Well, marks, your long national nightmare is over before it ever had a chance to begin: Bayley defeated Eva Marie to retain her NXT women's championship in the main event of tonight's episode of NXT TV on the WWE Network.
And it was an amazing piece of business.
Eva, let's be real, is not a good wrestler. She's actively bad, actually, and that's one of the only reasons she's in this position. She has legitimate star power thanks to Total Divas and she's a heat magnet. Considering NXT's audience, they decided to get the most mileage out of this they could.
That included Michael Cole referencing Corporate demanding Eva get her shot at the title, then bringing out Charles Robinson as the Corporate appointed ref to ensure fair play (read: crooked in her favor) before the match, this all in service of feeding the belief they were actually going to go through with putting the belt on this woman. That's without mentioning Nia Jax aligning with Eva during this show.
The match was a million times better than it had any business being, considering how bad Eva actually is. She's better, sure, but it was clear this was likely the most they could do with her, and it required a great deal of overbooking like ref bumps and run-ins. Still, they did an incredible job convincing you Eva, this abomination of a wrestler, would actually defeat Bayley, who is still all that is right in professional wrestling.
In fact, my only criticism of the match -- because, remember, Eva being bad is part of the story, so her poor performance doesn't factor in the same -- is that Bayley kicked out too soon on the Sliced Red. That had "epic near fall" written all over it but she was powering out immediately after the count of two. You could argue the idea was to keep her as strong as possible while still teasing the fall, and I wouldn't put up a fight, but I would have preferred a closer count.
It would have given Full Sail, already having palpitations, a full blown heart attack.
Still, this was a wild success, especially considering their limitations. It was also the most they could possibly do with Eva until she does get better, so it was absolutely the right call to transfer heat to Jax, who looks like she'll be getting the title shot in London.
Well done, NXT.