NXT airs tonight (Jan. 3) live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. Let’s talk about the show.
William Regal has said his goodbyes to AEW. He’s probably returning to work this week at WWE. We don’t know his exact title and responsibilities, but we’re told (a) his stated reason for wanting out of his contract with Tony Khan was so he could work with his son Charlie Dempsey in NXT, and (b) he can’t appear on television this year.
Enter Drew Gulak.
Gulak’s latest stint in NXT sees him cast as a scout and coach. It’s closer to what Timothy Thatcher was doing on WWE’s developmental show back at the tail end of the black-and-gold 1.0 era than what Andre Chase has been doing for the past year or so (although it’s hard to not see some comedy in Drew’s work after watching his flex his funny muscles in the 24/7 title scene on the main roster). He’s taken on security guard-turned-wrestler Hank Walker as a student, and started holding “Invitationals” where he talks to the crowd while stretching prospects.
Last week, Dempsey crashed his session. Charlie will definitely face Gulak somewhere down the road, and an alliance seems likely after that. Would that make him a stand in for Dempsey’s old man? Time will tell. For now, the Evolve veteran is dropping Regal-isms into his delivery, making sure the old villain is somehow present in the angle. He called Charlie “flower” in the clip he quote-tweeted with this...
Charlie Dempsey, you scrumptious morsel you. In 7 days Big Hank will be happy to prove himself inside the NXT ring and I'm looking forward to the competition!— Drew Gulak (@DrewGulak) December 28, 2022
Cc: @HankWalker_WWE https://t.co/G61lDnxLxY
Dempsey and Walker will renew acquaintances (they faced each other last month in a match Gulak watched from ringside before his alliance with Hank started) tonight. Maybe the Philadelphia Stretcher will break out the brass knuckles?
The rest of the title scene
He tricked the NXT champion into knocking himself out, then drove him into a fit of rage by trolling him from Australia. What kind of damage will Grayson Waller do to Bron Breakker when the champ appears on his talk show just seven days away from their title match on the New Year’s Evil episode?
Mandy Rose may be gone, but NXT Women’s champ Roxanne Perez still has a Toxic Attraction problem. As Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne regroup without their leader, they say they’re planning to take aim at Perez.
He survived a challenge from Tony D’Angelo, thanks to Dijak taking out Stacks. Wes Lee owes fka T-BAR. and something tells us the big man is going to want a shot at Lee’s North American title.
Pretty Deadly don’t want The New Day getting too comfortable with those NXT Tag Team belts, and Ivy Nile & Tatum Paxley have a good argument they should get a head-up match with NXT Women’s Tag champ Kayden Carter & Katana Chance since they came close to snatching the titles in a Triple Threat a couple weeks back.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
• Apollo Crews just had a shot at Breakker. Carmelo Hayes wants one. They’ll figure out who’s closer to getting the next one when they face off tonight.
• Meanwhile, Hayes’ win over Axiom was at least partially a result of Trick Williams’ interference. The masked mathematician looks to make Trick pay for that this week.
• Isla Dawn brought her hatred for Alba Fyre with her from the UK. She cost the former Kay Lee Ray her shot at the title, reigniting their rivalry. They’ll try to end it, or at least the latest chapter of it, in an “Extreme Resolution” match tonight.
• After Julius Creed picked up an impressive win over JD McDonagh, Indus Sher finally decided to give The Creeds a match.
• Fallon Henley beat Kiana James to save her family’s bar, but she & Josh Briggs may have lost a friend when Brooks Jensen’s... let’s say his heart... led him to try and help James pick up a win over Henley.
• Scrypts is still made about something. He’s probably not gonna like it when Oro Mensah brings his club-hopping ways to the PC.
What will you be looking for on NXT tonight?