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WWE NXT preview (Dec. 21, 2021): Phenomenal?

NXT 2.0 returns tonight (Dec. 21) live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando!

Advertised for the show:

  • Dakota Kai vs. Raquel González in a Street Fight
  • Pete Dunne vs. Tony D’Angelo
  • Grizzled Young Veterans vs. The Creed Brothers
  • Dexter Lumis vs. Trick Williams
  • Von Wagner in action

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

1) Is WWE setting Grayson Waller up for big things?

Last week in this space, we wondered if Waller and Von Wagner would live up to the rubs given them by Johnny Gargano and Kyle O’Reilly. The jury’s still out on both, but we at least are getting a picture of what they’re planning to help the Aussie along.

After beating up LA Knight and stealing his car (and his girl), Waller returned to doing his social media thing. He bragged about taking Knight out while denying any culpability, then turned his attention to ragging on AJ Styles’ hair. Styles responded, so I guess we’re getting AJ’s first appearance on NXT since the build to Survivor Series 2019.

Setting aside Grayson’s use of “mom haircut” jokes the rest of the internet burned through years ago, this is an interesting development. Is it a one off to combat unexpected NFL competition? Does it indicate WWE is really high on Waller? Or that The Phenomenal One’s role now is to put over youngsters? Would an AJ appearance pop a rating for the paint splatter brand? Are we going to see a Styles/Knight vs. Waller/Omos feud that spans Monday and Tuesday nights?

2) What is Dakota Kai even doing here any more?

Another question posed last week was when Kai would pick up another win. We could ask that again, Cora Jade beat her and Raquel González thwarted her attempt to take out Jade after the loss. Instead, as we get ready for take three on wrapping up the feud between the former partners, we’ll wonder what the future holds for the former Evie.

Kai would be a great addition to the main roster, but at 33 years old she doesn’t fit what we’ve heard WWE’s criterion are these days. It’s been made pretty clear — under two regimes — that she’s not seen as championship material in NXT. She’s helped put Jade (someone who does meet the new age requirements) over. What’s left for her to do after she presumably takes another loss to Big Mami Cool tonight?

We don’t want anyone to lose a job, but we’d also love to see the Captain of Team Kick kicking it all over the place.

3) Grizzled Young Veterans... same question...

Zack Gibson & James Drake lost to Jacket Time last Tuesday, which set up their showdown with Diamond Mine’s The Creed Brothers for tonight. While NXT has reloaded their tag division nicely, it’s difficult to see GYV doing anything in it but what they’re doing right now — putting over potential challengers for champs Imperium.

That’s fine, and at least it gets them out of doing vignettes where they’re thirsty for members of the female roster (I guess that Brooks & Jensen’s beat now, and please don’t ever subject us to another “country concert” vignette where the boys minds are blown because Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter danced with each other). And I hate that every time an act from NXT 1.0 goes on a losing streak I wonder if they’re about to be released, but... that’s NXT 2.0 for ya.

4) Can Von Wagner sign with the Robert Stone brand?

Stone has been wildly entertaining as a hapless heel manager every time this show’s given him some screen time. It wasn’t clear if putting he and Wagner in the same interview scene with McKenzie Mitchell on the last episode was intended to tease the big guy as Suit Man Stone’s new client, but I’d like to cast a vote for it just in case.

Von doesn’t do a whole lot for me, but he is a big dude who can look menacing. Stone is at his best when being a goof, but he can play serious, too. Putting them together not only gives Bob something to do, but it would help mask Wagner’s weaknesses while giving him a chance to flex some of the comedy muscles he’ll need on the main roster (even if he just plays straight man, everybody ends up doing comedic bits in WWE at some point).

5) How great will Trick Williams solo debut be?

While I’m not as high on Carmelo Hayes right-hand man as some of my colleagues here in the Seats, he is an exciting talent. His reactions to Dexter Lumis have been a highlight of not only Hayes feud with Gargano, but all of NXT’s 2.0 era. If his ringwork is half as good, WWE could have another star on their hands.

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.

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