The Best And Worst Of WWE NXT 6/1/16: Not Your Friend, Buddy

Previously on the Best and Worst of NXT: TMDK debuted, but lost. Austin Aries and Shinsuke Nakamura ended up in a match at TakeOver, and shook hands about it. Nia Jax became the number one contender to the NXT Women’s Championship, and, in the most important moment of the show, No Way Jose danced for like 15 minutes.

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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for June 1, 2016.

Best: Buddy Murphy, First Of His Name

+1 to Buddy Murphy for getting back his “Buddy” this week, and for Corey Graves to compliment him for it. I hope this means Blake is “Wesley Blake” again, and that he’s dropped the dubstep zoom-ins for a return to his mythical previous life of “real, live cowboy.”

Murphy gets an odd but pretty entertaining singles match against Tye Dillinger, who is pretty much a babyface when he’s a heel and super babyface when he’s babyface. Who knew that saying “ten” over and over would make everyone like you? Dude’s a wrestling psychological experiment. He needs to bring a bell to the ring and condition crowds to salivate.

Best: He’s Almas Here

These vignettes for La Sombra are still pretty great, and he debuts at NXT TakeOver: The End. They’re especially good when you compare how NXT handles wrestlers of color in comparison to Raw. Here, you’ve got a masked wrestler watching old-timey footage of himself on a wall (?) while he unmasks and prepares for a new chapter in his career. On Raw, the Puerto Rican guys can’t stop smelling flowers because they’re from Puerto Rico. It’s such a weird disconnect.

Also, don’t cry for La Sombra losing the mask. Dude looks like Alberto Del Rio and Roman Reigns had a baby. He’s gonna do great.

Best: Complainy Hangouts

Apparently I liked this segment a lot more than most people. Corey Graves moderates a discussion between Samoa Joe and Finn B├ílor a week before their final match (inside a cage!) at TakeOver. It’s not particularly exciting, but it’s a nice example of WWE recapping the history between two characters by not only having those characters address it, but by having them go into detail about what happened and now it made them feel. I think that’s awesome. Wrestlers should have more complex emotions than, “I’m a coward,” and, “fight me right now.”

For example, Joe brings up Finn not giving him a title shot after they won the Dusty Classic. They’ve brought that up before, but here Joe gets to explain that what makes him mad about it is that Finn didn’t step up and stand up for him and make Regal give him the shot. It’s a good point. Regal made the decision not to give Joe the shot and set up a number one contender battle royal instead, and Finn just went along with it. Regal makes the decisions, but he’s always been pretty chill when wrestlers approach him and tell him what they want to happen.

They also aren’t afraid to remember their own history, which should be the norm in WWE but never is. Graves mentions that Finn’s never been in a cage match before and how taking a cage match with Samoa f*cking Joe might jeopardize his career, and Finn brings up the fact that yeah, he’s never been in the cage before, but he’d never been in a ladder match before the one he had with Kevin Owens and he won the sh*t out of that.

I don’t know, I just thought this was a great way of doing exposition without making the wrestlers look like screaming confrontational idiots. It made it seem like a real, long-standing grudge between two guys who are sick of each other and want to settle things once and for all.

Worst: Austin Aries Vs. Elias Samson

Best: Aries Looks Like He’s Turning, At Least

After the match, Aries gets on the mic and starts in about how he’s gonna kick Nakamura’s ass, which gets everybody chanting NAK-A-MURA because he’s the f*cking greatest and hearing his name makes you want him in front of you. Aries starts in about how he’s the whatever man who ever whatevered and the crowd is like, “weeehhhh.” If Aries tries to go straight-up respect with Nakamura like Sami Zayn did instead of going bonkers and heeling on him as hard as possible, they’re doing it wrong. Nakamura overshadowed Aries’ NXT debut something FIERCE, and that little fussy a-hole should be ripe about it.

Best/Worst: Wait What

Okay, from a fan standpoint, I liked Johnny and Tommy Wrestling getting a surprise win over The Revival. The Revival is way too cocky for their own good, a flash win like this proves that any team can beat any other team on the right night, the way the pin happened doesn’t really hurt The Revival or make them look weak, and Ciampa and Gargano looking strong as hell for the Cruiserweight Classic is good business.

From a “guy who writes about the show every week” standpoint … the hell?

Next week, the former NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival get their rematch against the current champs, American Alpha. Since losing to AA, Dawson and Wilder have developed a harder edge, and have sincerely focused on beating the ever-loving dogsh*t out of their opponents. The way the match has been built up, you could believe that AA might not be totally prepared for the slightly better version of a team they had to try very hard to beat the first time. Now on the episode before the TakeOver special, the big tag title challengers are losing clean via a basic pro wrestling counter to a team that was more or less enhancement talent before a few weeks ago. They got shown up by them in a promo earlier in the night, too. It’s fine, I guess — it’s not like ANYBODY is beating American Alpha — but I don’t understand the timing. Are we adding Ciampa and Gargano to the match next week? That’s what the YouTube followup interview makes it sound like.

Anyway, the match wasn’t anything fancy, but it was watchable. That’s a thing I forget to say sometimes. Totally acceptable tag wrestling, which is secretly the best kind of wrestling. The Revival loses, freaks out and beats down Ciampa and Gargano until American Alpha make the save. American Alpha should have a match every week or the show shouldn’t be allowed to air.

Best: KANA vs. Linda Belcher

I swear, Nia Jax would be so good right now if she didn’t sound like that. She’s got the least threatening Midwestern mom voice ever.

This is a contract signing for the NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver, with Nia going on and on about how she broke Bayley and how she’s not afraid of Asuka, and Asuka telling her she talks too much. There’s a great bit where Asuka starts screaming at her in Japanese, and the crowd’s like WOO YEAH WE DON’T KNOW WHAT SHE’S SAYING BUT SH*T’S GOING DOWN. Asuka bucks up to Nia and throws some strikes, but Nia quickly powerbombs her and leaves her lying.

It’s simple and effective, and it works. Let’s hope Nia brings her A+ game to that fight and doesn’t just get hip-attacked for 20 minutes. The more Jax channels Vader, the better. The powerbomb is a great start.