Tonight is a big night for NXT.
After a couple weeks of build, New Years Evil is upon us. With AEW Dynamite dominating the Wednesday night wrestling world for much of December, it is now time to turn the channel from TNT to the USA Network. No doubt about it, NXT takes center stage tonight with their loaded lineup. Let’s look at the stacked card:
NXT Championship – Finn Balor vs. Kyle O’Reily: This is the rematch we all deserve. I can’t convince myself to predict a title change. However, I can convince myself that this main event will rule. Hard hitting, intense, and violent. Yes, violent. Even in a standard one on one match, these two are going to hurt each other. Make no mistake about it, you will be amazed by what is aired in the main event slot tonight from NXT. promised to be commercial free from bell to bell, this should be a great watch. Get your popcorn ready. Assuming USA Network and NXT weren’t lying about the no breaks thing, this will be epic. Baloe retains and heads into a new feud. O’Reily gets close to the top of the mountain but falls short, and the Undisputed Era have to re-evaluate.
Last Woman Standing – Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Gonzalez: I have a feeling this is the end of the line for Ripley in NXT. She has clearly been moving away from the NXT Womens Title scene for awhile now, and this may be her swan song before getting the official call up to Raw or Smackdown. That leads me to believe Gonzalez wins after a brutal contest is left standing for the conclusion. She should be next in line for a title shot soon thereafter. Ripley? Yeah, she has to be moving on in the near future. Just way too many signs and basic ‘booking’ for how these things go. With the Royal Rumble at the end of January, it only makes sense for her to lose here, disappear for a few weeks and then pop up in the Womens Rumble match. Instant attention grabber and potential winner. She could win the Rumble and challenge Charlotte Flair for the RAW Womens Title to make up for last year’s WrestleMania showdown. That is, of course, assuming Ms. Flair gets the title soon, which is not a guarantee at all, and of course, the idea that Ripley shows up in the Womens Royal Rumble. We’ll see. Makes sense in my mind.
Fit Pit II – Timothy Thatcher vs Tommaso Ciampa: This match has been removed from the official WWE website. That sucks. The “Fight Pit” is NXT’s version of a UFC cage or WWE style steel cage kinda blended together. Whatever you want to call it, this match would have been so good. These two would have torn the house down inside the cage. maybe it will be saved for a different week? A little bit of a mystery as to why it was removed from the listing. This two hour show is already stacked, so I am speculating it was due to timing issues. Can’t have EVERYTHING air tonight, geez!
Cruiserweight Championship – Santos Escobar vs. Gran Metalik: Santos will retain. His group of goons will surely be at ringside. Gran Metalik randomly popped up last week and is really a question mark in NXT going forward. Is this a one week thing? I have no clue. Just feels like a high flying match to give the champ a victory.
Karrion Kross VS Damian Priest: This has also been promoted as being commercial free on USA Network, in the opening slot. Therefore, I will have my television set for 7pm to watch this clash. Two big dudes that are just going to brawl. Like Rhea Ripley, Priest feels like a main roster call up any moment now. You could argue Kross is too…but NXT appears to want him as the man at the top of the food chain again. Remember he won the NXT Title a few months ago, undefeated, and then had to relinquish the gold due to an injury suffered during his big victory. Definitely sucked and was a huge setback. He was on one heck of a roll. Now he needs to get that aura back. With Scarlett by his side, I think he will. Finn Balor as champion may be on a ‘tick, tick, tick, tock’ countdown. Kross will destroy Priest tonight and perhaps send him packing up north. Should be a big time opener and start the show off right.
Bottom line: WWE NXT is getting my viewing tonight. Stacked lineup with title matches and a wide variety of selections. Big men brawl, Last Woman Standing, cruiserweights, NXT Title match technical masterpiece, and potentially a freakin’ cage fight? That is now to even mention the debut of a new character. Yeah, we’re getting a new character debuting tonight. I will let you think about that one. Tonight folks, tonight on USA Network at 7pm central time…LIVE!
By Justin Watry (TWITTER: @JustinWatry)