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Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for April 3, 2014.
Best: Emma vs. Sasha Banks
The opening match of this week’s NXT was an instant palate-cleanser for the previous two weeks and made the show feel like itself again. It was Emma vs. Sasha Banks, having a simple, character-driven match that allowed them to be themselves without a lot of nonsense (or Santino). Guess what? That really, really works.
The only real downside of the match (besides Summer Rae not being around, because I guess she’s too busy doing Total Divas and WrestleMania press to fly back down to Florida and get written out) was the discussion of “ratchet.” William Regal asks Renee Young to explain it to him, and Renee clearly has no idea. She’s just like, “it’s not a very nice term!”
For anyone who doesn’t know, ratchet is the ebonics version of “wretched.” Get it? Wretched? Ratchet? It’s a mispronunciation. While you’re getting it, do you kinda see how chanting urban slang at the one black female regular is kind of an assy move?
But no, Emma vs. Sasha was a lot of fun, and Emma dropping down beside Sasha for no reason and not having any idea why she’s done it or what’s going on is exactly the kind of Emma I love and support. A little less when she’s causing snake boners.
Best: William Regal Getting Distracted By Emma’s Entrance
The second highlight of the Emma/Sasha opener happened as Emma was leaving the ring and the announce team was trying to segue into the next match. William Regal is clearly not paying attention, trying to catch bubbles in his hand, and when he’s done with that he just kinda mindlessly looks at the camera and bops around to the music. It’s adorable.
Worst: SCENE VANDALS
Okay, match two is The Ascension vs. Guys Who Have No Chance Against The Ascension in part 40 of a Best of 6,000 series. It goes exactly like the rest of their matches. The jobber team gets in no offense, the Ascension dominates, the crowd tries to get in their YAH chants and the Fall Of Man still looks like it hurts less than their transitional shoulderblocks.
The best thing in the world, though, is the ridiculous trunks of the losing team. One of them says VANDAL across the ass because his name is “John Vandal.” The other guy’s trunks say SCENE, but his name is “Jack Hurley.” I am EXTREMELY INTERESTED to know why Jack Hurley’s ass says “scene.” Is it a film reference? Is it like, “and SCENE?” Is he really into Bring Me The Horizon?
I’m calling their team SCENE VANDALS until further notice. (Spoiler: we will never see them again.)
Worst: Did Brodus Clay Just Use A Heart Punch As A Filler Move
The Brodus Clay vs. Xavier Woods feud that nobody loves has made its way to NXT! And guess what? IT STILL DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.
To recap, Xavier Woods made his debut on Raw. R-Truth established in a promo that Brodus Clay did the kid a favor by lending him his entrance theme and dancing girls to sorta show him how “being charismatic” or whatever works on Raw. Immediately thereafter, Brodus Clay gets SUPER MAD at Woods, claiming he stole his music and dancing girls even though the entire point was Brodus lending them to him. That drives Brodus into a misdirected heel turn where he spends a month slowly breaking up with his dancing ladies and beats up his tag team partner.
Now, on NXT, Brodus is claiming that Woods stole his music and his harem, and that WWE “took everything from him” including his tag team partner. Who he, uh, turned on twice and spent half a month randomly beating up. So heels lie? I don’t know. I feel like Brodus should come out in a shirt with NOBODY KNOWS WHAT TO DO WITH ME across the front.
In his short match with Xavier Woods here he uses a heart punch as a filler move to get Woods in the corner. A heart punch. That’s like using a Steiner Screwdriver instead of a tie-up. Hate you forever, Brodus.
Best/Worst: Brodus Clay, Title Challenger?
I’m not thrilled about “main event player” Brodus Clay showing up randomly and being the new challenger to Adrian Neville’s title, especially when he’s saying things like “ADRIAN NEVILLE THE MAN THE GRAVITY FORGOT ABOUT” and “you bout to feel the gravitational pull of Brodus Clay.” I DON’T REALLY LIKE FLOWERS, SHEEE.
That said, giving Neville a strong win over a ginormous dude is probably a good idea, and Neville’s promo against Brodus was STRONG. He just said what needed to be said — that guys shouldn’t just show up and get title shots, opportunities on NXT are earned and if and when Brodus actually earns a shot he’ll happily fight him. Well done.
Best: Tyler Breeze Is Okay Being Punched In The Face
Poor Yoshi Tatsu. After two weeks of getting insta-killed by Corey Graves, he loses quickly and easily to Tyler Breeze while the announcers say things like HE’S LOST HIS FIGHTING SPIRIT. It’s so sad. I’m not sure why Yoshi sticks around. Couldn’t he go back to Japan and be FORMER WWE SUPERSTAR YOSHI TATSU? Wouldn’t that make him a ton of money? I’m sure he could steal Shelton X Benjamin’s spot on some Wrestle Kingdom show.
The good news is that the announcers are openly discussing how Tyler Breeze is sorta shitting or getting off the pot regarding his “don’t hit me in the face” issues, and that’s absolutely necessary. Breeze not wanting to get hit in the face is fun, but him actively cowering and fleeing when punches appear makes him less a marketable wrestler and more of a one-off joke. Working to find the sweet spot is important, and I’m glad they’re taking the time to really make Breeze a thing.
(Just give him more improv-heavy mic time, please and thank you.)
Worst: Corey Graves Thinks An Underdog Is An Actual Dog
In a “backstage exclusive” that I guess Impact Wrestling was desperately trying to air before NXT, Corey Graves shares his thoughts on Sami Zayn. I use “thoughts” loosely.
Corey Graves thinks an underdog is an actual dog. He’s all, “let me tell you a story about an underdog, a puppy who wandered too far into the forests, and then he got his little actual dog foot stuck in a BEAR TRAP, and then the WOLVES came out, especially one wolf named COREY GRAVES. And I guess it makes sense that a forest full of wolves wouldn’t result in a wolf getting caught in the bear trap but a curious puppy WOULD, and I also guess there are no BEARS which is why it was still set. And then the WOLF killed the BEAR.”
Worst: Concussion Stories
Concussion stories integrated into pro wrestling matches are the worst. Wrestling loves to do them, and I’ve never understood it. “He’s clearly hurt and should not be wrestling” is a ridiculous conceit, especially when you’ve put weeks between damaging incidents and declared that the clearly hurt guy has passed all the requisite medical tests. Those things aren’t for show, those are actual tests to decide if the wrestlers can go. So why is the wrestler immediately not able to go when he starts wrestling? Do you have bad doctors? Are the doctors in developmental? ARE THEY FOREST WOLVES?
Furthermore, concussions have caused a ton of wrestlers to, you know, have their careers ended and/or flip out and murder people. They are not a birthday cake you can throw in somebody’s face on their birthday. They aren’t a wrapped gift that turns out to be a trap. They are a serious problem, and “murder” is one of those things that makes me instantly say “you should probably be doing a different story.”
Best: Sami Zayn (And The Crowd) Are Desperately Trying To Drag Something Fun Out Of Graves
The match itself is okay, and poor Sami is doing everything he can to get the seriousness of his Medically Cleared Concussion over, but it’s Corey Graves. What’re you gonna do? The guy can’t anchor a match. He’s a much better heel than he is a face, but if he’s forced to carry the heat for more than a few minutes he Randy Ortons out and falls apart. The crowd picks up on it, too, and starts chanting HEAD-LOCK HEAD-LOCK HEAD-LOCK. A few minutes later the “WE LOVE HEADLOCKS clap clap clapclapclap” starts up.
I think what they’re getting at is that the last Zayn/Graves match was much better, and did not rely on Sami Zayn’s brain damage for substance. And seriously, he got thrown into a post once half a month ago. Get the net.