The Best And Worst Of WWE NXT 8/16/17: Rapid Hope Loss

Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE NXT: I dropped a million Face To Face references and judging by the comments, no one noticed. :(

If you missed this episode, you can watch it here. If you’d like to read previous installments of B&W NXT, click right here. Follow With Spandex on Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow me on Twitter, where I primarily tweet about pro wrestling and emo bands, so if you fit into that Venn diagram, welcome aboard.

Click the share buttons and tell people (including @WWENXT) that you dig the column. We can’t keep doing these if you don’t read and recommend them! It helps more than you know, especially for the shows that aren’t Raw and don’t have hundreds of thousands of built-in casual interests.

And now, the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for August 16, 2017.

Best: Reason To Believe

NXT opens with one of its best parts — William Regal — standing in the ring, about to conduct one of its worst parts — a contract signing. Ember Moon and Asuka both head down in their best formalwear (and holy sweet goddamn, Asuka in a sundress), and Moon does her best job at recapping their feud through gritted teeth, laying out just how Asuka has screwed her and why we should believe that Ember can beat her this time. My notes simply read, “oh Ember, honey, stop talking,” because man, she is still not getting any better on the stick.

If anything, Ember dug herself a bigger hole by comparing Asuka to Goldberg, triggering the Goldberg-esque “Aaaaaaasuka…Aaaaaaasuka…” chants from Full Sail. That was great in the moment, but also more or less guarantees Brooklyn will do the exact same thing, only much louder for the entirety of their match this Saturday. That chant is going to retcon all of the work creative has put in to making Asuka look like a heel the past few months, and, presuming they’re actually pulling the trigger on the title switch, might actually result in Ember being booed. Good luck dealing with that crowd, y’all.

Still, I’m giving this segment a Best for the final 30 seconds, when Asuka starts yelling at Ember in Japanese. It was f*cking terrifying, and if anything, was even more intimidating than the two actually throwing hands. Hopefully, this is the match of the night this Saturday, no matter the outcome.

Worst: No News Is Bad News

We’re in week two of Street Profits, and they’ve already taken a backseat to the story of the lovechild between Festus and Lennie from Of Mice & Men. So, uh, good luck, Angelo Dawkins.

I actually like Lars Sullivan — he has a great look and has made the most of his limited screen time in the past few months. I really liked this episode’s misdirect where he told Regal he wouldn’t beat up his partner in the ring, so he carried him out back and beat him up there instead. They had me for a second, too; in my notes, I wrote, “Lars carries Silvio off, how nice. The new Enzo and Cass?” Apparently not!

I’m not sure where his story is going, though: Is he going to stumble across a tag partner that can keep up with him, and the two then try to run the table for the Dusty Rhodes Classic? Or is Regal going to throw him into singles competition where he belongs and have him learn the hard way? I’m okay with either outcome, frankly.

Best: Colors Of The Win

A brief break in the Dashboard Confessional references, thanks to Nigel McGuinness claiming that Ruby Riot is descended from Pocahontas. Like, Pocahontas Pocahontas. I can’t find any mention of this anywhere online before now, and it seems like something Ruby Riot would’ve mentioned before at some point in her career, so maybe Nigel’s just blowing smoke up my ass. Or maybe we’re on the verge of an epic WWE/Disney partnership the likes of which we’ve never seen before — I mean, they already have someone lined up to play Aladdin.

Anyway, the Iconic Duo rules and Ruby Riot rules, so this match was definitely enjoyable, albeit too short. (Clearly, this is the start of a storyline, so they’re saving a lot for later, I presume.) My favorite part was how, immediately after Riot hits a surprise Pele kick to get a three count, the camera cuts to Peyton Royce on the outside, recovering from her own kick to the head 20 seconds prior, and accidentally doing her best Mizdow impression at the same time. Now I just want the Iconic Duo to have a hive mind and feel each other’s pain in every match. Is that too much to ask?

Worst: Again I Go Unnoticed

This isn’t the first time Drew McIntyre and Roderick Strong have locked up: The two had a relatively lengthy feud in EVOLVE in 2014 and 2015 that is worth revisiting if you have the time ( and a FloSlam subscription). Here’s that feud’s first match, if you’re interested.

This match, while hard hitting, never turned into a real barn burner, mainly because everyone and their mother knew Bobby Roode would be interfering at some point. And interfere he does, attacking Strong before absolutely laying into MacIntyre, eventually planting him with a Glorious DDT. And as good as Roode looked going into TakeOver this weekend, his decision-making process here was baffling. Last week, he convinced William Regal to give Strong another shot at his championship but only if he could defeat McIntyre. Here, by interfering on behalf of McIntyre, he gets him DQed — thus giving Strong a win, and a future title shot, presuming Roode makes it out of Brooklyn with his championship.

Honestly, this is the first time Bobby Roode’s done anything that felt out of character — dude should be smart enough to know the rules and manipulate them as such. All he would’ve had to do is hit McIntyre first, and voila! Strong gets screwed again, and the ending beatdown still wouldn’t change. I don’t understand this storytelling decision at all, except that it firmly makes me believe Roode is leaving Brooklyn as champ — and will wind up in a triple threat at the next TakeOver.

Next Week: We watch the TakeOver: Brooklyn III pre-show, which will air four days after TakeOver itself. Which reminds me: Be back here on Saturday for our TakeOver: Brooklyn III live thread, and on Sunday for our Best & Worst. And then come back on Monday, too, just because. Enjoy SummerSlam weekend, y’all!