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NXT Redux (March 8, 2017): Ember Moon eclipses the competition

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Welcome to this week’s NXT! Last week Peyton Royce fell at the hands of Asuka but the Iconic Duo weren’t having any of it. Out pops Ember Moon to even the score against the two as they went in on Asuka for a post bell beat down. This week Billie Kay is looking to knock Ember off her pedestal.

Before we get to the match, NXT posted this exclusive video featuring the Icons as they searched for the perfect spot to showcase their Breakout Star of the Year award.

During their hunt, they run into Ember who is busy pumping iron in the gym. They tease her which brings her forward as she calls them out. Now, let’s watch Billie and Ember go toe to toe.

Both women make their entrances, Ember sporting new contacts and more Amazon-like gear. Commentary plays up her impressive abilities, putting over her undefeated streak as an important asset for her possible number one contendership.

Ember catches Billie off guard with a dropkick. She then lands a crossbody on Billie. Billie crawls to the ropes where Peyton grabs her arms to help her get a rope break. Ember is too strong and drags Peyton into the ring instead! She tells Peyton to leave and while doing so Billie capitalizes on the distraction. 

Peyton laughs at her as Billie uses the ropes for a neckbreaker. She pummels Ember with punches and boots. They go back and forth as Billie continues to dominate. Ember makes a comeback with hard slaps but Billie puts her down with a vicious discus clothesline. Billie yells in Ember’s face but Ember makes a comeback.

Ember goes up for her signature eclipse and gets the win. After the match Billie is tended to by the referee. Medical staff arrive as Billie clutches her neck. (I’m honestly not sure if it’s a work or real, she looks genuinely upset) The crowd rallies around Billie though, which is nice to see and hear. 

On twitter Peyton demands officials strip Ember of her signature finisher:

Billie updates her status on twitter also:

She then starts working #banTheEclipse:

Later on in the night General Manager William Regal makes the Ember vs Asuka match official (apologies for the high pitched voices in this segment).

Ember says once she wins the title, she’ll usher in a new phase in the NXT Women’s Division. 

Elsewhere on the show Sanity, with Nikki Cross joining in, continues to trash the midcard.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed the match. However, it was too short for both women to fully showcase their abilities. I can sense that Billie and Ember have good chemistry, I also enjoyed their TakeOver: Brooklyn match last year, and I wanted to see more of what they could do, especially since Ember is on her way to the championship (a fact we’ve already known for months). 

The positives I can say about Ember though is her matches always, always have a back and forth feel. She’s a babyface akin to Bayley‘s NXT run where her opponents were able to get some offense in. I enjoy this type of booking very much. Ember is a tough as nails face, someone more on the level of Becky Lynch‘s current face run minus all the backstabbing by her “friendly” face cohorts. 

And I’m becoming more intrigued at the promise of Asuka vs Ember. I know the match will blow us away, but I can’t help but feel that NXT is missing the mark on giving her any type of character outside celestial puns. Come on already!

Billie was great here, her offense was very crisp and slick. I’m uncertain whether the ending of the match was a work or not. It looks like the Icons are running with a #BanTheEclipse campaign. If it’s a work, it’s very clever and I have to give props to Billie on her acting abilities. If it was real, they’re still running with it and I hope Billie’s OK. She’s young and has a full career in front of her, the last thing I’d want to see is her dreams cut short.

I also absolutely love Billie and Peyton’s friendship. I’m not sure if I’ve gushed enough about it but you really get the sense that they are truly in this together and given the chance of one of them holding the title, which is a pipe dream of mine since they’d be able to go in another direction with strong heels at the top, the other would wholeheartedly support it. Teamwork makes the dream work and if one of them is successful, they both win. I love the story they are telling with them.

Nikki on the other hand, her story with Asuka seems to be completely dropped as she helps her team take down others in the men’s division. I’m thoroughly disappointed in that. I’m a big supporter of mixed gender matches and intergender action, is it too much for them to get Asuka involved? She’s already disposed the women, she can obviously hang with the men. It would have been fresh and interesting but that just may be too much work for creative these days. 

Now that we have TakeOver: Orlando in our sights, my hope is that NXT starts building this match between Asuka and Ember with backstage segments or video packages. We’re missing stories here, the least they can do is write.

What did you think of this week’s NXT? Now that Asuka has a challenger for TakeOver: Orlando, who do you think will win? Sound off in the comments below.

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