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[2014-05-29-WWE-NXT Takeover] Charlotte vs Natayla

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Charlotte vs Natayla - NXT Takeover 5/29/14 Vacant NXT Women's Championship

 

I can understand why this match is being pointed to as what the women's division can be if probably promoted, why it is being lauded as the greatest women's match in WWE canon and a turning point for women being taken seriously under WWE umberella. This is not just a match that is being trumpeted by WWE.com as a means to canonize (thanks Charles) this as a great/historic match; it finished #20 in Voices of Wrestling poll for 2014. WWE took the women seriously and in turn so did the pundits. I think that is the strength of this match more than anything than they did in the ring. This is the first women's match since Trish/Mickie/Lita that felt like it had a big fight feel. You had the Nature Boy going crazy at ringside cheering on his daughter and the stoic Hitman coaching up his niece. The announcers treated the match seriously and the crowd was fully invested in the outcome. I was at the Royal Rumble during what I thought was a really good Bellas vs Nattie/Paige tag match where you could hear a pin drop and no one gave one fuck about the match. The crowd is crucial in developing that atmosphere they wanted for this match. Honestly, this match felt like an exhibition to me. I think the cool story for a while was Nattie's submission ability against Charlotte's length. Yes, Nattie could grab the holds, but Charlotte was too damn long for Nattie to be able to hold her in those holds. Still, the match lacked quality transitions. I am a huge fan of chain wrestling that gets chippy and we get that with some nice slaps and then Charlotte smoking her with a spinning back chop. RIC FLAIR IS HYPED! He is all over the fallen Nattie, Wooing in her face after he she had that audacity earlier in the match. Then Nattie is just running the ropes and taking control. This is my next problem with the match. Women need to accentuate their positives and hide their weaknesses like any other wrestler. So just because men run the ropes, does not mean you should. Nattie with her little legs looks ridiculous when she is trying to run the ropes and Charlotte has to wait for her. This is something I noticed about the Charlotte/Banks match is that Charlotte is so athletic that she is showing up her fellow women. She can run the ropes and do convoluted sequences and look badass. Making Banks do those sequences or making Nattie try to keep up by running the ropes exposes both competitors. I like the figure-4 headlock a lot and Nattie trying to escape only to have Charlotte roll through showed how Charlotte's natural length thwarted Nattie. Then you get bullshit like Charlotte hitting a dropkick only for Nattie to hit a butterfly suplex. I liked the Charlotte Flair Flip into Nattie blasting her off the apron with a forearm. Nattie should focus on strikes, submissions and throws and forget about running. Charlotte whips her off the apron in a nasty bump. Then Charlotte misses the moonsault and Flair losing his shit. Flair should be her full-time manager, he adds a lot to this match. Nattie applies the Sharpshooter, but Charlotte reverses into the Figure-4. This was the worst figure-4 sequence I have ever seen and actively detracted from the match for me. Charlotte applied it and just because Nattie rolled through onto her back does not mean she is applying pressure. From there, they just start no-selling it and look confused. Then they trash talk and it is like somebody needs to start selling because this looks ridiculous. I am surprised they did not have Nattie properly reverse the pressure because that is actually a Sharpshooter (is just a standing reverse figure-4) and it would have been a counter that got a big pop. Anyways, Charlotte hits Bow Down to the Queen a way better name than Natural Selection to win the match. I feel like Paige/Emma had way more intensity and Charlotte/Banks had more interesting character work. Both of those matches felt like struggles. This match just felt like they were showcasing what women's wrestling could be rather than looking to win a match. ***1/2

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I would agree on what Marty said for about all of it.

 

This match was an example of what they could do with the women's division given a little buildup and gravitas.

 

The early match with Charlotte being outwrestled and having to use her length to keep Nattie away was really well done with lots of struggle. I also dug the slapping and chippiness as the match wore on, especially given how they built to it with Nattie taunting the Flairs and Ric going nuts on the outside.

 

Like it or not, rope running is a part of WWE style wrestling that you're not going to get away from in any match. It wasn't as extreme here as a lot of the men's matches are with half of what you see coming off of the ropes, so I won't complain too much.

 

The ending of the match was really exhibition-y and needed a lot of tweaking. Instead of all the fast rolling, maybe have Natalya keep Charlote on her stomach a bit longer before Charlotte rolls back through.

 

And finally, I liked Paige/Emma a lot more than this based on ring work. If that had been given this kind of atmosphere it would have been absolutely incredible. Looking forward to the Charlotte/Sasha explosion now.

 

In addition, when are they going to get the idea that they need to give people gimmicks that will work on the big show right away? Look at Emma and Adam Rose. Hugely over with the NXT crowd because they have layers. Both have a serious side that comes out in the ring and legitimizes their character despite the goofiness. But they seem to forget that once you hit Raw and Smackdown there are no layers. There's just the big, cartoony "I AM THIS" gimmicks. So you look at Tyler Breeze or Alexa Bliss and you know they aren't going to make it past NXT with any kind of success because the layers that go into their characters are necessary for the audience to buy into them.

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Vacant NXT Women's Title Tournament Final

Charlotte vs. Natalya Neidhart
The title has been vacated due to Paige becoming Divas Champion on the main roster. Charlotte is accompanied by her father Ric Flair and Natalya is accompanied by her uncle Bret Hart.
They have a great showcase early of technical wrestling, establishing an even matchup. But Charlotte is a cocky troll at times, oozing the swagger genetically passed onto her by her father, who was great in his role as her cheerleader during this classic. Bret was great as well, but his laid-back flavor of enthusiasm couldn't measure up to Flair's flamboyant passion and emotion.
These ladies took some hits on this one, the most painful being when Natalya was leg-whipped off the apron and onto the floor. This was ingenious on Charlotte's part, as it weakened Natalya's right knee to soften her up for the figure four leglock, and caused severe pain to the back to sabotage Natalya's arsenal of suplexes and her Scorpion Deathlock finisher. Having already had an amazing sequence earlier in the match involving their finishers, this moment further enhanced the story that was wrapped up neatly in the finish, as Natalya had too much pain in her back and legs to apply her finisher. Charlotte shoved her off and then finished her with a standing inverted Buff Blockbuster.
Post-match, Flair is in tears seeing what his daughter has accomplished, and Bret shakes his hand as the ladies embrace, having earned each other's respect and knowing they tore the fucking house down. This right here is best for business. ****

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I thought the match was terrific. One of my favorite spots was when Charlotte has the F-4 locked in. She slaps Nattie. Then Nattie turns out to be too short to slap back. It's a fun little moment.

 

I wasn't super-thrilled with the after-match, though, showing Charlotte and Nattie hugging it out right there in the ring. During the match, especially in the second half, we began to really see that anger and personality that Charlotte regularly shows. It ruins the moment to have her immediately drop the facade after winning.

 

She should have celebrated with Ric, and they could have both taunted Nattie and Bret. That's what a male heel would have done. And it's what Charlotte would have done a year later.

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At this point in time NXT was my favourite show, but not having the Network, I didn't start watching Takeovers until Brooklyn, so keep in mind I have never seen these matches before.

I went into this expecting some good stuff, and I was MOTHERFUCKING BLOWN AWAY.

I was actually blown away before the bell. What began as a tone shift towards seriousness during the first title tournament in 2013, has been fully realised here. The tournament for the title. The video package here treating them like megastars, talking about their family history, comparing them to Bret vs. Ric, everything was on point. I watch this and I just think yes, this is exactly what we could have been doing the whole time. Pure sportz build! And it was nice that Paige got time to say goodbye here, since she was far and away the biggest women's star for the first 2 years of NXT, and one of their biggest stars period.

We all know how much this match and moment meant to Ric Flair, but I think the only person it might have meant more to was Natalya. The look on her face when she walked out with Bret here... I got goosebumps. You can tell that to her this was the biggest moment of her wrestling career. This is what she's always wanted. The worker in her would have been SCREAMING on the inside.

I have an absolute TOME to write about Nattie in general and this isn't the place, but for the purposes of this match just let me say, Nattie was great in NXT during this time and let me tell you what - she was a STAR to this crowd. They really loved her. She would get "NATTIE" chants every match, and sometimes even when she wasn't even there (not "NATTIE'S HUSBAND" chants, I mean Tyson was working in the ring without her and they chanted "WE WANT NATTIE!" They... wanted Nattie. But I digress.)

This match. I honestly hardly have the words. Every moment of it worked. It was a physical, visceral wrestling match. Nattie used her training and veteran wiles to work holds and counters and get control. Charlotte used her freakish attributes - her height, reach and strength, just pure Colombian uncut athleticism - to escape and keep up. Every moment worked. The wheelbarrow, for instance; Nattie ran the ropes and went for a wheelbarrow, Charlotte lifted her up with power, and Nattie used her nous to roll her up out of it. Beautiful, a million moments like that. I was worried that re-watching this so soon would dampen the flame I felt watching it the first time, but honestly it hasn't lost a thing. I could watch this match 100 times.

Finally, Charlotte has had enough of being controlled with wrestling and countered at every turn, so she gets up and just fucking SLAPS her. Nattie is known to slap some bitches and so here we go. Charlotte hits some knees and a motherfucking backhand chop, and you sense that she finally reached the point where she's tired of being out-wrestled and needs to do something else. Nattie keeps persisting with the wrestling strategy, out of necessity, going for waistlock after waistlock, until Charlotte just picks her up and drops her with the backpack Stunner thing. Charlotte is using strikes and power moves now. Nattie has awoken the dragon.

One little thing I loved here is when Charlotte hit something and Ric Flair went INSANE on the floor and practically jumped right into the ring to Woo in Nattie's face. The fact that these Legends were not just present for the match, but actually visibly cared so much about it and the result, made it feel all the more special.

Charlotte using her Figure Four Headlock here looked great, and played into the story so well because it's not necessarily being out-wrestled, but just having those giant legs wrapped around her head that is finally getting Nattie under control. When Charlotte goes for this stuff, abdominal stretch, Nattie can find a way to get out because we're back to wrestling, and she has the advantage. And by the way, even something like Nattie's snapmare-run-stomp-run-dropkick combo looks good on someone as athletic as Charlotte and in front of a crowd that cares.

The Dragon Screw Leg Whip (Dusty voice) on the floor was a neat little move to signal the gear shift and get to the final act. Looked gnarly too. It's easy to forget these things now, but watching along it's easy to remember that Charlotte goes for the big moonsault for the FIRST time here. I LOVED her shit-eating grin she had before she took off, just a big ol' "Get a load of this motherfuckers!" and BANG, she's Kurt Angle.

You already knew this was leading to a big Sharpshooter vs. Figure Four showdown, and here we are. Charlotte once again powers out of a move. The Figure Four was fucking great, it made no sense with the reversals but it didn't even matter because they were both selling it so fucking well and making it make sense and the crowd was going apeshit and Ric was blowing an artery and Charlotte starts SLAPPING at Nattie and Nattie tries to fire back but SHE CAN'T BECAUSE CHARLOTTE HAS THE LONGER REACH AND SHE DOESN'T. Holy shit. And then finally they roll to the floor and for a second it's SHADES OF BRET HART'S FIGURE FOUR ON THE POST before they both fall down and die of exhaustion. Charlotte BANGS the floor in frustration here that this didn't work. This is also the first time of many where Charlotte looks to her father at ringside in her moment of despair late in a match. An amazing touch I cherished knowing their future run together. Charlotte gets her shit together and kicks Nattie's knee into the stairs.

Charlotte is unbelievable. She goes for another Figure Four but STOPS, looks at Bret, the Flair juice flows through her veins and she realises in a split second she is Ric Flair's fucking daughter and she is the Dirtiest Player in the Game and she turns right around into that fucking Sharpshooter and looks Bret dead in the eye. Sickness. Nattie isn't going to spend the best moment of her life tapping to her own Sharpshooter so she COUNTERS WITH HER WRESTLING into her own Sharpshooter, only for Charlotte to COUNTER WITH HER POWER AND REACH and kick herself out of it. I am in LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE. Then Natural Selection and ball game.

I don't even know what to say about the post-match except that it was awesome and nice and wonderful and bigger than kayfabe and historic and everything you wanted in this moment. This has never felt bigger. Also for what it's worth, at 16:49 this is now the longest televised women's match in modern WWE history.

I cannot explain to you how completely flabbergasting this Charlotte performance is.

Again, it's easy to forget now we're into the future, but this is May 2014. Charlotte was green as grass at this point. This was only the 11th TV match of her life! She had a handful of 2 minute matches in 2013, and spent the next 6 months as the muscle for the BFFs heel group. In fact she was still IN the BFFs as of this moment. She'd had two 5 minute singles matches under her belt, but hadn't really put anything particularly good on the board yet, and then went out here for 15+ minutes on PPV and did THIS. It is impossible to overstate how precocious a talent she is and quickly she got good. She is unbelievable. And fair play to Nattie, because nobody else could have had this match with her either. Regardless of the future this is probably Nattie's crowning achievement.

I hardly need to say that I love an extraordinary amount of Divas matches so this isn't something I say with ease, but at this point in the chronology, this is far and away the best WWE women's match since Trish retired.

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