn Bálor to relive their epic NXT title match
  • Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Jake Atlas
  • Bronson Reed returns

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

1) Is the #1 contender on 205 Live the #1 contender on NXT?

Isaiah “Swerve” Scott is facing Jake Atlas again this week to prove his initial loss was more of a fluke than anything else. But while not an official #1 contenders match, this match will likely go a long way to deciding what is next for the champ Santos Escobar in NXT.

Technically Curt Stallion is the #1 contender, but that was all decided on 205 Live, a show that seems to have little bearing on NXT. The only thing that people who watch NXT know is that Curt Stallion was once attacked in the parking lot by Legado del Fantasma. They’ve never seen him work a match and certainly don’t know he’s actually #1 contender. Maybe that match won’t happen on NXT. Maybe that’ll happen on 205 Live.

This all gets down to the continual issue with the Cruiserweight title. There are two shows it’s represented on and at least when it comes to NXT, there isn’t any information from 205 being relayed. To NXT fans, it’s just a small division consisting of three guys (if you look at Legado as a unit) that’s occasionally presented on the program. They need to do a better job streamlining the title. That’s tough to do when it’s on two completely different shows.

This is not to mention the fact that Jordan Devlin is also cruiserweight champion in NXT UK, but that’s another whole can of worms entirely.

2) Can Johnny Gargano successfully defend his title successfully this time?

Johnny Gargano’s first North American title isn’t yet scheduled. In fact, tonight he’s planning a Christmas celebration. But those are the type of things very likely to get interrupted by a babyface to set up a match.

Last week, Johnny and his student Austin Theory defeated Leon Ruff and Kushida. Ruff took the pin, so that probably means he’s not getting an immediate rematch. More likely Kushida, who had been on a roll until last week, will get a shot at the gold.

If that’s the case, Gargano’s chance to finally successfully defend a singles title, something he’s never ever done, becomes slim. Because the Japanese superstar has been killing it. Johnny would have a very uphill battle to defeat a man that on top of his game. Maybe the champ can try to book a cupcake match first, but that didn’t go well the first time around.

3) What’s next for Pete?

Pete Dunne could not best Kyle O’Reilly last week, losing out on a chance to become #1 contender. So what now?

I’d presume he goes back to his role as the wildcard of Pat McAfee’s Kings of NXT. And with their team of Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch defending their titles in a street fight against Killian Dain and Drake Maverick tonight, a wildcard like the Brusierweight will be handy.

Given the fact Drake doesn’t contribute that much to the tag team (outside the music of course), the tag champs probably don’t need help. But Pete may as well keep collecting those check from Pat Mac and bide his time until the next big opportunity comes along.

4) So Breezango are back, eh?

Breezango returned last week, but if you blinked, you probably missed it.

They were part of a pre-match brawl that targeted Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch prior to Pete Dunne’s match with Kyle O’Reilly. Weeks back, the Kings of NXT brutally attacked the former tag team champions so no doubt Fandango & Tyler Breeze want revenge.

As luck would have it, there is probably going to be an opportunity. I don’t like Dain and Maverick’s chances tonight. And with Kyle O’Reilly focusing on the NXT title and Bobby Fish on the shelf, Undisputed ERA will probably be waiting for their eventual tag title match. (Unless Adam Cole wants to team with Roddy Strong.) That leaves an opening for Breezango and step in and try to get their vengeance.

5) When do we move on from these torture clips?

Every week, we get video of Boa and Xia Li being tortured (NXT likes to use the word punished in their YouTube titles) as a mysterious entity watches. It’s intriguing, but the same time, it’s been the same thing for the last month.

It’s time for them to move to the next step of the plan. That could be revealing the mystery woman. That could be getting Boa and Xia back into the CWC to work matches. Whenever it is, we should get there soon.


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