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WWE NXT preview (Mar. 14, 2018): Contempt of court

Tonight’s show finds us in back in NXT’s new home away from home, Atlanta’s Center Stage, for the third episode from the second night of taping (spoilers from which are here) building toward TakeOver: New Orleans.

Here's what to expect.

The Headliner(s)

Good luck with this, you son of a b****. But thanks for the veins...

Fitting that (according to Wikipedia, Cageside’s chronicler of the black-and-yellow brand does not know bodybuilding terminology on his own) vascularity is attributed to “an extreme reduction of subcutaneous fat, allowing for maximum muscle definition”. Because if there’s one thing Tommaso Ciampa appears to have, it’s thin skin.

He turned on Johnny Gargano in Chicago last year because of fans fantasy booking potential replacements for him in #DIY. Even after his treachery cost Gargano his job in NXT, Ciampa can’t handle the mention of his name. It didn’t work out well for the Blackheart last week, when he came to the ring to address... we don’t know, actually. Could have been his actions in attacking Johnny Wrestling while his career was on the line, could have been his own future plans. The crowd in Atlanta wouldn’t let him get a word in, so the Sicilian Psychopath refused to talk, snapped, destroyed some signs an left.

Looks like he’ll be trying again tonight. And since we’re all hoping/expecting announcements that (1) Ciampa’s been cleared after knee surgery and (2) General Manager William Regal’s found a kayfabe loophole to let Gargano come back to kick his ass, this should be a very good segment on our way to WrestleMania weekend in the Big Easy.

The Title Scene

After benefiting from Ciampa’s intervention, NXT champion Andrade “Cien” Almas and his business associate Zelina Vega were just trying to gloat when a war broke out in front of them. Aleister Black conquered Killian Dain in the last week’s battle from said war, and Regal made Black the #1 contender. On this episode, he and El Ídolo will sign the paperwork to wrestle at TakeOver.

The news on Bobby Fish’s knee isn’t good, so we’re officially awaiting news on the status of Undisputed ERA and the tag team titles they currently hold. Kyle O’Reilly and Fish were supposed to face the winner of The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic - more on that below - in New Orleans, but as wrestling’s preeminent journalist and speculator is fond of saying, “plans change”. If you want an idea of how they might (along with a bunch of other spoilers for April 7 and how we’ll get there) - click here.

O’Reilly does have another faction-mate, of course. The ERA never officially “Freebird”-ed the belts the way New Day or SAnitY did, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Adam Cole reunite with his old Future Shock partner for TakeOver. In the meantime, he mouthed off to the United Kingdom champion Pete Dunne last week, and that turned into a title shot/potential asskicking at the hands of the Bruiserweight on this one.

We haven’t seen Women’s champ Ember Moon since Kairi Sane saved her from a Shanya Baszler assault. The Queen of Spades has noticed her absence, too, calling Moon out repeatedly before, during and after avenging her Mae Young Classic loss to Sane.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- We’ve got not one, but TWO Dusty Classic matches on tap for this one, as SAnitY’s Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe are set to face Tino Sabatelli and Riddick Moss (who haven’t exactly been on the same page lately, and Heavy Machinery and Street Profits will face off in a showdown between rising stars. The winners will join Authors of Pain, who defeated TM61 last week, in round two.

- The women’s mid-card gets some screen time, as Dakota Kai returns from her own Baszler-inflicted “injury” to wrestle Lacey Evans, who continued to build her arrogant heel character in a promo running the Kiwi down as being an undesirable-type on the last episode.

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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