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WWE NXT preview (Dec. 26, 2018): Unfortunate interruption

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

Here’s what to expect, and some thoughts on the overall landscape of the black-and-yellow brand.

The Headliner(s)

Welp, there’s not a lot of suspense to the Tag Team championship match we’re going to get tonight, is there? Honestly, there was never a ton. They did a nice job making Heavy Machinery look mean and focused on the last episode, but with the way Otis Dozovic & Tucker Knight have been presented over the past year or so, they were never serious threats to dethrone Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong. Their call-up to Raw or SmackDown was just one last bit of confirmation.

Ditto the Fatal 4Way we’ll get to determine who will challenge Shayna Baszler for the Women’s title at TakeOver: Phoenix next month. Lacey Evans has been a fixture on the brand for as long as un-de-fee-ted favorite Bianca Belair, and might have been a dark horse to find her way into the mix. Her promotion probably rules her out as possibility, but maybe the other two ladies in this match, 2018 Mae Young Classic runner-up Io Shirai or Mia Yim, could make things more interesting? Probably not - at least not yet. So First Lady of NXT or no, most of us will look at this one the same way.

Lars Sullivan has a win over Velveteen Dream from before WarGames 2 which could put him into the hunt for a men’s title, but it’s not like that’s a dangling plot hole or something. EC3 got some revenge against Undisputed ERA with a win over Bobby Fish a few weeks back, which put a bow on that mini-fued. The biggest missed opportunity there might be a team-up with Heavy Machinery. He could run in and help Dozer & Tucky this week, and there’s always a chance we’ll get to see them do some “odd trio” comedy skits at the next level... if they end up on the same brand, and that show makes time for them.

But hands down, without a doubt, the story probably being interrupted by this round of promotions that I’m most disappointed might be over is Nikki Cross’ feud with Belair. They’ve battled twice, in fun matches with non-finishes (a double countount, and a no contest caused by Aleister Black’s return) that seemed designed to leave us wanting more. That a decisive weekly main event or TakeOver match might not be forthcoming is a bummer.

But of course, these tales never end. If The EST and the Twisted Sister cross paths on Raw or SmackDown, WWE will almost certainly remind us about their unfinished business from NXT.

The Title Scene

We know that Johnny Gargano doesn’t think the reunion with NXT champ Tommaso Ciampa which earned him a win over Black in last week’s steel cage match changes his status as a hero. Or maybe he doesn’t remember it happened at all? Neither his old #DIY partner not Aleister is likely to let him forget, though.’s official preview for this episode is teasing some words from Ciampa on the matter. Think we know the Dutch Destroyer is gonna wanna kill both Johnny Wrestling and Tommy Sports Entertainment, so the real question is... what will General Manager William Regal have to say about it, and how it could change the Ciampa/Black title bout scheduled for Phoenix.

When he gets a minute, hopefully Mr. Regal can line up another “open contract” challenger for North American champion Ricochet. The fighting champ needs something to do.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- There are plenty of acts which could fill minutes after the five acts who’ve been called up take their leave. We met one last week when Dominik Dijakovik was reintroduced. We’ll get a look at another this week when Forgotten Sons’ stoic singles competitor Jaxson Ryker takes on some poor enhancement talent-type.

- Matt Riddle is gonna do more than just fill minutes, bro. He’s already called out cheap shot artist Kassius Ohno for another beatdown.

- We thought reports of a Dakota Kai knee injury would mean the end of her team-up with Shirai & Kairi Sane against Baszler and... I want to say Jessica and Mary? (Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir). The Kingslayer was spotted at home in New Zealand wearing a brace that didn’t look like the kind you wear shortly after surgery though. Don’t give up hopes of a Super Friends vs. 34 MMA Horsewomen feud yet, is what we’re saying. Especially after Duke & Shafir impressed in their television debut last week.

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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