WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 22
SAnitY's secret weapon, Nikki Cross, has been neutralized, courtesy of the debuting Ruby Riot, who crashed the main event brawl that closed out the March 22 episode of NXT.
Riot joined Tye Dillinger, No Way Jose and Roderick Strong in thwarting another attempt at domination by the enigmatic and dangerous heels and, in the process, added another layer to the story between the heroes and their nemesis.
Also during Wednesday's broadcast, Asuka sent a message loud and clear to Ember Moon, pummeling an unfortunate young opponent into mush while simultaneously showcasing a new attitude of sorts.
Throw in a hard-hitting, ultra-competitive match between Oney Lorcan and Andrade "Cien" Almas and you have a show that properly set the table for the upcoming TakeOver: Orlando.
Exactly what went down during this week's WWE Network broadcast?
Take a look with this recap of the March 22 episode.
Oney Lorcan vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas
A week ago, Andrade "Cien" Almas was bullying Hong Kong star HoHo Lun at the WWE Performance Center when Oney Lorcan stepped in on behalf of his fellow competitor. Wednesday night, Lorcan looked to curb the attitude of NXT's resident bully, Almas, in singles competition.
Almas was able to capitalize on pure anger from Lorcan early.
He delivered a running slap to the face of the double-tough babyface, then proceeded to catch a furious Lorcan in a slam on the arena floor to take control of the match.
Lorcan fought out of a chinlock and began his comeback. He delivered a hard clothesline and a ferocious running uppercut that sent Almas to the arena floor. A falling senton from the top rope to the floor left Almas reeling.
Almas survived a series of running charges, delivered the running knees in the corner and executed the hammerlock DDT to score the pinfall victory.
Andrade "Cien" Almas defeated Oney Lorcan.
Lorcan has experienced explosions of offense in previous showings, but this was, by far, the best performance of his NXT stint. He looked like a convincing babyface rather than an enhancement talent who can throw a really stiff clothesline.
Almas, on the other hand, has been steadily evolving into the charismatic performer he has always had the potential to be. He has discovered a darker, meaner edge, and the result has been a far more intriguing and entertaining performer.
At this point, Almas has more main event potential, so the outcome was the right one. Lorcan, though, has the potential to be a Daniel Bryan-like underdog babyface who captures the attention of the audience. He just needs a string of victories rather than constant losses.
Asuka vs. Priscilla Zuniga
Priscilla Zuniga made the unfortunate decision of taking a match with Asuka Wednesday.
She would regret it instantly.
Asuka sent a very physical message to Ember Moon as she obliterated the unknown competitor. Despite having the match in hand at one point, she pulled Zuniga's shoulders off the mat, hellbent on torturing the young competitor while giving Moon a hint of what awaits her at the WWE Network special.
After kicks and hip attacks throughout the squash, she trapped her young opponent in the Asuka Lock and scored the tapout victory. She refused to release the hold, waiting until the very last second to avoid a reverse decision.
Following the bout, the NXT women's champion cut a promo in her native Japanese and ended with "no eclipse" in an obvious verbal shot at Moon.
Asuka defeated Priscilla Zuniga.
Heel Asuka is boatloads of fun.
Success has gone to her head, as it typically does all athletes, and the result is an arrogant Superstar. What sets her apart is the fact that she remains as vicious and ruthless as ever. That cockiness has not affected her ability to gleefully pick her opponent apart with violent strikes and her trademark submission move.
It makes for the type of character development that NXT could use more of.
Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong and No Way Jose vs. SAnitY
The intensification of the rivalry between Tye Dillinger and SAnitY's Eric Young continued Wednesday night as The Perfect 10 teamed with No Way Jose and Roderick Strong to battle Young, Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe in a six-man tag team main event.
The babyfaces frustrated the heels heading into the final commercial break of the evening.
Their offensive onslaught ended when Nikki Cross grabbed ahold of No Way Jose's leg, providing just enough of a distraction for the heels to seize control.
The heels worked over Jose until a hot tag to Strong turned the tide.
Strong exploded into the match and unleashed his arsenal of backbreakers on the heels.
All hell eventually broke loose, with all six competitors in the ring. The official, having lost control, called for the bell.
After the match, Dillinger and Young squared off until Cross jumped on the babyface's shoulders. This brought out the debuting Ruby Riot, who attacked Cross and stood tall with the heroes to close out the broadcast.
Dillinger, Jose and Strong fought to a no-contest with SAnitY.
A fun six-man tag wrapped up this week's show and provided the latest chapter of the rivalry between Dillinger and Co. and SAnitY.
It was the perfect example of how to book a match between the two teams without giving away the farm this close to TakeOver: Orlando. The six competitors whetted the appetites of the fans but left them wanting more.
The arrival of Riot to combat Cross not only strengthens the rivalry, but also adds depth to a women's division desperately in need of it.
Overall, a fantastic way to close out a strong episode of NXT.