Best/Worst: The Diva Costume Challenge
It’s five days before Halloween 2010 (the year I dressed up as the bad guy from Strawberry Shortcake), so the NXT graphics have cobwebs on them and the rookie Divas compete in a Halloween costume contest. The rules of the contest are never really made clear, and they get 15 seconds to “impress” before the crowd cheers for whomever they like. Spoiler: they like the cute babyfaces. Second spoiler: Matt Striker’s costume is “Soon To Be Unemployed Man.”
Let’s break down the costumes:
- “Aksana tonight is a DEVIL!” I’m surprised nobody was a “sexy cat.” Aksana puts on a red jumpsuit, carries a tiny plastic pitchfork and spends 15 seconds kinda blowing kisses and displaying her ass in a semi-circle. They cut it short when they realize she has no f*cking idea how to express “sexy devil” in pantomime. Cole wins line of the night here with, “I saw her on the side of a SPAM can.”
- Maxine comes in dead last for her “Ice Queen,” which is just Maria’s old silver gear. Josh is all IT FEELS LIKE WE’RE IN NARNIA, COLE, but she’s just wearing a silver skirt and a hoodie with her stomach showing. If they’d decked Maxine out in full Emma Frost gear she would’ve not only won the contest, but my heart for the remainder of my life. Her 15 seconds to impress is her dropping her “there’s only one position for Maxine, and that’s on top!” catchphrase, and Kaitlyn and AJ once again pointing it out and making fun of her in the background.
- Kaitlyn steals the show as Vickie Guerrero. Yelling “excuse me” would’ve been enough, but she does a full Vickie pratfall and tantrum, too. Oh, and she’s wearing an official Cougar necklace, which is probably cheating. Cole: “That’s a better bump than she took in her match last week.”
- Naomi dresses up as the Hamburger Helper hand (no, really), prefaces her turn with a bad ‘Chappelle’s Show’ joke (no, really) and launches into a mid-show shill of Hamburger Helper that would make Adam Rose feel embarrassed. This is essentially the Genesis Of McGillicutty or Justin Gabriel “I don’t really like flowers” of NXT season 3.
- AJ is a sexy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and almost wins based solely on being AJ Lee dressed like a sexy Ninja Turtle. Her introduction even includes a Matt Striker boner joke, which continues to be the least believable thing on a fake fighting show.
AJ: “I am a Ninja Turtle.”
Striker: “Certainly giving ME a splinter!”
Okay, maybe I believe him.
Note: this was AJ’s second best Halloween costume, because nothing will ever top her dressing as Kitana from ‘Mortal Kombat’ and trying to do a fan lift in the middle of a battle royal.
Worst: The Disconnect Between The Announce Team And What’s Actually Happening
NXT season 3 is the worst. We can all agree on that. Last week’s Kaitlyn vs. Maxine match was one of the worst matches ever. At the same time, NXT is an in-operation WWE television program, so they aren’t just letting all the horrible stuff happen without a response. This week it’s very clear that Kaitlyn/Maxine got everybody a stern talking-to and several hours of practice, because the wrestling is much, much better. The opening contest is a fun brawl between Maxine and Naomi, compensating for Maxine’s lack of catch-as-catch-can skills by just asking her to hairmare and throw hands. It’s made especially fun by the fact that they’re wrestling in their Halloween costumes, so Maxine’s getting her ass beaten by a Hamburger Helper hand.
The announce team, however, insists that everything’s terrible. That’s a problem. When they accurately point out how or why something’s bad, it rings true and we can laugh with them … but when they’re going THIS IS GARBAGE, SOMEBODY LITERALLY SHOOT US IN OUR FACES WITH GUNS while the women are clearly trying to improve, it’s troublesome. Why aren’t you guys paying attention? Is this the attitude that fostered the modern WWE fan? The guy who fast forwards through stuff he assumes he hates, and thereby never discovers anything new to like?
The second match of the show is RIPPED FROM THE RAW HEADLINES. Brie Bella and Nikki Bella are supposed to be sisters, but Nikki has developed an angry streak. Last week we saw her force a Twin Magic on her sister and unfairly steal a victory. This week is … exactly the same, actually, with the “Nikki cannot stop screaming at Brie about things” turned up five notches. Meanwhile, AJ Lee is forced to be likable without getting much support from anyone and bump like a freak for women with the wrestling ability of a walrus. This seriously could’ve happened on a 2014 Raw.
Much like the Naomi/Maxine match, it’s not bad. AJ is seriously eating everything Brie Bella can do, taking a jumping knee-tuck Divas clothesline like she’s catching a lariat from Satoshi Kojima and practically flying backwards through a wall on dropkicks. She also earns points for making a facebuster look like it would actually hurt. Nikki grabs her by the head and jumps and sits down, and instead of just going flat and landing on her chest, AJ goes into the ground head-first. Of course, that doesn’t make as much noise as a flat bump and is therefore probably not the way she should’ve taken it, but points for making a Bella look brutal in the good way.
Worst: Don’t Do What Alex Riley Does
The second “Stand Up For WWE” video features a bunch of wrestlers talking about how much they like their jobs, which seems like a hype video you could get from any job anywhere ever. “Hey Olive Garden servers, want to keep your job? Give me 30 seconds about how we aren’t hateful racists and your job is great. GO.” The end. It’s especially weird when you’ve got guys like Cody Rhodes and Alberto Del Rio explaining how they’ve wanted to be WWE superstars since they were little kids, leaving off that whole “our dads were super famous wrestlers” context. I love the idea of one of Linda McMahon’s political opponents calling out pro wrestling, then being all, “wait, they LIKE being rich and famous? Maybe I’ve been wrong all along …”
The two worst parts:
1. Alex Riley things magic shows are called “magical shows.”
“It seemed bigger than everything, you know … it seemed like uh, just like a magical show.”
2. The Bella Twins going on and on about how being WWE Divas is their dream job and how they’d never want to do anything else. Like a year after this they quit the company to try to be reality TV stars. They only came back to wrestling when WWE offered them a reality show. But you know, passion for this business or whatever.