It has been a prospect for a while, and we have to wait a little longer before it happens, but it’s official – Emma will challenge Paige for the NXT Women’s Championship on the brand’s first live episode on February 27, airing on the WWE Network. The announcement was made during the February 19 taping which took place at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL, yesterday.
The pair have history – the Briton became the first NXT Women’s Champion on the July 24 episode last year by beating her Australian opponent in the finals of the championship tournament after going through Tamina Snuka and Aksana to make it to the final. Emma earned another shot at the belt on the August 7 episode, but has had to wait for her shot, and also had to defend her right to challenge for the title by beating Natalya on the December 18 show.
Paige hasn’t wrestled on NXT since the December 18 episode where she beat Sasha Banks – though in reality, the 21-year old hasn’t wrestled since November 21, as that’s when the show was recorded. There were rumours of injury, though that was refuted by the Wrestling Observer, who said that she was given time off for personal reasons.
Considering where each woman is in their respective career, the outcome of this contest is as sure as a flip of a coin. Considering the length of Paige’s reign and the high-profile nature of this contest, a new champion is certainly possible. Emma has the popularity and the skill to be the champion, though considering the 24-year old has started appearing in the crowd on Raw and SmackDown, she may be on the way out of NXT anyway. However, it could be argued that she can hold the title and work WWE TV, as both Big E Langston and Seth Rollins did it with the NXT Championship.
On the flip side, a Paige win would put her over huge as the dominant champion on the live NXT and establish her as someone for everyone to keep an eye on – though it may benefit her to lose the belt as it could free her up to follow the likes of Emma and Summer Rae to debut for the main WWE brands. Again, there are pros and cons associated with both winning and losing.
It’s certainly an intriguing situation – you’ll have to get a WWE Network subscription to watch it unfold.
– Lee Burton