Best: AJ Lee Watches Raw, Has A Short-Term Memory
The Divas tag team match wasn’t anything special — thanks, Cameron — but I have to give AJ Lee credit. She remembers several weeks ago when the Bella Twins ditched her in a tag team match just like this and pays them back, bailing on them when they need her the most. That’s really all I ask from wrestling continuity, you know? That wrestlers remember stuff that has happened to them in the calendar year, and respond to new situations appropriately. When the match started I thought for sure that WWE had forgotten to erase the dry erase board, and the Bellas were going to ditch AJ again to help build that AJ/Kaitlyn Divas title match that is never f**king happening.
I also want to give AJ a Best for always being in character. A lot of people wrestle and have characters, but very few of them wrestle AS their character. I give Bray Wyatt a lot of praise for being the best at wrestling as a character, but AJ’s got it, too. When she was a good guy, she wrestled in a certain way. Now that she’s a bad guy, her entire in-ring persona has changed. Her body language changed. Watch her interact with the Bellas when she’s on the apron. She laughs when Nikki gets knocked off, and just sorta nonchalantly waves when the Bellas are trying to tag her. When they tag each other, she rolls her eyes. When she’s in the ring with Kaitlyn she tries to remain all “black widow” about it, but gets flustered because she’s so physically outmatched. It’s very good, very basic pro wrestling, and I’m glad somebody at FCW/NXT is teaching these kids how to do it.
Best: Kane And Daniel Bryan Re-enacting Key Scenes From All The Real Girls
This segment. MY HEART.
I loved everything about it. It’s melodramatic as hell and probably wouldn’t pass for a real scene in anything OTHER than wrestling, but a little goat faced guy who is dysmorphic about being the weak link working through his pride and anger with his best friend who happens to be a FIRE RAPIST DEATH MURDERER who is softening in his old age and finally opening up to friendship is AMAZING and touching and everything it should be. This is the most important interaction Team Hell No has had since Dr. Shelby left. This made them feel like real characters again.
And poor Kane! I felt so bad for him, doing his Doug from ‘The State’ I’m Outta Here speech. He looked like he was on the verge of tears. I thought he was going to launch into that speech from All The Real Girls. “Daniel, I’m looking at you right now and I hear you talking and all the words that are coming out of your mouth are like they’re coming out of a stranger. Why don’t you shave your f**king beard and come back, just come on back.”
Best: NEVERMIND THAT SHIT, HERE COMES BRAY WYATT
WYATT FAMILY PROMO VIDEO NUMBER TWO HAS OCCURRED.
People keep asking me what the deal with Bray Wyatt is, and usually all I can say is “why aren’t you watching NXT, it’s the best show WWE has” and “why aren’t you reading The Best and Worst of WWE NXT, where I’ve spent two weeks explaining why you should like Bray Wyatt?” I guarantee you, somebody’s gonna read this paragraph and immediately drop down into the comments to ask What’s The Deal With Bray Wyatt. If you want the most easy-to-understand guide possible, here you go. Reference it as necessary:
1. He is doing an awesome, creepy, legit scary cult leader Cape Fear character
2. He not only plays the character, he wrestles as the character, which makes his matches great
3. His finish involves him knocking you unconscious and dancing with your lifeless body
4. In character he is the best talker in WWE. Yes, better than Punk.
5. He is a fat dude who hustles
6. He has existed for the last year in NXT, where characters like this are nurtured and given fun matches and stories
7. GIANT HILLFOLK IN ANIMAL MASKS
8. why are you not watching NXT, seriously
Best: Daniel Bryan Manages To Steal A Show He’s Already Stolen Once
Remember that match Daniel Bryan had against The Shield in hour one? In hour three he topped it with a match against Ryback that might be my favorite WWE match of the year, pay-per-views included. It might be the best WWE match I’ve seen since LAST year’s Extreme Rules. Which was … uh, also a Daniel Bryan match. Hold on, I’m wanking.
But no, this match was absolutely incredible. It was perfect pro wrestling. The characters have pre-existing stories. Daniel Bryan is obsessed with proving himself as the “strong link” by beating someone he’s never been able to beat. Ryback has been hunting the biggest unbeatable jumping dog in WWE’s yard for months and is obsessed with hurting people, putting out Kofi Kingston for no real reason other than the send a message about his death dealing to John Cena. They bump into each other backstage. Ryback wants to hurt people. Bryan wants to beat a guy nobody thinks he could beat. The match is made.
Daniel Bryan is the best wrestler in the world, but Ryback deserves a TON of credit for this. He wrestled it like a monster, but made sure to sell Bryan’s offense and intensity like a million bucks. He was on the edge of failure multiple times. He was in pain. He was tired. He wasn’t the soulless hoss we’ve seen him be before. He was a great pro wrestler, because he was in there WITH a great pro wrestler. The story carried through the match, and now the pre-existing stuff begins to intersect. Bryan is so focused on greatness that he can’t be stopped, even by a guy who can stop anybody. Ryback is underestimating Bryan, and doesn’t figure out that he should get his shit together and try hard until he’s already gotten his ass kicked. Eventually Ryback realizes that Bryan’s going to pull off the win and says f**k it to the victory in favor of just trying to overtly hurt him. That leads to:
Best: The Best Possible Outcome
How do you end this story? By having Bryan win, but in a way that won’t seem “real” to him. Bryan’s still going to think he hasn’t proven himself, because he didn’t pin Ryback or make him submit. People (in his head) are still gonna think he’s the weak link. Ryback gets to look like a crazy monster who can end careers and put you on the shelf, but he doesn’t get a pinfall over Bryan, because he doesn’t need one. John Cena runs out to stick up for Bryan because Kane is gone, which is the first time I’ve heard a crowd united in support of Cena in a while. You know who did that? The little guy lying in the table debris. Absolutely f**king stunning pro wrestling all around.
I wish the Ryback/Cena standoff had just ended the show, but welp, we’ve got a Curtis Axel to deal with, so let’s go ahead and do that.