Saturday, April 20, 2024

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Bobby’s Corner: NXT Has Arrived! Thoughts on Each Diva in WWE Developmental

Well ladies and gents, it’s officially the big week for WWE’s future stars of tomorrow! NXT ArRIVAL, the developmental territory’s first big Pay-Per-View-like special, airs Thursday night and I for one, couldn’t be more thrilled! We’ve seen NXT through its lows (personally I wasn’t a fan of season one but that’s just me) and its highs like season two, three (for the talent) and my crown jewel of WWE programming, Redemption. But unlike that era, NXT is now being looked at as a major player by WWE instead of an afterthought where a bunch of talented people were able to shine on a lower radar for fans willing to go out and actively hunt each episode down.

Ever since NXT took over FCW, we’ve been treated to a huge upgrade when it comes to various factors such as lighting, production, promotion, character development and so on and so forth. Matches feel more important, no matter if the show was airing in your country or not up until the network launch, and while we haven’t yet gotten to see what each of the Divas down here can do on the show just yet, we’ve gotten to see enough that we know this group of girls has some serious talent.

That’s what brings me to today’s second edition of Bobby’s Corner, which is going to take a look at each of the Divas currently performing in NXT from my point of view. Now I’m not saying what I think is any more important than what any of you think, just that I personally see so many unique, distinct positive factors with each Diva that sets them apart from one another and I feel like they deserve a ton of hype and credit heading into the big event this week for how much they’ve grown and really come into their own from whenever they got signed up until this point in developmental history.

Being that we’ve got roughly 20 Divas to get through with this monstrous roster (aka this will be loooong), let’s start right at the top and focus on the two women competing on this weeks show as they contest for the NXT Women’s Championship, Paige and Emma. First you’ve got Paige, who is definitely the one to watch out for this year. Basically everything I have to say about Paige, someone else has said it and put it in a much more intelligent manner, so I’m not going to focus on the obvious fact that she’s talented. We know that. We get that. What I will focus on is how much she still has left to show that’s being hidden from us. Now personally, I view Paige as a total package that just hasn’t gotten the right amount of “oomph” behind her as of late. Not only can she work a microphone and clearly show she’s one of the best in ring workers at the same time, but she stands out. She doesn’t look like anybody else we have on the entire roster, possibly ever in the company unless I’m forgetting someone (and no I don’t think she resembles Katie Lea or Ariel minus focusing on a dark look).

Paige is beyond ready to be on TV, but the one problem is that she desperately needs to flip sides. Paige as a babyface just doesn’t work for me the same way I know Paige as a heel would flourish, and I 100% believe that her being a babyface is why a lot of fans don’t warm to her as much as some of the others. She’s this no nonsense, badass fighter, and that worked for a long time but it just seems that now with Bayley and Emma winning crowds over with their characters, Paige kind of fell down the totem pole a little. Is that her fault? No. I do think it was necessary to make her a babyface when they did because the crowd loved her too much to boo, but now that we’ve got other contenders who can fill that void in terms of crowd reaction, it’s time to bring Paige to the dark side and let her unleash the fury we know she can bring to the table. Paige is a future star, there’s no way around it. I just worry that Paige as a babyface is going to lose a lot of momentum that could be won over if this dark, mysterious, brutal woman were to pop up who made it her mission to destroy the “glitz and glamour” type image WWE has set for a Diva to be like. AJ Lee sort of went for it with her pipebombshell, but that fizzled out. Paige, on the other hand, is a fresh new character who could take that ball, run with it and knock it out of the park if they give her the right material to work with.

If you’ve never seen NXT before and want to know a little more about Paige and Emma, I’ll link their incredible match against each other a little later on, but here’s a little hype preview (Come on, ya’ll know I love video packages too much not to include one) that I can only assume was put together by a talented Full Sail student:

Emma on the other hand, is the polar opposite of what I envision Paige as. No, I’m not saying Emma is exactly what the WWE has previously viewed a Diva as being, but more that where I see Paige being this serious, mysterious captivating force, I view Emma as this fun natured, kooky character. But not in a Jillian Hall way because I do not want Emma taking on THAT dreaded role, especially when she’s just starting out on the main roster. Am I enjoying the pairing between her and Santino? Yes I am! I think it works because he’s over, and her dance really could be make or break when it comes to how a large audience will respond to it. There are a few things I would change though. Firstly, I don’t think I want another Santino romance storyline and I was honestly enjoying them just being friends. But I can tolerate that and to be honest, I never like to judge a story until I see where it goes because you never know how they could work with what they’re given in the future.

The one thing I think where they’re going wrong though, is having commentary put over Emma’s dance as a “cool” thing. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve noticed that fans don’t particularly respond as well to things that Michael Cole gets up and imitates, or tells everyone is something the whole world is doing. The fans love CM Punk because he’s everything The Authority/company isn’t. The fans love Daniel Bryan because he’s everything The Authority/company isn’t. They want to feel like they’re the ones deciding if something is going to happen, which I feel is why Fandango-ing was a huge buzzy thing until WWE began to embrace it and tell people how everyone was jumping on board the Fandango-ing bandwagon. That kind of stuff doesn’t bother me personally because if I find something amusing, I’ll find it amusing whether people are telling me to like it or not. It’s just something I’ve tended to notice a bit when it comes to these sorts of characters that fans are to grow attached to. So far, I think Emma is doing very well for herself and not falling into the same trap Fandango did, but I just feel like her entire dancing routine would come off even better if commentary was like “What the hell is she doing?” instead of getting up and doing it with her.

On the flip side, Emma is supremely talented in the ring and nobody can take that away from her! If you’re only familiar with her from the main roster, allow me to present the following video as proof of my claims:

Alright, now that we’ve got this weeks Champion and Challenger down pat, how about we go to their third babyface female counterpart, Bayley! Bayley is the latest Diva to completely make the crowd swoon for her and her lovable nature. She’s the nicest, coolest, raddest, robot loving hugger you’ll ever meet, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. I was at two of the last three TV tapings NXT did, and let me tell you she is as over as it gets with the fans (seriously, they chanted for her during a Kofi Kingston match). It’s so refreshing to actually have multiple female characters that get bigger reactions than some of the male superstars. I have nothing against the men because I’m a huge fan of 99% of them, but it’s just nice to have some variety and see a crowd that can embrace the Divas as a large part of the show.

If I had to pick one main reason why I love Bayley as much as I do, it’s because she took something that could’ve been deer in the headlights trainwreck material and made it into perfection. When Bayley first popped up on NXT TV, like everyone, she started off without a character and was just there to make others look good. She looked nice of course, but I can see where people might think she resembles a few other Divas in how I said I don’t think Paige looks like anyone. I was starting to worry she was never going to get out of the rut she got stuck in, but then, this wide eyed super fan who just wanted to smile and hug everyone she meets took over our screen, and soon after, took over our world.

Bayley may have looked like other Divas, but she made sure that she wasn’t going to let anyone confuse her with them. She added headbands and various bows to her appearance that would get distributed out to fans while making her entrance, all while putting moments of character development in all of her matches. This wasn’t a case of “here’s my character in segments, but in ring I’m going to go kick ass and turn it back on once the bell rings”, no… she went full on from start to finish. For crying out loud, her finisher is a Hug-plex. A Hug-plex! She’s also found the perfect way to mix character development into her matches without letting it overshadow her work too. We can tell when she competes that, yes she’s silly, but she’s also a very strong, very crisp ring worker who is always on point with her actions, can make anyone look good and never puts on a bad performance.

For an actual video look at Bayley, check out the time she got a Divas Championship shot (Yes, THE WWE Divas Championship) against AJ Lee:

Of course, you can’t have a trio of fan favorites without a trio of villains to combat them right? Welcome the Beautiful Fierce Females — BFF’s for short. Fandango’s baby boopsie, Summer Rae and her two equally as powerful cohorts, Charlotte and “The Boss”, Sasha Banks are essentially here to make the yellow roped brand their own personal show. And to make the story of their formation short, Summer basically got into the head of Sasha Banks that she was nothing to the division but a forgettable, irrelevant face, which sparked Banks to show her mean side and align with Rae after laying out Paige following a singles contest. The two then took NXT by storm, before recruiting Charlotte, the daughter of Ric Flair, to join them as she completed her initiation when she turned on Bayley and completed the trio. I’ve written before how much Sasha turning heel pleased me as it completely rejuvenated her career, much like it has for Charlotte, and I couldn’t be happier with how the three are improving their look as a group each time we see them. Before The BFF’s, Charlotte was just kind of there. She was talented yes, but she hadn’t yet developed a character beyond “Ric Flair’s daughter”. This put me more in the mindset of her wanting to be her own person, and she’s completely made the role work for her just like Sasha did.

A large credit of that does go to Summer Rae, who is someone I feel brings out the best in whoever she’s working with, whether it be on with them or against them. Summer has the “IT” factor about her, and I really appreciate the fact that she comes to NXT on her own time without anyone forcing her now that she’s on the main roster. The same can be said for Emma of course, but Summer has been on TV nearly a year and she doesn’t miss one NXT taping even if she’s working every show the WWE has in a weeks worth of programming. I’m not saying that Summer is the sole reason the BFF’s work though, but I think she’s a solid part of what completes them as a package.

Sasha and Charlotte deserve just as much praise, however. In addition to some of the tapings I’ve went to recently, I got to go to a live event where Charlotte and Sasha were their own entity without Summer Rae, and I can 100% say that the two of them can handle it as a duo. They completely fit together if Summer’s not there, and I’m not going to say I look forward to the day Summer eventually has to leave NXT, but I am excited to see what Charlotte and Sasha bring to the table if they ever get to go by themselves. I think a lot of people will be surprised at how well their act works even without the leader of the group there, and of course we know the ring work won’t suffer any because both of their styles really compliment each other when you mix Charlotte’s acrobatics and gymnastics background with Sasha’s scrappy, take no prisoners approach. I do have one minor complaint though, in that I wish Sasha Banks would get to speak more because she’s completely sold me over on the Boss character and I love when she gets to show off her charisma in it, however, let’s wrap the BFF talk on a positive note as I commend Charlotte on changing her look up a bit during this past weeks episode. She was absent for a while after joining the group, but she’s back and looks great to boot!

I did want to choose Sasha Banks and Bayley’s first match together fresh off of Sasha’s heel turn to represent the BFF’s because I think it’s such an underrated, great showing of how well Sasha and Bayley are in ring, but Charlotte wasn’t shown in that one so I’ve decided to pick last weeks match that way those of you who want to see Charlotte’s snazzy change up with her look can get a video form!

And finally on our TV radar is Lana, who you’ll know from her video package promos on Raw and SmackDown hyping up Alexander Rusev. Her Russian accent is incredible, and it’s reached the point I can’t go watch her iPad leaked promo video because hearing her talk in English is just too weird for me… even though it leaked before I knew she spoke Russian. Nevertheless, every time I see Lana, the one word that always comes to my mind is “star”. She’s a star just waiting to burst onto the scene and completely kill it. On NXT TV, she basically says very similar things every week while she’s introducing Alexander, but going back to the live events, I recently got to see her cut a promo all by herself when Alexander was touring with the WWE one weekend. She stood in the ring and basically went on about how Russia was so much better than America, before singing the Russian national anthem, being interrupted by Aiden English and sparking “USA” chants to carry over the entire night in every match. That was immediately when I knew she’d be something huge if they gave her the right backing, and it looks like they’re doing just that with her impending main roster debut!

I did manage to see a video of her entrance with Alexander on a SmackDown dark match taping, and if I have one complaint, it’s that I’d like her to get to speak in the entrance before their music starts playing. It sounds a little too much with her talking over the theme, almost as if she has to strain a little to keep herself higher than the beats. As long as that gets fixed up and they let her do the “Vnimania” (I know I botched it so bad), then you’re definitely looking straight at the star I see her as in NXT.

For Lana’s video, I want to pick something a little different than her usual entrance routine, therefore I’d like to select this backstage interview in which she interrupts Kofi Kingston and displays how easily she’s able to go from accent to accent (Yes I’m jealous).

Alright, that takes care of everyone who’s actively on television right now, but that’s not even half of our actual roster! We’ve got a lot of key players that I sense will be making some pretty big splashes by the time 2014 is over, so let’s take a gander at them and see what these women whom you might not be as familiar with bring to the table and play some armchair creative with how we’d introduce them to the TV audience.

Alexa Bliss is probably most notable for the leaked promo class videos involving she & Scott Dawson taking on their version of trailer park lovers made famous by my spiritual leaders, Jamie Noble and Nidia. You guys know how much I love Nidia and never want to see her character done wrong (Amy Zidian), so it should speak volumes that I was completely on board with Alexa and Scott. They shined so well together and it still to this day both pains and baffles me that their role didn’t go beyond those classes… plus I really really wanted them to bring in an actual teacup pig for her to carry around. Damn it! Oh well, maybe one day I’ll get my wish of seeing Miss Bliss walking around with a miniature piglet in her denim purse.

What would I have Alexa debut as though? Well since her wonderful trailer park work isn’t coming to fruition, I’d pick her as the next babyface to insert into the division. We need more of them since 2/3 of the ones used now (I count Paige as more of a tweener) consist of main roster Divas, and Alexa looks like the right fit for the job. She’s small, quirky, can act, and while we don’t have video of her wrestling just yet, she’s been there for a while and has took part in a few live event matches so I’m sure she’s ready enough. However, being this is NXT, she needs to establish some sort of character to go off of if she wants the fans to warm to her. I still think the trailer park look can work for her though, even if they don’t want to pair her with a male superstar. It’s completely different and we know she can pull it off. Take a chance on her NXT officials! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Being that we don’t have much new video to go off of, check out this clip featuring Alexa hitting a top rope spinning splash on Kalisto because… well, damn it, it looks cool and makes me want her to debut even quicker.

Becky Lynch is probably the Diva I’m most confused hasn’t debuted yet. I understand wanting to wait with some of the newer girls, but Becky’s been competing for years and had prior training before joining WWE. I know she took a break and all, but from what I’ve seen tweeted about her live event matches, she’s not rusty at all so that can’t be it. She was developing this limerick reading type of character to go off her Irish roots, which I actually got to see her do once beyond the promo class video back in November and I thought it came off pretty humorous and catchy. Honestly, it just needed a little bit of fine tuning sure, which she’s since gone on to do from that time based on what I’ve gotten to see from her since. I know everyone will have their time to shine, but I’m pretty surprised Becky’s hasn’t come yet!

How would I introduce Becky Lynch to the NXT TV audience? Well they are taping another batch of shows this Friday and the main guest is none other than Sheamus. Why not have Sheamus pull a similar situation that Ric Flair did with Charlotte and have him introduce Becky as his longtime friend back from Ireland, with her proceeding to come out and face one of the BFF’s in victorious fashion? I don’t see any problems with her coming into the swing of things as either a face or a heel in particular, so with Sheamus clearly a fan favorite, it’d be the perfect timing to add some fresh faces to the roster with Becky making the most sense to go for this week.

Since we’re again, limited on actual NXT videos with Becky, take a gander at her promo class video featuring the limerick character. This was back when I saw it live, so the fine tuning hadn’t happened just yet, but I think she’s really got it figured out perfectly now and could make it work in a similar way Emma did for the dance and Bayley for her persona.

Carmella, formerly known as Leah Van Damme, is the Diva I probably know the least about, but also the one I’m by far most excited to discover more of. I’ve only gotten to see her ring announce, but she did come off strong on the microphone from what I can recall. Plus, she’s begun developing this new “Mob Wives” type gimmick which has completely won me over from the get go. I like things that are different and I have no idea how she came up with this, but it’s perfect for her judging by the Tout she recorded a few days ago and the overall look she brings with it (Don’t think I didn’t notice that Nidia-esque mink coat). Carmella could’ve easily just done the whole ring announcing thing for now, but she’s trying out a character immediately and I honestly think it’s going to pay off big time down the road.

There’s not really much I would do in terms of introducing Carmella just yet. I think it’s still too soon for her to make her in ring TV debut since she hasn’t yet competed on a live event to my knowledge, and I honestly don’t want to see her paired with a male superstar because I think her character works supremely well on its own and there are other Divas that I’ll mention below who I find would benefit a lot more with a pairing than she would. She’s on the right path for now doing ring announcing and getting more comfortable in front of a crowd so that after any kinks are worked out of the mob gimmick, she’ll completely deliver it as well as I honestly feel she can do, which is really really really well.

For a sneak peak of Carmella, take a gander at the aforementioned Tout video by clicking here, capiche?

Dana Brooke is one of the most interesting people for me to talk about when it comes to the Divas who have yet to debut on NXT because I have quite a lot of thoughts about her and just where exactly I want to see her go. About a month ago, I got my very first dose of Dana when I saw her walk out and cut a promo on (I want to, with certainty, say the name) Slate Randall, basically sticking up for the fans and then proceeding to throw out T-Shirts and partake in Adam Rose‘s entrance as a Rosebud (female dancer… it’s so incredible my words won’t do it justice so just stay tuned to NXT). Honestly, as soon as she opened her mouth, I immediately envisioned her as this New York/Jersey girl character. Kind of like Cookie in TNA, but as a babyface (and yes I think she could make it work despite the fact Jersey Shore is no longer a fad).

I wasn’t sure whether she should be paired up or not, but then I remembered we actually have a male superstar named Colin Cassady who is over with the fans and has the exact same type of character I thought of Dana for, and the two could work wonders together! Like I said, he’s already over so she could gain support based on him, plus she would add that extra bit of oomph to his character that anyone could use. I don’t want them to be a carbon copy of Robbie E and Cookie or anything like that, but I think taking on the Jersey gimmick with a different spin and as babyfaces (since Colin is consistently cheered and beloved as one already) could make for some fun, interesting television and act as a way to get Dana on TV until she’s ready to get inside the ring.

So now I don’t mean to be demanding, but if you wish, click here and see if you can see her taking on that role as much as I did seeing it in person. Seriously guys, I’m ready for Colin Cassady to introduce his “baby gal, Dana Brooke” right now.

For the next two, I’m going to combine them because I feel like they each take on a role that already works for them, and that’s both Devin Taylor and Brandi Rhodes/Brandi Runnels/Eden Stiles… whatever you want to call her as I have no idea anymore to be honest. Now I know Brandi gets a lot of slack from fans for coming back and “taking up a spot” that could’ve been used to sign someone else, but honestly I don’t see the problem. She’s taking up a ring announcer spot, and not only that, she’s actually one of the best ring announcers they’ve ever tried out and had. Would you guys really rather have another Summer Rae situation where a Diva who we want to see competing is stuck doing ring announcing because she’s good at it? I certainly don’t.

As far as I’m concerned, Brandi Rhodes saved us from having to travel down that path with every promising, not yet debuted Diva as I was tired of watching the Angela Fong‘s, Summer Rae’s, and Alexa Bliss’s get stuck there.

Devin on the other hand, saves us from watching them become backstage interviewers. I don’t think she’s Renee Young level yet, but honestly who in their right mind is? Renee is a beast, but Devin is very solid in her own right. She is able to display a personality behind the microphone, and while at times, I do wish she could be a little more involved in the backstage segments, I don’t think that’s her fault per say as she can’t just go off script and steal the spotlight from whoever she’s interviewing. I do kind of want to see what she can bring to the ring, but for now, I’m very content with her interviewing because she was introduced as such and hasn’t really had matches yet so I don’t feel like it’s a wasted role. Eden and to a lesser extent, Devin, may not get a completely positive reaction from fans, but I’m grateful they’re here because they’re good at what they do and they help the chances of getting a full fledged roster going that isn’t just ring announcing and interviewing for every girl there.

We now reach the era of JoJo, most notable for a role on season one of Total Divas and introducing the world to the likes of player Justin Gabriel and backwards shirt wearing Sebastian. I’ll put it blunt when I say that many people thought JoJo was simply a waste of space on the roster because she didn’t bring the drama to Total Divas and was rushed to TV very quickly. She wasn’t as spotlighted as Eva Marie, which made fans find her to be bland. Fortunately though, JoJo turned a lot of heads at an NXT Live Event last November when she debuted in a tag team match alongside fellow Total Divas newb, Eva, as they squared off with the team of esteemed veterans, Emma and Paige, who definitely had quite a number of years experience on the two.

She wasn’t in the match very long, but she showed athleticism, quickness, agility, and incredible speed for someone so new. Suddenly, what people were quick to write off became someone people wanted to see more of. And unfortunately WWE quickly took her away from us soon after, but I have hope she pops up on NXT once Total Divas starts back up and she’s confirmed to be off season two because she’s clearly ready. To be honest, I felt she was more ready than some of the Divas who have been on the main roster for years but I digress. The fact is that both JoJo’s ability to quickly adapt and mix speed with high flying type maneuvers this early on and her young age both give her quite a promising career. Not to mention how she had the Survivor Series crowd chanting for her despite basically being a mute in the back half of Total Divas season one.

As far as a debut storyline, I think JoJo is a rare case of not needing a character… even in such a persona heavy era of NXT. Her size and unique wrestling style is enough to win over crowds in my opinion, and so I don’t think any fine tuning is needed at this point. Perhaps just a backstage segment where she’s welcomed to NXT by Devin during an interview and the BFF’s interrupt her. They’d taunt her for her size and Summer could play up the whole “I replaced you on Total Divas” shtick, which could lead to some fun tags alongside Bayley, as well as singles matches so we can really get a feel of what JoJo can do. The sky’s the limit with her honestly, and while time is on her side being only 20, I really want to see more of her sooner rather than later.

There’s not many in ring videos of JoJo to choose from, but if you want to see how she can do when put in front of a large audience, check out her performance in the Survivor Series 2013 Total Divas vs Non-Total Divas elimination tag here.

Are you guys still with me? Good lord, we’ve still got four to go. I really underestimated how much I was going to talk about these Divas, but that’s okay because giving NXT hype and praise is basically what I was put on this Earth to do. Kendall Skye is our next Diva up in the spotlight, and to be honest, I don’t really have much to say because I don’t know what’s going on with her. She ring announced for a while and then disappeared with an injury, but I haven’t seen that she’s returned yet. I like Kendall, it’s just that I haven’t had very much to go off of minus ring introductions or that September 11th promo, and neither of those really give much of an idea what character might work for her. Plus I didn’t even get to see her compete live so I can’t even judge her based off that… womp womp.

I do love her tweets though, so bonus points if her gimmick is coming to the ring and live tweeting her matches… wait a second, hmm. That could be interesting. It’s certainly different. Imagine Kendall facing off against Bayley or a BFF and pausing during the match to live tweet what goes on via her smartphone. “Whew, guys… totally kicking Bayley’s ass right now. Super fun!” Sure, it’d be weird since the shows are taped 10 months in advance, but it’s the thought that counts right? I have no idea where any of this came from, but I’m kind of intrigued by live tweeting Kendall Skye right now so let’s just go with that and see if anyone takes us up on it.

Three to go guys! Hang in there. The next stop is quite the ravishing, rocking, racy one… so of course, it’s Raquel Diaz. The daughter of Eddie and Vickie Guerrero, Raquel Diaz is a force once already on NXT for a time under an exfoliating ugliness tour, but left the company and later returned to amaze us all with her changing hair and ever growing Diva look. Since then, she’s cut some great promos at live events that prove she hasn’t lost an ounce of the personality she oozed during her first run, but sadly she’s not gotten to do any of it on TV yet. Personally, I think Raquel brings that uniqueness in the same way Paige does. There’s not one Diva who looks or acts like her. She’s completely original and it’s what I like about her a lot.

For an introduction… err, re-introduction, there’s not many ideas to go with for Raquel. She could manage a male superstar, which she’d honestly be good at but nobody in particular really screams that they fit with her gimmick except Tyler Breeze. He doesn’t really need a valet though, so that’s kinda out the window. She could come back in a feud, but she’s mostly been managing on the live events so I’m not sure if she’s returning in a wrestling capacity right away though. Or, she could always join the BFF’s and then just become the third in their group when Summer has to eventually leave. The only reason I bring up Summer leaving is that I know she comes on her off days, but with Total Divas and now The Marine 4 to film, I can’t see her having time to always be here. Raquel could be that mouthpiece the BFF’s have with Summer right now, and I think she could really add a different spin on their stable. Summer could always return to question them replacing her when Total Divas is on hiatus and the movie filming is done, which could be so much fun watching Raquel and Summer go at it in promos together. I guess I’ve just discovered I’m on Team Raquel to the BFF’s so let’s roll with that!

For a glimpse at what Raquel Diaz can do with her character work, I present to you one of the very first video packages given to a competitor on the revamped version of NXT when she took part in her “Exfoliating Ugliness Tour”.

Shara takes our next spot, who if you haven’t heard yet, is the artist formerly known as Sarah Backman. Shara (quite clearly) already stands out because of her extreme muscle and jacked-ness in comparison to the smaller framed Divas, and I’m immediately drawn to it. I’ve said before how the more unique you are, the more I’m drawn to you, and Shara is definitely unique. It’s easy to put her in a bodybuilder type role, but I’d like to give her some more time to train before she does that because I really don’t want her rushed to TV before she’s ready. Yes, this is the one time I’m sticking by NXT to keep them off TV for the time being. Hey, don’t snap at me guys… I’ve got my reasoning & it’s perfectly acceptable… I hope.

In Shara’s case, it’s for the better. If you put her on TV and she’s not got impressive skills in the ring, nobody will take her seriously as a force to be reckoned with. What I’d like to see her do when she’s ready though, is bodyguard for Eva Marie. They would be perfect together since others categorize Eva as a hot girl who can’t wrestle (Note: I said others… I don’t think this way because… well, why don’t I just save that for the next column #CheapPlug), so putting her in that Sable type role with Shara as her bodyguard to beat down all the other Divas while she gets the win over them would be ideal. They’re kind of doing it with AJ and Tamina, but people know AJ is skilled enough on her own which is where that doesn’t work for me. Eva gets heat already, so having her and Shara take on that type of role could create a magnet for reactions, and in turn, make others who face them get a louder positive response as well.

To gain a little glimpse at Shara, and since we don’t have videos just yet from NXT, here’s a pretty (to borrow from Bayley) schweet interview from her time as a world arm wrestling champion.

And of course (totally not because it was in alphabetical order) I saved the best for last! Veronica Lane aka my personal favorite Diva in developmental who hasn’t even yet made her on screen debut. There’s just something about her that screams “marketability” to me the same way it did with Eve Torres. She’s not 100% different in the sense that Paige or Raquel Diaz is, but really I think that works to her benefit because to me, she fits the Diva look, however, it’s in a way where she still stands out in an articulate, classy sort of fashion… again like Eve Torres. She doesn’t have the fan following of an Emma or Bayley (yet), but there’s something special about that which makes her impending debut all the more exciting because I don’t know what to expect. Basically, I think V-Lane has an very bright future as a Diva.

For my idea on how I want her to debut, I’ve concocted a master plan of exactly how I envision it. I won’t give away everything because I like to keep some suspense (dun dun DUN), but it involves she and Jason Jordan taking on the varsity-esque role that was done in the past by Alex Riley and Beverly. I have no idea what’s happening with her Miss NXT character, but it hasn’t been on live events lately so if I’m to assume it’s not going forward, I want this and I want it badly.

Jason Jordan (profile available here), for those who may not be familiar, is the superstar I’ve always felt had the most potential to be everything you could ask for. He has charisma, he comes off articulate, he’s nice, he has the ring skill, he’s got the look, and if I’m not mistaken, he was trained solely by NXT outside of having a background in collegiate wrestling which is what they seem to prefer. Legitimately the one and only thing I can find that’s missing is in this era where everyone’s getting a unique character, he doesn’t have one… yet, and I do NOT want to continue seeing him lose these quick matches at Full Sail dang it! You have no idea how much I facepalm in the crowd when it happens.

Ahem, therefore, I hope for the pairing of he and Veronica, not to be an exact replica of Alex and Beverly, but something along that effect of the varsity wrestling standout and his girlfriend. Veronica’s got the charisma that seems perfect for a sorority girl type, and Jason could definitely pull it off, plus he wrestled at Indiana University!… You guys, it just fits so well (in my head at least). I have no power to make this happen, therefore I’m currently submitting my résumé to NXT creative just so I can make Veronica and Jason a thing and then probably get fired because I will have put all my focus on them and nobody else. It could happen!

To gain a short look at the charisma Veronica displays under her Miss NXT persona, I’ve chosen one of the leaked promos — an interview segment with Devin Taylor — in which she puts forth her finest pageant answers to all of Taylor’s inquiries.

Well all, there we have it. If you’re the one person who stuck with me through all 6000 of these words AND when I basically turned this into a Veronica Lane appreciation post, I thank you. If you’re one of the others who didn’t, I completely understand. Overall, I love this roster of women, no matter how huge it is. Everyone brings something different to the table and they’re all trying to find characters that will propel them to the next level. Nobody feels interchangeable to me like the main roster can tend to at times, and that’s what makes me so excited for what lies ahead in the future.

I’m insanely proud of how far FCW/NXT has come as a whole in just a few years and if it wasn’t obvious, I’ll also be glued to my screen for NXT ArRIVAL. I don’t particularly know who I want to root for between Paige and Emma, so I’ll be on “Team put on a great match and may the best woman with the best theme song win”.

Until next time, get pumped, keep calm and cheer for these talented people as much as I do!

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