NXT 2.0 returns tonight (July 5) live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando!
Mixing up the usual preview format for this week’s Great American Bash edition of the show, because the card does feel more Premium Live Event-y than normal — and because WWE did a good job of giving these characters different reasons to fight each other.
Who’s got more heart?
Bron Breakker (c) vs. Cameron Grimes for the NXT championship
Breakker’s last big feud with Joe Gacy was about whether or not he could control, or at least channel, his anger. Now, fresh off of losing the North American title, here comes Grimes to question his passion.
It’s an interesting way to develop Bron’s story, which is always welcome — especially for a top star. It was definitely needed in his case too, seeing as he was introduced with little more than short-hand references to the father & uncle whose name he doesn’t have.
Also a clever pivot for the hillbilly billionaire, who went from a fan favorite when he was chasing the NA belt to someone a lot of the Florida faithful turned on once won the belt. Grimes has shown flashes of babyface and heel in this program, once again proving what a talented, versatile performer he is in the process.
He’s probably not going to win, but he’s helped deliver an entertaining feud and will deliver in the ring as usual. Grimey’s also helped Breakker feel even more main roster ready in the process.
No honor among thieves
Carmelo Hayes (c) vs. Grayson Waller for the NXT North American title
This one’s a little goofy, but heel vs. heel set-ups are always a challenge. But we’ve got two different kinds of bad guys here — Melo the charismatic egomaniac who can back up his braggadocio; Waller the annoyingly arrogant a-hole who has to cut corners. The way we got to this match accentuates their differences.
Is Grayson slipping a contract into a stack of memorabilia for Hayes to sign a bit goofy? Of course! This is still pro wrestling we’re talking about here, regardless of what Vince McMahon wants us to call it. But it shows some underhanded cleverness on his part, and exposes Melo’s pride as a potential weakness.
Another one where a title change seems unlikely, but the story makes sense & serves both wrestlers, and the match itself should kick ass.
The Creeds (c) vs. Roderick Strong & Damon Kemp for the NXT Tag Team championship
A tale as old as time, as it turns out Jade Cargill’s manager was the only thing holding Diamond Mine together. Brutus & Julius want to do things the right way, and are bristling against Strong’s preferred motivational tactics of browbeating and belittling them. Roddy is also doing that because he’s jealous that two of his young charges are outshining him.
.@roderickstrong gets into a heated argument with The #CreedBrothers, stating he’ll teach the #WWENXT Tag Team Champions a firsthand lesson at #NXTGAB.@JuliusCreedWWE @BrutusCreedwwe @ivynile_wwe @damonkempwwe pic.twitter.com/gFg5U3n5Of— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) June 30, 2022
Now The Creeds can extend their title reign and prove their mean big brother wrong in the process.
Toxic Attraction (c) vs. Cora Jade & Roxanne Perez for the NXT Women’s Tag titles
Another old-fashioned one, but there are only so many ways to set-up a fight, and the classics are classics for a reason. After a tease that Perez might use her Breakout Tournament win on a Tag title shot, she and Jade teamed up to earn one by beating Katana Chance & Kayden Carter.
The losers of last week’s #1 contenders match could show up here, along with Women’s champ Mandy Rose and the biggest threat to her reign, Nikkita Lyons. Or anyone else, since pretty much every woman on NXT has crossed paths with Rose, Jacy Jayne & Gigi Dolin at some point over the past year. All the more reason it feels refreshing that Team 2001 simply won themselves a chance to take Dolin & Jayne’s belts.
And who knows? They actually might!
Punching a bully in the mouth
Wendy Choo vs. Tiffany Stratton
It’s a teen movie plot — or based on Choo’s antics, it’s probably more like a Nickelodeon or Disney channel one. But watching a goofy outsider who’s only crime is being true to herself stand up to a spoiled, entitled rich kid is an all-ages button to push.
Credit to both performers for understanding the assignment and playing their roles to the hilt.
The one based in reality
Trick Williams vs. Wes Lee
Lee has BEEN THROUGH IT the past few months, and it would have been really awkward if NXT tried to push him as a single act without acknowledging that. So they leaned into it and made his partner’s firing Wes’ whole deal.
Sneaky sidekick/hype man that he is, Trick sees this as an opportunity to build himself up by taking advantage of a man who’s struggling. It probably won’t work out for him (in kayfabe... but hanging with Lee in the mini-feud is good experience and a nice feather in his cap). But it will serve to launch what could be a big program for his man Melo.
Let us know which is your favorite set-up in the comments below. Then join us in our live blog, and we’ll see how tonight’s show delivers on each of these.