WWE NXT Preview (12/28/16): Five Things To Watch For

[caption id="attachment_33682" align="alignnone" width="777"]WWE NXT Preview Photo: WWE[/caption]

It’s the final NXT preview for 2016, and thanks to HHH and the great folks at NXT, we’re in for a special treat this week. I’m not sure if this is a belated Christmas gift or just an overall thank you to all the NXT fans this year, but on December 23rd HHH tweeted that tonight’s NXT will be a two hour special featuring five matches from NXT’s recent live event in Osaka. If you’re a frequent watcher of NXT, you’ll remember that we’ve already seen the main event of that live event a few weeks ago on NXT, as Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Samoa Joe to regain the NXT title. Not only will we get to see that match again, but we’ll also see the NXT Women’s and Tag Titles defended as well.

With this and next week’s shows shaping up to be primarily unaired live event footage, it seems like NXT is content with their current build to TakeOver San Antonio. They’ve already named the number one contenders for the NXT and Tag titles, plus they’ll have three more weeks to hype the show after the January 4th episode. Regardless of your thoughts on the current build to TakeOver, this is a smart marketing idea by the WWE. Anyone on the fence in regards to the worth of the WWE Network must be thrilled as WWE is constantly adding new and exciting content that you can’t find anywhere else.

Here are the five things I’m looking forward to on tonight’s special two hour NXT.

Oney Lorcan vs. Andrade Almas - NXT Live

5. Oney Lorcan vs. Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas

Lorcan and Almas were both most recently in the number one contender tournament, with Lorcan losing to Bobby Roode and Almas defeating No Way Jose. Roode ending up winning the tournament and becoming the number one contender, but Almas came out of the fatal four way match looking better than ever. Lorcan is an odd character; he’s aggressive and resilient, but doesn’t really show much offense besides kicks and strikes. He reminds me of an old school no nonsense brawler character, however his stature and build don’t match his fighting style. He hasn’t caught on with me yet, but the beauty of NXT is that he’ll be able to continue working on his character at live events such as this one.

Andrade Almas debuted in NXT with a million dollar smile, but it was clear from the get go that the fedora and suspenders weren’t going to work for him. Everything changed during the Dusty Classic, when he and Cedric Alexander teamed up and lost to The Revival. Post match, Almas turned on Alexander and beat him silly, signaling the dark turn many fans had been clamoring for. Even though he lost out on the number one contendership, Almas’ star has been rising ever since he took out Cedric, and 2017 should be a huge year for him. If this was a normal match on NXT TV, I’d pick Andrade for an easy win, but live events are tricky, so Oney could pull off the upset.