clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

WWE NXT preview (May 30, 2018): Adjusting the schedule

New, comment

Tonight’s show finds us in NXT’s home base of Full Sail Live for the third episode from two nights of taping (spoilers from which are here and here) which will take us all the way to TakeOver: Chicago 2.

Here's what to expect.

The Headliner(s)

The black-and-yellow brand seems to have its own version of a Greatest Royal Rumble problem.

Not in the sense that women can’t wrestle there or any other problematic human rights/contradictory PR issues, but in terms of adding what a major event/house show hybrid to an already busy schedule. Two days of United Kingdom Championship Tournament two days after the next TakeOver event have given the NXT crew some storytelling challenges.

Take tonight’s main event.

We were in the midst of an intriguing, long-form tale showing how Dakota Kai had been broken by Women’s Champ Shayna Baszler’s intimidation tactics. It started back before Baszler won the belt, when Kai was attacked at the Performance Center and then injured at Full Sail as a way for The Queen of Spades to send a message to Ember Moon. Now, after one psycho pep talk from Nikki Cross, Dakota is ready to stand up to Shayna and take a shot for the belt?

We can obviously take some pretty reasonable guesses about these questions without even looking at the spoiler reports, but why isn’t Kai vs. Baszler happening in Chicago? Card subject to change and all that, but does it have anything to do with Shayna being advertised for a title defense on June 19 in London?

Similar issues crop up in the story which involves three of the other belts featured on Wednesday nights. The two shows in Albert Hall revolve around Pete Dunne’s United Kingdom Title, so he’s probably not defending the strap he won in his return to Allstate Arena, where he won it from Tyler Bate last year. That takes a frequently fantasy booked showdown with North American Champion Adam Cole off the table for a little while.

Then there’s Cole’s Undisputed ERA mates. Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly will be defending the Tag Team Titles against reluctant Dunne-allies Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan at TakeOver. They also have a six-man match scheduled against The Bruiserweight and Moustache Mountain the Monday after. Could they drop the straps a few days before an almost certain loss to the British trio in front of the home crowd at a house show? Sure. Will they? Seems highly unlikely.

Good thing is, all of these should be good matches. Or, in the case of Baszler/Kai, a really interesting chance to see how Shayna’s development is coming along. And, hey, even if the schedules created some narrative challenges, at least women can wrestle, and appear on the TitanTron in their work clothes, in England.

The Title Scene

We haven’t seen the return from NXT Champ Aleister Black we lobbied for last week just yet, but it’s getting closer. After a couple weeks of quick reminders of his existence via pre-taped interviews, The Stoic Satanist will be in the building on this episode. And just after Lars Sullivan’s win over Ricochet and Velveteen Dream set him up a real threat, while pointing toward a Dream vs. King non-title feud! I love it when a plan comes together.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- Looks like we’re getting a Street Fight for Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa’s match in Chicago, and Candice LeRae isn’t happy about it. Probably because she got knocked out by her obsessed husband in the angle that helped set it up.

- While the title picture looks pretty crowded from here until late June, there’s interesting things going on in the women’s division below the main event level. What a concept! Bianca Belair gets the “Who is...?” video treatment that did wonders for Roddy last year (and didn’t hurt but otherwise had little effect on TM61). And Lacey Evans vs. Kairi Sane feels like a real feud now that The First Lady picked up an upset win over The Pirate Princess last week.

- EC3’s “Trilogy Match” is going down this week. Maybe after this he can get involved in something bigger? #GetJohnCenaToFullSail

NOTE: Spoilers are out there for these pre-taped broadcasts (including here and 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!