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NXT preview (April 27, 2021): Stunted growth

NXT returns tonight (April 27) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida.

Advertised for the show:

  • Adam Cole interviewed by Arash Markazi
  • Mercedes Martinez vs. Dakota Kai
  • Kushida and MSK vs. Legado Del Fantasma
  • Bronson Reed vs. Austin Theory

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

1) Where’s Finn?

Last week, we got an update on Io Shirai (more on her later) and the return of Kyle O’Reilly. This week, Adam Cole will be on the show, chatting with Arash Markazi, one of the “real” sports people WWE’s been integrating into their shows lately.

We’ll see what Cole has to say for himself - I’m guessing it will be a sign his feud with O’Reilly isn’t done, if only because Triple H & Shawn Michaels love to book multi-match sagas. Whatever it is, his appearance means there’s only one major name still missing since TakeOver: Stand & Deliver.

Taking a few weeks off after dropping the NXT title to Karrion Kross makes sense for Finn Bálor. That was a brutal affair that further established Kross’s credentials as unstoppable.

It also prompted speculation the former Universal champion might be ready to re-ascend to Raw or SmackDown. Bálor’s prominently featured in NXT’s revamped opening and other promotional materials though, so it seems he’s sticking around.

So when will we see him again? Will it be here, or could he be headed across the pond to restart the feud with WALTER that was put on hold by the start of the pandemic last year?

We’ll be watching to find out, and that’s just the way The Prince likes it.

2) Can somebody get Candice LeRae & Johnny Gargano some books on how to raise teenagers?

The North American champion is still struggling to deal with his eager-to-please meathead “son” Austin Theory. Theory got himself booked in a match with Bronson Reed tonight, and if Reed squishes him like he did two weeks ago (with a big boy splash that had Austin talking like Macho Man and needing to go to the hospital), the Colossal One gets another shot at Gargano’s belt.

Meanwhile, LeRae doesn’t know what to do with her lovestruck “daughter”. Indi Hartwell followed up leaving The Way’s eight-person tag with Dexter Lumis by leaving Candice to pick a fight with Women’s Tag champs Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon with no back-up. The Poison Pixie caught a beating, but she is getting another shot at taking the belts - thanks to Hartwell.

Look, dealing with teens isn’t easy. But Candice & Johnny have obviously done some things right, or General Manager William Regal wouldn’t be listening to all their young sidekicks’ match requests. They just need to figure out how to channel that energy, and get Hartwell and Theory to work on their impulse control.

At least Indi’s crush also cost Gargano’s frequent rival Lumis a match last week, too.

3) Are Raquel González & Dakota Kai on the same page?

González has been acting more babyface-ish since winning the Women’s title at Stand & Deliver. She won the belt clean, shared a moment with former rival Rhea Ripley and their fellow WrestleMania week winner Bianca Belair, has formed a mutual respect bond with former champ Io Shirai, and taken a “just bring it” position on title defenses.

Her partner, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have changed at all. Kai told Mercedes Martinez her challenge would go unanswered, just before Big Mami Cool answered it. Martinez is now not only looking to get a shot at Raquel, but also pointing out that the champ shouldn’t trust her Kiwi friend.

The writing is on the wall. How long with it take for the split to happen? Or is NXT misdirecting us?

4) When does Ted DiBiase show up?

Ever since Cameron Grimes debuted his redneck millionaire schtick, the comparisons to “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase have flowed. NXT’s leaned into it. First with Grimey’s failed attempt at doing DiBiase’s dribbling challenge, then last week by attempting to buy O’Reilly and getting outbid by the Hall of Famer for some NFTs.

DiBiase told Booker T he’s headed to (or by now, possibly in) Orlando to work with Grimes. When does he appear on our screens? I really need to hear the laugh off between these two big money man.

5) Who else on the NXT roster is a cat person?

As a cat person myself, I need to know who my people are.

We have to stick together for the impending Franky Monet/Io Shirai feud, after all.

Give us your questions and answers in the comments below. Then join us in our live blog and we’ll see what Qs and As tonight’s show gives us.

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