Eva’s making her much-hyped in-ring return, taking on Cassie. Bayley is returning to the ring post-injury, facing off with the woman who put her on the injured list: Emma. Dana, meanwhile, is still intent on taking down Charlotte. Who will achieve their goals? All of them? None of them? Let’s watch.
First up, we’ve got the second coming of Eva Marie!
Before the match, Eva speaks to Devin Taylor:
Eva says most of the WWE Universe have been harboring misconceptions about “Miss All Red Everything”. She’s been putting her blood, sweat and tears into improving in the ring, and tonight she’s going to show what she’s got. She promises that the fans are going to like what they see.
Cassie’s already in the ring when Eva makes her entrance. I’m digging the confidence! The Ric Flair robe, not so much.
The bell rings and the two tie up, Cassie taking control with an arm wrench. Eva tumbles a bit to get control, and she does, twisting Cassie’s left arm. Cassie gets down to the mat and kips up, tossing Eva across the ring to free herself.
Eva’s quick to get to her feet, though, and halts Cassie’s momentum with a knee to the stomach. Cassie reverses a whip into the corner, sending Eva into it instead. She hits Eva with some impressive kicks, one of the spinning heel variety and the other backwards through the ropes. She climbs to the second rope for an aerial attack but Eva stops her, pulling her back to the mat and hitting a suplex. She goes for the pin, but Cassie kicks out.
Eva locks in a submission, hyperextending Cassie’s right shoulder. After a bit of agony, Cassie gets to her knees, Eva breaking the hold with a parting knee to the back. Eva sends Cassie into the corner and hits her with a back elbow, guiding her back to the middle of the ring before running the ropes and planting a boot to her face. She runs the ropes again, this time dropping flat onto the prone Cassie and knocking the wind out of her. Eva attempts another pin and Cassie kicks out at two.
The shoulder submission is implemented again, Eva holding on a bit longer this time before Cassie starts to fight out of it. She eventually gets to her feet, dropping Eva’s jaw onto her head to force her to let go. When Eva returns for more offense, Cassie drops her with a spin kick. She hits four more before Eva is laid out again. Cassie makes the cover, but Eva kicks out.
When Cassie attempts to pull Eva to her feet, she’s sent into the ropes, her throat bearing the brunt of the attack. Once Cassie stumbles to her feet, Eva grabs hold of her, scaling the turnbuckle and hitting the Sliced Bread #2! She pins Cassie, earning the victory.
Eva looks to have a bloody nose, but she’s still in good spirits, blowing a kiss to the crowd as she departs.
She spoke about the big moment in a WWE.com exclusive:
Eva says she’s “over the moon” about her performance and thanks everyone who’s helped her along the way. She even takes aim at Sasha Banks, saying that she’s gunning for the Women’s Title.
Later, we are joined by Dana and Emma, who are interviewed by Devin:
Emma dismisses Bayley’s threats to “more than hug her” as creepy. She says it might be time to take it a step further from Bayley’s broken hand and break her spirit. Dana advises Emma to calm down and asks her if she needs a hug. The two embrace, Emma admitting that a hug makes everything better. They start to leave, but Dana pops back in for a moment to deliver a friendly pat on Devin’s head.
It’s time for Bayley’s return!
Emma enters first, accompanied by Dana. Bayley’s next, accompanied by her wacky waving inflatable friends. She’s still got a brace on her hand, but with her enthusiasm, you wouldn’t know that she’s at anything less than 100%. Emma, meanwhile, is sporting a Bayley slap bracelet. She toys Bayley with it a bit before it’s snatched away from her, Bayley chasing her into the ropes with it. Those things can sting, after all…
As Bayley gets rid of it at the referee’s insistence, Emma attacks, beating her down before going for an early cover. Bayley kicks out.
Emma pulls Bayley to her feet and takes her on a trip around the ring, slamming her head into each turnbuckle. Once she gets to the third turnbuckle, though, Bayley starts to Hulk up. She fights back, slamming Emma’s face into the turnbuckle repeatedly before planting her with a bulldog. She covers Emma, who kicks out quickly.
Before Bayley can grab hold of her, Emma slips out to the ropes for a breather. Bayley doesn’t let her go easily, though, holding onto her hair as Dana tries to free her. Once she’s free, Emma makes Bayley pay for it, slamming her injured hand into the ring post. She reenters the ring and rebuff’s Bayley’s attempts to battle back, twisting her arm around the top rope and yanking on her injured hand.
Emma slams the hand into the turnbuckle and snapmares her to the mat by her ponytail, propping her up and hyperextending the bad hand’s wrist. Bayley fights to free herself but Emma hangs on, switching positions but keeping a firm grip on the hand, this time prying apart her fingers. When she finally lets go, Emma drops her weight onto Bayley’s back, flattening her and then covering her for the pin. Bayley kicks out.
Emma toys with Bayley a bit, kicking her and stomping on her injured hand. She climbs on her back, raking her face across the mat before locking in another submission, Bayley’s arms crossed around the neck. Bayley fights back quickly, getting to her feet and tossing Emma away. She then goes on an offensive tear, knocking Emma down with some double axe handles and sending her into the corner. She drives a shoulder into Emma’s midsection before hitting a back elbow, sending Emma stumbling towards the middle of the ring.
Bayley climbs to the second rope, flying off of it to hit Emma with a back elbow. She goes for the pin, but Emma kicks out. Both Divas get to their feet and comes at each other the same time, flattening each other with tandem clotheslines. Bayley crawls to the ropes to pull herself up, drawing Dana to her side. She grabs hold of Bayley’s bad hand in full view of the referee, drawing his admonishment. He tosses her from ringside!
Emma’s pissed, allowing Bayley to take control and roll her into a pin attempt. Emma reverses it into one of her own, but Bayley manages to kick out. They both get to their feet quickly, but Bayley draws first, catching hold of Emma and hitting the Bayley to Belly! She pins Emma for the win.
Post-match, Bayley takes the microphone. She says it’s great to be back, but she’s back with a goal in mind: winning the NXT Women’s Title. She wants a match with Charlotte to prove that she’s worthy of a title shot.
With that gauntlet thrown down, Charlotte responded in an interview with new broadcast team member Dasha Fuentes:
She reflects on the Divas Revolution, saying that the NXT Divas have been making a statement. If Bayley wants to wrestle her, she’ll get the match. But Charlotte makes it clear: no one wants to bring the NXT Women’s Championship to Raw more than her.
Dana then interrupts, telling Charlotte that she’s had plenty of failed chances at the Women’s Title, and she’ll probably mess up her chance on the main roster as well. She wants a chance to prove herself by beating Charlotte. Charlotte accepts, telling Dana she’ll make a statement she’ll never forget. Dana’s happy, but not happy enough to pat Dasha on the head.
Last, but not least, we see Alexa Bliss alongside Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake, who are interviewed by Devin:
Alexa’s confident about her team’s chances heading into next week’s NXT Tag Team Title match. In fact, she’ll make sure of it.
Thoughts: It’s weird, judging an Eva Marie match – it feels like there’s a thousands considerations to be made. You can’t be too harsh, but you can’t be too lenient, either. Be too rough, and you’re a hater. Be too complimentary, and you’ve got shitty taste in wrestling. I found myself mentally dancing between these two points during the match. There was definitely a sense that the commentators were overselling Eva here, though they’ve recently done the same with Dana. It’s pretty much become Corey Graves‘s M.O.
Eva is definitely made to be a heel. I enjoyed the attitude and confidence she displayed in the match, even if it was laid on a little thick. The match itself came across as very safe – no botches, but not a ton of excitement either. The two lengthy rest holds didn’t exactly keep me on the edge of my seat. Eva was slow and deliberate, but I don’t blame her for being so – there was an enormous amount of pressure on her leading up to this. She demonstrated a lot of potential here, but I can’t help be feel that someone two years into their wrestling career should be beyond this. Then again, it’s only been a matter of months that she’s been doing in-depth training. Then again, the specialized, one-on-one work should result in less stilted wrestling – if the WWE is turning her into their special project and devoting this much time to her, I’m not sure if the results will be worth it. See what I meant earlier? I feel like I’m going to be hemming and hawing through Eva matches for the foreseeable future.
I left the match feeling very impressed by Cassie. She’s shown her skill in matches before, sure, but NXT giving her the enormous responsibility of wrestling in Eva’s return match showed their confidence in her. She delivered, too, busting out an interesting repertoire of kicks and taking Eva’s offense well.
Emma and Bayley definitely delivered in their match, Emma looking more comfortable than ever in her heel role. Bayley is just brimming with energy, and it adds so much to her performance. I really enjoy their feud – it’s better than much of what we’ve gotten on the main roster lately, driven by Bayley’s realization that she’ll have to get tough to make it to the top. I’m not too worried about her getting lost in the shuffle post-Revolution – she’s clearly poised to top the division in Charlotte, Becky and Sasha’s absence. She’ll be fine. She’s so damn popular in NXT that I can’t see it not translating to the main roster when her time comes.
I’m still not psyched about the prospect of a Dana/Charlotte match, but if there’s anything that can get Dana over, it’s rubbing elbows with one of the manufacturers of the Divas Revolution. Regardless of if that works, I’m excited to see what the division’s new era brings. I just hope that the WWE realizes that not every woman is destined for main roster greatness and gives as many women a chance as possible, looking beyond the Danas and Evas of the division. Putting all your eggs in a few baskets is just asking for trouble, no matter how much investment you’ve put in making those baskets.