Tonight’s show finds us at Full Sail, for the first episode from a taping (spoilers from which are here) which takes us all the way to TakeOver: War Games. Here's what to expect.
Despite his already established cred as a fighting champ, Drew McIntyre’s NXT championship won’t be on the line in this episode. But that doesn’t mean we won’t learn more about the pecking order of who will be battling for the belt in the near future.
That’s because the last man to challenge Drew - and push him to the limit - Roderick Strong will do battle with Andrade “Cien” Almas tonight. In addition to being on a win streak which has included two impressive victories over Johnny Gargano since allying himself with Zelina Vega, Cien made it clear on the previous episode that he’s gunning for McIntyre’s strap.
The champ wasn’t impressed that Almas made his request via Zelina, however. So if he can keep his win streak going here, look for Andrade to call out the champ and give the Scot someone new to fight.
Don’t sell Roddy short, here, however. In addition to a great-if-losing effort in his battle with McIntyre, Strong picked up a win over previous champ Bobby Roode before The Glorious One headed off to SmackDown. And he may have some new allies.
Security cam footage showed Strong continuing to be civil with his former co-workers in The Undisputed ERA. It looked like he passed on Adam Cole’s latest offer of membership in the stable, but if he remains frustrated with not being able to win the title... could you blame him for considering other options?
Lots of threads weaving through this one, which could provide answers about the TakeOver card coming our way in less than a month.
The Title Scene
We’ll continue determining the participants for next month’s Fatal 4Way to decide who will succeed Asuka as Women’s champion. So far, Mae Young Classic (MYC) winner Kairi Sane and Peyton Royce have punched their tickets for Houston. With one spot left, General Manager is throwing pretty much everybody into the mix with a 16 woman battle royal featuring a blend of Performance Center regulars and MYC entrants. Check out the list in our results post here.
Undisputed Era failed to pick up a win in their quest for NXT gold last week against the tag team titleholding faction, SAnitY. They also may have picked up some new rivals with the return of Authors of Pain. Akam, Rezar and Paul Ellering seemed much more focused on Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain and the belts, but if Cole, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly do anything other than slink away like they did last Wednesday, the former champs probably won’t hesitate to take them out, either. We should find out more about Ellering’s specific plans for getting the championship back on his monsters soon.
Other stuff to keep an eye on:
- Velveteen Dream’s efforts to get Aleister Black to acknowledge appear to be inching closer to success after Dream stole Black’s vest last week. Suprising as it may be to some, including this writer, this is one of WWE’s best programs right now and hopefully we’ll get another small taste of it this week en route to their eventual showdown at War Games.
- Separately, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch couldn’t stop Lars Sullivan. Can anyone? Could we maybe please try Lorcan and Burch together in a handicap match?
- Speaking of tag teams, while they’re on the outside of the title picture now, Heavy Machinery and Street Profits continue to receive a steady push, and are teams we should keep an eye on for pre-show matches in Houston and as possible contenders in 2018.
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See you tonight for NXT, Cagesiders!