Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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NXT Redux (July 8th, 2015): Friendship Doesn’t Come Free


It’s NXT time, and we’ve got a big one on deck. Sasha Banks is making her first in-ring appearance since her show-stealing match at TakeOver, set to take on Dana Brooke and Emma. She’s yet to acquire an opponent, but surely she’ll find somebody, right? Right?

The match kicks off the show, Dana and Emma coming out together first, Emma ironically (or unironically?) getting a half-assed, last minute introduction from the announcer.

Sasha’s next, arriving solo. Dana takes the mic and mocks Sasha, bragging that they were right: she has no partner. Sasha admits she’s alone, but she’ll take on both Miss Piggy and her kangaroo friend alone.

That’s not to be, though, because then Charlotte‘s music comes blasting out of the speakers, and she heads to the ring. Sasha’s perplexed, so Charlotte takes the microphone and tells Sasha she’ll be her partner, but she’s owed one.

The bell rings, and we’re off! Sasha attacks Dana and tosses her into the corner, kicking her in the side of the head. She tags in Charlotte, who offers a boot for Sasha to slam Dana’s head into. Sasha snapmares Dana, setting her up for tandem kicks to the chest and back. They cap that off with tandem finger snaps and WOOOOs! Hell has frozen over!

Charlotte drives a knee into Dana, who then scrambles over to the corner and tags in Emma. Emma comes charging in, but Charlotte takes her down easily, bridging for an early pin attempt. Emma kicks out. Charlotte hits a knee on Emma and runs the ropes, but Emma rolls out of the ring to freedom. Charlotte gives chase, giving Emma time to slip back into the ring and tag in Dana.

Emma slips out of the ring again, prompting Charlotte to stick her head through the ropes. Dana kicks the side of her head and enters the ring, slamming her head against the mat. She sends Charlotte into the corner and tags Emma back in. Emma stomps Charlotte’s midsection a bit before Dana is tagged back in and continues the job. Emma tags back in and finishes it. She then seats Charlotte in the middle of the ring and captures her in a bodyscissors submission. Charlotte is pretty frantic, soon fighting out. A right hand sends her back to the mat, though.

Emma tags in Dana, who drives a few shoulders into Charlotte and hoists her up, slamming him to the mat. She covers Charlotte for the pin, but only nabs a near fall. Dana stretches Charlotte, taking and arm and a leg in her grasp. Charlotte again fights free, kneeing Dana in the face and rolling her into a pinning combination. Dana kicks out.

Having bought herself a bit of time, Charlotte manages to tag in Sasha, who goes on a tear of offense, taking down Dana repeatedly and knocking Emma off the ring apron. She pounces on Dana, flattening her with a Lou Thesz press, pounding her in the head. Dana takes refuge in the corner and Sasha comes charging, nailing her with double knees. This drops Dana to her backside and Sasha again nails the double knees, this time straight to her face. Sasha folds Dana up for the pin, but Emma breaks it up.

Pissed, Sasha shoves Emma straight out of the ring. This distraction allows Dana to lift Sasha onto her shoulder for her finisher, but Sasha wriggles free and hits the Bank Statement! Just as Emma runs in to break it up, Charlotte enters the ring and stops her, locking in a figure four! She bridges it into a figure eight just as Dana taps out, awarding the victory to Charlotte and Sasha.

The victorious pair celebrate after the match, still looking a bit like grudging allies until they hug. Awww. Charlotte takes the microphone and says a deal’s a deal: Sasha needs to grant her a Women’s Title shot next week. Sasha agrees. Hot damn!

Shortly after, we greet Bayley for the first time in a few weeks.

She reveals that she’s suffered a broken hand at the *cough* hands of Emma, but is determined to win the NXT Women’s Championship. She equates her goals to that of Triple H and Stone Cold Steve Austin, who became champions after returning from injuries. She tells Emma that she’ll be the first person on her list – and she’ll be getting more than a hug.

Lastly, we see Carmella back in her managerial role, accompanying Enzo Amore and Colin Cassidy to the ring for their NXT Tag Team Title #1 contendership match against The Vaudevillians:

Enzo and Cass lose, so they won’t be facing Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy anytime soon. Boo. Bring back the Alexa Bliss/Carmella feud!

Thoughts: I thought, from the spoilers, that Charlotte and Sasha would team up in a pre-planned way, but it make a lot more sense to Charlotte to come out unexpectedly. That way, Sasha maintains some of her stubbornness. I’m not really into the idea of her as a babyface, but she’s probably on the cusp of her main roster debut anyways, and they’ll have their own plans for her character there. It’s always cool to see enemies find common ground, and this was no exception. If this was built up a bit more and, say, booked for a TakeOver, this could have been Lita and Trish-esque.

The match itself was fun, the constant tags making for good tag team psychology no matter how annoying they make recapping the match. Dana is definitely improving, and I can see her chemistry building with Emma, but she still emits the vibe of someone who creative desperately wants to get over rather than someone who is getting themselves over. Maybe she’ll bridge that gap eventually, but I still can’t escape the feeling that there are other woman in NXT who would make better teammates for Emma and would rock this massive role (a heel trying to dethrone both Charlotte and Sasha) better.

I can’t wait for Charlotte and Sasha’s match, which I understand will main event next week’s show. That will surely be huge. I suppose it’s only a matter of time before they make the leap to the main roster (likely helping out Paige in her crusade against Team Bella), and I’m excited for that, but I’m also afraid of what babyface debuts will do for these Divas, both of whom I think would benefit from being heels on the main roster. I guess the Divas are light on babyfaces, though, so the newbies will have to be good guys for now. Regardless, if next week is their swan song, I’m sure they’ll make it a memorable one. From the main event of NXT to a run-in at Battleground, perhaps? Stranger things have happened.

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