NXT Preview - Jan 31, 2018: Roderick Strong vs Tyler Bate

Well, god damn did Philly get to see some great wrasslin’ matches.

I think the majority of people would agree Takeover: Phiadelphia was fantastic. Booked 100% correctly from top to bottom (my two incorrect choices were selfish on my end) and great wrestling usually makes for a great evening. The Royal Rumble was great but I would still take this over (GET IT?!?) the main rosters PPV.

Regardless, it’s time to build towards Takeover: New Orleans. Tonight is the classic show before tapings. Coming out of Wells Fargo Center, NXT is headlined this week by the returning TM-61, as well as a #1 contenders match for the UK Championship between two of the best workers in NXT at the moment. Expect plenty of highlights from TakeOver & fallout interviews too.  I’m @Parkman15Love, and lets swan dive right into my weekly NXT Preview.


I stumbled on this gif and it was too good not to share. 

Announced Matches

WWE.com’s official preview listed three matches tonight. On top of them, I would expect a few interviews from the participants in Philadelphia & where they go now.

Nikki Cross vs Lacey Evans: Disappointingly, SAniTy was left off the TakeOver card, but that didn’t stop them from a run-in to save Aleister Black from the Undisputed Era. Most disappointing though was the fact Nikki Cross was noticeably absent from that too. As it turns out, she was in the building as she is scheduled to have a match with Lacey Evans. I honestly don’t know much about Evans, but I am a lover of Nikki Cross, so I’ll definitely be tuning in for this. Should be fun. 

Ahh, the early days of the AOP. 

The Return of TM-61: After a few weeks of solid video packages, TM-61 makes their return to the ring. I’m excited to see some new blood enter the tag team title scene. NXT does keep feuds moving though, and TM-61 is a nice change of pace from what we’ve seen. Thorne and Miller are a team that could be a solid babyface foil to quite a few teams in “developmental”. However, they take on the Ealy Brothers in their first action back. This will be almost as daunting of a task as taking on “Local Talent”. Hopefully a quick win here gives them some solid momentum into their first feud back. I’m excited to see what sort of reaction Nick Miller and Shane Thorne get from one of the most hardcore wrestling towns in the world.

Roderick Strong vs Tyler Bate for #1 Contender status for the UK Championship: Well, sign me the hell up for this. Normally, I would complain about seeing a guy like Bate and Pete Dunne feud again - but their matches have been so damn good each time they’ve shared the ring. From a Match of the Year to throwaway NXT episodes, these guys bring out the best in each other. Now, with Roderick entering the scene, we could be in line for some more amazing matches in the UK Championship.

The selfish part of me wants too see Roderick win here (mostly cause I’m very jealous of Tyler Bate’s mustache and wrestling ability at his age), but I really have no favourite here. This’ll be a hell of a match. I do think it would be cool though to have Roddy as the #1 Contender, incorporating the UK Championship as the secondary title in NXT.

The Title Scene

The Undisputed Era pinned the Authors of Pain after a solid match. I did love the TakeOver match from this, as it was based a lot around Fish & O’Reilly getting lucky. It keeps AOP looking strong for their (hopeful) main roster debut, and makes the Era look like an opportunistic team. With SAniTy running in during the Black-Cole match to even the odds, will this transition to a proper 1-on-1 feud between SAniTy and Undisputed Era?

Ember Moon survived Shanya Baszler. I love, love, loved the finish of this match. NXT appeared to book themselves into a corner, but made the Queen of Spades look like a monster in losing. Plus she choked Ember out after, likely extending the feud for a few more weeks. Ember comes out of this weekend looking great. Her Royal Rumble appearance was a legitimate surprise coming after her gutsy performance the night before.


Exactly 0% of me would ever want to be in the same ring as her. 

Speaking of great weekends - Andrade Cien Almas, you have a new huge fan. Between his 5 Star classic with Johnny Wrestling and a Rumble appearance, the former “La Sombra” will always remember Philly. I’m sure tonight he and Zelina Vega will respond in a modest way to his success this past weekend. The question is now: Who’s up next? A clean win over Gargano should end their feud, and a crutch to the back will take Johnny’s attention elsewhere. So who steps up to Almas? Smart money is on Aleister Black.  The dude has only been pinned once, and in zero ways possible it was clean. I’m almost certain you see everyone’s favourite anti-hero take on Cien for the big belt in the Big Easy. Do we start to see a build to that match here, or will we see another challenger potentially step forward?

Extra Thoughts

  • Ricochet, War Machine and ECIII (!!!) showed up in Philly. Will we hear from any of them in this show? ECIII cut his first promo back on YouTube, Ricochet had a PC interview. Will we hear from them on NXT TV for the first time?
  • Despite a loss to Aleister Black, Adam Cole also comes out of this weekend with solid momentum (and a Rumble appearance) … but where does he go from here?
  • That S.O.B. Tommasso Ciampa returned and reminded us all that friendship is dead in the WWE.  Will we see him again before New Orleans? His knee is still in a heavy brace & he was pretty noticeably limping.
  • Does Candace Lerae have a better Spear than Roman Reigns or Edge? Bah Gawd she cut Zelina almost in half!
  • WHERE IS LARS SULLIVAN and why is he not killing everyone in sight? Sad!

With only 3 announced matches, tonight may not be the best episode out there. However, it does leave plenty of time for some surprises. And Roderick vs Tyler Bate is something i’ll always want to watch. Will you be tuning in? Let me know what you think @Parkman15Love! Until next week!

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NXT Preview - Jan 31, 2018: Roderick Strong vs Tyler Bate
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