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Welcome to this week’s NXT review! It’s the beginning of a new chapter in the brand and even though it still feels a bit like the old one, our division is moving forward with a strong showing by Carmella as she takes on Tessa Blanchard, daughter of WWE Hall of Famer and Four Horsemen Tully Blanchard.
Before we get to the match, a recap of NXT TakeOver: The End is highlighted as it shows the debut of new faces in the Authors of Pain and Andrade Cien Almas, the first two time NXT Champions The Revival, and drives home the viciousness of our current champion Asuka when she took on the unstoppable Nia Jax.
Then we get to our second match of the show as commentary puts over Carmella’s renewed vigor to become the next NXT Women’s Champion.
Carmella makes her signature entrance as does Tessa who exhibits some spunk towards The Princess of Staten Island and the crowd this week. They lock up, with Carmella working the hold. She begins backing Tessa towards the corner and tries to roll her up but Tessa pushes Carmella off. Tessa winds up in the corner anyway where Carmella takes her down with a headscissor from the top turnbuckle. Tessa makes her way back to her feet but is taken back down by a dropkick from Carmella.
Tessa starts fighting back and taunts Carmella when she’s down. She sweeps Tessa onto the ground but Tessa is able to subdue Carmella and puts her in a rest hold, stretching her abdomen and neck. Carmella begins fighting out of it with slaps and a super kick. She sets up Tessa in the corner for a bronco buster before grabbing Tessa and planting her with a face buster. Carmella quickly chains it into her signature inverted triangle submission which now has a name, The Code of Silence, and puts Tessa away.
Blake and Murphy are in action against the debuting TM-61, however they are without mean queen Alexa Bliss. The crowd immediately notices and chants for her, probably making the spiteful one proud.
Later on we see a recap of Bayley‘s match with Nia a few weeks ago where she injured her knee and was put out of action. We catch up with Bayley who is standing by with Andrea Dimarco.
Bayley says she’s meeting with a doctor next week and if all goes well NXT General Manager William Regal said she will be reinstated to compete. She then promises to get her title back.
Thoughts: Carmella really shined here. She’s struggled in the past with pacing but this match showcased her improved in-ring progress. It was back and forth between both the ladies and the match was very fluid, something her bouts have lacked a little bit in the past. I can’t wait to see her go up against other opponents in the division.
Unfortunately, if the rumors are true of WWE raiding NXT talent for the draft I can see them trying to call up Carmella. I’m hoping she gets to stay in NXT to just hone her craft a little bit more. She’s getting the timing down, she has her determined, plucky babyface character, and the only thing left to shoot her over the moon is tightening up her in ring psychology. She displayed some prowess and introduced new maneuvers here instead of relying on Thesz Presses and strikes. I’m digging it!
I’m still a bit troubled by the lack of any stories outside of title chase narratives though. I know NXT has positioned Bayley, Nia, Alexa Bliss, and Carmella as our next top stars but their competition is no where to be found. Tessa isn’t even contracted and she displayed a few cocky heel traits more than our signed indy vets have. What gives?
Peyton Royce is primed to be the next biggest heel once they start to develop her. She has a character that I’m just waiting to hear more about. We also have Liv Morgan and Aliyah who can be baby faces among some stars that haven’t even debuted yet. I want to see the ball rolling with them too.
Did you enjoy Carmella’s performance? What stories do you hope to see in the division? What stars do you want to see get built? Sound off in the comments below.