The first few weeks in developmental were brutal. Plans kept changing and Vince wanted me to get on the fans good side before he bumped me up to start doing my weekly promos on Raw. I was starting off as a face on NXT which was not a big problem in the slightest, but when I would go to Raw, the heel turn would be quicker than a whip being cracked. Although the time was tough, it paid off and I excelled quickly, becoming the "Queen of NXT."
Tommy was working on making a replica of the House of Hardcore championship that I needed to give up a week after I won it because of my contract, but I got to bring three things from the House with me on my journey to the WWE. A replica for storyline purposes would be coming with me, my partner in crime, Ember, and a pretty awesome and creative guy, Adam. He'd be helping to train Ember and I while we're on the road with the WWE and on top of that, it'll give him time to be with his girlfriend who was still in talks to come back to the business, Beth Phoenix.
NXT was somewhat crazy at times. Superstars from the main roster would always be there to give advice and compete in matches with some of the developmental talent. Storylines from the main shows would even carry down to the small depths of NXT. CM Punk and John Cena's rivalry came down to NXT after CM Punk had a tag team match with Seth Rollins, who is now on the main roster as well. It's different watching it all unfold from backstage and knowing in advance what will happen next, but there are also always little surprises.
Ember and I would always work together while at NXT. Like Adam had always said, we're a dynamic duo and we're not separated that easily. If I had a singles match, she'd be in my corner and it'd be the same if she had one. I remember one time, I had a mixed tag match and Zack Ryder was my partner. He's a great partner, really. My opponents were AJ Lee and Big E. Langston, both of which were working on the main roster although Big E is still with NXT. This was before he won the NXT Championship, so we're talking a few months back. Ember was in my corner to cheer us on as we competed. Now, the New Year had just started and it was the first show of 2013. I can't tell you who won the match because there was no winner. As I'm reaching over to Zack to tag me in so I could have a go at AJ, a familiar intercom voice played through the small NXT venue.
"Sierra. Hotel. Inda. Echo. Lima. Delta." I turned on the apron and Ember looked around before finally spotting them; the men known by the fans as The Shield. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and the NXT Champion, Seth Rollins. I never understood why Seth would throw away a respectful title reign to 'fight injustice,' but well… he had what he wanted.
"Autumn, get out of here." Zack said as he turned my head to look at him. AJ had already left and Big E remained in the ring, staring down Seth and his title.
"No, I can help." I said to Zack.
"No Autumn. Get Ember and get out." He said before walking over to the middle of the ring.
Rolling my eyes, I stepped down from the apron and went to get Ember. When I spotted her, she was being backed into a corner by Dean Ambrose. Of the three Shield members, you would think Roman would be the most intimidating with his strength alone, but Dean had this freaky way of making you shiver that he intimidated anyone he got near. My corner was empty and Zack and Big E were taking care of Roman and Seth. I stood back up on the apron and with a running start; I tackled Dean to the ground from behind.
"Let's get out of here!" I said to Ember who was still looking down at Dean before finally following me. We ran to the backstage area and got confronted by AJ.
"Okay, number one, great effort in the match tonight. You really did do a great job. Number two, I obviously can't apologize on their behalf because those three are animals but I'm really sorry we didn't get a chance to finish our match tonight. Hopefully in the future, you and I can have a match and finish what we started out there. Sound good?" She said.
"Deal." I said and shook her hand before she ran off. I looked at Ember who was staying silent and still, something that was very unlike her. "What's wrong?"
"Huh? Oh, well, uh… why do you think they interfered tonight?" She asked me.
"I have no idea. They don't have anything going on with Zack or Big E for that matter. Maybe they just want to get to Dolph through Big E? I doubt it has anything to do with us…" I said, shrugging it off.
"But Autumn, he stalked me. Like, he didn't go for the ring and I didn't make my presence known when they came out. He just went for me right away… doesn't that seem odd to you?" I hesitated and looked around the backstage area. It did seem odd to me, but how could I not worry her? Ember isn't sensitive but I could tell she was a little creeped out by it all.
"It was a onetime thing, Ember. I honestly wouldn't take it to heart. He was probably thinking you'd get involved is all." I said with another shrug before shaking my head.
Ember hesitated, but came with me to the locker rooms to get changed. The next time we would be by the ring was on that Monday, where I would have another match with Zack against AJ and Dolph. My crown would stay backstage at NXT. Ember had a battle royal next week on Raw as well. It would be her first match on Raw as well as mine, and if she won that match, she'd get to fight for the Diva's title. Vince wanted to bring some Divas up from developmental, and we were the first two choices. It was nice and all, but I didn't want to let go of my reign so soon. I missed being the House of Hardcore champion because I chose to come here, and to have this title now was something that I didn't want to give up. I liked the target on my back, I loved the attention and I loved being on the top of my game.
We packed our bags and got ready to go to the hotel. Walking through the parking lot with Ember leading the way to the car, I noticed someone staring in the corner of my eye. That intimidation was back and I tried to not pay attention.