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NXT preview (Mar. 10, 2021): Giant leap

Io Shirai WWE Network

NXT returns tonight (Mar. 10) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida.

Advertised for tonight:

  • Finn Bálor (c) vs. Adam Cole for the NXT championship
  • Toni Storm vs. Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s title
  • General Manager William Regal makes two “game changing” announcements
  • Xia Li vs. Kayden Carter

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

1) Any chance either title changes hands?

Even for a belt with a history of long reigns, Io Shirai’s is impressive. She probably won’t surpass Shayna Baszler’s second run on the list, it would be surprising to see the third longest reign in history end on free television. Vanquishing Toni Storm, the woman who beat her in the finals of the second Mae Young Classic tournament, feels like it could be the final big story beat before she does the job for someone (probably Raquel González, unless WWE decides to promote the big Texan to the main roster).

Finn Bálor is no stranger to long title reigns, and his second stint with the belt is already in fourth place - on a list where his opponent tonight is in first, and his first reign is in second. This current run comes after two short ones, and though NXT has been more willing to hot shot this belt on occasion, they’ll usually follow-up short reigns with long ones. The Prince has been well established over the past year, and it seems unlikely he’ll be dethroned by anyone other than a guy who never lost the belt - and hasn’t lost in NXT period - Karrion Kross.

Long story short, I wouldn’t get your hopes up title changes tonight. Good matches, yes. New champs, no.

2) Will we get clean finishes?

This is more interesting. If the heel challengers aren’t going to win, the odds of dirty finishes drastic go down... like 25% at best.

Non-finishes might be another story. Triple H & team don’t go to the schmoz well too often on TakeOvers, but this isn’t a TakeOver (more on that in a second). In the case of the men’s title match, I wouldn’t be shocked to see both Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly and Karrion Kross get involved.

Not sure who might show up during or after Shirai vs. Storm. Figure González will be involved in Tag title scene that should be created by one of General Manager William Regal’s two big announcements tonight. But maybe Mercedes Martinez reemerges for the first time since Vengeance Day? Or this could be the spot to debut Taya Valkyrie as Io’s next challenger?

They’ll want to do something, because there’s less than a month until what’s supposed to be Regal’s other “game-changing announcement”...

3) How will they set-up TakeOver: Stand & Deliver?

They’re going to need more than their standard allotment of five matches for the rumored two-night TakeOver before WrestleMania 37 (although if one of them is on Wednesday night in NXT’s usual time slot, it’s really just a big episode like tonight’s followed by a TakeOver).

Coming out of this show, we could have Dakota Kai & Raquel González booked in a match for the right to become the first Tag champs, Kross vs. Bálor for the NXT title, Shirai vs. someone for the Women’s belt, and an Undisputed ERA war. Not a bad start.

4) Is Boa ever going to do anything?

The Tian Sha story is still intriguing, but once Xia Li puts Kayden Carter on the purged list with her friend Kacy Catanzaro, it’ll be time to move things along. We’re still wondering when Mei Ying is going to do more than point a creepy finger to tell Li to take out another victim. Maybe they could also tell us if Boa is ever going to do anything but look cool in his shades and get punked by Ying? My man’s been on the roster for a long time. If this is all he can do, it might be time to cut him loose.

5) Are Cameron Grimes and LA Knight allies?

Last week, it seemed our favorite hillbilly millionaire just happened to be the beneficiary of Knight paying back Bronson Reed for cutting off his dramatic exit. Neither LA or Grimey need any help on the stick, but they could probably use some back-up if they’re gonna keep tangling with the Colossal Aussie. A partnership built on Gamestop profits and cryptocurrency could be fun, if even only for a short time.

Join us in our live blog and we’ll see if we get any answers to these questions tonight.

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