NXT returns tonight (Mar. 17) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida.
Advertised for tonight:
- Fallout from last week’s Finn Bálor/Karrion Kross and Adam Cole/Kyle O’Reilly showdowns
- Cruiserweight champion Jordan Devlin returns to call out Cruiserweight champion Santos Escobar
- LA Knight’s in-ring debut
- Austin Theory vs. Dexter Lumis
- Imperium vs. Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa (announced last week; not on WWE.com as of this writing)
- Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Leon Ruff (announced last week; not on WWE.com as of this writing)
As usual, here are our five questions about NXT tonight:
1) Can WrestleMania follow this TakeOver card?
Not to pat ourselves on the back, but last week played out largely as we expected it would - especially in the NXT championship main event. Along with announcing TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, NXT nicely set-up a ridiculously stacked card...
- Finn Bálor (c) vs. Karrion Kross for the NXT title
- Raquel González vs. Io Shirai (c) for the NXT Women’s championship
- Jordan Devlin vs. Santos Escobar in a Cruiserweight title unification match
- Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan (c) vs. MSK for the NXT Tag Team championship
- Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell vs. Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon (c) for the NXT Women’s Tag titles
Of course, our next TakeOver will span two nights and probably require about five or six more matches, but that’s a hell of start. They have plenty of talent to fill out the two nights, with Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Grizzled Young Veterans (who I’d find a way to get the Tag titles on ASAP, but that’s just me), Kushida, WALTER, Mercedes Martinez, Dakota Kai, Toni Storm, and others to use.
Jokes about WWE main roster PPVs trying to follow TakeOvers have been around for years. More often then not when those comments are made, Raw and SmackDown rise to the occasion of delivering entertaining shows. But between the line-up the black-and-gold brand will roll out and the mess the WrestleMania 37 build’s been, I don’t like their chances this time.
2) Will NXT be able to get/keep the roster healthy until then?
The big caveat here is if Triple H can keep his squad off the disabled list for the next three weeks. And I’m not just talking about the reports of another COVID outbreak that’s said to have prompted changes to tonight’s show.
Wes Lee needs to be cleared from his broken hand. Pretty sure O’Reilly’s publicized injuries are kayfabe, but he, Bálor, and Kross have all been banged up in the not too distant past.
Building excitement for April 7 & 8 is going to be everyone’s top priority. Being smart about health should be emphasized just as much.
3) Who will answer Pete Dunne’s challenge?
The Bruiserweight took care of business against Jake Atlas last Wednesday, then dared someone to prove he isn’t “the best technical wrestler in the world”. We’ve all been watching wrestling long enough to know that’s a set-up, so who’s it gonna be?
Dunne vs. Kushida would make a groovy addition to that Stand & Deliver line-up, wouldn’t it?
4) Where is this Ringkampf story leading us?
Over the past few weeks, Imperium has been trying to convince Timothy Thatcher to come back home. Not to Europe, necessarily, but to the faction he and most of Imperium’s current line-up were once a part of - Ringkampf.
Toothless Timmy’s current partner, Tommaso Ciampa, doesn’t like that idea. He’s not exactly interested in helping Thatcher through any emotions seeing his old mates might be stirring up, though.
Will the duo feud with Imperium? Is Old Man Ciampa going to have to fight someone for Thatcher’s soul? Could that someone be WALTER?
These guys might not be winning any head-to-head ratings segments against AEW, but listen to me Hunter. There is a market for for WALTER vs. Ciampa. Do it.
5) Is Zoey Stark being positioned to be a big babyface in the women’s division?
If the fact she got a chance to show off against Io Shirai didn’t clue you in, the video package the former Lacey Ryan got last week should have. NXT management is clearly very high on Stark, and right now they really could use a face in the women’s division. If Shirai follows Rhea Ripley to the main roster after dropping the belt to Raquel González as many expect her to, the only established técnicos on the roster will be tag teams.
Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart can be pushed a solo stars pretty easily, of course. But they’ve done a good enough job selling me on Zoey that I’m interested in seeing her start climbing the ladder.