This week on NXT, the self-proclaimed “Total Diva” Dana Brooke finally has a chance to take on the woman who’s been in her crosshairs for months: Charlotte. Dana’s been talking a big game, but can that translate to anything substantial in the ring? She better hope so…
We kick off the show with an appearance by Carmella, who accompanies Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady for their match against Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder:
Wow.. they actually lost? Hm… Okay, moving on.
Before we get to Charlotte vs. Dana, we get a nice little video package recapping their feud:
This hasn’t been the most amazing feud, sure, but it’s nice to see it given an air of importance with this recap.
Dana says the match Charlotte’s been dreading has arrived. Charlotte has been running scared from her. She says Charlotte’s lucky she’s on Raw, because she’s going to be served with an eviction notice. The “Total Diva” is taking over the division.
It’s match time!
Charlotte heads to the ring first, riding solo and wearing what I’m pretty sure is one of her first sets of ring gear. Nice touch, seeing as how this will probably be one of her last NXT matches. Dana arrives with Emma, of course, their tandem entrance looking more in sync than before. They’re still an odd pairing, but they’re making it work.
After the bell sounds, both Divas do some posturing, Charlotte letting out a “WOOOO!” while Dana flexes. After some trash talk, Charlotte shoves Dana into the ropes and sends her to the mat with a boot to the chest. She drives three knees into the side of Dana’s head, pushing down her kneepad to make the final one a little special.
Emma, seeing how things are shaping up, jumps up onto the ring apron to distract Charlotte. It works, and Dana manages to attack her from behind. Charlotte takes back control quickly, driving her back-first into the corner. When she drives to charge into Dana, though, she finds nothing but an empty corner. Dana attacks her again, pounding on her back while she’s in the prone position. Dana covers Charlotte for the pin, but she kicks out.
Dana locks in a bodyscissors hold, but it’s not long before Charlotte twists around and battles back, pounding Dana’s head onto the mat while still trapped by her legs. Dana still won’t let go, so Charlotte stands and lifts her. Dana wriggles, knocking Charlotte off her feet and landing atop her and attempting another pin. Charlotte kicks out.
Dana props Charlotte against the second rope throat-first and presses her into it with a knee. After breaking that hold, she hot-shots Charlotte into the bottom rope and drags her to the middle of the ring for another pin attempt. Charlotte again kicks out. She tries again, and Charlotte again kicks out. She goes for a third pin, probably attempting to make the history books for successfully pulling off this trick for the first time ever, but Charlotte shockingly kicks out again.
Dana then opts to stretch Charlotte a bit, taking her left arm and leg and sticking a knee into her back. She talks trash as Charlotte tries to power through the pain, mentioning that Tap Out commercial. Dana holds a mean grudge! That shit happened back in March.
After some agonizing moments, Charlotte frees her leg and kicks Dana until she lets go of the hold, and Charlotte rolls her over into a pinning position. Dana kicks out. Both Divas spring to their feet, but Charlotte ducks Dana’s attack and lands two chops. Dana swings wildly again, but only gets air and a neckbreaker from Charlotte. Charlotte then runs the ropes and nails Dana with an explosive spear!
Emma springs up onto the ring apron, but Charlotte’s had enough, and disposes of her. She hits the Natural Selection on a crouched Dana and pins her for the win.
Post-match, Charlotte soaks in the cheers while the commentators hype her upcoming match against Bayley.
Next, we’ve got more Eva Marie! She’s interviewed by Devin about her victory last week:
She says the victory proved that her hard work is paying off. This is just the beginning, though: she’s got her sights sets on the NXT Women’s Championship
Title, so Sasha Banks better watch out.
Lastly, we’ve got a dose of Alexa Bliss. She accompanies Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy for their NXT Tag Title defense against the Vaudevillains:
Blake and Murphy manage to retain the titles thanks to some aid from Alexa, but the action doesn’t end there. Alexa finds herself stranded in the ring post-match with the Vaudevillains. They circle her a bit before opening the ropes for her and giving her a way out. She doesn’t accept the gesture and slaps both before leaving on her own. Love. It. That’s some vintage Sunny or Trish Stratus stuff there. She’s going to become a fantastic manager if they let her grow in this role.
Thoughts: One note on Dasha Fuentes‘s ring announcing debut: I enjoyed it, but I’m not the best judge of that sort of thing. I usually only notice ring announcers when they’re terrible, so someone else will have to make a clear judgment on her.
While I wasn’t crazy about the match itself, Charlotte vs. Dana was definitely the best Dana’s looked in the ring so far. She needed help to get in the little offense she did, but that makes sense, since Charlotte’s now a main roster Diva and Dana’s still climbing the NXT mountain. None of her moments were really “stand out” moments, but she looked like she belonged there in a way she hasn’t before, and that counts for so much. I imagine that’s why they had her feud with Charlotte: stand toe to toe with a former NXT Women’s Champion, and you instantly look more important. However, I feel like, after the weeks and weeks of build-up, this match should have been longer and more exciting. I’m not saying that was a TakeOver caliber feud, but Dana’s been talking trash for what feels like months now. She went down a little too easily.
If this was meant as a “passing of the torch” moment, it kind of fell flat. Dana was always meant to lose this, sure, but I didn’t leave the match itching for more Dana Brooke. It felt more like a “okay, that’s done” sort of thing. Now Charlotte can move on to face Bayley in a real “passing of the torch” match. It makes sense, but it kind of makes this feud seem like a waste of time. It sort of craps on all the effort that’s been expended on pushing Dana, too.
That’s not to say I’m hyped up for a Dana Brooke mega-push – I still don’t think she’s got “it”. Her backstage interview showed some improvement, but she still feels soooo rehearsed. It’s like there’s a flashing red sign behind her reading, “THIS IS FAKE!!!!” Obviously, we know wrestling’s all scripted, rehearsed, fake, etc., but Dana’s performance kills the vibe completely for me. It’s like how they say you can tell when an actor’s “acting”. Dana just needs to make her speaking style a little less affected and more casual. Tone it down. I know NXT’s not known for its subtle characters, but Jesus…
Still, I’m willing to bet that, if Bayley wins the NXT Women’s Title at TakeOver (which I’m sure she will), Dana will be her first challenger. That’ll be a different test for Dana, and I hope it will give her the opportunity to carve out a real identity for herself. At least her penchant for patronizing her enemies will fit with good-natured Bayley. Despite her shortcomings, Dana’s going to be pushed to the top, like it or not, so I’ve just got my fingers crossed that things will start to click for her soon. She, like Eva, is someone the WWE is intent on making “happen”. So, for the sake of entertaining television, I’m rooting for her to succeed. She may not deserve the spotlight yet, but maybe being put there will finally get her to blossom.