I honestly don’t really know how to start this NXT Watch off. I feel as if it deserves more than just your average “greetings everyone”, but nothing seems worthy enough. This week, we have the final NXT Redemption recap I will ever write for this site, and I plan on making it the best I have ever done (which is hard when I have to compete with the infamous intervention segment, or the arrival of the Queen… Agnes J. Bateman!) Back in what seems like an eternity ago, AJ entered a romance angle with Hornswoggle (my how she’s evolved since), and Maxine made her return to WWE TV with a mission to split them apart. Nobody could have foreseen the incredible heights this story would reach, but ever since that wonderful night on August 16th, 2011, it has been my absolute pleasure to bring forth the brilliance this show has given us each week in recap form. Never did I feel as if this was a chore, rather a treat for the week in getting to see how the program could one up itself time and time again. And for that, I thank everyone who was part of it. The cast, the crew, the writers… they all deserve to win Emmys and get free gasoline for the rest of their life. Whether there were ten people watching or ten million, they put everything into NXT and it showed week after week with nothing but perfect viewing.
So now we have the final show. By no means is this format the way I wanted it to go out, but what’s done is done and I have come to accept that. Yes, some things I still have hope will be fixed (like pairing JTG with Alicia Fox and her new sister, Caylee Fox in this FCW version *cough*), but the majority of what transpired through the final month has concluded the stories the program was telling. This time, we have Divas action as Kaitlyn squares off against Natalya to see who can pull out the final female victory inside the yellow roped squared circle. Can Kaitlyn make her Sweet Meat proud? Or will Natalya silence the woman she once felt was showing affections for Tyson Kidd? For the final time… Let’s find out!
As I suddenly get the urge to perform both the Robot and some Elaine kicks, the theme of plucky babyface, Kaitlyn hits. She skips out from the back and poses for the fans. William Regal enlightens us that Lady Kaitlyn is without a doubt his favorite Diva… a decision that sparks me to give the same amount of thumbs up as there are tones displayed in her tremendous hair! Kaitlyn slides into the ring where she is imminently cut off by the sharp guitar riff that signals the theme of our resident Queen of Harts, Natalya. Nattie elegantly makes her way out from the back, displaying the same cape style as last week that got a pretty great response out of fans. She climbs into the ring after struggling a little to remove her cape (with a great shot of Kaitlyn as she points to her invisible watch!) Nonetheless, the cape is removed and the bell sounds as we get ready for the final Divas match of NXT Redemption!
The two circle around a little, before locking up as Nattie takes her down easily. She applauds the underdog, as they lock up again and this time it’s Kaitlyn to take Natalya down. Kaitlyn then scores with a jackknife pin, but Natalya reverses into a backslide. Kaitlyn quickly goes back to the jackknife, as Nattie breaks out and kicks Kaitlyn in the abdomen. The former season three winner counters an Irish Whip attempt and ends up tossing Natalya into the corner, but the ever so quick on her feet Diva hops up off the ropes. Kaitlyn, having spotted this coming a mile away, chose not to run forward, and instead rolls the veteran up in a bridge pin for a two count.
Natalya shoves Kaitlyn back and screams “I… HATE YOU”, allowing Kaitlyn to chase her outside the ring. Nattie slides back in, and Kaitlyn then does something that I love and chooses not to follow her back inside for the age old trick we’ve seen time and time again. Smart! Natalya taunts the fans a little, as Kaitlyn tries to slowly walk back in but gets taken down for her troubles. Nattie slides her inside and begins to work Kaitlyn over with a few various painful maneuvers. Natalya confidently sits on Kaitlyn for a pin attempt, but Kaitlyn is having no such thing happen and she breaks it quickly. This does nothing but anger the third generation Diva, forcing her to apply a Bow & Arrow submission! Kaitlyn rolls through and on top of her for a pin attempt, but Nattie kicks out as soon as possible.
Natalya tries for some type of maneuver, but Kaitlyn counters into a small package… only for a brief one count. Nattie goes for a bodyslam, as Kaitlyn again reverses into a roll up. Natalya proceeds to kick out and hoist Kaitlyn towards the corner where she meets her with a few kicks to the stomach. Following some added taunting, Nattie runs forth with a… well we will never know as Kaitlyn moves out of harms way and shoves the veteran on her bottom! Natalya looks shocked, as Kaitlyn ducks a clothesline and nails a huge dropkick! An equally insane running shoulder tackle connects soon after, following it up with her patented running crossbody for a two count.
Nattie crawls into the corner, as Kaitlyn tries to capitalize on her momentum. The third generation star just seems to one up her though, pulling Kaitlyn down by the legs and going for a pin with her feet on the ropes! Thankfully for Kaitlyn, she still manages to kick out. Nattie begins to argue with the referee, sparking Kaitlyn to score with a fast roll up again! One… Two… No! Nattie breaks out and drills Kaitlyn with the discus clothesline for yet another near fall. This does nothing but anger Natalya. She can be seen panting rather angrily as she looks to shove Kaitlyn into the corner. Half way there though, Kaitlyn rolls out the back with a sunset flip… only Natalya simply sits down on her! One… two… Kaitlyn counters! One… Two… Three! Kaitlyn wins the final NXT Divas match as Natalya can not believe what transpired before her very eyes.
Thoughts: Before I jump on my soapbox which is coming up as promised, I will comment on the match. I’m not sure which I preferred between this or the one last week with Tamina, but like I always say, when you stick Natalya in the ring, you’re going to get a match that’s a step above everything else. I firmly believe she is the best female in terms of ring work they have, and having her face Kaitlyn made Kaitlyn perform even better than she usually does, which isn’t bad by any means. The match got a lot of time, like these matches have been getting recently, and it was fun to see. I wish Maxine could’ve been apart of the final episode though, I have to admit. But I’m glad that the last Divas match of the season was at least something they can be proud of. Kaitlyn has improved drastically since the days of her season. It goes without saying, but just look at the last match she had on Season 3 and compare it to this. It’s pretty astonishing how far she’s come in not even two years. Overall, It was a very solid bout and a fitting farewell to NXT Redemption.
… the moment I’ve been waiting for is upon us! Beware, this will be very long and detailed, but I really wanted to save this for my final NXT Redemption recap. Also, Keep in mind the following is my own personal opinion, and does not reflect anyone else or this website. If my thoughts don’t intrigue you, please skip to the comments and ignore the novel that is about to be typed. P.S. Let me remind you, I wrote this during my “anger” stage of coping with NXT’s demise so that I wouldn’t sugarcoat anything later when I entered the “acceptance” level. Enjoy!
So, I have something I want to say about the entire show and then I’m going to shut up regarding the Redemption season for good (okay, please tell me you didn’t believe that one because I will make sure its memory lives on forever). It’s no secret that before a few weeks ago, I was beyond in love with NXT. It was everything I wanted in a wrestling program, and every week I pointed out how highly I thought of it. That being said, I think it’s disgustingly ridiculous how it’s treated, not just by some people, but by the WWE as well. Constantly plugging it as being uploaded at 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesdays when, let’s be real, it’s not even up within 2 hours of that most weeks. Not only that, they never even give any sort of updates as to how long it’ll be before it’s posted. I’m sorry that “so few” amount of people like the show that it can’t get the same treatment as Raw and SmackDown by actually airing in the time it’s still promoted as being, but I mean come on… at least provide it to those who do want to see it. I remember one time it wasn’t even posted the entire day it was supposed to be, and instead we had to wait until Thursday morning when someone saw it on TV in a foreign market and recorded it to post on YouTube. Lord. If you want people to care about a show, and yes, I think we can all tell that NXT is clearly not WWE’s flagship priority, but still… don’t treat it as being the expendable “ugly stepsister” of all the programming. Honestly, I don’t want this to come off as negative because there’s so much of that online as it is, and it does nothing to benefit anyone. Rather, this is more of a therapy session for me to get some things off my chest that I have been bottling up and you all get to be my shrinks!
Now, where were we? Oh yes, I truly think that everyone who has played a part in the show are some of the most talented people in the company. It sucks that the Superstars and Divas are probably going to all fade to the back yet again once the FCW season takes over. Granted, I am beyond, and I mean beyond, excited to see the FCW faces on (internet) TV because I think they are incredible and extremely talented, I just wish this version of NXT could have lived on longer in the format it used to be. I guess I should be bowing to the saints of the world that I even got the past few months of perfect programming at all, but it just really sucks seeing people with a lot of talent both in the ring and personality wise have that talent wasted. Plus on top of that, it was nice to have a show I could watch from start to finish and be entertained by because before NXT Redemption, that wasn’t happening anywhere for me sadly. To be honest, NXT reminded me of an actual TV show more than a wrestling show, and that’s probably the reason why I loved it so much. But back to the talented people going to waste bit, I’ve watched it happen for years until NXT provided a place for that to be fixed… and now we go back to square one, coincidentally with some of the same people I started out feeling this way about.
I’ve praised the Divas of this show for months, so with my final recap, I want to speak some about the Superstars who were involved. Derrick Bateman and Johnny Curtis, in particular, are two of the funniest people in the company, and they have legitimately entertained me on a weekly basis more than anything Raw or SmackDown has given us in years. Not only that, they have personalities and great in ring skills to boot! Oh, and just a heads up, if they get wasted from here on out, I will personally buy a VIP ticket to Axxess next year and fly myself to New York for one night just so I can meet Triple H (since I honestly have no idea who else to go to), tell him how great they are, and force him to watch clips of them on NXT right then and there in the line! If you’re going to Axxess with hopes to meet The Game, you better hope he agrees to use them in star studded roles because if time runs out and he has to leave before you can get his autograph, well, we will just have to “thank” whoever decided ruining my captivating NXT Redemption was a good idea.
Okay, calming myself down a bit… JTG, Trent Barreta, Justin Gabriel, The Usos, Alex Riley, Percy Watson, Tyson Kidd, Tyler Reks & Curt Hawkins, even Michael McGillicutty who really surprised me through his NXT run (yes, I could legitimately go on for days with this list) had so much untapped talent that NXT allowed to finally be showcased, and develop into actual characters instead of having to hear the same remark from people saying, “Oh, how does such and such still have a job” when one of their names came up. Even Diva wise, Maxine got the biggest push we’ve seen probably in years. Kaitlyn, Tamina, Alicia all got to shine as well. Some weeks the matches weren’t that long in time, but you know what? They had two, or three, or four backstage segments on the same show so you at least connected with them and cared about what happened. Everyone said WWE had no tag teams, or that the Divas got no time to wrestle and have characters. This show fixed everything yet people still had to say it was terrible just because they watched it in the earlier seasons and didn’t bother to check out how it had drastically improved. (And yes, I know NXT is not for everyone so this isn’t a dig at anyone who did watch the current season because they at least gave it a shot.) Ugh, I feel like all this time I should’ve had some sort of secret code where the more I trashed NXT = the more I loved it, so that WWE would never realize how magnificent it was (I mean, if they ever actually did come to the realization it was beyond their best show going).
And another thing, since I’m in this rage filled mood(!~), why couldn’t the storylines finish?! The Redemption version went on in this “new” format for over a month and the storylines that were going on were just scrapped and we were made to believe they never existed. It’s like all those months of greatness are meant to be brushed over like, “Oh, you didn’t see any of that”. It kind of relates to when you invest so much time in a TV show and they do something horrible in the finale that makes you feel cheated as a fan. I can only speak for myself, but I watched every episode of this show religiously (and yes, I still watch all of the clips on YouTube until WWE decides they want to take that away from me as well). It just feels beyond ridiculous that all of that hard work never got to at least, you know, conclude…
I think the reason why I’m so passionate/angry about all of this is because this was the type of show I wanted to see on mainstream wrestling for so long. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m more excited to watch a Curt Hawkins than a Triple H. When I went to Axxess a few months ago, my goal was not to meet John Cena or Randy Orton like many others, but to meet everyone involved with NXT. What can I say? I like the underdogs. And sadly, everyone I liked always got shoved to dreaded “Superstars” where they had great matches that flew under the radar. I don’t really think I would be this frustrated if I hadn’t had to see months of comments on various websites trashing everything about NXT from people who hadn’t even watched it in years. Not only that, but if there was an actual ending and not this horrible state we were in for the past month where even some of the talent seemed depressed, I would’ve been slightly more okay. I finally got rewarded with the show I longed for, where undercard Superstars shone with fantastic storylines and matches, and even though I celebrated this daily for all those months, knowing that it’s ending and all of these people are going back to where I had to unfortunately watch them for so long is tragic.
Okay (breathes), that’s it for now. I’m officially going to force myself to get over this situation (minus only seeing two weeks of my dream team, JTG and Alicia Fox which I will never get over). Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m waiting for them to release the “Best of NXT Redemption” DVD, but clearly, unlike some of the other shows, there’s too much greatness to select only a few certain parts to include so I’ll understand if it doesn’t happen right away. Going to end this by saying good luck to everyone who appears on the FCW version next week, even if I don’t get to post recaps for each episode like I have for Redemption since August (sigh…). And extra good luck to the cast of Redemption as they get demoted to Raw, SmackDown or Superstars (yes, it’s a demotion in my mind no matter what they say!) for being the entertainment wrestling had been majorly lacking for so long. It’s been a ridiculously fun ride, but in true Six Feet Under fashion, I am going to ride off into the sunset with the window down as Sia’s “Breathe Me” helps me sob NXT Redemption’s death away… kidding. Or am I? Please don’t think I’m crazy. (And no, I won’t read the comments to find out if anyone does).
R.I.P. NXT Redemption I Loved
(August 16th, 2011 – May 9th, 2012)