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WWE NXT preview (Dec. 13, 2022): Deadline pressure

NXT airs tonight (Dec. 13) live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando.

With Deadline now passed, Shawn Michaels & team have another successful PLE in the books for NXT. There was one big status quo-altering booking decision on the show (you probably heard about, but if not we’ll get to it in a moment), but last Saturday’s show was focused on setting up the next program for NXT champion Bron Breakker and NXT Women’s champ Mandy Rose.

In the work-in-process stipulation matches HBK calls Iron Survivor Challenges gave us Grayson Waller and Roxanne Perez as future contenders for the long-reigning champs. Waller didn’t waste any time getting his program with Breakker started, making a statement by attacking Bron after he successfully defended the belt against Apollo Crews in Deadline’s main event. Babyface Perez stuck to Twitter banter with Rose.

Both Waller & Perez are stars on the rise, and represent a fresh match-up for the titleholders. The downside it, it seems pretty unlikely either will be the person to end either Bron or Mandy’s time with the belt. The announcement that their title shots will take place on next month’s “New Year’s Evil” special episode further labels them as placeholder feuds before NXT returns to the road for Vengeance Day in February, and presumably pulls out all the stops for a Stand & Deliver PLE in Southern California a month-and-a-half later.

It’s a familiar problem for wrestling bookers, and storytellers of all kinds: how do you create suspense when your audience has a pretty good idea of where you’re going? These feuds will certainly have entertaining moments, and are extremely useful for evaluating the development of not only the #1 contenders, but the titleholders as well. And hey, they could always surprise us!

The challenge is to convince us they might, that Perez & Waller aren’t just one-offs on the road to more anticipated or high profile feuds (cough Carmelo Hayes cough). We’ll see how Michaels & company tackle that challenge starting tonight.

The rest of the title scene

Who are the new NXT Tag Team champions? Who? Who? The New Day, yes they are. And if the top two singles championship programs are giving us more of the same, there are a lot of fun possibilities to consider for Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods reign. No one would say no to a Pretty Deadly rematch after Saturday night, and HBK’s stirred up speculation the historic tri-brand titleholders might show up with the belts for their regular Friday night gig.

Wes Lee has a couple possible challengers lined up for his North American title. Tony D’Angelo is back looking for revenge, since The Don blames Lee for the injury that’s sidelined him the past few months. And the champ is looking for Dijak, since the returning big man attacked Wes after he successfully defended the belt against Hayes.

We should know whether or not Toxic Attraction’s Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne can get another shot at Kayden Carter & Katana Chance’s NXT Women’s Tag Team titles after their match with Diamond Mine’s Ivy Nile & Tatum Paxley tonight.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

• Speaking of Diamond Mine, The Creeds are trying to get a match with Indus Sher which should tell us more about what’s ahead of The New Day. Julius is still banged up though, and Veer & Sanga claim they want the brothers at 100%.

• Kind of Diamond Mine-related, Duke Hudson is going to continue proving his loyalty to Chase U when he takes on the man who betrayed Roderick Strong’s squad, Damon Kemp.

• Definitely Diamond Mine-related, we miss Roddy. Hope he’s doing okay.

• He’s had issues with Odyssey Jones, Edris Enofe & Malik Blade, and after he failed to qualify for the Iron Survivor last week Von Wagner redirected his aggression toward the group. It cost Enofe & Blade a match against Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen, and it set up a potential slobberknocker tonight when we get Jones vs. Wagner.

• Lyra Valkyria (fka Aofie Valkyrie) makes her NXT Prime debut tonight.

• Team NXT will continuing trying to make us forget that Scrypts is former 24/7 champ Reggie in a mask when his campaign of poetic vengeance continues.

What will you be looking for on NXT tonight?

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