Kassius Ohno vs. Luke Harper
Goddamn Luke Harper is fucking great. Fantastic synergy by the WWE – he gets another showcase solo match in NXT the same week he hung with CM Punk on Raw (losing in a roll-up after missing with his brutal lariat) and gets da gawd Daniel Bryan on Smackdown this Friday. No surprise for those familiar with the former Brodie Lee, but after this week I wonder if his standing (at least with the non-NXT watching WWE fans) will exceed that of his leader Bray Wyatt.
Harper looked fantastic tangling with the agile Ohno, a perfect match to his “farm boy” strength, as Renee Young put it. Harper’s animal-like ring psychology was on full display here, and he’s slowly proving that he’s not just going to be an empty wife-beater with a meathook. The gator-rolls, the taunting with his dead eyes before a devastating big-boot, and his stiff-looking style makes him a naturally brutal big man that works so well with underdog super-sellers like Ohno.
His match with Bryan on Smackdown will be a must watch. Side note: Alex Riley seemed a tad preoccupied with Harper’s hygiene and showering habits, but it did give me the inspiration for a killer nickname for him, The Unwashed Mass.
And speaking of Ohno, any fans who were worried about his standing – despite losing again to Harper – should pay close attention to the commentary team. They not only mentioned his physique looking more impressive than usual, but they reinforced many of Ohno’s character traits like his striking ability and home-run in-ring style, which Ohno obliged by hitting a vicious rolling elbow that almost secured the victory. If they’re putting in the effort to sell him to the NXT audience, that can only mean good things going forward.
Also, play-by-play man Tom Phillips even referenced Ohno’s past run-ins with Punk, Rollins, Bryan and Cesaro. I’m not saying it guarantees an Ohno call up as Punk/Bryan’s third man in their burgeoning Wyatt Family feud, but holy shit it’s never going to be easier to get him to the main roster storyline-wise. Regardless the fact the seeds were planted mixing Ohno in with established stars is a good sign. Make it happen, Triple H!
Matthew Timmons can be harassed on Twitter @matthewtimmons.