I’ve really been approving of the divas NXT idea for reasons i’ve previously stated in this blog, but, for me, it is important they are treated no differently than the male ‘rookies’ of the past have been. So one thing that I immediately noticed was the new theme music for the show which is probably better than the previous themes, but nevertheless, still perhaps more ‘geared’ towards it’s female competitors. This in itself is no big deal. After all, it’s only a theme, but if it signals a more watered down version of the show because the contestants are women, I wont be very approving.
First off, and understandably, we had all the rookie divas introduce themselves. First we had brand new diva (replacing ‘Aloisia’ after she was ‘fired’), Kaitlyn. At first I wasn’t too impressed by her character – basically, just a female version of Alex Riley, but the introduction of her pro, Vickie Guerrero, made it all the more interesting, with Guerrero demanding she re-introduce herself in a ‘better’ way. This wasn’t the end of that dynamic, and i’ll talk more about that later. Aksana seemed to have pretty broken English and I didn’t like that (be it real or kayfabe). All credit to her for being able to speak English, but in a spectacle like wrestling, your English needs to be almost perfect (at least if you’re being serious), so she didn’t come across too well early on. Maxine was next up, and I was very impressed by her. She came across as driven, independent and confident, saying that she had business sense and common sense. I would even dare to call her a post-feminist poster-child, though confirmation of that will have to wait. I hope her positive qualities are not spoiled in any way. A.J. was up next, and she gave quite a pithy speech about it being her ‘dream’ to be here and to be Woman’s Champion etc etc. Se did, however, come across as very likeable. Quite Mickie James-esque and would probably fill that sort of role very well. After her we had former NXT ring announcer, Jamie Keyes. I didn’t like her as a ring announcer, and I don’t like her now. In fact, her introduction came across as if she was reading from a teleprompter and had absolutely no personailty. Finally, we had Naomi. She came across very well on the mic. Probably the best talker behind Maxine, while being quite likeable.
There were two challenges on this week’s show; one that was good and worthy of the show, and another which probably didn’t fulfil my requirement that the divas be treated no differently to the male rookies. The first was the disappointing one, the dance contest. It was actually quite entertaining, especially with Cole, Tony Chimel and Josh Matthews having to partner the divas. Indeed, the fact that they were partnered meant that the divas weren’t being treated as pieces of meat like thay may have been in the past (diva searches!). Nonetheless, dancing can’t really have any claim to being a required skill when trying to become a female wrestler, and there was only need for one challenge. It certainly wouldn’t be seen on a male edition of NXT (however funny the image of a dancing Wade Barrett may be), and the time could have been used more effectively in the ring.
Our first match was a tag match between Kelly Kelly & Naomi and Alicia Fox & Maxine. The four had a decent enough match, with Naomi trying to use some fresh, unique moves, and both rookies coming across well. It was unfortunate that the end of the match was messed up and caused a bit of confusion, but that doesn’t reflect badly on any of the performers – it wasn’t their fault, though Naomi shouldn’t have bothered trying to continue the match after the bell had gone. Naomi went over, and after winning both challenges, it was clear that she was being put over in a big way this week.
Our second challenge was more worthy. It was a ‘capture the flag’ challenge, showing athletci prowess. As I mentioned earlier, Naomi won this challenge too, to rise above the pack. As I also said, this was the only required challenge of the night, and had the time from the dance contest been allocated to one of the matches, it would have been better spent.
Our main event was Goldust & Aksana against Primo and A.J. Now, before this competition started, I heard A.J. was good in the ring, so I was looking forward to seeing her. Unfortunately, the match was pretty short, and while at times she did look good, there was a botch of her Rey Mysterio style bulldog (though both she and Aksana dealt well with it). That move eventually helped A.J. (who is definately my favourite diva in the competition) go over. As well as that, she is definately well over with the fans. Before the end of the night though, Vickie Guerrero again came out with her rookie, Kaitlyn, dragging her out like a child to again re-do her introduction, with Kaitlyn looking very uncomfortable. It is clear that this is to actually get Kaitlyn over as a face, and makes her character much more interesting – thanks in part to the brilliant heel that is Vickie Guerrero and her treatment of her rookie. A.J. stood up to Guerrero and got the better of her, deflecting Kaitlyn back in to her pro to embarrass her. Eventually, i’m sure, Kaitlyn will turn on Guerrero, but for now, she will continue to act the reluctant associate of the heel.
All in all, i’m pleased with how the show went. It looks as if it could be a great vehicle for female competitors in the WWE. Take away the dance contest and give that time to the main event, and it would have been near-perfect. As for stand-outs, i’ve already said that A.J. is my favourite, but Naomi also looked good, while Kaitlyn looks to have a potentially interesting character.