Greetings everyone! And as always, welcome to this week’s Ohio bound edition of the NXT Redux.
Being that this was kind of surprised announced, I’ve got no earthly idea what order the upcoming tapings are going to swing, so let’s wing it week to week and have some fun.
First up on this episode, as announced last week via match graphic, the recently returned Alexa Bliss gets her shot at The Boss, Sasha Banks in singles action… so how about we head on down to the video:
Whoops, first up we get a brief interview backstage with Alexa! She first lets everyone know how excited she is for her hometown to see what she’s been able to grow into since heading to Florida all those years ago… but then moves on to get serious for a second. She’s facing the Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks, and it’s time that Sasha Banks find out just what a revitalized Alexa Bliss is all about.
We head to the ring where Alexa Bliss makes her grand hometown entrance! Alexa looks extra happy tonight, which in turn, makes us all extra happy. Up next comes her opponent, the one and only… Sasha Banks! Sasha makes her way down the steps and circles around the ring, then proceeding to hold her title up as the bell sounds and our Divas action gets underway.
“Sasha’s Ratchet”/”No She’s Not” chants break out! Banks teases Alexa early on, but Alexa nails some shots. She gets a drop toe hold and beats the champ down a little for a near fall, but Sasha then gets the upperhand. Banks sends her face first into the corner and continues the teasing before dropping Bliss with a set of her infamous knees. Alexa cowers in pain, but Sasha doesn’t care. She drags Alexa to the center and gets another close count, then locking in a submission. The crowd tries to get behind both women, as Alexa fights out! She nails some punches, then taking Sasha down with a variety of moves. Glitz Flip! Just a two. Alexa runs to the corner and nails a sunset flip on Sasha… again for only a two. A dropkick sends Sasha flying outside, as Alexa leaps off the ring apron onto her! Bliss tries to keep the advantage, but Sasha DRILLS Alexa into the ring apron. She tries to capitalize; however, Alexa throws Sasha right into the ring post and slides in to get the countout victory!
The crowd seems mixed, but the story here is that Alexa managed to score the upset by any means possible.
Following our entrance of tag team champions, the great Wesley Blake and the sorry-nothing-rhymes-but-make-it-work-anyways Buddy Murphy, Enzo, Cass and Carmella pop out from the back to a huge pop. He runs down his entrance mic work (which includes boos for Carmella which make me sad yet are understandable since she only wrestles against babyfaces so I don’t know), as Cass then goes on to face Blake in a singles match.
Towards the end, Cass hits a huge sidewalk slam to Blake and looks to finish things off. Suddenly, Buddy gets onto the ring apron, and so does Carmella! Cass boots Buddy off, but Blake then shoves Cass into the ropes and rolls him up while knocking Carmella off in the process. One… two… three! Blake gets the win, as we continues to wonder just what’s going to happen in the saga of Carmella.
And finally… the big surprise!
I’m sure you all know how happy debuts (AND video packages) make me, so instead of blabbering on about my excitement, I’ve decided to give the floor over to someone else and let them put their reaction on display.
But just who can I call upon in this time of need? Well, she is a figure that has sort of taken over the world this year. She doesn’t let anyone tell her what to do, and she makes sure if anyone has the last word in an argument… oh, it’s her.
Ladies and gentlemen, with her reaction to the beautifully edited video package hyping Dana Brooke’s impending debut… she is Cookie Lyon.
Shedding a single tear.
Thoughts: This was an interesting week, being out of Full Sail and all, but to be honest, I’m not sure I can properly judge all aspects of it.
What I mean is that the crowd seems to not have been mic’d up very well, because there are some parts (such as Enzo and Sasha’s entrances) where you can hear them popping their heads off and yet it sounds kind of quiet. I feel like that kind of brought down the episode experience of seeing it on the road, but once they get that fixed, things should go great.
The staging and the look of the new place was excellent, and I can’t wait to see what they get to do in other venues if it becomes a permanent move. In my opinion, I think Full Sail should be kept permanently for tapings, with occasional shows on the road like this to fill an episode, but that the live event experience should be on the road permanently. Touring is great for NXT, but I think it would save a lot of expenses and trouble if they didn’t have to try and get a whole show set up and produced each time they do tour. Live events tend to be more fun too, because they experiment a bit and throw in matches you wouldn’t usually get to see on TV (such as them doing a Sasha/Charlotte/Bayley/Alexa four way for the title at the Ohio show the night after this one).
Onto the Divas though, first up… the match! This wasn’t my favorite match of Alexa’s, but I also don’t blame her because this was an entirely new setting and she hasn’t gotten to experience wrestling outside Florida except for a few Axxess shows last year. I think she’s finding her groove, and tonight had some good points, but it wasn’t the usual case of me feeling her most recent match is always her best.
That’s not to say it wasn’t good though, because I still enjoyed it. It just wasn’t very memorable in my opinion, which I’m hoping she can save up for when she does get that eventual title match considering her victory. I want Alexa’s title shot to be huge for her, and I want to see her bust out moves I’d never expect. Title matches (or something equivalent in build-up such as Zayn/Cesaro at ArRIVAL 2014) are where you really show off what you can do, and in that sense, I’m glad this match was kind of simple because it means the title match will stand out even more.
The Carmella storyline is something I want to see work so badly. I feel like the crowds don’t respond to her well because they think WWE is trying to force her into the Enzo/Cass group, but I just don’t see it that way. I think she fits, but the entire way she was brought in and has been presented as sort of being the naggy-wife stereotype where she looks down on what Enzo does and kind of acts like he’s not worth her time has kind of ruined her. I feel like they got away from that after the Blue Pants saga wrapped, but it feels too little too late. That’s why I think it would be so much better for her to turn on them and join Blake/Murphy, because they need something to help them pop, and the crowd already boos Carmella anyways so it could work out great. I’m not sure if I would keep them together long-term, but perhaps if the chemistry is there. If not, throw her into the division. But at least try it out because as much as I think she works PERFECTLY with Cass and Enzo, her introduction and heel-ish behavior (not to mention facing beloved Leva Bates, as well as babyface Emma and Alexa) has kind of ruined the hopes of them taking off as a stable.
Dana!! I’m beyond excited for her to debut. I’ve only seen her wrestle once and it wasn’t a match to really judge her on because it was mostly treated as your usual tag match where the faces were the ones who primarily got to execute a lot of cool maneuvers, but she’s always been extremely nice and I think she’s put a lot of work in so it’s time to see her step up to the plate. Her look and gear are excellent, and it reminds me of a Beth Phoenix/Trish Stratus/Kaitlyn hybrid, which is something NXT doesn’t really have. I mean maybe Charlotte, but she’ll likely be called up within a few weeks-months anyways so it works out perfectly time wise. I’m dying to see what they’re going to market her as in terms of character since the video was mostly focused on her Arnold stuff.
I have to admit I’m a little worried they’re going to rely solely on her muscles and have that be what she’s presented as, which I don’t see working in NXT. You really need to be a huge character to get the kind of reaction that turns you into a star. Enzo Amore isn’t a five star wrestler, but he’s one of the most over people there are. I mean, if you’re someone like Finn Balor, you can get by just being yourself because the fans already know and worship you, but Dana is a new entity like how Alexa Bliss and Carmella both were. Alexa is just starting to get crowds behind her, and Carmella’s kind of backfired because of reasons mentioned above. I just hope they do something unique with Dana as I don’t want to start seeing complaints that the debuts are going poorly when you know the way to NXT fans’ hearts is by going balls to the wall with a character.
Also… remember when I wanted Dana in Carmella’s role before that role even existed on live events? Good times.
Alright guys, until we meet again, please say your prayers (that JoJo soon gets to wrestle) and take your vitamins, and I’ll see you all back here next week!~