WWE NXT RESULTS: The Empress To Be Caught in the Venus Fly Trap? (February, 22nd 2017)

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Promoted earlier this week was the announcement that NXT would play host to a triple threat match that would create a new contender for the NXT Women’s Championship, only weeks after Asuka had furthered her undefeated streak with a big victory over her past contenders at Takeover San Antonio. One of those past contenders, Peyton Royce is a part of this opportunity, as is two women constantly attempting to one up each other in order to prove whose in need of contention, Liv Morgan and Ember Moon.

The Three Women open the show this week, taking part in this triple threat number one contenders match. Entering first before the Full Sail Crowd is Ember Moon, then Liv Morgan, then lastly Peyton Royce, with Billie Kay as (Troublesome) accompaniment. The Women circle each other after the bell rings, with Peyton getting the first shot in the form of a kick at Ember before taking some forearms from a striking Liv Morgan. Liv shoves Peyton into Ember, rolling up Peyton as Ember rolls out of the ring, getting a near fall on her fellow hopeful contender. Liv blocks an attempted kick from Peyton, ducking an attempted roundhouse matrix style seconds after, rolling up Peyton a second time and getting the same result as prior. Liv hauls Peyton onto one shoulder but the heel slips free, sending Liv downwards to the ringside floor by throwing her between the ropes. Peyton turns back and ends up the target of a dropkick from a fiery returning Ember. Peyton joins Liv on the outside, being checked on by Billie, who proves further aid to her by pulling out of the way of Embers diving crossbody, which only takes down Liv rather than both two targets. Peyton dashes over to Ember and launches her into the nearby steel steps, truly having the momentum as we go to a commercial break.

When we return, Peyton expectedly holds control over the match still, stomping down on Liv Morgan against a corner back in the ring. She then resorts to choking her against the same corners top turnbuckle with her boot, snapmaring her from the corner afterward and proceeding with a pin attempt, but only getting a near fall result. Peyton temporarily deals with Ember, kicking her down as she attempts to climb back into the ring, but once Peyton turns back to Liv, the Jersey Female responds with a sudden roll up, but like the rest of this matches pin attempts, a near fall soon follows, as does a switch in momentum as Peyton floors Liv with a big clothesline. Peyton goes ahead with her own pin attempt, and again resulting in a near fall. Peyton sticks Liv between the ropes, dealing a kick to Liv before proceeding to hang below the top rope with a hold applied. Peyton kicks Liv back into the ring, darting to the ropes and knocking Ember off the opposite apron with an elbow in the process. Peyton takes some hits from Liv but retaliates with a knee strike to the midsection, seizing her in a chinlock after taking her to the ropes. Once released, Peyton tosses Liv backwards to the ring mat, before a dropkick again deals with the fellow threat of Ember Moon, sending poor Ember back to the floor.

Having cleared off Ember and had a fair bit of showboating about it, Peyton is back on the attack with forearms to Liv. She follows by whipping Liv to a corner, receiving a kick as she attempts a corner assault. Liv sends Peyton whirling to the other side of the ring with a tilt-a-whirl headscissor, following with a pin attempt that Peyton escapes at two, still fighting to be in the match. Despite pain dealt, Peyton delivers an axe handle to the back of Liv, whose also trying to regain composure. Liv aims fists at Peytons back before Peyton seizes Liv’s left leg, attacking it. She turns her attention back to Ember, delivering a kick that sends Ember face first back to the floor, as the fellow hopeful contender struggles to find a way back into the match. Its back to Liv and Peyton now, with the two ladies exchanging forearms, though Peyton eventually overwhelms, sending Liv to the mat with another knee. Peyton works on Liv continuously in the corner, up until a drop toe hold counter from Liv sees Peyton meeting the corner itself, or more so its bottom turnbuckle. Liv now tries to take control, connecting with a double stomp to the back of Peyton before running her face first into the mat with a running bulldog. She makes her way to Peyton near a corner to try and pin, only to have it broken by Ember Moon, who has charged her way back into the ring with much effort. Ember hoists up Liv, dodging a clothesline from the fellow competitor and connecting with a kick and a knee before Liv tries to reverse momentum with a hurricanrana. The Impact is enough to send out Ember again.

Peyton and Liv battle on the turnbuckles, Liv upon the top, Peyton heading to the second. Peyton struggles to shift Liv, struggling more with Liv’s retaliating fists. Ember flips her way back in and impressively powerbombs both women at the same time. All Women lay on the mat, Ember crawling to the turnbuckles and finding the energy to ascend up them, though Billie, seeing how the referee is checking on Peyton, takes this opportunity to try and stop Embers ascent. Ember knocks her away and eclipses the assisting heel, and back on the mat, she has her back turned from Liv, who suddenly tosses her out of the ring. As the crowd take this in, Peyton knees Liv from out of nowhere, and the bridging fishermans suplex allows Peyton the three count. Peyton wins the match, becoming the number one contender to the NXT Women’s Championship.

Peyton and Billie get to react to this huge victory later on in the show backstage. Kayla tries to get in Peyton’s thoughts on having to challenge Asuka as soon as next week, but Billie butts in on this, saying Peyton appears much aware of this. Speaking of Peyton, she has a various number of facts to deliver, the first being the belief that she would be the champion if it wasn’t for “Crazy” Nikki Cross, The Second being that she had a fair go this time around, and Third and Lastly, She Will Win over Asuka next week for that very reason. Shes elated over the thought of bringing the title down under, celebrating this sure imagery with Billie as they hop away from the backstage area.

(Ember Moon vs Liv Morgan vs Peyton Royce w/ Billie Kay; Number One Contenders Match; Billie Kay and Peyton Royce Backstage Segment)

Thoughts On This Match:
Overall a good match with well thought placement. Theres Ember, whose destined to run into Asuka at some point, more so after the Takeover verbal challenge. Theres Liv who is a credited underdog who has overcome the bullying of Peyton and Billie and even defeated one of the latter as a possible way to enter this match. Then there’s Peyton herself whose in need of a rematch to prove herself after being pinned at Takeover, and her viciousness is just one factor that played in this match and the match to come. On top of it being about Peyton’s redemption, this may have also set up more in the story of Ember and Liv. The idea of keeping Ember out because shes viewed as a main threat to the heels while Liv is just a target and only a target was well done, and though her momentum was short lived, she wasn’t hurt as a credibility at all because her streak was protected via Liv taking the fall, and furthermore it was unique to see Liv throw Ember from the match rather than repetitiveness continuing with Peyton throwing Ember out instead. It may be the beginning of a heel turn for Liv, which id say she needs right about now, though i wouldn’t have said so months ago as she was getting bigger reactions at the time. Shes continually trying to overcome her continual adversaries in Peyton and Billie and when they aren’t an obstacle block, Ember is, having already defeated her, and they are just two reasons to set on the course of a heel turn. Either way, while its evident there’s been no additional insight or background into Embers character, maybe we’ll get some of that once shes champion (even though its a ridiculously late time to do so) and i expect Ember vs Liv at a Takeover event sometime down the line. As Much as i hope for Peyton and Billie to ascend even higher up the ranks, once Ember is champion and Asuka is promoted, i can see them just being stepping stones for the likes of Nikki Cross and Heidi Lovelace sadly, but lets hope that isn’t the case. After all we got to give Peyton props for working 3 matches on the night of the tapings, including this one and the match with Asuka. The “Iconic” duo are killing it right now and id hate to see the pairings development fall flat and for them to receive one loss after the other, after all Alexa Bliss is one person people say had the ball dropped on not being NXT Women’s Champion, lets not have Peyton and Billie mentioned under that category too.

– Catherine

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