WWE rushed through Cora Jade’s turn on Roxanne Perez

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The July 12 episode of NXT 2.0 centered around another “whodunnit” angle following an attack in the WWE Performance Center parking lot. This time, it was Roxanne Perez who suffered at the hands of a mystery assailant, putting her chance to become NXT Women’s Champion (and, as co-holder of the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship with Cora Jade, a double-champion) in jeopardy.

Ultimately, Perez faced the champion, Mandy Rose, in the show’s main event. By the end of the match, we learned that Perez’s supposed best friend and tag team championship partner Cora Jade was the attacker in question, and she completed the deed by hitting Perez with the very tag team championship belt that they won a week prior.

That last note about Perez and Jade winning the tag team titles a week ago brings us to the main issue with this big turn.

WWE progressed through Cora Jade’s turn on Roxanne Perez too quickly.

When building to an eventual split between longtime friends, a booker should optimally wait 1-2 years before severing the relationship, if not longer. That way, it allows the wrestlers to experience all sorts of incredible moments and sobering hardships that fans can rejoice over and empathize with.

Then, once you have exhausted all drawing potential in the team/friendship, you break them up and book them to wrestle each other, with the idea being that the history between the two (and their respective abilities as workers) will spark a hot months-long (even years-long under the right circumstances) feud.

With Jade and Perez, however, WWE tried to put their story in the microwave until it reached the desired temperature, leading to a final product riddled with residual ice chunks. It would’ve been one thing if the company did this after Perez and Jade had, at least, held the titles for a few months and notched a few defenses on the ledger.

They even could’ve booked the whodunnit the same way and had Jade gaslight Perez into not using her title shot in favor of defending the tag team championships until they lost, which would then lead to her turning on Perez and revealing that she strung her along for the increased purse that comes with being a champion.

Instead, we got an underdeveloped angle that ends a relationship that NXT fans had only begun to learn about. Aside from winning the tag titles from Toxic Attraction’s Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne — which, again, happened only A WEEK BEFORE THIS TURN — everything we knew about Perez and Jade’s friendship came via exposition dumps during backstage segments.

Yes, they did plant some seeds for the turn by having Jade make all of Jade’s early NXT accomplishments about her, but again, those teases should be sprinkled throughout a long build rather than using them to justify a hasty decision that feels like a contrivance to keep the championship on Rose and push two prospective champions out of the title picture for…Nikkita Lyons?

If WWE decided that Jade needed to turn heel this instant, fine. After all, her character had succumbed to the same terrible, dorky “underdog” babyface presentation that has stalled the momentum of so many other talented, affable workers in the past, so if they wanted to start fresh with her, it is what it is.

That desire to turn her shouldn’t override patient, steady storytelling tendencies, though, and if WWE doesn’t have any concrete plans for her or Perez outside of this shock value plot twist, both could suffer for it (Jade more so than Perez).

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Of course, it’s been less than a week, so there’s always a chance that this program turns into something enjoyable. So, let’s just hope that the prop skateboard breaking before Jade could smash Perez with it wasn’t an omen for what’s to come.