In the last two weeks, NXT served up shows jam-packed with Divas, furthering several storylines and developing many characters. While this week’s show doesn’t necessarily continue that trend, we were still treated to the development of two stories: Dana Brooke‘s beef with Charlotte and Eva Marie‘s redemption tour. Dana’s looking to one-up Charlotte by defeating the woman she beat last week, Cassie, while Eva’s simply in search of a match. Will either achieve their goal? Let’s dive in and see.
Our first Diva appearance came courtesy of Carmella, who accompanied Emzo Amore and Colin Cassidy to the ring for their match against Jason Jordan and Sylvester Lefort:
Not much to see here, but it’s always entertaining to watch those three in action.
Next, we have Dana in action against Cassie:
Dana has Emma in tow, as well as some sparkly gloves. Not sure opera gloves are the kind of change/addition she needed, but okay.
The bell rings, and Dana backs away from Cassie a bit, reluctant to tie up with her. She finally snatches Cassie’s left arm and locks in an armbar. She adds insult to injury with a patronizing pat on the head.
This drives Cassie to fight out, kipping up and flipping Dana to the mat. She then pats her on the head for good measure. Dana’s not pleased, complaining to the referee and Emma. She comes charging at Cassie, but is taken down for a roll-up pin, which she kicks out of quickly.
Dana springs to her feet and kicks Cassie in the midsection, whipping her into the ropes. Cassie turns the tables, though, hitting Dana with a headscissors takedown. This sends Dana across the ring and under the ropes to the ring apron. Cassie follows, trying to pull her back into the ring, but Dana snaps her throat-first into the middle rope. Cassie goes down and Dana reenters the ring, climbing atop her and slamming her head into the mat, catfight-style.
Emma looks on in approval as Dana toys with Cassie, laying a few kicks into her. She pounds her square on the back before hitting a bodyslam and going for the pin. Cassie kicks out. Dana then locks in a submission, wrenching back Cassie’s right arm and leg. Cassie is stuck in the hold for quite a while before she finally finds the strength to fight out, kicking Dana in the head with her free leg until she lets go.
When both get to their feet, Cassie’s on the attack, taking down Dana with a Lou Thesz press. Two clotheslines and a spin kick into the corner later, Cassie heads to the second rope. Before she can make an attack, though, Dana stops her in her tracks, doubling her over and draping her across her shoulders. Dana walks to the middle of the ring and hits her Samoan driver finisher, putting Cassie down for the three count. Dana is your winner!
Immediately following this, we’re treated to an interview with Charlotte. Devin Taylor asks for her opinion on Dana’s insults for her last week. Charlotte says she doesn’t know what Dana’s problem is, and the “door” Dana referred to was merely one of opportunity, and the next opportunity she’s taking advantage of is one that allows her to kick Dana’s ass.
Solid mic work from Charlotte, especially in contrast to Dana’s work last week. It still makes me wish for the return of heel Charlotte, though…
Another Finn Balor biographical video package brought us another glowing endorsement from Becky Lynch:
This time, she’s not the focus, but it’s heartwarming nonetheless!
Lastly, we have a backstage appearance by Eva Marie, who meets with NXT GM William Regal in hopes of booking a match with one of NXT’s Divas:
She requests a match, but Regal tells her she can’t just waltz in and ask for a match. She’ll have to prove she’s worthy of wrestling a match in the division that’s “setting the world on fire”. Whenever she’s ready to show that, he’ll consider it. Eva says she’ll do just that.
That was kind of a clunky segment. It will be interesting to see how Eva manages to prove herself, but I can’t lie: that sounded like Regal was propositioning Eva. Obviously he wasn’t, but the writing was definitely giving me Eric Bishoff-as-Raw-GM vibes. *shudder*
Thoughts: While this showing was probably her best yet, I still think Dana’s in dire need of some fine-tuning and focus. I did liked seeing her show more attitude, being outraged by Cassie patting her on the head. Her submission was pretty cool too. That’s what she should be focusing on, in my opinion: picking apart her opponent. If they want to focus on her bodybuilding background, give her submissions that show off the muscles and give her the opportunity to heelishly flaunt them while punishing her opponent.
Overall, the match wasn’t all that exciting, especially compared to Cassie’s match with Charlotte last week. I understand that Dana’s lack of experience calls for a simpler, shorter match, but they could have told a more interesting story here. Have Dana make callbacks to Cassie’s match with Charlotte or hell, straight up mock Charlotte. Remind us what the bigger picture is – don’t rely on the commentators to fill in the blanks. Emma’s appearance at ringside felt odd too. Sure, they’ve supported each other a few times, but I still don’t know what their “deal” is. Emma said she’s trying to teach Dana a lesson by shadowing her, but they still feel like an incredibly random pairing. It’s like they have absolutely nothing in common aside from both being heels.
This wasn’t as fantastic as the past two weeks of NXT Diva goodness, but we still have two storylines being furthered: the Dana/Charlotte feud and Eva’s redemption tour. Both have the potential to deliver, but I’ve yet to be convinced either are worth focusing on over Becky Lynch or Sasha Banks (you know, the MIA Women’s Champion). Sasha will show up soon enough, though, and I’m always happy to see a variety of women being showcased. Even if Eva and Dana aren’t my personal favorites, I’d be more than happy to see them improve their work and rise to the occasion. After all, that’s what NXT is for, right?