WWE NXT is putting on their latest live special this weekend. Deadline features two title and two Iron Survivor matches to set-up future title matches. It all goes down on Sat., Dec. 10 at 8PM Eastern from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, streaming live on Peacock here in the U.S., and internationally on WWE Network.
We’ll give you everything you need to get ready for tonight’s show, with a quick recap of how we got to every match, and thoughts & predictions from our motley crew of NXT-following Cagesiders on each.
Let’s get to it.
Bron Breakker (c) vs. Apollo Crews for the NXT championship
Crews has been thinking about the belt since he returned to NXT earlier this year — he even had visions about it! He took care of JD McDonagh to earn a shot. Breakker’s been trying to take a break after retaining in a Triple Threat at Halloween Havoc, but Apollo keeps showing up for respectful trash talk.
Geno Mrosko: Apollo’s entire journey back to NXT has been about his winning the title, but if they want me to believe he’s got a real shot at winning it from Breakker, they didn’t do a great job of convincing me in the lead up to the match. Pick: Bron Breakker
Sean Rueter: This is simple for me at this point. The belt needs to stay where it is until Melo gets his shot. Pick: Bron Breakker
Claire Elizabeth: Bron’s reign has been consistent but unexciting and I’m really tempted to pick a spoiler here but most of the good contenders in the Iron Survivor make more sense to challenge Bron than Apollo, and Hayes could go after either of them, so we’re painted into a corner and safe and steady carries on another day. Pick: Bron Breakker
Marcus Benjamin: Apollo & Bron have an interesting dynamic. We rarely get the face vs. face championship match for obvious reasons, but these two made the best of a potentially awkward build. Apollo isn’t the guy who dethrones Bron, but I do believe this is the start of Bron’s ending. Pick: Bron Breakker
Pretty Deadly (c) vs. The New Day for the NXT Tag titles
Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods have done everything a tag team can do on the main roster, so why not try to win a championship they’ve never held? Plus, they get a chance to work with a talented young duo who work a more flamboyant, British version of what New Day did as heels.
Geno Mrosko: It seems at least possible that they use The New Day to add some shine to the NXT tag titles, and I’m inclined to that’s the plan, considering they set this up in a number of days. I suppose that could mean Pretty Deadly wins and everyone just sort of forgets about it, but they talked like Woods and Kingston could stick around for a while. Pick: The New Day
Sean Rueter: The only problem I have with a New Day title run is that most of the potential challengers are faces. Rather than quickly dropping the belts back to Elton & KIt, or doing the “everybody shake hands” thing after a few title defenses while Indus Sher gets ready, have Schism cost Kingston & Woods the match to start a feud. Give Ava Raine a chance to work with a pair of future Hall of Famers, while
Grizzled Young Veterans The Dyad show off what a great team they are in a match people who usually only watch the main roster might check out. Pick: Pretty Deadly
Claire Elizabeth: Do it do it do it do it, do the change c’mon! New Day just lost their record for length of reign, so let’s give them another set of tag titles to keep their credentials fresh. And let’s face it, I like Pretty Deadly just fine (although if these boys femme it up any more I will personally mail them hormones gosh darn it) but do you really want to send a team of New Day’s caliber down just to lose in a one-off? Pick: New Day
Marcus Benjamin: I don’t believe WWE brings the team it crowned its best ever down to Florida just for an L. I don’t see it. Doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but with New Day just losing their record, they need a bounce back more than Pretty Deadly needs a W. You can make an argument that WWE should pull a trigger when it needs pulling; cement the new tag team with a victory over the legends. BUT, within this specific context, New Day prevail. Pick: New Day
Carmelo Hayes vs. Grayson Waller vs. Joe Gacy vs. JD McDonagh vs. Axiom in an Iron Survivor match
This is the new concept NXT came up with when WarGames got called up. The rules are... a lot:
• Five Superstars will compete in this unique 25-minute match as they battle each other and the clock.
• Two Superstars will start the match, and every five minutes a new Superstar will enter the match until all five are in the ring.
• The goal is to have the most falls when the clock hits 25 minutes.
• Falls can be won at any time via pinfall, submission, or disqualification.
• When a Superstar scores a fall, they will earn one point.
• However, when a Superstar loses a fall, that Superstar must pay the penalty. They are forced out of the ring and into a penalty box for 90 seconds.
• Once the 90 seconds are up, the Superstar can re-enter the match.
• The Superstar who has scored the most falls when the clock hits 25 minutes will be named the Iron Survivor and become the No. 1 Contender to the NXT Championship and NXT Women’s Championship, respectively.
The first four guys listed above have all been in a feud for a title for most of the year and/or held an NXT/NXT UK belt. That’s why Shawn Michaels & his Hall of Fame panel picked them. Axiom won his way in on the go home show.
Geno Mrosko: McDonagh was just all over the main event title scene, so he’s out. Waller always seems on the cusp but never goes over the top so he’s out. Axiom just hasn’t been put in position to be that guy yet, so he’s out. That gives us either Gacy or Hayes. One of those two has been presented like the next big star. I’ll go with that guy. Pick: Carmelo Hayes
Sean Rueter: Given that I’m holding out for Hayes/Breakker, I should want the A-Champ to win here, right? But maybe that should be saved for Stand & Deliver? Have Melo come up just a point away from winning this one, then redouble his effort to make it so no one can deny him a shot in April. Meanwhile, Bron can tangle with someone who’ll probably debut on the main roster after WrestleMania. Pick: Grayson Waller
Claire Elizabeth: This match is silly. Anyway, my man Joe Gacy has come a long way since his last crack at the NXT Championship apple when he was doing sub-Wyatt magic tricks, and I’d love to see him be the guy to dethrone Bron now that he’s a little more dialed in and making it work more in line with what he was doing on the indies in Evolve and CZW towards the end. Let’s see the Chainsaw! Pick: Joe Gacy
Marcus Benjamin: I never pick against Carmelo Hayes in big matches so yeah. Pick: Carmelo Hayes
Roxanne Perez vs. Cora Jade vs. Zoey Stark vs. Kiana James vs. Indi Hartwell in an Iron Survivor match
A mix of women introduced during the black-and-gold and 2.0 eras, they’ve all been prominently featured but never held singles gold. The first four are in the match via the selection committee. Hartwell’s been showing more of an edge lately, and isn’t happy she had to win a qualifier to be here. Perez is outnumbered by heels, including her friend-turned-mortal enemy Jade.
Geno Mrosko: It definitely feels like this match is where Indi Hartwell gets her long awaited push to the top of the division. Pick: Indi Hartwell
Sean Rueter: Been making a lot of these predictions with my fantasy booker hat on, but this one I’m going strictly kayfabe. I’m going with the wrestler who’s done the most fancy book learning. If anyone can do the math and figure out the formula to win this thing, it’s her. Wait, should I have picked Axiom in the men’s one then? Anyway... Pick: Kiana James
Claire Elizabeth: This match is also silly. I’ve been enjoying Indi’s slow burn, so let’s give her this match and have her end Mandy’s reign, and have the title be a poisoned chalice that blackens her heart the rest of the way. Pick: Indi Hartwell
Marcus Benjamin: IF, and that’s a big if, this signifies the end of Mandy’s reign, then I agree with Claire: Indi is the choice. The story where she slowly becomes more aggressive and ruthless all for the gold has merit. Especially when realizing everything she lost the past few months. That title, or at least the championship match, is really all she has. Pick: Indi Hartwell
Alba Fyre vs. Isla Dawn
These two go back to the now defunct UK brand. They teamed and feuded across the pond, but after Dawn debuted on NXT Prime by costing Fyre the Women’s title, they’re definitely feuding here.
Geno Mrosko: You probably don’t want to beat Dawn in her debut match Stateside. Pick: Isla Dawn
Sean Rueter: We’re always going to be interested in the alabaster-skinned, crimson-haired witchy woman. She can do the job for an old acquaintance needs the help after Mandy Rose ran the table on her. Pick: Alba Fyre
Claire Elizabeth: Isla debut’s gonna get her the big win, I reckon. Pick: Isla Dawn
Marcus Benjamin: I’m not sure what they’re doing with Alba after coming up short in a few championship matches. But I do think revenge looks good on her. So they let her chase Isla for a while. Pick: Isla Dawn
Now give us your picks! Then join us in our live blog tonight and we’ll see how we all did.