Thursday, September 16, 2021

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NXT Redux (March 4th, 2015): If You’re Gonna Main Event It… Main Event It Like a Boss

Greetings kind readers, and welcome to this week’s cheerful NXT redux!~

Last time we saw you, Bayley and Becky Lynch had just squared off in a pretty darn good match, but tonight… we’ve got a huge treat before us.

Sasha Banks will defend her NXT Women’s Title against Charlotte, but not only that, it will be the first full episode of NXT to see women wrestle in the main event. AND, not only that, we also have three (yes, three) backstage segments pertaining to the Divas.

I can’t even hold myself together right now so let’s get underway!

Backstage, Enzo, Cass and Carmella are asked to respond to comments made by Blake and Murphy. Enzo and Cass downplay them, claiming they need to wipe the crap off their lips. Cass explains that NOBODY talks to Carmella that way. They talk to the two of them before they come near her. Suddenly, Carmella chimes in and says they made her throw up, which Enzo cites as a baby burp. She says they’re pathetic pigs and orders Enzo & Cass to beat them for the tag titles. Cass ensures this will happen, as Enzo assures Carmella that “Daddy’s gonna bring home the bacon”, and yes, I love it.

Alexa Bliss is shown backstage being asked what she’s been up to in the lengthy amount of time since she’s been here. First thing I noticed… the blue is gone! I guess Blue Pants won that battle, but that’s fine because Alexa rocks purple very well.

To answer the question, she reveals that through her series of matches with Sasha Banks, she suffered a nose injury and needed some time to heal both physically and mentally. She’s in a good place now, but wants to put Sasha on notice that whether or not she retains the title against Charlotte, Alexa is gunning for her.

“It’s about time somebody showed the Boss who’s really in charge.”

We head backstage to spot Bayley speaking to Charlotte just before the Dirtiest Diva in the Game heads out for her match. She compliments Charlotte’s look and attitude, wishing her good luck. Charlotte immediately cuts her off and exclaims that it’s Sasha who is going to need the luck. With that, she heads off and in walks Emma!

Emma greets Bayley, before denying the chance to dance and use the bubble machine. Bayley asks Emma if she wants to go watch Charlotte’s match with her, but Emma seems confused. She reassures Bayley wants to watch their match… you know, the one she should have been in had she won the fatal-4-way. Bayley continues to want to go around giving out “High 10’s” and handing out headbands and hugging people, you know… just like Emma acted when she got called up to Raw.

… But where did that get her? Back down at NXT, that’s where.

Emma nervously shrugs it off as something to think about, leaving Bayley perplexed about her longtime friend’s sudden newfound attitude.

It’s time!

Charlotte heads to the ring as she prepares for her main event title match, closely followed behind by the entrance of our champion, Sasha Banks. As the two stand in the ring, JoJo (Also known as wrestling icon who needs to be allowed to wrestle) announces champion and challenger!

The bell sounds and we get underway with an immediate dueling chant! Sasha tries to quickly run away from Charlotte, as Charlotte screams “You’re gonna fight me or what, sweetheart?” to the crowds DELIGHT. And mine! I freaking love how vocal these two are. Banks goes for a kick, but Charlotte catches it and sends her flying with a shot to the face and some chops. Irish whip, as Sasha slides outside to recover early on. She screams to be given her title, claiming she doesn’t need this! Sasha begins to walk out, wanting to retain any way possible.

Charlotte runs out and hoists Sasha up, into the ring canvas! Back inside the ring now as Charlotte lands a few knees following a roll up. Figure four! Sasha screams in pain, but manages to crawl and avoid the bridge going up. She rolls outside again, as we head to a commercial.

Back after the break, Sasha drops Charlotte with a snapmare and follows with a running smack. They do an Irish Whip that Sasha rebounds with a headscissors into a crossface! Jesus. Charlotte reverses into a roll up! No. Sasha reverses into the title winning crucifix! No! Charlotte now lifts Sasha up on her back, but Banks fights out into a choke hold. And Charlotte reverses into a running jawbreaker stunner! She heads up top for a moonsault, but Sasha rolls through. Senton! KNEES!

Banks lands some kicks to the back, screaming “I’m the champion now Charlotte! I AM!” She toys with Charlotte, executing a choke before sending her into the corner. Charlotte tries to fight out, but Sasha sets her in reverse position and drops the double knees on her back! She doesn’t even go for a pin, but instead opting to stretch the challenger across the ring post. Sasha drags her back, but only gets a two count. Cross arm backstabber into a knee submission! Charlotte refuses to give up, as Sasha belts out in frustration that she’s nothing more than “Daddy’s Little Champ”.

Charlotte finally fights out with the support of the crowd, ducking a clothesline into a roll up attempt. Sasha then hits a huge dropkick for a two count, which sends her into a nasty scream of anger. Backstabber into the Bank Statement! Charlotte fights! She’s rolling… but Sasha keeps it locked in! Charlotte manages to extend her hand and grab the rope! Sasha must break the hold, which she does before running towards a downed Charlotte. Charlotte dodges out of the way and sends her flying outside, then decking Banks with a shot to the face upon her return inside the ring.

They trade punches and chops before Charlotte nails a neckbreaker followed with a HUGE spear! One… two… no! She doesn’t get a three, but she does get a “Better than Reigns” chant. Suplex attempt, but Sasha lands on her feet and runs off with a wheelbarrow facebuster! Two count. Sasha attempts the figure four, but Charlotte kicks her off. She elbows Banks in the back of the leg and locks in a figure four on the ringpost! Good God. The referee forces a break, but the pain has been inflicted.

A “This is Wrestling” chant erupts, as Charlotte heads up top! She goes for the Natural Selection, but Sasha hangs onto the ropes. Roll up… the feet on the ropes! One… two… three! Sasha retains!

Thoughts: A perfect episode.

This is everything I ever wanted developmental NXT to be. I have said time and time again the matches are great and need no changes made, but we needed segments and stories to give the promotion that extra oomph of being the best of the best.

Tonight, we furthered the tag team title feud centered on Carmella, Alexa Bliss returned and vowed to seek revenge on Sasha, Emma had more character development in two minutes than in a year on Raw, and the women main evented the entire show.

What the hell kind of planet is this?

First up, the main event was just so outstanding. What I absolutely love about Sasha and Charlotte is that they make every match stand out from their others, but they’re all fantastic. This didn’t need to top R Evolution in my opinion, because that had the build-up and the live special aspect of needing to be the best thing we’ve ever seen. This also had extreme importance, but they were also not going to get the same amount of time as then since the show tonight is an hour long as opposed to two.

And even counting that, NXT gave us a sixteen minute main event segment featuring SOLELY women. Meanwhile, a 3 hour show that gave the Divas 30 seconds sparked universal outrage. This is seriously flawless programming right now, and ever since TakeOver, I really feel that they hit a small reset button, so to speak, and decided to freshen up the matches and start giving more segments. I absolutely love it.

The match itself was everything it needed to be and more. This was their first main event and it needed to be special. There were so many great spots (as always) but I honestly have to say my favorite is the moonsault into a senton into the knees. It was just so smart. On the main roster, I feel like we see Divas get hit with the same move combinations and I’m like… realistically, if you’ve been hit with these moves over and over, you should know to scout them in the future and not fall for it again. With this, they did that. Sasha has seen the moonsault turn into a senton, and this time she acted quickly and blocked it by the skin of her teeth.

That’s not to discredit any of their other huge moves, but that stuck out to me a lot as I’m always looking at stuff like that. The entire match was great, and the commercial didn’t even take me out of it because they pick spots where we don’t need to specifically see something happen (Sasha on the outside needing to crawl back in). I don’t feel like I’m counting down the minutes for the show to get back, and that’s what’s great about it.

I also love that Sasha has already got a strong, memorable title defense in the span of two weeks since she won it. It makes her reign look great, and I don’t hate the finish. If Charlotte is going to the main roster soon, I think she needs to be kept looking strong. The cheating reinforces what a villain Sasha is, and it does the job of making it look like Charlotte was screwed out of her rematch without losing cleanly so job well done.

As far as the Emma/Bayley segment, again, it was just so smart. I love how Emma acknowledges her time on Raw hasn’t exactly been rainbows and sunshine. And I’m obsessed with the fact she’s trying to warn Bayley since a growing concern from fans about Bayley’s character is whether or not it would resonate on the main roster. This is a real life type segment I can actually see and believe. Emma has been on the main roster for 14 months, and she’s not really gotten to do a whole lot in the division itself. Bayley is basically the Emma of today’s NXT crop, in that she’s highly over… but will she move on to Raw and accomplish everything she dreams of by being nice and fun and goofy?

Now, I don’t want Bayley turning heel. I want Emma turning heel and Bayley fighting through her to get to Sasha down the road, that way Bayley can be the next champion and Sasha can still have a lengthy reign by potentially feuding with Becky Lynch or Alexa Bliss to bide time. I just can’t get over how smart NXT are handling the division right now. On the main roster, I feel like Sasha and Bayley would have been rushed into even though I think Bayley MUST be the woman to win the title from her. But here, they’re not rushing it. They’re still keeping the focus on both of them, but in separate feuds so that (hopefully) after a lengthy amount of time has passed, they can finally intertwine and engage in the feud that could, in my opinion, main event an NXT special.

Bold claim, but one I think is true. Bayley is the female Sami Zayn, and the live special she overcomes Sasha in to win the title is something I can see them deciding to pull the trigger on and let it go on last. They’ve more than proven themselves, and Bayley remains the absolute strongest face character of the division since Emma left. She’s held onto that crown over one year and the crowd STILL loves her, whereas Sasha is the ultimate heel. They’ve been through so much opposite one another and I would love to see it culminate in that feel good moment for Bayley later this year.

And a quick extra note about Emma, I know I said I have gripes of main roster Divas coming back to NXT when the spots should go to newer ones, but if there’s a real storyline like this where she can turn heel and unleash a whole new side of her ala Tyson Kidd, bring it on. I also think, as I said above, NXT has seemed to do a little reset button on the division since Sasha won and we’re actually getting segments on top of a singles match, so there seems to be a more airtime in the works. I’m so ready to see Emma’s transformation and I hope it works out as great for her as Tyson’s has for him.

And how great was it to see Alexa back?! She’s been the one complaint of the division since it always seems that she gets one short match, loses, and then vanishes for weeks upon months. I loved how they turned her disappearance into a storyline, claiming Sasha broke her nose and she needed to gather herself to come back stronger than ever. The fact they’re letting the least developed character in terms of TV time enter a feud with the champion and it actually makes sense from a storyline perspective? Mind-blowingly wonderful.

I think Alexa is so good. She started off last year a little shaky, but the girl has grown in every single match we see her in. I really hope she gets a strong showing against Sasha that opens everyone’s eyes up to what she’s capable of because I don’t think she’s the same competitor we saw in that debut against Alicia Fox and if anyone can bring out the best in her, it’s 100% Sasha.

The tag team title feud continues to completely entertain me, and as I said before, I love that it gives Carmella something to do so she doesn’t fall into that Alexa trap of disappearing for a lengthy period of time. She fits perfectly in the forefront of the two dueling teams, and I think it helps to establish some character work from Blake and Murphy (who are great) when they get to interact with her.

Enzo and Cass need no character growth, but dang it, seeing them interact with Carmella never gets old for me.

Overall, this episode of NXT is honestly the one I would encourage any Diva fan to watch if they want to get into the product and haven’t yet. Obviously I would recommend the live specials, but as far as weekly episodic viewing, this had it all. So many segments with so much storytelling, feuds being set up, and a main event title match to boot.

Never leave me please.

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