When Indi Hartwell took the ring for a triple-threat match to fill the final spot in the NXT Women’s Championship Ladder match at Stand and Deliver, it felt different.
Sure, she largely stuck to her typical routine, waving to the crowd as her music played, but there was a certain sadness to the way Hartwell interacted with the crowd, as if maybe, just maybe, this was the final time she was going to be working a match at the Performance Center in Orlando before being elevated to RAW in order to join the rest of The Way, Johnny Gargano, Candice LeRae, Dexter Lumis, and yes Austin Theory, who doesn’t associate with his former NXT family but is still on the roster all the same.
Securing the win over Ivy Nile and Sol Ruca, a pair of NXT standouts who will certainly be on WWE television at some point in the future, Hartwell’s emotional evening continued into the back, where she was asked by Kelly Kincaid what it was like to punch her ticket to Stand and Deliver.
“Kelly, I’m no stranger to these Last Chance Triple Threat matches,” Hartwell said. “I did it for Deadl1ne, I did it today, I’m no stranger to Stand and Deliver, I’ve been on the last two shows, so I know I deserve this, I deserve more. And I know I have all the people behind me and I’m ready for this. I’ve been working all year for this, it’s about d**n time.”
“Wait, when do we leave?” Hartwell asked, to which, Kincaid answered tomorrow. “I’ve gotta pack my bags!”
Whoa, packing your bags, plural, you say? Why would Hartwell need to pack multiple bags for a few-day vacation unless maybe, just maybe, she’s going to be staying in Los Angeles a bit longer than the rest of the NXT locker room and may then go on the road for an extended period of time afterward?
Since debuting in NXT all the way back in November of 2019, Hartwell has wrestled 91 matches for the promotion, including matches against performers who are long gone like Deonna Purrazzo, Santana Garrett – who is now a WWE PC coach – and current Ring of Honor Women’s Champion Athena, who wrestled as Ember Moon at the time. After making a surprise appearance at the 2023 Women’s Royal Rumble, it’s clear Hartwell’s time in NXT is winding down; maybe Stand and Deliver will serve as the end of one era, with Monday’s RAW, broadcast live from LA, serving as the start of something new? With Gargano, LeRae, and Theory regular competitors on RAW, which not give the people what they want and reunite InDex on the main roster, Paul “Triple H” Levesque?
EXCLUSIVE: A long and arduous journey for @indi_hartwell has culminated in an NXT Women’s Title opportunity at #StandAndDeliver, and she believes her time has finally come to win the big one. #WWENXT pic.twitter.com/iZchO2lOvg
— WWE (@WWE) March 29, 2023
Johnny Gargano believes Indi Hartwell is ready for the WWE main roster.
Discussing the important things in life, Bluey and Australian accents, on an episode of Out of Character with Ryan Satin, Gargano was asked about Hartwell’s prospects as an eventual main roster performer on either RAW or SmackDown, and unsurprisingly, Johnny Wrestling had nothing but kind words to say about his Kayfabe kid.
“I think it’s about time,” Johnny Gargano said via WrestleZone. “Indi has been ready for a long time. Indi is amazingly talented. I mean, whenever you look at Indi, whenever that light comes on, she has something about her, and I can’t put my finger on it. We could never put our finger on it. She just has that — they talk about “it” a lot, right? They talk about this magical “it” thing out there. I don’t know what it is but when you see it on camera, they’re like, oh, there it is. Indi just has this thing about her. She is incredibly entertaining. incredibly funny. I think for my money, she is a complete package. And I thought for a long time that she was ready, and I think she’s definitely ready for bigger and better things.”
On paper, it’s hard to argue with Gargano’s assertion; after almost three years of experience in WWE developmental, Hartwell is incredibly seasoned, has wrestled in just about every kind of match imaginable, and has found success as both a singles and tag team wrestler, as her NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship reign with LeRae helps to prove. With basically all of her “classmates” having either been released or elevated to RAW or SmackDown, at some point, Hartwell will have to leave the nest and either soar or sink on her own. Fortunately, with four-fifths of her faction already elevated to the main roster, even if they aren’t always on the same page, Hartwell knows the way to get there.
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