Normally you’d see the name of the match and the date right here, but I wanted to make a special acknowledgement this week.
Though not always spectacular, NXT is arguably the most consistent of WWE’s weekly programs. Taking some structural notes from older formats, like WWF Superstars and WCW Saturday Night, NXT rotates its cast over its one hour episodes, helping keep the action fresh nearly every week. While the crowd certainly appreciates this, interest in the promotion is and has been driven by the teams willingness to let the wrestling speak for itself. On the March 21st, 2018 episode (440 for those looking at the numbers), the promotion once again recaptured the magic that took it from a developmental territory to the crown jewel of the WWE Network.
The episode consists of five main segments, the opening being a promo and attack thing, so we’re going to skip it. The first match on the card was a First Round match in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, and it was an unexpected doozy. Oney Lorcan aka Biff Busick and Danny Burch aka Martin Stone stood on one side of the ring. Though beloved by the NXT crowd, neither have really gotten too prominent of a position in the promotion. Now, as a tag team, things look up for the pair. They have an unexpected charisma, paired with an incredible chemistry. In this match, they looked as if they had been teaming for years. I hope they continue towards the NXT Tag Team titles, which could use some new contenders. On the other side, the hastily thrown together team of Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne. But that’s not a complaint. With Tyler Bate hurt and Mustache Mountain out of the bracket, NXT turned to two of its most popular wrestlers, though they had never teamed in the past. Strong, a long standing figure in the business and one of the most skilled was able to adapt quickly. Dunne, the current WWE UK Champion, doesn’t quite have the long record of his partner, but is proving to be one to watch. Though distinctly heel, I can imagine Dunne taking an almost Daniel Bryan role in the future.
Next, Aliyah faced NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon. Aliyah has improved vastly over her tenure, and it was nice to see her here. I’m interested to see how Moon is portrayed if and when she heads to the main rosters. At present, she has a look that doesn’t quite match her persona, though her in-ring ability tends to take focus off of that anyway.
After a promo, the Main Event featured a grudge match between Adam Cole and Kassius Ohno, who you might know as Chris Hero. Cole has maintained his momentum from his Bullet Club run, and though portrayed as a heel, is arguably the most popular wrestler in the promotion. Ohno has an interesting role in the company himself. Though always portrayed as a threat with his long history acknowledged, he hasn’t been afforded many matches to really show off. That changed on this episode. The pair prove to be two of the best in the business, putting on a Pay-Per-View quality match with balanced physicality and storytelling. Cole seems destined for a title run, and Kassius is one of the last roadblocks in his way. I don’t want to spoil any moments, so I’ll stop here. If you’re looking for a reason to start, or re-start, watching NXT, this episode can certainly serve as your reintroduction.
This episode is available on the WWE Network, along with the entire back catalogue of the show.