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Welcome to this week’s NXT Redux! Last week set the stage for a confrontation that’s been brewing in the background for months as Asuka has demolished the women’s division and all her competition. Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Nikki Cross, and the Empress of Tomorrow will collide next weekend at TakeOver.
But before then, this week it’s Nikki’s turn to show the rest of the division just how delirious she is. She uses her deranged demeanor to completely overwhelm her opponents. She faces indy talent Kennedy Lewis, aka Kennadi Brink.
Nikki makes her entrance with her crew behind her. She paces and thrashes around the ring before the match starts. Kennedy looks sligthly nervous before the tie up. Nikki rushes at Kennedy and pummels her with bare knuckles. She chokes her in the corner and takes her down to the floor. She continues to overwhelm her with crazy offense.
Kennedy tries to make it to her feet but Nikki plants her with a spinning neckbreaker. Nikki gets the win. She seethes over her opponent and then Eric Young holds her back. They make their exit.
After the bout, our second women’s segment of the night comes in the form of a backstage interview with Ember Moon. The interviewer asks her how she feels about the recent developments in the division.
Ember says she’s forging her path forward, but Liv Morgan interrupts before she can continue. Liv tells her they want the same thing and she thinks she’s come a long way after being defeated by Asuka in seconds. She suggests they engage in some friendly competition to determine who’ll be the next person to go after the Championship after San Antonio.
Ember accepts the challenge.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) January 19, 2017
Thoughts: Though the women get little to no time this week, an issue that’s been plaguing the division on/off for months, both segments give us some much needed build to move forward with deepening the pool in the women’s division.
The Nikki squash match is effectively putting her over as the woman to watch when we go into our Fatal 4-Way next weekend. I believe she truly is the wildcard here. The match was too short to judge Kennedy’s total performance but the way she went down to sell the overwhelming brute force of Nikki, who’s only 5’1, was admirable. And yes Nikki is the same size as Alexa Bliss! She carries herself very strongly and is built to look bigger than she is. This whole persona is so different than anything we’ve really seen. I quite enjoy it.
Next weekend is the perfect time to strip Asuka of the title. Someone else can get pinned and it wouldn’t make Asuka look weak. Moving forward, like I said last week, either Nikki winning or one of the Aussies winning will open up the door to many possibilities for new debuts and desperately needed development. Asuka can act broken and crazy, it’d be a hoot and start adding more layers to her character. We’d also get more women put on the map in the struggling division.
Otherwise, unfortunately, if Asuka retains I still see the same issues that lie in front of us. No competition, no strong characters.
Speaking of which, the small promo between Ember and Liv was much needed as well. Ember is still missing something and I’m hoping soon they flesh her out. We still don’t know anything about her. I get her warrior look and demeanor but, there needs to be more, WHO IS SHE?
I had the same issue with Liv. But now, after seeing Liv’s performance in Australia, she’s toning down some of the more outrageous aspects of her character. I still want her to add more depth to her personality, but she has so much time to get better and she’s slowly bringing me over to her side.
There’s still a lack of side stories outside the title picture, but unfortunately this seems to be a problem for the brand as a whole.
The women deserve more deep and meaningful stories. I feel like we are on the brink of getting some. I’m hoping after TakeOver, they can keep up the momentum.
What did you think of last night’s episode? Who do you think will win when Ember and Liv square off? Sound off in the comments below.