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NXT preview (June 3, 2020): More work to be done

NXT returns tonight (June 3) from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. It is the go home show for TakeOver: In Your House this Sunday.

Advertised for tonight:

  • Drake Maverick vs. El Hijo del Fantasma for the Interim Cruiserweight championship
  • Candice LeRae vs. Mia Yim

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

1) How do they sell the NXT title match?

As of now, the presumed main event of TakeOver is missing any excitement.

It’s going to be Velveteen Dream challenging Adam Cole for the NXT championship, with the added stipulation that if Dream loses, he can’t challenge Cole again. It’s a match that is going to be tapped off site.

This is a match that should carry major anticipation. And it would have a few months ago. At that time, Velveteen Dream was a hot act and winning the title almost seemed like a given. But that’s no longer the case.

Dream already had a title match on NXT TV and he lost. It was an overbook affair, but he still lost. Plus that had the shadows of the allegations against Velveteen hanging over it. After that match, it felt like this feud was over and done for now. That they were moving on.

But then Dream returned to help Dexter Lumis the other week and now we’re back on. But we haven’t had anything to actually reignite any fire around this match. As of now, this match doesn’t have much buzz to it. Tonight they need to get that back.

Whether it’s getting both men the ring and asking they sell the feud with their promos or maybe a sneak peak at this off site locale that’s going to house their battle, they need to do something to make this match feel like one of the least anticipated on the card.

2) Is Drake done after tonight?

We seem to ask this every week, but to be fair, he’s been in a do or die situation for weeks now.

This is his final stop. If he beats El Hijo de Fantasma in the finals of the Cruiserweight title tournament, he becomes Interim Cruiserweight champion and his career has been saved. If he loses, he’s done... maybe.

The way they’ve pushed him, even at the expense of talent they definitely have under contract, it would seem that he has some future in WWE. Even if he loses, I can’t imagine he’s going to show up on AEW in a couple weeks. There’s got to be some agreement in place that he comes back or else they wouldn’t give him such a spotlight. (Though if it’s not in writing, he’s free to do what he wants.)

Even if he does take an L, this definitely isn’t the last we’ve seen of Drake Maverick in WWE. Maybe it won’t be right away, but I can’t imagine he’s done with the company for good no matter what.

3) What’s next for Thatcher?

Timothy Thatcher submitted Matt Riddle in the Fight Pit last week, picking up his first major win in NXT.

This match served as the exit for Matt Riddle, who will be debuting on SmackDown sooner than later.

Thatcher will surely sit out the In Your House pay-per-view given that’s already full, and he just finished his first feud. But he should figure as a major player afterwards. So here are a few names that would make for a good feud for this submission expert.

  • Tommaso Ciampa is playing the role of introductory feud for Karrion Kross, a feud he’s probably going to lose. Having to turn his attention to another dangerous man could try the Blackheart’s babyface resolve.
  • Velveteen Dream would be an extreme contrast for the no frills Thatcher. A match would only happen soon if Dream loses on Sunday because I doubt Tim is getting a title match this soon. But the dynamic is there to explore.
  • The size and skill of Keith Lee would pose an intriguing challenge to Thatcher, who would have to go deep into his playbook to defeat the Limitless One.
  • Finn Bálor. That’d just rule.

Honestly, hopefully we get all those feuds eventually. But who could be first?

4) Why would Chelsea Green leave Robert Stone?

Last week, Robert Stone worked out a deal for Chelsea Green to team up with Charlotte Flair. It was a fruitful deal given Green picked up a win alongside the NXT women’s champion.

Backstage after the match, Green fired Stone.

.... what?

This is a bit of a baffling move. Right now, this is a good arrangement for both of them. They have good chemistry as the obnoxious agent and client. It’s a pairing that makes them both look good. Stone can run his mouth putting over Chelsea, getting TV time, and Green can use him to her advantage and to help win some matches. This would be way too early break them up, especially given Robert doesn’t have any other clients.

We’ll see if this breakup sticks. Robbie says he’s fine, but I don’t believe him.

5) Where’s Malcolm Bivens?

Malcolm Bivens debuted early on in the pandemic era with his tag team Indus Sher to attack Matt Riddle and presumably challenge for the tag team titles.

But now Riddle is gone and the gold is held by another heel team. Even before that, Bivens and co. had seemed to disappear. Did NXT feel that pairing wasn’t working? Did plans change because of Riddle’s call up?

Whatever the reason, Malcolm is too charismatic to keep off TV.

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

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