There is no question that NXT is going through a point of transition at the moment. Perhaps one of the peak moments was during the time when Finn Balor spent his time with the brand, feuding against Kevin Owens to win the championship, and then feuding against Samoa Joe to retain it. During this time, there was simply an aura about NXT that exuded excitement and intrigue. Add names such as Enzo & Cass, The Revival, American Alpha, and Sami Zayn, and the brand is even more exciting.
While Shinsuke Nakamura’s appearance also gave the brand a shot of excitement, particularly during his feud with Samoa Joe, both competitors are now on the main roster, and NXT is finding a top babyface to feud against Bobby Roode.
Despite this transition period on the main event side, the women’s division is adding names to further improve it. Right now, the two most popular names in the division is NXT Women’s Champion Asuka and Ember Moon. Unfortunately, Moon had to be forced out of her spot in the four-way match, as she was injured during an episode of NXT on the WWE Network at the hands of Asuka. However, NXT still has a strong triple threat match, as Ruby Red and Nikki Cross statistically increased their chances of winning the championship.
Another name that is climbing up the ladder in the women’s division is former Tough Enough contestant Daria Berenato. Despite having strong potential during the show, she was eliminated in just the third week. Still, WWE saw potential in her, and signed her to a contract just months later. Berenato made her NXT debut under her real name in the summer of 2016, teaming with Alexa Bliss and fellow Tough Enough alum Mandy Rose against Carmella, Liv Morgan, and Nikki Glencross (now known as SAnitY’s Nikki Cross).
Recently, viewers have noticed a shift in her name. No longer billed under her real name, Berenato is now being called Sonya Deville. As a result, social media have voiced their disappointment in the change.
Many feel that the name “Sonya Deville” does not properly represent the rugged MMA style that Berenato exhibits in the ring. Others were puzzled at the name change, especially since she both debuted under her real name and kept her name for a number of matches.
The Sonya Deville name just debuted during live events in the spring of 2017, so it will take some time for people to adjust to it. However, fans are already showing their dissatisfaction to the name change, especially since it does not fit her character. Comments such as, “Who’s Sonya Deville?” “Isn’t that Daria?” and “Wasn’t Sonya Deville Daria Berenato at one point in time?” shows the level of confusion that fans have about this decision.
Ultimately, this decision is simply a way for WWE to put their stamp on Daria, giving her a different name that they own the rights to. Perhaps the good news about this change is that WWE could see a great deal of promise for Berenato in the NXT women’s division. Recently, on the weekly episode of NXT, Deville was able to defeat Lacey Evans with a Shining Wizard. This potentially shows that a push may happen in the near future.
Thankfully, Berenato was able to show enough drive and athleticism to be hired by NXT. Whether she goes by her real name or Sonya Deville, Berenato has the opportunity to continue to grow and mature in the ring, and become an asset for the division. Although there is no definitive direction with her character at the present time, her exposure on the NXT show is a positive momentum shift to ascend the rankings in the women’s division.
[Featured Image by WWE]