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WWE NXT preview (Sept. 12, 2018): Expiration date

Tonight’s show finds us in NXT’s home base of Full Sail Live for the third episode from a taping (spoilers from which are here) which occurred less than a week after TakeOver: Brooklyn 4.

Here’s what to expect.

The Headliner(s)

Guess who’s back this week, just seven (televised) days after his old tag partner’s latest meltdown and a few hints he might be the person behind the (kayfabe) attack which left Aleister Black injured?

That’s right. NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa is done shooting promos from a remote location. The Blackheart returns to Full Sail for this week’s episode. What is he going to do?

One of the things he did in his segment on last Wednesday’s show, besides bragging about how Black and Gargano are “gone”, was openly claim there’s no #1 contender for his belt. Which sounds like the perfect set-up for a new challenger to emerge.

I sincerely hope Ciampa isn’t revealed to be the mystery assailant responsible for Black missing the last TakeOver - a Johnny Gargano reveal would really advance NXT’s biggest story in a less predictable way than if we simply confirmed the brand’s biggest heel is a cheating @$$hole. But I wouldn’t be opposed to Aleister targeting the champ as soon as he returns. He’s owed a rematch, and having the Dutch Destroyer come for the prize he lost before he got hurt is a perfectly logical move, especially seeing as General Manager William Regal still hasn’t determined the guilty party or parties.

The most important thing a Ciampa/Black feud would do would be to give Tommaso something to do other than another match with his old #DIY partner. Johnny Wrestling/Failure obviously has his own issues to sort out. If it wasn’t clear before, his conflicted nature leading to a loss to Velveteen Dream on the last episode proved it. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and it’ll be easier to get swept away in the Ciampa vs. Gargano rivalry again if we take some time off from it.

The Title Scene

After announcing plans to invoke her rematch clause, then failing to get the drop on Women’s Champ Kairi Sane, Shayna Baszler will hit the ring on-screen for the first time since Brooklyn.

With War Raiders continuing to let it be known they plan to raid Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong of their Tag Team Titles, Undisputed ERA will have to continue to watch their backs. At least Adam Cole currently is pretty much free to watch their backs and help run the numbers game.

The Panama City Playboy may still have a rematch clause of his own to use for the North American Championship, but he’ll have to wait until after Ricochet puts that belt on the line in title vs. title action against United Kingdom Champ Pete Dunne next week.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- Regal’s investigation into what happened to Black might get wrapped up quickly if only the GM could get Nikki Cross reveal what she says from her spot on a rooftop overlooking the parking lot on the night of. In the meantime, we’ll get a match which was set-up from her initial meeting with Regal. Tonight, SAnitY’s Twisted Sister will face Bianca Belair, who was made to wait and felt disrespected by Nikki’s brand of crazy a couple weeks ago.

- Another spin-off from the GM’s sleuthing comes our way this week. Lars Sullivan took out Raul Mendoza as part of his explanation for why he wasn’t guilty of jumping Aleister, so Mendoza is getting a more fair shot at the Loquacious Leviathan. Lars might want to watch his back for the man he attacked before taking out Raul in the ring, though. EC3 is having trouble stacking victories, but he won’t need any extra motivation to get back at Sullivan.

- Oney Lorcan is cleared for action, and he’ll rejoin his partner Danny Burch for a tag match this episode. The Brit-Am Brawlers find themselves in a busy division, with The Forgotten Sons recent debut, Heavy Machinery, Street Profits chasing after The Mighty... not to mention the main event picture with the champs, Hanson & Rowe and Moustache Mountain.

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!