Candice LeRae In WWE NXT Dark Match, Asuka Endorses The Iconic Duo, Johnny Gargano Vs. Andrade Almas

- Above and below are interviews from this week's WWE NXT special, featuring Zelina Vega, NXT Champion Andrade "Cien" Almas and Johnny Gargano talking about the "Takeover: Philadelphia" main event, which will be Gargano's first big title shot. Almas says Gargano is nothing and he's preparing to win, preparing for his future. Vega says Gargano's a broken man and talks about knowing how to pull on his heart strings as he's not over what happened to him in 2017. Vega goes on to say the NXT Title isn't going anywhere because it has found its new home with El Idolo. Vega says just because Gargano defeated other Superstars to earn this shot, he doesn't deserve it and he's not worth their time.

Gargano talks about how his 2017 with him on top of the world and feeling untouchable but that all came crashing down when partner Tommaso Ciampa turned on him. Gargano says that's not a memory he wants to revisit because when he came back, he decided it was time to move on, even if he had to do it on his own. Gargano goes on and says he will walk into Takeover, step up and take the NXT Title from Almas. Gargano says he's on top of the world again and 2018 will be the best year of his life.

- The dark matches before tonight's NXT TV tapings from Center Stage in Atlanta saw Candice LeRae defeat Vanessa Borne and Kassius Ohno defeat Raul Mendoza. As noted earlier, LeRae is said to be in the process of signing her WWE deal, if she hasn't signed already.

- RAW Superstar Asuka tweeted an endorsement of "The Iconic Duo" of NXT, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, after the 2017 NXT Year-End Awards were announced on Wednesday. While Peyton and Billie aren't up for the NXT Tag Team of the Year award, they are nominated for Overall NXT Competitor of the Year and Female Competitor of the Year. Asuka tweeted the following and wrote that her former rivals should win the award for Tag Team of the Year:

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