NXT Watch (July 4th, 2012): Paige vs. Sofia Cortez

Sigh. Welcome everyone to the first NXT Watch in this “new” season six of the show. Since we last left you, nothing good has come from the formerly yellow, currently black ropes. First, the new format isn’t really my cup of tea despite the fact that I like and/or love the entire cast involved with the show. Second, my Queen of NXT Redemption, Maxine, announced that she and WWE have agreed to part ways. I didn’t know whether I was supposed to be sad at this or not, because it was her decision although it also meant I wouldn’t see her on TV anymore. Whichever way I’m supposed to feel, I’m still really bummed out about it. AJ is pretty much in the type of role that Maxine was in on NXT, almost exactly as well since she’s sort of overshadowing the men. Only AJ has added the brilliant psycho element, and is doing it on a grander stage, plus getting the (rightful) praise that I felt Maxine also deserved when she was with Johnny Curtis and Derrick Bateman. It’s a shame that Maxine won’t get to show her talents on a bigger stage, but here’s to you Mrs. Karlee Leilani Liviana Emminger Sylvestry Candy Girl Bateman Curtis Perez.

Now onto tonight’s show. We get our first look at the Divas in this new season, as Paige takes on Sofia Cortez. This sort of sounds like a dream match amongst the FCW females. I feel like if you wanted to go for a Divas match to impress new fans, these are the two women for the job. However, upon recent weeks of being introduced to this new format, I noticed that every match involving someone from FCW is treated like a squash, with one person not even getting an entrance, and then losing in a relatively quick time. This… worries me. I guess it’s good this match is taking place a few weeks in because if it suffers that same fate, at least I was able to prepare myself and not be taken completely off guard. Sigh. Alright let’s go ahead and get started.

We open this week’s NXT with the entrance of Miss Sofia Cortez, who has a kickass titantron and an upbeat Latin theme. She hops out from the back and slides into the ring… as, ugh, Paige gets relegated to the commercial entrance that I hate. Still, she looks great tonight! The bell sounds as these two lock up. Paige shoves her back early on, but Sofia applies a waist lock. Paige reverses and hits a snapmare into a headbutt, before screaming out loudly. She goes for a hip toss, but Sofia stops the maneuver and reverses it into a nice hurricanrana! Paige slides outside the ring and tries to get back in, but Sofia capitalizes with a kick and some strikes to the corner. The referee backs Sofia up, as she tells the referee to shut up and Paige starts to mount a comeback. This is short lived though, as Sofia scores with an enziguiri for a near fall. Cortez then locks in a submission chokehold that Paige eventually flips out of and scores with some nice chops. She attempts an Irish Whip, but Sofia reverses it and hits a huge kick, followed up with a NASTY Wheelbarrow DDT for the victory. She celebrates her win, as Paige lives to fight another day.

Thoughts: I thought the match between Paige and Sofia was great, especially with the short-ish time it was given and the format this show has taken. Make it known that I think the format now is pretty awful… not the introducing new stars part – I like that, but they’re doing it so wrong for my taste. (I’ve held this in for a few weeks since I had no NXT Watch to vent in so bear with me.) Every single match that involves someone from FCW is booked the same way. We’re introduced to someone through a video package and then they beat someone else from FCW who gets no entrance and who we know nothing about other than that they’re about to lose. Why not show videos for both people and hype them both up to put on a competitive match? It’s like watching the same match for the past three weeks outside the ones that contain WWE Superstars facing each other. This format worked for me in week one because I thought it was just going to be like that for the debut show, but now we’re three weeks down and I feel like I’ve just been watching one squash match on repeat.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for the stars getting more exposure, but the method of doing this is so off. And to be honest, the Divas didn’t even get a video package for either Paige or Sofia. (If you hadn’t been watching since you’re just a Diva fan etc., basically every match to involve FCW stars has featured a video on the star they intend to have win the match.) The only reason I knew Sofia was going to win was because Paige got the “commercial” entrance even though it opened the show. So people who watch this that aren’t familiar with FCW know nothing about either woman really, other than Sofia can do lucha and Paige is from England. Heck, even I still don’t really know who was heel and who was face. I think Paige was supposed to be the face since Sofia kept screaming at the referee, but we got no introduction to either so who knows? Same goes for the men. Yes, one of them gets a video package, but the others who get utterly wasted in this role like Rick Victor, CJ Parker etc. are being treated like crap. Imagine those months of Brodus Clay squashes we saw, or whichever ones Tensai would have. It’s kind of like watching all of those squashes every show outside the non-FCW matches. I don’t mean to be so harsh on the product, but they took away my favorite show to make this so I’m always going to be critical of it. Even then, I love FCW and their talent so I was still excited.

Paige and Sofia could have had an even greater kick ass match. I know there’s video of them wrestling each other in a singles bout on an FCW house show on YouTube and it was incredible. THAT was what I wanted to see here. (I watched it before new NXT started so I didn’t know how the shows would run at the time.) They still put on a great showing, and it felt less of a squash than most of the males have, but it was still about two minutes and neither really got any introduction or hype unfortunately.

Personally, I absolutely despise squash matches. Why do I want to watch a match if I know the winner going into it? I hate when they debut someone and put them in squashes for weeks, or months, and I hate watching the matches here where we know who’s going to win before it even gets started. The stars of this show are getting exposure, but they can do so much more that fans who don’t see FCW aren’t getting the opportunity to witness. I get having a squash match here or there, but I would only do that for someone who you’ve been building up for weeks like Bray Wyatt or Seth Rollins before he debuted. And at that, put them against someone who I believe in the role. I don’t know if whoever controls NXT now didn’t watch FCW or something, but I don’t buy Rick Victor, who is pretty much one of the main eventers in FCW and just won the World Title (albeit he lost it shortly after) as someone who loses matches in three minutes. I don’t buy CJ Parker that way, nor do I buy it with Jason Jordan or Mike Dalton or Paige. Maybe I’m kind of biased since I’ve seen what they’re capable of through the FCW TV show, but I don’t know. I wasn’t even really excited to watch this week’s episode, and it seems like I lose excitement over it as the weeks go by which sucks because I’ve been begging WWE to put FCW on a more global stage for a while. I feel like this should be more of an NXT Redemption mixed with FCW, in that the matches should go long (I mean FCW runs the same time as NXT and they can have 4 seven minute matches just fine.), mixed with backstage segments like in Redemption’s heyday. But alas, that’s officially enough ranting. I think I’ve gotten everything out that’s been held up inside the past few weeks.

To end this NXT Watch in a somber note, as opposed to an angry one, please enjoy this random tribute to Maxine I found on YouTube. She will always be on top, even if it’s not in a WWE ring.

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