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WWE NXT preview (Mar. 22, 2022): Pass the torch

NXT 2.0 returns tonight (Mar. 22) live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando!

Advertised for the show:

  • Bron Breakker vs. Robert Roode
  • Io Shirai & Kay Lee Ray vs. Wendy Choo & Dakota Kai in the finals of the Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
  • Roderick Strong vs. Solo Sikoa in a qualifying match for Stand & Deliver’s North American Championship Ladder Match
  • A-Kid vs. Grayson Waller in a qualifying match for Stand & Deliver’s North American Championship Ladder Match
  • Grizzled Young Veterans vs. The Creeds

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

1) When do we get Rey Mysterio vs. Santos Escobar?

While some wonder who else from Raw will follow the Dirty Dawgs, Miz, and the Mysterios to Tuesday nights, I’m still focused on the battle for the future of lucha libre (or WWE’s version of it, anyway) that was set-up last week.

Over the last decade-plus, we’ve watched WWE tryout a number of potential heirs to Rey Mysterio’s throne as the company’s top Latino Superstar. For various reasons, names like Alberto Del Rio, Sin Cara, and Andrade haven’t been able to grab that anillo de bronce. Santos Escobar is just as talented as each of those men, though — and checks boxes they didn’t (respectively: not being a monster, not being a prima donna, and English language fluency).

Rey clearly wants to pass the torch to his son Dominik. That’s even the kayfabe reason they gave us for tensions between the Mysterios and Legado Del Fantasma last week. Dom may get their some day, but I don’t think many would say he’s there today. Meanwhile, there’s no reason not to give Escobar a shot — at least as someone to bridge the gap until the younger Mysterio puts it all together.

If they do, it’s got to involve a match or two featuring the two men. This is an odd time to tease a program between Mysterio & Escobar, since both men are already booked in big matches on WrestleMania Saturday. But after Rey & Dom deal with Miz & Logan Paul at ‘Mania, and Santos shows off in a ladder match with Carmelo Hayes & others at Stand & Deliver, we need this feud.

And I don’t see why it shouldn’t end with giving Santos the rub.

2) How many title changes will we get at Stand & Deliver?

My money’s on at least two, but I could see each and every champ getting beat in Dallas.

I’m on record as thinking Bron Breakker wins the NXT title back from Dolph Ziggler. Hayes probably remains North American champ, but he could also lose that belt without getting pinned or submitted, then move up the card. I remain on the fence about Cora Jade’s readiness to be Women’s champ, and last week’s show long storyline with Toxic Attraction didn’t sway me one way or another.

The Tag title Triple Threat could easily end Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel’s reign... unless GUNTHER is dethroning Breakker soon and they want to give Imperium a Toxic Attraction-like run of dominance.

And speaking of TA, Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne are the other champs I’m thinking drop the titles at Stand & Deliver... assuming the winner of tonight’s Women’s Dusty Finals gets their shot their Premium Live Event™, of course. If Io Shirai & Kay Lee Ray win tonight, the Tag belts would be a consolation prize for their struggles with Mandy Rose. If Wendy Choo & Dakota Kai claim the Cup, we’ve got Kai’s redemption arc going, with Choo being the only person who believes in her & them. It’s been established they’re the team Toxic Attraction isn’t afraid of. That positions them well for a big babyface win.

3) What does the future hold for Kushida?

Poor Kushida.

The 38 year old cruiserweight/super-junior legend is clearly not someone who would have been signed for this version of NXT, and even though he’s still putting on great matches, he wouldn’t have moved his family to Florida to play midcard gatekeeper while in a comedy tag team. You can see Ikemen Jiro flourishing in the 24/7 scene on Raw someday. I’m just waiting to see Kushida’s name on a list of releases.

Last week’s match with A-Kid might present a short-term future, though. Like Roderick Strong, maybe Kushida can work a few NXT UK tapings? That’s probably not what he signed up for either, but a banger with Ilja Dragunov and maybe a run with the Heritage Cup could be cool. It’s better than being stuck on Level Up, anyway. Right? Maybe?

Poor Kushida.

4) Is LA Knight just going to keep no-selling losses?

Speaking of gatekeepers, let me talk to you about LA Knight. Seeing as Grayson Waller used several underhanded-if-legal given the stipulation tricks to win their Last Man Standing match, I figured their feud wasn’t over. But LA rolled right into an NXT title shot with Ziggler, and seems like he might be putting GUNTHER over next.

Knight’s good enough on the stick that he can sell pretty much anything. But perhaps a win or two in between these high profile losses would serve him — and the story — a little better?

5) Mixed tag match, or live sex competition?

I’m really not sure where this Indi Hartwell/Persia Pirotta program is headed...

... but I wouldn’t be surprised if we got either or both of those options.

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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