There’s a lot going on tonight on NXT, it seems like they’ve pre-advertised almost the whole show. The main event is set to be Kassius Ohno vs Aleister Black. Also scheduled is Ember Moon versus Peyton Royce, in Moon’s first match back from injury, and an appearance from Sonya Deville. Added to the preview today, it seems that Bobby Roode and Roderick Strong had a backstage altercation, and we’re going to hear all about it.
Ember Moon def Peyton Royce
Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe (of SAnitY) def the Ealy Brothers
Sonya Deville def Rachel Evers
Aleister Black def Kassius Ohno
Peyton Royce vs Ember Moon
No messing around from NXT tonight, the advertised women’s division match started the show. Billie Kay was with Peyton Royce as usual, and they did their cutesy best friend stuff before Ember Moon made her entrance. Moon has come back from injury fired up and with something to prove.
Billie Kay got involved early in the match. The ref was distracted by Royce landing on his foot when Moon pushed her out of the corner. Kay took the opportunity to pull Ember Moon down, jarring her previously injured arm on the top rope. It wasn’t her last interference either. After Billie Kay pulled Royce out of the ring to avoid an Eclipse, Ember Moon decided enough was enough, and launched herself from the second turnbuckle onto Kay taking her out of the equation.
This was a good opening match. They were given enough time to build a story, and they told it well. They both had opportunities to finish, and they both came out looking stronger. Royce’s best opportunity came with a widow’s peak, but it wasn’t enough to put Moon away.
Ember Moon got the win with the Eclipse after driving Peyton Royce into the ringpost.
Kassius Ohno and Hideo Itami were shown talking backstage. Itami told him that he was sorry for shoving him and getting upset, he’s just frustrated at not having the same level of success in NXT that he had in Japan. Ohno said he understood, and he was frustrated at not making an impact since his return, but neither of them were done trying yet. They appeared to part friends.
Ealy Brothers vs Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe
We haven’t seen the Ealy brothers, Gabriel and Uriel, for a while. I’m not overly optimistic about their chances tonight, especially considering SAnitY lost their last tag team match. Commentary noted that Killian Dain had branched out into singles action, and he didn’t accompany them, neither did Nikki Cross. I wonder if that says anything significant about the future of the faction.
Another decent match. The Ealy Brothers are no pushovers, it would be possible to see them become something of a force in the NXT tag division if they’re given a run. But, while they have the look and the apparent ability, they lack some of the viciousness of Wolfe and Young.
It was that vicious streak, and some exemplary tag work, that made the difference in this match. Young and Wolfe isolated the Ealy’s well, made frequent tags, and had an answer for every piece of offence thrown at them.
Eric Young got the pin off a jumping neckbreaker
Following the match a recap of Nikki Cross’ brawl with Asuka was shown, leading to confirmation of their last-woman standing match next week.
Last week’s hype video for Sonya Deville was up next, advertising her as up next. That’s a good level of importance they’re giving her. I’m impressed. We haven’t really seen any promo work from her yet. If she can talk (and I think she probably can) we could have a star in the making.
Sonya Deville vs Rachel Evers
Deville’s entrance and theme have a real badass feel to them. She looks like a fighter. Her opponent, Rachel Evers (NXT keep changing her name and the spelling) is Rachael Ellering and she’s no slouch. She’s more than competent, and a great choice to put Deville through her paces. I’d actually like to see Evers on the main NXT roster, I’d be amazed not to see her in the Mae Young Classic this summer.
Deville is tall and powerful, but she’s also fast. She emits an aura of barely contained aggression and uses a nice combination of strikes and submission manoeuvres. She didn’t get everything her own way, but she laughed off much of Evers’ offence then punished her for it.
Unsurprisingly, considering it was essentially her relaunch, Deville won the match with a double wristlock submission.
The altercation between Bobby Roode and Roderick Strong was the next segment. It started when Roode told Strong’s fiancé to let him know when she feels like being with a real man (much eye rolling), and Strong jumped on him. They were quickly separated but Roode screamed after him that anytime he wanted a shot at the title he could have one.
At the end of the segment commentary announced Roode vs Strong, for the NXT Championship, will take place in two weeks’ time.
Kassius Ohno vs Aleister Black
Time for the main event of the evening, and I’ve been looking forward to this for a week. It might not have any immediate relevance for the title, but there was plenty at stake. Kassius Ohno hasn’t had the success he was hoping for since returning to NXT, and Aleister Black came into the match undefeated. Reputations were on the line, pride was at stake.
They started slow and technical, but this was a battle of hard hitters who know every move in each other’s playbook. It didn’t take them long to get into striking territory though, and once they were there they went at it hard.
What a main event. They could each have put ten opponents away with the moves that were kicked out of. Both had opportunities to finish the other that they couldn’t quite capitalise on, and both looked incredulous at the resilience of their opponent at times. I genuinely can’t say enough good things about the match without lapsing into superlatives. Just go and watch it.
Aleister Black finally hit the Black Mass for the win.
NXT might have been the best show of the week this week. It certainly won the week for women’s division action. And it looks like we’re heading into a period of high activity as well. Next week we get a women’s title match, and the following week a men’s title match. It’s great to see the titles being defended on the weekly show instead of reserving defences for TakeOvers.
Tonight’s main event was beautiful. Technical, brutal, well thought out. I’m a huge fan of both these men, and it wasn’t until half way through the match that I realised how much I wanted Black to remain undefeated. I’m sad things aren’t going Ohno’s way right now, but that will change. I’m just glad the turnaround didn’t come at the expense of Black’s undefeated streak. I’d be surprised if Aleister Black’s stay in NXT is a long one, there’s so much they could do with both these guys on the main roster, but Black is (quite rightly) being built as something really special
Another really strong show for NXT. Long may it continue.