Saturday, September 30, 2023

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NXT Redux (June 5th, 2014): An Unfriendly Homecoming

Welcome, NXT fans! Yes, the NXT Redux is being handled by a foster parent again. This week, that’s me! Fresh off of NXT Takeover, new Women’s Champion Charlotte is taking on the ever lovable Bayley in a non-title match. Charlotte, of course, has Sasha Banks by her side. Will the numbers advantage play in the champ’s favor? Let’s see:

Charlotte takes control of the opening tie-up, capturing Bayley in a side headlock and flipping her over onto the mat. Bayley gets to her feet and shoves Charlotte off into the ropes, but Charlotte knocks her off her feet on the return.

She lets out a “WOOO!” before running the ropes, leaping over Bayley and blocking her arm drag attempt, going for one of her own. Bayley blocks that too and then succeeds in tossing Charlotte across the ring not once, but twice. Charlotte reverses an Irish whip into the corner, but Bayley stops her momentum and elbows Charlotte in the face. She leaps onto the second turnbuckle and flies off, hitting Charlotte with a high impact arm drag.

Bayley takes down Charlotte with a drop toe hold and toys with her, wriggling over her back. With that fun over, she captures Charlotte in an arm bar. Charlotte gets out of it quickly, though, kneeing Bayley in the stomach and the back before delivering a chop to the chest and a clothesline. She goes for the pin, but Bayley kicks out at two.

Charlotte mocks Bayley’s slip and slide wriggling, doing the same to her before attempting another pin. Bayley kicks out again. Charlotte nails Bayley with two knees out of a handstand and toys with her a bit, snapmaring her and locking her in a figure four headlock. With Bayley fighting to get out, Charlotte flips over and frees her with a parting blow. She again tries for the pin, but Bayley kicks out.

Bayley is quick to her feet, sweeping Charlotte’s legs out from under her and pummeling her with closed fists. Charlotte tries to fight back, but Bayley’s got the momentum, continuously knocking Charlotte off her feet with double axe handles. Sending Charlotte into the corner, she drives a shoulder into her midsection and nails an elbow to her head. She spots Sasha at ringside and neutralizes her, punching her.

When she gets on the ring apron, Charlotte tries to make her pay for the moment of distraction, but Bayley blocks the attack, climbing into the ring, scaling the turnbuckle and hitting Charlotte with a flying back elbow! She goes for the pin, but Charlotte kicks out.

Charlotte battles back quickly, doubling over Bayley with a sharp knee to the stomach. Just as she’s about to continue the assault, Summer Rae‘s music hits! Yes, former BFF-turned-head-on-a-stick Summer! She walks to the ring like her mid-match entrance is no big deal, and Charlotte looks a bit perplexed. Summer hugs a reluctant Sasha as the match continues, Bayley attempting a backslide pin.

Charlotte slips out of the pin, kicking Bayley and hitting Bow Down to the Queen! She pins Bayley, and it’s all over!

Post-match, the BFF reunion is still a bit strained, Sasha and Charlotte looking confused as Summer hugs them like she had never left. Summer goes right into an attack on Bayley, and Charlotte and Sasha join in, kicking poor Bayley.

But then Paige‘s music hits, and she comes running out alongside Emma! The babyfaces chase off the BFFs, and Bayley looks almost starstruck to see her old friends by her side. Aww!

Thoughts: It’s always nice to a see a homecoming, and the way they pulled it off here was interesting. Summer, for some reason, wants to reunite with Charlotte and Sasha, but they’re not going to pretend that she wasn’t MIA for the past few months. They could have easily ignored that and been generic heels, but having them questioning Summer’s true intentions adds depth to their characters, and I’m all for that. Does Charlotte not want to give up her queen bee status, or is she teetering on the edge of a babyface turn? Is Sasha bitter towards Summer? I guess we’ll find out.

As for the match itself, it felt like standard fare. Clearly these girls have worked together long enough to tighten up their matches and perfect them, and it shows. They hit exciting spots and showcased their characters in an entertaining way, Bayley wriggling on Charlotte’s back slide and slide style, and Charlotte mocking her in return. It all felt overshadowed by Summer’s return – as was the intention – so I’m not sure this match was supposed to blow me away anyways. The true story here is what Summer’s up to, and that’s a mystery to be solved on another day.

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