Well for the past several weeks on NXT, we’ve all been swept up in the mania behind crowning a new Women’s Champion. The tournament started seven weeks ago and we’re down to the final two competitors – Paige and Emma. However we’ll have to wait another week before either of them gets to become the first ever Women’s Champion. This week it’s a breather episode of sorts, giving the ladies time to relax and presumably plan out their big finals match. But that doesn’t mean there’s no excitement to be had this week. Our resident Ingénue and Cloud Cuckoo Lander Bayley will be in action. Who’s she facing, you ask? Why the second generation Diva and Hall of Fame princess – Charlotte! Ric Flair’s daughter makes her debut.
Skip to 3:30
Bayley is already in the ring complete with Alice Band and bow, dithering on the spot as if she can’t believe where she is. Kendall Skye then announces multiple world champion and WWE Hall of Famer – “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. He comes down to the ring and we get a rather flat promo from him before he introduces his daughter Charlotte. She bounds down to the ring showing plenty of sass and personality, even demonstrating a perfect front walkover for the fans (gymnastics folks). It’s a unique way to make an entrance but it’s hers and she’s already got our attention. She hugs and kisses her father, who will remain at ringside to cheer her on. Bayley looks positively in awe of both Charlotte and Ric, and the match is underway.
Charlotte shouts out “woo!” for the fans before taking control with a wrist-lock. Bayley counters while Charlotte cartwheels into a takedown to separate. Bayley is ever the friendly competitor and refers to Charlotte as the “Nature Girl” – though the crowd is on her side. Charlotte gets Bayley into a waist-lock and Bayley attempts to reverse it but Charlotte thinks on her feet and school girls her, bridging backwards over Bayley’s legs for extra leverage. Bayley kicks out (the announcers said something about ‘Charlotte’s Web’ – I can get on board with a name like that) and gets into a jack-knife cover. She connects with a backslide pin next, followed by an Oklahoma Roll. Charlotte kicks out of each of them but Ric Flair has thrown off his jacket – shit’s about to go down now. Bayley actually goes downstairs and hits an exploder suplex for two. Charlotte demonstrates her athleticism by rolling over the turnbuckle to the outside and ramming Bayley’s face off the corner. She springs over the top rope into the ring and clotheslines Bayley. She follows that up with her own unique finisher – a somersault snapmare driver – and it gives her the win. She celebrates with her father in the ring.
Winner: Charlotte via somersault Snapmare Driver
I was really looking forward to this week’s episode and it did not disappoint. Charlotte is only the second Diva we’ve seen debut under the new regime – Divas only being put on TV when they’re ready – and she was very impressive. Much like Summer Rae, Charlotte had a nice showing in her debut. It’s a testament to Sara Del Rey as a trainer as well as her own natural athleticism. Again, much like Summer Rae, she really knew how to present herself. Her entrance was memorable and she looked confident and sure of herself. There did seem to be a sense of her holding back but I’m sure that’s down to her normally working as a heel at live events. They probably wanted her to be neutral in her debut so she didn’t come across as too heelish or too faceish. Though unlike say Sasha Banks, her athleticism came across as arrogant. Almost like a Dolph Ziggler show-off type of character. As long as she doesn’t start doing too many high-flying moves I’d be okay with that kind of character. Ring-wise she also looked fine. She didn’t show off that much but her clotheslines, chain holds and ring presence all looked fine. The finisher looked impressive and it’s hers – I’ve never seen anyone else do that before. I look forward to seeing more matches from her. Sasha Banks is the next one she’s set to face so I am especially looking forward to that.
Bayley…well I’m still not sold on her character. I just don’t feel as if she’s fully fleshed it out ring-wise yet. It’s fine for interviews and backstage segments but I still feel like she needs to find a way to translate it to her wrestling. She’s sort of a combination of Eugene, face Heidenreich and GLOW’s Tammy Jones but I feel like she could still do much more with it. Again this is only her second televised match with this new gimmick but I hope she is able to get a-hold of it soon. I suppose maybe she could act a bit perkier in the ring? Like she’s giddy with excitement at being in a wrestling ring. I know we don’t exactly have a shortage of Genki Girls in wrestling but it is a way to get that personality across to the crowd. Oh well, at least her wrestling is flawless. I enjoyed this match a lot more than any of the tournament matches, though hopefully next week’s will exceed my expectations. Paige and Emma received countless praise from Jim Ross after their match happened so I think that’s a good sign. Paige previously brought her A-game when she faced Summer Rae for the second time – so I guess we have a lot of reasons to be excited. Next week the first ever NXT Women’s Champion is crowned – Paige takes on Emma. I know I’ll be watching with excitement.
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