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NXT Redux (April 12, 2017): A fresh focus

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Welcome to this week’s NXT review. This week’s show boasts new beginnings and right off the bat we’re greeted with a revamped theme song and an improved opening credits sequence. A new era, where have we heard and seen this before?

However, we start off women’s division action with some TakeOver fallout highlighting Ember Moon‘s character. This is a very encouraging start to the broadcast. Let’s watch:

We get a video package highlighting the bout between Asuka and Ember. After that fateful night Ember reflects in the empty arena. She said this was supposed to be her opportunity to show the world she could do anything. As she looks on she says it was supposed to be her destiny to be the one to make history and dethrone Asuka. She says TakeOver is where it all went wrong and it’s where Asuka proved that she would do anything to retain her title. She vows to be the next champion.

After Ember’s segment, we’re introduced to Ruby Riot as she makes her formal in-ring debut on an episode of NXT!

As Ruby makes her entrance an introductory video plays in the corner. She says she made her debut up against Sanity but she’s here in NXT because she has her eyes on the gold. With this match, she says, she’ll start on that path and incite a riot.

Her opponent is someone very familiar. It’s Kimberly Frankele, formally known as Kimber Lee! They eye each other up before squaring off. The wrestling starts off fast with reversals until Kimberly is able to start digging into Ruby with hard punches. She smashes Ruby’s face into the turnbuckle but then Ruby is able to counter with a boot to Kimberly’s face.

She then goes up for a flying huricanrana. All of a sudden though Nikki Cross pops up and starts banging on the barricade in the audience. Trying not to let the distraction get to her, Ruby grabs Kimberly but winds up eating a jawbreaker instead.

Ruby collects herself but Kimberly grabs her and grounds her with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Kimberly starts kicking Ruby while Nikki observes. Kimberly and Ruby then trade hard slaps in the corner. Ruby takes control of the match with multiple clotheslines and a dropkick. She then knees Kimberly’s face into the turnbuckle. The stiff hits continue as Ruby puts Kimberly away with a winding up pele kick.

Ruby ends the match staring down Nikki.

After the match we’re taken to some footage from earlier that day featuring Billie Kay and Peyton Royce as they continue their quest to redecorate the Performance Center in their image.

They spot Liv Morgan and Aliyah, calling them NXT’s resident losers. Peyton taunts Aliyah about her loss last week. Liv winds up pushing Billie into a tub in retaliation.

Thoughts: I can get used to this. Three women’s segments on one show, lord have mercy! It’s been quite some time since the women were able to capture this much time. I want to say it’s almost been a year since we’ve had so much development. I’m very pleased with this week’s episode of NXT. It hit all the right notes in all the right ways.

Though the new theme song on it’s own leaves something to be desired, it fits with the new opening sequence which now features more women than the old one did. That’s a very good sign.

Now to the segments, let’s start off with Ember. Her revelations video was a bit stiff but moving at the same time. This loss is going to propel her forward with a more determined focus. This is what her character has needed. Ember’s been lacking development and direction since she debuted. We knew she’d be special, we know she’s a fantastic talent, but her motives were still thin. We still don’t know much about her but this segment is taking her in a new and better direction. Now we’ll truly know who Ember is. We’ve seen her fall, it’s her next actions that will give us what we need to know. Also, she’s finally being given some mic/promo time. I want her to give us everything she’s got and she’ll get there. Like I said, her voice over was stiff but NXT is developmental, with practice she’ll learn when to emote and effectively use her voice to get herself over even more. I’m ready for it.

The match between Ruby and Kimberly was fiery. I could watch them wrestle all day and would have loved for them to get the chance to work even more. I can’t wait until Kimberly is able to flesh out a firm character for herself and her theme song was great! Ruby is also very swift and very smooth. I’m already a very big fan of her and this is the first time I’m seeing her in action outside of that TakeOver spot. Kudos to NXT for taking the time to give Ruby some more motivation too. It was a nice touch to have that promo video as she entered the ring. I loved how this furthered her story line with Nikki too.

Nikki plays her role so wonderfully. She’s crazy and can’t control herself. Ruby is dynamic and seems to pack a more controlled version of madness. When they collide it should produce a delightful match. I can’t wait to see it!

The last segment was wild also. I’m glad they decided to give the Icons and the newbies a consistent narrative. They followed up on Peyton’s win against Aliyah and tried to show us that the underdogs will fight back.

Aliyah still needs heaps of character work but now we know for certain Aliyah and Liv are partners too and Liv has her back. Liv was her gutsy self so no complaints there. She’s already partially established as a no nonsense babyface even if her style needs tweaking.

All in all it’s very encouraging to see NXT start this “new era” on the right foot. Now I want to see them keep it up!

What did you think of last night’s NXT? Are you excited for a possible Ruby/Nikki showdown? Did you like Ember’s segment? Sound off in the comments below.

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