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Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for November 20, 2013.
Worst: Corey Graves’ Only Fan
GET THAT GUY OUT OF HERE IMMEDIATELY.
Best/Worst Before We Start: Corey Graves Defending Himself On Twitter
In all seriousness, Corey Graves is the worst. In real life. I know he’s not in this week’s report, but he tweeted something last week I need to discuss, because it was the most Corey Graves thing ever.
1. I’m going to assume he’s speaking directly to me, because who the f*ck else talks about Corey Graves?
2. Of COURSE you have a better chance with the Divas than I do. They’re your co-workers. You (I’m assuming) know most of them personally. Which leads us to a few sub-notes, including (2a) whether or not I think you’re terrible at wrestling has nothing to do with your sex life, (2b) if you’re anything like you are on Twitter in real life, you have a way, way worse chance with them than me, unless Rosa Mendes is suddenly really into guys in jeggings who quote Ayn Rand, and (2c) if “hey girl, I’m WWE Superstar CM Punk” isn’t your go-to pick-up line I will eat my shoes.
Best: Bo Dallas Returns, Thank God
It’s been a rough few weeks without the NXT Champion, but Bo Dallas returned from his Bo Dallas Verse The World tour last night and he is so next level right now he’s using a f*cking Game Genie. I have never 180’d so fast on a wrestler in my life. Without hyperbole, I might enjoy Bo Dallas promos more than anything in pro wrestling right now. I can’t even explain it. I have to just list a bunch of stuff he said and hope to God you watched it.
Seriously, in the span of about four minutes he:
– celebrates in a shower of balloons
– wears a party hat
– namedrops the “Bo Dallas newsletters”
– performs the first ever GOOD WWE PHOTOSHOP JOKE with a slideshow of scenes from his tour, getting more legit heat from the words “first slide” than most people in NXT get turning on their tag team partners
– explains that in Canada, Bo-lievers are known as “Bo-nuts” (note: this is where I stopped being a guy who writes wrestling columns and just watched the rest of the promo with a stupid, delighted look on my face)
– claims that he “sports-entertained” in front of a sold out crowd of 300,000 in Cam-Bo-dia while simultaneously namedropping and burning Justin Gabriel: “He’s a good kid. I beat him.”
– claims to have MAGICAL HEALING HUGS THAT MAKE DISEASED PEOPLE GOOD AT GOLF
– references Wayne’s World
– accidentally shows a picture of himself posing in front of Bigfoot
– gives the crowd a language lesson and then immediately pretends he’s Oprah
– GIVES EVERYBODY IN THE CROWD COOKIES
In four minutes. If somebody on Raw made me laugh that many times in a year I’d paragraphically blow them every week. I haven’t loved a wrestler this purposely bad since Kurt Angle was the Eurocontinental Champion, before he turned into a wrestling-obsessed screaming penis-man.
Best: JBL As The Worst Restaurant Manager In The World
I enjoy JBL as a heel general manager so detached from these lives of these developmental kids that he just kinda shows up and performs evil (so to speak) by just being himself. He doesn’t have that weird thing Triple H and Stephanie do where they seem hellbent on controlling a company they already control … he’s just a rich, egotistical prick who wants to be in a position of power, loves ass-kissers and thinks that Sami Zayn’s contextually polite and well-behaved enthusiasm is disrespect. That’s so perfect. He’s not “out to get” Zayn and cares enough about doing a good job that he inadvertently gives the best guy on the show (Zayn) opportunities for title shots, but there’s always an air of “I brought you into this world AND I CAN TAKE YOU OUT” nonsense that makes him despicable.
I never like Beat the Clock challenges because they’re basically writing NONE OF THESE MATCHES WILL LAST MORE THAN FIVE MINUTES, DEAL WITH IT over the show in flashing letters. That said, I think it works on NXT for two reasons:
1. The show’s only an hour long, so you don’t have to wait 3 hours to see 4 3-minute matches.
2. In terms of success and who you think’s gonna win matches, Raw is all about economic inequality. It’s like the United States. You’ve got the super rich 1% (Cena, Orton) and your super poor 99% (Zack Ryder, Kofi Kingston, 3MB, pretty much everybody else), so unless there’s a storyline reason for the unexpected opposite to happen, you know who’s gonna win a match. If Cena’s in a beat the clock challenge against a guy like David Otunga it’s just a matter of going through the motions. On NXT, that gap isn’t so severe. Some guys are clearly better (Zayn, for example) but everyone is sorta on the same level. When Adrian Neville wrestles Aiden English, there’s a chance it could go either way. Same for a match like Cassady and Rusev, even if Rusev’s the one getting a push. Just more of a natural, competitive atmosphere and less about position guys to get ratings and t-shirt sales. I mean, maybe that’s all in my head, but that’s how it feels, so things like Beat the Clock are allowed a little more believability in their drama.
Best/Worst: Rusev vs. Cassady
I’m giving the first Beat the Clock match a Best because it was Rusev’s best and most competitive match since Dolph Ziggler, but also a Worst because (1) he will never stop wrestling Enzo and Colin Cassady, and (2) why is Colin Cassidy a face in peril?
This is a serious question. NXT did this twice on the show … they had the bigger wrestler pretend like he was Rey Mysterio battling The Great Khali against a dude half his size. I get that Rusev is a powerful guy and all, but Colin Cassady is almost 7-feet tall. Tallness doesn’t make you tough, but damn, he’s getting thrown around like a rag doll and his hope spots are jumping knees off the ropes. Is he the biggest guy doing the “CLAP FOR ME I NEED YOUR SUPPORT” thing in every match since Test? Is Test living in his body a la Ghost?
Before she could get out “Hi, I’m Devin Taylor” I was yelling WHO IS THIS WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH RENEE at my television. Spoiler alert: Renee Young is pretty but we don’t like her because she’s pretty, we like her because she’s great at her job. Hiring some sub-Krystal Diva to awkwardly line-remember her way through her 80 seconds on screen is NOT RENEE YOUNG.
Worst: Quick, Name Two People Who Can’t Say Sentences On Camera Like Human Beings
She’s not listening to you call yourself the “human roller coaster,” Adrian, she’s staring at the back of your head through your face and nodding.
Best: Bayley Is Gonna Let Her Fists Do The Talking
Firstly, BE NICE TO BAYLEY. I’m starting to get irrationally mad that Bayley has no friends. She gets turned on in a tag match, all the face Divas she team up with are still sorta hateful to her for no reason and even New Announcer Lady gets asked to do the robot, makes a fart face and walks away like an asshole. Bayley isn’t Bo Dallas, guys. She’s endearing. Her having a small amount of childishness and enthusiasm doesn’t make her the enemy. When you roll your eyes and walk away like you’re too good for her, YOU are the enemy. Just one segment where Sami Zayn thinks she’s nice and hugs her first, that’s all I’m asking.
Secondly, Bayley going Super Saiyan by putting on TWO headbands and threatening Charlotte with her a beating while still being SUPER NICE ABOUT IT is great, and I would be okay with her smacking some tuna salad into Devin Taylor’s ear and spinebustering her through a table. Just saying.
Up Next: A Keep The Job Match!
Sorry, I guess I read that wrong.
Best: Hey, We Get Kassius Ohno For A Few More Weeks
The Kassius Ohno vs. Tyler Breeze Beat the Clock match was the show’s second instance of a huge guy having to pretend he’s Ricky Morton against a Robert Gibson-sized guy — Ohno’s got what, a foot on Breeze? — but once the clock started ticking down and the pinfall attempts started happening, it got really good.
The best part of the match, however, was:
Best: William Regal Shutting Alex Riley The Hell Down
During the match, Byron Saxton asks William Regal what it’s like to be in the second Beat the Clock match of the night, and Regal explains that it’s extra stressful and how every second feels long because you’re obsessing about it. Riley, being Alex Riley, asks Saxton why he always defers to Regal instead of him for questions about in-ring ability. Now, most viewers would just yell BECAUSE HE’S BILL REGAL YOU DUMBSHIT, but Regal does it for us, shutting down Riley for almost a full minute with one simple explanation:
“It’s 30 years and 44 countries of experience or 200 matches and carrying the Miz’s bags. That’s probably something to do with it.”
<3 <3 <3 <3
Later in the show, Riley pipes in to explain that when you're in a Beat the Clock match you're worried about beating the time and you get obsessed with the ticking of the clock, which I'm guessing he learned from his in-ring experience.
Best: LOL (You Just Lost To) Camacho (In Like 10 Seconds)
NXT is now CAMACHO CENTRAL as our favorite Not Actually Mexican teams up with the returning Hunico to spend about ten seconds dispatching a pair of jobbers even Ethan Carter III would consider cans.
After the match, Ubiquitous Hateful New Interview Lady appears from the shadows to ask them about their victory and they go “uhhh… MEXICO! ORALE!” before challenging The Ascension and returning backstage to (I’m assuming) find their bikes. NXT desperately needs more functioning tag teams, and if those rumors of 2014 being a “tag team heavy year” on the main roster, now’s the time to put some squads together and teach them how to do it. Besides, Hunico should’ve been on Raw playing Sin Cara the second dude jammed his fingers and decided to take a year of medical leave.
Worst: We’ve Got TWO New Backstage Interviewers??
Renee is never coming back, is she.
This is Dan Devone, and while I’d like to make the “run to Devone and call somebody to fire him” joke, he’s better than Devin Taylor for two reasons:
1. He was not soulless and ice cold like Devin was interviewing Bayley, and
2. He walked away without comment when Kassius Ohno started using a fake Russian accent to mock Lana.
Let’s just get through the rest of the show without anybody else being replaced, okay?
Best: The Bad Ring Announcer Lady Gets Replaced
Kendall Skye, the horrible female NXT ring announcer whose only operable purpose was getting into the ring under the middle rope despite being too tall to do that and having the crowd go “whooOOOP!” every time she did it, has now seemingly been replaced with Alexa Bliss. You may remember Bliss from that time she took a photo of Tyler Breeze without informing him of CJ Parker’s photobomb and started THAT whole thing.
Bliss is objectively very, very pretty (even though she looks like a living Bratz doll), but man, are they just hiring women now based on how inanimate they can seem looking into a camera? If they’re so bad at wrestling you can’t make them wrestlers OR valets, maybe you should stop giving them public speaking opportunities and just hire somebody else. There are a lot of pretty people in the world, and most of them need jobs.
Worst: Adrian Neville Is An Extremely Boring Roller Coaster
During his backstage speech therapy session with Devin, Neville identified himself as a HUMAN ROLLER COASTER, A THRILL-A-MINUTE. A TEN TICKET THRILLRIDE, DON’T YOU WANNA COME INSIDE. A FIVE-STAR TRIPLE THREAT, HARDEST OF THE HARD TO GET, NO-ONES LITTLE REPROBATE, AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ LIKE HIM YET.
Theeeen he gets put into a match that is a maximum of five-minutes long, suggesting that he will THRILL YOU EACH SECOND and use his crazy jump powers to win faster than anyone, and spends the entire time getting slowly stomped by Aiden English. In fact, the only “thrill” was when he hit his finish, and the only reason he hit that is because English stupidly put him on the top rope with 20 seconds left in the match. Even Alex Riley thought he was dumb for doing that. I feel weird telling Neville he should be doing more flips, but damn dude, flips are what you do. Do them.
Worst: Aiden English’s Song
I cannot believe somebody made an overt ‘Rent’ reference on wrestling and I didn’t like it. What is that arrangement? I know you’d get sued out of your ass for using the actual melody, but at least give me a piano or something, Rent is not scored with a bunch of Castlevania music.
Best: JBL, Suspiciously Reasonable GM
I mentioned this a little bit earlier, but for a guy put into a position of power by The Authority, JBL’s doing a pretty good job at being NXT GM.
The show’s main-event was the final Beat the Clock match between Sami Zayn and Leo Kruger, two relatively evenly-matched performers who, for all intents and purposes, deserve a shot at the title. The match ends with Zayn reversing a pinfall attempt into a crucifix for three just as the time ran out, so JBL declares the only reasonable thing: Zayn and the guy who had the previous best time, Adrian Neville, will have a match next week to determine the #1 Contender.
So there you have it. Even the bad stuff in NXT like benign GM Dusty Rhodes getting replaced by a cartoonish bad guy ends up evening itself out, and the good wrestling and rational story decisions rise to the top. Now if only we can let Alex Riley do a sad Charlie Brown walk out into the street and trade those two schmoes back in for a perfectly-fucntional Renee, we’ll be set.