It’s NXT time! This week’s show isn’t chock-a-block with Divas, but it still managed to put on one of the division’s best matches of the year. We have Bayley continuing her hero’s journey to the top of the division as she takes on a href=”http://www.diva-dirt.com/tag/charlotte”>Charlotte. A win here would certainly put her in NXT Women’s Title contention. Would it be enough to buy her a spot her on the TakeOver card, though? Let’s watch:
After kicking off the program with their grand entrances, the Divas start the match with a good-natured handshake, eventually tying up. Bayley takes control with a side headlock, knocking Charlotte off her feet when she’s shoved into the ropes and bounces back. Charlotte merely kips up.
They tie up again, Charlotte taking control this time with a side headlock of her own. Bayley fights free and grabs hold of Charlotte’s left arm, twisting it behind her. Charlotte, lightning quick, flips a bit and takes control with another side headlock. She takes Bayley to the mat, maintaining the hold until Bayley turns it into a headscissors submission. Charlotte kips out of the hold and stops short of attacking Bayley in the corner.
They face off again, Charlotte catching Bayley in a waistlock. Bayley quicks spins free, again taking aim at Charlotte’s left arm. Charlotte rolls Bayley up into a pin attempt, but only gets a one count out of it. She takes Bayley and snapmares her into a seated position, locking in a headscissors before flipping her repeatedly around the ring. After a few of those, Charlotte frees Bayley and kips up. She sends a cryptic warning to Bayley, saying, “You made me do this.”
Bayley sits up against the ropes, and when Charlotte comes after her, she dodges, sending her through the ropes to the outside. Instead of taking a breather, though, Bayley slips out of the ring and dropkicks Charlotte through the ring post. She tosses Charlotte back in the ring and takes full control, knocking Charlotte off her feet with a series of double axe handle attacks.
She whips Charlotte into the corner and nails her midsection with a shoulder. When she backs up to do it again, though, she’s met with a big boot, Charlotte flattening her. She goes for the pin on Bayley, but Bayley kicks out. Charlotte then decides to wear her down a bit more, driving her shin into Bayley’s neck. The referee starts his count as we head to a commercial break.
When we return, Charlotte has Bayley on her feet, but she’s not in control. After a bit of a tug-of-war, Bayley tosses Charlotte across the ring. When Charlotte gets back to her feet, Bayley sails over her with a sunset flip, but Charlotte rolls through to avoid the pin. She grabs Bayley’s boot and positions herself for the figure four, but Bayley pulls her into a small package pin. Charlotte kicks out.
Bayley takes to the corner and fends of Charlotte’s attacks, climbing to the second rope and hitting Charlotte with a spinning back elbow. Charlotte stands and takes refuge in the corner, but Bayley stays on the attack, hitting her with a series of back elbows that wear her down. She tosses Charlotte with a suplex and then takes her to the opposite corner, lifting her up to the top turnbuckle. She joins Charlotte up there and hits her with a high risk Bayleycanrana! Bayley covers Charlotte for the pin, but she kicks out!
Bayley’s upset, but she meets Charlotte blow for blow when they get to their feet and square off again. Charlotte wins the exchange with a neckbreaker and a spear, covering Bayley for a pin of her own. Bayley manages to kick out. Charlotte tries again, but gets the same result. She then decides to end it another way, locking in the figure four! She can’t bridge it, though, and Bayley manages to flip them over and reverse the hold! Charlotte frantically grabs for the nearest rope, breaking the hold.
Charlotte fights off Bayley’s ensuing attacks with some chops to the chest, but on the third one, Bayley dodges, catching Charlotte in a backslide pin. Charlotte kicks out, but maintains the hook of their arms, standing up in the hold. She tries to pull Bayley into a pin attempt of her own, but Bayley fights it, heading to the nearest corner and climbing the turnbuckles. She flips over Charlotte, breaking the hold and hitting the Bayley to Belly out of nowhere! She covers Charlotte, but she somehow manages to kick out in the nick of time – the 2.8 count, let’s say.
Bayley brings Charlotte to a standing position and lays her out with a German release suplex. She waits a bit – probably too long – before going for another pin. Charlotte kicks out. Charlotte backs into the corner and fends off Bayley with a boot to the face and a schoolboy that sends the back of her head into the turnbuckle.
Charlotte grabs Bayley and climbs to the second rope. Bayley battles back, though, and hits Charlotte with a Bayley to Belly off the second turnbuckle! She pins Charlotte and finally earns the three count!
As Bayley exits, she exchanges a smile with Charlotte, the main roster Diva doing her part to pass the torch.
A bit later, Bayley reappears in a backstage segment with NXT GM William Regal:
She talks about the roll she’s been on and makes the case for an NXT Women’s Title shot. Regal says there’s another woman deserving of that shot: Becky Lynch. Bayley will face off with her next week in a number one contendership match, the winning facing Sasha Banks at TakeOver. It’s on!
Thoughts: Wow. What can I say about that match? Well, for one, I loved the fast paced nature of it – it made what could have been a stale match feel fresh. It actually felt like a mini TakeOver match, with Bayley’s desperation and Charlotte’s resilience on full display. It also did another nifty thing, proving that two babyfaces can square off and have an intense match without either being compromised.
I don’t think there’s any doubt at this point that Bayley’s ready for that top spot. She’s so dynamic in the ring, and the fans are with her all the way. I’m positive that she’ll be winning the Women’s Title at TakeOver, and it will be well deserved. I do wonder, though, how her character will be affected by that – what does the perpetual do when she’s at the top of the mountain? I’m excited to see a new side of her, and I’m sure she’ll be able to pull it off. It’s only a matter of time before she joins her fellow NXT standouts on the main roster, so the next few months could serve as a final test, allowing her to show some dimension and display her leadership abilities. It’s a shame she’s not up there yet, participating in the Diva Revolution, but someone had to stay behind, right? The division couldn’t handle losing all of their most familiar faces. Bayley’s a good choice to stick around, as she’s a fan favorite and can most certainly help put over the newer talent.
This match, in a nutshell, is what I’d like to see more of in the Diva Revolution: not just longer matches, but matches that tell a story and give you a sense that the Divas need to win and that they’ll fight until their last breath to get that victory. That level of emotion adds so much to a match and gives fans a sense of how important it is – hence the “This is wrestling!” chants showered on Bayley and Charlotte. The Divas need to be given the opportunity to dig deep and display real heroics. As much as I’m enjoying the new blood on the main roster, the weekly tag matches and singles bouts aren’t going to amount to much unless some real heart is injected into them. That can come from a story (*cough* any story, really *cough*), which would allow them to have a goal to work towards. If all they’re doing is playing musical opponents, there’s no urgency, and the excitement will wear off quickly.
Take it from Bayley: if you give a Diva a goal, they can turn it into a journey. If you give the fans a reason to care, they will follow that Diva every step of the way, with gusto.