Best: Heath Slater, Future Bastard
The first real match of the show, almost half an hour in thanks to the promo challenge and an extensive look at Extreme Rules, is Christian vs. Wade Barrett. The important (read: not important at all) thing here is another NXT Rookie Origins story: Heath Slater learning how to cheat.
Christian has the match in hand and is ready to spend the next 40-50 minutes applying the Killswitch on Barrett. Chris Jericho tries to sneak into the ring and distracts Christian, which allows Barrett to capitalize and set him up for Wasteland. Heath Slater reaches into the ring and grabs Barrett’s foot, distracting HIM long enough for Christian to escape, pin Barrett and win the match. And sure, Slater’s interference here is totally justified — Jericho started it, and Barrett was going to get an unfair victory if he didn’t do something — but it’s a slippery slope, and Slater realized he could just CHEAT to win matches instead of working hard and trying. Now he’s 1/3rd of a multinational rock band in leather pants who don’t play music and routinely lose to a pair of twin Puerto Rican matadors and their anthropomorphic bull-midget. Like I said, slippery slope.
Also weird: everybody in this match is SUPER ORANGE except for Slater, who is pale and wearing bright purple trunks that reflect light weird and make ALL of him look purple. Motherf*cker looks like Soda Popinski at ringside.
Worst: The Susan Boyle Of WWE
Miz berates Bryan backstage for his assy performance in Talk The Talk, calling him the “Susan Boyle” of WWE … all the talent, but none of the star power. This is the future star of The Marine 3 and Christmas Bounty talking to you, Bryan! He doesn’t think you’re good enough for ACCESS HOLLYWOOD. GET IT TOGETHER.
You know what sucks, though? At this point, even Daniel Bryan fans are like, “listen to him, show a little star power,” because we are brainwashed into thinking everything WWE tells us about how wrestling works is true. Remember when Otunga and Michael McGillicutty were a successful, multi-time champion tag team and Jerry Lawler broke them up by standing up at the announce table and berating them for not having “personalities?” So instead of beating him up or talking about their track record as performers they STOPPED TAGGING and went off and tried to “get personalities?” They thought he was RIGHT.
Best/Worst: The Most Disappointing Match In NXT History
I was gonna say “in WWE history,” but then I remembered Bryan/Sheamus at WrestleMania.
But no, Daniel Bryan takes on BILL FREAKING REGAL and it’s AWESOME … for like 80 seconds before Regal knees him in the head and pins him clean. They clearly want it to be good and are working with the time they’re given, busting out gross suplexes and European uppercuts while the announce team completely ignores them, laughing about how Bryan’s a “sycophant” and has no personality. He seriously throws a DRAGON SUPLEX and it is completely no-sold by Josh and Cole.
That’s where the whole “they’re not doing this on purpose” comes into play. They might do it on purpose NOW, now that they know Bryan’s a marketable commodity and merch machine who everybody loves, but back here they’re just taking a dump on a dude for fun. It’s the worst. It doesn’t build sympathy, it just makes him look like a chump. Even his great stuff gets ignored. Like watching pro wrestling in that gremlin on the wing of a plane episode of The Twilight Zone.
I would pay good American cash money to see a Bryan vs. Regal rematch on NXT now.
Best: A Cameo From The Doctor And His Companion
“I wish he’d regenerate into somebody who doesn’t smell like this.”
Worst: Darren Young Avoids The One Thing That Would’ve Made Him Interesting
On the Smackdown before this episode, Punk confronted Darren Young about joining the Straight Edge Society and ordered him to have his head shaved. Young refused, which led to a backstage confrontation at NXT and the signing (via NXT GM CM Punk?) of Young vs. Luke Gallows. If Gallows wins, Young has to shave his head and obediently follow the Straight Edge Society. If Young wins, his “sins are forgiven.”
What do you do with that stipulation? A boring, last place rookie with a horrible haircut is wrestling a main-rostered WWE superstar who’s supposed to be a physical threat. Shaving Young’s head and turning him into a follower of Punk’s seems like the entire point of their pairing. You have Young fight hard but ultimately lose to Gallows, maybe with a little cheating involved, right? NOPE. You continue to illogically protect Young, the guy you gave a roll-up victory over #1 ranked rookie sadsack Daniel Bryan, by giving him a roll-up victory over a guy who should’ve mauled him. So now Young’s still just Young, there’s totally unnecessary dissension and “disappointment” in the Straight Edge Society and nothing changes.
Next week: Darren Young stops a Dalek invasion by rolling one of them up from behind.