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Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for January 22, 2014. Only one month left until we go WAY OVER THE TOP.
Worst: The Big Giant Head
Before we begin, hey Joseph Gordon-Levitt, stop personally introducing me to the crappy things you’re doing you don’t think can get over on their own. I’m not gonna rock out to the Tony Danza version of ‘Liquid Television’ just because you got all personable to me about it. “Hi, my name is Joe Gordon-Levitt, I just made this bicycle delivery thriller called Premium Rush, you’ll probably hate it but if you watch it I’ll listen to your problems.”
Best: The Lady Rhodes
I’ve given NXT a lot of grief for their rotating collection of Diva ring announcers (including last week’s mysterious ghost announcer), but they’ve officially made up for all the bad times by (re) introducing Eden Stiles. You may remember her from her brief run on NXT and Superstars back in 2011, from her being f*cking gorgeous or her new position as Mrs. Cody Rhodes. Regardless, she’s the best fit for the job and earns infinite cool points for being in the Rhodes family, so let’s do whatever we can to keep her around this time, all right?
Best: “A Real, Live Cowboy”
The opening match of this week’s show was Adrian Neville beating a guy named Wesley Blake. Blake is described as a “real, live cowboy,” which is hilarious in its innocence and also AWESOME, because if there’s one thing wrestling needs right now it’s more cowboy gimmicks. Cowboy gimmicks and farmhand gimmicks.
Think about it. When was the last time you saw a rough-and-tumble cowboy in the WWE? Was it Justin Hawk Bradshaw? Usually WWE translates “cowboy” into “redneck,” so you get weird approximations like Trevor Murdoch and Lance Cade or the New Blackjacks, who are clearly just non-cowboys wearing hats and chaps. Occupational gimmicks only work if they make sense, right? “Cowboy” is the best of these. “MY DAY JOB IS INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT AND I’M LONELY OUT ON THE PRAIRIE (or whatever), I NEED TO EXPRESS AND VALIDATE MYSELF BY BEATING THE SHIT OUT OF YOU CITY FOLK.” Where have you gone, Outlaw Ron Bass, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
I hope Blake sticks around if only to hear the announcers keep trying to come up with cowboy things, clearly off the top of their head. Tensai’s all HE GREW UP IN THE RODEO, THAT MAKES HIM TOUGH. Is that true, or are you just saying that because cowboys do rodeo and he’s wearing a cowboy hat? I want Byron to suddenly blurt out, “IT WAS SAD WHEN HIS LOVER DIED AND HE CLUTCHED HIS DRESS SHIRTS.”
Best: Remote-Controlled Alexander Rusev
The next match was Alexander Rusev destroying Xavier Woods, and it was that same kind of forgettable fine every Xavier Woods match is. I love that he got called up to Raw and maintained that same level of inoffensive, unremarkable wrestling. How the hell is a guy with an afro who does flips and loves Power Rangers the most boring guy on the show?
Anyway, the thing of note here is that Lana has begun controlling Alexander Rusev remotely. He locks on the Accolade and taps Woods out, so Business Lana just sorta strolls around to meet Rusev’s line of sight and points at him. He lets go. Then she does this dramatic fist-clenching motion and he reapplies the hold. I love this so much. It’s not only a new way to portray Rusev in a post-“writing peoples’ names on wooden planks and then BREAKING THOSE PLANKS” world, it’s also the first clear character differentiation (besides sex) between Lana and Sylvester LeFort. That’s crucial, especially if you’re gonna bring them up to Raw and want to do something more entertaining than “they’re not from here.”
Worst: LOL Sin Cara
Xavier Woods gets bailed out by Sin Cara and we are one step closer to my dream of seeing Camacho repackaged as Rey Mysterio. I really want the NXT version of Sin Cara to ride a low-rider bike to the ring and X-Games hop it off the middle rope while his pyro goes off.