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NXT Watch (July 19th, 2012): Tamina and Kaitlyn Report to New NXT, Raquel Diaz Begins Exfoliating Ugliness Tour

Hello everyone, and welcome to another joyous edition of the NXT Watch. Ever since season six launched, we have only seen the Divas compete once, and it was a brief yet hard hitting bout. This week, though, we are blessed with not one, but two matches involving the females as Kaitlyn battles Tamina Snuka early on, and more towards the end, Raquel Diaz debuts her “Exfoliating Ugliness Tour” against Paige. Who will come out on top? Let us find out…

It’s match time at Full Sail, and out comes the daughter of WWE Hall of Famer, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka as we are reminded each and every time she appears. Snuka climbs into the ring after slapping some hands and poses as her opponent for the evening, Kaitlyn walks out after spinning the bottle. She doesn’t seem to slap any hands or crack much of a smile. Hmm… Nonetheless, the bell sounds and the two lock up. Tamina with a collar and elbow tie up, before sending Kaitlyn into the ropes. Kaitlyn ascends off the other side, but gets taken down. She tries to use the referee as a shield against Tamina, thus making me wonder if NXT wants to present our bottle spinning Diva as a heel.

Tamina scores with an arm drag, but as she goes for a kick, Kaitlyn takes her down with a dragon screw. She goes to splash Tamina in the corner, but Snuka dodges out of the way and the two now begin trading shots. Snuka leaps over Kaitlyn from the corner and continues the relentless moves on Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn spins Tamina into the ropes and locks on a brief Abdominal Stretch using the ropes for leverage! After breaking the five count, she attempts a jackknife cover to no avail. A running dropkick follows up, before using the bottom rope for added punishment. Kaitlyn then proceeds to utilize her walnut crushing thighs (William Regal’s words) to lock in a body scissors, but Tamina bridges back for a one count!

The two take each other down with a double running facebuster. Snuka begins to mount her comeback with a series of clotheslines and a kick! A bodyslam follows, as she then goes for the Superfly Splash, but Kaitlyn smartly grabs her ankle to stop the move. A Russian leg sweep next, before Kaitlyn applies a great submission hold. Snuka brilliantly counters the submission and hoists Kaitlyn up for a Samoan Drop! From there, she ascends to the top rope and comes off with the Superfly Splash for the one… two… three! Snuka celebrates the victory over our NXT Season 3 winner, as Kaitlyn plans to fight another day and seek her revenge.

Out to the ring we go once again for the debut of Raquel Diaz! She steps out with one of those headset microphones we all just love so much. Diaz refuses to apologize for making her NXT debut this late in the game, because in her words, “a late entrance is a fashionable entrance”. She came here to give the show and its Divas division a makeover, citing the colors of the ropes as “gross”. Raquel ends her segment by telling the Divas that the exfoliation of ugliness has commenced! Up next comes the entrance of her opponent, the freshly documented Paige! The crowd loves our enchanting raven haired lady, but Raquel seems to just laugh at her.

A “Paige” chant erupts from the second her music stops, as Raquel calls her gross and does some sort of drop toe hold. Diaz continues to shove Paige’s face into the canvas, before going for a pin and gaining a two count. Paige tries to fight out with a clothesline. A shoulder breaker follows up, and then a huge boot to the face for just a two count. She goes after Raquel, but Diaz cowers in fear, before ducking and shoving Paige to the canvas face first. She then hits the Gory Bomb and gets the quick(ish) victory over our British bombshell. Raquel celebrates her win as we get a special replay of the finisher.

Also, check out a backstage segment with Aksana below:

Thoughts: I really enjoyed Kaitlyn facing off against Tamina. The action was ten times better than I’m sure anyone could’ve predicted, and I think it goes to show how much both of these ladies are continuing to up their game. I’m a little confused though because it seems like NXT is sort of trying to portray Kaitlyn as a heel. She performed some very heel-like tactics throughout the bout, and mostly worked over Tamina with leg submissions and grounded moves (which we essentially see heels do in WWE). This, alongside another match taped to air in a future show, leads me to believe maybe the plan was for Kaitlyn to go heel down the road? Obviously these shows were taped before her recent outings on Superstars or Money in the Bank, so perhaps plans have changed. I’m not sure, but it left me a little confused and not in a good way because there was no explanation as to why she was sort of behaving differently. When they faced off on NXT Redemption’s dying last few weeks, neither woman came off as a heel and it was more of a friendly match between two cohorts. That’s what I kind of expected here as well, but interestingly we didn’t really get that. Nonetheless, the ring work was stellar and the finishing sequence especially would be my highlight of the match.

Raquel vs. Paige on the other hand was way too short… but I understand why, because it was filmed on the first set of tapings when they were still testing things out I assume. I will say that I’m extremely glad both women got entrances and I love how much the crowd adores Paige. Raquel’s “Exfoliating Ugliness” gimmick is actually sort of working for me. I feel like the more outlandish/over the top her appearance, the more what she says fits in the same role of how Lady Gaga or Nicki Minaj convey the same perception of beauty at various awards shows and such. The match was truthfully too fast for me to even really comment on it, but I will honestly say I’m not a monster fan of Raquel’s in-ring work. She shines on the microphone and I really hope WWE see this before they transition her to the main roster. I’m not saying she won’t get better, but as of right now, I definitely believe promo work is her strong suit, and in WWE, that’s honestly the better of two things to have down because charisma and personality are not things that can be easily instilled in someone. Paige on the other hand, has everything down in my opinion, and at least from my perspective, is the best prospect of the show in terms of females.

Overall, NXT has been picking up since my last recap. It’s not “must see TV” for me as soon as it hits the internet, but I can definitely get behind the direction now that they’ve eliminated all the squash matches and lack of entrances for half the competitors in a bout. I realize Rome wasn’t built in a day and I’m definitely going to give it some time to kick into gear. I just hope they continue to improve things like they’ve been doing because what I mentioned above in this paragraph about the entrances/squashes being fixed has already made me much more interested in the show than I was in the first couple of episodes. I will likely never love it as much as I did the past season, but I also hold it on a different scale because I don’t really think you can compare the two. It’s sort of like apples to oranges on what you prefer between entertainment or purely wrestling, and for me the answer is obvious but that doesn’t mean I also don’t enjoy the wrestling side of things. NXT’s new season is improving already, and I hope it keeps at it while the fan base is still intrigued early on.

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