Previously on the Best and Worst of NXT: Joshi superstar Kana debuted, became “ASUKA” (pronounced “AH-ska”) and preemptively murdered Emma and Dana Brooke with a stare. The Vaudevillains defended the NXT Tag Team Championships against the former champs, Blake & Murphy, Tyler Breeze slummed it with Bull Dempsey and WWE continued to try to make fetch happen with Eva Marie. Stop trying to make fetch happen!
If you’d like to watch this week’s episode, you can do that here. Please enjoy the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for September 30, 2015.
Best: SEE YOU NEVER, HYPE BROS
Shoutout to the homie Kyle Edwards for recapping the unimportant elimination of the Hype Bros, who went down like Jamoeskis to Chad Gable and Jason Jordan at an NXT live event. It’s so weird seeing clips from Brooklyn, then jumping to rural Florida or wherever and seeing guys like Zack Ryder performing in front of crowds smaller than most popular indie shows.
Regardless, I’m so happy that Gable and Jordan have advanced to TakeOver that I’m willing to screenprint my name on a hand towel and be weird about it. My entire analysis/predictions/fantasy bookings for Respect are built around these guys, and I sincerely slash desperately hope that they don’t just get murdered by Corbin and Rhyno. The last thing we need for a tournament about tag team excellence is for two teams of singles stars who’d never teamed before steamrolling all the actual teams and making it to the finals. Give me at least ONE actual team ’til the end.
Worst: Neutering The Most Popular Team In The Tournament
If you watched Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe take on The Realest Guys In The Room in this week’s opening match, you may’ve noticed something a little weird: the match was missing.
We get the entrances, and we get Joe and Cassady in a “feeling out process” that last a few minutes and builds to Bálor and Enzo diving to the outside. That crashes us to break. On a taped show, on a network owned by the people who taped it. After one short WWE Shop commercial we come back to … the hot tag? Really? It’s just Enzo getting whipped into the corner, hitting a “desperation” DDT despite us not having seen him take a second of damage, and then Joe and Cass tagging back in for the finish. The hell?
According to folks who were there, the Network edited out half of the match because it was just Joe and Finn “heelishly” beating up Enzo. I obviously don’t know the whole story, but cutting out the heat and showing the beginning and end of the match without story or context gutted the hell out of Enzo and Cass. If they’re going to lose to one of those aforementioned randomly-paired-up team of singles stars, don’t you at least want to show them going down swinging? If we see Enzo getting his ass beaten and refusing to go down, doesn’t that, I don’t know, make Enzo look like a competitor? Like he might not be as good as his opponents, but has a huge heart? Doesn’t that count for something? In the context of the show, this is a big time match. It’s the most popular regular team in NXT going up against the champion and the indie legend. Instead, it was nothing. Kyle Edwards could’ve been narrating it.
Unless Finn was in there holding the tights and going for pins with his feet on the ropes, I don’t know why we couldn’t show wrestlers wrestling. Enzo’s great at taking a beating, and Finn and Joe are great at giving them. Isn’t that what you employ these guys to do? You can’t show wrestlers wrestling anymore, because it’ll make people feel bad? What’s Joe supposed to do, snapmare Enzo over and over and go for lateral presses?
F*ck that, man. I want a do-over. This is another TakeOver that Enzo and Cass don’t make, and that’s a bummer.
On a more positive note, I really enjoyed how the Apollo Crews vs. Tyler Breeze match at TakeOver: Respect is being built. They don’t have a lot of time to give Crews a character and instantly thrust him into a rivalry, so they’re doing it through the wrestling.
The story with Crews (so far) is that he’s “made to be a champion.” He’s THE MOST COMPLETE ATHLETE or whatever and smiles through most of his matches, even the tougher ones, because he’s confident and never really in danger. He’s muscular AND he can backflip, you know? What’s he got to worry about? He’s run through guys like Solomon Crowe and Tye Dillinger but hasn’t had a “name” yet, but he seems chill about it. When he runs into Tyler backstage, it’s more smiling and jokey intimidation.
In contract, Tyler Breeze is struggling. He loses all his TakeOver matches, and it’s getting to him. He asked for big name competition in Brooklyn, got Jushin Thunder f*cking Liger and lost to him. He asked to be in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, got paired with Bull Dempsey and lost in the first round to two guys who aren’t even technically IN NXT. Now he’s slotted in to face Crews, and it’s more of the same. Does anybody expect Breeze to beat Crews? He can barely beat Bull.
That’s what I liked about this week’s matches. They put Crews and Breeze in singles matches against Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa respectively, and they’re both more competitive than you’d think. The difference is that Crews takes his match in stride, and Breeze is absolutely not. Breeze is on the verge of defeat for way too much of the match, and watch his face near the end when the crowd starts chanting “Ciampa.” He LOSES IT. He starts stomping mudholes, using new moves (the Unprettier!) and grimacing like Grumpy Cat when he gets the win. Look at him:
He stops being “part man, all model” and becomes a furious ace pro wrestler. That’s one of my favorite things about Tyler; that underlying truth that he’s f*cking AWESOME, and the only thing keeping him from seeing it is his veil of personally assigned bullsh*t.
I’m interested in the TakeOver match, because I want it to be Breeze’s moment. I want him to turn it on when Crews starts wrecking him, and wreck right back. Crews is such a blank slate right now that he could take a loss, especially considering what an absurd athlete and wrestler he is. Breeze needs this SO DAMN BAD, YOU GUYS.
Best: Breeze Using The Unprettier
I like the Beauty Shot enough — I like the Supermodel Kick a lot more — but a guy who calls himself pretty using a move called the “unprettier” to hurt the faces of people he thinks are ugly is such a layup. I wish the announce team had called it instead of doing that, “wow, what was that??” thing they do, but I guess this allows him to make it his own. Or maybe they didn’t want to immediately associate him with the king of Not Winning The Big One.
Best: Y’all Dead
Early in the show, Dana Brooke and Evil Emma are in William Regal’s office to talk about bullying Asuka last week, culminating in Dana calling her a “hyena” and pronouncing it “hi-heena.” She says it like that twice, and Emma’s all, “that’s how she says it.” Dana Brooke snuck into my heart when I wasn’t expecting it, guys.
Anyway, Bill Regal’s all, “you guys should probably watch tape,” and shows them a porny-sounding clip of Asuka punching and kicking stuff. They make wonderful I’VE MADE A HUGE MISTAKE faces, and the first person to edit that clip with ‘The Sound Of Silence’ behind it wins a No-Prize.
Later, they get a tag match against Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, which (paired with Emma) is enough for me to pretend I’m watching Dana Brooke getting a run in PWWA. They win via cheating, and the entire thing seems to be built around their desire to coordinate their entrance taunts. It’s … kinda great. Emma doing that turn and look over her shoulder in time to her music is the best, especially when Dana’s spamming taunt in her armpit. Peyton Royce is gonna be the sh*t as soon as she starts laying in those ballerina kicks instead of gently touching people with her thigh and expecting them to sell it like the GTS. I love that she gets both feet up on the dropkick — not enough people care about that anymore — and we’ll do our best to forget that weirdly-edited botch of her jumping off the second rope and sh*tting the bed like one of those viral video cats jumping into a wall. Whoever edited this episode needs a stern talking-to.
The best part, though, is that Emma and Dana had to cheat to beat these two in-universe nobodies and are somehow still extremely confident that they’ll make it out of TakeOver with their heads on their bodies.
Best: Main-Event Segments!
This week’s main-event is a video package for Bayley vs. Sasha Banks. It’s very good, and I’m glad WWE uploaded the full 6+ minute version of it to YouTube. I wish they’d go back farther with the story, though. The Bayley/Sasha rivalry has been going on FOREVER, it didn’t just start two weeks before Brooklyn.
Still, no way my heart’s dark enough to Worst Bayley hugging her mom and crying about how much the NXT Women’s Championship means to her. I love that TakeOver: Respect isn’t the flashiest card they’ve ever done, but feels like a reward for the people who watch the weekly show. We get the women in the main, guys like Chad Gable on a live special card and the funeral of Dana Brooke. Breeze vs. Crews is going to rule. I’m excited for all of it, and it’s gonna have me feeling emotions.
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