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WWE NXT preview (April 25, 2018): With authority

Tonight’s show finds us in back in NXT’s home base of Full Sail Live for the second episode from the taping (spoilers from which are here) which will build out from TakeOver: New Orleans.

Here's what to expect.

The Headliner(s)

Not wasting any time putting his regained mojo to the test, Johnny Gargano celebrated his win over Tommaso Ciampa with his people at Full Sail Live, used that party to orchestrate a feud-ending win for he and Candice LeRae over the departing Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega, then asked for and was granted a NXT Championship match by the man who just beat Almas in NOLA, Aleister Black.

The black-and-yellow brand’s never been much for short title reigns, so a title change doesn’t seem like something we should be worried about here. We can concern ourselves with how good this match might be, considering neither of these guys has mailed in a dud in quite some time. And we should definitely be looking for Tommaso Ciampa - excuse me, Tommy Entertainment - who certainly isn’t done with his old pal Johnny, or his own dreams of being champ.

NXT in general isn’t dilly-dallying. That battle for their top prize is only one of two championship matches on the April 25 episode. There’s not much likelihood of the North American Title changing hands here, either. We’d bet the belt Adam Cole just won in a Ladder Match at TakeOver would stay in the possession of Undisputed ERA even if he was facing someone higher up the card than Oney Lorcan. Given that it is the Boston Brawler getting the first shot at the NA strap...

Which doesn’t mean it shouldn’t also be a really enjoyable match. Lorcan always delivers - to the point myself and others are often frustrated he isn’t higher up on the card, or at least consistently involved in mid-card angle - but the questions here are probably:

  1. When do Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong and/or Bobby Fish’s crutches get involved to help the Panama City Playboy keep his title?
  2. Who comes out to keep Oney from stomped into oblivion? Will it be his tag partner Danny Burch to set-up a future program in the pairs division, or a marquee North American Championship contender like Ricochet or maybe even EC3?

The Title Scene

Speaking of Undisputed ERA, we’re also promised a segment with their now four members. Roddy was last seen carrying one of the Tag Team Titles he helped O’Reilly and Cole keep on WrestleMania weekend, but he still hasn’t explained why he turned on his own partner, United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne. The Bruiserweight doesn’t seem concerned with the why, however, as he’s promised to return soon to break Strong’s neck.

So far, new Women’s Champ Shayna Baszler has focused on keeping the locker room in line. The roster mostly just listened to The Queen of Spades message when she took over a meeting at The Performance Center last week, although Dakota Kai did passive aggressively walk out. Either Kai or someone else will stand up a little more forcefully soon, no doubt.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- We’ve had plenty of reminders that new additions like Ricochet and EC3 and other major player who weren’t promoted in The Superstar Shakeup like Velveteen Dream and Lars Sullivan are here - including big wins for Ricochet and Sullivan on the last episode. Hopefully we’ll start getting an idea of their direction for June’s TakeOver: Chicago 2 soon, too.

- Issues between Heavy Machinery and Tino Sabatelli & Riddick Moss (and between Moss and Sabatelli) didn’t come to a head during their second match because War Raiders came in an wrecked shop. Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight get a third chance to put away the high rolling duo this 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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