So TakeOver: WarGames needs a women’s match…

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Tonight’s show finds us in NXT’s home base of Full Sail Live for the second episode from a taping (spoilers from which are here) which takes us all the way to this year’s TakeOver: WarGames.

Here’s what to expect, and some thoughts on the overall landscape of the black-and-yellow brand.

The Headliner(s)

This is probably a pipe dream, but I know from the Twitter machine I’m not the only one dreaming it. And I imagine its somewhere in the heads of Triple H, his bookers and writers, too. Because the way Shayna Baszler defeated Kairi Sane to become the first two-time Women’s championship at Evolution was a great set-up for another chance to make history.

With only three weeks to a show with WarGames in the title, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir got hella involved in last Sunday’s match and ensure she reclaimed the title. On the same pay-per-view (PPV), Sane’s Stardom teammate and rival Io Shirai wrestled her biggest WWE match. The ladies were conspicuously absent from the TakeOver card established at the last taping.

As Brock Lesnar once said, “Let’s! Do! This?!?!”

My fantasy booking would put Dakota Kai – who has a ton of history with Baszler in NXT and more than enough joshi cred – with Io and Kairi, but if we want to go with Stunning Stella Cheeks’ suggestion of a Japanese superteam, I’m down. It’s not like Asuka is doing anything on the main roster anyway.

The other issues, of course, are that two trios usually aren’t enough to fill out a WarGames and that while they’re reportedly prodigies, Duke and Shafir might not be ready for that bright of a spotlight yet. While I’m not sure it makes a ton of storyline sense, dropping Nikki Cross (who will be in action on the Oct. 31 episode, btw) and Bianca Belair into the mix could solve both problems. Make it four-on-four and let the newer Horsewomen focus on what they know and the occassional hardcore spot.

Okay, even as I type that, it sounds crazy dangerous to put a couple of talented-but-green workers in the double cage. But even as I talk myself down, I remain hopefully NXT will find a way to involve Jessamyn and Marina in whatever comes next. The Sane/Baszler rivalry is great, and it has to continue considering how the Queen of Spades won on Sunday, but we could use a break from straight-up singles matches between the two.

And Nov. 17’s show is called WarGames. I’m just sayin’…

The Title Scene

We almost got a new challenger for NXT champion Tommaso Ciampa at the close of last week’s episode, but then General Manager William Regal’s plans fell apart and chaos reigned. Whether Velveteen Dream or Lars Sullivan gets a crack at Ciampa is almost an afterthought, as all eyes will be on how Aleister Black responds to Johnny Gargano superkicking him. Did that mean Gargano was also responsible for August’s parking lot attack? Is the champ just enjoying seeing his old partner slide toward the dark side, or did he play a more hands on role? We probably won’t get a ton of answers, but at least with Aleister’s return, we’re finally moving forward.

Also moving forward is the tag team title feud between Undisputed ERA and War Raiders. Hanson & Rowe won’t get another shot at the belts tonight, but they will have a chance to get revenge against the two men who stopped them from taking the straps from Roderick Strong & Kyle O’Reilly two weeks ago. The Raiders get a shot at Adam Cole & Bobby Fish tonight.

Cole is also still lobbying for a chance to regain the North American championship from Ricochet, seeing as the One and Only pinned United Kingdom champ Pete Dunne during their recent Triple Threat and not him. Ricochet seems willing to fight anyone, anywhere, anytime – but we’ll have to see what Mr. Regal has to say about the future of his regional belt (the Bruiserweight’s strap is the responsibility of NXT UK GM Johnny Saint now).

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

– In other ERA-related business, after EC3 picked up a big win over the Panama City Playboy last week, the foursome attacked. A chairshot to the knee from Fish in particular may have caused serious problems for the One Percenter. Was that a write-off, or the set-up for a feud?

– You’ve seen him in the crowd at TakeOvers and read about his house show debut. Now, Matt Riddle will make his way to the Full Sail ring for the first time on this episode. This will likely just be a squash for the King of Bros, but Kassius Ohno has been angling to be his first major opponent for a while now.

– Your Evolve Tag Team champs will be in action, albeit action which took place before they became your Evolve Tag Team champs. Here, Street Profits will try to get revenge against those chain-stealing, sip-mocking Aussies The Mighty.

– As briefly mentioned above, the Twisted Sister wrestles tonight. Where does a match fit into the stories Nikki Cross is already tangled up in, like being the woman who revealed a secret to Aleister Black, or the persistent thorn in Bianca Belair’s un-de-feat-ed side?

NOTE: Spoilers are out there for these pre-taped broadcasts (including here), but many Cagesiders don’t partake. If you are going to post or discuss spoilers for this show before they happen, or results of future shows, please use the spoiler bar in your comment.

See you tonight for NXT, Cagesiders!

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