Sunday, June 20, 2021

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NXT Redux (October 19th, 2010): Cloudy Days on NXT

Previously on NXT…

Fresh off a disaster of an elimination episode, NXT put together it’s most impressive and exciting episode yet. Naomi soared to new heights as she impressed in a match against pro Diva, Alicia Fox. Kaitlyn and Vickie Guerrero reached the point in their relationship where they reluctantly agreed to tolerate one another until the next elimination. AJ proved to everyone that she is a legit wrestling fan by dominating the “Name That Tune” challenge and Maxine continued to impress everyone with her mic skills. The icing on the proverbial NXT cake at the end of the night when Aksana lost it over her immigration woes and Goldust reiterated to her that they do indeed have options to fix these problems. He got down on one knee and popped the question, and Aksana happily accepted it.

So what happens next with the second elimination a mere two weeks away? Lets take a look…

It’s redundant that NXT always begins with Matt Striker introducing the rookies and tonight was no exception. He’s standing in the ring and introducing the rookie girls. Kaitlyn, Aksana, Naomi, AJ, and Maxine make their way to the ring where the host himself is standing. He tells the girls that they’ve made it to the halfway point of the season and that in just two weeks, the second cut will take place. He congratulates Naomi and AJ on their wins last week and tells them that they are one step closer to immunity. He starts to tell the others that they have plenty of time to catch up when Vickie decides that she wants to interrupt. She starts screaming “Excuse Me” and begins to walk down towards the ring. She tells Matt that she just can’t handle the way he talks to the rookie Divas and then she turns her attention towards Kaitlyn. Vickie wants to know why Kaitlyn is dressed the way she is and basically, Vickie does not approve.

Vickie begins to run down the way Kaitlyn looks and reveals that she brought her a gift. Striker scurries off to fetch the present and Vickie tells Kaitlyn that it isn’t a question about what is wrong with her look, it’s more along the lines of what’s right about it. Kaitlyn is not amused. Striker arrives and hands Vickie the gift, which she presents to Kaitlyn. It’s a hoodie and when Kaitlyn refuses to wear it, Vickie gets pretty angry. She’s not the only one, though. Maxine gets pretty angry as well and she starts screaming into the microphone. She tells Kaitlyn to put the sweatshirt on so they can all move with their lives and Kaitlyn’s furious. Maxine says that Kaitlyn is so disrespectful and this is what she was talking about last week. Maxine tells Kaitlyn that she’s extremely lucky to have Vickie by her side and that she would gladly take Vickie as her pro.

Alicia is not impressed.

The former Diva’s Champion begins to make her way to the ring after interrupting Maxine. Alicia reminds Maxine who her pro really is and then she demands to know why Maxine wants Vickie. Maxine tries to cover her butt and explain that she wasn’t trying to insinuate that she wasn’t appreciative of all Alicia has taught her, but Alicia isn’t buying it. Alicia gets in the ring as Maxine explains that it’s Kaitlyn’s attitude towards Vickie that makes her upset and that she should show respect towards her pro. She tells Alicia that she shouldn’t take offense and Vickie starts speaking again. Vickie says that Maxine just appreciates the success that she (Vickie) has had in the WWE. Vickie is the total package, after all, and Alicia just looks disgusted (I wonder if they’re remembering their storyline with Edge?). Alicia, in a voice dripping with attitude, says that she’s not offended but she can certainly coach her rookie to beat Vickie’s rookie any day, one on one. Vickie tries to turn the challenge around but Alicia says that the match will happen right now. Striker puts on his general manager hat and asks Vickie is she accepts. She’s really reluctant to do so but once she does, Striker calls for the referees and that match is going to be next!

When NXT returns, the first match of the night gets underway. What happens during that match can only be described as a disaster of epic proportions. You have been warned.

Alicia and Vickie are standing on the apron and they have been given microphones. Kaitlyn has put the hoodie on during the commercial break and Maxine looks ready to go. Kaitlyn takes Maxine down early on by locking her arms around the waist and slamming her to the mat. Maxine gets up and tries to fight out, but Kaitlyn maintains her advantage. Maxine throws a few elbows to Kaitlyn’s head and goes towards the ropes. The momentum carries her right into a clothesline and she’s down for the count. Kaitlyn follows it up by throwing Maxine into the corner. She backs up and runs at her, but the other woman manages to get her feet up. Kaitlyn goes down hard. Maxine goes for a clothesline and a cover, but Kaitlyn kicks out right before the two count. Maxine picks her up and throws her head first into the turnbuckle, then begins to throwing shoulder blocks to Kaitlyn’s mid-section. A nice looking kick is next and Maxine throws Kaitlyn down to the mat by her head.

Maxine keeps up her offense and begins to use Kaitlyn’s hoodie as a weapon against her. She covers the blond’s head with the actual hood and begins trying to wear down the least experienced rookie. Maxine viciously kicks Kaitlyn between the shoulder blades and picks her up. She covers Kaitlyn’s face again and tries to snap her down to the mat. This fails big time and we cut to a shot of Michael Cole taking a phone call in the middle of the match. This continues on while Maxine keeps Kaitlyn grounded. At one point, Tony Chimmel takes the phone and speaks to whoever is on the other line. Kaitlyn eventually fights her way back up to her feet and forces Maxine back into the corner. Kaitlyn does her own version of wear down techniques and Maxine is soon slammed in the center of the ring. Kaitlyn goes for a cover, but Maxine powers out after a two.

The match is a mess and it gets even worse at this point. Things completely fall apart. Kaitlyn tries to pull off a few slams and whatnot, but they don’t even look like actual wrestling holds. Maxine seems baffled and doesn’t really know what to do. The match finally comes to a close with the most awkward looking pin ever. Maxine picks up her first NXT victory and now we all have to find a way to rinse these horrible images from our mind.

The night doesn’t get any better.

The first challenge of the night is held and the rookie Divas have to guess which body belongs to which superstar. Basically they flash random torsos up on the screen and you have to put a face to it. Naomi wins the contest by correctly guessing three superstars. AJ and Kaitlyn both came in second with two guesses. The best part of the challenge is when Aksana guessed Michelle McCool when she wasn’t even a choice. Brilliant.

After the first challenge, the main event of the evening was revealed. Brie Bella and her twin sister, Nikki Bella, will be taking on Kelly Kelly and Naomi in tag team action. Cole and Josh Matthews start speaking about Bragging Rights and run down some of the matches. That leads into a video package of John Cena/Nexus drama. Womp. Womp.

Thankfully a backstage segment featuring Goldust and Aksana begins. Goldust is stroking the Million Dollar Championship and he thanks Aksana for rescuing the belt from Maryse last night. Aksana beams and Goldust starts to talk about last week. He says proposing to Aksana came out of the blue but now all her immigration problems will be solved. Aksana imitates her fiance’s sound effects and says that she is so happy because now she can stay in country where her dreams come true. Their wedding is in two weeks and Goldust says that until then, there is only one thing left to do to make this engagement official. He drops to one knee and pulls out a little jewelry box. He pops it open and Aksana thinks the ring is just so beautiful (it’s not!). Goldust heaves a huge sigh of relief and slides it on her perfectly manicured finger. They admire the ring for a bit and it looks like Goldust is going in for a kiss. They stare deeply into one each others eyes but Goldust stands up and pulls Aksana up with him. He wishes her good luck for the next competition and the scene fades.

Speaking of that competition, it’s a limbo contest. Could this really get any worse? Striker, bless his heart, even demonstrates how to limbo. The music playing is awful. This whole show is awful. Kaitlyn is the first contestant to be eliminated, followed by AJ, and then Aksana. Maxine and Naomi are the last two but Maxine is the first to falter. Instead of having Naomi try to complete the challenge, she is automatically given the victory. That was so weird.

Anyway, the main even is up. Kelly walks to the ring to join Naomi as NXT returns, and then the Bella twins come to the ring. It’s interesting that Naomi is the only rookie in this match. Kelly begins the match for her team and she is able to take down Nikki with a tilt-o-whirl head scissors. Nikki doesn’t stay down for long because she is able to beat Kelly down and drag her to the corner. Brie tags in and the Bellas execute a nice double team on Kelly. Brie goes for a cover, but Kelly is able to kick out. Kelly attempts to turn the match back in her favor and she drops Brie to her knees. Brie is able to kick Kelly, and grab a hold of her arm. Kelly fights her way to the ropes and somersaults out of the wrist-lock. She follows it up with a nice looking arm drag. Brie flies across the ring and Kelly grabs her before making the tag to Naomi.

Naomi picks up where Kelly left off and starts working over Brie’s arm. Brie shows a lot of tenacity and she is able to catch Naomi, but Naomi comes right back at her with sick kick to the jaw. Nikki storms the ring to check on her sister and Naomi steps back. Nikki is pissed at what’s going on and she attacks Naomi. She begins beating the crap out of her and Brie and Kelly break it up. Nikki is ordered out of the ring and the match finally resumes. Brie shakes hands with Naomi and they start up again. Brie works over Naomi’s arm but Naomi is able to send her packing to the corner. Nikki leans over and tags herself in much to the surprise of her sister.

Nikki comes into the ring with a purpose. She goes off on Naomi and starts to push her around. Naomi shoves her back and Nikki knocks her on her butt. Naomi fires back with some ruthless aggression and is on the receiving end of a Naomi elbow. Nikki is knocked back and Naomi goes to the top rope. Nikki smartly knocks her down onto the apron and Naomi gingerly rolls into the ring. Nikki begins to bend Naomi into a pretzel while Kelly tries to rally the crowd. Naomi is able to drop Nikki with a jawbreaker and stagger to her feet. Nikki gets up first and she knocks Kelly from the apron. Naomi is taken down with a clothesline and Brie is standing in her corner wondering what in the world is going on. Brie finally just tags herself in and Naomi fights off both Bellas. Nikki is knocked out of the ring and Brie tries to finish off Naomi. She throws her into the ropes and from the outside, Nikki grabs Naomi’s leg and pulls her down. Brie is furious about this.

The referee runs over and restrains Kelly from getting in the ring. She’s going apeshit in her corner. Nikki scrambles in the ring, pushes Brie out of the way, and goes for the cover on Naomi. The referee makes the count and the Bella twins pick up the victory in a most unique fashion. Nikki is pleased with the win, but Brie… not so much.

Thank. God. It’s. Over.

I feel as if it’s absolutely safe and completely justified in saying that out of all three seasons, this is by far the worst episode of NXT ever. I would have much rather not had any wrestling than see what I saw tonight. There were so many lows and if I were to sit here and describe them, this column would be nothing but doom and gloom. So many people sit there and focus on the negative aspect of this all Diva show, so I like to take a look at the best things that happened. Every week I’ve been making a list of the top things that happened on the episode. This is usually extremely easy. Today I admit I struggled. But like a true professional, I always deliver the goods. Here are your top five moments of this week’s show.

Coming in fifth tonight is Maxine’s overall performance. Horrible opening match aside, Maxine is a solid character. As gross as that match ended up being, Maxine proved that she’s a solid heel. She used Kaitlyn’s handicap to her advantage and Kaitlyn had no answer for it. Clearly, Maxine isn’t suited to be a wrestler and that much is crystal clear now. But what she is suited for is speaking and acting. Her promo with Alicia tonight was so impressive. Every week Maxine shines on the mic, but tonight she was even better. Maxine came alive with her pro-Vickie speech and I loved how she tried to back peddle when Alica got pissed off. Maxine would make a great valet/manager for some talented superstar who just can’t cut a promo. More of Maxine on the mic please!

On a fun sidenote, she also impressed the most in a very dismal limbo contest. Homegirl can bend!

Michael Cole getting up in the middle of a match to take a telephone call definitely comes in fourth tonight. It was the most random, pointless thing a person could ever do in the middle of a wrestling match and I truly believe it was some sort of cosmic subliminal message. Maxine versus Kaitlyn was random, and extremely pointless and Cole just emphasized that point when he did everything but call the match during the match!

You know I’m struggling for material when Michael Cole makes the list! Womp. Womp.

It should surprise no one that Aksana brings us the second and third memorable moments of the night. Coming in at third was Aksana’s performance in the body guessing challenge. A random Diva stomach appeared on the Titan Tron and even after Matt Striker gave choices as to who the torso could belong too, Aksana still guess the wrong person. Her answer wasn’t even a choice and it was pretty beautiful.

What wasn’t so beautiful was the engagement ring Goldust presented to Aksana during the runner-up highlight of the night. This thing was guady and cheap looking, but Aksana just seemed so pleased over her Cracker Jack ring. I love how awkward it was when it appeared that Goldust was going to kiss her. You could tell me wanted too, and honestly Aksana probably would have let him. It just didn’t work out in the end, but we were told that the wedding would take place in two weeks. Convienent that it’s happening during elimination night, no?

The highlight of the night was without a shadow of a doubt the main event featuring the Bella twins, Kelly, and Naomi. This match wasn’t a dazzling display of wrestling skills by anyway means, but it told a meaningful story which is something Diva matches usually lack. The Bella twins separated their personalities tonight and Nikki emerged a delicious little vixen heel in the making. Brie remained true to her facey face roots and got very upset with the heel ways of her twin sister/BFF. This is fascinating because the Bellas need it. They need to split and it needs to stay that way. These girls need to be given a chance to develop their own personalities. Then and only then will be able to see if they can swim without the other to hang on too. Kudos to the Bellas, as well as Naomi and Kelly for nearly salvaging a train-wreck of a show. That takes true talent.

Man, I really hope we don’t have another NXT like this. I don’t think my little heart could take it. If I had to pick a silver lining in this dark, dark cloud, I would have to say that the show can only go up from hear. God help us all if it gets any worse.

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