– Hey, click that “like” button. I’m trying to get these guys to fly me down to another set of tapings, so if I can send Byron Saxton a thing with a thousand likes on it and say, “hey, look at this thing I’m doing to help,” maybe he’ll let me sit in the front row without having to pay $10. HELP ME HELP YOU.
– As of this posting, NXT is now free on Hulu. No more Hulu Plus required. Here’s a link to this week’s show on Hulu. This means two things: (1) You have no more excuses and should watch NXT every week, and (2) you can stop telling me that NXT is free on Hulu now. Seriously, stop it. I know.
Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for August 28, 2013.
Best: The Very First Thing We See Is Corey Graves Getting Attacked And Crushed. This Is Gonna Be Good.
Can a show start off better than that? Corey Graves’ mere existence causes one of his co-workers to confront him, and a second co-worker to knock him down and try to crush him to death with a freestanding jungle gym. Gets you right in the mood, doesn’t it?
And we’ve got 54 minutes left!
Best: Tyler Breeze Gets An Actual Match! Or
Worst: CJ Parker Gets An Actual Match, Or
Worst: A Cell Phone Shot Cannot Hurt That Much, At Least Not In 2013
The first match of the show is Tyler Breeze’s first real match as Tyler Breeze and, unsurprisingly, it was built around who is character is and how he reacts rather than what he can do. This is important to the fabric of how NXT works — see also Wyatt, Bray — and probably necessary, because he’s in the ring with CJ Parker. If you’ve never seen Parker wrestle before, imagine Carlito at half speed. Now imagine him doing an embarrassing taunt every time he’s not doing a wrestling move. CJ Parker.
The match itself was fun, and a nice way to either blow off or exacerbate the Breeze/Parker beef (depending on where they want to go with it), but it wasn’t anything special. Parker doesn’t have enough personality to be Bryan Danielson and get an airplane spin over, but dammit, he’s gonna try. Breeze flinching so hard at an attempted punch that he turns and collapses to his knees with his hands over his face is WONDERFUL, especially when it causes William Regal to stammer for 30 seconds, wondering aloud about why a dude who doesn’t want to get punched in the face would become a wrestler. Sometimes all you have to do is address the elephant, and we’re fine with it being in our room forever.
I hated the finish, though. Breeze is trying to recover or escape into the corner (or something) and Parker tries to pull him back by the tights. The referee gets involved in this for some reason, and ends up getting bumped back in a big watusi so he can’t see Breeze pull Parker in by the head, pop him in the face with an iPhone and get the win. The actual spot was executed well and worked and everything, but come on, you cannot hit somebody in the face with an iPhone and knock them out like that. I’m not buying it. When Paul E. Dangerously was hitting people with his phone it was a big-ass Zack Morris phone, and it’d shatter and and pieces would fly everywhere. It was a cool visual, and you were hitting somebody over the head with, more or less, a plastic brick. If you aren’t hitting CJ hard enough to crack the glass or even knock your cover loose, there’s no reason he should be knocked out.
Other than “CJ Parker is a goon and can’t take any punishment,” I guess.
Best: Dance Dance Emmalution (It’s A Thing)
A lot of people judge their love of Emma based on seeing her entrance for the first time, with the wacky arms and the bubbles and the skinning the cat foibles. I think a true love of Emma can only come from hearing her talk in backstage interviews like this, where she’s just so off-the-charts mentally gone, lives in a reality where popular video games are named after her and thinks high-fiving involves doing her signature dance in the direction of your hand.
If you want to know what Brandon’s heart looks like, listen to Emma say “yeah it is you silly rabbit,” and watch her and Renee’s faces.
Best: Summer Rae Is Suddenly The Best Heel On This Show
I love a lot of people on this show, but I’m gonna say it: behind Sami Zayn, Summer Rae’s the best performer NXT’s got right now.
She’s just nailing it. She’s doing what a lot of WWE Divas fail to do … she’s showing personality not only when she’s clapping for Fandango at ringside or being “smart sexy and powerful” or whatever, she shows it when she’s wrestling. She stays in character no matter what’s happening, and never looks like she’s trying to figure out/remember what the next move is. Even Paige isn’t very good at that yet. Summer’s got it, though, and she’s such a fully-formed person I can’t help but enjoy her.
The match with Emma is nice because it works on a very simple formula … Summer uses her size, wingspan and bad attitude to beat Emma half to death, but Emma’s got the crowd behind her, snaps off a few quick, big moves and locks in the coolest-looking submission in the company to get the win. Emma never gets exposed by having to anchor and entire match and keep the crowd behind her, but she gets enough offense in to rock her ridiculous taunts and remind me periodically why I’d wanna be cheering for her in the first place. Whoever says “lets do wrestling matches that work” before NXT tapings really needs to start attending those dry erase board meetings at Raw.
And damn, has there been a more dastardly heel move on the show all year than pouring bubble solution in Emma’s eyes? That’s ice cold.
Worst: Sasha Banks Has The Acting Ability Of A Trout
Summer Rae is ESPECIALLY great when she’s berating Sasha Banks backstage, and it would’ve been one of my favorite parts of the show if Sasha hadn’t graduated magna cum laude from the Eva Marie School Of Acting By Staring. She minored in “not being able to say words without trying to spell something in a spelling bee,” taught by Professor Jojo.
Seriously, Sasha is the pits here. Absolutely terrible. In NXT anybody can turn on a dime and get better — I mean, I never expected to be such a mark for Mike Dalton, or Summer for that matter — but it would sincerely be in Sasha’s best interest to stand next to Summer Rae until she figures out what the f*ck her job’s supposed to look like.
Best: Enzo Amore’s Head Is Now A Labyrinth, And Suddenly He’s Feuding With A Sawft Bulgarian
Speaking of guys I never expected to like this much, here’s Enzo Amore with a haircut Jack Torrance could get frozen and die in. Enzo has a pretty funny backstage segment where he continues to make us smile by saying stupid words with so much enthusiasm you can’t help but enjoy them, even bringing out the awkward charisma of Scott Dawson. Sylvester LeFort (described as sounding “like the chef who sings about cooking Sebastian the crab in The Little Mermaid” by the delightful @erinprovolone) offers Enzo and Big Cass (aka Little Test) a spot in his group. He’s got a lot of openings now that Dawson and Garrett Dylan have been combined into one dude. Enzo turns them down — bada boom, realest guys in the room — and Dawson retorts with the most Braden Walker shit you’ve ever heard:
“Wull you two nerds, y’all committed a 5-to-10, boys. Beat ya brains in for 5-to-10 minutes ya Jersey Shore wannabes!”
Enzo and Cass get super upset about this (because of course they do), and that leads to a match which Enzo loses because (1) Enzo always loses matches, and (2) a board-slinging Bulgarian Muay Thai sumo dude showed up out of nowhere to attack them. I can’t think of a bigger upgrade than Garrett Dylan to Alexander Rusev in terms of guys who aren’t doing anything in NXT and want to keep their job before Samuray Del Sol and Sami Callihan show up.
Quick note: Sami Callihan’s NXT name is gonna be “Solomon Crowe,” which is the most hilariously Bioshock name ever. I hope he hails from Columbia.
Best: Sami Zayn Vs. Bo Dallas Is Daniel Bryan Vs. Triple H In Developmental
I’m glad you read my polite enjoyment of Scott Dawson’s dialogue before you got to this part, because every aspect of Sami Zayn’s post-MOTYC interview with Renee is spectacular. Points include:
1. How nice Sami Zayn is to Renee. He flirts with her, but only by proxy of being a SUPER GENTLEMAN, and that’s a thousand times more palatable than Sheamus being all C’MON RENEE, KISS ME BLARNEY STONE WINK WINK on Smackdown. I love that he always says hello to her personally when she interviews him, and how when the crowd gets all Saved by the Bell crowd about his compliments, he responds with “come on!” and a smile. Everyone should be nice to Renee. It should be a thing you have to do.
2. Sami Zayn making his NXT Championship intentions clear, because YES PLEASE.
3. Bo Dallas showing up and looking like one of the Bee Gees.
Best: “Everybody Loves Me! Everybody LOVES Bo!”
4. “I was saying Bo-urns” becoming canon. I can’t tell you how much I love this. WWE developmental has turned a festering pile of one-gloved shit into lemonade by making Bo Dallas a smiley, insincere guy who doesn’t know the crowd is booing him, so he just goes about his business of being a fiery babyface and making them hate him more and more. I think this is the most overt they’ve ever been with Bo being delusional, so I’m sure within a month we’ll see him hitting people in the face with belts when the ref isn’t looking or whatever, but whatever. Right now he’s gold.
I think I laughed at every word out of his mouth. “You lost, friend!” and “a cuppa people on the innernet said you had a good match” were both killer, and his point that they don’t interview the loser at the Super Bowl is actually pretty valid. Zayn DID lose the match. Why should he get a title shot?
I like how Zayn’s handling it, too. He’s clearly got the crowd behind him and sees Bo’s delusions, so instead of being all GET YER BALLS OUTTA YER PURSE BO, he brings up the very real facts that Bo has no idea what’s happening around him, and that Bo is scared. If you need confirmation about Bo’s internal monologue, watch his face when Sami says that. It’s really great acting, honestly, and I’m starting to understand more and more how Bo Dallas and Bray Wyatt came out of the same lady’s womb.
Best: Jack Swagger Of Developmental
5. I think I included like 8 things I liked, so consider this number 13 or 14, or wherever we were. Zeb Colter interrupting Zayn makes perfect sense, both from the “HE’S AN ALLEGAL” and “the Real Americans aren’t done with you yet” points of view, and I liked him purposefully mispronouncing Zayn’s name and dropping “if that is your real name” again, like anybody at that job’s name is their real name. Do you really think Renee’s last name is “Young?” She is Canadian as f*ck.
Swagger showing up from out of nowhere was a little predictable, since Zeb came out to Swagger’s video package and all, but it was welcome. Zayn vs. Swagger could be every bit as good as Zayn/Cesaro, so I’m excited to see it, and excited for Swagger to hang out in NXT for a while and get his working boots back on. He’s too good to be as super worthless as he is to the company.
And before I forget, man, if Sami Zayn doesn’t end up beating Bo Dallas for the NXT Championship, “riot” doesn’t even BEGIN to cover it.
Worst: An Ascension Beatdown Featuring Corey Graves Is A Huge Step Down From Last Week’s Main-Event
The show ends with a Conor O’Brian singles match (not good), wherein he gets pinned by a guy half his size without that guy even having to use his finisher (what) for no reason other than to set up post-match stuff (boo) and further a tag team feud (BOO) involving Corey Graves (F*CKING BOO). After last week’s main event it was kinda like going to see a great movie, then taking a shortcut through an alley and having your parents get shot. Yes, I just suggested NXT is turning me into the Batman. What else am I supposed to write about?
Next week’s show should begin with Corey Graves entering the building, then having the entire building collapse, demolition style. Stock footage and everything.