Sunday, September 19, 2021

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NXT Redux (September 28th, 2016): Eat a piece of humble pie

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

Welcome to this week’s NXT review! Last week two women threw down challenges to two of the toughest fighters in the division. Did Liv Morgan stand a chance against Asuka? Did Ember Moon make Mandy Rose eat her words?

Let’s jump into the action as Mandy faces Ember first, let’s watch.

Both women make their entrances and the match starts off with some back and forth action. Mandy manages to strike Ember in the face with an elbow before getting kicked and grounded by a falloway slam.

Ember catches Mandy with a flying cross body. Mandy kicks Ember while on the ground as Ember drags Mandy to the center of the ring. Before Ember can get a hold of Mandy, Mandy bicycle kicks Ember. Mandy takes hold of the action as she continues barreling Ember with hits and slows down the pace with a rest hold.

She clothes lines Ember, hits and taunts her, telling her, “You’ll never look like me!” Ember takes her by surprise with a rollup attempt. Mandy then counters Ember’s attempt at running the ropes with an impressive sitout slam. Ember catches Mandy with a low scissor and sends her flying face first into the bottom turnbuckle.

Ember makes her way to the corner and takes Mandy down with her signature flying stunner.

After the match we’re taken backstage to Asuka who is preparing for her match with Liv. She shadow boxes a bit while commentary notes how Liv should watch her back tonight.

Our final match of the night between the Women’s Champion and the Jersey girl with big dreams is up next.

Both women make their entrances as the crowd begins to chant, “Asuka’s gonna kill you!” They tie up for a bit where Asuka forces Liv into a corner. Liv regains her composure before dropkicking Asuka. She throws a few punches at Asuka before Asuka hits her hard back. Liv, evidently shocked, falls back on the ground where Asuka circles and puts her away quickly with an arm bar.

After the match Andrea Dimarco interviews Asuka, asking her how she feels. Asuka says, “Nobody is ready for Asuka!”

In a WWE.com exclusive, we’re taken to Liv being patched up by NXT medical staff. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce add insult to injury as the two mock her loss.

Liv then thanked Asuka on twitter for giving her the opportunity to face her for the title:

Thoughts: It was a good night for the women’s division. Although both segments were short, they continued to highlight strong work being done that will bring everyone to the next level while also shining some more light on cracks in the division that need some improvement.

Mandy against Ember, while shorter than I would like, showcased this in-ring chemistry I’ve only heard/read about while diving into house show results. Mandy is impressive for someone who is still very early into her career. I’m not too shocked, however, as I always believed that she outshined the actual winner of Tough Enough. She’s so strong already and has wicked follow through. That reversal sitout slam was so slick and I can’t wait until she debuts her finisher, which is a double underhook facebuster, on tv. I think working with Ember will help her evolve her move set as well and I’m eager to see more of what she could do.

Ember continues to be a force to be reckoned with. From her character style to her agile maneuvering, her matches can only get better once we get some more deeper bouts. This was just the beginning for her and I don’t think this introductory feud is over. I believe, and hope, she’ll work her way into some more competitive programs with other women in the division. We still have some green workers but I think she’ll be able to get the best out of them in some heavy back/forth evenly matched programs.

What made the Four Horsewomen era for NXT so great was the depth of competition between them. Every match was so involved and unique. That’s something we’re currently lacking in the division and with Ember here, she might be able to bring that back and get great matches with every woman.

This isn’t really to say Asuka can’t do this, but frankly, Asuka’s on another level entirely. I’m really on the fence about this whole meta-self-awareness thing that we have here with Asuka saying no one is ready to take her on. I think, while it makes Asuka look like the beast she is, it makes the rest of the division feel lacking because none of Asuka’s matches outside of the big TakeOver’s feel like there’s any meaningful action in them. There’s not a lot of depth or edge of your seat moments because the majority of her matches have been one sided. Sometimes someone may only be at the top because they don’t have worthy competition.

I don’t mean this in a discouraging way though. Asuka deserves to be the champion, she really is the best. She makes her way to the ring and I get chills. She tells more with her body language than a promo would. She’s better than WWE if we’re being fully honest and the story they are telling with her has gotten old. I love matches that test her because we then see a full range of emotions and moves out of her, it really is a treat. I just wish NXT would push her buttons more, try other types of matches or tell another story.

Liv’s confidence got the best of her this go around but I applaud them for even trying this match and her getting in some offense. She needs to begin working a program with the other women though to bring out her character more. I want to see her improve and succeed but she still needs to bring some more depth to the surface.

I’m excited that, that exclusive clip teases a partnership between the two Aussies. Peyton and Billie were made to be a conquering duo and I’m glad NXT is seeing the writing on the wall with that one.

What did you think of this week’s episode? How do you feel about Asuka’s reign so far? Sound off in the comments below.

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