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Is Zoey Stark's Unreal Finishing Move The Antidote To Mandy Rose’s 'Toxic' Title Reign?

This particular move arguably has made Mandy Rose the underdog in the NXT Women’s Championship match next week.

By Chris Phelan
Zoey Stark

Mandy Rose’s legendary reign as NXT Women’s Champion has gone on for nearly 300 days — 287 days, to be exact.

Only a few women have had lengthier championship runs than Mandy Rose. (Personally, we don’t think anybody is going to touch Asuka’s legendary 2016-2017 NXT Women’s Championship reign of 522 days, but crazier things have happened.) But recently, Rose’s current reign has gone on longer than the reigns of some notable pillars of NXT, as she recently passed Bayley and Charlotte Flair’s longest title runs – an impressive feat, to say the least.

However, there’s something looming over Mandy Rose’s head — or rather, flying right into her face — that may put an end to this particularly lengthy title reign.

Enter Zoey Stark and her unbelievably impactful finishing move, a maneuver that hasn’t been seen from any Superstar in all of WWE let alone NXT.

Mandy Rose got an all-too-close look at Stark’s finisher this past week on NXT 2.0 where we were left wondering if the NXT Women’s Champion once again had her face broken into a million pieces.

First of all, OUCH.

(And our condolences to Cora Jade, who also was absolutely dropped to the mat from this maneuver during her actual match against Zoey Stark. There’s no way she’ll be 100 percent for her grudge match against Roxanne Perez next week!)

Never before has the WWE Universe seen such an effective move capable of such damage. If Zoey Stark were a "Mortal Kombat" video game character, this move would definitely be her Fatality.

Of course, we’d be remiss to say that Stark’s finisher (shockingly unnamed to this point) is prefaced by one of the best superkicks the WWE Universe has seen since prime Shawn Michaels.

After Stark's chin music staggers her opponent, she grabs ahold of her opponent and launches them head-over-heels backward into a lethal knee lift, which sends whoever is on the receiving end nearly upside-down again as they fall helplessly down to the mat, effectively knocked out from both the knee lift and the vertigo-inducing backflip.

(Speaking of possible names for Stark's finisher, how about Vertigo To Sleep, an homage to NXT alum Hideo Itami? After all, we can absolutely envision a packed Capitol Wrestling Center chanting “VTS! VTS!”)

The emergence — and consistent jaw-dropping execution — of this finishing move puts Zoey Stark in arguably the position of the favorite to win her match against Mandy Rose next week at Heatwave.

We’ll be honest, as early as a few weeks ago, we here at USA Insider were anticipating Mandy Rose easily surpassing 300 days as NXT Women’s champion.

Not so much now.

Zoey Stark is riding a wave of momentum thanks to her finishing move that is capable of dropping any Superstar down for the three count in the blink of an eye.

If Mandy Rose can escape Heatwave with the NXT Women’s Championship, she’ll only have a few weeks left before she passes IYO SKY’s 304-day title reign that the current Raw Superstar set from June 2020 to April 2021.

That’s a big “if,” of course. In the end, the WWE Universe just doesn’t know who will walk out of Heatwave with the NXT Women’s Championship. And that’s one of the most exciting things about being a fan: Truly not knowing what to expect.

It’s just another layer added to NXT Heatwave, which is shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable shows in recent memory.

Will the toxic reign of Mandy Rose, one of the most dominating champions in NXT history continue? Rose has made a name for herself as a big fish in a small pond after years on the Monday Night Raw roster; she’s beaten everyone who has stood in her path for nearly 300 days. Why would any other outcome happen at this point? And let’s not forget, Rose has Toxic Attraction watching her back every step of the way.

And yet … it seems that all it would take is one superkick and one knee to the face for Mandy Rose’s reign to be over.

Zoey Stark controls her own destiny on Wednesday, Aug. 16 at NXT Heatwave on USA Network.

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