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NXT preview (May 11, 2021): Embarrassment of riches

NXT returns tonight (May 11) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida.

Advertised for the show:

  • Raquel González defends the Women’s title against Mercedes Martinez
  • Cruiserweight champion Kushida puts his belt on the line against Santos Escobar in a two-out-of-three falls match
  • Karrion Kross vs. Austin Theory in non-title action
  • Alexander Wolfe vs. Killian Dain

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

1) Was last week’s 4Way NXT championship segment a sign of the TakeOver plan, or a case of misdirection?

Three men with good arguments for why they should get an NXT title match stepped to Karrion Kross on Tues., May 4. Finn Bálor is the former champ who gave Kross a hell of a fight before dropping the belt to him at TakeOver: Stand & Deliver. While they couldn’t beat Bálor during his reign, Pete Dunne & Kyle O’Reilly are both decorated wrestlers coming off big wins of their own.

Word is, our next TakeOver event will happen on Sun., June 13. NXT could spend the next month building tensions between those men (and Kross’s partner, Scarlett) to set a Fatal 4Way. Or, they could take the four Tuesdays between now and then to make the Prince, the Bruiserweight, and Kool Kyle earn a one-on-one shot. There’s not enough time for a full round-robin tournament, and I generally hate beat the clock challenges, but I’m sure Triple H & company can come up with something.

Or, are we going to get a #1 contender Triple Threat between Bálor, Dunne, and O’Reilly while the champ deals with someone else at In Your House?

2) Is The Way done collecting gold?

Kross’s tweener status makes it easy to book him opposite pretty much anyone on the roster. The program with Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory NXT set-up last week could just be another example of that, something like what they did with his quick feud with Legado Del Fantasma prior on his way to becoming champ again.

But The Way have been the most consistently entertaining thing on NXT television for a while now. They already get multiple segments every week. Now that Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell are Women’s Tag champs, could they end up “draped in gold” like Undisputed ERA once was?

Pretty much everyone agrees Kross & Scarlett are a main roster act waiting to happen. And if Gargano became NXT champ again, tell me you couldn’t see Papa John “gifting” the North American title to Theory?

This is probably just a flight of fancy after the heartwarming reaction to LeRae finally winning a championship last Wednesday, but I wouldn’t be mad if I somehow wished it into reality.

3) Who will challenge for the Women’s title at TakeOver?

Not sure if it’s a safe assumption or not, but tonight’s championship match between Raquel González and Mercedes Martinez feels like a one-off. A slobberknocker to make sure we remember what a badass the veteran challenger that continues to build Big Mami Cool’s reputation as a world-beater.

If that’s the case, González will need an opponent for next month’s Sunday show. Is it too soon for that person to be Dakota Kai? We’ve already seen signs the two have different outlooks on Raquel’s reign, and an hour-long run with the Tag belts can’t have been what Kai envisioned for herself when she recruited a heater.

But it’s not like NXT has a derth of choices. González had her own in-ring showdown with potential challengers after her Stand & Deliver win, and former champ Io Shirai is still looming. For now, we’ll enjoy Raquel’s latest hoss fight.

4) How much ass will the Cruiserweight championship match kick?

Kushida and Santos Escobar have built a solid rivalry, one worthy of a big stipulation match like tonight’s. I wish I was more invested in the outcome. But with few exceptions, the Cruiserweight title’s been the ceiling for most guys who compete for it, so...

The point of the scene isn’t to groom the next top singles star, though. It’s to show off what there guys can do in the ring. A two-out-of-three falls match between two dynamic performers (really, six, when you factor in Tag title feud enhancing involvement of Escobar’s henchmen Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza and the champ’s friends MSK) should drive that point home.

5) Where are the Cameron Grimes/Ted DiBiase skits leading?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m enjoying the hell out of the Million Dollar Man big-timing the nouveau riche hillbilly every week. But do they just exist to tell us Grimes is a big deal because he gets television time to work with a Hall of Famer? Or are we going to see Ted hire a wrestler to take this rivalry into the ring?

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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