WWE spoiled it themselves last week, but on the episode of NXT which aired tonight (Wednesday, May 4), we were all able to see former TNA World champ Eric Young debut and face NXT titleholder Samoa Joe on WWE Network.
You can see highlights of both their show opening promo and main event match in the playlist above.
Young's arrival at the Thursday, April 29 tapings caused a bit of an uproar among fans concerned that, by bringing in several thirty-something ex-TNA guys like EY and Austin Aries, NXT was straying too far from their roots as a developmental promotion.
What we got on WWE Network doesn't really say too much about that either way. Young was used to give Joe a lengthy match because the brand didn't really have any in-house players who were either (a) established at that level where they'd be credible giving the champ a fight or (b) built sufficiently that they'd be able to take a loss without damaging their standing. Having EY play this role actually protects other guys on the roster.
It makes for a strange, one-off (seemingly, at this point) angle, however. And that points to concerns that NXT has drifted away from what many of us thought was their greatest strength, regardless of who was on the roster... long-term storytelling.
Maybe this is the start of something bigger. We can hope. But for tonight, it felt very much like, "here's a guy, getting a big match, that he loses".
How was Eric Young's NXT debut for you, Cagesiders?