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WWE NXT preview (Nov. 16, 2021): Strategic planning

WWE NXT’s Twitter

NXT 2.0 returns tonight (Nov. 16) live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando!

Advertised for the show:

  • Raquel González vs. Dakota Kai
  • Jacket Time & Odyssey Jones vs. Diamond Mine (Roderick Strong & The Creeds)
  • Dexter Lumis vs. Tony D’Angelo
  • Duke Hudson & Cameron Grimes in a Poker Showdown

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

1) How many WarGames matches are we getting? And who will the teams be?

It’s not a TakeOver, and William Regal didn’t yell its name, but we’re still getting a WarGames show. And it’s just three weeks away (Dec. 5), so NXT needs to get cracking on booking a WarGames match or two.

The set-up for a women’s match seems pretty obvious: Toxic Attraction + Dakota Kai vs. a collection of their challengers and rivals. Io Shirai & Raquel González are logical choices, and probably necessary in order to carry the early parts of the match and help Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne through their debut in the two-rings-one-cage stipulation. Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro could round out a babyface team, or Kay Lee Ray’s pursuit of Rose and Cora Jade’s hatred of Kai could be reasons to add those wrestlers to the match. Either way, the story’s there.

A men’s match is a little trickier. Diamond Mine vs. Jacket Time is there, and it would be cool to see Hachiman (Hideki Suzuki) do something other than look cool standing behind Roderick Strong & The Creed Brothers while Malcolm Bivens talks his $#!+. But I’m not sure who would join Odyssey Jones, Kushida & Ikemen Jiro. Grayson Waller? Any name I can come up with feels like a much more mid-card-riffic line-up for a WarGames than we’re used to.

Another option would be to use the men’s WarGames to advance the main NXT title feud. Tommaso Ciampa could either lead a team of veterans again a Bron Breakker-led Team 2.0. Or they could go back to the “can they co-exist?” well and put them together against a coalition of bad guys. Honestly, neither option thrills me, but I’d guess one of them is the direction they’re headed - at least based on the video announcement where Bron & the Blackheart are the only men featured. And they do have a three shows to put something together and give it some heat.

2) A Carmelo Hayes/Johnny Gargano/Pete Dunne North American title match?

Yes please.

This looks to be where we’re headed after Gargano directed his “son-in-law” Dexter Lumis to take out Trick Williams and help Dunne beat the champ in their non-title main event last Tuesday. All five men would be used to fill out a WarGames match, but especially if WWE does use Ciampa & Breakker in one, they might need an NA championship match to fill out the card.

Either way, this program should continue to highlight Hayes as a rising star. And it’s worth pointing out NXT wouldn’t have to be as worried about booking a men’s WarGames if they still had the group that worked every version of the match in the brand’s history up to now.

Speaking of Undisputed ERA...

3) Does Von Wagner on SmackDown mean Kyle O’Reilly’s WWE run is done?

Now that his tag partner is on the blue brand (possibly to stay), one of the two remaining members of the ERA is without an angle on NXT. And with reports his contract is up next month, there may be a reason the faction’s name was getting dropped on Dynamite last week.

4) What’s the difference between a poker showdown and a poker showdown in the ring?

When Cameron Grimes baited Duke Hudson into going all in two weeks ago, they were backstage. Grimey left with his entourage, and Hudson only had a (very small) card table to take his frustrations out on. If we’re going to do the same thing in the squared circle, somebody needs to get put through the poker table this time. Maybe that will even get us to an actual match between these two?

5) Is Sarray the latest casualty of NXT 2.0?

Sarray tweeted that she’s temporarily back in Japan, and a few days before she posted this:

That came after losing to Kay Lee Ray last week, her third straight loss on NXT (she has been winning on Dark, er, I mean 205 Live). Normally, you could feel relatively confident this was leading somewhere - a heel turn, or a gimmick makeover. But Sarray’s run in WWE has been a bit rocky from the start, and we just saw a similar “I’m frustrated and something has to change” angle for Ember Moon. That led to the former NXT Women’s champion’s release.

Hopefully everything is okay with the talented 25 year old, and WWE can figure out how to use when she gets back. But I wouldn’t be shocked to see her back on the joshi scene next year.


Give us your questions and answers in the comments below. Then join us in our live blog, and we’ll see what Qs and As tonight’s show gives us.