- Joined Dec 8, 2006
NXT returns tonight (June 1) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida.
Advertised for the show:
- Johnny Gargano, Kyle O’Reilly & Pete Dunne kick-off the show with a #1 contender Triple Threat
- MSK defends their Tag Team championship against Legado Del Fantasma
As usual, here are our five questions about NXT tonight:
1) Where have the hot angles gone?
NXT has some fun acts, and a plethora of great wrestling. But the must-see storylines and deeply personal feuds that have been a staple of the brand’s past are currently missing.
We’re less than two weeks away from a TakeOver (June 13’s In Your House). It’s hard to predict the card, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it’s hard to imagine I’m going to care a great deal about the outcome of anything that ends up on said card - and that’s a problem.
Take tonight’s opener, which will determine the main event of TakeOver. I like all three of Karrion Kross’s potential challengers for the NXT title, but they don’t have a motivation to go after Scarlett’s man except for his belt. That’s better than nothing, but when it feels like there’s not much doubt about who leaves with it, it’s not a whole lot better.
Perhaps Adam Cole can return tonight and re-start his issue with Kyle O’Reilly? The Undisputed ERA break-up feels like a real missed opportunity thus far. It started well and gave us one TakeOver main event, then just fizzled out. Even worse, O’Reilly is a less compelling character now than he was before NXT’s most famous faction exploded. Some of that can be chalked up to Finn Bálor being a more compelling foil for KOR, but regardless. Whatever momentum deciding to go it alone was supposed to give Kool Kyle hasn’t been sustained.
We’ll see what direction than choose for Kross. But as good a challenger as O’Reilly, Pete Dunne, or Johnny Gargano would no doubt be, In Your House will still need more.
2) Can the hype come from elsewhere on the roster?
We’ve dealt with stretches where the men’s championship scene’s been lackluster before. But then we were captivated by great programs for other titles, or a well-crafted midcard feud. That landscape feels fairly barren right now, too.
It’s the main reason I was hoping Women’s champion Raquel González and her partner Dakota Kai would split last week... the Ember Moon rivalry it looks like we’re getting for the still heel González instead is fine, but it basically has the some problems O’Reilly vs. Kross does. It’s not a personal issue we can really get invested in.
The tag division’s sustained NXT in the past. But while there’s lots of great in-ring action coming from the pairs, there’s a lot of work to be done before we have anything like a Revival vs. American Alpha rivalry. Tonight’s title match between MSK and Legado Del Fantasma will be high-flying fun. But I have time telling you who any of the four guys are as characters, which makes it hard to care who wins.
Maybe it’s time for more parking lot attacks? Those always worked wonders back in NXT’s glory days, and LDF was built on them.
3) Is NXT too funny?
Indi Hartwell’s rom-com hijinks with Dexter Lumis are a blast. Ditto Ted DiBiase returning to try and teach nouveau riche Cameron Grimes his place in pro wrestling’s millionaire hierarchy. But as the old saying goes, “funny don’t draw money”.
These storylines would be great accents to a show full of exciting, serious feuds, so the fault really doesn’t lay with them. But when they are the highlight every week, that’s a problem.
DiBiase and Grimes look to be transitioning away from skits into more of an in-ring feud, which should help with balance. It raises another question, though...
4) Has the Million Dollar Man settled on L.A. Knight?
The former Eli Drake seems like the right choice - he’s got the arrogant heel thing down pat, and I honestly can’t think of anyone else. But maybe the idea of Ted trying out different people is something that can be stretched further? We’ll see. The important thing is it’s cementing Grimes as a babyface. People are going to cheer him to... the... moon... anyway.
5) Where’s Roderick Strong?
Yes, he quit. But seriously - that’s it? There’s no follow-up. Roddy seemed to be set-up to provide an emotional anchor for The Undisputed ERA break-up. He wanted, needed the group to stay together. Just taking him off the board gives us less of a reason to care about anyone else.
And hey, I asked where Tian Sha was last week, and they (sort of) re-appeared to start a feud with Mercedes Martinez. Maybe I can preview Strong back into kayfabe existence, too.