Has Nikki Cross outsmarted Vince McMahon?
By Skylar Russell
After Nikki A.S.H won the Women’s Money In The Bank briefcase last night, I’ve had one question on my mind: Has Nikki Cross outsmarted or partially figured out how to cater to Vince McMahon?
Vince is notorious for “not getting” a ton of his own stars. People from Matt Riddle, to Keith Lee, to the now released Andrade and Aleister Black. It’s not surprising considering McMahon has been in the business for virtually his entire 75 year existence. He’s seen it all and is probably very, very worn out at this point.
Nikki Cross has been on the main roster since late 2018 and hasn’t done much of note. Aside from two above average Tag Team Championship reigns with Alexa Bliss, Cross has been wallowing in mediocrity. In 2020, she only won a whopping 35% of her matches despite being featured regularly throughout the year.
After being defeated by Alexa Bliss on the 2/10 edition of Raw earlier this year, Cross disappeared. As the Raw women’s division would suffer from constant rematch after constant rematch, fans would clamor for a return of the former Sanity member. It wouldn’t be until the 5/24 episode of Raw that she would make her televised return in a winning effort against Rhea Ripley.
After a few weeks after not really doing too much, Nikki introduced a new character. Nikki A.S.H made her presence known on the 6/21 episode of Raw. Sporting a comic book character like gimmick, A.S.H seemed to have a new found spirit and like she was ready for a new chapter in her career. Nikki herself has spoke in length about how this character has been personally crafted by her and how proud of it she is.
But I can’t help but think – What caters to Vince McMahon nowadays? He’s known for popping himself with piss jokes on his own television shows, and even former WWE Writer Vince Russo has said Vince’s humor is very “childlike and so juvenile”. This has also been made quite obvious by the kid-friendly product Vince and Co have churned out over the past number of years.
Which leads me back to my original question: Is Nikki Cross putting her pride aside to personally cater to the child-like creativity that Vince McMahon desires?
The gimmick has been universally criticized, and not just by the rabid internet wrestling community. Many see it as cringe, nonsensical and again, very child-like. Cross herself has never put forward a gimmick like this and has always been a “deranged maniac” for a good duration of her WWE career.
Cross has been very vocal with her frustration of “being ignored”, and I can only think that could have led to her biting the proverbial bullet and putting on a hat that might not necessarily be her favorite, but one that caters to Vince McMahon and that will keep her on television regularly.
The more Cross puts over the gimmick in interviews and on social media, the more I think it’s to only further her “love” for the character.
If my theory is indeed the case, it’s worked out for A.S.H so far. She won a Fatal Four Way match on the 7/6 edition of Raw with top names such as Alexa Bliss and Asuka involved and won the Women’s Money In The Bank briefcase last night, to a loud reaction.
Don’t get me wrong here, stuff like this has worked in the past. The Hurricane Shane Helms is a prime example, and although he only won a small handful of championships, he is a universally recognized person in wrestling still to this day.
I’ll end with this: While Nikki is one of the few people that I think can pull something off like this, I genuinely think she can be so, so much more in this business and do so much better.
And if you don’t think so, check out this Last Man Standing match between Cross and Asuka from NXT in 2017.
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