NXT Returns to Full Strength
By Ryan Satin
FOX Sports WWE Analyst
NXT once again feels at full strength thanks to the return of their top stars on Wednesday night.
As you'll recall, the brand was forced to change a lot of plans in recent months after being snakebitten with injuries.
Karrion Kross suffered a separate shoulder in August and Tegan Nox tore her ACL again in September. Then, Ridge Holland went down with leg/ankle injuries in the midst of a big angle with Undisputed Era and Finn Balor broke his jaw at NXT TakeOver 31 in October.
Not to mention, before all of this, Keith Lee got called up to the main roster, leaving a void at the top of the card.
All in all, NXT felt depleted. That changed, though, with Wednesday night's show.
Balor kicked things off reminding everyone that he’s still the champ and ultimately made it clear that he'd defend his title at New Year's Evil on January 6th, NXT's next TV special.
His list of possible challengers at that show seem to be newly shredded Pete Dunne, coolest guy in the room Damian Priest and/or the man who took Balor to the limit at TakeOver 31, Kyle O’Reilly.
Personally, I’m hoping they go with Kyle vs. Finn here. These two have the potential to top their last standout match, only this time without injuring each other (hopefully).
Another big return that took place this week was Karrion Kross.
Here’s the setup showing Scarlett’s face-off with Finn Balor at the beginning of the show:
And here’s Karrion returning later in the night to attack Damian Priest:
To me, this signaled a tune up for Kross at New Year's Evil against Priest before the inevitable title match against Finn Balor at the next TakeOver event.
Balor and Kross is the money program for NXT though, so it was smart to begin the build for both matches on the same night.
Having them both back – as well as Malcolm Bivens and recently returned Superstars like Grizzled Young Vets, Toni Storm and Rhea Ripley – makes the brand feel hot again.
Hopefully this momentum continues.
Is this what you want to see happen? Or do you have something else in mind? Hit me up @RyanSatin on Twitter and let me know.