Sunday, January 29, 2023

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NXT Redux (May 13th, 2015): Carmella Owns the Mic, Sasha Owns the Ring

Happy Friday all and welcome to this week’s NXT Redux! The road to Takeover has certainly been paved with gold and Wednesday’s episode of NXT was another shining example. With NXT’s big show just one week away, we were treated to two matches, an in-ring promo dressing down and two backstage segments, all of which had serious Takeover implications.

An appearance from NXT’s head honcho, ‘The Boss’ Sasha Banks was what we witnessed first last night. The NXT Women’s Champion faced an unnamed opponent that the fans affectionately – and rather uninspiringly – referred to as a Black Shorts. Whilst the commentators failed to name her, she is in fact one of NXT’s newest signees, KC Cassidy.

Sasha grabs the mic before the match starts and she has a message for Becky Lynch. She says she she made Becky and come Takeover, she’ll prove why she is The Boss. If people don’t believe it, just watch her now.

“RING THE BELL!” Major Melina vibes from Sasha there!

Sasha elbows KC in the back of the head to start and she follows that up with some trash talking. Of course she did, this is Sasha Banks we’re talking about. KC hits a small package and backslide to scare Sasha a little right afterwards, yet Sasha retreats after being rollicked with a few strikes.

After catching her breath, Sasha charges into the ring and brings relentless aggression to the forefront. Although KC hits a crossbody which temporarily thwarts Sasha’s momentum, she fails to dish out any more punishment to follow it up. Sasha mounts KC and delivers some maniacal shots before hitting her patented double knees in the corner. Sasha then mocks Becky Lynch before hitting the Bank Statement for the win.

We next see Bayley and Charlotte standing by with everyone’s favourite first round elimination from The Bachelor, Devin Taylor. Devin asks if Charlotte has anything to say regarding Dana Brooke calling her out last week. Charlotte says that she only heard her say one word last week, and that’s jealousy. Bayley says that Emma decided to mess with her, and Charlotte says that she has one word for that too, Takeover. Bayley challenges Dana and Emma to a tag team match next week. Charlotte then woos and Bayley copies her. Charlotte is having none of that!

It is time to get F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S as our second match of the night pits Carmella up against Alexa Bliss. Their entrances were seemingly thought out by an eight-year-old girl as my god they were both very OTT. They look great yet it was like I was hallucinating!

The pair lock-up twice to start off the match. Both girls get the upper hand once to create a stalemate situation yet Carmella knees Alexa in the abs to make sure she goes 2-1 up in the collar and elbow series. Alexa fights back with a backslide pin attempt followed by a crucifix that nets her a near fall. Alexa aims to follow up her pins with a suplex yet the more powerful Princess of Staten Island counters and hits a picture perfect vertical suplex of her own.

With the tide now turned, Carmella drills two knees into Alexa’s head before switching up her tactics. She uses her legs as a waistlock before transitioning that submission into a stunning Lotus Lock. Blake and Murphy come out to the ring to throw a spanner in the works yet it is a while before they even begin to bother a focused Carmella. Alexa powers out eventually by pushing Carmella onto her back in a pinning predicament, allow her to get that breathing space she needed.

Alexa hammers Carmella with forearms and two running attacks before hitting a very, very unique pin attempt from the middle rope. Lots of flipping and flailing going on that’s for sure! The commentary murder any momentum Alexa had by acting like she “hadn’t got all” of the move yet it more of a transition into the Glitz Flip anyway. This announce team have no chemistry whatsoever. A bucket, a banana and a brick would have more chemistry than those stooges.

Enough of my rant on commentary, Alexa’s Glitz Flip is only enough for a two count and it isn’t enough to keep Carmella down for long. Carmella hits a drop toe hold to set up her submission finisher but Blake and Murphy then get on the apron to distract Carmella. Alexa then hits an awful looking leg trip to poorly set up for the Sparkle Splash for the win.

After the match, Blake and Murphy say that Enzo and Big Cass are total trash and Carmella is starting to smell like garbage. Carmella says that her boys will be at Takeover next week and they will walk out with the belts. The crowd are in the palm of Carmella’s fabulous hands as she gets a “How You Doin’?” chant going that is blowing the roof off the building. She says that the two of them are pathetic pigs and there’s only one word for them… S-A-W-F-T SAAAAWWWWWWWFFFFFTTTT!

Finally, we head backstage once more to find Devin Taylor with Dana and Emma. Emma says that if Bayley wants her to slap some more sense into her, she will. Dana says that she is far from “jelly” of Charlotte and she will do her a favour and let her know that she is passed by. After a really awkward state the camera, the girls leave before Dana comes back to pet Devin on the head.

Thoughts: Let me get this straight – Raw gives us five minutes in a three hour show and NXT gives us two matches, two backstage interviews and an in-ring promo? I absolutely love developmental yet it really shouldn’t be better than the main roster. Tonight was another example of how NXT is by far WWE’s #1 product right now. Whilst some of the in-ring action is worse than the main roster, the rest of last night’s show blew Raw or SmackDown out of the water.

There weren’t too many negatives yet I’ll get those niggling elements out of the way first. To kick things off, I straight up don’t like Devin Taylor. “They issued a challenge against you guys.” No Devin, Bayley and Charlotte issued a challenge to Dana and Emma. Just no. Devin unfortunately cannot excel in this role and I can’t wait for her to drop it and be able to show some personality. Her recent house show performances as a heel have been very, very promising, so I would rather see some of that sooner rather than later.

Dana also took a back seat to me this week when it came to her promo. Emma pulls off the awkward deal well as that is part of her character. Dana’s promo last week was better yet I didn’t enjoy this one as much. I like her using the abbreviation “jel” as that goes hand-in-hand with her using language such as “wack”, yet her promo felt forced to me I’m afraid. She is obviously someone with bags of potential yet she isn’t quite owning her character just yet. It is early days however so I’m not judging… too hard.

Speaking of trying too hard, Alexa and Carmella’s entrances are way too over the top. Seeing them back to back was even more cringe-worthy. I’ve always thought Alexa needed to tone her entrance down (I love the glitter blowing though) and Carmella’s was, as some may say, way too extra. I liked how she definitely came across as more of a face yet I just felt she was trying too hard. It was getting to a Dana level of uncomfortable. Entrances are definitely where you can see that NXT is developmental. I think more work needs to be done on those. Carmella is absolutely stunning and that nearly let her off the hook, but in the end, it didn’t. Take my advice on board please Miss Princess of Staten Island.

I also felt like some of Alexa’s offence was just too unbelievable. The fluidity of some of her moves just wasn’t there for me this week, and her poorly executed trip to Carmella at the end (either could have been at fault) looked totally weak. As a set-up to the Sparkle Splash, it just didn’t work and was not believable. Carmella would have gotten up right away in the real world.

Time to roll off the humongous list of positives. I have to praise JoJo first and foremost. Her announcing is fantastic. Whilst I would love to see her wrestle eventually, it really is a shame that someone with her athletic prowess is also more talented as an announcer than some of the non-athletic ring announcers. Not naming any names yet you know who I mean!

Sasha Banks once again proved why she is the top Diva in the division. She is an absolute triple threat; amazing on the mic, superb in the ring and she looks brilliant too. Her double knees are simply amazing. You have got to give props to KC too. I like that despite her appearance being totally irrelevant in the long run, at least she didn’t tap out right away when locked in the Bank Statement.

Another plus point was how incredibly hot Charlotte looked. She is stunning. Stunning isn’t the right word to describe Bayley’s mic work yet it was still great. The banter between them at the end of their segment was cool too. I really like their friendship despite them being completely different people.

Finally, let’s give it up for Carmella. Whilst her and Alexa’s match was pretty bland with the exception of the Lotus Lock and Alexa and Carmella’s facial expressions), her promo afterwards was simply fantastic. I love that WWE have faith in her to absolutely rock the mic. It is clear that Carmella has the skills to perform well as either a face or a heel. She is absolutely a one to watch.

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