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WWE NXT preview (June 13, 2018): Forward thinking

Tonight’s show finds us in NXT’s home base of Full Sail Live for the fifth and final 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)

EC3’s NXT run to date has been all about interuptions.

First it was Johnny Gargano, making his upcoming Street Fight with former tag partner Tommaso Ciampa official by barging in on the final bout of EC3’s introductory “trilogy”. Sure, the former Impact star still defeated Raul Mendoza and he said it didn’t faze him. But I can’t be the only one who didn’t believe him.

Then last Wednesday, the man himself cut in on a photo shoot Kassius Ohno was doing. That led to some trash talking and ended with the black-and-yellow brand’s player/coach calling for a match to teach EC3 some respect. We’re getting that bout tonight.

The interruptions have been a fitting metaphor for EC3’s second run in WWE, as his rise has similarly been interrupted since WrestleMania weekend. He wasn’t the star of TakeOver: New Orleans ladder match, and he didn’t win the belt that was hung above the ring. He delivered a solid performance, but was outshined - especially by Ricochet and Velveteen Dream. Now he finds himself left off the card for June 16, at least as of this writing.

We have to figure that will change after Chicago. The NXT roster is packed these days, but even without being in the hunt for a title, the powers-that-be have made sure he’s made regular television appearance - including creating this mini-angle to ensure we’re thinking about him even in the run-up to a TakeOver he won’t be on.

NXT will be NX3 soon enough. We’ll find out at the next taping if that will involve his attacking a titleholder, or giving Gargano some delayed payback for the slight from a few weeks back.

The Title Scene

After watching #1 contender Lars Sullivan run roughshod through a training session at The P.C. like he was The Queen of Spades herself, NXT Champion Aleister Black will be on hand tonight to address the leviathan he needs to defeat on Saturday night to keep his title.

Speaking of Women’s Champ Shayna Baszler, Nikki Cross has come from out of nowhere to present The Horsewoman with what feels like the first real threat to her throne. Partly because Nikki is too deranged to fall for any of Shayna’s mind games, but also because she’s proven she can go forearm-for-forearm with Baszler.

Not only is this Saturday big for Triple H’s wing of the WWE, but next Monday and Tuesday are huge, too. In a pretty clever bit of booking, he’ll us the final main event before both TakeOver: Chicago and the United Kingdom Championship Tournament to send it home for both events. Ahead of a fight for the Tag Team Titles between Undisputed ERA’s Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong and Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan, a trios match pitting UK Champ Pete Dunne and his British Strong Style mates Tyler Bate & Trent Seven against the ERA duo and their teammate, North American Champion Adam Cole, and The Bruiserweight’s defense against the winner of the tourney, he’ll put his belt on the line against KOR. Of course, there’s probably not much chance Kyle will main event with the United Kingdom Title next Tuesday in London, but it should be a barnburner of a match, even with a predictable outcome.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- TakeOver: Chicago’s two big non-title feuds both got big moments on the previous two shows, and it’s hard to imagine Dream/Ricochet topping “Show me” or Gargano/Ciampa besting last week’s bloody brawl. Expect video packages and reminders about those matches tonight, but not much else.

- Work toward setting up a next wave of women’s title contenders continues when Bianca Belair gets to show off against Aliyah on this episode.

- The Mighty got a chance to continue their rise last week (and hopefully leave the awful TM61 name in the dust). Who will rise to face them? Street Profits have been absent from our screens for a while, but War Raiders haven’t...

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!

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