Aleister Black vs Kassius Ohno may be a contender for match of the year. I said it! NXT already has some fantastic matches this year. But anyway, welcome to another review of This Week on NXT. We have Ember Moon back in action and even some tantalising announcements. How does it hold up? Let’s take a look.
MATCH 1: PEYTON ROYCE W/ BILLIE KAY VS EMBER MOON
The long-awaited return! She’s not missed a beat and looked as energetic as ever. Even when Peyton took advantage to Billie’s dirty tactics, Ember could not be pinned. This match wasn’t about giving her an easy squash match to win. Here we had to get reacquainted with her and the best way to do that? Give her a match where she has to overcome the iconic duo. She kept the audience teased with attempts at the total eclipse so when she finally did hit it, the crowd popped perfectly. Great work from Peyton who was the perfect opponent Ember needed for her return. How soon she returns to the title picture, is yet to be confirmed.
Hideo Itami chatted to Kassius Ohno about how his lack of success had been getting to him. Ohno understood and told him that they’re careers aren’t over yet. This storyline does a sense of real frustration coming from Itami and you can’t help but feel sorry for him in that way. But, if this storyline can get him the push he truly desires then I’m all for it.
During a photo shoot, Bobby Roode antagonised Rodrick Strong in front of his wife and baby. This then led to an all-out brawl and a match being announced two weeks away when Roode will defend his championship against Strong. The set up for the match has built itself well and I’m looking forward to seeing these two in a match together. There’s a strong possibility that Strong could win the title, but I can also see Roode holding onto the belt until the next Takeover. We have so many people that are ready for a title fight so I’ll be interested in seeing how this match goes.
MATCH 2: THE EALY BROTHERS VS SANITY (ERIC YOUNG & ALEXANDER WOLFE)
Oh hey, haven’t seen the Ealy’s in a while. They faced SAnitY? You would think that this wouldn’t take that long. But no, this went on considerably longer than I thought. SAnitY dominated throughout and the Ealy’s were left defeated. SAnitY as a group don’t seem to be moving forward when it comes to storylines, the only member that seems to have stood out is Nikki Cross. While going after Asuka and the belt, she hasn’t really been seen with the rest of her group in recent weeks. While I think that it’s great for a member of a stable to move forward and develop as a character, It seems that SAnitY is content to lay back for a while. Which in the long term might lead to us getting bored, I don’t want that, you don’t want that, please NXT don’t do that.
Speaking of Nikki Cross. After the hectic ending to the match last week, Asuka will defend her title next week against Nikki once again but this time in a LAST WOMAN STANDING MATCH. I’ve been waiting for this for so long. Thank you NXT for giving me this.
MATCH 3: RACHEL EVERS VS SONYA DEVILLE
Sonya took delight in every strike that she delivered on Rachel. Every punch had weight behind it and every time Rachel thought she would get an advantage, she was writing her own death warrant. Sonya continued to impress with her technical skill as she ended the match with a double wristlock. I like her style and think she’ll develop her move set well in NXT. The nit-picky issue I have is that she needs to work on the shadow boxing that she uses in her entrance. It looks like she’s throwing her arms about instead of how a professional MMA fighter would, it’s a very small thing but worth saying.
MAIN EVENT: MATCH 4: KASSIUS OHNO VS ALEISTER BLACK
Finally, a match where we get to test Black’s ability in a normal singles match rather than him squashing his opponent. We got to see them evaluating each other, assess through holds what was the best way to get the advantage. But as soon as Aleister hit the first strike, the mood changed. The strikes became hard hitting and things started to become interesting. Each kick, each drop had enough force behind it that you would almost think you were watching Strong Style. Back and forth the momentum swung, each competitor could have won at any moment.
From the outset, Both men were both going to come out of this looking strong and put on a showcase for their amazing talent. Even though Black won the match, Ohno presented a brilliant display of athletic skill. The match built up to its eventual end so well, that I believe it will work well in Ohno’s story with Itami. Both of them knew they’ve put a lot of work into this fights, but seemingly can’t progress any further. The only thing we need to wait for now is if Kassius will be gracious in defeat or start seeing things from Itami’s point of view.