NXT returns tonight (Feb. 24) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida.
Advertised for tonight:
- Adam Cole explains everything
- Karrion Kross vs. Santos Escobar in a no disqualification match; Escobar will be stripped of the Cruiserweight title and suspended if he doesn’t appear
- Johnny Gargano vs. Dexter Lumis (non-title)
- Xia Li will try to “purge” Kacy Catanzaro
- Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Killian Dain & Drake Maverick
- Io Shirai vs. Zoey Stark (non-title)
As usual, here are our five questions about NXT tonight:
1) What’s Santos Escobar’s next move?
When we thought his match with Karrion Kross was going to happen last week, we asked how competitive it would be. Kross is undefeated and would still be holding the NXT title if he hadn’t injured his shoulder throwing Keith Lee around. He’s also someone the powers-that-be have big plans for. The question wasn’t so much if Escobar could win, it was how good they’d let him look in defeat.
We don’t know why they delayed the match in the real world, but in the kayfabe one, it’s because the Cruiserweight champ decided he wasn’t going to show up just because General Manager William Regal said he should. That led to Regal giving him ultimatums for this week - fail to show, get suspended and lose the Cruiserweight title. But it’s also now a no DQ match, and his Legado Del Fantasma lackeys Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza have had another week to heal up after the beating Kross put on them back on Feb. 10.
In the past few days, Kross has cut a promo about Escobar being afraid of him, and him being afraid of what he’ll do to Escobar. Santos responded by again laughing off the notion that he’s scared, and promising that he’s moves ahead of Kross and Regal. He’s playing chess while they’re playing checkers, he says. The delay tactic looks like it was a smart move, but it’s probably not going to be able to save him for long.
When this program was just getting started, we wondered if it was a way to move Escobar out of the cruiserweight division. Would he be willing to sacrifice his title to gain an advantage? Let his men do the work tonight, and negotiate for even more favorable stipulations when Kross is angry enough to demand Regal give him another shot at “Mr. Santos”?
It’s his move. Tick Tock.
2) Adam Cole’s explanation will be pretty straight-forward, right?
It’s cold blooded, but it seems pretty clear to me. After leading Undisputed ERA to victory over the forces of Pat McAfee at WarGames, Cole graciously decided to let Kyle O’Reilly drive for a while. Not only did Kyle fail to capture the NXT title, but he’s letting the group serve as Finn Bálor’s back-up. The ERA wasn’t formed to be anyone’s goons, and O’Reilly’s proven he doesn’t have the mean streak needed to lead them back to the promised land. So Adam Cole is teaching him a lesson, and sending a message to Bálor & anyone else who’s in the way of Undisputed again fulfilling the prophecy of gold.
He’s a scumbag, what do you expect?
3) Why is Johnny Gargano mad at Dexter Lumis exactly?
Gargano managed to beat Kushida without any help, and it turns out Austin Theory had a great time hanging out a Dex’s house for a couple days. Maybe they should be asking Lumis to babysit more often?
Meanwhile, Kushida got back in the win column last week when he faced Tyler Rust, and Bronson Reed wants to get his giant hands on the North American title. Eyes on the prize Johnny... Lumis is the least of The Way’s problems.
4) Is this the week Mei Ying gets more involved in the action?
Kacy Catanzaro is going to put up more of a fight than the enhancement talent she’s faced since emerging from Tian Sha’s torture program, but Xia Li is gonna mess her up (I assume that’s what “purge you” means). But Kayden Carter isn’t going to sit idly by while her friend’s head gets kicked off. Will that cause Li’s ancient, dragon-trained mentor to offer more than just hand signals? Might she even get out of her chair and show her face?
5) How will LA Knight start his NXT run?
So far, we’ve only seen the former Eli Drake run his mouth. It’s something he’s very good at. But he’s used his gift for gab to make big promises about what he’s going to accomplish on the black-and-gold brand. Letting him talk to the camera and faceless interviewers will only go so far. Time to start talking to some other members of the roster.