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Welcome to this week’s NXT Redux! What a frantic and emotional week for women’s wrestling in WWE. Bayley made an immediate impact on the main roster when she teamed up with Sasha Banks at Battleground.
We then saw The Boss become the new WWE Women’s Champion, achieving her dream and proclaiming women’s wrestling is here to stay. Following Monday, the blue brand delivered a dynamite back and forth rematch between Becky Lynch and Natalya, followed by a red carpet debut for each of the women in the division as they stake their claims at being the best the new era has to offer (also hopefully setting the pieces for a new Women’s Championship for the brand).
What does NXT have in store for us? Well, The Femme Fatale Billie Kay is back in action against celebrated indy wrestler Santana Garret. Meanwhile, Bayley lobbies for her rematch against Asuka for NXT TakeOver: Back to Brooklyn.
Lets get into the action.
Each woman makes their entrance, with Billie receiving new dramatic intro music? The two tie up, with Billie slamming Santana before they engage in a series of holds and reversals. Santana counters with a dropkick but Billie catches her with strikes to the back. Billie subdues her with a butterfly suplex and continues striking and kicking her.
During the match commentary notes that after her brief debut on SmackDown a few weeks ago Billie’s ego has been growing. She’s become isolated and devious. However, Corey Graves tells Tom Phillips that her ego isn’t a problem, she’s always been commanding and enigmatic.
Santana manages to back elbow Billie, headbutt her and hit her with her forearms. She gets Billie in the corner for a back hand spring but Billie powers out and hits Santana hard with a big boot, putting her away.
After the match we get taken backstage where Bayley meets with General Manager William Regal to lobby for her rematch against Asuka.
She says she wants to face her at Brooklyn, the same place she won the Women’s Championship last year. It’s time to make history. He obliges and says he will talk to Asuka and set up a contract signing for the bout.
We’re then taken to a short but interesting promo package for someone standing against the background of a moon. It says the tides of change are shifting. Could this finally be Ember Moon?
Thoughts: I’m a bit concerned right off the bat with this episode and it’s got nothing to do with our match. For one, the opening credits have changed and for the women, NXT showcases many shots of Bayley and Asuka, while only one other NXT homegrown talent makes a brief appearance. This is kind of a bad impression for a “new era” that promises more new talent will make their mark. I understand NXT has just been raided and as a whole we’re in a transitional period again but pieces need to be laid down, now.
Bayley’s call up is more than likely happening in less than two to three months and after Sunday, judging by the crowds’ hot acceptance of her, it might be sooner. Asuka right now is a ghost champion, more on that later. Creative has failed to generate multiple stories which would build and introduce multiple women. It’s looking dire at the moment.
But, but, these next few weeks and month will be crucial to correcting this issue.
Billie’s return match is a start. Both women looked strong and it’s about time we see Billie back in the ring where she belongs. She’s crisp, cool, and collected. She just needs a narrative now. Commentary was doing their best to begin weaving one but we’re still lacking side feuds. We’ve been lacking them for months outside of the former NXT trio of Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and Nia Jax‘s rise to the main roster. While I really enjoyed those moments, there’s been women waiting for their time to shine and I’m not sure what creative/booking are waiting for.
Additionally, that brief hype video, if that’s setting up Ember, who will most likely take the division by storm, we need more of those packages stat.
After the draft we do have a clearer picture of where things are headed but I think until Bayley’s story is wrapped up, we won’t know for certain who will lead our next generation.
Speaking of which, Asuka. I’m not really a fan of ghost champions. She doesn’t need to defend the belt at every NXT weekly show but she hasn’t even appeared in a match after the last TakeOver!
Since she’s a mysterious and brutal force, she should be in more backstage segments just lurking, or training, or something. Anything would be better than just not having her around at all. I’m still a fan, she’s an amazing competitor, probably the best in NXT. She has the gift where she can MAKE her opponent. But I’m afraid WWE has reached their ceiling with her.
From reading spoilers I know business is about to pick up but without any meaningful stories aside from the title chase, it’s nerve wracking to think that all the progress that’s been made to finally usher in respect for women’s wrestling, create memorable characters, and prove that women can hang with their male counterparts could be undone or stall by lack of foresight and planning at the developmental level. I know there are women waiting to show what they can do and run with whatever role they are given.
What I’d like to see moving forward is more backstage segments, more interviews, and big introductions for the women’s division. What does competing in NXT mean to them? Why are they here? Who’s the best? Who’s friends or enemies and why? What makes them the next leader?
Sometimes it gets exhausting having to fight for continuous, complex, and multiple story lines for the women. NXT is where it’s all supposed to begin. NXT has made women’s matches the main event and no one bats an eye anymore. Now it’s time to consistently tell bigger stories.
What did you think of this week’s NXT? With the draft behind us, what do you hope happens in the division? Excited for Bayley vs Asuka II? Sound off in the comments below.