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WWE NXT preview (June 8, 2021): Many scary returns

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NXT returns tonight (June 8) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida.

Advertised for the show:

  • Ember Moon gets ready for her shot at Women’s champ Raquel González with a match against Big Mami Cool’s partner Dakota Kai
  • A face-off between the NXT champ Karrion Kross and his four TakeOver challengers
  • Poppy returns
  • Ted DiBiase makes a “priceless” announcement
  • Two of the NXT title challengers’ sidekicks face-off when Oney Lorcan battles Austin Theory
  • Isaiah “Swerve” Scott battles Killian Dain

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

1) Is Poppy bringing Io Shirai with her?

When last we saw the Genius of the Sky, she was chatting with Beth Phoenix on the April 20 edition of NXT. Shirai said she needed some time off to rest after her 300 day Women’s title reign, and the brutal feud with Raquel González that ended that run. But she also vowed to get her rematch with González, and was confronted by Franky Monet to set-up a “cat person vs. dog person” program that got pet-loving pro wrestling fans like myself very excited.

Have “plans changed”? I had been thinking WWE was holding off on Io’s return to NXT (or official main roster debut) until there were fans in the building. But now I can’t figure out why they’re bringing back a performer who’s played her in multiple times for a non-TakeOver show.

Will we get one last NXT run for the joshi legend, perhaps with a win over Monet, followed by putting González over again at a SummerSlam week TakeOver? Could that start with showing up while Poppy rocks out tonight?

2) Can the other four men in the TakeOver main event avoid being outshined by Adam Cole?

I was a big fan of the build to Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly at Stand & Deliver, but in watching back some of the big moments - especially their contract signing - Cole was on a different level than KOR. O’Reilly’s not really had a buzzworthy moment of his own since his former Undisputed ERA teammate went away after their match, which reinforces the idea he carried that angle from a raw charisma perspective.

Then last week, the Panama City Playboy reappeared and was immediately the most magnetic presence on the screen. His line to champion Karrion Kross...

“NXT does everything to make you look special. You got the music, you got the lights, you got the fog machine, you got the girl. You know what they do to make me feel special? They ring the bell”

... was an absolute dagger, and perfectly summed up what many fans have been saying about Scarlett’s man. Pete Dunne and Johnny Gargano are great, but the former is a mostly silent killer who plays off his opponents and teammates, while the latter is currently playing a character who is 90% comedy.

If the plan isn’t to put the belt back on Cole, which I don’t think it is, someone needs to use this week to outshine him instead of vice versa.

3) Who will the next Women’s Tag challengers be?

For the first time winning the belts, last week NXT Women’s Tag champions Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell did something other than deal with Hartwell’s rom-com with Dexter Lumis. Not that InDex isn’t a really fun story, it’s just nice when there’s also something going on with the belts.

So... who will come after the belts? The Zoey Stark/Zayda Ramier team the champs beat last Tuesday aren’t it, and the previous titleholders - and the team they beat to win the straps - are tied up in the Ember Moon/Raquel González feud for Raquel’s singles championship.

Is it time for Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter to return? We haven’t seen much of them since they established the threat of Tian Sha back before the last TakeOver. And if it’s not them... what other babyface teams are there?

4) What else will be added to Sunday’s card?

We currently stand at four matches for In Your House. Only two of the brand’s six belts are represented on the card so far. North American champion Bronson Reed and Santos Escobar have been circling one another, and while I’m not excited about Escobar losing another high profile feud, I would watch the crap out of that match.

Is that the fifth for June 13? Will they stick with the traditional five main card matches, or could we also see Kushida throw out a Cruiserweight title open challenge? How about Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa in a Tag championship #1 contenders bout? Is their a third women’s match you’d like to see?

5) Seriously, what’s the Diamond Mine?

Returning to the topic of things that have been looming for more than a month, the first Diamond Mine spot aired on April 27. We’ve intermittently seen a few more teasers since then, but nothing that sheds much light on the concept... whatever it is.

Hopefully we get some answers soon. And hopefully they involve Malcom Bivens.

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.