NXT returns tonight (Aug. 24) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida. This week’s episode was taped last night - spoilers are here, if you’re into that sort of thing, and if you are, please use a spoiler bar if you discuss them in the comments - as the CWC is remodeled as part of the ongoing NXT rebrand.
Advertised for the show:
- Hit Row vs. Legado Del Fantasma in a Six-Man Tag match
- Odyssey Jones vs. Carmelo Hayes in the Breakout Tournament Finals
- Ridge Holland vs. Timothy Thatcher
- Witness the fallout of TakeOver 36
As usual, here are our five questions about NXT tonight:
1) Who will step to new NXT champ Samoa Joe?
Joe did what Joe does on Sunday night, sending Kross off to Raw (in his new weird S & M get-up) and starting his third run with the NXT title.
It comes at an interesting time. Joe does not fit the “under 30” part of Vince McMahon’s edict for NXT going forward, but he is a name who can draw viewers while younger guys are prepped for bigger roles. And there are several people who can challenge him, creating interesting stories and really good matches in the process. But I’m not sure any of them are positioned to unseat him, at least not for a while.
Kyle O’Reilly should be in line after ending the Undisputed Saga at TakeOver. O’Reilly is well-liked by the fanbase and a match with Joe will be a banger. Not sure he’s someone anyone in the WWE braintrust wants to center a show around, though. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pete Dunne eventually get a run with the belt, but that feels like something they’ll want to build to. If it doesn’t happen at a September/October TakeOver (and who knows if we’ll even get one of those amidst the rebrand), The Bruiserweight vs. The Samoan Submission machine might not happen until a Royal Rumble weekend event.
By then, someone like Ridge Holland or Top Dolla could be ready to take a big step up. We’ll see. For now, I’m figuring the reign of Joe will last for at least six months or so.
2) Will we see more of WALTER & Ilja Dragunov on Tuesday nights?
The match of the weekend, and a front-runner for match of the year, was Sunday’s NXT United Kingdom championship match. Tonight’s show will certainly do something to capitalize on the buzz from Dragunov finally slaying his dragon, and ending WALTER’s historic title run in the process. But will it just be a highlight package? Or will they make it clear that at least some of the Mad Russian’s future will happen in the U.S.? They’ll get a bigger audience on television in the States, but NXT UK is part of WWE’s deal with BT Sport. It’s worth watching how they try to maximize the hype from TakeOver to bolster two shows.
3) Is Dakota Kai joining Karrion Kross on the main roster?
We know Kross is a main roster guy now, and wherever he lands Adam Cole is gone from NXT. What about the other big name who did that job at TakeOver 36? It’s a bummer (to me, anyway) that Dakota won’t get a run with the NXT Women’s title during her great run with the brand. But there’s not much else for her to do here, especially with a big player showing up on Sunday night. Speaking of...
4) Will Kay Lee Ray’s NXT Prime run be more Rhea Ripley or Toni Storm?
The longest reigning NXT UK Women’s champion is here, and says she’s not going anywhere. But will her time in Orlando include a title run to establish her before a potential call-up? Or is it a quick pitstop where she’ll put over the current champ before getting called to Raw or SmackDown?
5) How will Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae try to stop the InDex wedding?
We know Papa John isn’t paying for this thing. But something tells me he and Mrs. Wrestling won’t stop there. What shenanigans should we expect as they try to stop Indi Hartwell from making what they (and Wade Barrett) think is a huge mistake by marrying Dexter Lumis?