Best: William Regal Is Tired As Hell Of Alex Riley
Before the show even has the chance to start, William Regal has his verbal brass knucks on and is ready to Power Of The Punch the shit of Alex Riley for any stupid thing he says. I guess Regal watched last week’s episode where Riley managed to make even Renee Young unbearable with conversations about twerking and which wrestlers she’s slept with.
When asked about whether or not the champions have the advantage in a championship title defense (spoiler alert, they do), Riley tries to fire off something intelligent and comes up with (I’m paraphrasing) THE CHAMPS, THEY GOTTA DO THIS THING, AND THEN THEY UH, THEY DON’T HAVE TO HAVE A PINFALL, BUT THEN THEY, YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING, THE PINFALL AND THE CHAMPIONSHIP. Regal’s response: “It’s me who does the stuttering around here, flower, not you.”
It wasn’t the only time Regal would call out Riley for being a moron, nor was it the most vicious, but it happened before Riley could even blink. Punch him between the eyes thoroughly, Lord Steven.
Worst: NXT Could Really Use Some Tag Teams, Guys
In this week’s Best and Worst of Raw I detailed how exciting the tag team division has become, because there are so many fresh, talented teams who are hungry and putting on good matches every time out. Normally that’s the kind of talking point I reserve for NXT, where the midcard heels are all cult heroes and El Generico’s main-eventing and the women are the best workers on the show, but … nope, the NXT tag division is kind of a butthole right now.
You’ve got the Ascension. They’re the tag champs. Big guys with “intensity” who aren’t really very good at wrestling yet, but they’re closer to The Miz than Eva Marie on the Bad Wrestler Scale so we’re going with it. The number one contenders are Hunico and Camacho. They earned a title shot by … uh, beating some jobbers and saying they wanted a title shot. After that you’ve got JACK DOOK. You had Adrian Neville and his rotating gang of tag partners, but that went south. You had Sylvester LeFort’s Fighting Legionnaire, but Alexander Rusev left the group and Darren Daulton (or whatever his name was) vanished. What’s left? You’ve either got to pair up guys who aren’t tag teams (Bo Dallas and Sami Zayn briefly talked about going for the tag belts, for example) or you run the Ascension against a never-ending cycle of local talent, unripened developmental types and uptight indy guys on tryout.
Whoever’s in charge of creating these magical characters for NXT needs to spend a weekend trying to fit square-ass pegs like Baron Corbin and Angelo Dawkins into the circularly-assed holes of tag gimmicks.
Worst: Lana And Sylvester LeFort Are Doing The Same Act On The Same Episode
I’ve talked a lot about how I don’t understand the purpose of Sylvester LeFort AND about how Lana’s fake-sounding-but-apparently-legit Russian accent makes everything seem bush league, and then boom, you’ve got LeFort and Lana doing the same “they’re speaking a foreign language, let’s say WHAT” intros for guys in different matches on the same show. That is THE MOST UNNECESSARY.
You’ll probably hate me for typing this, but saying “what” to a foreign language seems beneath the NXT audience. You don’t need to train a guy to speak French and have wrestling fans “what” him, put him on Raw and have him speak a word of it and they’ll be whatting so hard they’ll vomit up their 9-dollar souvenir sodas. Let perfectly capable wrestlers like Rusev and Scott Dawson get over on their own merits and effort, put a little more time into giving managers characters beyond “they’re not from here,” and at least don’t put two identical acts nearly back-to-back. “One’s a guy and one’s a lady” doesn’t cut it, unless this whole thing is a LeFort/Lana love story I’m not understanding.
Worst: RIP Kassius Ohno
Our last look at Kassius Ohno in a WWE ring (for now, we all hope) is a manhandling from Alexander Rusev and a quick, decisive tap-out to The Accolade. Yes, Rusev’s finish sounds like a car. They should call it The Honda Accolade. But yeah, Ohno shows up with his body taped up to sell Rusev’s previous attacks, gets beaten to death, gets in about 4 seconds of hope spots and a headlock and then dies his NXT death. Vaya con dios, KO, we hardly knew ye.
Cheap plug: Come see Kassius Ohno wrestle in Austin on January 5. I’ll be ringly announcing him.
Best: Finally, Somebody Is Nice To Bayley
Another important talking point from last week’s column is that despite being one of my least favorite Raw characters, Natalya gets to show some of the skill and fire on NXT that’s gotten people to claim NO SHE’S ACTUALLY REALLY GOOD for like eight years despite having maybe three good WWE matches ever, so I’d like to see her like this more often, or possibly only on NXT.
Last week she had a really good match with Paige, and this week she decides to not only tag up with Bayley, but BE NICE TO HER IN THE PROCESS. She gives her a pep talk and everything. Sure, she has to do the “I don’t like your hug” act WWE faces have to do because they hate love or affection or whatever, but she’s standoffishly polite about it, and I’ll take it. Plus she’s nice to her in the actual match.
Be this Natalya all the time, Natalya. I don’t believe for a second that you’re jealous of Eva Marie or drunk dialing people or tapping out Tamina in 40 seconds. Be a cool veteran lady who is nice to people and I will love you a lot.
I want more like this!
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