Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE NXT: Andrade “Cien” Almas got slapped, Hideo Itami got slapped, and Bobby Roode should’ve gotten slapped.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for June 14, 2017.
Worst: The Ryzin Tide
This week’s episode of NXT kicks off with Drew McIntyre once again squaring off against a puddin’ guy named Rob Ryzin, who has been doing the occasional job in the Full Sail Arena since 2014. MacIntyre absolutely towers over him in the ring, and the match is just about as lopsided as NXT singles squashes can be, which leads me to wonder: Just what the hell are we doing with Drew McIntyre? He’s never been clearly defined as a face or a heel, and he’s had five consecutive wins on NXT TV with zero storyline development.
I realize I may be in the minority here when I say I legitimately enjoyed McIntyre as a member of 3MB more than any of his singles runs, but at least he was doing something entertaining at that point. These matches are pretty rudimentary, usually showing two things: 1) how hard McIntyre can slap his opponents’ chests and 2) just how bad NXT cameramen are at missing a good angle on his finisher. Like, I know he’s supposed to be hitting a running big boot, but every time it looks like a flying knee until a replay from a better angle is shown.
Best, If The Crowd Would’ve Been Awake: Pain Is Weakness Leaving The Body
To continue with the evening’s theme of squash matches, Authors Of Pain go up against the team of Anthony Dominguez (in blue) and Wilmer Freyday (in red). Well, sort of: Akam ends up fighting on his own, chucking Freyday out of the ring and finishing Dominguez in under a minute, all while Rezar and Paul Ellering go over their Costco shopping list outside the ring. (I’m guessing it just said “100 LBS. BONELESS SKINLESS CHICKEN BREASTS,” “100 LBS. PROTEIN POWDER” and “100 LBS. GOLD BOND.” Florida is humid, after all.)
After AOP clears the ring of trash, Ellering gets on the mic and begins to run down Heavy Machinery in the most hilariously old-man way possible, saying, “Heavy Machinery is as foolish as they are large.” Burn! Before he can dig in any deeper, Milo and Otis come out and get nose-to-nose with Tokka and Rahzar, in what should have been a crowd-pleasing moment, but instead happens in front of a mime convention. This was the first time AOP has ever backed off from any confrontation in the past year, especially since winning the tag titles, and it should’ve been a white-hot moment. Thanks for that, Full Sail.
Best: Put Your Hair Up And Square Up
I dunno about you, but that catchphrase is totally boss, and I am excited as hell to watch Sonya Deville wreck shop next week.
What We Did Inside The Purple Pants This Week
Velveteen Dream makes his “Full Sail Arena debut” (even though he already did that three months ago) (and also eight months ago) (and also 11 months ago) against Raul Mendoza, who we last saw in Full Sail losing to Brian Kendrick in the first round of the Cruiserweight Classic last summer.
We get a three-and-a-half-minute match in which Tom Phillips drops a Prince reference, Percy Watson refers to Dream as “athletic, agile and talented” and Nigel McGuinness calls him a weirdo. Wait, so Velveteen Dream is supposed to be a good guy? You really could’ve fooled me: Dude used his headband as a weapon, a la Hollywood Hogan’s weight belt. That’s how you get heat, brother.
Credit where credit is due, however: Dream’s cartwheel Death Valley Driver was cool and — I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do that in a WWE ring before. But his elbow drop still needs a lot of work. Look at the point of impact here:
Absolutely no part of Dream’s body is touching Mendoza’s. Dude’s “elbow drop” is actually an extended palm. Time to break out the crash pads and try this again, Patrick.
For our main event, we get a rematch of the Asuka/Nikki Cross/Ruby Riot triple threat from TakeOver: Chicago (which was very good, btw), but this time it’s an elimination match — and it’s also broken up by commercial breaks, which completely kills the urgency of anything we’re seeing. While I was down on the match in its entirety, there were a few small Bests worth pointing out:
- Asuka lip syncing along to her own ring announcement was phenomenal
- Ruby Riot catching Asuka’s leg and slapping the hell outta her was great
- Asuka’s ring awareness, rolling out after Nikki Cross hit her with a swinging neckbreaker, was very smartly done
- Asuka’s deadlift German suplex is so good
When you look at it in pieces, yeah, there were some cool moments, but the ending of the match was just incredibly deflating, as Cross (having already eliminated Riot) and Asuka brawl outside the ring, causing the referee to ring the bell after only 12 minutes, ruling it a no-contest. Full Sail chanted “REF YOU SUCK,” and I have to be inclined to agree. But then …
Bestest Best That Ever Bested: Bobbing For Asuka
Asuka and Cross’ post-match brawl throughout the arena was spectacular. First off, we get some random guy in a pink shirt who reacts in the exact same way I would if I saw two women this scary fighting a few feet away:
Then we get the amazing sequence of Nikki Cross dunking Asuka’s head into a cooler backstage, which is quickly on the way to being my favorite moment in NXT history (sorry, Bayley/Sasha at TakeOver: Brooklyn):
The two fight back into the arena and up to a raised production platform, which they promptly tumble off of, through a few tables, and with that, both competitors are absolutely spent.
I have to assume this leads to a falls count anywhere match between the two, which I am all the hell in on, because I could watch Nikki and Asuka pound the hell out of each other for a 60-minute Broadway. Will they hold off on this until TakeOver: Brooklyn III, though, or will it be taped at Full Sail? Really hoping for the former, because Ember Moon still isn’t ready to dethrone the Empress — but this crazy-ass Scotswoman sure is.
Next Week: Kassius Ohno squares off against Aleister Black, Ember Moon returns to the ring against Peyton Royce, plus Sonya Deville will be in action.