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NXT Redux (April 26th, 2017): Crazy is as crazy does

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Welcome to this week’s NXT review! The women’s division is constantly evolving. While Asuka dominates the title scene, the rest of the competitors are carving out a niche for themselves in this rough and tumble landscape. Two women primed to collide are the highlight of this week’s episode.

We start off with Nikki Cross, who’s now set her sights on tearing apart Ruby Riot.

She slithers into the ring and then out of it to approach the ring announcer. She calls out Ruby to “come and play.” Ruby comes out and makes her way to the ring. Both women enter the ring at the same time, staring each other down. Ruby asks Nikki what she wants as Nikki just laughs and smiles at her.

Nikki lunges at her and Ruby starts pummeling her. Both women brawl. Refs make their way to the area to tear the two a part. They keep fighting as Nikki jumps off the steel steps, taking down Ruby and a security guard. The refs scramble to hold Nikki and Ruby away from each other as the crowd chants “Let them fight!”

Later on William Regal announces a match has been made for the night between Ruby and Nikki.

After the announcement, new NXT interviewer Christy St. Cloud stands by with Ruby.

Christy asks Ruby about her clashes with Nikki and how she feels about her upcoming match. Ruby says while she can get behind Sanity‘s message of nonconformity and rebellion, Sanity wants everyone else to conform to their ways. Sanity pushes and pushes everyone else but when Ruby is pushed, she’ll push back, she says. Tonight is the night she forces Nikki out of her way so she can begin her rise to the NXT Women’s Championship scene, she says.

Ruby makes her way to the match but before even making it down to the ring, Nikki attacks her from behind!

Nikki brawls with Ruby. She slams her back into the ring apron and then drags Ruby to the stage where she bangs her head on the stage apron. Ruby fights back. Ruby suplexes Nikki on the steel ramp and then hits Nikki with stiff fists. They continue to fight outside the ramp. They continue to strangle each other and pound each other with punches.

Refs make their way to Nikki and Ruby again to force them apart. As the refs force both women away from each other Ruby knocks them out of her way and she dives off the stage at Nikki! Ruby continues her assault. Ruby yells “get off of me!” at the refs as the take her away. Meanwhile, the refs, holding Nikki completely down, drag her screaming away.

After all the commotion William Regal stands by with Asuka in his office.

He says while Nikki and Ruby couldn’t settle their differences tonight, he’s going to settle the matter of who’ll be the new number one contender for the NXT Women’s Championship next week. He announces a Battle Royal for next week’s episode. Asuka just scoffs at him and leaves.

Thoughts: Though there was no match this week, this episode still delivered in ways we haven’t seen in a long time. I’m very pleased. The slow burn between Nikki and Ruby is being readied to come full circle and explode.

I believe Nikki is the real wildcard of the division. There’s a reason she’s been completely separated from everything that’s been going on within the division so far. She’s gotten character development and she’s a crazy that we haven’t seen since Luna Vachon. We can’t really say the same for the majority of the rest of the women’s division, sadly. It’s been rough but Nikki has been one of the brighter spots during this inconsistent time.

She’s unhinged and will do whatever it takes to tear her opponents apart. Nikki embodies masochism to a T and there’s a reason why we haven’t seen her fully reveal her skills yet. I can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve when everything comes together.

I’m already a huge fan of Ruby, which didn’t take very long. Her movements are swift and she has her punk rock, rebellious, non-conformity, character down pat. She’s my aesthetic and represents things I personally believe in so it’s also very gratifying to see her work the mic in such a profound way. She’s only been on NXT TV for a few weeks but she’s already so different from all the other women. This will really help her continue to stand out and is definitely a good sign as to how she’ll shine moving forward. I’m eager to see what she’s going to do next.

I really enjoyed the multiple brawl sessions too. This is something we haven’t really seen for the women in forever. The men get chances to brawl much more often and sometimes men’s matches are completely upended by the pure hatred each competitor has for each other. It was refreshing to see such brutal fights. It really shows that moving forward, the women will again be back on track to regain their prominent status on the brand.

I’m also very, very glad that NXT FINALLY included Asuka in a backstage segment. She doesn’t need to compete every week, she’s beyond that at this point but to not have her visible at all hurts the division.

Here’s to hoping that NXT has turned a new leaf and will be more consistent in its approach to the women. We are finally starting to get strong characters again, it’s now time to develop compelling stories for everyone else.

What did you think of this week’s NXT? What do you think will happen next in the Nikk/Ruby feud? Sound off in the comments below.

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