I really wish that I didn’t have to call Emma “Emmalina“, but that appears to be what WWE is going with in terms of her re-branding. At this point I don’t even care, though…the change of nerdy bubble-kid Emma to incredible sex-pot Emmalina has come with zero arguments from me. I mean…holy good goddamn: just LOOK at this woman!!
I’m an Instagram guy who loves the sight of a beautiful woman. Put those two things together and you’ve got a reason to post hot pics of hot chicks. I mean…why not? I’ll be posting a combination of wrestling divas, models, and celebrities.
If you have any accounts that you think I should follow, just let me know. In the meantime…
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Last night NXT put on yet another spectacular show. When all was said and done, NXT TakeOver: Dallas gave us two title changes, a Match of the Year frontrunner, two in-ring debuts, and ringside appearances by two international (currently non-NXT) superstars. So at the end of the day, what does NXT look like going forward?
I’ve been saying for months now just how incredible Asuka was. Having never seen her work in Japan, I could only make my initial impressions based upon what NXT chose to show me. And man…has she shown me a lot.
There is an incredible unspoken charisma that Asuka displays every time she steps into the ring. That smile…the way she bites her mask…she has this sexual, sensual way about her that is super appealing. It also makes her extremely unique as nobody else (in either NXT or on the main roster) has that aspect about their characters. To watch her step inside the ring and have the physical ability to realistically kick the ass of any woman she sees (and most men) makes her even hotter.
But that’s the thing with the NXT Womens Division: beauty AND athleticism. The women of the new generation are proving (much like Ronda Rousey) that you can kick some serious ass along with having an incredible one. From a man’s point of view, that’s a deadly combination that’s almost impossible to resist. But take it from a guy who HATED women’s wrestling up until last year: the respect earned by women like Bayley and Asuka is immeasurable. I don’t know if they’ll truly ever appreciate just how looked down on most women have been in the industry over the past 30+ years.
Moving forward, however, there seems to be another very large hole in the division after last night. With Emma (pictured, right) being re-called back up to the main roster (along with, inexplicably, Eva Marie) and the constant rumors of Bayley being next in line to join up with her fellow Four Horsewomen, a lot of the depth of the division will be missing.
Yes, Bayley is more than likely going to be called-up to the main roster. With the impending retirements of both Bella twins (and nobody really grabbing the affections of the WWE Universe), the time is right to bring Bayley up to “the show”. She is popular to a degree that no woman on the main roster even comes close to and, based on internal guesses, she could eventually rival John Cena in the overall number of Make-A-Wish Foundation requests if given the same length of time with the company. Add to that popularity a very impressive in-ring ability and you’ve got someone that will be greatly missed in NXT once she’s gone.
Right now there are unproven talents who are still growing as performers like Carmella, Nia Jax, and Dana Brooke. There are women who are just getting their feet wet who have potential but a long way to go like Billie Kay, Liv Morgan, and Peyton Royce. And then you’ve got the only other woman (other than Bayley and Emma) that is ready to break out as a great in-ring talent in Alexa Bliss (pictured, right).
Realistically, it doesn’t appear to be looking good for the future of women’s wrestling in NXT. But with that being said, there is a LOT of excitement that could be coming our way if the current crop of NXT women want to break out and make a name for themselves. The summer of 2016 has the potential to be a VERY interesting time.
This is just what I’m thinking, but what are YOUR thoughts? Sound off in a comment below or hit me up on social media and let me know!
After last weekend’s fantastic TLC pay-per-view, I think it’ll be difficult for NXT to live up to the standard that’s been set by the WWE roster. But with a potentially hot London crowd and some great performers scheduled, this could be yet another feather in the NXT cap of incredible live TakeOver events in 2015.
Let’s see how things went…
I can’t tell you how impressed I am with Asuka. She’s certainly not a “classic beauty” in terms of what a WWE Diva normally looks like, but there is something about the way she carries herself that I find hot as hell. Add to that sexiness an extremely unique style and some incredible in-ring ability, and I think you’re got the total package with her. She’s absolutely a future NXT Women’s champion and I can see her dominating the main roster, as well.
Emma is still a work-in-progress, in my opinion. She’s been looking to feel comfortable in a heel persona for months now and only now seems to look like it’s a natural thing for her. She’s an incredible talented and beautiful woman, but you can tell that playing the heel isn’t something she’s great at yet. Once she can fully integrate the personality and gimmick to her character, she’ll be called back-up to the main roster because she’s got the talent and deserves to be there again.
I think having Dana Brooke yelling out at ringside was a good thing because she’s definitely a future star and needs to get more interaction experience under her belt because, right now, she’s a one-trick flexing pony. The more personality she can display the better.
The match itself was a really good way to kick NXT TakeOver off. The crowd was super into Asuka and both women were able to put on a great back-n-forth match. I thought that the match’s backstage agent had Asuka sell too much for Emma at first, but as the match went on it really made each of her comebacks pop the crowd more and more. I loved that when I thought this would end like a “normal televised match” after the big babyface comeback, the match just continued on and built more momentum.
I genuinely popped TWICE for the big false submission finish and the eventual 3-count. Having Asuka win was the right booking decision to make, but the match itself made Emma look REALLY strong…so this, really, was the perfectly booked match. A hot crowd certainly didn’t hurt.
Right out of the gate, you have to respect the hell out of Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady for how they’ve grown as a team in NXT over the past couple of years. They are, without a doubt, the most popular NXT creation (superstars like Sami Zayn and Finn Bálor were globally popular before NXT). Why these two haven’t been called-up to the main roster yet is beyond me. Hell…you only need to see how globally popular they are right now and you should know just what you can have on RAW and Smackdown. As expected, Enzo’s mic work was fantastic before the match. These guys are like the New Age Outlaws 2.0.
And I could on all day about Carmella‘s beauty and potential, but I’ll save that for another day.
Dash & Dawson have been one of my favourite tag teams for a few months now. They are throwback wrestlers that remind me of Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard and The Midnight Express. If they were facing any other tag team on the roster, I’d probably suggest they go over in this match to help put them over as a dominant tag team. As it stands, though, I really think the time has come for Enzo & Big Cass to win the big one.
The NXT Universe was absolutely incredible for this match. The chants for Enzo and Big Cass were entertaining as hell and helped the match immensely because, for the most part, it went as you’d have expect with Enzo playing the babyface in peril (the dude is almost Ricky Morton-esque with his “selling for heat” skills). The match itself was good, so I don’t want to say that having a “normal” Enzo & Cass match is bad.
Do I agree with the finish? Well…as much as it would be nice to see the popular team finally win the belts, I don’t have an issue with how the heels retained their championships. The finish was well booked and extremely well executed by both teams, which made for a realistic result.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I don’t see the big deal with Baron Corbin. He’s got a nice entrance and he can stare at the crowd, I guess…but I don’t see “charisma” when I watch him. I see potential, but a lot of it is unrealized at this point. I just don’t think he’s developing as fast as WWE wants him to or as fast as HE thinks he is. I could be wrong, but I just think he needs a lot more polish before he can shine. And some hair plugs wouldn’t hurt.
Apollo Crews just has “it”. Size, speed, agility, ability, and charisma to make a total package performer. I truly believe this man will be WWE champion at some point within the next decade. The guy just has it all. His mic skills aren’t WWE-ready yet, but he’s better than 90% of the NXT roster on the stick so he’s definitely well on his way.
I wasn’t expecting a lot from this match, if I can be honest. I think it lived up to my expectations. One thing I enjoyed was Corbin’s attempting to smack talk during the match. It’s not nearly as witty as Kevin Owens (who is a master) and just comes off as amateurish in its delivery. The other thing I don’t think he realizes is that his heat isn’t “we hate you” heel heat, but rather “we think you can’t wrestle” Eva Marie heat. When you’ve lost the respect of the NXT Universe, there is little you can do but roll with it and assume any heat is good heat (it’s not).
Not sure it’s ever a good sign to have your live crowd provide a “BotchaMania” chant during your match, but both Crews and Corbin appeared to be blown up halfway through the match-up…resulting in more than one spot looking sloppy and messy.
I gotta say…the finish was completely shocking. To have Crews lose cleanly by pinfall totally took me by surprise. That’s gotta be a good thing, though. I don’t like a predictable match or predictable finishes, so I can’t take anything away from the match because “the wrong guy won”. Credit where credit is due…they gave me a surprise finish out of nowhere.
I will be the first to admit that while I completely respect the ability of Bayley, I don’t understand the appeal. I know I’m not the desired core audience for Bayley, but I’m constantly shocked to see the crowds go insane for this girl. She is one of the most popular superstars in ALL of WWE, in spite of her awkwardness in public and inability to deliver a solid promo of any kind. Because of that, I absolutely respect the hell out of her for what she has been able to accomplish and the connection with the WWE Universe that she has been able to make at this point in her career.
While I really loved the new entrance gear for Nia Jax, I’m not sold on her as a viable in-ring performer yet. I think there is a lot of potential there, don’t get me wrong. But for years WWE has looked for a larger woman who could wrestle the smaller women, and for various reasons Amazing Kong and Jessicka Havok (two women who can run circles around Jax) haven’t worked out. I just don’t know if hot-shotting Jax to a live title match is a smart idea.
Having said all that, after watching the match, I can’t lie…Jax has impressed me. Hell…she’s better inside of the ring than Eva Marie. Though Jax still has a TON of work to do, Bayley helped carry her to a more-than-passable match with a live (and potentially VERY hostile) crowd. The match was booked to play to Jax’s strengths and helped to hide her weaknesses. While not one of those incredible back-and-forth battles we’ve become used to, it was a dominating performance by the heel where the babyface-in-peril inspired the crowd with a last-ditch effort to win after escaping defeat multiple times.
I have to be completely honest…I thought that Jax was going to beat Bayley. I mean…wow. And the London crowd was so into it, they got on their feet…yes, literally a standing ovation…at the MERE THOUGHT that Bayley could make Jax tap out (pictured, right). After multiple attempts, it finally happened and the crowd went nuts. I mean, this was a great finish that the crowd ate up. Props to both women for an extremely believable match that had the crowd (and yes…me, too) cheering for the finish.
Where I am a new fan to the skills of “The Demon”, I’ve been a fan of Samoa Joe for well over a decade. To see him on NXT in a main event match on a live televised event gives me chills. The promo skills alone are better than 90% of the MAIN roster. Add to that his in-ring skills and you’ve got somebody who might be happy in NXT, but could do really well on the main roster, too.
Finn Bálor is quite the spectacle. He’s unique and original and has the “sports entertainment” aspect already wrapped up. Some people tink he gets boring once he’s inside of the ring, but I believe his in-ring abilities are spectacular. If I could compare him to anybody, it would be Jeff Hardy…another “spectacle” who couldn’t really promo and wasn’t hugely muscular but still captured the imagination of the WWE Universe.
After watching the match, anybody backstage should be able to see the differences between someone like Samoa Joe and someone like Baron Corbin. The abilities that he provides is second to NONE…he can wrestle, he can brawl, he can fly, and he carries himself with such an “at-ease swagger” that the ring seems like second nature to him. Some people carry themselves a certain way as in-ring performers; others don’t have to because they just HAVE IT. Joe has it in spades (and yes, so does Bálor).
The main event was awesome and fully endorsed both men as being the future of NXT (and WWE, should those in power decide to allow it to happen). I honestly thought Joe might have a shot at winning, but I’m certainly not unhappy with how Bálor pinned Joe to win. Just a fantastic ferocious battle that has helped to cap off an amazing year for NXT. And can I say that the little touches of having doctors look at BOTH Joe and Bálor was just a bit of genius…whether it was a work or not. It just really helped make the match appear that much more hellacious.
I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings for the brand.
Emma vs Shazza
Emma’s new heel persona still isn’t “clicking” yet. She’s got a lot of the elements that it takes to be a heel, but she still seems awkward at times…as if she’s playing a role instead of just BEING the role. The announcers tried to put over her “anger” and being “fired up”, but I didn’t believe…and judging by the lack of reaction by the Full Sail University crowd, neither did they.
Shazza is from Australia. While serving as enhancement talent for the more established stars, she didn’t appear to bring anything to the ring in terms of personality, gimmick, OR ability. At least she was able to sell better than Eva Marie.
Are they trying to set up a match between Emma and Asuka? On one hand, I hope so because that could be an incredible match. On the other hand, do we really need to see Emma lose another big match? Emma and Dana Brooke are in a good position in NXT, though…Brooke is learning how to wrestle thanks to partnering with Emma, and Emma is probably learning how to improve her heel persona by sticking with Brooke, who is a natural.
James Storm recap
Yes, James Storm’s appearance in NXT took everybody by surprise. Here’s the thing, though…Storm looked like a “normal” wrestling guy inside of the ring. He is a guy that you need to build through personality first, and then let the wrestling shine through. He doesn’t have a great physique, he isn’t big in size, and his wrestling style isn’t one that “wows”.
Thankfully, they showed a quick recap of his debut the previous week and then showed a backstage interview that he gave WWE.com. Interviews are his strength, so he really came across as a character…which is what he debut lacked a bit of. And yes, he used his catchphrase at the end of the segment (“Sorry ‘bout your damn luck!”) so all of the pieces quickly came together in just one segment.
There are a lot of questions about Storm’s future at the moment. He has been given another offer by TNA, but he has done everything there is to do there. I don’t see him coming up to the main WWE roster unless it was in a managerial capacity (or maybe something similar to Xavier Woods’ role with New Day), but from what I’ve read he simply wants to wind down his career (he’s 38) by being a trainer/wrestler with NXT. If that is the case, then he would be a MAJOR score for NXT. He always had the talent to come to WWE, but remained loyal to Dixie & Co. This is the time for him to spread his wings and take a risk.
Here’s the thing…even if he stayed in NXT for a year and the entire experiment failed, Storm could still go back to TNA and be successful. This really is a win-win situation for him and I’m hoping he decides to remain with NXT.
I’m becoming big-time fans of Jordan & Gable in terms of their in-ring work. I’m still not yet sold on the personality of Jason Jordan, but he’s got some incredible in-ring skills to go along with his size. If he can get the personality to go with everything else then he’s got the chance to be a big splash in both NXT and the WWE main roster.
With Chad Gable, you just might have the second coming of Kurt Angle. He’s an amateur standout who has huge personality, charisma, and in-ring talent. I don’t know if I’ve seen a non-wrestler pick up skills as fast since Angle in the mid-90’s. I’m definitely NOT a fan of the whole “Ready, Willing, & Gable” gimmick, but that can easily be changed or updated. The only downside with Gable is his lack of size. Having said that, he’s got so much of the “total package” in all other areas that he can thrive in a tag team or as a fan favourite along the lines of Neville or Evan Bourne.
In terms of Gargano and Ciampa, I’m a little confused as to their future. I don’t think they’re being brought into NXT as “future superstars” because they are being allowed to wrestle as “themselves”, which will help them tremendously on the independent circuit but isn’t normally allowed if NXT is about to pick you up.
Johnny Gargano is extremely talented inside of the ring. His ability to sell and create believable offense against larger opponents is important to being a complete performer. People gravitate to him because he’s relatable and he can get people to care about him. THAT’S important, too. So while I can see him being a focal point of EVOLVE, I don’t see him reaching NXT full time as anything but enhancement talent (which is NOT a bad thing, by the way).
Tommaso Ciampa is a little bit bigger in terms of his physical size and, having seen him wrestle a number of times in ROH and PWG, knowing how talented of an in-ring performer he is, I’m surprised that NXT hasn’t already picked him up. Again, being able to use his “wrestling name” in NXT is only going to help his bookings and money making ability on the independent scene…so it’s really a win-win for him, especially if he continues to impress WWE brass.
The match itself between all four competitors was better than anything provided on Monday Night RAW this week. All four men were able to wrestle, tell a story, and hit their big moves for pops. The pacing was fantastic and the match ended with a big-time pop from the crowd, who were really into the match at that point. I don’t know who the agent was for the match, but kudos for a job well done.
I feel bad seeing Devin Taylor interviewing Bayley in one of her last appearances before being let go. Having said that, however, I never really enjoyed her interviews. When you look at someone like Renee Young, I guess there really is no comparison. Renee’s interviews seem genuine and real. Her reactions are fantastic because she LOVES the business and knows how she should be acting and reacting. Devin just doesn’t have “it”. She always looked like a robot going through the motions.
And as super talented as Bayley is inside of the ring, I can’t be the first one to mention that her interview and promo skills are less than stellar. There’s a reason that she hasn’t been brought up to the main roster yet. I’m with Triple H in the sense that I don’t get what the fans see in her as a character, but I’m on the bandwagon and along for the ride because she simply resonates with fans who absolutely adore her.
Bayley discussed her feud with Alexa Bliss and tried setting up heat between the two of them. Unfortunately, I just didn’t get the sense that Bayley even cared that much. She really needs to up her game when it comes to promos. She won’t be able to rely on her in-ring skill alone when she hits the main roster.
Eva Marie “Message To Fans”
- It’s super smart of NXT to jump on the fact that fans absolutely HATE her. These messages are almost like a new version of the Honky Tonk Man’s promos from his heel turn shortly after his debut. She talks about missing the fans and how they must miss her and blah blah blah. It’s brilliant because it helps put her over even more as a hated heel.
- It’s ridiculous that she is STILL being pushed because the heel heat is due to her inability to wrestle a damn match. Is she better than a couple of years ago? Of course, she is. Is she still miles away from 90% of the women in the NXT locker room? Your damn straight, she is. I realize that Vince loves her because of her looks, but her lack of personality or promo skill or selling ability or wrestling knowledge is just helping her get eaten up alive by the fans…and NOT in a good way.
This is the age of women who are attractive and can kick-ass. Fans are digging the entire “Diva Revolution” in spite of how they’re being booked on the main roster because the matches have been really, really good. You can’t push the revolution and sign people like Asuka to the roster and expect the momentum to continue with someone like Eva Marie holding everybody back, yet getting a ton of air time.
Make the decision, Hunter…put her with a wrestler on the main roster. She’s eye candy…nothing more.
Kay Lee Ray vs Nia Jax
It’s nice to see all of these new women debut in NXT. It was my first time seeing Kay Lee Ray and I liked that she didn’t just walk down to the ring like most of the other “generic girls” that they throw out there from time to time. I liked her in-ring personality and you could tell that she had some skills, too. To me, Kay Lee Ray has impressed me more than any other “new” NXT woman performer over the past month.
Nia Jax, to me, is similar to Dana Brooke in the sense that she’s being pushed way too soon due to her uniqueness and size. Yes, she’s the Rock’s cousin, but she should have to earn her way to the NXT roster. Juding by the two matches I’ve seen thus far, she’s a one-trick pony who is a cheap version of somebody like Awesome Kong or Jessicka Havok. Could she get over as a monster on the main roster? Yeah…it’s possible. But the key to being a monster is developing the ability to sell to the smaller opponents to put them over. She needs a lot of work.
You can’t get more “over” than Enzo Amore, Colin Cassady, and Carmella. As a team, they are beloved by the NXT Universe. Having said that, you can’t argue against the fact that it’s all Enzo. I mean, if Cassady or Carmella were out there by himself trying to get over with just his personality, he’d die a painful death. Enzo Amore is READY for the main roster. He’s a bit small, yeah…but his speaking ability should be able to carry him a VERY long way. People will end up LOVING this guy, but he just needs to be given that opportunity to succeed on his own.
Colin Cassady is a talented big man. Unfortunately, he’s a bit boring at the moment. He needs a gimmick or character at some point to go along with his size and ability. Without Enzo, I think Big Cass would already have been “future endeavored” at this point.
I’d dare say that you should expect to see Dash & Dawson on the main roster some time in 2016. These two are legitimate throwbacks and remind me of the insanely awesome combination of Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard. They are being given the opportunity to run with the ball right now and have done a great job so far of being two legitimate bad-asses who don’t need to be massive muscle-heads (i.e. the Ascension) in order to get over and kick ass. I love these two and can’t wait to see what’s in store for them next.
The match never took place, as they “took out” Enzo during his introductions and “injured” Cassady. It was a great angle that really put over the team of Dash & Dawson. The whole thing was very “old school”. I loved it.
Alexa Bliss interview
I absolutely love the new Alexa Bliss. The fact that she has the whole package is extremely intriguing to me. She’s got a legitimate gimmick with her character and she lives it (rather than play-acting it like Emma does). Her in-ring skills are on point and in addition to everything else, she’s extremely beautiful. While I don’t think it’s the right time to take the title off of Bayley just yet, I can see two or three fantastic matches between the two of them over the NXT Women’s Championship. If nothing else, this feud with Bayley will “make or break” what happens to Bliss next.
The only thing I don’t like about Bliss is that she looks to the side of the camera when challenging Bayley. I don’t think that’s as much her as it is a WWE-thing because they want to ensure that the scripts are being read properly. I mean, Ryback and Ziggler promo while staring off to the side. I want people to stare at the camera so I can FEEL what they’re trying to say. Maybe it’s old-school in thought, but I think it would deliver a ton of emotion to interviews…especially when there’s a feud.
Finn Bálor and Apollo Crews set-up segments
During the show, NXT put together video packages for both Bálor and Crews to set-up their title match next week. This was absolutely fantastic in its simplicity. Not only did they make viewers CARE about the two individuals, but it put over the NXT title as something incredibly important. THIS is what’s lacking on RAW and Smackdown. Matches are thrown together and at the end of the day, even title matches don’t mean that much anymore. These short segments did an incredibly good job of putting over both guys and I can’t wait to see the match next week.
I was a little surprised to see Tyler Breeze called-up to the main roster as it seemed to come out of nowhere. I’ve been saying for months that he was ready, but I didn’t know for sure if WWE would pull the trigger or not. Then I said that him teaming with Summer Rae would be a perfect fit, and then the next thing you know he’s got the beautiful blonde by his side. Having him feud with Dolph Ziggler is the PERFECT first introduction because if anybody can make Breeze look fantastic, it’s Ziggler.
The storyline with Joe has been ongoing for a couple of weeks and, quite frankly, I was looking forward to seeing Joe kick his ass. This was a really good match (again…better than almost everything else on WWE television this week) and they did the right thing with having Breeze do the job on the way out…or in this case, on the way up.
Samoa Joe has done a lot of work over the past few months since he initially debuted in NXT. He’s dropped some weight and found a new focus that he didn’t have in TNA. Right now, he looks like he could legitimately be called-up to the main roster, which I didn’t think was possible a few weeks ago. I am definitely looking forward to the eventual Samoa Joe vs Finn Bálor title matches that will take place as I see Joe as a potential NXT champion…legit…even if he isn’t an official, full-time member of the WWE Universe and NXT. I think Joe has done enough to prove that he should be on the roster full-time, and given the same opportunity that Kevin Owens had.
Finn Bálor backstage interview
One of the biggest drawbacks for Bálor is his promo skills. I think he’s getting better, but he brings so much more to the table that I don’t think he’ll need to promo that much (similarly to Neville). Give him time to grow as a performer and he’ll thrive on the main roster. As it stands now, he’s helping NXT get over as THE promotion to watch.
At the end of the day, anybody who hasn’t seen NXT and doesn’t know what the buzz is about (or why it’s considered a superior overall product to RAW and Smackdown), then they should watch this episode. There is SOOOO much to love with NXT. I’m constantly looking forward to seeing what they can do with the brand next.