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Welcome to this week’s NXT Redux! We are a few days away from TakeOver and it’s shaping up to be the most tumultuous yet for the women’s division. This week’s NXT episode focuses on some friendly competition between faces Liv Morgan and Ember Moon, while the Aussies, Asuka, and Nikki Cross collide again in what could be an explosive preview of their upcoming Fatal 4-Way.
Up first Liv and Ember face off to determine who should have the right to be the next number one contender to the NXT Women’s Championship after TakeOver.
They tie up and exchange reversals, slapping hands to signal that the bout is friendly. They exchange pins before Liv traps Ember in a rolling pin combo. They exchange reversals again before Liv hits a flying headscissors on Ember.
Ember comes back with a flying knee to Liv in the corner. Ember uses a falloway slam on Liv and gets a two count. Ember then transitions Liv into a crossface. Liv escapes and stuns Ember with a jaw breaker. She then hits Ember hard in the face. She then hits a dropkick and a bulldog on Ember.
Liv gets fired up and jumps on Ember, suffocating her with a guillotine. Ember powers out by dropping Liv over the top rope. Liv falls outside the ring. Liv recovers but meets a running boot to the face by Ember from the apron. Ember rolls Liv into the ring and hits her signature for the win.
After the match, both women shake hands to show respect for the other.
— WWE (@WWE) January 26, 2017
The Iconic Duo makes their way to the ring. Billie says they told the world they run the Women’s Division and at TakeOver, they’ll prove it. Billie says they can’t beat both of them. Peyton says one of them will walk out the Women’s Champion.
Dasha calls out Nikki and she makes her way to the ring next. The Aussies tell her to stay back as Nikki paces around angrily. Asuka runs into the ring, chasing the Aussies out. An all out shouting match ensues between her and Nikki but the Icons rush in for a beat down. Nikki and Asuka throw them out and stare each other down.
Security guards rush the ring. Asuka and Nikki take them down too. Asuka takes down Nikki with a hard kick. Security drags Asuka away but Nikki comes flying off the turnbuckle and takes them all down.
Billie and Peyton stare on in horror.
Thoughts: Several days before TakeOver and it almost doesn’t feel like it, does it? Let’s start with the positives. I enjoyed the Liv vs Ember match for what it was even though I wish it was longer. Like I said before, Liv is dialing down the more outrageous aspects of her character and her in ring work is becoming more polished. She bumps crazy and is constantly experimenting with her move set. She’s progressing quite nicely. What I really want to see is her grow from all these losses.
She carries a distinct theme to her character. She’s a baby face who’s always ready to go. With that being said, I want more for her. I want her to evolve instead of staying one note.
I also want this for Ember. Ember continues to be a fantastic wrestler, but her character is missing motive and a hearty story. She’s our fearless warrior, but there’s still something missing. I don’t know anything about her, I’m not sold anymore. Why should I care about her? If her shirt is any indication, she’s a rising myth? But what is her mythos? What is her story? We need more.
I was also expecting a bit more from our Fatal 4-Way face off. That’s not to say it was bad per-say, it was exactly what was needed to sell the match on Saturday. Billie and Peyton’s mannerisms were on point and Asuka and Nikki’s palpable tension was heated.
However, I feel like there’s still a lack of serious impact between any of the three girls and Asuka. I didn’t get the complete vibe that any of them can successfully take her down yet. It’s booking that hasn’t made any of the women, outside Asuka, look very strong or competitive, even if Ember and Nikki come close.
I also found the brawl between Nikki, Asuka and the security guards quite funny after Triple H made those comments against intergender wrestling. His comments don’t match up to how Nikki is being built thus far, she isn’t afraid of any woman, or man.
With that said though, I am looking forward to the match on Saturday. I hope this is the time that NXT can start digging out of this hole they made for the division. I can see several stories on the horizon that can propel the division forward. I’m hoping NXT takes a chance instead of going with a safe outcome. Asuka could grow from a huge upset. The Aussies would get a rub from a classic heel win. Nikki stands to gain so much power if she wins. With an anarchist stable by her side, she’s the one to watch here. Nikki could possibly inflict the most damage by being the most erratic. To me, this would set the stage for a great story of Ember rising to take on the challenge. It would give Ember some much needed development, whether Nikki or one of the Icons win.
Otherwise, we’re back at square one and at this rate, there’s not that much to lose anymore except for NXT’s standing as the place to be for women’s wrestling.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Who do you think will come out victorious at TakeOver? Sound off in the comments below.