NXT (21/09/2010): The Divas Getting Punked?

Punk could barely contain himself at the announce table

I don’t know what to say about season 3 of NXT. Either it is as (mostly) bad as it seems, or WWE is doing some sort of angle with it. Maybe, knowing that SyFy wont be carrying it after they start showing Smackdown, they are simply seeing it out and letting the on-air personalities do what they want in the mean time.

CM Punk at the announce table was undoubtedly entertaining. He must be one of the funniest guys in WWE. Countless times he would made sarcastic comments that it was hard not to laugh at. After Kaitlyn hit a pretty impressive spear (to be fair to her), he shouted ‘that’s the darndest spear i’ve ever seen!’ And during the main event, while Layla was facing Jamie, knowing what was coming, he said, ‘if I were Layla i’d pull that flower out of her hair,’ which, of course, he knew Layla was going to do. This was all hilarious, but i’m not sure how good it was for the divas, who themselves mostly knew how bad a lot of the segments were. Indeed, maybe the divas know they’re not under much scrutiny as Naomi said ‘I just want to wrestle.’

This season of NXT was a chance for WWE to produce some really talented female wrestlers that we cared about because we shared some sort of journey with them. Let AJ win an ordinary season of NXT for instance, and she could be a top diva in no time. Also, for divas like Kelly Kelly, who get more chances to speak, it would help improve their standing on WWETV as the old cliché, ‘more than just a pretty face.’

My hope is that this is some sort of angle. If it isn’t i’m surprised how much Punk, Cole and even Matthews have been getting away with, and even more surprised that WWE have been facilitating it (even providing Cole with a gong last week). Here’s what I hope is going on: With WWE probably having to show NXT on WWE.com after Smackdown debuts on SyFy, they no longer necessarily need the more flimsy entertainment aspects of the concept to make it appealing to a TV audience, so they are selling how ‘bad’ the show is currently by characaturing it and mocking it themselves, only for some some sort of official announcement from WWE management to be aired saying that NXT is being pulled from TV and revamped under ‘new management.’ Maybe they’ll make Cole the official NXT GM or something (which would also segway in to him being RAW GM?) and for it’s debut on WWE.com, he’ll make it more ‘watchable’ by ‘refining’ the show to be more about wrestling and star-power alone. Now it seems a little far-fetched even to me, but I do think some sort of angle (if not exactly the one I suggested) is possible, simply due to the behaviour of the on-air talents.

What is clear is, as it is, season 3 is not helping the divas as it should be. If it is just an angle like this, it’s a shame that Smackdown’s move to SyFy has come during the divas edition.

As for this week’s show itself, the action wasn’t even all bad. I can see the logic (just) of the musical chairs challenge, testing agility and timing. It’s a little flimsy, but most challenges have been and i’ve never mined NXT having that unique element.

AJ had an ok match with Maxine in which both showed they can work in the ring at least to the standards of some current divas, and probably above the standards of many.

Talk the talk was probably the ‘worst’ segment. I liked what Jamie and Naomi had to say about wanting to prove themselves in a better way than a talking segment. AJ was pretty good too with her ‘firecracker’ promo. The worst were Aksana and Naomi, both who had nothing to say: Aksana because she couldn’t understand the topic, and Naomi simply because nothing came to mind. Again, i’m not sure how ‘real’ their performances were here, but it made for awkward watching. Speaking of Aksana, it looks as if they’re toying with pulling her from the show due to kayfabe ‘visa issues.’ This could either be a ploy. as I say, to write her off the show (probably because she can’t speak English quite well enough), or it could be a storyline to try and get the fans behind her.

The main event was pretty good too. We didn’t see too much that was special, but everything was solid and it was a simple but well told story about Kaitlyn losing the match, despite the help of LayCool. Again, Kaitlyn was something of a standout, both in the ring and otherwise this week.

So it’s not as if the action is all bad (though some of it is doubtlessly pretty brutal), the ‘problem’ seems to be how it’s treated. As I say, if it’s part of an angle, i’m willing to run with it. If it’s not, it’s easily fixed. Just have one, slightly more serious challenge, and 2-3 matches given decent time per week. Give everyone there some mic time too and you’re on to a winner. It looks like CM Punk will be a regular at the NXT announce table for now, which is good for entertainment value too. We’ll just have to wait and see how the show will be treated and what will happen to it after what I pressume will be it’s last TV showing next week.

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