NXT needs to give more conceptual characters glory, to prove that they are strong either because of, or in spite of their novelty persona. Unfortunately, NXT of 2016, just won’t let it happen.
She might have taken down Bayley here, but as Bayley appears to be getting a push up the bill post-Survivor Series, Nia Jax’s run as a beast has abruptly faced a problem. All of a sudden, Jax became became one of the least important women in the Raw roster, and considering that it’s a character that needs to be pieced back together as though she had never been defeated, means that it will be quite a job. This PPV weekend did not help, and goes to show that more NXT trainees will face the same problem.
WWE’s big event weekend, staging NXT TakeOver: Toronto, and Survivor Series 2016, has been home to some incredible, memorable and inevitably controversial decisions. Obviously, the moment that everyone is discussing was Goldberg’s victory over Brock Lesnar. In ninety-seconds, Goldberg unleashed two Spears, a Jackhammer and a pin for the win, and it was over. The beastly Brock’s winning streak (he had not been defeated cleanly by pinfall in a 1-on-1 match since Wrestlemania 29, over three years ago) was over in an instant. For the better (finally making Lesnar mortal), or for worst (Brock Lesnar’s first loss in years wasn’t implemented to put newer talent ‘over’), it will never be forgotten.
However, the focus in this post is on a beast that is very quickly shrinking, and in danger of being forgotten – Nia Jax. While she might not be the most popular or most experienced figure in the Women’s Division, that is not to say that she should not be put to use as how she was originally portrayed. A monster.
WHAT WENT WRONG AT NXT TAKEOVER: TORONTO?
There were a lot of surprised reactions and a lot of skepticism when Alexa Bliss was promoted to the main roster, during the brand split, having not been given at least a small amount of time as the NXT Women’s Champion. As it turned out, there was little to worry about. *Very* little. The “five feet of fury” Bliss has everything required. She is amazing in the ring, and especially incredible on the microphone. Her character has no more depth and concept than wanting to be the best, and not being an especially nice person.
Nia Jax on the other hand, faced a bigger problem, because she was a far more conceptual character. This was portrayed relatively well in the run up to her match against Bayley at TakeOver: London, slightly deflated by Bayley’s victory, but inflated somewhat again by a short run of victories against jobbers upon her arrival in the main roster. Unfortunately, the NXT of 2016 no longer allows the kind of space and time required to create a solid conceptual character that can last into the wrestlers’ promotions.
NXT TakeOver: Toronto, however entertaining, showed throughout that this was precisely the problem. The women’s main event was a battle between the champion (already a veteran in the business) and in a nostalgic return, Mickie James. Similarly, it is worth mentioning that the main event was a match between the A-List stars Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura. Adding insult to injury, Samoa Joe won the belt for the second time.
So much for being constructed from up-and-coming talent – the “developmental territory”. It is difficult enough to give wrestlers space on the card as it is. Also, because they are not in the women’s main event, doesn’t mean that they can disappear. It was presumably for this reason that Nia Jax was promoted so early. If WWE wanted to cling on to what was left of her monstrous persona, she could not hang around on NXT, winning non-stop jobber matches, or losing.
HOW DID SURVIVOR SERIES MAKE MATTERS EVEN WORSE?
This goes to show that any persona that needs more time to be developed and protect, is becoming increasingly difficult to create in NXT. Unfortunately, WWE RAW has not been accommodating to this very well, whether it be comedic characters such as Tyler Breeze, or giants such as Nia Jax. Jax did start out well with a few victories against jobber acts. I have commented before about how well unique personas have been developed for the women on SmackDown over the past few weeks, as recently for the better, nobody stood out as the one ‘anti-Diva’ (as Paige once was). On the other hand, RAW might have been promoting the women to main event status, but it is still generic squabbling.
Above, we see her first of a few big show of strength last night, as she shoves Team SmackDown to the ground. However, this was sadly extinguished for Jax in what felt like the last time, when she was eliminated within ten minutes, having submitted to Becky Lynch (who was had just been on the receiving end of a Double DDT from Jax). Lynch might be the champion, but Jax needed a decent portrayal in a similar vein to the (albeit much bigger) Braun Strowman.
She has no excuses anymore, let alone be seen as a unique and strong character. For the time being, neither will anybody else who is positively conceptual who arrives via NXT, without a perfect score upon their arrival.