The Best And Worst Of WWE NXT 10/2/13: Invitationals, Title Changes And Snakes For Arms

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Please click through to enjoy the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for October 2, 2013. BOOOOP boopadoop boop boop boop boop …

Best: The Most Fun WWE Match Of The Year

I’ve been having a bad week. The reasons why range from serious (my grandmother is in the hospital battling pneumonia and heart failure and just had a tracheostomy this morning because she can’t breathe or eat on her own) to facetiously serious (the Cleveland Indians left 60,000 runners on base and lost their AL Wild Card playoff game). I’m not gonna say the Fandango and Summer Rae vs. Emma and Santino Marella match made any of that better, but it certainly didn’t hurt.

As the emboldened words say, I think this might be the most fun WWE match of the year. Before it the bell even rings we get a short Renee Young cameo, Santino and Emma getting their signature entrance walks mixed up and an assisted skinning of the cat to get Santino into the ring. Then Santino slips on the ropes trying to pose, gets a ONE MORE TIME chant and a whoaaaaaaaa YAYYYY for successfully posing. The match hasn’t started and already I’m smiling so hard I can’t stand it.

The match starts, and it gets better. This is the perfect crowd for Santino and Fandango because they’re a WWE-product-accepting bunch, but they’re also smart and courteous enough to buy what the wrestlers are selling. The crowd obviously likes Fandango a lot, but they’ll boo him for his heel antics and chant “you got served” at him in a butt-shaking competition. Everyone plays their parts magnificently here, and by the time Emma gets a cobra puppet on her arm and starts threatening people with it it’s just off the charts. Maremma is a magical team and if they could team up forever (possibly on Raw, never as boyfriend and girlfriend) I’d be the happiest. Santino’s got a magic touch with Divas, doesn’t he? He made Maria Kanellis, Beth Phoenix and Tamina all interesting and identifiable at different points in his career.

I’ve been down a lot on Fandango in the Raw reports, but if he could be like this all the time and get into creative beefs with guys who can actually wrestle and entertain he’d be fine. Like how Bray Wyatt should be wrestling guys who can eat the Sister Abigail with authority instead of having to stagger around with Kane and R-Truth. Dirty Curty has always worked best as a comedy guy, so more Santino mixed tags, fewer sloppy catch-as-catch-can things with Miz and Chris Jericho.

Best: Renee Young Balances Out The Awfulness Of Alex Riley

Alex Riley did his best to ruin Renee Young’s second week of Diva-based commentary with some thinly-veiled “hey Renee, let’s have a threesome” talk, but she’s cool and clever enough to roll with it and recover. During her time at the table she threw shade at Disney World (saying she’d rather go to Universal Studios … cue 411 with the RENEE YOUNG TO TNA?? rumors), revealed her facetious secret affair with Fandango, made The Cobra seem like the Pedigree and got the entire table doing the Emma dance. She even snuck in an “I don’t want you two rubbing off on me” entendre at the end. If they camera had stayed on them 10 seconds longer, I guarantee you Riley’s response would’ve been “this reminds me of the time I rubbed off on the Miz.”

Renee Young is the greatest, and if she could just bring a sword to the announce booth and chop off Alex Riley’s head at some point she’d be the best person who ever lived.

Best: #IAmChikara

The second match on the show was short, but it was almost as good as the first. Kassius Ohno made his return to the NXT ring — complete with a winky winky nudgey nudgey reference to going to the gym by Riley — to face Luke Harper of the Wyatt Family.

Cooler and more alienated-from-society wrestling nerds may love these two from their time in Chikara, when Kassius Ohno was Chris Hero and Luke Harper was exactly the same. I was surprised to see Ohno go down so easily after his thing with Brad Maddox last week, but the match was what you’d want it to be … hard-hitting, quick and occasionally brutal. A guy who went toe-to-fingers with William Regal earlier this year should probably last longer in the ring against a more popular guy’s crony, but after the boot and clothesline Harper put on him, I’m okay with it. Luke Harper is not-so-secretly one of the very best guys in developmental, and if he could get a Raw spotlight that wasn’t “clubber Kofi Kingston from behind” or “try to figure out fire” the audience would catch on. Best case scenario, they’d catch on and start going YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH after everything he does.

Best: Mojo Rawley Is Finally Going To Debut

My only exposure to Mojo Rawley was in a dark match at the NXT tapings I attended, but I’ve been trying to work his catchphrase into conversation for months. If you’ve never heard it, it is I DON’T GET HYPE, I STAY HYPE.” His gimmick is that he’s EXTREMELY EXCITED TO BE HERE and never stops being that. And he wears Zubaz. It’s the most bare bones thing in the world, but combining it with basic wrestling competence can get him over super fast. Mojo Rawley, update us about your current level of hype-awareness!

Also, I really want them to tag him up with Ricardo Rodriguez and call them “Rawley Valverde.”

Worst: I Guess This Page Had To Have A Worst

can we exchange this for one of a different kind plz

Best: They’re Stars. They Take Meteor Showers.

Enzo Amore now has ENZO shaved into the side of his head. Pretty soon he’s gonna come to the ring in a chariot of fire and ascend to Heaven.

I’m glad Hulu’s wised up and started putting actual NXT clips of interest up (the beginning of the comedy tag, the Enzo and Big Cass promo, a piece of the tag titles match) instead of just a random minute and a half of Sasha Banks working an armbar or whatever. I should be able to show this clip to a stranger and have them want to watch the show, because holy shit they are talking about crunchy taco and breaking Alexander Rusev’s mother’s heart and how could you not want to cheer for these guys?

This is how you do vocally-abusive babyfaces, WWE. Not with reiterated empty threats (CM Punk), constant shitty sarcasm (Daniel Bryan), gay jokes (everyone) or YOU’RE A WHORE jazz (Dolph Ziggler, John Cena … uh, also everyone). You just have them be entertaining every time we see them. Put a little creative effort into what they’re saying. Have it be something I’d want to tell my friends about. A little bit goes a long way.

Worst: Is It Possible To Fast Forward Through Paragraphs I Haven’t Written Yet

A few quick notes about the Ascension vs. Stay Downton NXT tag titles match:

1. It is boring as shit.

2. Thank Christ the Corey Graves/Adrian Neville tag titles run is over. NXT has a wretched tag division. One of the weird things about putting tag teams together is that it limits the amount of time guys have to wrestle in the ring solo, meaning you can use it to cover up obvious faults or problems that need fixing … the people who run NXT know this and cram guys like Graves and CJ Parker and Conor O’Brian into these tag teams that never really do anything or go anywhere to protect them. That’s a good tool for teaching them how to wrestle, but a bad tool for helping Brandon sit through boring-ass tag team matches. I couldn’t get behind a SHIELD match with Corey Graves in it. The Shield could wrestle a box of napkins and I’d mark out. You are worse than a box of napkins, Corey Graves.

3. Conor O’Brian needs to give up the “multiple shoulderblocks” thing. It’s become a signature of his, and it doesn’t make sense and makes him look horrible. Remember when Ezekiel Jackson was just bodyslamming dudes over and over, and he’d do like five in a row and that was his big move? At least there he was picking the guy up every time. Here, O’Brien (a guy who is twice as big as anybody else on the show and should be able to absolutely truck everybody) hits a shoulderblock, then hits another one, then hits another one. Why does it take three shoulderblocks to keep a guy down? Shouldn’t you be strong enough to do it in one? It makes him look weak, and it makes the other guy look stupid for not doing basic homework and just rolling the hell away.

Anyway, this happened.

Best: The Bo Dallas Invitational


Bo Dallas, a man who almost called himself the FCW Champion in a promo on this show and can barely get his words out without his eyebrows crashing together and imploding his face, invites the worst guy you’ve ever seen to the ring to “try and pin the champ.” Because the NXT crowd is awesome, they start a LET’S GO THIS GUY clap clap clapclapclap chant. This Guy gets a roll-up and a two count, so the crowd chants THIS GUY! THIS GUY! THIS GUY! They are the best. Bo gets an easy pin, tells the ref “HE DID GOOD!” and rolls the dude out of the ring. So far so great.

After that, Leo Kruger and Antonio Cesaro show up both looking for a match with Bo, get into it with each other and get … I don’t know, eliminated battle royal style by Bo? It’s not really explained, but this is the BO DALLAS INVITATIONAL and he INVITED THESE MEN TO DO THIS so I guess he can make up the rules as he goes. He celebrates, and then El Local’s music starts.

Best/Worst: Who Is This Mysterious Luchador Who Looks And Acts Exactly Like Sami Zayn? WILL WE EVER FIND OUT

Okay, don’t get me wrong, this was great. Sami Zayn dresses up as El Local, hits a boot on Bo and pins him to earn a shot at the NXT title. He then unmasks and celebrates. That’s not the Worst. The Worst is these two things:

1. The ENTIRE POINT of El Local showing up last week was so that when he showed up in the Bo Dallas Invitational THIS week, you wouldn’t think something was up. When he comes out, Alex Riley instantly goes into I’VE NEVER SEEN THIS MAN BEFORE mode like a dolt and Dawson’s all, “this MYSTERIOUS LUCHADOR” instead of just identifying him as El Local. In fact, they don’t CALL him El Local until he’s about to leave the ring. When Dean Malenko dressed up as Ciclope to get the jump on Chris Jericho in the best WCW moment ever they didn’t have the announcers pretend they’d never seen Ciclope and they didn’t have Ciclope doing a bunch of Texas Cloverleafs to dudes in the battle royal. When DDP dressed up as La Parka they had him play it straight until the Diamond Cutter, followed by an INSTANT reveal. They weren’t like “oh wow who is this skeleton guy.”

2. Couldn’t they have put El Local in sleeves last week? Last week he’s this pudgy-armed Hispanic guy with flash tattoos. This week he’s a skinny, hoppin’-around pasty white guy. NOT SUSPICIOUS AT ALL, THANK YOU. I guess it doesn’t matter, because it would’ve been obvious no matter what. I’d recognize that mask tassel head-bob anywhere.

But seriously, Zayn getting the jump on Bo in due to a wacky invitational gauntlet thing of Bo’s own doing was wonderful, and I’m excited for the Bo/Zayn blowoff. Hopefully it involves Zayn hitting a kick in the corner so hard that Bo’s head flies off and lands in Fake NXT Sign Guy’s lap.