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WWE NXT preview (Oct. 3, 2018): Stand by your man

Tonight’s show finds us in NXT’s home base of Full Sail Live for the second episode from a taping (spoilers from which are here) which continues the build toward TakeOver: WarGames 2.

Here’s what to expect.

The Headliner(s)

Even when she tries to separate from her husband, Candice LeRae’s NXT run remains defined by their relationship.

Her match on this episode was set-up by one of those segments which are one of my favorite things about the black-and-yellow brand, where they advance a bunch of stories at once while reminding us theirs is a shared universe. Johnny Gargano delivered what sounded like a pep talk to himself about his match with Tony Nese (yay! further expanding that shared universe to all of Triple H’s Wednesday night shows), then met up with Candice Wrestling to head home. The couple were cut off by Lacey Evans, and the First Lady’s taunts were all about LeRae not standing by her man like a “good wife should”.

This program, which gives us LeRae vs. Evans tonight, should be another step in stepping out of her husband’s shadow. An eventual feud win sends the message that not only is Evans’ message about a woman’s place being by her husband’s side at all times is best left in the past, but further establishes Candice as her own act and moves her toward a future title shot. Sounds good, right?

Should be, but there’s also the matter of the ongoing investigation into the attack on Aleister Black. A dodgy interview with General Manager William Regal gave the impression LeRae is either covering for her husband or involved in the assault which took Black out of his TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 match. Either is an interesting wrinkle in the story, and can be spun as Candice trying to help Johnny move forward so she can focus on her own career without watching him fall apart before her eyes. But it also gives the impression she’s a character in his story and not the star of her own.

Maybe that’s just the way it is in the Total Divas/Mixed Match Challenge world of 21st century WWE. Married women are always going to be part of team act, the perpetual Marty Jannetys of their partnership. It doesn’t mean they can have great feuds of their own, and Evans/LeRae has the potential to be a good one.

But it’s a little disappointing to fans who remember her going toe-to-toe with Kevin Steen, or in bloody wars against the Young Bucks. Oh well, intergender is something WWE is starting to lean towards more and more, too.

The Title Scene

Fresh off being pushed to the limit by Otis Dozovic of Heavy Machinery, NXT champion Tommaso Ciampa probably just wants to rest, whisper sweet nothings to his belt and talk about how great he is. Lots of people want that title though, and lots of people keep implicating him as the culprit in Black’s assault. Velveteen Dream pointed a finger in the Blackheart’s direction last week. Hey, it got Dozer a match with Ciampa...

Regal took a break from his sleuthing to call Undisputed ERA on their crap last week. Adam Cole tried to claim he was being denied a rematch with North American champ Ricochet, but Regal pointed out Cole never actually asked him for one. He also caught on to the ERA’s plan to soften up the King by interfering in his match with United Kingdom champ Pete Dunne - so he booked a Triple Threat between all three men for Oct. 17.

He didn’t forget Tag Team titleholders Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong, either. War Raiders have been clear with their intentions for months - including chasing Undisputed off after they jumped Ricochet and Dunne. Will it lead to a WarGames match? We’ll see, starting with Hanson & Rowe’s first title shot next Wednesday.

We’ll have to wait a bit longer for the Shayna Baszler’s rematch for the Women’s championship. Her old rival Kairi Sane was happy to give the Queen of Spades her shot, but she wants to do it on the big stage - Evolution. Baszler’s promised to start her training camp for Oct. 28 soon.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- This episode’s main event will see EC3 set aside his quest to stack victories in order to start stacking fights. Lars Sullivan didn’t take kindly to being implicated as Black’s attacker by EC3, so he put him on injured reserve with a backstage attack. One week after running in to return the favor after Sullivan’s match, he’ll try to avoid a Freak Accident when they go toe-to-toe tonight.

- Mr. Regal’s investigation might be going better if he’d stop writing off Nikki Cross as crazy. Also, he should give the Twisted Sister the rematch with Bianca Belair both women want.

- We’ve seen them Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler in tag team action and Jaxson Ryker work singles, but the Forgotten Sons will be operating as a three-man unit when they hit the ring on this episode.

- Meanwhile, the team Blake & Cutler beat in their debut, Street Profits, is still out of revenge... especially after The Mighty eked out a win over them last Wednesday.

NOTE: Spoilers are out there for these pre-taped broadcasts (including here), but many Cagesiders don't partake. If you are going to post or discuss spoilers for this show before they happen, or results of future shows, please use the spoiler bar in your comment.

See you tonight for NXT, Cagesiders!

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