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NXT Preview (Apr. 8, 2020): The end... maybe

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NXT returns to us tonight (Apr. 8) from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. It is the continuation of the TakeOver matches.

Advertised for tonight:

  • Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano (Empty building match)
  • #1 contenders ladder match

1) Will Killer Kross spoil this “one last time”?

When Triple H set this match up two weeks ago, claiming it’d be the final time that Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa would fight, it was interrupted by another Killer Kross video package.

Given this was the moment Kross chose to make his presence once again known, it is easy to suspect he will interfere in this match. The real question is whether or not he’ll wait until the match is over. Would he wait until there’s a winner and attack that man, setting up that feud? Or does he just attack both men?

If the latter is the case, does it extend this feud between Gargano & Ciampa? If there is no finish, they can’t really be done. And it’s possible they go that way to hold out to do this match in front of a crowd. (Though there may be many many months of crowdless shows, so if they do that, they won’t be coming back to it for awhile.) It’s also possible Kross’ first program leads to a triple threat where he takes out both these top guys.

Either way, I’d be surprised if we don’t see Kross tonight.

2) How is this filmed?

Triple H said they would do this match in an empty building. No, not the empty building that they run all their other shows in. I guess between the Gargano/Ciampa brawl from weeks ago and the Edge/Randy Orton match at WrestleMania, the PC has seem enough damage.

Instead, they’ll get a text with a location, show up, and wrestle.

Given it’s off site, will this be more of a cinematic? Not a full cinematic like the Boneyard match or the Firefly Fun House match. But less of a straightforward match like the others we see. They should be less traditional with how they showcase their matches and stories given they’re going to be without an audience for the foreseeable future.

Since they’re out of the PC, I think this will seem a bit more cinematic. But we’ll find out.

3) Who is the #1 contender?

I think another appropriate way to ask this is “Who is the first to lose to Charlotte?”

Because no way is Charlotte is losing her first title defense.

The six women in this #1 contenders ladder match are Io Shirai, Tegan Nox, Dakota Kai, Chelsea Green, Candice LeRae, and Mia Yim.

I don’t think Green or Kai are going to win. Both are too heelish to work Charlotte, and Green is too new to the promotion. But all of the others would work. LeRae is a great worker, and she’s not in a spot where she’d lose anything failing to win. Mia Yim is the same way. Plus, Mia and Charlotte faced each other years back when the Queen was still in NXT and Mia was local talent. Tegan could face her in a match that elevates her without winning. Io Shirai probably shouldn’t take a loss this soon after returning, but that would be the match I’d want to see the most.

So my guess? Probably Mia Yim. But that’s just a guess.

4) How does Rhea Ripley recover?

We’ll have to see how it plays, but Rhea losing to Charlotte seemed like the wrong move.

It doesn’t feel like the title has been elevated as much as it feels like the title has been jacked by a main roster talent. But it’s early and Charlotte’s run may lead to building multiple women. (Call me skeptical on that though.)

Right now, Rhea is worse off. The dreaded Nightmare tapped to the always ugly looking Figure Eight at WrestleMania. And while the plan very well may be to have her win it back, losing in the first place, especially by submission, is going to take some rehabilitation. They’ll very possibly get there, but Rhea is worse off today than she was last week.

If the reports of Ripley having to go home to Australia because her work visa expired are true, given how the world is right now, we may not see her for awhile. (This could be the reason they went with the less preferred finish.) That in general sucks, but taking some time after the loss and then coming back ready to rock may be better than showing up right away after tapping out at Mania.

5) What’s the plan for the tag team championships?

Pete Dunne is one half of the tag team champions alongside Matt Riddle. I believe he’s also in the UK currently, where he resides.

And depending how the entire corona situation goes, he may not be able to get back for months. If that’s the case, do they just slow any tag title program down to a halt until he can come back. Or does Matt Riddle have to defend them alone? Or perhaps find a partner in his stead?

It may not be something they need to deal with right away, but depending on how long there’s a travel ban for anyone coming into the US from Europe (as of now set for 30 days so set to expire mid month) and how long people are on recommended lockdown, they may need to eventually.


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