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WWE NXT preview (Aug. 23, 2022): This town’s not big enough...

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NXT 2.0 airs tonight (Aug. 23) live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando.

Overstocked pond

There were two big takeaways from last Tuesday’s Heatwave show, a special episode where every champion retained their belt: (1) Santos Escobar is leaving “town”, and (2) a bunch of people from London are moving in.

Immediately, the NXT UK talent will be used on next weekend’s Worlds Collide PLE. The format hasn’t been announced yet, but just based on how Heatwave ended with (spoiler alert!) NXT UK champ Tyler Bate staring down NXT titleholder Bron Breakker moments after he fought off a challenge from JD McDonagh, it looks like we’re probably going to get Survivor Series-style champion vs. champion matches the afternoon of Sept. 4.

One match on tonight’s show figures to ensure all those matches will be NXT vs. NXT UK. The Gallus trio of Wolfgang and Mark & Joe Coffey — now officially known as The Gallus Boys on WWE.com — jumped NXT Tag Team champs The Creeds while they were confronted accused traitor Roderick Strong. Now that they have an issue with Diamond Mine, this week they’ll try to regain the NXT UK Tag titles from Brooks Jensen & Josh Briggs to ensure they have gold for a clash with Brutus & Julius at Worlds Collide.

Which all sounds good enough. But with NXT Europe not starting until next year, there’s still the question of how the 10-15 NXT UK wrestlers still around after last week’s releases will fit into NXT Prime over the next several months.

Escobar’s assumed move to the main roster will help, especially if the rest of Legado Del Fantasma goes to Raw or SmackDown with him. But there’s still not a lot of television time to go around. My guess is we see less of a “sink or swim” approach, and people like Lash Legend and Xyon Quinn will get more of their reps on the Florida house show loop instead of in midcard programs on USA Network.

But that’s for Triple H, Shawn Michaels & team to figure out. We’ll just sit here and watch the world’s collide.

The rest of the title scene

After taking care of business against Zoey Stark by taking her out with her own knee brace, Mandy Rose is getting ready to celebrate 300 days as NXT Women’s champ. It’s not clear if Worlds Collide will be used as a way to unify UK & Prime titles, but if it is, I’m not sure I like Mandy’s chances against Meiko Satomura (if Meiko’s not making the trip and Rose gets someone like Blair Davenport instead, the champ’s odds drastic go up).

The UK brand doesn’t have Women’s Tag belts, and we’re not even sure how many women’s wrestlers hey have after last week. So if the NXT Women’s Tag Team championship will be a part of Worlds Collide, Kayden Carter & Katana Chance might have to defend it against some homegrown talent. The Toxic Attraction duo of Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne seem to be perennial contenders, but Dolin has to get cleared from her main roster concussion first.

Mark Coffey wasn’t carrying his NXT UK Heritage Cup title around last week, so that might be getting mothballed as we get ready for NXT Europe. If so, that means North American champion Carmelo Hayes doesn’t have a counterpart for a brand vs. brand show. But he did use an assist from Trip Williams to defeat Giovanni Vinci at Heatwave, and Vinci is European. Maybe that’s close enough.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- She couldn’t bring herself to break bad, and it cost Roxanne Perez a chance to get even with Cora Jade. Perez seems determined to develop her mean streak so she can take down her former friend, so these young ladies seem to be getting more chances to turn theirs into a proper blood feud.

- Meanwhile, Tiffany Stratton and Wendy Choo have quietly delivered a really fun story where I believe the two characters actually dislike one another. They’ll blow that off in a Lights Out match tonight.

- Tony D’Angelo is gonna gloat about beating Santos in last week’s Street Fight. Will the LDF leader get a chance to say goodbye?

- Grayson Waller is saying he’ll make Apollo Crews relevant again on his new talk show segment, “The Grayson Waller Effect”. That’s what we though Apollo’s move to NXT was supposed to do (ba-dum-tsss).

- While he was undoubtedly very busy planning to kidnap Miz, Dexter Lumis still found time to let his wife know he’s okay, and he loves her. Indi Hartwell is lucky to have him, and she should kick Davenport’s butt for tearing up her love caricature.

- Quincy Elliott will be here soon, and I’m excited and afraid to see how WWE presents an LGBQT+ character in the post-Vince McMahon era.

What will you be looking for on NXT tonight?

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