By Ryan Satin
FOX Sports WWE Analyst
Nikki A.S.H. appears to be on the verge of another reinvention — but could the answer to her future lie in the past?
As Nikki Cross, she was an NXT standout from 2016-2019.
The former member of SAnitY took part in a number of memorable matches/storylines under Triple H’s direction and became a fan favorite there for her wild personality. Then there was a big change.
In May 2019, Nikki got called up to the main roster with an entirely different persona as the new sidekick of Alexa Bliss.
Rather than unhinged, she was kooky, friendly and fairly normal.
Fans waited for Cross to eventually snap, hoping it would lead to the Nikki of old, but that never happened. Instead, when the breakup finally occurred, it was Alexa who turned on her friend to become the villain.
This led to the creation of Nikki A.S.H. (Almost a Super-Hero.)
Fueled by the success of female-led superhero franchises, such as Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman, Cross pitched the idea of Nikki A.S.H. as a way of connecting with young female viewers.
It was met with mixed reviews.
After winning Money in the Bank and successfully cashing in the contract to capture her first singles gold in WWE, fans began to push back. She then lost the belt to Charlotte Flair at SummerSlam ’21 and eventually turned into a delusional heel.
That brings us to the present, where her character is once again at the crossroads after being shown on Raw this week breaking down with her mask off following a loss to Candice LeRae.
Some saw it as the beginning of another character change, but the change actually started weeks ago, when Nikki and her tag partner Doudrop were spotted arguing in the background of segments on Raw.
In one instance, Nikki was even shown taking off her mask in anger and throwing it at her partner before storming off.
These scenes, coupled with last night’s post-match angle, and the fact that Triple H has been restoring glory to former NXT talent, all lead me to believe they’ve been building toward the return of the old Nikki Cross.
Who wouldn’t want to see a program between Nikki and Doudrop where both get their old names back? It could even end on Raw with a Last Man Standing match (a la Nikki’s famous NXT match against Asuka).
Cross could also be a potential teammate for Damage CTRL should they be placed inside the WarGames match at Survivor Series, especially when you factor in that she has unresolved issues with Alexa Bliss, prior NXT feuds involving Bianca Belair and Asuka, and one of the arguments with Doudrop happened behind Bayley.
Bottom line: Nikki Cross still has untapped potential.
Triple H knows this and appears to be bringing it out of her again.
Ryan Satin is a WWE analyst for FOX Sports. Satin previously appeared on FS1’s “WWE Backstage” and founded Pro Wrestling Sheet, where he broke countless news stories as editor-in-chief.
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