The Best And Worst Of WWE NXT 3/27/14: Vengeance In Longer Pants

Pre-show notes:

– Here’s a link to this week’s episode on The Network. It’s only up on Hulu Plus in clip form, so maybe they’ve finally cut it out with that.

– We do this report every week (usually) as well as a revisit of season 1, so be sure to keep up with both of those. Only one more episode for NXT season 1, and then we get that great season 2 with Bray Wyatt and Curtis Axel and a baby in a wetsuit.

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Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for March 27, 2014.

Worst: I Figured Out My Problem With Mojo Rawley’s Hyperdrive

I feel like we’ve discussed Mojo Rawley’s ass-based, hype-assisted offense in this column more than we’ve talked about Paige, but here’s another paragraph about it.

Mojo’s finish is the HYPERDRIVE, wherein he bounces off the ropes and sits on your chest. He Earthquakes you. The problem is that … okay, you know how Batista does the Batista Bomb, a sitout powerbomb, and instead of just staying sitting he rolls backwards all awkwardly like a dog in a bathtub? It has something to do with him not being able to bend in the middle, but for all intents and purposes he should be able to just sit when he sits and have that be the move. Mojo’s Hyperdrive is the same thing. He’s jumping and sitting on your chest. He should just sit on your chest and pin you, right? That’s what Earthquake did. Instead, Mojo kinda bounces off your sternum with his asshole, flails around in a semi-circle and then has to figure out where he is so he can cover you. Just a bunch of dumb, wasted motion.

Why do they keep doing this to developmental guys? Titus O’Neil does the same thing. He does the Clash of the Titus and sits out, then rolls around all stupid so he can lateral-press at the hardcam. They’re still allowing sunset flips and roll-ups so I know it’s not a “lateral press is the only valid pin now” scenario. Are they just screwing with former football players to make them look like nerds?

Worst: Alex Riley Looks Up Charisma In The Dictionary

Good lord. GOOD LORD.

Alex Riley is trying in the worst possible way to say Xavier Woods has charisma. He could’ve accomplished it thusly: “Xavier Woods has a lot of charisma, Tom!” The end.

Instead, he says he looked up charisma in the dictionary and saw EDDIE MURPHY. The other announcers instantly start talking over him about how he’s stupid and has never used a dictionary. The announce team did that all night, by the way. Just three different announcers announcing independently whether the other ones were talking or not. Sorry, tangent. Alex Riley is using his picture dictionary to look up charisma, sees Eddie Murphy, and then beside THAT sees a picture of Xavier Woods. Why he couldn’t have just seen a picture of Woods and cut this shit by about five minutes is beyond me, but whatever. He then explains that if you told him Woods and Eddie Murphy were cousins, he’d believe you.

This is not the first instance of Alex Riley either not being able to tell black people apart or only being able to compare black people to other black people. Whenever Alicia Fox is on the show he’s SLOBBERING to compare her to Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Eventually (thought Dog Whisperer-style punishment, I’m assuming) whittled that down to “she’s like an Olympic athlete,” but you know he’s always ready to follow it up with BUT A BLACK ONE.

I looked up “bad announcer” in the dictionary and saw a picture of Alex Riley. Next to that was a second picture of Alex Riley.

(I only use dictionaries that provide two photos of every definition.)

Worst: These Matches Are Not Great

Both Mojo Rawley vs. CJ Parker and Xavier Woods vs. Tyler Breeze were perfectly fine matches, I guess, but they were just so non-descript. This is supposed to be a night of grudge matches, right? Where’s the fire? If Xavier Woods is pissed about being jumped and demanding rematches, why is he collar-and-elbow tying up to start? Stuff like that just drives me crazy. Be your character 100% of the time, guys, not just during the promos and OMG Moments.

Best: Bo Dallas, Master Of Vocab

Bo has two great moments in his promo here:

1. “So he’s better at climbing. Luckily for me we’re not in a jungle gym competition.” <3
2. He references Neville climbing a ladder and unhooking the NXT Championship from a carabiner.

Why is it charming and endearing to me that Bo can properly identify a carabiner? That's like knowing what a ramekin is.

Worst: Speaking Of Matches That Are Not Great

Here’s Corey Graves.

Best: Corey’s Post-Match Promo

Graves gets on the microphone, does his best impression of how Edge might say “Sami Zayn,” then drops his catchphrase: “Don’t be a fool … stay down!”

There’s a pause as everyone kinda collectively no-sells it, and then Albert pipes in with a quiet, deadpan, “I thought he was gonna say don’t be a fool, stay in school.” SO DID EVERYBODY ELSE, ALBERT. Or “don’t be a fool, stay cool.” Maybe “don’t be a clown, stay down” would work better? Are we trying to give Corey Graves a Sweathog gimmick? Is he gonna attack Sami and go up his nose with a rubber hose?

Best: Somebody Finally Bought Bret Hart A Pair Of Pants

No more jorts!

(Seriously though, I know Bret Hart is cool and all, but can we NOT have Bret on these shows? He’s the most uncomfortable guy to watch. I feel like Kevin from Home Alone staring out the window at Old Man Marley. When Bret stopped to look at the big Bret Hart cartoon cutout sign in the crowd I thought he was gonna snatch it away and yell at the guy for trying to steal his soul.)

Best/Worst: Natalya vs. Charlotte

The actual match between Natalya and Charlotte was fine, but it really, really felt like a pro and a trainee having a practice match during training. Like, “okay Charlotte, now do this. Now do this. Time for the heat. Okay, cut me off.” Again, I get that NXT is a developmental thing and people are still working out their kinks, but isn’t that what the performance center is for now? By the time you get to NXT shouldn’t you be at least in the ballpark of TV ready?

I don’t know, I’m unfairly hard on this because the announce team’s going on about how much “bad blood” there is in this feud when it’s BAYLEY’s feud, not Natalya’s. Bayley was getting picked on by the BFFs, got Charlotte as her partner. Charlotte turned on her, slapped her in the face, joined the BFFs. Bayley tried to get revenge, so Charlotte kept ducking her and throwing Sasha and Summer at her instead. Two months into it Natalya sticks up for Bayley once, gets her uncle insulted and now it’s a Natalya/Charlotte blood feud? Come on. At least have Bayley out there with you instead of Bret. Why does Bret care?

Best: The NXT Championship Rematch

FINALLY, a reason to watch this episode.

I thought the rematch between Bo Dallas and Adrian Neville was exceptionally good, way better than their ladder match at arRIVAL. It told all the story points the ladder match glossed over … Bo’s total lack of confidence that becomes VIOLENT EFFECTIVENESS when he’s backed into a corner, the shackles of Neville’s offense when it doesn’t pay off, and just the general importance of the NXT Championship. Bo’s right when he says it doesn’t matter if Neville beat him by unhooking a belt from a carabiner. That’s why we need this match, where Neville overcomes Bo at Bo’s best and pins him clean when all his best weapons have failed him.

I loved the Red Arrow nearfall. Neville takes FOREVER to do it, so I don’t know why more people don’t get their knees up. He needs to find a way to hop up and hit that shit with the quickness, or only break it out in really important situations. To me, the imploding 450 splash is WAY more impressive than the Red Arrow, and actually looks like it lands with some force. The Red Arrow’s just a light guy spinning daintily and then arm-pressing you. That imploding 450’s like “my entire body weight is spinning out of control and I hope I’m facing the right direction when I murder you.”

Great stuff. I’m hoping that “Vengeance” week was a palate cleanser, and that the next few episodes of NXT will seem fresh, and more like the show I’ve fallen in love with. No more treading water from arRIVAL. Let’s get our colorful characters back with their correct entrance themes doing fun, entertaining stuff for rational (or wonderfully irrational) reasons, with at least one instance of Bayley Vadering the shit out of Charlotte.