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Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for November 6, 2014. The one with Devitt.
Best: Tyler Breeze Wrestles A Perfect Match And Still Loses To Sami Zayn’s Big Ol’ Heart
One of the best things about Sami Zayn’s NXT Redemption tour is that each match adds a new wrinkle to his in-ring gameplan. Against Tyson Kidd, Zayn showed that he could overcome an unfair playing field. Kidd could try all the distractions and tricks he wanted, because Sami was gonna put his head down, rush past them and kick him in the face. Against Titus O’Neil, Zayn showed that the size of the opponent wouldn’t matter. Titus MAULED him in their first encounter, and for most of the rematch … until Zayn slapped him in the face and threw off his gameplan. By using his brains, timing (and a little bit of luck), Zayn flipped a giant man over into the turnbuckles like he was Kidd-sized and booted him in the face for the win.
Tyler Breeze serves as sort of an ersatz Cesaro here. They keep pushing the fact that Sami has “never beaten” Breeze, even though they’ve only wrestled one-on-one twice, and only once for anything important. Picture Cesaro as the guy who showed up at the end of last week’s show as the ultimate test of Zayn’s might before he’s “ready” to challenge for the NXT Championship and you’ll see what I mean. The hook with Cesaro is that Sami kept wrestling the perfect match, countering everything he could, hitting all of his big moves, and one mistake would happen and ruin it all. He went for the tornado DDT too late in the match, Cesaro stopped it, lifted him into the air and Swiss Death’d him to death. At Arrival, Zayn got hit with the Swiss Death and kicked out at one. It was all of his remaining energy and momentum pushing forward one final, defiant gesture. That let Cesaro know it was time to break out the biggest weapons in his arsenal, and a few seconds later Zayn was toast.
Breeze vs. Zayn wasn’t on the level of those Cesaro matches, but it was thematically appropriate. Breeze wrestled an almost “perfect” match. He had Zayn scouted to the point of insanity and countered almost everything he threw. When Zayn came off the top, Breeze dropkicked him. When Zayn built momentum, Breeze popped him in the mouth with a superkick. Zayn wouldn’t give up, waited for Breeze to make the one damn mistake he was going to make and dropped him on his f*ckin’ head. It showed that even a “perfect match” wasn’t going to stop Zayn here; he’s on the road to redemption, and neither skill nor strength nor act of God can stop him.
The way NXT episodes are put together is really interesting. Sometimes they’ll have an episode with six short matches on them, and they’ll all accomplish something. People will grow, turn heel, change, whatever. They’ll fill the gaps with backstage interviews and promos and when it’s time to write the Best and Worst of The Thing, I’ve got a ton of material. Other times, they’ll put on episodes like this. Aside from the Fireworks Factory ending, not a lot happens. it’s just three long-ish matches with Renee going “okay, back to you!” between them.
The second match was Tyson Kidd vs. Dash Wilder, who I shoot thought was Michael Elgin when he walked out onto the stage. You may remember Dash as one half of The Mechanics, or not. I guess they went out of business? Wilder comes out wearing Scott Dawson’s redneck entrance gear, so maybe he assimilated him. Ate him in the womb? I don’t know how tag teams work.
Tyson Kidd beats him, and … that’s it. That’s literally all there is to it. The announce team’s all, “Tyson Kidd doesn’t have any title opportunities left, so, I mean, yeah.” Kidd beat Sheamus on Raw this week. Why’s he still down here trouncing Dash Wilder? “Dash Wilder” isn’t even a wrestler, he’s grammatical advice. Where IS this going?
Best: Rich Brennan
Quick note on Brennan: I love that he’s gotten good at deflecting his color commentators’ stupid asides. During this match, Albert and Riley get onto the idea of Brennan being a wrestler, and say “OH MAN COULD YOU IMAGINE RICH IN THERE??” Michael Cole would’ve gotten indignant and spent the rest of the match explaining how HE’D BE GREAT IN THE RING, HE’D BE UNDEFEATED! It would’ve been awful. Brennan goes “nah” and gets back to the match. I see you excelling at your job, Richie Brennan.
Best: Sami And Renee
Here are my current Renee shipping Power Rankings:
1. Renee and Paul Heyman
2. Renee and Sami Zayn
3. Renee and William Regal
4. begrudging Renee and Dean Ambrose
And by “begrudging,” I mean “here’s a link to my tumblr and hoo boy, you aren’t gonna like what you find there.”
Best: Marcus Louis Goes Full Kane
Next week Sylvester LeFort should knock him into a dumpster fire and quip, BURN EEN HELL, HYOU SON OF FA BEETCH
Best: Sasha Banks
I had a lot of reservations about this match because Bayley was being “Sting dumb.” That’s a special kind of Sisyphus dumb where you team up with a lady who once turned on you in a tag match to join the BFFs in a tag match against the BFFs. It turns out I didn’t have anything to worry about, because Charlotte vs. Sasha is the story now and Bayley’s just a NPC. That’s sad, I guess, but at least nobody’s turning on her and hurting her feelings.
The highlight of the tag was chickenshit heel Sasha Banks, who spends the entire match tagging in and out to avoid Charlotte and wins the match with a handful of tights. I will never understand why her backstage acting skills are so goofy, because her in-ring stuff is pitch-perfect. She’s great for this role, too, because she’s got kind of a garbage win-loss record. So far you’ve had two Women’s Champions, and they’ve been cut from the same cloth. Paige was a strong, athletic, second generation Diva who won a tournament and got all noble about being champion. Charlotte is a strong, athletic, second generation Diva who won a tournament and got all noble about being champion. It could be cool for the third champ to be a total wormy jerk who doesn’t give a shit about tradition and just wants the belt to accent her already way-too-glittery accessories.
Plus, I am totally okay with Sasha being the Ivan Koloff to Bayley’s Pedro Morales.
Worst: That’s A Nice Stairwell, Mr. Regal
You know, I love Bill Regal, but I wish they’d let some of his character exist while he’s General Manager. Regal’s always been a man of control and action, right? The only decisions he’s made since becoming GM have been “the wrestlers mentioned wanting a thing, and that’s fine.” Here, Sami Zayn says he’s ready for a title shot next week. Regal hears about it, considers it, thinks it’s fine and goes back to surfing 4chan or whatever.
I’m hoping they’ve got him being a milquetoast motherf*cker to set up whatever eventual beef he has with a wrestler. I am going to be sore if William Regal gets put in charge and replaced before he gets hot at somebody and breaks their fingers.
Also, remember that thing I wrote about how the NXT live specials mean nothing of note’s ever happening on “regular” NXT again? Yeah, there’s a 1000% chance that match ends with something stupid to set up a more important one later.
Best: Hideo Itami Gets A Friend
After weeks and weeks (and weeks and weeks) of Hideo Itami running headfirst into an ass-whipping, here comes PRINCE GODDAMN DEVITT to even the score. They snatch The Ascension’s wigs with a series of double-stomps and dropkicks, and my only imaginable complaints are that he didn’t ride Bad Luck Fale to the ring or make finger guns at anybody. Not serious complaints. Finn Bálor is so cool I don’t even mind copying and pasting “Bálor” every time because I don’t know how to make the a with the accent mark.
Putting KENTA with Devitt is a great idea, because it’ll give them both a chance to adjust to the WWE ring without being exposed in single’s competition. Itami’s been kinda iffy since his baller debut at Fatal 4 Way, and I think it has to do with the expectations being so high. You can’t expect them to get in the ring and be WWE Daniel Bryan right away. It took DANIEL BRYAN like two years before he really became “WWE Daniel Bryan.” They can team up, get in work, do a bunch of cool stuff like luring a guy into their partner’s flying double stomp and then ta da, you’ve stocked your wrestling promotions with the best workers in the world. For bonus points, let Itami keep using the running knee.
Great, great stuff. Let’s hope the next month isn’t The Ascension beating them up over and over until a third guy shows up.