Sunday, July 3, 2022

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NXT Redux (July 1st, 2015): Emma and Dana Aim for Total Division Dominance

It’s NXT Redux time! This week’s show is noticeably a transitional one, getting us geared up for Sasha Banks‘s in-ring return. In anticipation of that, we have Emma displaying dominance over Carmella with her protege Dana Brooke by her side. Also in the wings is an injury reveal by Becky Lynch (no!!!) and a training update from Eva Marie. Let’s get started…

Our first Diva sighting of the night comes from Becky Lynch, who is joined by Devin Taylor in the medical trainer’s room to talk about the status of a hip flexor injury she suffered at TakeOver:

My memory may be failing me, but I don’t recall even hearing whispers about a Becky injury. Though, we’ve had a slew of Diva injuries lately, so it’s possible it got lost in the shuffle in my brain. It’s a shame to have her sitting on the sidelines, but between her, Sasha and Bayley, rehabbing probably isn’t lonely. It’s good to know she should only be out for a few weeks, too. Get well soon, Becky!

Becky also made an appearance in the third and final part of NXT’s Finn Balor autobiographical series:

Elsewhere, we got a quick update on the status of Eva Marie’s training, a segment showing her training in front of NXT GM William Regal and Assistant Head Coach Sara Amato:

This story’s going just about as I expected. The moves there weren’t as awe-inspiring as the stuff she pulled off in that video with Brian Kendrick, but it’s nice to see her getting comfortable with the basics, since you can’t do the fancy stuff without first building ring presence. I wonder what she’ll do to finally convince Regal to give her a match. Maybe Sara can get involved?

Immediately following that is our Divas match of the night: Emma takes on the “Princess of Staten Island”, Carmella:

Emma comes out with Dana Brooke by her side, sporting some new music. This tune fits her much better than her last theme. I think it helps that it’s basically a remix of her old theme, which beats the hell out of some generic alt-rock thing. I’m not sure it really fits her new heel persona, though. Maybe if she resurrected a bit more of her old weirdness…

Carmella’s out next, and we’re soon off to the races. Emma kicks Carmella’s fur coat out of the ring, which fires her up. She takes control out of the opening tie-up with a side headlock, taking Emma down to the mat. Emma turns the tables with a headscissors submission, which Carmella fights out of.

Emma doesn’t let Carmella get far, though, trapping her in a side headlock of her own. Carmella reverses and locks in yet another side headlock, but is soon shoved off into the ropes. She hops over a flattened-out Emma and sends her into the ropes when she spring to her feet, eventually tossing her to the mat and capturing her in a – you guessed it – side headlock! Emma gets free by grabbing a handful of Carmella’s hair and kneeing her in the midsection. She whips Carmella into the corner, but her attack is halted, and she’s soon tossed across the ring via a hurricanrana from Carmella!

Carmella is fired up, taking Emma down with a clothesline and prompting the main roster Diva to seek refuge in the ropes. The referee stops her from attacking Emma, leaving her open to a sneak attack. Emma kicks her and slams her head-first to the mat. Emma covers her for a rather half-hearted pin, and Carmella kicks out.

Emma then props Carmella up and traps her in a bodyscissors submission, punching her in the back for added punishment. Carmella fights a bit and eventually leanins back to catch Emma in a pinning position. Emma kicks out, but doesn’t break the hold, and unleashes her frustration on Carmella’s spine. She then uses her legs to roll Carmella to the side for a pinning combination, but Carmella kicks out.

Emma resumes the hold, but Carmella is keen to get free at this point, and elbows her way to freedom. Emma maintains control, though, sending Carmella into the corner and driving her shoulder into her midsection repeatedly. Carmella fights her off and goes on an offensive streak punctuated with a Lou Thesz press. She hits Emma with wild fists and tosses her into the ropes, doubling her over with a kick before charging and nailing her in the side of the head with a boot.

Carmella shoves Emma into the corner, nails her in the midsection with her shoulder and drops her to the mat on the back of her head. She’s all fired up, and comes charging at Emma with a head full of steam. Emma trips her up, though, and finds her in perfect position for the Emma Lock. She locks it in and Carmella quickly taps out, handing the win to Emma. Post-match, she and Dana taunt Carmella, flaunting the victory.

Lastly, we catch up with the sore winners Emma and Dana backstage as they thwart Devin’s plan to interview NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks. Long time no see, Sasha!

Dana and Emma bully Sasha a bit (never thought I’d type that sentence) before Sasha strikes back. She says she’ll take them both on, leading Dana and Emma to propose a tag match, which she accepts. Sasha says she’ll find a partner, but Emma and Dana aren’t so sure about that, as the champ isn’t exactly known for her friendliness.

I’m excited to see what comes from this (Don’t worry – I’m not giving any spoilers!), but I wasn’t exactly wowed by this segment. I still get the feeling that Dana’s being given assignments outside her skillset, doing most of the talking in this segment when she’s clearly the weakest on the mic. She again seemed to be reading her lines, which just looks sloppy in a pre-taped segment. Come on, Dana, I want to root for you!

Thoughts: This felt very much like a transitional week, setting the stage for Sasha’s in-ring return and giving Emma and Dana yet another win to enhance their sense of dominance. The Emma/Carmella match was entertaining and brought us a fresh combination, which I’ll always appreciate. Carmella is improving by leaps and bounds, and I’m impressed by how she manages to stand out and inject her character to her ring work. I hope she reignites her feud with Alexa Bliss. soon. Needless to say, I’m rooting for her boys to win that shot at the NXT Tag Team Titles.

I’m still not sold on the Emma/Dana dynamic, but their upcoming tag match should give them the opportunity to flesh out their connection a bit more. I know they’re supposed to be an odd couple, but that needs to be acknowledged or played up in some way. Have Dana weirded out by Emma or something. I can kind of see what NXT’s going for with them, but they still look like two Divas that were tossed together for lack of other options, and that does them both an injustice. There’s got to be a way to make that pairing make sense. Come on, NXT – work your magic!

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