NXT returns tonight (Sept. 7) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida. This week’s episode was taped two weeks ago as the CWC is remodeled as part of the ongoing NXT rebrand.
Advertised for the show:
- MSK (c) vs. Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan for the NXT Tag Team championship
- Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter vs. Io Shirai & Zoey Stark (c) for the NXT Women’s Tag titles
- Kay Lee Ray vs. Ember Moon
- Indi Hartwell and Dexter Lumis’ bachelorette and bachelor parties
- Carmelo Hayes vs. Santos Escobar
- Mei Ying’s in-ring debut
- Julius & Brutus Creed in action representing Diamond Mine
As usual, here are our five questions about NXT tonight:
1) What else is there left for Io Shirai to do here?
While some argued it didn’t make sense for someone as talented as Shirai to spend very much time at all on the black and gold brand, she’s has a hell of a run there. It’s included holding both Women’s titles, and being in two WarGames matches. In terms of WWE evaluating her for a main roster run, she’s also played babyface and heel, and has spent the past few months proving she can do the kind of odd couple tag team skits everyone eventually does on Raw and SmackDown. Those have demonstrated her ability to get across her character verbally in both her first (Japanese) and second languages (English), and non-verbally.
WWE’s has ample tape on the Genius of the Sky, is what I’m saying. Whenever her Tag title run with Zoey Stark comes to a close - and it could be tonight against Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter - they should either move her up or cut her loose. Sure, she could get her rematch against Raquel González, or rack up a few more defenses with Stark to help establish the relative newcomer. But really, Io’s NXT story probably should have ended after dropping the belt at Stand & Deliver.
2) Will Pete Dunne follow Adam Cole out the door?
Don’t hold your breathe for any mention of the new AEW star. Even subtle nods from his former co-workers won’t be present since this was taped two weeks ago while he was still talking to WWE officials about staying.
But there’s another big name who reportedly had a similar contract situation. Pete Dunne is leading the faction Pat McAfee put together, out of which Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch will try to recapture the Tag titles they never lost from MSK on tonight’s episode. He should be first in line for a shot at Samoa Joe and the NXT championship.
But will a Joe match be his WWE swan song?
3) How wacky will the InDex pre-wedding parties get?
I’m thinking pretty wacky!
It’ll be good to see Mama Wrestling though.
4) Will we see Mandy Rose’s “horribly disfigured” face this week?
After taking a Sarray drop kick to the head and a head-first fall out of the ring, Rose’s protege’s Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne were quick to cover her face and rush her to the back. They also stood guard backstage whenever anyone tried to get a word from (or a closer look at) Rose.
I’m thinking we’re getting an updated take on an old classic, perhaps most prominently used by Cody Rhodes in his pre-Stardust WWE days. Despite evidence to the contrary, Mandy believes herself to be “ruined”. She’ll go after Sarray first, then anyone she thinks is laughing at her.
And why not? It’s probably a good way for Rose to work on or show off her acting range. It would also give her a way to differentiate herself from Franky Monet; up until now they’ve been working nearly identical “vain veteran recruits lackeys” angles.
5) When are we getting Kay Lee Ray vs. Raquel González?
Here’s hoping Ray’s match with Ember Moon gets plenty of time tonight. It’s hard not to look ahead to future plans for the longest reigning NXT UK Women’s champion in history. A clash with the current NXT Women’s champ is inevitable, seeing as they started setting it up with Kay Lee’s debut on this show back at TakeOver 36.
In fact, the Ray vs. Shirai clash NXT hinted at earlier this year might be one good reason to Io on Tuesday nights for a little longer...