A couple of titans clashed this week on NXT 2.0, as Gunther went face-to-face with one of the brand's uprising stars, Solo Sikoa. The two performers put on an awesome display of power and left the crowd appreciative of their impressive physical skills.
This match was what many longtime observers might call an 'old hoss fight', with these two modern day NXT competitors banging away at one another like a pair of drunken lumberjacks.
Both men are top-flight stars on WWE's Tuesday Night Technicolor brand. And while they may be considered stars of the future, they certainly gave us an old school bash on this week's show. Neither man was afraid to throw his weight around and work as snug as possible.
While Gunther would come out on top in convincing fashion, Sikoa is still considered a prized prospect in the organization. He will certainly be elevated to the main roster someday, as his skill level and family ties with The Bloodline make for a natural storyline. He's a diamond in the rough that just needs a little more polishing.
More than anything, however, this bout illustrated a lot of the changes that are taking place on NXT right now.
These big men, the powerhouses, have become the focus of the brand. In the black and gold days of the brand, smaller and more stealthy grapplers ruled the day. Now? Change is upon us, and the developmental unit is fueled by massive maulers and pumped-up powerhouses.
We're going to see a lot more matches like this on the show going forward. As the parent company continues to sign larger and more powerful athletes as part of their developmental program, the style of the brand is set to be built around 'hoss fights'. It will be less about pacing and precision and more about powerbombs and pain.
In many ways? That's a good thing. Anyone who witnessed the confrontation between Gunther and Sikoa has to admit: There's nothing like seeing two legit heavyweights throwing hammer shots at each other.
Sometimes a hard chop is just as effective as a moonsault... and a good, stiff punch to the face tells more of a story than a well-timed dropkick.
The match between Gunther and Sikoa was a terrific example of that. They threw everything at each other but the kitchen sink, and it was a harbinger of what down and dirty pro wrestling used to be. It was also a sign of things to come from NXT.
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