With WrestleMania right on the horizon, it was clear that the focus of WWE television this week was to hype the event and not give too much away. However, in a week of short matches designed to build anticipation for the biggest pay-per-view of the year, it was the rookies of NXT who stood head and shoulders above the rest.
Alberto Del Rio and Big E are two wrestlers that have their fair share of critics, but their excellent match on Raw was evidence of the fact that both men have a lot to offer where it counts. It's a shame to see neither of them with more on their plate for WrestleMania than a spot in the Battle Royal.
It's perhaps unsurprising that the Intercontinental title hasn't had more of a spotlight going into WrestleMania, as it's been a long time since the strap has seemed to carry the same weight as it once did. Big E's title win seemed like it might be the beginning of something but his minimal title defences since have left him and the title in the shadows.
That said, this non-title match on Raw proved that the status of the Intercontinental title isn't due to a lack of talent that could contest the belt. Having a rematch between these two for the title at WrestleMania would be a welcome addition to an already attractive card, but it's almost certainly too late for that at this point.
Also of note was the lone match on Superstars this week that saw Heath Slater taking on Kofi Kingston. Superstars rarely seems like essential viewing as a result of its endless recaps of more major happenings in the WWE, but more often than not there's a solid match or two amongst the filler content.
Match of the Week for the Week of March 28: Sami Zayn vs. Corey Graves on NXT
Whilst most matches this week, particularly on SmackDown, struggled to break the five-minute mark, this long bout aired on WWE's weekly NXT broadcast demonstrated exactly why fans with a subscription to the Network shouldn't be missing out on NXT.
The match told an excellent story, with Zayn nursing an injury and Graves using it to his advantage throughout. Everything about the match worked; both men played their parts very well, the crowd were enthused and the commentary did their fair share to execute the narrative.
Whilst Zayn is clearly one of the standout performers in the WWE developmental system, it's Graves who has really benefited from the feud between the two that's been unfolding over the last few weeks. It often seems like there's much more going on in NXT than the WWE proper, despite the fact that there's only one hour of NXT on television a week.
Both Zayn and Graves looked good coming out of the match, and it wouldn't be surprising to see either challenge for the NXT title before too long. However, it seems like their feud will continue for at least a little longer—and I don't think you'll find many people who'll be too upset at that if they can carry on having matches to the standard of this one.
Was there another match this week that you enjoyed more? Do you have an early prediction for Match of the Night for WrestleMania? Make your voice heard in the comments below.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!