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WWE NXT preview (Dec. 7, 2021): Graduation day

Johnny Gargano’s Twitter

NXT 2.0 returns tonight (Dec. 7) live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando!

Advertised for the show:

  • Johnny Gargano promises to tell us everything
  • Von Wagner vs. Kyle O’Reilly in a steel cage match
  • MSK meet their shaman
  • Xyon Quinn vs. Santos Escobar

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

1) If WWE’s promoting Johnny Gargano’s “tell all”, is there any chance he’s leaving?

After Adam Cole put over Kyle O’Reilly at Takeover 36, there were no web exclusive videos of the Performance Center crowd chanting his name while he told them he loved them. Cole did not appear on NXT television again, and certainly not in a heavily promoted segment.

Now, BAY BAY was a heel for most of his WWE run, and he was certainly the bad guy in his “epic” series with O’Reilly. So that could be the only reason they didn’t go for that bit of misdirection. But I still doubt that we’d be getting as much promotion of Johnny Gargano’s status update if he were following Cole to AEW.

It would be even odder if Gargano and the company did everything they did last weekend to celebrate his NXT run only to have him say, “I’m staying right here!” Johnny strikes me as someone who will want to at least explore what there is for him on the bigger stages of Raw and SmackDown. And while I sincerely doubt he’ll ever be a WWE or Universal champion, he’s a versatile performer who I could see getting a ton of screen time in a Sami Zayn or Kevin Owens-like role. Vince McMahon may be shopping for someone to fill those roles if there’s anything to speculation Sami & KO might not re-sign when their current deals are up.

Gargano is 34 years old. He’s been resilient throughout his career, and hasn’t lived a full-time life on the road since signing with WWE in 2015. There’s no reason to think he can’t wrestle well into his 40s, so if he takes a main roster deal now and it’s a disaster — AEW will still be waiting in 2-3 years.

2) Are we just pretending Von Wagner was never on SmackDown?

The NXT 2.0 star who tried and failed to turn on Kyle O’Reilly at WarGames randomly appeared by Adam Pearce’s side back on the Nov. 12 episode of the blue brand. There were some rumors that followed saying Von Wagner would play Pearce’s muscle (and probably get thrown around by Brock Lesnar), but almost a month later, Wagner hasn’t returned to Friday nights.

And it seems unlikely he will, at least in the short-term. Von gets a steel cage match (WWE’s new favorite thing) against O’Reilly (who didn’t get a big send-off after Sunday’s streaming special, nor is he being promoted for a promo segment on TV) tonight. Even though he looked like a goof at WarGames, he should get the win against Kyle — because it’s a lot more likely that guy will debut on the “Winter is Coming” edition of Dynamite next Wednesday.

3) Who’s MSK’s shaman?

After Wes Lee & Nash Carter’s month of comedy vignettes ended last Tuesday with the former NXT Tag champs dealing with their surly GPS before finally reaching their destination. MSK knocked on the door, and saw a figure shrouded in smoke and purple light. Tonight, we’re supposed to find out who it is.

We’d been told the shaman is “a master of tag teaming”, and a clue that was designed to make us think it would be Jeff Hardy (Carter told Lee, “no more words” when they were leaving the airport to drive to the shaman’s place). Given the importance they’ve put on having “supplies” for the shaman, that would seem to be in bad taste — even for WWE, and even before whatever happened with Hardy last weekend.

So it’s probably WWE Hall of Famer Rob Van Dam. That fits the purple, and the smoke. And even though tag wrestling isn’t the first thing I think of when it comes to RVD, he’s definitely done his share — and his ECW title runs with Sabu are probably something Wes & Nash have watched over a well packed bowl.

4) When will the stars of the winning WarGames teams get title shots?

Another Bron Breakker/Tommaso Ciampa match seems like a lock for New Year’s Evil, and you have to think they’ll pull the trigger on a title change. Breakker as NXT champ felt inevitable since his arrival on 2.0, and there’s not much use in putting it off much longer.

Cora Jade was a somewhat more surprising star in the women’s match, and rolling up one of Mandy Rose’s sidekicks doesn’t signal a title change — or even a title match — being imminent. She and Rose have done some beefing about it on social media since Sunday’s show, but it doesn’t feel like that’s definitely the direction.

WWE’s clearly high on the 20 year old from Chicago, though. So don’t be surprised to see he work her way through Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolin on her way to a shot at Mandy’s belt. Or maybe a partnership with Raquel González to go after Dolin & Jayne’s tag belts while Rose deals with Kay Lee Ray and Io Shirai?

5) What “big money fights” are ahead of Diamond Mine?

Cruiserweight champion Roderick Strong was feeling himself after putting down a challenge from Joe Gacy at WarGames, and he & Malcom Bivens put out a call for “big money fights” not only for himself, but for The Creeds & Ivy Nile, too (and probably Hachiman, but I’m assuming Hideki Suzuki mostly focuses on coaching at the PC when he’s not looking cool standing behind Roddy).

Who are these fights going to be with? I wouldn’t be surprised if Strong ends up dealing with a challenge from Gacy’s monster Harland, but other than that, there don’t seem to be a lot of irons in the fire. I am looking forward to the Creed brothers letting loose in the tag division, and seeing more of what Nile can do beyond squashes... not that those aren’t fun.


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.