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WWE NXT preview (July 13, 2021): Unfinished business

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NXT returns tonight (July 13) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida.

Advertised for the show:

  • Karrion Kross (c) vs. Johnny Gargano for the NXT championship, with Samoa Joe as the special guest referee
  • Duke Hudson vs. Ikemen Jiro in an NXT Breakout Tournament First Round match
  • Sarray vs. Gigi Dolin

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

1) Will the new members of the SmackDown Women’s roster finish their NXT programs?

Shotzi Blackheart & Tegan Nox made their debut on the blue brand last Friday, and WWE announced Toni Storm will soon be on Friday nights. It’s exciting news, but it also left followers of the black-and-gold brand scratching their heads a bit.

NXT’s been setting Blackheart up as the next major challenger for Women’s champion Raquel González, reminding fans of their issues in the build-up to last week’s Women’s Tag title change. That change happened in part thanks to a distraction by Nox, and Tegan attacked Candice LeRae after Io Shirai & Zoey Stark won the belts (in kayfabe, a backstage attack by LeRae caused Nox’s latest knee injury). Storm got her win back from Stark, but now seems to be dodging a challenge from newcomer Sarray.

Of the three, that last one is the easiest to hand wave away or quickly blow off. We’ll see if they set-up a match between Storm and Sarray tonight when the joshi star faces Gigi Dolin (the former Priscilla Kelly).

Shotzi & Nox, as their team was introduced on SmackDown, seem more likely to pull Viking Experience Raiders-esque double duty for a while; Erik & Ivar were still NXT Tag champs when they debuted on Raw in 2019 before relinquishing the belts. It doesn’t make for the most suspenseful stories, but NXT is still “developmental” - even though they have their own cable television show to book.

2) How physical will Samoa Joe get as special guest referee - and with who?

General Manager William Regal’s enforcer kept the peace between Johnny Gargano and NXT champion Karrion Kross when this week’s title match was booked at Great American Bash. It was no small accomplishment, given how pro wrestling face-offs tend to go, and how Kross & Gargano have been trying to kill each other outside the ring in the build up to their match.

Joe figures to be busy tonight, but how busy should tell us something about his NXT future? Will he just put Austin Theory to sleep for trying to help his mentor? Or will we also see appearances from other folks circling the main event title scene - and prospective Joe opponents - like Pete Dunne or Adam Cole?

3) Speaking of Cole, we’re getting a trilogy with Kyle O’Reilly, right?

NXT started their feud with an Unsanctioned Match, which made sense for their personal history and the way Mr. BAY BAY broke up Undisputed ERA. It clearly wasn’t the blow-off though, and now after last week’s straight-up wrestling match, their WWE scorecard reads one apiece.

Keeping this going keeps two prospective NXT title challengers busy while that scene gets sorted out (and we see when Kross lands on Monday or Friday nights). If I had to guess, I’d say it leads to a trilogy fight at TakeOver: Vegas, or whatever NXT’s SummerSlam-adjacent event is called.

4) When will Kushida strike back at the Diamond Mine?

During the Bash, the Cruiserweight champ reminded us he’s got unfinished business with Malcolm Bivens’ collective. Rumor has it Roderick Strong could be key to WWE’s latest plan to reheat the cruiserweight scene. Seems like a no-brainer, so let’s get it going!

5) Will Cameron Grimes show up for his new job tonight?

You don’t become a memestock and crypto millionaire without being pretty smart.


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.