WWE NXT will be holding television tapings tonight (January 22) at CFE Arena in Orlando, Florida. CFE Arena is just outside of Full Sail University, where NXT usually tapes their weekly programming. The arena also contains significantly more seats than Full Sail University, as CFE Arena can hold approximately 10,000 people.
Tonight’s tapings are being looked at as a big event for NXT due to the crowd size being larger than usual, there being three big main event matches taking place, as well as what Triple H is calling a “huge surprise.” The three main event level matches being promoted for tonight are: Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe in a number 1 contenders match for the NXT Championship, Bayley vs. Carmella for the NXT Women’s Championship, and Finn Balor vs. Neville. Triple H mentioned these three matches in a tweet today, before he teased that there will be a surprise during the show.
BAYLEY vs. CARMELLA
SAMI vs. JOE
BALOR vs. NEVILLE
PLUS a huge surprise…
— Triple H (@TripleH) January 22, 2016
This huge surprise is most likely referring to Austin Aries’ WWE debut. PWInsider reported this week that Aries has been seen in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and that he was likely there in order to undergo the required medical tests needed before signing with the WWE. I covered this story on TJRWrestling earlier this week, so you can click here to read the full story and my thoughts.
The reason why Aries is the most likely candidate for tonight’s “huge surprise” and not any of the members of the “New Japan 4” is because news has been circling over the past few weeks as to when those four will be arriving at World Wrestling Entertainment. AJ Styles will be at the Royal Rumble this Sunday, as well as Raw on Monday, and Tuesday night’s taping of Smackdown. Shinsuke Nakamura will be reporting to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida in early February; while Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson will be debuting at NXT television tapings in early March.
Mark’s reaction: I can’t wait until tonight’s NXT tapings get put on the WWE Network because it sounds like we’re in for some quality shows! I’m looking forward to all three main event matches, and of course the likely debut of Austin Aries will be a very special moment too. He’s 37 years old, has had a fantastic career thus far, and is still just as good in the ring now as he’s ever been. I think Aries has come close to signing with WWE in the past, as I remember him doing the voice over work for one of the WWE video games a couple years ago. I’m glad that it looks like his time in the WWE has come. He’s done so much on the independent scene for so many years that it’s nice to see him branch out and try something new and exciting.
Do you think Triple H is referencing Austin Aries in his tweet about a “huge surprise”? Are you happy Aries is starting off in NXT or would you have rather seen him go straight to the main roster? Keep the conversation going by leaving any of your thoughts in the comment section below.
Update: Austin Aries is in fact backstage at tonights NXT tapings.