NXT Redux (May 10th, 2017): Preparing for TakeOver: Chicago

WWE

Welcome to this week’s NXT review! This week’s episode doesn’t feature any women’s matches but it begins to pave the road to TakeOver: Chicago by focusing the spotlight on Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot as they both vie for the title.

First up is a recap of last week’s Battle Royal and follow up with Ember Moon as she reveals she won’t be competing at TakeOver. Let’s watch:

After being thrown from the ring last week, Ember suffered a grade one shoulder sprain. She will be out of action for four to  five weeks. Ember has no words as she says she’s out of the match at Chicago. She promises to be back and better than ever once she’s healed.

Next we’re taken to a segment introducing Ruby and why she’s looking to capture the NXT Women’s Championship. Let’s watch:

We join Ruby in a tattoo shop as she explains her upbringing as a small town kid who everyone underestimated. She explains that everyone likes to judge her by her tattoos and they’re right. Her tattoos tell a story and the next one she’s about to write is becoming the NXT Women’s Champion. She goes on to say that she’s made a lot of sacrifices to be in this business. By traveling and getting here, she’s missed her friends and families’ milestones.

She says winning the championship would be validation for every sacrifice she’s ever made. She says no one has seen anyone like her and no one will see anyone like her in the ring. Fighting makes her feel alive and reminds her she has to fight to be alive. She says she’s here to break the mold of the NXT Women’s Division.

After Ruby’s interview, we’re taken backstage to an attempt at an interview with Nikki.

Nikki hops into her seat as a production assistant approaches her. He tells her he has to attach a mic onto her but she slaps his hand out of the way. She proceeds to attack him as she laughs and grabs the mic from him.

She stares into the camera and calls out Ruby’s name, then Asuka’s before she counts down. She continues to act bizarre while an interviewer attempts to ask her about TakeOver. She starts screaming and asking for Asuka. She says, “Where is Asuka? Where is my championship?” several times. She issues a warning to Ruby and then says she’ll take everything from Asuka.

Thoughts: Let’s break these video packages down, shall we. First up is Ember. I don’t feel anything whatsoever from her and that continues to be a problem. Creative has completely dropped the ball on showing us what she is and can be. I’m still not entirely sure if this is a work either. I believe she is truly injured. However, this setback can only benefit her in the long run and force her character to grow. WWE has truly lost the art of creating a genuine baby face. Ember was never going to be a big, big, baby face like Bayley, Ember is more akin to a tough face like Becky Lynch but there’s been no indication of any motivation on television, no backstory, and no deep feud for Ember to hang her hat on and evolve from. She is in trouble and quite frankly, I don’t think she deserves the title because she still needs work.

I believe Nikki should walk out of Chicago with the championship. Nikki continues to do the most with her character. Her backstage interview was haunting and I laughed at her antics. I’m fully behind her and it unfortunately says a lot about how creative treats the women as of late that by keeping Nikki away from the crumbling division, she’s gained the most in her ability to tell a story and get across how masochistic her character is. I still believe she’s the wildcard and there are big plans for her. Several months ago Sanity issued a warning that they’re looking for some gold and it starts with the Women’s Division. I’ll be completely honest here and say I would not mind at all if they took all the championships. Sanity could be the purge that NXT needs in order to get its act together.

Ruby is another character who completely owns everything she was, is, and could be for NXT. I can see why she’s being pushed like a firecracker into the title picture. I really enjoyed her backstage segment, it made me feel connected to her and hit all the beats a good promo should. She outlined why she’s here, what NXT means to her and what she hopes to do. That’s everything Ember has failed to get across.

I’m rooting for Ruby and Nikki to completely blow us away next week. What has to happen now though is in the hands of the bookers and creative. Will they pull the trigger to finally end Asuka’s reign? I honestly don’t know what to think if she retains. There’s no where to go anymore with Asuka at the top. It’s time to start telling a different story before the damage to the women’s division is completely irreversible.

What did you think of this week’s NXT? Who are you rooting for? Sound off in the comments below.

  • Wicked Emma

    Everybody knows Asuka is going to win.

  • Wicked Emma

    I think that Ember Moon should’ve won the title.

    • Spiteful Dark Angel #ABliss

      Hey omg

      • Wicked Emma

        Hi

        • Spiteful Dark Angel #ABliss

          Hey I wanted to invite you to a wrestling community talking thing. It’s called Talking Divas part of Disqus also

          • Wicked Emma

            Ok. I will check the website out.

          • Spiteful Dark Angel #ABliss

            Hope to see you there. Thank you for your time ?

          • Wicked Emma

            Welcome

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  • conan_kun

    I dream for after Asuka kicks Ruby down, Sanity member Eric Young hold Asuka’s leg, allow Nikki to steal the pin and win the title.

    • Francisco Baguer

      I disagree. Asuka should retain so when Ember comes back, she’ll want her revenge for cheating to beat her and injuring her. So what better revenge for Ember to not only end Asuka’s streak and take her title at the same time?

  • Organization XIII

    Only person who should win based off this match up is Nikki. She’s the only one out of the 3 with a true character & it keeps growing/expanding. Haven’t been here for Asuka from the beginning so they can get rid of the belt from her at any time

  • Drew Lytle

    I foresee Asuka winning, she’s beaten 3 women at once, one of them including Nikki, so 3 shouldn’t be that much of a challenge. The thing about her arrogance is she can back it up, she is as dangerous and deadly as she brags.

    It’s interesting cause here there’s a strong push to finally end Asuka’s rain but at another site, some believe Asuka should leave NXT undefeated. They truly believe she should drop the belt undefeated (which she technically isn’t, she lost a battle royal in early 2016) and immediately dominate the main roster.

    I disagree with both, Asuka should drop the belt but not in a rushed way. With this shoulder injury, Ember Moon should come back wanting blood. Asuka beat her to retain her title via dirty tactics in Orlando and last week put her out of action. She should almost want the title to be secondary, the only thing that should matter is being the one that takes away the crown. The clear path now is Moon vs Asuka at Brooklyn III where Ember finally gets vindication. Then the following Takeover could be a rematch with a stipulation or Gimmick (last woman standing).

    As for Cross and Riot, their feud is and shwould stay a secondary one. With the Main Rosters leveling out their line ups, I doubt there will be many more call ups this (unless we get a ton of injuries or suspensions). Ruby and Cross I foresee staying in NXT for a good while, and when Moon wins the title I doubt she matches Asuka’s year plus reign, so either one of them could be a top contender next Wrestlemania season.

    I just also want to add that I’ve heard a lot that NXT isn’t what it used to be. I do agree but I’m not calling the end just yet. The problem was the brand split wasn’t prepared for (not just them but the entire company) so a lot of talent went to the main roster. It feels like they’re just now leveling it out again. And I will say this, I feel it’s time NXT gets more time, if it was increased to just 90 minutes, they could do a lot more with each episode.

    • Jouey

      Do u remember who eliminate her from the battle royal ? ?

      • SW

        Legendary

    • Organization XIII

      Well Asuka didn’t take Nikki out in their fatal four way so I don’t think that matters. & at this point I don’t think many of us care who takes the title from Asuka. The reign has been lackluster because A.) Asuka can’t cut a promo & it’s clear WWE tried to protect her as much as possible by keeping her away from that aspect B.) She’s not visible in the division at all most of the time C.) all her matches have ended anti-climatically.

      & although the brand split do harp on NXT…they’ve had more than enough time to begin putting the division back together. Instead they chose to rely on indy talent a lone as opposed to simultaneously building it’s home grown talent.

      • Drew Lytle

        I’ll admit that her promos aren’t the best and they could do better, but if there are die hard supporters online arguing that she should simply walk away with no pins or submissions and simply drop the belt then clearly they’re doing something right with her. In some ways, she’s proof you can push a limited worker to the top and make it work, unlike Vinces unending desire to make Reigns the hero of us all. And I’ll agree too about the anticlimactic element, but that’s more of her and her opponents needing to sell the conclusion more. Some build to her spinning head kick or a last ditch effort to break free from the Asuka lock is all that’s needed.

        As for NXT as a whole, considering the buzz and live reaction they get, why wouldn’t they seek put Indy Darlings? Nakamura became the hottest name in the whole company before his entrance music even started in Dallas. And it’s not like they’re not building wrestlers from the ground up. Look at American Alpha, Authors or Pain, Baron Corbin, Heavy Machinery, Tye Dillinger. Regardless of how we’ll they make home grown talent though, the fans will always cheer louder and harder if Kenny Omega or Jay Lethal Or Okada or PentO 0M were to show up. NXT is a blend of WWE and Indy style, WWindy if you will, so it’s a stage for Indy talent to portentially thrive on the scale WWE has to offer.

  • MK126

    Wasn’t there supposed to be a match on the show?

  • iOwnThatSonOfABitch

    Asuka is so going to retain. Ember will win it when she comes back for Brooklyn.

  • John Finnie

    So your saying you believe the one who hasn’t wrestled much as champ? Granted Nikki can go But I see Ember moon winning when she returns’ after Askua wins she says “No one’s ready” Then Ember says “I’m ready now” then @ the next takeover she finally wins

    I cant see ruby or Nikki winning because their feud is a feud that doesn’t need the title & it’s working at the moment

  • Diva_Fan

    Nikki’s backstage interview SLAYED that girl is seriously nailing and owning her character atm !

  • Memo Soto

    How crazy would it be for Ruby Riot to win the title? She can feud with Nikki over it but retaining retaining, while Asuka and Ember squash their beef, and end up on a #1 contender match, with Ember asking for the loser to leave NXT, this being Asuka so she can go to SD for Summerslam. :3

  • Miguel Orona Rodríguez

    NXT did it right this week. This packages only helped to understand more those character. I always felt Nikki couldn’t win the belt because she was way too crazy to care but now I can see her carrying the belt like it is her baby. Ruby Riot in the other hand was able to establish herself and now we know her, she’s strong but vulnerable. NXT’s creative team lack of development to Ember just hurt her, she was supposed to be supernatural or something but ended up being generic. At this point a package like the one done to Ruby would do wonders to Ember. Nikki clearly beats everyone because of her promo.

  • Don ?

    I loved Ruby’s video package outlining who she is and why she’s here. That’s exactly what Ember needed after her debut match last summer. I say this often but I really wish they followed up with Ember’s interactions with Mandy Rose. It would have helped instead of her squashing free agents weekly. At TakeOver I’m hoping Ruby or Nikki win, but since Ember is injured I’m sadly feeling Asuka may win. But there could be a curve ball on who’s victorious. Things for the women have been unpredictable lately.

  • Monkey Tennis

    Generally, I wouldn’t want any woman affiliated with a male stable to win the women’s title. It just leads to more opportunity for the guys to get involved with the women’s matches, but in that half-arsed, no-physical contact way that makes it even more pointless.

    And it’s about perception too. As awesome as Nikki is, she’s still predominantly seen as the smurfette of a male stable right now, rather than being a wrestler in her own right. Yes, a title win could and should solidify her status as a singles wrestler, but it still just feels… I dunno… like Sanity are holding her back.

    Now having said all that, allow me to completely contradict myself and say that in this case, I would be cool with Nikki winning the title. Because as much as I believe the reasons I stated above, Nikki is still the best option of the three women involved in the match.

    Kana needs to drop the belt. That much is certain. And for me, Ruby’s still just a little too new to get the title this soon. Hence why it should go to Nikki. She may not be the mounumentally arrogant, best in the galaxy, uber-charismatic heel that she can be right now thanks to her current gimmick (which she’s doing a fine job with, no denying that). But maybe a title run might give us a little less Nikki Cross and a little more Nikki Storm.

  • Rose Márie ?

    Asuka has to carry this match. Just like the last takeover the fatal-4-way Peyton and Billie had to carry the match to make sure everyone characters were in tack. Ruby doesn’t even have a character Nikki has a good character but she has to give a little bit and so does Asuka. I know if Ember was in the match she would have to carry it is as well since she’s the best technique in the ring in the division as of right now.

    • Shady

      Asuka is a better wrestler than Ember though. Both are fantastic but Asuka is better

      • Kvngbalor

        Asuka a better wrestler than Ember? Have you saw her matches as Athena? She hasn’t even tapped in yet to her full potential

        • Shady

          I’ve been a huge fan of Athena, and I still stand by what I said. Ember might have a more pleasing moveset but Asuka is a better wrestlers wrestler

          • Rose Márie ?

            Technique > Striker
            Ember is a better wrestler than Asuka.

          • Kvngbalor

            Interesting since Asuka matches consist of nothing but strikes kicks hip attacks and a hip attack that’s a wrestlers wrestler…

          • Shady

            isn’t it? Asuka’s moveset is also far deeper than that but I’m not gonna bother. I said what I said

          • Kvngbalor

            Not i said what i said ok Nene ????

  • Danny?

    I see Asuka winning, they have been bringing up Goldberg’s undefeated streak when talking about Asuka’s own streak lately so part of me thinks she is gonna break his. If I’m honest this match is just so MEH, I’d rather see a singles match between Asuka & Nikki or since people seem to want Ruby and Nikki to have a singles match for their feud then they can face off and I don’t have to watch Ruby. Then Asuka can take on Billie or Peyton or possibly them both in a handicap match.

  • A?.

    NXT is way too predictable, Asuka is retaining it. Ember’s injury was going to be a storyline at first, but then it actually happened so it worked good for them anyway. And seriously, no women’s match? Tragic.

  • Kvngbalor

    Nikki is the best thing in NXT her mannerisms her voice her facial expressions her intensity she has it i don’t think i remember seeing a female this deranged AJ was boy crazy bipolar Mickie was Single White Female crazy Victoria was jealous hear voices in her head crazy Alicia was too much caffeine BGC Judy crazy Daffney was Harley Quinn crazy Rosemary isn’t so much as crazy but diabolical and Luna was vicious but Nikki is mentally unhinged rabid psychotic violent and i love it

  • Great promo package for Ruby, and Nikki is doing great with her character. Asuka is obviously gonna retain lol.
    Peyton and Billie deserve a TO match but let me not.

  • Monkey Meat

    One of the Aussies got a legitimate claim to being in the match, as they were the last ones eliminated.

  • Juri Han

    I hope Asuka along with the Aussies move to SD VERY soon . NXT turned to a MESS .

  • Dionte Brown

    What exactly is asuka’s character? You claim ember doesn’t have a character but asuka has no character. She has some quirky mannerisms but that’s about it. she’s been booked as unstoppable and that’s it. She shows up every once in a while wins a match then disappears. Maybe I’m in the minority but I bever saw what everyone else sees In asuka. I not saying she is lent a good wrestler but there’s only so many strikes and hip attacks that I can take in one match and that seems to be her entire game plan.I’m also not a fan of undefeated streaks as it damages a division. It becomes too predictable. It makes everyone else look weak.

    • Gato_wiska

      She is a flambouyant cocky undefeated tweener who beats up everyone on her path.

  • ralfikh

    Nobody care about Asuka long and boring title reign anymore

    • Gato_wiska

      wrong, she is a smark favorite and her reign improved when she started to be desperate to keep her title.

  • Stef’

    I’m somewhat happy Ember is not in this match… Sure she is great and would bring much, but here we have a triple threat among three very talented wrestlers with brutal wrestling styles, in psycho characters. The match could be Asuka’s best… I’m really looking forward to it.

  • 3???????

    Aside from her character , Nikki hasn’t done anything in ring ….

  • 3???????

    I want to see more from asuka than strikes, kicks & hip attacks…and I’m still unaware of what Nikki can do in the ring aside from jumping on ppl and going wild ..ruby to me is all around the best going in the match honestly

  • howie_ruhl

    Sadly, this is another situation where Asuka should win. Nikki doesn’t have a proper build up yet and Ruby is too new. Plus, Asuka needs to lose in a straight up 1 on 1 match up to mitigate the harmful effects her superwoman build has brought on the division. I love Asuka and she is one of the finest the WWE (yes, the whole company) has at the moment. But the way they built her up was too freaking much. It made everyone around her look far too weak. Her character needs to be taken down a peg or two.

  • howie_ruhl

    On a brighter note, Nikki nailed that segment. She’s really coming into this character of hers and I’m so happy for her. I can’t wait for her to blossom even more.

  • Gabriella Panajotova

    With how uneventful this NXT was…what happened with TD reduxes? I wanted to take off my chest how annoying Lana is.

    • MK126

      It’s like the staff just stopped putting them up… prolly worried that itll give people a reason to complain about the bellas

    • LaurenYorkStan

      Ummm lana QUEEN

  • i enjoyed nxt this week and i loved nikkis interview thing made me like her and i want her to win the title next sat at takeover chicago

  • Shell Koleva

    At the end of the day, they will have a physical battle, not a war of words. Ember’s character is sort of enigmatic. They should work on this more. I am not expectin a lot of talking around from a War Goddess character. She is one of the greatest athletes in NXT’s ring. That’s her strength. Her promos are below average? Who cares, when her moves are breath-taking!

    • C Mack

      Exactly! Everyone doesn’t have to be an expert at promos!

  • C Mack

    #TeamEmber

  • Aye Mate

    Ruby and Nikki had great promos. While Ruby knows precisely what kind of story she wants to tell, Nikki continues to add more dimension and character to her shtick. I hope both of them and Asuka KILL it at Takeover.

  • Stuart McKay

    I’m beyond happy the fact there is a Scottish female in WWE finally. Hopefully Kay Lee Ray is in the woman’s tornement also.

  • Radic

    Ruby & Nikki are going to steal the show, count on it. I mean Asuka will still retain cause they to have Ember be the one to defeat Asuka, which makes the most sense. Unless they have Nikki pin Ruby to win the title, mean Asuka was never really beat.

    Either way, all I want to happen is for Ruby & Nikki to steal the show, and for Ember to be the won to end Asuka’s undefeated streak.

  • Sitinjak

    I wish Asuka retain and she will shout she needs more legit competitor because she feel she is top of current NXT female rosters, and then when the women’s tournament come,whoever the winner is will be face Asuka as number one contender at Brooklyn,beside it will not make any sense if she drop the title because this feud lack of build Up and hype,just like her fight against Nia Jax and Mickie James, or try the simple,make controversial finish that make Regal must vacate the title