NXT 2.0 airs tonight (July 19) from the Performance Center.
Women’s wrestling has long played a prominent role on NXT. I haven’t done the math, but I feel safe saying women get more screen time on WWE’s developmental brand than any other wrestling show on television, with the possible exception of Impact.
That never changed with the 2.0 revamp, but the presentation did. It was’t just the women, but especially since the division centered around a group whose initials are “T” and “A”, the changes to their gimmicks and storylines were more sexually charged.
For the past several weeks, much of the time given to the women has been spent on the story of Roxanne Perez & Cora Jade’s efforts to take the NXT Women’s Tag Team championship from Toxic Attraction’s Jacy Jayne & Gigi Dolin and the NXT Women’s title from Mandy Rose. It was a tale of two wholesome lifelong fans trying to make their dreams come true against the mean girl sexpots who only wanted fame and glory. Pretty basic stuff, but sometimes the best stories are. The wrestling wasn’t great, but it wasn’t unwatchable either. We had people to root for, people to root against, and all those people were easy on the eyes.
Perez & Jade succeeded in taking the tag belts at Great American Bash, but before Roxanne could turn her Breakouts Tournament win into singles gold, the green-eyed monster took hold of Cora. Now we have tag champs who are feuding with each other, and a 20 person Battle Royal to determine Rose’s next challenger.
The announcement the company would be putting Jade, Alba Fyre, Nikkita Lyons, Tatum Paxley, Tiffany Stratton, Elektra Lopez, Arianna Grace, Valentina Feroz, Kianna James, Sarray, Wendy Choo, Yulisa Leon, Sloane Jacobs, Lash Legend, Amari Miller, Fallon Henley, Indi Hartwell, Katana Chance, Kayden Carter & Ivy Nile in the ring together came shortly after last Tuesday’s ratings came in. The brass clearly think the women were a driving force in those improved numbers, especially among the younger viewers advertisers crave.
It’s probably not just putting a bunch of female bodies in the ring that drove the increase, though. Don’t get me wrong... I was teenager once (and are men ever not teenagers?) and could be convinced to watch something a little longer than I otherwise would if a hot person was involved. But as many people have pointed out, there are lots of places to get more titillating content these days.
My guess is what’s hit with viewers recently is a logical conflict involving characters they want to root for and against. That they’re hot is just icing on the narrative cake. Can they maintain that through the coming Jade vs. Perez program, and whoever emerges from the Battle Royal to challenge Mandy (possibly Nikkita Lyons, or maybe Alba Fyre or Indi Hartwell if they’re not ready to pull the trigger on Lyons)?
That’s what will tell us if 2.0 has found their women’s wrestling groove.
The rest of the title scene
The end of the Bash set JD McDonagh up as the next opponent for NXT champion Bron Breakker. But after a confrontation with Breakker’s last foe on the fallout episode, fka Jordan Devlin will get to tangle with Cameron Grimes first. Maybe then we’ll find out what’s next for Grimey?
Still no sign of what’s next for Carmelo Hayes and the North American championship. After beating Grayson Waller at GAB, Melo and Trick Williams hit the club. Waller meanwhile is making excuses involving Wes Lee.
After The Creeds retained the NXT Tag Team titles in an intra-Diamond Mine battle, Damon Kemp went to the brothers for some pointers. That didn’t sit well with Roderick Strong, who wants to give his protege some pointers of his own in the ring.
On their trip across the pond, Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen won themselves the NXT UK Tag Team championship. A couple of good old boys from the US of A holding those titles doesn’t sit well with a pair of fashion icons like Pretty Deadly. So now they’re gonna wrestle about it.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Apollo Crews debut didn’t go as planned, as Xyon Quinn’s involvement cost him his match with Giovanni Vinci. Quinn’s gonna learn about the particular set of skills Apollo learned for his Equalizer gimmick.
- We may finally learn the identities of Joe Gacy’s hooded Dyad, and their names might be Jagger Reid and Rip Fowler.
- Lose two masked figures, gain another. Axiom will debut, and it seems he loves superhero-inspired secret identities almost as much as math.
- Their double countout last Tuesday led to a confrontation somewhere else, so NXT is gonna show us footage of when Solo Sikoa ran into Von Wagner tonight.
- Tony D’Angelo got his extended Family on the same page last week. Can he keep them that way once Santos Escobar gets out of the hospital, or wherever The Don put him?
- Ivy Nile’s work with Tatum Paxley paid off, and it looks like we have a new tag team (and rival for Katana Chance & Kayden Carter) on our hands.
- Chase U in London? Chase U in London!
What will you be looking for on NXT tonight?