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Welcome to this week’s NXT review. With only a few days before TakeOver: Chicago there’s only one thing on the minds of the competitors within the women’s division, can anyone beat Asuka?

Asuka has remained an elusive yet diabolical force in the division. This week’s show starts off with the brand trying to gauge her feelings about her upcoming Triple Threat match.

Asuka sits in a car as an interviewer asks her to elaborate about how she feels about her upcoming title defense. She brushes him off repeatedly before the car pulls up to Full Sail. She calls for the interview to be over as she steps out of the car to greet her adoring fans. She poses and takes pictures with them before wandering off to the entrance. As she moves away from the crowd, her demeanor changes from her outgoing bubbly persona to a darker, more brooding one.

After the interview Lacey Evans makes her way to the ring to take on Sonya Deville, formally known as Daria Berenato.

They tie up but it’s not long before Sonya overpowers Lacey with hard knees and a punch to the face. Lacey starts fighting back but is immediately grounded by a spear from Sonya. Sonya continues to stall Lacey with a body scissor. Lacey tries to fight out of it. They trade pin attempts as Sonya reverses it and Lacey scrambles out.

Sonya hits Lacey hard in the midsection with her knees. She then takes her gloves off and begins striking Lacey in the midsection. She starts taunting Lacey but Lacey fires back with a hard slap to Sonya’s face.

Lacey hits Sonya with a clothesline and a knee to the midsection. She starts working Sonya over with more knees and a neckbreaker. She kips up into a float over maneuver for a pin. Sonya kicks out. She then side kicks Lacey in the midsection. A step up kick by Sonya takes down Lacey for the count.

She smugly looks at Lacey as she celebrates her win.

Thoughts: Not a bad go-home show, but not a spectacular one either. Two things are happening here and I’ll zone in on them. First up is a look at Asuka’s many faces.

Asuka is a ruthless champion who is now completely full of herself after destroying everyone NXT has put in front of her. She is the strongest competitor male or female NXT has. She is above NXT in skill and charisma. She doesn’t need to command perfect English to get herself across. She’s a master of relaying herself through her body language. Once a playful yet dominating face, she is now a conniving, callous heel. However, she is a wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to the adoring audience.

Props to NXT for having some subtlety as they continue to touch upon the many layers of the Asuka character. She acts one way with the brand but another when faced with her fans. This two-faced nature also explains why she plays a face during house shows but is basically in shades of gray heel territory on television.

I’m unsure what to think going into TakeOver on Saturday. Asuka needs a loss to put her character further over the edge and let her run loose, peel back the layers of what broken Asuka can do. She’s an incredibly dynamic performer.

But, I can’t help and think it’ll probably be Ember Moon who ultimately ends her reign. NXT doesn’t take much risk anymore in the women’s division. We practically have to beg them for multiple stories and time for the women again. As much as I want Nikki Cross to unexpectedly win and Sanity to cause complete chaos in the division and NXT as a whole, I just don’t see the brand being unpredictable here.

The second thing showcased last night was the continued development, or lack thereof, of the division. I’m happy to see both women get some time to shine. Sonya, who I think should have kept her former name, will work wonders as a heel. I’m already getting the vibes from her that she’s here to take what’s hers and shake things up. It’s a good sign that she’s being featured as well. I like her gimmick and I can definitely see her going places. I’d like to see a deeper story for her and a longstanding feud with Lacey perhaps.

I really like Lacey already too. I think her background will continue to set her apart from the others and so will her combat/pinup aesthetic. I’m already rooting for her and I want her to get some time to cut a passionate promo. I think this will solidify her as the next up and coming baby face. She could also play a ruthless heel, maybe carry her marine background with her as a tool that beats her opponents into submission, but those layers could come later.

NXT still has so much work to do. The women should be getting more than three minutes to truly show what they can do.

What did you think of this week’s NXT? How would you book the division? Sound off in the comments below.

  • K. W. M.

    Where are the Breakout Stars of the year? Don’t let the fans vote this award if it means you have to take a backseat the whole year after winning it :/

  • Asuka’s reign has been one of the worst booked title reigns in recent memory. Not a single big feud or a big match, everything post Takeover: London has been mediocre, for Asuka and the division. Her entire reign has consisted of a filler ”feud”, random contract signing/backstage segment, where she utters one sentence, and that’s about it.

    Not once have I felt her reign could be in danger, like in the previous bouts during the Horsewomen era, there’s no heat, no animosity, no spark. Each time Asuka has come out stronger, while her challengers, and the rest of the division never gained anything at all. They’ve had 400 days to build someone OTHER than Asuka. FOUR HUNDRED. And it still hasn’t happened, for whatever reason.

    It’s because of their obsession to ”develop” one woman, who doesn’t even need it, instead of the entire division, now everyone else is seen as a joke compared to her. And it looks like that won’t change anytime soon.

  • Lacey and Sonia did pretty well but like I said below, from now on, they would need to be featured heavily and not disappear every other week to be taken seriously, and that goes for the whole division. Crowd can’t warm up to that, especially when they don’t know their characters, which is what happens with Aliyah and Liv.

  • Stef’

    Very good and fresh match, both girls did wonders.

  • conan_kun

    Sanity will look so dumb if they didn’t even try to interfere on behalf of Nikki since there’s no DQ in multi women match plus they didn’t get banned at ringside like previous Fatal 4 Way at NXT TakeOver: San Antonio. Like after Asuka kicks Ruby down, Sanity member like Eric Young hold Asuka’s leg, allow Nikki to steal the pin and win the title. If they allow Ric Flair to interfere on behalf of Charlotte, why can’t Sanity do the same.

    • K. W. M.

      Since they didn’t came up with the idea of Billie and Peyton pinning each other last Fatal 4 way, i don’t think they will be smart this time!

    • Womensor

      The rest of Sanity has championship matches?

    • Shan

      That gif is adorable.

    • A?.

      NXT’s creative team is not that smart.

      • Drew Lytle

        Still smarter then the main roster. Besides, it’s WWE in PG so they’re still gonna handle any male/female violence with the utmost delicacy.

        • A?.

          They’re not smart, haven’t you been watching? And I’m talking women’s wise, it’s been a mess.

  • YonceLuvsDivas

    I totally agree with the writer on Sonya and her name. Her real name already sounds different and has a kickbutt ring to it.

  • Womensor

    They have some characters, but they don’t know what to do with them. Billie and Peyton should have a feud with Aliyah and Liv, with backstory and all. Asuka with Ember, and Ruby against Nikki. Or Fatal 4 like they are doing. And once Asuka’s reing ends and goes to the MR, little by little introducing new characters. I think Nxt can take 2 different feuds.

  • Shawn Robinson

    I think Asuka will retain. I keep thinking that WWE is waiting for the women’s tournament to give Asuka her first loss. Either way as soon as the match was made a fatal fourway (now a triple threat) I just font think I see her losing. I see her getting her 1rst loss in a non title match because I don’t see anyone currently in the division that can end both Asuka’s streak and title reigning in the same match….

    • Womensor

      Nikki could pin Ruby and wins the title and not ending the streak. Sanity interference and helps Nikki win.

      • Shawn Robinson

        That would be lame. If that was how NXT wanted to get the strap off her, they would have done that in January… I just don’t see that happening…. But I guess we will find out tomorrow.

    • Summer_Slay #RespectTheDivas

      Im thinking either Io Shirai or Kairi Hojo will beat Asuka now that both of them are signed it would be cool to have a stable of all three japanese women put together and eventualy disbanding the trio to form a feud between them.

  • Victor

    Really liked Sonya vs. Lacey, tons of potential there.
    Asuka’s interview was great, i think she’s retaining at TO, but i would love to see Nikki winning.

  • Shady

    Asuka ??? she’s soo entertaining, all the little backstage segments and interviews she gets are hilarious always, her character has evolved into something unique. She’s not a face nor a heel, she’s simply Asuka.

    Sonya vs Lacey Evans was a fun little showcase for both. They are both very unique in the ring and even though the green roughness around the edges showed at times especially for Lacey, she showed a couple of moves I’ve never seen before. Sonya’s finisher has a lot of potential, but she looked so nervous in fear of botching this time you could tell she half assed it.

    • Greek W{-}0R3

      Back to the swamp monster.

  • Shady

    As for Takeover, now that Asuka has surpassed Goldberg’s win/loss record, I’d be okay with her dropping the title but only to Nikki and only by Ruby taking the fall.

  • George

    SHE’S BOOKED SO STRONG SHE CAN WIN THE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP <3333 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/175db103c45234e7da85d7ce1c5349b984fd267c70fb921d90bf6e0d625c7fa5.gif

    • Shan

      She’s booked so strong I could see her going for the WWE Championship or Universal Championship.

      • Bryskers

        It would be an upgrade from the two champion we currently have.

      • George


  • Don ?

    I believe NXT/WWE are investing big time in Daria. I bet that’s why they changed her ring name so they could trademark it for the possibility of her becoming a breakout star. I’d do the same if I were them. I see the $$$ from Daria… Well Sonya I mean. I’m thinking Mandy Rose is on the same route too. They’re keeping her off TV for a reason. Perhaps a proper re-debut?

    • A?.

      Most likely, Mandy wasn’t at the BR so maybe they wanted to save her for something bigger.

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    • Summer_Slay #RespectTheDivas

      The only reason Daria is in the company is becuase of her MMA background and sexuality. She’s not a good wrestler, she cant sell, she cant cut a promo and her acting is bad. Nothing impressive about her. And her new name is bad.

      • Joseph

        She’s only been on TV a couple of times why can’t judge by one match.

        • Summer_Slay #RespectTheDivas

          She however has been wrestling since 2015.

      • Don ?

        The only thing I agree with is that her name name is bad. I don’t think we’ve seen enough of her to judge the rest. Plus she’s still a rookie.

        • Joseph

          Yea she is still new to wrestling not everybody gonna be 5 star worker in two years. I don’t think shes even in a full two years yet. Her first real match happen in Dec 2015 when she lost to Nia Jax.

          • Kelly_Killer

            Im sorry i was just here when you posted this but is two years really new to wrestling. Cause Gabi TNA’s Raquel is wrestling for the same period of time and is much much better.

          • Joseph

            I haven’t seen any of Gabi’s work.

          • Kelly_Killer


          • Joseph

            I know how to use google you idiot i just don’t have the time to watch every promotion.

          • Kelly_Killer


      • K. W. M.

        yeah because we know lesbians have it so easy….sorry but your comment is just stupid…

        • Summer_Slay #RespectTheDivas

          There was even an interview saying that if she gets to the main roster they would use it in a storyline. I mean is there another lesbian in WWE. They only hired her not to look homophobic. Believe what you wish to believe.

          • K. W. M.

            they hired her because she is a lesbian, when she came out after she was casted for Tough Enough?

          • Summer_Slay #RespectTheDivas


    • Juri Han

      Well .. Liv had a name before they changed her to Liv. And she didn’t shine ?
      NXT is not at its best for now , it used to be so good . Since the writers moved to SDL and they are no longer in NXT !
      Peyton and Billie have more experience than her, but they’ve been treated bad .

    • Jo9834

      Mandy will be huge if they play theyre cards right with her. I am happy for her to wait for a proper debut as opposed to be thrown randomly into a matches as they have with Liv and Aliyah.

      Sonya aka Daria is bad ass through and through, however she’s a little too animated for my liking, she needs to adopt a Jazz like aura to really pull the gimmick off. There hasn’t been a single woman in years to pull off a bad ass bruiser heel gimmick and its what the division needs badly.

      Lacey needs a gimmick reboot, I don’t think the pin up strong thing is going to sit well, I think a military version of MIchelle Mccool would work well for her.

  • A?.

    Those two have so much potential, Lacey is very talented already and she’s beautiful, her gimmick is pretty original, same goes to Sonya! Bright future.

  • Drew Lytle

    I still think it’s fine if Asuka walks out with the title Saturday. Nikki and Ruby will most likely be in NXT for another year atleast so there’s time for them bump off who does dethrone Asuka (most likely Ember). And even if they don’t get the women’s title, that still isn’t a deathnail. Becky Lynch was the only horsewoman to not get the title and she became the first smackdown women’s champ. Same for Alexa Bliss, she only teased main event status in NXT but now she’s made history on the main roster.

    Regardless if it’s predictable, Ember vs Asuka 2 at Brooklyn makes the most sense. They’ve built her up so much and so we’ll that it’s be a waist if they didn’t pull the trigger. Out of all the women to lose to Asuka, she’s the only one who didn’t lose clean so she knows she’s on her level. Then the injury happened, unplanned but only adds more. And I’ll just say it, Nikki is amazing as a character, ruby is also a unique enigma and both are good in the ring, but Ember is by far the best woman aside from Asuka on the roster, so as far as wrestling goes she’s right now the most believable to beat her.

  • Super Mateo

    I disagree with Stephanie on the Lacey/Sonya match, maybe because I was getting the vibe that Sonya was the face. I do agree with her on Sonya, though. I found myself enjoying watching Sonya. I really like the character. She’s got some good mannerisms and certainly has potential. It’s a gimmick I haven’t seen any other woman try and that alone intrigues me. Lacey, on the other hand, did nothing to stand out.

  • LeBoss

    I went an article recently and I agree with it, Asuka’s streak should continue into WWE. By having Ruby or Nikki pin the other, Asuka is still protected. And the next Takeover isn’t until August.
    Having her streak end on a Takeover, in which her match isn’t the main event, does not make sense.
    Her steak is longer than Goldbergs, so when she does actually get pinned or tap, it needs to be major.

  • Cabbyhighs

    Nikki should win at takeover. She’s compelling asf she’s crazy, wild, and unpredictable.. I think her and ruby riot could do some dope shit together! Plus they gotta get that damn title off asuka and send her to smackdown. Asuka has outgrown nxt she needs to move it on up like the Jeffersons. And is it me? or does asuka hair look more and more like a whole trix yogurt

  • iloveTorrie

    So are we not going to cover Thea Trinidad’s appearance?

  • Cabbyhighs
    • George

      don’t compare Chris with that thing…

      • Cabbyhighs


  • Love the match between Sonya and Lacey It really showcased how much potential they have in few minutes. The variety of Deville moves it’s impressive and so fast.
    In the other hand were is Ruby? Nothing from her this week, the great thing here was asuka, her heel persona is just perfect.

  • ?K . A . T ?

    I miss the name Daria Berenato it was so badass. Asuka was awesome as usual! Can’t wait to see the match this weekend!

  • Raekon

    I love both women and their gimmicks but I partially hated the pace of the match.
    Most of all the ending when Sonya took forever to hit the step up enjuigiri while Lacey were waiting here as if the previous basic kick was THAT devastating that she couldn’t stand up anymore. It would had made more sense to have Sonya spear her first (instead of using the move earlier) as a Setup for her finisher cause the spear would make the whole thing more believable and would make rather sense that lacey needed THAT long to stand up from it. It’s the little details that can make a match great or destroy it and they need to work on these in my opinion. Other than that it was a fresh match up and a welcoming one. Asukas Segment was very nice and helpful to the Progress of her character, can’t wait for Takeover! :)
    Just hope they will finally pull the trigger and let Nikki take the title from her either by cheating after Ruby hit Asuka with her finisher OR by pinning Ruby while Asuka is outside of the ring.

  • Aye Mate

    Asuka continues to radiate star power even with the mere scraps of TV time that she gets on the tapings. She’s as much of a natural entertainer as she is a pure bred wrestler, and personally I am chomping at the bit to see her debut on the main roster.

    Sonya Deville is a terrible name for someone with Daria’s gimmick – and Lacey Evans looks far too imposing, physically, to pull off the pin up strong girl look. I’d have Lacey styled closer to her military background, and I think she could get over as a tough as nails face. Match was fine for what it was.

    Also, when was the last time Mandy Rose wrestled on the house shows?

    • Don ?

      I agree with Lacey. I’m not feeling her pin-up look at all. And I think Mandy has been doing house shows all year.

      • Aye Mate

        I ask of Mandy because given the positive reception of her marked improvement, on top of an already TV-made gimmick, that she’d have transitioned into the division by now.

        • Seraphina Rosenhart

          She probably wanted to build and perfect her in-ring skills so that she could be introduced in the division as great, not just average.

    • Mandy wrestles all the time on live events, she competed in more matches this year than Iconic, Ember, Aliyah… The problem is that it’s just live events, but I’m pretty sure they’re waiting to have her return big.

    • Joseph

      Mandy wrestle last weekend.

  • Sitinjak

    The feud between Ruby vs Nikki will still continue,i assume Asuka will use this thing for her own advantage if she plan to strength her heel.It’s like last year battle when Nia injured Bayley and cost B spot for rematch against Asuka at TO:The End

  • Jouey

    I need Mandy Rose.

  • Nxt this week was fun to watch

  • Kelly_Killer

    Tragic, diarrhea wrestles since TE and has UFC background yet Lacey,Macey,Taci whatever her name is did better.

    Gabi is the best thing that came out of TE (excluding LVN) everyone else sucked. Some might say Mandy is doing good but her matches on live events receive basic and unexciting reviews and people say shes racist so no wonder they keep her off TV.
    And dont even let me start with Sara Lee. Rosa Mendes 2.0

  • Larissa

    NXT is trash.

  • Radic

    I’m not sure if I like Daria’s new name or not.

    Sonya can be a badass name given the right second name, but Deville… I get that it’s a reference to her ‘Jersey Devil’ nickname. Devil… Deville. Sure, but… I don’t know. They could have just kept it Daria Deville. Even that would have been better.

  • Patrick Hill

    I should probably stop reading these, literally the same thing every week. I’m sorry but four horse women were popular not only because they were great wrestlers, but for MONTHS on end it was only them in the division. Can you remember how many variation matches we had of them? Mainly Charlotte, Sasha and Bayley with Becky thrown in to freshen things up. Emma and Summer were back and forth on the main roster, Dana was very much towards the end, as was Asuka. Yet we have different people in the title picture with Ruby being pushed now and Nikki only on her second opportunity.

    The storytelling with Asuka has been more sophisticated than “I’m the champion so I’m the Queen/Goddess of the division” but that’s not good enough and NXT always threw in random matches so I don’t see how you can want fresh matches yet they continue something from the battle royale, and suddenly NXT is uncreative. Not only that but Nikki winning the title seems more predictable at this stage than Ruby, but somehow you want great storytelling (which I admit Ember/Asuka has been disconnected) but you want Nikki to win the title because…..what? She hangs around with a group of men and that makes her so different?

  • Raleex2

    Asuka continues to be unmatched in all the elements that makes someone a superstar. I see her walking out the champion.