With TakeOver: New Orleans now little over four weeks away, last night's episode of NXT was pivotal in establishing the brand's direction ahead of WrestleMania weekend, with several divisions setting off on bold, new paths across 46 minutes of typically strong television.
Andrade 'Cien' Almas learned his next NXT Title challenger as Aleister Black and Killian Dain fought for contendership in the night's main event. It was a match that promised much, particularly after last week's scrap, but whoever won, Almas was guaranteed a fearsome TakeOver opponent.
The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic kicked off, too, with The Authors Of Pain meeting TM-61 in a rematch of the last tournament's final. Elsewhere, there was no sign of Ember Moon or her immediate contenders, but Bianca Belair's latest squash and a brief Lacey Evans promo ensured the women's division's representation, and to top it all off, a certain 'Blackheart' strolled his way into Center Stage Theater once more.
It was exactly the kind of high quality episode fans rightly expect from NXT, but unfortunately, the show didn't pass without one particularly significant disappointment. Let's get right to the heart of it...