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Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for January 1, 2015.
This week’s opening match is the Lucha Dragons against Tye Dillinger and Jason Jordan. The announce team’s regressed back into yelling everything, so it’s either “MOVE NAME!” without any context or explanation, or everyone going “OOOHHH!!!” simultaneously. I mean, I get it. You want to sound excited and put over the moves. The problem is that you can’t have all three announcers screaming the same thing at the same time. Have a pre-show meeting where you decide which one of you is gonna be watching wrestling for the first time and denote that person as Constantly Shocked And Impressed.
I think the problem is the Riley/Renee pairing, which is never good. There’s really no reason to sell Sin Cara hitting a quebrada in the middle of the match like it’s Mankind falling off the cage at King of the Ring. Also, as much as I love Rich Brennan, they’ve gotta stop calling Sin Cara’s finish a “sunset bomb.” It’s a victory roll! There’s nothing sunset about it. A sunset bomb would involve his body going the other direction on the other side of his opponent. If Sin Cara “calls it that,” someone should pull him aside and say, “bruh.”
Worst: THE BLOOD OF THE ORIGINAL SIN CARA RUNS THROUGH YOUR VEINS
Speaking of things Sin Cara should and shouldn’t do, here’s a screencap of him doing a Pelé Kick. Sorry, that’s a headscissors.
It’s weird how the original Sin Cara’s been gone since August 2013 and we’ve gotten used to the Hunico version, but it still feels like Sin Cara. That’s the bad impression Mistico left. When we watch Cara wrestle we aren’t “excited” so much as we’re waiting for him to f*ck up. That’s not fair to Hunico because he’s been perfectly fine in the role, but I don’t think we’re ever gonna stop bracing for the botch and dismissing every missed move as “welp, Sin Cara.” Like, if Kalisto had messed up that headscissors none of us would’ve cared.
My recommendation: “evolve” Sin Cara. You don’t have to change him or his name, but update his gear and truly differentiate him. I think that’d go farther than it even should toward changing our expectations.
Worst: Bull Dempsey And CJ Parker Have A Terrible Conversation
“You have a match with Corbin.”
“I have a match with Corbin!”
“I want to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself against Corbin.”
“I don’t care if you think I shouldn’t embarrass myself against Corbin! I have to beat Corbin!”
“It’s not about beating Corbin, it’s about maiming Corbin!”
“It’s not about maiming Corbin, I have to beat Corbin!”
“You should maim Baron Corbin.”
“Blah blah blah! I don’t care about you and Baron Corbin! I have to beat Baron Corbin!”
Say Corbin a few more times.
Best: Blue Pants Gets A Title Card
This week’s episode featured the most important moment of 2015 (so far): “Ol’ Blue Pants” Leva Bates not only returning for her third shot at Carmella but winning and GETTING A TITLE CARD. Her official name is now Blue Pants. It’s pretty weird that she’s been to NXT three times now and nobody’s asked for her name. I’d expect this out of JBL, he signed “Mr. NXT,” but come on, Mr. Regal. Does she have to put on her gear to cash her checks? And while I’m thinking about it, who made a recording of Big Cass singing the ‘Price Is Right’ music her entrance theme?
Anyway, Blue Pants getting the duke was amazing. I actually had no idea she was going to be at the tapings until I got there, and getting to see a lady I’ve seen bust her ass on the independents for years without a lot of “cool indie guy” fanfare getting to not only compete in WWE but WIN is a great feeling. What’s even better is how obsessed the crowd is with her. We were chanting for Blue Pants before we knew it was a possibility, and I think her existence got a bigger pop than anything else on the show. How cool would it be if we were actually allowed to like the Divas for reasons we decided, and they weren’t just constantly jealous supermodels? A woman having a specific color of pants is somehow deeper-than-usual character development. Leva being able to look at a crowd and connect with them by saying “hey, I can see and hear you” is an undervalued skill.
By the way, I’m all-in on Enzo’s flustered shuffle dance. I don’t know why he keeps doing it, but it’s my favorite.
Also Best: These Nerds With The Blue Pants Sign
That guy in the Chikara hoodie looks like such a smark. Of course he likes Blue Pants. I bet he likes Wesley Blake and Devin Taylor, too.
Best: Marcia Marcia Marcia
CJ Parker wrestles Baron Corbin, and I’m pretty sure that conversation with Bull Dempsey lasted longer. Corbin beats him in 34 seconds while maintaining eye contact with Bull Dempsey, who has put on a satin jumpsuit to once again block the view of Team Corbin in the family and friends section. Bull continues to “play mind games” by getting pulled over the railing by his head, being punched a bunch and backing up the ramp instead of fighting.
Of note: Baron Corbin now has the Undertaker’s Snake Eyes into a big boot combo, which might as well be a medal reading “I HAVE A FUTURE HERE” pinned to his chest.
Best: BLUE SHIRT! BLUE SHIRT! BLUE SHIRT!
+1 to Charlotte for effectively shutting down chants with her version of her dad’s “shut up, fatboy!” I’m telling you, most rowdy crowd situations could be diffused and controlled by simply acknowledging them instead of barreling through them anyway and getting infinitely What Chanted.
Worst: Charlotte’s Mom To The Rescue
So, Charlotte’s beaten Sasha Banks twice — three times if you count Main Event — but Sasha says none of that matters, because she’s going to beat her up. What’s sad is that it doesn’t matter. Sasha’s still the default #1 contender, isn’t she? Bayley’s injured, Alexa Bliss just started and Becky’s got less character development than Alexa. Who’s Charlotte gonna wrestle, Carmella?
Now might be the time to shine a light on some new ladies, and not just bring down Natalya every few months when things get stale. Also, guys, you can have a mutual respect thing at the end of a match without those people suddenly being Best Buddies. Charlotte respects Bayley and now they’re pals. Charlotte and Natalya wrestle and hug and now they’re tag team partners? Can’t you respect someone you don’t want to explicitly associate yourself with?
Worst: I Got Nothin’ But Rematches For Ya Baby
Not to say these matches are bad, but the next month of NXT programming is just “remember R Evolution?” Charlotte wrestled Sasha Banks on the Christmas episode (that I did not recap, because it was Christmas), the Lucha Dragons are wrestling the Vaudevillains next week, The Ascension wrestles Hideo Itami and Finn Bálor in this show’s main-event and in two weeks (spoiler alert) Zayn and Neville wrestle again. If you count the Dempsey/Corbin beef as existing before R Evolution, what’s new? Kevin Owens? Is that it? Those are great matches, don’t get me wrong, but NXT has never been the show to wallow in its own accomplishments. The next live special reportedly won’t happen until the day before WrestleMania, so I guess we’ve got time to kill.
Worst: Kevin Owens Shares His Thoughts On … Nothing?
Kevin Owens has a sit-down interview with Renee Young about what happened at R Evolution, and as soon as she asks him about what happened at R Evolution he stands up and walks off. So, uh, hey Kev, what’d you thinks he was gonna ask you? How your nose feels? Why did this even get taped? What’s the purpose beyond micromanaging all the stuff Kevin Owens does that’d accidentally get him over as a face? If he talks are people gonna like it too much? Does he have to wrestle really slowly and avoid all microphones to be a successful heel?
Best/Worst: The Heat
1. Konnor reminds Alex Riley of Rob Gronkowski, because of course he does. Next week he’ll remind of him J.J. Watt. “These are the large white guys I can remember!” If this was Titus O’Neil I bet he’d remind Alex of Robert Quinn.
2. I think this was edited down a bit, because my only memory of watching it live is that Finn Bálor was in the ring taking the heat foreverrrrr. In my brain, he and Konnor wrestled an Iron Man Match in the middle of this tag. The Ascension just slowly beat him up for decades, and not in that good Midnight Express way where the violence is compelling and you want Robert Gibson to tag in and start throwing bad dropkicks. Nobody in the world thought The Ascension would win, and yet we still went through the motions of a Forever Tag.
3. My heart refuses to acknowledge any Ascension matches that don’t involve them wearing fancy shoulderpads and Stargate makeup.
4. Hideo Itami’s finisher is now a Trouble in Paradise to a kneeling opponent. That’s gotta be a red herring, right? He’s gonna do it for a while until they let him pop the Go To Sleep at the Mania live special. Until then, I move we call the kick “The New Deo.”