Friday, April 12, 2024

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NXT Redux (April 1st & April 15th, 2015): Friends(?) Collide and Dana Brooke Debuts

Greetings all. It’s late, life got in the way, sorrrry.

I’m here now though, and that will likely never be good enough so let me shush and get started on this two (taking place over the course of three) week redux funfest!~

First up, we travel back in time and pretend it’s April 1st… ahem:

The crowd erupts as I potentially cry tears of joy at one of the finest themes in wrestling right now while Bayley makes her grand entrance. Up next comes our good girl gone bad… Emma! Emma does not look as happy to be here as usual, and proves it with her less than enthusiastic slide into the ring. Emma first tries to apologize and get back in Bayley’s good graces, but Bayley tries to not fall for it. They lock up as Bayley backs Emma into the corner and breaks off, before Emma shoves her back and gets put in a waistlock. Counter, as the two jockey for position. Bayley takes Emma down with a shoulder tackle as Emma takes her down and then hits a huge clothesline. She looks to assist Bayley to her feet and then slams her in the corner.

Emma tries to bring the fire out of Bayley, as she finally starts to show it a little. Emma now regains control, but only for a moment as Bayley loads up and fires away! She misses a corner splash and falls victim to the tarantula, followed up with the Emmamite Sandwich. A cocky pin attempt gets reversed into the three and Bayley wins!

After the match, Emma looks a little upset as Bayley helps her up before heading up the ramp and leaving a conflicted Emma alone in the ring.

Just then, we head backstage to find the holy messiah of journalistic integrity, Devin Taylor as she stands with Becky Lynch. Come to find out, Becky requested this time to speak because she wants to remind everyone about how close she was to being NXT Womens Champion. Everybody else has had title opportunities… except her. Why hasn’t Becky Lynch had an opportunity? She came from Ireland to become NXT Womens Champion, and Sasha Banks may not be that bad… but she’s not Becky Lynch good. This is her title and her empire, so welcome to N-BEX-T.

Now to flash forward to April 15th, hey only a few hours off!

Our resident blueberry (as in a wonderful, healthy treat), Blue Pants makes her way out to the ring and continues to perform the greatest in ring non-Naomi dancing jig since Alicia Fox and DJ Gabriel existed. Up next? Daaaaaana!

Holy Jesus, if this theme song has longevity it could potentially knock Sasha’s from my top spot. We’ll see.

This entrance is everything! And it’s complete by the introductions made possible by JoJo “LET HER WRESTLE GOD DAMMIT” Offerman. Dana looks great… buuuut, there is a little bit too much feelin’ herself going on right now. The bell sounds as the fans immediately warm to Blue. Leva with some shots to the face, but Dana shoves her off and drops her like a sack of hot potatoes. Brooke slams her back and nails a… was that a? Yes, yes I think it was. Dana don’t play no games.

A slingshot follows up as Dana clocks her with some punches for a two. I feel sad. She kicks Leva to the ropes and starts choking her, as it then converts to a really nice handstand boot choke. Leva with some huge kicks of her own! Fire up Blue-y! She tries for an Irish Whip, but Dana counters and nails a beautiful sit out powerslam for the win.

Thoughts: Kicking things off with Bayley vs. Emma, I felt this was completely a story driven match so there’s no point to really focus on the ring work. It told an excellent story and Emma does NOT get enough credit for how on point she is with this character. She has mannerisms and facial expressions and body language nailed, and I loved the tease post match with Bayley turning her back only for Emma to contain herself. It feels too soon to have a full on turn, but I’m ready to see what she can do as a heel because if this was any inclination, Emma is going to be 2015’s Tyson Kidd and I am ready for the lashings she will give on the main roster with her brilliance.

The Becky Lynch segment was also stellar because it had the truth behind it. She’s essentially vanished for whatever reason, and even Alexa Bliss got thrusted into the title picture when she was gone for months. I love promos that can be seen as relatable and truthful, and Becky is getting soooo much better and more comfortable with her delivery since the days of Bayley BFF who goes “Heyyyyyy” and Sasha scorner who says “Discoostin”. It just feels like she’s the woman who is going to have a breakthrough we all talk about come the end of 2015, and I really 100% think she & Bayley will become the new Sasha/Charlotte (which I am allllll here for).

I feel sad for Dana, honestly. I think she’s better than what was shown tonight and it was probably a mix of nerves (and the fact that when this was filmed 205 years ago, they weren’t even using her on houseshows to prepare). I don’t think the match was atrocious or anything, and we’ve certainly seen worse. I’m just bummed because I think you can tell they put a lot into her with the video hyping and her entrance. The theme is great, the finisher is great, the entrance is great (just some toning down on the in ring posing which she obviously will learn when watching it back). She just has to work on some stuff.

One thing I pray gets improved upon is her branding, which is all over the place. She’s a powerhouse with huge muscles, but she’s feeling herself up like the sexy model girl taunt in every WWE video game. I feared her persona would just be “I have muscles” and it looks like that’s what they’re going with. Gahh, she needs something more to spark it. NXT fans either want over the top that is so outrageous it’s amazing or they want over the top with a slight amount of seriousness that can be backed up in the ring. Dana, right now, doesn’t fit either of those and I want her to badly because I want as many debuts as possible so this division can flourish and not get stuck in singles match woes.

To me, she just needs to do some tweaking. They’ve amped up using her on live events which is great because she can actually, you know, get better. Now I want her to develop a character beyond just muscles.

Brand her the Barbie Killer and go FULL ON Barbie Killer. Give me hype videos of her crushing people. Turn her into an absolute monster with war paint under her eyes. I want to see her bring a Barbie doll out in her entrance and rip it to shreds before each match. Oh, and I want need to see her pulling these women’s extensions out inside the ring and saving them to form a trophy-esque necklace that she enters with and removes ala Rusev and his medal. She’s got to do something to stand out in this day and age of NXT where everyone expects you to either be Indy King/Queen or Over the Top Kooky Jesus when you have your first match. Give me savage Barbie Killer Dana Brooke, I’m rooting for you!

That’s it for now. Sorry again for the lateness of week one (blame NXT Axxess for the extra lateness), but hopefully it can work out from here on out.


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