Tonight’s show finds us in NXT’s home base of Full Sail Live for the second episode from a taping (spoilers from which are here) which occurred less than a week after TakeOver: Brooklyn 4.
Here’s what to expect.
New Women’s Champion Kairi Sane will make her her first TV appearance since winning the belt from Shayna Baszler in New York last month. If the Queen of Spades TakeOver fallout interview wasn’t misdirection, Baszler will be sticking around to use her rematch clause and try to get the title back from the Pirate Princess. And that means a rivalry which began in the finals of the first ever Mae Young Classic (MYC) will continue on, more than a year after Kairi and Shayna faced off in Las Vegas for the trophy.
If that’s not enough proof the apparently annual tournament is worth paying attention to if you’re interested in the future of the black-and-yellow brand and the main roster’s women’s divisions, let’s check in on some other wrestlers from the 2017 MYC:
- Bianca Belair, Candice LeRae and Dakota Kai are all NXT regulars and on the cusp of the title scene. Belair is most people’s pick for Sane’s first post-Baszler feud, and she’s the frontrunner over Kai and LeRae mostly based on alignment.
- Lacey Evans and Vanessa Borne have been involved in programs on Wednesday nights; Evans prominently so. The only reason she isn’t a front-runner for a shot at Kairi is because they just feuded in the build to Sane’s Brooklyn build. The First Lady feels like someone who could get called up to Raw or SmackDown without a NXT Title run. Borne is greener, but seems packaged for the main roster already, as well.
- Sarah Logan, of course, is already on TV almost every Monday as part of the Riott Squad.
- Taynara Conti is back in the MYC, and a house show regular who’s popped up on NXT from time-to-time. Her run in the 2018 tournament will be worth watching as she figures to be in line for a bigger role on the black-and-yellow brand after the next wave of call-ups.
- Fellow returnees Toni Storm and Rhea Ripley are early favorites in this year’s tourney, and were featured players in the first ever NXT UK Women’s tournament... which, whether we get to see it before then or not, we’ll know the outcome of by Evolution since the belt is set to be defended in Long Island on Oct. 28.
- Serena Deeb turned her return in a job as Performance Center coach, and occassional on-screen extra.
Yes, there are some folks who didn’t make it in WWE after the Classic, for whatever reason. Abbey “Kimber Lee” Laith is back on the indies, and Sage Beckett has left the business. Reina González and international signees like Kavita Devi and Xia Li are still awaiting television pushes.
But it’s pretty clear that if you want to see who’ll be prominent in the NXT and WWE women’s divisions in years to come, you’ll want to watch both hours of the Network’s Wednesday night original wrestling shows for the next couple of months.
Kairi dropping an InSane Elbow on someone tonight while watching her back for Baszler (and possibly Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir) will be a good way to start.
The Title Scene
All we saw of reigning NXT Champ Tommaso Ciampa last week was some gloating about beating Johnny Gargano and promising more destruction for the entire show. Gargano tries to right himself (again) when he faces Velveteen Dream tonight. Tommy Entertainment probably has bigger fish to fry, but he’ll likely always keep an eye on what his old partner is up to.
The United Kingdom and North American Titleholders are definitely keeping tabs on each other. After some miscommunication cost them their match against Undisputed ERA last week, Pete Dunne and Ricochet all but challenged each other to a match with their belts on the line. General Manager William Regal is pretty busy right now, but he can probably find time to book the first champ vs. champ match in brand history.
Last week’s showdown with the Bruiserweight and the King wasn’t champ vs. champ because the belts weren’t on the line, and because Adam Cole subbed in for Kyle O’Reilly as Roderick Strong’s partner. If the ERA want to keep their Tag Team Championship, they’ll probably need all hands on deck to survive the charging War Raiders.
Other stuff to keep an eye on:
- Regal’s investigation into who attacked Aleister Black will continue, as the Dutch Destroyer gets closer to a comeback from his injuries. If only the GM could get Nikki Cross to reveal her secret...
- The mystery has spun off a couple developments so far, as Lars Sullivan targeted EC3 for trying to implicate him and the Forgotten Sons stable finally earned a match on television. We’ll see what Wesley Blake’s new group, which includes Steve Cutler and Jaxson Ryker (aka TNA’s Gunner), when they get some tag action tonight.
- His love of the finer things hasn’t led Kona Reeves to many victories yet, and his quest to reach the top of NXT doesn’t get any easier when he faces off with player/coach Kassius Ohno this week.
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See you tonight for NXT, Cagesiders!