8 Great is our extremely original listicle series where we take a break from snark and negativity to focus on the positive, and list eight of our favorite examples of something great from pro wrestling. Matches, performers, shows – whatever is helping us enjoy wrestling in a particular week, that’s what this feature is all about.
I ran into a problem while making GIFs for this week’s Best and Worst of NXT; what the hell is the most memorable moment from Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic? If you watched this week’s episode, you know what I’m talking about. It was bonkers.
When I got about five GIFs in, I realized, “hey, I should just GIF everything and give the match its own 8 Great column.” Because if there’s anything that brings me joy in wrestling, it’s not being able to believe my eyes. These two have done a lot of this before in other places, but man, is it remarkable to see everything with an HD camera and slick, WWE production. What a match.
So yeah, here are 8 Great GIFs from Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic on this week’s NXT TV. I’m positive this won’t be the only one we ever do.
How To Break A Suplex
Hooking your leg around the leg of the guy trying to suplex you is old news. The new hotness is letting an internalized, indignant rage power you up to the point that you can just freeze yourself in time and break the suplex with your grip strength. I’d say hitting a vertical suplex on Keith Lee should be near-impossible if I didn’t watch Dijakovic pick him up and “Time To Fly” him across the ring later in this same match.
And while we’re on the subject of tests of strength …
I Am … Inevitable
If you’re a six-foot-seven, 270-pound man, chances are you don’t have a lot of experience being pushed around. Here, Dijakovic calls upon the spirits of his Croatian ancestors or whatever to avoid being smashed into the turnbuckle. Keith Lee calls upon being Keith Lee and the integrity of Grade-A Texas beef to make it happen anyway. If Keith did this to a normal man, he’d probably fuse the poor guy’s forehead to the turnbuckle pad.
That’s The Hardest Part Of The Ring!
Chokeslams are hooking your leg to avoid being suplexed. The “break it with your damn hand” version of the chokeslam is palming somebody in the stomach, picking them up into the air with one hand, and throwing them at the ground. Here, Lee and Dijakovic escalate the escalation by bringing the gut slam to the hardest part of the ring: the ring apron. If he’d hit it on a concrete floor it wouldn’t have been as kayfabe hard as the border of a wrestling ring.
This column isn’t all about basking in Keith Lee’s glory, though …
About … here is where you realize these two guys are going to do everything they can to put the other away. Bless the wordless, literally head-to-head macho wrestling confrontation, as it provides some of the best visuals we’ve got. Are you really pissed off and dedicated to defeating your opponent if you don’t smush your face against theirs and try to out-smush them? BUSINESS IS ABOUT TO PICK UP.
“Hello, AJ Styles? Yes, hi, this is Dominik Dijakovic. I just wanted to say how cool your Fosbury Flop is. You know what’d be cooler, though? If a guy a foot taller and a hundred pounds heavier than you could do it, and land on his feet.”
It’s Not The Fall That Kills You, It’s The Sudden Stop At The End
“Hi, Dominik? Keith Lee (Keith Lee) here. You know what’d be cooler than a six-foot-seven guy doing a flip? If that big-ass dude flipped and I just caught him in mid-air like he’s a toddler throwing a high cross-body.”
I honestly don’t think I will ever get tired of Keith Lee snatching people out of the air on dives, whether they’re gigantic or not. They should have a skills event where they send him to 205 Live for a week, have him stand outside the ring during all the matches, and count how many people he’s able to snag on the fly. I bet he could get up to double-digits if he really tried. He could probably catch all three members of Lucha House Party at the same time.
The Biggest Fly You’ve Ever Seen
This was Jeff Goldblum fly-sized.
If you heard anything about this match from spoiler reports, it probably included the line, “and Keith Lee hit a Spanish Fly.” That’s the kind of thing you can sorta picture in your head, but can’t fully realize until you see it happen. Usually when 590 pounds are backflipping off the top rope, it involves two members of the Spanish Announce Team and an opponent.
Absolutely unreal. If this isn’t in the opening credits to the USA Network version of NXT, they’re crazy.
Eyes Wide Shut
Finally we have the finish, which is remarkable in its own right. It’s one thing to be able to get a guy Keith Lee’s size up in a Torture Rack, but it’s another to flip him forward, feet over head, and knee him in the face on the way down. All Lex Luger ever had to do was sorta hop up and down in place.
I think it goes without saying that this was one of the best TV matches of the year across any brand, and that in a perfect world, these two would get a TakeOver match and continue to try to out-do themselves on a grander stage. I’m not sure how they could, or even if they could, but they’re clearly operating on another level, so I’ll leave that up to them.