NXT 2.0 returns tonight (Nov. 9) live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando!
Advertised for the show:
- Toxic Attraction vs. Io Shirai, Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro
- Jacket Time vs. The Creed Brothers
- Kay Lee Ray returns
As usual, here are our five questions about NXT tonight:
1) Does a wrestling show work when all the characters are aware of how attractive their co-workers are?
Call it pro wrestling or sports entertainment, the business has long been filled with good looking people. It’s show business, and sexiness is a component of its appeal. Even when we criticize Attitude or Divas Era hiring practices, it’s not to say they shouldn’t populate rosters with beautiful people - it’s that they shouldn’t think there’s only one way to be beautiful.
All of which is to say this isn’t me knocking 2.0 for the fact its populated with attractive humans. I, like most living creatures, find beauty pleasing to the eye. And while they could do better still, WWE is doing a much better job of acknowledging that beauty comes in many forms than they’ve ever done in the past.
But a trend that started with Indi Hartwell being preoccupied with getting back to her & Dexter Lumis’ marital bed instead of winning matches is now all over the rebooted NXT. This is a very horny show. The men’s and women’s tag champs are flirting with each other. Elektra Lopez is sizing up Xyon Quinn after she saw his dance moves. Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter are club queens on the make. And that’s not even counting the usual middle school WWE humor like Jacket Time, or Nash Carter saying that not having the Tag belts makes him feel like “he’s lacking down there”.
This is legitimately a question though, and not just me being a middle-aged dude who wants his rasslin to stay about rasslin. Wrestling shows have long had romance and other soap opera-like storylines. Does a show that emphasizes those, or features several of them at one, work?
I honestly don’t see why not. And since one of 2.0’s goals is to draw a younger demographic, and this very well may be the way to do it. If Imperium and Toxic Attraction form an mixed tag superpower, or Quinn ends up feuding with Santos Escobar because Legado Del Fantasma’s leader thinks Lopez isn’t not focused on the group’s business - that still leads to wrestling matches. If it also gets tweens and teens to ‘ship Ele-xyon, or write Marcel Barthel/Gigi Dolin fanfic epics? That could be a win/win.
2) If Bron Breakker isn’t long for NXT, will it become the Carmelo Hayes show?
That’s certainly the vibe I got from last week, with Breakker transitioning out of the main event scene right before departing for his first taste of the main roster in the UK. The North American titleholder and his heater Trick Williams got the spotlight, telling NXT champion Tommaso Ciampa he’s the “A champ”, then beating another elder statesman of the brand with a tag win over Johnny Gargano & Dexter Lumis.
Hayes followed that up by cutting a Twitter video directed at “all the NXT veterans who are pressed I’m calling myself the A champion.” Mixing it up with the Ciampas and Garganos of the world is a great way to signal that the 2.0 era is his.
3) Are we getting a #DIY reunion?
Speaking of the Blackheart and Johnny Wrestling, those two shared a brief moment last week as Ciampa exited his scene with Hayes and Gargano & Lumis entered for their tag match against Melo & Trick. In the event Gargano is about to follow Adam Cole out of the company when his current deal expires next month, one last team-up before that happens feels like a good way to honor what they meant to this show. Beating #DIY would also be a hell of a statement that Hayes & Williams are the future.
And while I’m running down my wish list...
4) Can we please have an Io Shirai/Kay Lee Ray match?
Both of these women want the NXT Women’s title Mandy Rose is wearing. Can we settle who should get the first shot with a one-on-one match?
We’ve seen them team-up in WWE, and take part in the same battle royal. But for those of us who weren’t paying close attention to Stardom in 2016, it sure would be nice to see them have a singles match or feud before either of them leaves this brand (or the whole company).
5) Who is MSK’s man behind the curtain?
After taking the Tag belts off Wes Lee & Nash Carter, NXT made what was probably a smart call by getting them out of the P.C. and away from the grudge-holding regulars who attend every show. Also smart was putting them in vignettes that are PG versions of the smoke-filled room videos that introduced them to a lot of wrestling fans during their Impact days as The Rascalz. The icing on the cake is giving the first video an element of mystery, as MSK is off to visit someone they’re paying to help them regain their mojo - someone who came up with their team name in the first place.
Whether or not you partake of the same supplies Wes & Nash do, this is intriguing.