Wednesday, October 20, 2021

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NXT Redux (November 30, 2016): At the top and nowhere to go

[media-credit name=”WWE” align=”alignnone” width=”620″]asukanicole[/media-credit]

Welcome to the NXT redux. This week continues to focus on Asuka‘s stranglehold on the division, which is unfortunately suffocating as she continues to stand at the top.

In this episode she takes on Nicole Matthews.

Asuka enters to a thunderous pop. Nicole is already in the ring. Asuka gets close and drags Nicole down. Nicole makes it to the ropes and fights her way to her feet. She starts punching Asuka but Asuka just shakes it off. She just feeds off the energy and lands a hip attack on Nicole. She vigorously kicks her. Nicole collaspes but she tries to collect herself .

Nicole gets up and comes flying off the top rope but Asuka catches her in an arm bar. They wrestle for a bit. Nicole goes for a kick but Asuka hits her in the face. Asuka gets Nicole on the ground and puts her in the Asuka lock for the win.

Later on in the night she’s interviewed by Dasha Fuentes.

Dasha congratulates her on another dominate victory. Dasha says others have noticed a change in her demeanor but Asuka says there’s been no change. She says she’s the best and she just wants competition but there is none in the NXT division yet.

During the show we also get another glimpse at what Sanity can do as Nikki Cross continues to make an impact.

Thoughts: What the hell NXT? I’m incredibly disappointed in what the brand is doing across the board. It’s been an issue now that NXT doesn’t know whether it wants to be developmental or a full fledged, fleshed out touring brand. For something that’s supposed to develop talent, it is really dragging its feet in creating memorable characters and stories for us to care about.

Just because it was the day after TakeOver and a holiday was coming up doesn’t mean the brand couldn’t maximize every chance it could get in trying something new or refreshing. Instead we get another squash match. What was the purpose of this? We already know Asuka has decimated the competition. I’ll stop ranting right here though and say I did like Nicole and thought she got her offense in very well. However, how would we know what else she’s capable of when the match only lasted less than five minutes?

I’m really NOT a fan at all of this: the writers writing about the division being buried by feeding Asuka these lines of there being no competition when it’s creative and booking that’s actively burying the division by not developing the women.

I know how NXT works, they build up and establish talent by using enhancement competitors. Then the formula goes by the wayside and we start to get development through bouts between women in the division. Except they haven’t been doing this at all with the depleted division. Instead we’re now stuck in this endless cycle of feeding Asuka while the other women in the division get the scraps. Where’s the vision for anyone?

Who is Ember Moon? Is she a warrior werewolf? I’m a fan and they can do so much with her but all we’ve been getting is the same endless cycle of squashes. She’ll begin to stand out when she has a meaty feud akin to what was blossoming between her and Mandy Rose.

Why should I care about Liv Morgan or Aliyah? Because right now, I don’t.

Why are any of the women here?

Additionally, if they’re going to continue using Nikki in these unique ways, NXT should either begin some mixed gender feuds or slowly introduce integender bouts again. It’s only a matter of time before she runs into a brick wall where the male talent can’t get even with her because WWE doesn’t believe in women all out brawling with the men in matches.

I’ve read the spoilers and I know what’s coming up for the division and hopefully we get a future triple threat or fatal four-way against Asuka for the title but the brand is spinning its wheels when it should be mapping out the division and what’s ahead for everyone and moving full steam ahead.

I’ll tell you right now, once Asuka or Ember’s streak is broken, if there’s no narrative plan for them, the mystique of it all will fail and be meaningless. They can only use a winning streak as a crutch for so long. Look at the main roster, where the hell is Nia Jax? She’s supposed to be this unstoppable monster and yet she’s MIA half the time. Also Sasha Banks‘ streak was randomly broken on SmackDown the night of the draft without so much as a word. Pitiful.

There’s no excuse for not building up anyone in any of the women’s divisions through backstage segments, at the very least.

It’s a shame it has come to this. Maybe NXT should be watching alternative promotions or look to SmackDown to see how to utilize its talent effectively. The brand can sure use some help right now.

What did you think of this week’s NXT? How would you book the division? Sound off in the comments below.

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