Heading into Diva NXT the hype was unbelievable! Diva fans round the world rejoiced last week when we found out the next season of NXT was going to be based solely on the Divas, because it meant there was going to be some actual time used on them. Which as we all know is rare these days. Although there was some excitement heading in, there was also some controversy. Vickie Guerrero "fired" her ex-NXT Rookie, Aloisa, and we were to find out who her new Rookie was tonight. Let's see how the Diva Rookies fared on their first night, and let's see who Vickie's newest Rookie Diva was:
Right off the bat we get an amazing NXT opening. I love the song chosen for it, and it's probably the most work WWE put into the Divas in months! After Cole and Matthews are done talking Matt Striker introduces the WWE pros. Kelly Kelly's out first and she introduces her Rookie Diva, Naomi Knight. Wow! Nai Nai pulled out all the stops tonight, because she looks fierce! Next out are the Bellas, and they introduce Jamie Keyes who's bod is out of this world! She looks extremely buff, and I was always impressed with her body. Jamie looks like she really puts work into her body, and that's something that has to be commended.
Primo comes out next to introduce the young lady I personally am looking most forward to seeing, AJ! AJ seems quirky, fun, and just a tad nerdy, which I think works for her. Alicia comes out next to a little reaction, actually. She introduces her rookie, Maxine. I like her outfit, but the shirt is a little too big for her, and what's up with the peek-a-boo bra? I thought WWE was "pg"? Whatever. Goldust is out next and introduces another Diva I'm excited to see, Aksana! If you've seen her in FCW you'll know she's a jumble of crazy fun, and really has her character down pat.
The final Pro out is Vickie Guerrero. Vickie does her usual "excuse me!" shpeal, informing the crowd of her firing Aloisa. I never knew Rookies were employed by their Pros, but this is WWE we're talking about. They make things work their way, not the logical way. She says Aloisa had to learn the hard way that she may be taller than Vickie, but she will never be bigger. Vickie finally introduces her new Rookie, who she says is almost as pretty as her, Kaitlyn. Whoa! I was not expecting that. I saw a few pics of her in FCW, but I didn't realize she was this toned!
Striker tells all the girls they have a hard three months ahead of them, and that only one of them will have a happy ending. I found it cute how AJ was pointing to herself and saying, "Me! Me!" all happy. He says being a Diva is a great achievement. He says the usual tagline before explaining the voting process and handing Kaitlyn the mic to introduce herself.
Kaitlyn calls Matt cute before explaining she's not just the girl next door. She's the girl that blew up your mailbox on the fourth of July. The girl that kissed you and gave you a wedgie later. The girl that won Homecoming Queen and Class Clown on the same night. Kaitlyn says she hopes to capture all of our hearts before handing the mic back to Matt Striker. Vickie hilariously stops Matt from giving Aksana the mic and scolds Kaitlyn. She says that if Kaitlyn is going to represent her she has to do better. Vickie hands Kaitlyn the mic and she basically mocks her love of Vickie before adding, "And I will...give you all wedgies."
The amount of heat Kaitlyn garnered for that segment was good. I'm not sure if it was real, because NXT is taped, but to me the NXT reactions never really sounded fake. Matt finally gives Aksana the mic, and here we go! She butchers the English language, saying she likes to call herself a billion dollar baby from Lithuania. The kooky one brilliantly begins talking about herself in third person! She says she's here because she followed her dreams. Aksana compliments herself some more in third person, saying something in Lithuanian before finishing off telling the crowd her favorite colors and that she wants to "entertainment" us. That was just awesome. Aksana has to be pretty damn smart to pull off a crazy promo like that!
Maxine takes the stage next, asking Aksana what she just said. She says that more importantly she has three senses—a business sense, street sense, and common sense, which garners a "What!" chant from the crowd. She says the average person is lucky to have any one of those traits, which means she's not average. It means she's a triple threat...in a skirt. Maxine finishes off stating the only position for her is at the top. I loved Maxine's comfortability on the mic, and her "flow" was really good. She came off as a natural, and if you've seen her in FCW you'll know that's her strongest asset.
AJ's up next. Miss AJ states that first of all, someone seriously needs to hug Maxine (which Alicia does), and that second everyone is witnessing a dream come true right now. AJ states that all she's dreamed of is being a WWE Diva. She wants to be Women's Champ, she wants to have an action figure, and most importantly, she wants to win NXT. AJ says there's not a damn thing that's going to stop her before laughing exaggeratedly and handing the mic back to Matt. Originally I thought AJ's skills on the mic needed work, but now I think she did fine on the mic. I think her "thing" is being a geek, and I like it. The only thing she might have to work on in the future is her timing and pausing.
Jamie takes center stage next. She says she's ready to step out from behind the mic and compete for the greatest entertainment in the world. Jamie says she's honored and privileged to compete for the WWE Universe. She says she never puts in less than 100 percent, motioning to her body with an accompanied "look at me!" Finally Jamie says she'll win NXT and gives Striker the mic again. That was actually pretty generic to me. It didn't feel forced or anything, on the contrary. I thought she sounded relaxed and at ease on the mic. It's just that, as stated on commentary, it sounded like something off a teleprompter.
The final girl to speak is Miss Naomi Knight. Nai Nai says "Haaaaaaay!" to the WWE Universe. Knight says WWE's been missing one thing, and that's Naomi herself. She states that she's a fighter who backs down from nothing and is not intimidated by anyone. She looks back at Jamie before stating that she doesn't need to babble on, because in the end her actions will prove why she'll be NXT season three's next breakout star. Again, someone who seemed very comfortable on the mic. The thing about Naomi is that I buy into everything she's saying. I really believe her and her character when she talks, and I feel like she's a real person with emotions, not some WWE-generated Diva.
I think overall all the women did a great job on the mic. They all seemed to really sell their characters well, and I got a different vibe from each of them, which is good, because it means everyone's a different and unique entity in their own way. I personally like all the girls, and it's going to be tough seeing one go. Matt informs us that the first Rookie Challenge is up next before a commercial break cuts in.
Back from commercial Striker informs us that the first elimination will take place in four weeks! That's surprising because I thought this season was a throwaway. In any event, Striker then announces that the first challenge is a Diva dance competition. Naomi is up first, but before she can get to all the dancing Striker says he thinks she needs someone to dance with. Insert Michael Cole's five minutes of fame here. Cole is wearing ridiculous leg warmers, and he even stretches! Say what you want, but the man does know how to play his character.
The thirty seconds alloted starts and Naomi swiftly throws a leg up before shaking her bootay for Cole. Michael hilariously flails around like a dying fish! But, Naomi does make the best of it...Next up is Jamie Keyes. I must say, Keyes may have the tightest bod, but those dance moves weren't tight at all...Striker sends Cole away and next up is AJ. The partner given to her is Tony Chimel. Oh Lord. AJ pretty much models her butt for the crowd, but hey, her methods work!
Maxine takes the next spot, doing pretty much the same thing AJ does. Again Striker sends another dancer away. Now Aksana has to dance, and boy am I looking forward to this! Especially since Josh Matthews will now be her partner. "Let's see how these two clash" is basically what I was thinking. They did something I would've never guessed, they actually ballroom danced! The final contestant is Kaitlyn. She just does a bunch of 80's dance moves....Erm, ok? That contest was interesting, to say the very least.
Matt Striker then proceeds to ask the crowd how all the women did, and all were booed (including Michael) except for Naomi and AJ. Naomi ultimately won the whole competition, and before commercial break was announced to be teaming up with Kelly to face Alicia and Maxine. I definitely think Naomi did the best, and it's no secret she's a former dancer, so one would expect her to win, no?
Back from commercial Maxine and Alicia are already in the ring. I love Maxine's new ring gear, and I can't wait to see what she'll pull out in the ring. K2's out next with Naomi. The bell rings and the matchup is underway. Alicia guts K2 with a kick, forearming her and whipping her to the ropes. Foxy misses a clothesline and on the return is hit with a delayed spinning headscizzors from Kelly. Kelly follows up with a headzcizzors into a pin for two. She locks in a wristlock and Naomi sees her first moments in the ring off a tag.
Nai Nai locks in a headlock, bouncing off the ropes Stratusfaction-style and turning it into a gorgeous sunset flip pin for two. She runs at Alicia but finds herself tripped and elbowed. The former Divas Champ sends her to the ropes, but always the fast one Naomi slides through Alicia's legs and hits a nice double-leg dropkick. Naomi hits a jumping butt-bump and covers for a one count. She stays on the attack, whipping Foxy to the ropes but ending up there herself. When Naomi runs at her Alicia stealthily hits her patented tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two.
Alicia's seemingly had enough of this, tagging Maxine in who takes Naomi to the corner despite the crowds attempts to rile her up. The multi-cultural beauty drives her shoulder into Naomi multiple times, but finds herself shoved off quickly. Maxine hits somewhat of a bronco buster before ripping at Naomi's head. She follows up with a suplex and gets two. Alicia tags back in and wastes no time, kicking Naomi in the midsection and hitting a snapmare into a headlock submission move. Naomi ends up fighting back, hitting a jawbreaker on the former champ.
Alicia knocks Kelly in her face for her troubles as to keep Naomi from tagging, and then takes the Rookie to her corner to tag in Maxine once more. Maxine repeatedly drives her shoulders into Naomi again, snapmaring her as her Pro did earlier. She lifts Naomi up but is rolled into a small package which garners Naomi's team the win. Meanwhile Kelly has lou thesz pressed Alicia and is chasing her out of the ring. Apparently there was some confusion, because the match is over but everyone's still fighting. In the end Naomi and Kelly are announced as the winners of the match.
Aside from the confusing end, I thought that match was really good! It definitely felt longer than usual, and I thought Naomi and Alicia's chemistry was great! They really work perfectly together, and it's quite impressive considering their individual styles. One thing their styles do have in common is that they're both very over the top and dramatic. Alicia's selling is all over the place, but still controlled. While Naomi's offense is like that. I liked all the moves used, and I especially loved the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.
It was smart to keep Kelly out of the majority of the match, but maybe Maxine should of been kept out too. Her moves were pretty trivial and generic, and I think if there's any time to pull out some signature moves for her, it's now. She's on national television now, there's no room for mess ups or normalcy.
Back from commercial it's time for the physical challenge. Striker explains the rules before letting the girls loose. Jamie is the one who misses the first flag. Aj misses the second, Aksana the third, and Kaitlyn the fourth. Finally it's down to Maxine and Naomi, who ironically competed moments ago. Maxine is asked if she's ok, which she is, and Naomi grabs the final flag in the end. Naomi's interviewed, and again shows shades of that "realness" I talked about earlier by asking the fans to give her a second. She says she's excited and that her athleticism is what she has over the girls, but still has a long way to go.
After the commercial break Cole and Matthews fail to make me want to watch John Cena's next no-hit film, "Legendary." After all that is finally said and done a video package of who Jamie Keyes is and what she's about is played. At one point she says she looked up to Trish Stratus. Smart girl.....anyway, Goldust and Aksana make their way to the ring, and back from commercial Primo and AJ come to the ring looking like the cutest little couple ever! I like.
The men tie up and Goldust outsmarts Primo with an armdrag. He tells Primo "come on, baby!", which only earns him a shove in return. Goldust slaps Primo and quickly rolls him up for a two count. Primo guts Goldust, sending him to the opposing side of the ring and prepping for an overhead takeover. The Golden One responds with another slap to Primo's face. This is enough for the Latin dynamo as he tags AJ in.
AJ misses a clothesline and is taken down three times with a shoulder block, clothesline, and scoop slam from the Lithuanian kook. She follows up with a leg drop for two and sends AJ to the ropes. Aksana finds herself there, though, and AJ tries hitting an arm drag. Aksana reverses into a nice backbreaker for two, however. AJ is elbowed in the face, and off the ropes seemingly goes for a wheelbarrow which doesn't come to fruition. Uh oh...AJ stays on her toes, though, back kicking Aksana in her midsection.
The girls redo the spot, and this time AJ hits the wheelbarrow into a bulldog she was looking for earlier. Even though she landed awkardly AJ still goes for the pin. This surprisingly gets the win for her team. AJ goes wild for this, jumping wildly all over the place. Cue Vickie coming in to cut the celebration short. Vickie holds onto her rookie like an angry mother and the two step into the ring. Vickie wants Kaitlyn to do her intro over again, and Primo says it's AJ's moment, so why is Vickie out there.
Vickie says she doesn't care about AJ, and that while Primo is used to failure she's used to success. This prompts AJ to tell Vickie to go away. Vickie asks AJ if she knows who she's talking to, finally telling Kaitlyn to "sick her!" That one made me laugh out loud. She tries scoop slamming AJ, but AJ reverses and throws Kaitlyn into Vickie. Miss Guerrero throws a hissy fit, and as she leaves with Kaitlyn the show closes.
The match was ok. It was pretty boring if you ask me, and the end was harsh to watch, especially when the crowd started booing. I appreciate the fact that AJ didn't get aggravated and decided to redo the whole spot. It seems to me that Aksana has a problem selling her toughness in the ring. Her moves don't come off that strong, and she's another girl that needs to work on signature maneuvers to use. Still, it was decent.
The post-match segment was great. I like Kaitlyn's facial expressions, and her strong suit is obviously her character. She knows how to make people believe what's happening, and I look forward to seeing some more promo work from her. The only thing that's bad is Kaitlyn's experience. She doesn't have a lot of it, obviously, so it's going to be tough for WWE to use her in matches. AJ is really into her character, and I like that. She's over the top, and wild, and just a complete fireball. She honestly reminds me of Mickie James when she first came in, and I think people are already taking a liking to her. AJ just needs to work a little bit on her mic work, but other than that she's definitely a front-and-runner for the competition.
Overall I thought tonight's show was good. It wasn't mind-blowing, but it wasn't the trainwreck some expected it to be. Everyone established a certain character, which is important to do in this age of Divas. I think the show can only go up from here, and if they impress WWE enough they could help start a better era of Divas. The second generation of Divas is almost gone, just look at the roster. Melina, Michelle, Beth, Layla, and Jillian are the only ones left from the second generation. And with all these new girls in FCW, I expect the third generation will soon take shape. This is why I think Diva NXT will be extremely vital in determining how well the third era of Divas will go.
With all the hype and build going into tonight, I think it's safe to say the girls did a good job. Now we just need to see some improvement from them in the coming weeks.
What did you think of Diva NXT?