NXT 2.0 returns tonight (Feb. 15) live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando for Vengeance Day!
Advertised for the show:
- Bron Breakker (c) vs. Santos Escobar for the NXT championship
- Indi Hartwell & Persia Pirotta vs. Toxic Attraction (Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne) (c) for the NXT Women’s Tag Team titles
- Carmelo Hayes (c) vs. Cameron Grimes for the NXT North American championship
- MSK vs. The Creeds in the finals of the men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
- Pete Dunne vs. Tony D’Angelo in a weaponized steel cage match
As usual, here are our five questions about NXT tonight:
1) Has Carmelo Hayes (and Trick Williams) outgrown the North American title?
The issue of how to add suspense to NXT 2.0’s title feuds has been on our minds for a while now, seeing as those feuds have thus far consisted of someone being pushed since the rebrand vs. someone from the show’s black-and-gold past. So this question may be a result of overthinking that.
But Hayes is a guy who bridges the gap between the 1.0 era and the present, and he’s one of the only performers on NXT now that I rarely hear anyone disparage or bemoan. He’s into the fourth month of his run with the North American championship — a run that’s included good matches against & victories over the likes of beating Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong. With his win over Roddy, he unified the NA belt with the Cruiserweight one. The Shawn Michaels/Diesel act Hayes and Williams have going is always entertaining, and occasionally brilliant.
Their ceiling should be higher than the secondary title on the developmental show. When will they move up a level?
At first glance, I’d think this might be too early. Hayes’ opponent tonight, Cameron Grimes, is another Triple H guy that NXT’s new overseers don’t seem to see the same way The Game did. But Grimes has a couple things going for him which would make him a logical choice to succeed The A Champion as North American champ.
The To-The-Moon Man is one of only a handful of over male babyfaces on 2.0, so if he doesn’t get the job done against Hayes in this program, don’t be surprised if Melo’s reign stretches past 200 days. Also, though he’s only 28, Grimes has been wrestling on television for almost the past 7 years. He fits at least one of NXT’s new qualifications (youth... he’s still a little too small and a little too indie), but can help guide the guys with less experience in the ring.
Holding the midcard, workhorse belt is a good fit for Grimes. It’s been good for Hayes, too. But it might be time for him to audition for a bigger part.
2) Do Dolph Ziggler & Tommaso Ciampa make the NXT title match more interesting?
Faced with the “everyone knows Santos Escobar isn’t beating Bron Breakker for the NXT title” problem, the powers-that-be brought in the Show-Off and the Blackheart for last week’s contract signing segment. I’d expect one or both to be around tonight, particularly Ciampa since he “goes here,” and can help run off Escobar’s Familia when they inevitably try to get involved.
Does it make the story better? It’s a few more moving parts to pay attention to at least, and helps set up future angles — always a good thing on a show that never ends. It would be more interesting if NXT hadn’t played a very similar trick last week with Mandy Rose, Kay Lee Ray, and Io Shirai...
Oh well. At least this one reminds some Raw viewers that NXT exists.
3) Is MSK looking past The Creeds?
This would be a better question if the outcome of these matches weren’t pre-determined, of course. But even us previewers have to come up with was to keep ourselves engaged sometimes.
Because despite the fact the Diamond Mine brothers are very talented, and should be poised for as much success as tag teams can achieve in WWE — I’m looking past them in the Dusty Classic Finals tonight. NXT’s spent too much time on Wes Lee & Nash Carter’s quest for redemption, including bringing in a Bro-tastic guru, to not have MSK make history by getting their names etched on the Cup a second time. Right?
There’s also the title shot the winners get, and while Creeds vs. Imperium would be a banger, Lee & Nash vs. Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel isn’t heel vs. heel, has a built-in story, and will probably even be a better match.
4) How romantic will Vengeance Day be?
If Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne retain the NXT Women’s Tag titles tonight, it could very well be because of they’ve helped sow seeds of mistrust between the challengers. They’ve done that by encouraging Persia Pirotta’s jealousy of Indi Hartwell over the attention Indi gets from Duke Hudson, on whom Pirotta has a crush.
Doesn’t she know Indi is happily married to this charmer?
Meanwhile, brace yourself for more Briggs & Jensen/Carter & Catanzaro vignettes. See, Brooks is trying to get with Kayden, but accidentally invited Kacy too, so he gave Josh eight sweaty dollars to take Catanzaro to a movie so he could get some alone time with his crush, and...
At least a Valentine’s Day-themed episode is the right place to do this rom-com stuff. Not that 2.0 needs an excuse.
5) Is a weaponized steel cage match like an Ambrose Asylum match?
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.