Welcome to the Main Roster, Sami. Get ready to make more sad faces.
– Sami Zayn vs. Tyson Kidd? Justin Gabriel getting a chance to shine? This was practically an episode of NXT, so I expect you to share accordingly. Here’s the buttons.
Hit the next page for your Main Event of the evening (er, afternoon)…
Worst: WWE Forgets Who The Dusts Are Jobbing To This Month
Psst, hey WWE, Gold and Stardust are supposed to be losing like dorks to Los Matadores on every show this month. The Usos was last month. Don’t be too embarrassed – I didn’t remember the Dusts were feuding with somebody new until a minute after this match ended.
Speaking of the match, it was maaaybe a little better than you might expect Jey Uso/Stardust to be. Usos singles matches are one guy doing his half of a tag team match without anybody to play off of, and that didn’t change here, but Stardust was better than usual. I’ve knocked Stardust for not really having a distinct style to match his very distinct character, but things might finally be coming into focus. Stardust turned up the viciousness a notch, really laying in his shots, which is what he should be doing – Stardust should be a whimsical goof outside the ring, and a precise killer inside the ring.
Main Event Status: This was just a recap of a match that happened last month, right? Do I have to rate it? Sigh. Fine, 5%.
Worst: Say It To His Face, Nattie
I generally try to stay off the “Nattie is terrible” bandwagon, because I generally think she’s a sexy, short-legged badass, but yeesh. Natalya sneaks up behind Tyson backstage and launches into a spiel about how proud she is of him and how she really does love him, but it turns out he was wearing his headphones and didn’t hear her, which unleashes a torrent of eye rolling, head shaking and sighing from Nattie.
Okay, for starters, if you walk up to somebody who has a hood over their head and is clearly bopping around to music and you mumble a bunch of stuff to the back of their head, it’s your fault if they don’t hear you. And they don’t hear you, just repeat the all-important thing you had to say. Also, why was “I love you and I like when you beat Sheamus” a thing that needed to be said in a quavering backstage promo? You should have said that half-a-dozen times in the 10-minutes after the Sheamus match.
Also, delicate question here, but does Nattie have no nipples? Tonight’s dress plunges to a level were you really ought to be seeing something, but nope. Cats have six nipples, Nattie has none — FACT? I think I may have figured out what’s really wrong with this marriage.
Hey, Curtis Axel has returned! On Main Event! While his former tag team partner is back being a Goldberg-alike on Raw. Poor Axel. Hopefully Ryback let him keep one of his old Rybaxel singlets – y’know, for the memories.
I sincerely hope this is currently framed somewhere.
I don’t feel particularly hopeful about Curtis Axel’s long-term employment prospects, but this match was actually pretty good. A lot of that was obviously Justin Gabriel, who really is one of the top 5 all-round workers in WWE, but Axel has clearly stepped up his game. He was throwing some nice hard chops and clotheslines finally felt like he had some kinetic drive in the ring – this felt like a fight, which is something Axel has never been able to capture before. All that said, for God’s sake, just let Axel use the Perfect-Plex, WWE – he won this match with a friggin’ knee-lift which is not going to cut it as a finisher in 2014. I know Curtis Axel winning isn’t a thing you think about often, but come on.
Main Event Status: I’ll give this one a small bump since it was Curtis Axel’s first match back, although the fact that Axel’s first match back was on Main Event is kind of a negative if you think about it. 10%.
Best: Sami Zayn vs. Tyson Kidd
So, somehow the NXT and Main Event segments of the WWE white board got muddled up and Sami Zayn vs. Tyson Kidd ended up on this show, and hey, I couldn’t be happier. This was a fantastic match – not as good as Zayn and Kidd’s battles in NXT in some ways, but in other ways even better.
I’m just going to put it out there – I’m not a huge fan of the NXT crowd. They’re too small, and too polite and they make a lot of NXT matches feel kind of sterile as a result. Personally, I think wrestling crowds need to be either impressive seas of humanity, or small, sweaty and rabid. I’ve seen a lot of great matches on NXT, but it usually takes me two-thirds of the match to really get into things, because I’m not getting any excitement or emotion from the crowd. I’ve seen Sami Zayn do a ton of Blue Thunder bombs on WWE produced TV, but watching the camera phones flash as he did it in front of an audience of thousands was a totally different experience. It helped that there were a lot of NXT fans in the arena, so you got the big audience atmosphere and the clever NXT chants at the same time.
Of course, this match didn’t have the benefit of NXT’s solid storytelling and character building. This wasn’t an emotional match, it was just an exciting exhibition, but it was a top-notch exciting exhibition, so that’s fine. Tyson was on fire, hitting all his stuff as crisply as possible and pacing the match perfectly, and Zayn looked great when it was his time to shine. The match also ended on the best pin-reversal sequence I’ve seen in a long time – if you want to finish a match on a roll-up, that’s how you do it.
Worst: Welcome to the Main Roster
Check out the picture at the top of this report again. That’s the look of a man who’s just realized the place he’s been busting his ass to get to isn’t quite what he thought it was. On NXT, Zayn losing to Tyson Kidd would lead to something – it would be the first step in a journey that might end in redemption if Zayn works hard enough. On the main roster though, you’re two action figures being smashed together for the entertainment of a fickle crowd. If you lose, you lose and there’s no shot at redemption. Maybe you’ll have the same match next week and the result will be different, but it won’t change the fact that were a loser last week. Welcome to the Main Roster Sami, I hope you survive.
Main Event Status: This would be the main event on any episode of NXT, but this isn’t NXT. That said, they did treat Zayn like he was a fairly big deal, so let’s say 20%.
Best: Flipping to Nowhere
How can you not love a sport that can present a masked superhero with pants up to his nipples vs. a swamp-dwelling Charlie Manson, and have it be just a regular, not particularly remarkable thing? Sure, of course these guys would have a grappling battle, why not?
Objectively Bray Wyatt vs. Sin Cara wasn’t that great, but I found it amusing. Sin Cara’s AI was thoroughly broken tonight as he just kept flipping around and hitting nothing, and after every failed flippy-doo Bray would just murder him. If Bray just starts killing luchadores full time, consider me back on board the Wyatts train.
Main Event Status: I believe this is the first time Bray Wyatt’s had a match on Main Event since I started recapping them, so I’ll give this one some points for novelty. 20%.
Final Main Event Tally: A 55% main event tally, but as is often the case, the number doesn’t tell the whole story. In terms of kick ass in-ring action, this was the best Main Event in a good long spell. Granted, that was largely because it was basically just an episode of NXT in front of a larger crowd, but I wager most of you aren’t going to object to two doses of NXT in a week.