WRESTLING REVIEW: NXT Live : St. Petersburg

By | November 21, 2022

St. Petersburg : a hidden gem at the bottom of the map. Under the radar for many tourists of the Florida swamp lands, though apparently a familiar region for the NXT faithful. A house show was devised for the eighteenth of November, and I had to make my appearance to see what the hype was about. Yeah, there was no Alicia Taylor and the night was dedicated primarily to build up enhancement talent, but this is what NXT was made for and live in St. Petersburg, these prospects made a case for why they can one day find themselves on the wrap of a promo truck for a premiere live event.

Setting things off for the women’s division was a contest between Lash Legend and an upstart named Dani Oliver. Looking like a squash from lockup, I was taken aback at Dani Oliver’s skillset : missile dropkicks from the mat, headbutts from the corner, and a gorgeous sunset flip towards the end of the contest are ultimately what made the stamina of Dani Oliver’s performance memorable. Still lasting in the ring with Legend is a different thing from the defeating the former WNBA all-star.

Lash Legend paced the match: utilizing sideway slams and a modified guillotine early on to wear down Oliver, hitting a climax when she performed a maneuver that made it appear to the audience that Oliver’s throat should have at least snapped the second rope, with the force Legend drove Oliver into it. This just was not an even match up, no matter how bright Oliver’s cheetah print ring attire was or how quickly she mounted her offense. All of these points were moot to the incomparable size and strength of Legend who ended the match victoriously after Oliver launched herself from the second rope for a high flying move, but ended up getting caught in Legend’s finisher for her troubles.
A six-woman tag match was next on the bill which saw Roxanne Perez, Wendy Choo, and Valentina Feroz take on Elektra Lopez, Cora Jade, and Kiana James. There are issues that can arise in six person tag matches, most notably a feeling of disjointedness or one performer being given an unfair amount of shine in respect to the others in the ring.

None of this was the case here as Jade and Perez got to continue their on-screen beef, Lopez scored the pin while making Feroz look sympathetic, and Choo came out the match with shades of her strong brawler capabilities returning from her Mei Ying days as Kianna James showed that she is more than just intimidating in size and strength, as she tried out new submission holds on her opponents that effectively held the attention of the St. Pete crowd. To close out the show, the tag team championships were on the line as Kayden Carter and Katana Chance (who both dapped me up) went at it with Diamond Mine representatives Ivy Nile and Tatum Paxley.

The St. Pete Armory was a smaller venue than the NXT faithful are used to, so the high-flying moves Katana tends to gift the crowd were minimized to the point that the most memorable spot was a push-up competition between Carter and Nile. Still, the lack of room did not stop the champs from retaining as they shrugged off Diamond Mine’s strength and utilized a complete trust among each other that at times had Carter flinging around her partner like a weapon of her choice. And even though the two had retention in the bag, they sold their bumps with dedication: Katana took standing suplexes from Paxley, and Carter took spill after spill outside the ring looking like she’s never be able to make it to her feet again, much less the apron … but the two successfully stood tall in the middle of the ring as the last bell rang, belts and mics in hand issuing a challenge to any and all teams across the WWE Universe to come and stop their 100 plus day reign; a message that holds even more weight than usual with the cross-brand Survivor Series PLE arriving just a week shy from the pair’s latest title defense.

Sure, Alicia Taylor’s voice was nowhere to be heard and Mandy Rose was nowhere to be seen to parade the single’s belt, but in Westside Gunn patented 4th Rope position (aka the front row or as NXT like’s to call it the “Gold Circle”), I can say from my vantage point that WWE’s golden prospects shined bright on the night they came to St. Pete, and I know that any other seat in the house could not help but recognize the gleam of NXT’s women’s division in Florida’s very own Sunshine City.