Dakota Kai is a good first feud for the returning Ember Moon

WWE, Ember Moon (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)
WWE, Ember Moon (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images) /

With Ember Moon back from her Achilles injury, the NXT creative team made a wise choice pitting her against the reliable Dakota Kai right out of the gate.

The NXT writers didn’t waste much time finding a first major opponent for Ember Moon, did they? Following Moon’s swift win over Jessi Kamea on the Oct. 21 episode of NXT, a bitter Dakota Kai cut her victory celebration short with a blindside attack, setting in motion a possible feud between the two.

Though a potential Kai/Moon match presumably doesn’t rank too high on many fans’ dream match shortlist, it’s hard to argue against the decision to match these two up for the next few weeks.

Let’s start with Moon, who is now two weeks removed from her comeback from an Achilles injury that took over a year to rehab. Since returning to NXT, Moon has looked as smooth as ever between the ropes, but the creative team has eased her in via a tag team match and a brief enhancement bout to give the very green Kamea some much-needed seasoning with a superior worker.

Eventually, Moon will participate in longer matches — especially if she’s going to be in the title picture in the near future — so, as preposterous as it sounds, the NXT crew probably wants to see if she can handle that increased responsibility. Putting her in the ring with an experienced, steady hand like Kai will be a good test to see where she is in that regard — one she should easily pass.

Storyline-wise, tangling with Kai wouldn’t give Moon’s character that much of a boost, but it also wouldn’t hurt her. While Kai is a good wrestler, the writers have miscast her as a feckless heel and haven’t presented her as a significant in-ring threat since the turn. Sure, she wrestled for the NXT Women’s Championship not too long ago, but everyone saw that for the inevitability that it was.

Consequently, a win over Kai won’t make fans who don’t view Moon as a championship contender change their minds — unless the matches with Kai exceed expectations. But most people already see her as a top act despite her perpetual misuse on the main roster prior to her injury, so, barring a decisive loss or match conclusions that make her look dumb, how they perceive her should remain unchanged. As long as the contests are fairly compelling, besting Kai without controversy sends the message that she belongs at the top of the card.

The feud wouldn’t impact Kai’s standing in the pecking order for good or ill, either. Again, she’s pretty much entrenched as a midcard gatekeeper at this point — which is fine — but a program with Moon helps stave off that hamster running on a wheel feeling that far too many members of the NXT roster are suffering from. Even if she puts Moon over at the end of things, it’s a better use of her time than having her take part in meaningless matches that lead to nothing.

Instead, the NXT writers can craft a solid story around Kai’s resentment over Moon using her as a stepping stone and Moon needing to prove she can withstand stiffer competition as part of her quest to win back the NXT Women’s Title. It’s simple storytelling and that’s usually when wrestling is at its most effective.

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Sure, a Kai/Moon feud likely won’t get you to rush to the television to watch NXT. But every storyline doesn’t need to be a candidate for Feud of the Year awards to matter. With Moon vs. Kai, you get two great talents fighting to inch closer to another chance at the richest prize a woman can attain in NXT, which is the best you can ask for from a midcard feud.