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NXT preview (June 19, 2019): Transition offense

NXT returns tonight (June 19) with the first episode from two nights of taping at Full Sail which will take us from TakeOver: XXV to TakeOver: Toronto 2.

Advertised for tonight:

  • Undisputed Champion
  • Damien Priest arrives
  • Xia Li battles it out with Taynara Conti

As per usual, here are our five questions about NXT tonight:

1) Who crashes Adam Cole’s party?

It’s wrestling, so we know it’s happening. The answer probably reveals the next challenger for the NXT title. But since we have almost two months until the next live special, whoever it is won’t necessarily be the man who face Cole for the belt in Toronto.

Former champ Johnny Gargano is an obvious answer. With Tommaso Ciampa on the shelf, NXT is well on their way to filling the “epic rivalry” slot that was filled by the #DIY program with Cole/Gargano. In two TakeOver main events, the brand’s two Grand Slam champs are tied at two falls a piece. Whether it’s on a Wednesday or Saturday night, their story clearly isn’t over.

Matt Riddle’s been a thorn in the ERA’s side, and is coming off a win over Roderick Strong in Bridgeport. He failed to capture the North American title. Could he skip the secondary belt and go right into pursuing the black-and-yellow brand’s top prize?

The other obvious choice is the current North American champ. Velveteen Dream doesn’t have extensive history with Undisputed, but the belt around the Panama City Playboy’s waist is all the motivation anyone needs to feud with the foursome. Fresh off a win over Tyler Breeze, there’s not much else for Dream to do with the NA title. He doesn’t seem like the teamwork type, so tag glory probably isn’t in his future. Is it time for Cole to get Experience-d?

The beauty of the ERA is that any of these men could feud with Strong, Bobby Fish or Kyle O’Reilly before, during, or after a program with the new champ. Speaking of which...

2) When will Undisputed ERA be dripping in gold?

This is something which seemed inevitable even before Cole promised it would happen in 2019, and with the biggest prize in hand, if it’s gonna happen, now’s the time. Ending TakeOver: Toronto 2 with the quartet standing tall is a nice visual, and a good set-up for the next live special. WarGames for all the belts, anyone? Why not?

3) Is Damien Priest just another Dominick Dijakovic or Keith Lee?

After a few weeks of vignettes, the former Punishment Martinez re-debuts under his new name and gimmick tonight. It’s probably the law of diminishing returns, but after years of NXT churning out Samoa Joes and Aleister Blacks and Riddles, their last batch of big man/badass signees have struggled to take off. Will a 37 year that Ring of Honor kept in their mid-card break them out of their slump?

His hype videos paint him as a limo-riding, champagne-drinking... bouncer-type, I think? Priest has been wrestling heels and babyfaces on the house show circuit. It’ll be interesting to see what’s different about his television presentation now that he’s got a WWE name, and how Full Sail reacts. Then we’ll re-evaluate.

4) Will Taynara Conti or Xia Li ever climb out of the TV undercard?

We’ve seen a lot of women get the kind of one-off matches it seems the Brazilian and Chinese Superstars will have on this episode. For a few, it’s led to the opportunity to lose to Women’s champion Shayna Baszler. For others, it hasn’t even taken them that far. For Lacey Evans, it led to a Raw Women’s title feud, but that’s a whole ‘nother discussion.

The winner of Conti vs. Li should move into a program with someone like Candice LeRae, or Io Shirai (should she lose again in next week’s steel cage match with the Queen of Spades). It certainly should be time to see what Xia can do with a brighter spotlight. If the disappear from our screens again until the next Mae Young Classic, however? I wouldn’t be shocked.

5) Where’s Rick Bugez?

Stupid name or not, I need to RAWK. ASAP.

It’d also be nice to see Bugez and all the 2019 re-namening Superstars in action somewhere other than the Florida house show circuit, ya know?

We’ll see if we get answers to these questions tonight at 8 PM.

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.

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