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WWE NXT preview (May 31, 2022): Ladies first

NXT 2.0 returns tonight (May 31) live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando!

Advertised for this week’s edition of the show:

  • Women’s championship summit with Toxic Attraction and their In Your House opponents Kayden Carter, Katana Chance & Wendy Choo
  • Tiffany Stratton vs. Roxanne Perez in the finals of the Women’s Breakout Tournament
  • Cameron Grimes vs. Nathan Frazier
  • Cora Jade vs. Elektra Lopez

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

1) Is NXT’s focus on women’s wrestling a smart strategy?

Most of what’s being promoted for tonight involved the women’s division. This comes a couple weeks after an episode where everything advertised in advance featured the ladies. That May 10 show was not a ratings success, but looking at the card for tonight, that wasn’t enough to make WWE abandon the strategy.

On paper, it makes sense. While every nationally broadcast wrestling show features women’s wrestling, the way it’s presented (or not presented) is often a chief complaint of fans who watch as much wrestling as they can. And those are the kind of fans who tune in to a show focused on a company’s developmental program. Carving out a niche as the place with the most women’s wrestling is a good idea.

The problem arises in that NXT’s currently a mix of women who are primarily wrestlers and women who are defined by a “sexy” gimmick — with a fair number in both categories who are learning on the fly. I’m not sure there’s enough of either to hold the interest of someone tuning in for either quality in-ring action or PG-13 innuendo.

It’s good that NXT is giving its women’s division a lot of screen time. I just hope the wrestlers aren’s scapegoated if the material they’re given doesn’t draw an audience.

2) Will Tiffany Stratton be the beneficiary of Nikkita Lyons’ injury?

The spoiled little rich girl essentially got a bye into the second round of the Women’s Breakout Tournament after Lyons hurt her knee and had to withdraw. After a rocky start with her character, Stratton’s won over fans with a commitment to gimmick and good performances on the microphone and in the ring.

She’ll get a chance to win the Tournament tonight, when she faces a talent who’s been given a big push right out of the gate — former Ring of Honor Women’s champion Roxanne Perez (fka Rok-C). It could go either way, but my guess is Stratton pulls out the win (perhaps with an assist from her partner in crime Grayson Waller), then has to prove she deserved her spot in the first place when Nikkita returns.

3) Can The Creeds stay focused on the NXT Tag titles?

Julius & Brutus have a chance to win gold when they face Pretty Deadly at In Your House on Saturday night, but they seem awfully focused on Diamond Mine business — namely Roderick Strong’s recruitment of Damon Kemp and the “injury” that caused Roddy to miss last Tuesday’s match against the Tag champs.

Sure hope that doesn’t bite them this weekend. And speaking of this weekend...

4) What else will be added to the In Your House line-up?

After tonight’s Summit, Mandy Rose vs. Wendy Choo and Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne vs. Kayden Carter & Katana Chance will be official, and take the card to five matches. That would probably be enough in the TakeOver days, but you have to figure this streaming special will add at least one more.

Santos Escobar & Tony D’Angelo have another meeting coming up, and need to come up with a way to end their beef at In Your House. Will that be it?

5) We’re really leaning into this high school graduate gimmick, aren’t we?

WWE’s made Thea Hail’s age and academic status a focal point of her rollout.

Rather than debate the ethics or merits of that decision, can we just suggest an institution of higher learning to Miss Hail? Has she heard of a little school called Chase U?

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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