NXT returns tonight (May 6) from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Tonight is pretty much a TakeOver on TV.
- Adam Cole (c) vs. Velveteen Dream for the NXT championship
- Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s championship
- Karrion Kross in-ring debut
- Finn Bálor seeks justice against his attacker
- Johnny Gargano vs. Dominik Dijakovic
As per usual, here are our five questions about NXT tonight:
1) If not Velveteen Dream, then who?
Adam Cole has held the NXT title for a long time. Longer than anyone else. That means he’s starting to run out of fresh opponents.
Velveteen Dream will try to end that tonight. But the lack of a really exciting build (at least partially due to the lack of crowd to buy into it) and the shadow of the allegations against Dream which we haven’t heard anything about since his denial has me thinking we’re not going to see a change tonight. (The fact that his picture isn’t on the NXT page despite a title shot tonight coupled with the fact they make it very tough to get to the actual preview page that does show him isn’t completely damning, but it’s rather weird.) The smart money probably would have been on a change a month ago. I don’t think it is now.
[Note: NXT updated their page after publication and now fully advertises all matches with the NXT title match front and center.]
But if not Dream, who would be next?
Finn Bálor actually makes a lot of sense. Yes, he’s a heel and so is Adam Cole, but that doesn’t matter. The lack of any crowd makes heel vs. heel easier to run. And if there were a crowd, there’d probably be a 50/50 split cheering for both men anyway.
The Prince didn’t care for the Dream considering Cole the greatest champion. Adam is the longest reigning NXT champion, an accolade that Finn held prior. It almost feels like they have to run that program prior to Cole dropping the gold with both men in NXT.
2) Is Finn’s attacker less obvious?
At first thought, Bálor’s unknown attacker from the other week seemed like it was going to be obvious. He was feuding with WALTER and Imperium so they were the obvious choice.
But the more I thought about it, the more I wonder if that’s not the case. It’s entirely possible we’re not going to see this feud for many months as an ocean separates both men. And in the age of Corona, that is a lot further than was did prior. So who else could it be?
Karrion Kross is targeting Tommaso Ciampa right now but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to take some time to send a message to another NXT staple. Or creepy Dexter Lumis could have taken offense to something about Finn. He’s an absolute wildcard. If they’re going to eventually run Cole vs. Bálor, an Undisputed attack could be the way to set that up.
We may not even learn the culprit tonight. It may be something they want to tease out a little bit.
3) Io has got to be done after this, right?
Io Shirai vs. Charlotte Flair should be a great match. It’ll be a very interesting dynamic with two extremely cocky ladies. Charlotte has a size advantage, but Io is smart enough to account for that.
While the bout should be fun, the outcome is in little doubt. Charlotte isn’t losing the title in her first defense. That means Io has to take the L here. This would be the second title program she’d walk away from as a loser.
Much like Bianca Belair before her, who also failed to capitalize on multiple title opportunities, it may mean she’s moving on after this. What more can they do after she’s failed to win the gold despite more than one try?
Good creative could find something, and NXT’s creative is strong. But it’s still possible they move her to SmackDown or Raw, especially given it’s in the same building as NXT is so it wouldn’t be a huge adjustment schedule wise right now.
4) How is Kross presented?
The now dubbed Karrion Kross debuts tonight. Not that he hasn’t been on TV prior. We saw him and Scarlett Bordeaux (advertised without the last name) sitting in a car outside the empty arena match that Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano had. Later we saw him attack Tommaso from behind.
But this will be the first time he’ll be in the arena having a match. (A squash match to be sure.) Kross is an anticipated debut and even without a crowd to react to him, they’ll likely have a real snazzy entrance for the man who’s been promising doomsday.
There’s also his in-ring style. My past experience with Kross was in Impact where he was debuted as a mystery attacker. His initial ring style was a killer, utilizing a choke as his finish. What will the NXT influence on his style be?
He’s a big debut and it’ll be very interesting to see how he’s treating.
5) What’s Scarlett’s role?
As I mentioned, my only prior viewing of Kross was in Impact. While Scarlett was there as well, they were not paired together like they were in AAA. This leaves me wondering how she’ll be used.
Will she be a mouth-piece/hype woman? Karrion doesn’t need someone to do the talking for him, but maybe they opt to keep his words to a minimum in the beginning. Is she a manager where she guides him or even controls the beast?
With Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae running a Mr. and Mrs. NXT gimmick right now, they’ll surely want to differentiate. Scarlett can wrestle, but she doesn’t often. So she and Kross will likely be presented as a single package while Johnny and Candice are more of a team.
They’ve done a strong job teasing Kross’ eventual debut. I’m excited to see what they do from here.
We’ll see if we get any answers to those questions tonight at 8 PM ET on USA Network.