I don’t even know where to start with this after hearing of the NXT talent that got released this weekend. I’m devastated over Derrick Bateman, I’m bed-ridden in sorrow over Audrey Marie, I’m… completely dumbfounded and still confused over Briley Pierce, but through it all I guess the show must go on as much as I’m not willing to accept it. (P.S. – If I’m a little cranky in this post, I’m hopeful this intro gives you a clear reason as to why)
This week, we’ve got Divas action to kick off the show as Natalya does battle against Summer Rae in what is a match I’m really looking forward to seeing. It’s something that hasn’t been done before, and even has a smidgen of build up following the dance off the two had on Raw a few weeks ago with their respected male counterparts. Frankly, my energy has been drained by the mourning so let’s get right into things, shall we?
Following the intro video to NXT, the sound of a sharp guitar riff erupts and signals the entrance of our trademarked Dungeon Diva, Natalya. Kendall Skye continues to do an impressive job announcing, as Nattie steps into the ring and cheers along with the Orlando bound fans. Upon the finish of her music, Summer Rae’s starts up and out comes the first lady looking benevolent and graceful as ever. The bell sounds as we get things underway with a side headlock takeover. Rae applies a leglock to counter out, but Nattie kips up and takes the advantage by flipping into a headlock. Summer exchanges into a wristlock and lets out an evil cackle, as these two continue to exchange hold for hold in a nice fashion.
Summer with a kick and a wrist lock, but Natalya flips out again… only to get slammed to the canvas. An Irish Whip into the corner allows Nattie to hit a shoulder tackle and after a few more swings off the ropes, Natalya goes for the sharpshooter! Summer crawls to the ropes just in time and hits an elbow to the jaw, but Natalya kicks her back and takes the advantage. Great discus clothesline, but only for a two count as Summer kicks out. Rae tries to take a time out, allowing the referee to hold Nattie back. Now she wants a hand shake, but as Natalya tries to move forward, Summer sends her flying to the outside and hits a sharp kick as she attempts to move back in. From there, we head to a commercial.
We’re back as Summer still has the upper hand, screaming at Natalya and working on the arm. Summer is not amused with Nattie’s constant kick outs, forcing her to apply a boot to the throat in the corner, but while she goes to capitalize, Natalya manages to roll her up for a near fall. Summer then leaps onto Nattie and hits a pretty sweet DDT, but instead of going for another pin, she stays on top of her and continues the beatdown. A back elbow follows up for a two count, as Rae then goes for the shoulder again and screams at the referee to ask Nattie if she wants to give up. Natalya looks for the Sharpshooter, but out comes Paige! She gets up onto the ring apron, but Summer then kicks Nattie back who lands into Paige and sends her flying on the outside. This then distracts Natalya long enough for Summer to roll her up for the win! Summer runs to the back with Paige still down, but Paige doesn’t waste any time in running right after her!
Thoughts: I felt the match between Natalya and Summer was good on its own right, but suffered from a crowd that didn’t seem to react that much of the time. I personally loved their hold for hold exchanges at the start which might be my highpoint followed closely with Summer’s kick and DDT. Also, Natalya is the perfect female to be down working with the Divas of NXT because if there’s anyone they can learn from on the main roster, it’s her. I’ve said constantly how I find her to be a perfect combination of just about everything you could want in a Diva, so I won’t harp on that too much, but it’s nice getting to see her actually wrestle twice this week between this and Raw. As for Summer, I’m continuing to love her presence in the division as the top heel and the charisma she shows from the moment she steps out from the curtain to the moment she steps back behind it. As far as the Paige/Summer feud goes, I feel like it’s most likely continuing to culminate in their rubber match to be contested for the NXT Divas Title which I’m not entirely opposed to seeing.
I know that champions in NXT aren’t really required to be full time NXT roster members since they can easily fly down and do the tapings in one night, but I kind of feel like someone we don’t expect should be the first champion. I wouldn’t be mad with Paige and Summer being the final two as it would really be the perfect story, but I’m just trying to think of the long term plans for a title reign because if Paige gets it, I think storylines are what’s going to make or break her reign since we’ve seen her take down so many of her fellow Divas already that very few feuds would seem like something new unless there’s a unique twist on them. Who are our options anyways? If it’s a tournament, I suspect eight Divas so Paige, Summer, Emma, Bayley, and Sasha are definitely in. I would love for them to debut Charlotte in time, but my guess is that Alicia, Aksana, and Natalya take the final three spots. As for who I’d want to be the first champion if I had it my way, I’ll leave that a secret for now as I’m extremely superstitious but I’d like to see who you all want if you’d like to post a comment.
Okay, I also want to take a moment to say a farewell to two NXT Divas who departed the company Friday in Audrey Marie and Anya. We never really got to see Anya perform, but I know that personally she was who I was most fascinated in seeing debut and it really sucks that we’re never going to find out what she would’ve been like in a role on camera. She was extremely unique in pretty much every way you could ask, and I’m a bit puzzled as to why she would get released before seeing what she was capable of, but this isn’t the first time I’m puzzled by a release and it won’t be the last I’m sure.
With Audrey, I’ve always been a fan of hers, but I can admit she just didn’t really stand out amongst the other Divas when put on screen. However, what will forever baffle me is how she could be so different on TV compared to some of the live events I got to see her at through Youtube or in person. When she was a heel at the live shows, she was loaded with charisma and various tactics that would’ve surely set her apart were she to do them on screen, but then you get to the actual show and she didn’t really show any of what gave her that spark. I’m not sure if maybe they didn’t want her to as it would be a bit close to Summer Rae’s persona or something to that effect, but it sucks as I really think she would’ve been a bit more unique on the show were she to display the persona and cockiness that she had. I will say though that one of the dilemmas I had with Audrey is that I felt she wrestled better as a face, but performed better as a heel so it was always something standing in the way of her evolving no matter which disposition she was. I for one loved her days as a cowgirl, but I prefer her even more in that heel role she would take on at the live shows.
I think I’m a bit more sour on Audrey’s release because I don’t feel like she got to make the impact she should’ve, and thus won’t get as much credit as she should’ve. Maybe it’s just me or maybe it’s not, but when she first started and was thrust into televised matches waaaaay too soon, I did tend to cringe when I saw her compete for fear of injuring someone or even herself. Of course it’s not her fault she was put on screen so quickly in comparison to other Divas without prior training who sometimes wait six months to over a year without seeing their first televised match, so you catch my drift hopefully if I’m making any sense whatsoever at this ungodly hour of the night. Where was I? Oh yes, over time I felt that she grew to new heights and continued to up her game every chance she could. I’m not saying she was a Paige or a Natalya, but she did put on good showings. It seemed to just be that once the cowgirl persona was dropped, she didn’t really pick up anything else to stand out which seems to be the problem most fans have with Bayley at the moment.
Sigh, I guess that’s it for now on the Diva releases. Hopefully Audrey and Anya continue to hone their craft elsewhere and improve. You never know just who can be fired and brought back *cough Brodus Clay/Damien Sandow cough.*
… Oh and one more thing. To those ungrateful, tortured souls who were likely not loved as children that had a hand in the release of Derrick Bateman, may you all wake up to rotted out teeth and the stench of expired food in the morning due to a magically broken refrigerator. And then I hope you trip and simultaneously drop a wrench on your foot/stub your toe in the process when trying to fix it.