NXT returns tonight (July 6) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida with its second annual Great American Bash special.
Advertised for the show:
- Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly
- Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell defend the Women’s Tag titles against Io Shirai & Zoey Stark
- Cameron Grimes challenges LA Knight for the Million Dollar championship, and if he loses he has to become Knight’s butler
- MSK (c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher for the Men’s Tag titles
- Karrion Kross and Johnny Gargano face off
- Hit Row holds a Championship Cypher to celebrate Swerve winning the North American title last week
As usual, here are our five questions about NXT tonight:
1) Are all of these questions going to be about potential call-ups and how these matches set them up/work around them?
At various times over the years, Triple H or Tommaso Ciampa or Johnny Gargano has tried to convince us NXT is a full-fledged third brand. And that’s been kind of true since TakeOver: Brooklyn was a success, but it’s never been completely true. Call it developmental or a staging ground, the black-and-gold will always feed talent to the red and the blue.
Sometimes that’s a more looming issue for the show’s booking, and we’re currently in a phase where it really, really is. Rumors of Vince McMahon wanting to freshen up the Raw and SmackDown rosters preceded NXT stars working Main Event. Those were followed by McMahon and his team visiting the Performance Center. One of WWE’s internal talent Draft gimmicks is reportedly set for after SummerSlam. Triple H & Shawn Michaels are about to lose some toys from their toy box.
Bronson Reed dropping the North American title to Swerve Scott last week was likely the first domino to fall. Karrion Kross seems certain to be moving up around the same time Reed does. Who else will follow? We’ll be looking for signs tonight, and over the next couple of months.
2) What are the odds Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly II remains a “straight-up wrestling match”?
That’s what General Manager William Regal wants. One of Samoa Joe’s first acts as Regal’s enforcer was to choke Cole out for taking his fight with KOR outside of a sanctioned match.
But as that, and their Stand & Deliver war proved, things are pretty personal between the former Undisputed ERA members. Their old teammates are floating around - we haven’t seen a whole lot of Bobby Fish, but Roderick Strong has a new posse. The Diamond Mine jumped Cruiserweight champ Kushida in their debut two weeks back, but maybe they would have taken out Cool Kyle too if Cole hadn’t gotten to him first?
If this does remain between the two official competitors, does that signal a trilogy fight at the next TakeOver?
3) Where does Pete Dunne fit into the NXT title picture?
Johnny Gargano and his The Way protege defeated Dunne & Oney Lorcan in an impromptu tag match on June 22. But is that, and some trash talk from Johnny Wrestling, going to be enough to clear the Bruiserweight out of the scene?
The former United Kingdom champ is also one of many who’ve teased a match with Joe. Will he get that honor while Gargano and the winner of Cole/O’Reilly sort out who hold the brand’s biggest prize after Kross’ call-up?
4) Who’s sticking around in the Women’s division?
First, I warned you most of these questions would be about the call-up rumors.
Second, I’d long figured (or maybe I was fantasy booking) Shotzi Blackheart would dethrone Raquel González as NXT Women’s champ before Big Mami Cool made the jump to Raw or SmackDown. But based on Blackheart working a Main Event match and not earning a rematch with The Way for the tag belts, it now looks like Shotzi may precede González to the main.
I also figured Io Shirai was probably main roster-bound after she dropped the strap to Raquel at Stand & Deliver, and she’s back talking about a rematch - and now challenging with Zoey Stark for the belts currently held by her old rival Candice LeRae, and Mrs. Wrestling’s “daughter” Indi Hartwell.
Will something happen here that sets up another Shirai/González match? That’s kind of what I’m thinking, but we’ve already established I’m bad at predicting things.
5) Can we please get a Virgil appearance?
I don’t care how much meat sauce or how many bread sticks you have to the buy the man. If we’re doing a reluctant lackey thing with the Million Dollar belt, I’m gonna need to see the loneliest man at the con at some point.