WWE NXT preview (July 26, 2022): Cut-rate cult

NXT 2.0 airs tonight (July 26) from the Performance Center.

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After a main event loss at the Great American Bash, the lights flickered during Cameron Grimes’ interview. On Last Tuesday’s episode, we got confirmation that meant what we thought it did — out stonks millionaire was starting a program with Joe Gacy.

Gacy watched from the stands NXT champion Bron Breaker’s next challenger JD McDonogh handed Grimes another loss, then approached the frustrated North Carolinian backstage.

If you’re getting “Daniel Bryan joins The Wyatt Family” vibes, you’re not alone. If you’re not, it may be because you weren’t watching WWE in 2014. If that’s the case, catching up on Mr. Danielson’s journey to WrestleMania 30 is an excellent way to take advantage of your Peacock subscription. But I digress…

Whether that’s your reference point or not, this isn’t a new story in pro wrestling or anywhere else. And it’s honestly not a bad way to use these two performers right now (casting Grizzled Young Veterans in the Luke Harper & Erick Rowan roles is a bad way to use Zack Gibson & James Drake… but I do get a perverse kick out naming them “Rip Fowler” and “Jagger Reid”).

They need to do something to help Gacy stand out and make the cult leader cliche his own, though. I argued in the past they could go even campier with the act, which I still think could be fun (The Schism’s new names are a step in the right direction there, honestly). Maybe that’s not the way to go, but their current course isn’t going to stop the “when you order Bray on wish.com” jokes.

As long as Grimes gets a big pop in a couple months when he rebels against the faction from within, I guess they’ll live with “We have Dungeon of Doom at home” memes.

The rest of the title scene

He’s got so many potential challengers, he has to visit the barbershop just to catalog them. Will Solo Sikoa, Von Wagner, Apollo Crews, Giovanni Vinci, or Wes Lee be next for North American champion Carmelo Hayes? Sikoa & Wagner have unfinished business with each other. If Crews gets past Xyon Quinn tonight, he could be a frontrunner. Lee has a match with the last man Melo beat, Grayson Waller. But something tells me the A Champ’s right-hand man Trick Williams might get involved with that one.

After her triumphant return last week, Zoey Stark is the #1 contender for Mandy Rose’s NXT Women’s title. Meanwhile, not only do we not know who’s next in line for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship — we don’t even know what the futures of the belts are after Cora Jade threw hers in the trash. What will Roxanne Perez have to say about that, and can anyone fill Vacant’s shoes?

Their NXT Tag Team titles won’t be on the line, but The Creeds will be facing a pair of potential challengers when Diamond Mine takes on Tony D’Angelo, Stacks, and reluctant Family members Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde tonight. They’re also teaming with the men who beat at the Bash — fellow Diamond Miners Roderick Strong & Damon Kemp. Is it time for Roddy to go? Or for Santos Escobar to return?

Pretty Deadly’s shenanigans almost won them NXT UK Tag Team Champions again, but they didn’t have an answer for Josh Briggs & Brook Jensen’s secret weapon, Fallon Henley.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

– He made quite an impression last week. What will the numbers say is next for Axiom?

– The battle royal main event kept several feuds alive, so expect more Alba Fyre/Lash Legend and Katana Chance & Kayden Carter vs. Ivy Nile & Tatum Paxley in the future.

– It also featured the latest impressive showing for Tiffany Stratton, so keep an eye on the spoiled rich girl if we ever get a babyface champ again.

– Chase U pep rallies seem like fun, but the student body is pretty inconsiderate…

– Any chance this show starts to look different now that Papa Haitch has the conn?

What will you be looking for on NXT tonight?

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