WWE NXT 1.31.18: 3 Questions w/ Heather
After another HOT NXT Takeover this past Saturday we got a recap show mixed in with some in-ring action to remind us of some worth watching stars that are still lurking hungrily in the NXT locker room.
Is Nikki Cross an afterthought until SAnitY Finally Heads to the Main Roster?
Nikki Cross is so enjoyable to watch. She’s frantic, unpredictable, and will take whatever anyone throws at her with a smile on her face. Nikki was brought in with SAnitY and has been popular with the crowd ever since. While she has had shots at the NXT Women’s Championship, it’s never seemed like Nikki was someone who was going to walk away champ. She’d definitely be a popular and difficult champion to take down, but the NXT Women’s Division always seems to be looking just over or around her. Not that the women in the top spots have ever felt undeserving, but as talented and popular as she is, it doesn’t feel right not having Nikki in a real program with another lady.
If I’m honest I wouldn’t have minded something going further with Lacey Evans, even if it wasn’t for Championship implications. Lacey is a great athlete and being brave enough to call out Nikki Cross on her own offers her more credibility to the audience as someone who actually could be a threat in the division. Controlling a large portion of the match they had does that too, but having Nikki just win and end it at that seems unfair to the potential this had. Why not have Lacey win nefariously or even just attack Nikki after the match in a fit of rage? I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt here that they’re not going to give up on Nikki, but she’ll probably leave NXT when SAnitY hits the main roster and it’ll be fun to see if they let her wreak havoc up there.
Are TM61 Headed for the Title Picture After Takeover New Orleans?
TM61 were always supposed to be major players in NXT before Shane Thorne’s injury, and while there are many tag teams in NXT that are fun to watch – this baby face team seems poised to step in where they’ll be a spot to take down the Undisputed Era once they wrap up with SAnitY which I do figure will happen if not on NXT itself in the coming weeks, then at NXT Takeover New Orleans.
I don’t know which other baby face team could fill the spot unless they run with the Street Profits. War Machine will be too new, and I suspect they’ll deal with Authors of Pain and Heavy Machinery first. So if they continue to be showcased like this look for TM61 to keep heading for where they probably would have envisioned themselves by now.
Will We See an American Take the U.K. Championship?
The hard hitting, excellent match between former U.K. Champ Tyler Bate and Roderick Strong made me pretty happy. As most of the title defenses for the U.K. Championship have taken place between Pete Dunne and Bate you could figure that Strong might take this one, but it was a fight to the finish. Strong is a methodical veteran in the ring. His careful attention to Bate’s back led him to victory as Tyler couldn’t follow throw with his finisher, leading to Roddy pouncing on him for the win. This same intelligence could help him pull out a victory over the Bruiserweight, though I can’t imagine Dunne losing if it isn’t at a big event. If they’re looking to pull the trigger and send him to the main roster soon though, he will have to drop it soon and outside Tyler Bate they haven’t really built up any contenders they’ve shown the NXT audience. Maybe Roderick Strong is the way they go, turn him heel and have a baby face Brit come in to take the title back off of him. We shall see.
Shayna Baszler is definitely still taking that title off of Ember Moon. Her promo on this show proves she isn’t through with her, and I have to think Ember’s appearance in the Rumble could spell a call up soon. Kairi Sane I don’t see coming up, as she’ll be the obvious first choice to take on Baszler after Moon. Though I never expected Asuka to keep the title as long as she did so remember, these are just thoughts.
I was super pleased and equally surprised to see ADAM COLE BAYBAY and Andrade “Cien” Almas at the Rumble. It would have been nice to get a baby face in there too, but I thought both guys had a great showing and were deserving of the spot.
Nikki Cross beat Lacey Evans
TM61 beat The Ealy Brothers
Roderick Strong beat Tyler Bate – #1 Contender for U.K. Championship Match
That’s it for this week! Find me over at HM_Pufnstuf on Twitter to talk wrassling!