The Best And Worst Of WWE NXT 12/4/14: R-We There Yet?

Pre-show notes:

– You can watch this week’s episode here.

– All of our NXT content can be found here. Make sure you’re keeping up with our retro recaps of NXT season 4 as well, with new reports going up on Friday afternoons.

– Reminder: I’ll be at Full Sail for the December tapings (December 12), so if you’re gonna be there too, make sure you say hi. I’ll be at Universal Studios the day after trying to get mark photos with Smurfs, so feel free to say hi to me there too.

With Spandex is on Twitter, so follow it. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Shares, likes, comments and other social media things are appreciated. R-Evolution is next week, so let’s get some momentum going and do it up big.

Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for December 4, 2014.

Best: First And Most Importantly, Mia!

For a while now I’ve been suggesting NXT supplement their talented but critically small NXT Divas division with local talent from Florida, because Florida produces and/or houses some of the best female wrestlers on the independent scene. Bayley and Sasha Banks are great, but there’s only so many times they can wrestle one another, you know? The first example of them doing this was Leva Bates, who was brought in as “Blue Pants” and accidentally got way more over than Carmella. Example 2? MIA YIM, Y’ALL.

If you aren’t familiar with Mia, she’s wrestled in places like Ring Of Honor and SHIMMER, appeared on TNA’s two Knockouts Knockdown pay-per-views and is the current Shine Champion. She main-evented for us down in Texas at Inspire Pro in July. She’s crazy talented and attractive in a way that not a lot of WWE Divas are, so hopefully (like Leva) this was the first of a series of appearances and not just a seat-filler.

The best part is that the crowd’s into her. She gets a “Mia” chant when the match starts, and the crowd kinda dies and counts a begrudging 1-2-3 at the finish when they realize she’s gonna be a jobber. Mia Yim vs. Charlotte with both going figurative balls-to-the-wall would be so ill right now, and yeah, you knew that wasn’t what was about to happen, but you wanted it.

Also fun to note: they never said her name, “Mia Yim” or otherwise, possibly because she had a big “Yim” on her butt. The optimist in me says they’ll give her an NXT name later when they sign her. Something bland and singular. “Janet.”

Best: Sasha Banks Makes Me Want To Buy A Charlotte Shirt

… just so I can duct-tape up the back and write LIKE A BOSS on it. If she doesn’t get merch in the now-regular NXT Live Special shirts batch, I might do it.

Worst: Charlotte Is A Bad Influence

Four thoughts on the post-match:

1. One of the biggest problems with Divas on any level is that they refuse to sell for their opponent during promos. None of them do it. Their opponent will show up and say something dramatic, and instead of paying attention and reacting to it as their character might, they just do the “you don’t know me/you’re jealous” thing. Sasha’s declaring she’s going to take Charlotte’s belt. Like two weeks ago Charlotte gave Bayley a stern talking to about how Sasha was dangerous. What’s she doing when Sasha’s talking? Making “crying” hand gestures and blowing off the entire thing. Charlotte shouldn’t be cowering in fear at what Sasha’s saying, but pretending it’s important would be nice.

2. This is the first time I’ve ever straight-up disliked Bayley. Charlotte gets the crowd to chant “ratchet” at Sasha, so Bayley hobbles out for no reason on some crutches and tells her to shut her “stupid ratchet face up.” It’s so out of character. Why’s Bayley repeating mean shit Charlotte’s said? It’s like grownups getting a little kid to cuss because they think it’s funny. She deserved that kick in the leg. Also, if Charlotte was worried about Bayley staying away from Sasha, why’s she chilling in the ring and letting injured-ass Bayley run her mouth with Sasha a foot-and-a-half away?

3. The only thing that makes sense is that Bayley’s faking the injury, and is working with Sasha. She’s gonna swerve her at the pay-per-view and cost her the belt because Charlotte turned on her way back when and she never got revenge and hasn’t forgotten. That’d explain why Bayley was all buddy-buddy with her and never mentioned it. That sounds like a bad idea, but if they’re gonna turn Bayley into a mean-spirited Diva babyface, I’d rather her go comedy evil and be the NXT version of Sandy from the end of Grease.

4. The NXT crowd needs to get over itself. They do this thing where they’re charming for a week or two, then get more and more self indulgent until they make people complain, and it resets. Maybe they get a fresh group of people? I don’t know, but every person selling a knee doesn’t need the Peter Griffin noise. Doing it to Bayley last week was kind of obnoxious, but it was a bad segment. Doing it to her again this week and AGAIN in the Vaudevillains tag is inexcusable. You already get to “woo” when people chop, you don’t get funny chants for people trying to work.

Best: There Are More Vaudevillains Pictures


I was happy when I saw there was a second “Vaudevillains foil the Lucha Dragons” silent film and watched the entire thing with a smile on my face. When they illustrated the Lucha Dragons falling off the roof of city hall with skydiving stock footage and the same nuclear explosion as last week, I lost it. I want these to go on forever. I also want the payoff to be Aiden English bodyslamming Sin Cara at Takeover and a nuke going off in the middle of the ring.

Best: Albert Learning How To Say “Vaudevillains”

Last week I was complaining about him saying “Vaudevillians” instead of Vaudevillains, like he didn’t get the joke. This week he gets called on it and corrects himself, and I’m glad somebody involved in the actual production of the show noticed it before I did.

Best/Worst: The Vaudevillains vs. Dubstep Cowboys

This was good, but part of it really bothered me. I liked the Villains getting a strong win against a team that could actually give them a challenge, and I continue to like Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy’s work performing in the most TNA gimmick in WWE. But what was up with all the leg work? They spend the entire match focusing on Blake’s knee, and the finish is them hitting their head-centric finish on his partner. I mean, in a tag team match I guess you’ve got the variable of your partner showing up and negating all your hard work, but it’s a bummer when the actual content of the match isn’t important. All that work for nothing. You could’ve tuned in when Gotch made the blind tag to set up the finish and seen everything you needed to see.

And honestly, what was the Vaudevillains’ end game there? Do they have any submission holds that could’ve won the match? If Blake had stayed in, would they have just kept working the leg and then hit their finish? The Whirling Dervish requires the guy to be standing and move around, it doesn’t have Natural Selection’s excuse of leg work making it easier to hit.

Best: Quick, Name My Three Favorite People On The Show

William Regal continues being a terrible general manager, deciding the main event of his hour-long show 20 minutes in because a couple of wrestlers bothered him. Still though, it gave us the wonderful moment of Tyson Kidd noticing Tyler Breeze’s vest and saying it “better not be cat fur.” Regal can make all the crummy decisions he wants if it puts Breeze and Kidd in the same place at the same time.

Best: Poor Bull Dempsey

Okay, I’m all-in on this. For the first time since his debut, I truly get and appreciate Bull Dempsey.

He’s Salieri. He comes in as a “monster,” but he’s not really a monster. He’s doing what he thinks a monster does. He’s a “learned monster.” He’s got other peoples’ moves, other peoples’ gear and comes equipped with a sing-along entrance theme. He squashes people and wins, and he’s fine, but it never really impresses anyone. His peers are guys like Mojo Rawley. He doesn’t have anything worth a damn to compare himself to. Then here comes Mozart and his bright lights and his tattoos and his wolf jacket, accomplishing what Bull’s been so desperate to accomplish without even trying. It crushes him. So the next time out, he tries to beat this jobber as fast as he can. He does it in record time, too, about 25 seconds. As he’s leaving, Mozart shows up again. His match is next. Salieri stands on the stage to watch him play. Mozart wins in about half the time. He can’t win. Nothing he’s ever gonna do, no matter how hard he works, will be as good as this asshole who just appeared out of the blue with every gift you can have.

I get you now, Bull. You’re not a monster. You’re one of us.

Best: Three Vignettes In And Kevin Owens Is One Of The Most Developed Personalities On The Show

I don’t think I could’ve liked this more. Vignette one was all, “hey, I’m Kevin Owens. See you soon!” Vignette two gave us a look at what kind of guy he was — a weary veteran with a family to support who’s finally made it to the big leagues and is prepared to do anything it takes to stay there. Vignette three makes it even better. We get to see Owens working with people like Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn. All of them were called up first. This guy had to sit down on the independents by himself for YEARS watching every guy he came up with either get the call or vanish.

That’s real life, but it’s also compelling as hell. Sometimes we forget that the real life version of the fictional guys we cheer or boo are far more interesting. I don’t care if Kevin Steen curses a bunch in a promo and package piledrivers somebody, but if he shows us his family and says “I want the same opportunities as my brothers?” How could you NOT care?

Best: Hideo Itami’s Offense Is Finally Starting To Look Good

I’m glad. He’s not being asked to sell Ascension beatdowns anymore, so when he gets in the ring he looks forceful and alive, and that’s what he’s needs more than anything. He had one of the best debuts we’ve ever seen, single-handedly taking out two guys and posing in a chair like the world’s biggest bad-ass. Then it was weeks and weeks of looking weak, and right when we were about to lose hope, BOOM, Prince Devitt shows up. They got that glorious beatdown of the Ascension, but between then and now he’s sorta seemed like the Robin to Finn Bálor’s Batman.

This match was another utility match, but it accomplished what it needed to. Bálor and Itami look strong heading into R-Evolution, and Bálor is promising something the Ascension has “never seen before,” which I’m hoping is the body paint. Konnor and Viktor don’t have NJPW World, right? Kidd and Breeze don’t get much shine, but they’ll get it somewhere else. Kidd’s not doing anything, really, and the most Breeze has to look forward to is a carry-job for crazy Marcus Louis.

So let’s just keep Itami kicking people as hard as he can. That’s always a solid direction. One thing, though: can we tell Jason Albert that “getting the hot tag and hitting a bunch of moves in a row” isn’t “fighting spirit?” If that’s fighting spirit, Robert Gibson would’ve won the Triple Crown.

Best: Sami Zayn Should Have “Best” Next To His Name At All Times

Serious question. When did Sami Zayn become one of the best talkers in the company?

Two weeks ago he cut an incredible promo to end the show, and this week he does it again. For the first time in a long time, you can feel a wrestler’s anger. It’s palpable. It comes off the screen. He means it, you know? He’s not reading something pre-written to appeal to the greatest amount of people, and if he is, he’s making it his own. He’s so good on the mic right now he makes me feel like I’ve stepped out of my mind and into that place where wrestling’s the only thing that matters, and I have to know how it ends.

This is Sami’s time. They aren’t going to tell a better redemption story than this. Neville says Zayn needs an edge if he’s going to win the championship. Zayn can’t do it. He’s too nice. He doesn’t want to compromise what makes him him. But the quest for redemption and the championship is changing him against his will, and Neville’s calm, friendly talkings-to are GIVING him that edge. He’s so goddamn furious that he can’t be himself and be on top that he’s powering up, and I will be legitimately shocked if he doesn’t obliterate Neville with something at the end of their Takeover match and win it all.

But you know what? It’s also pretty interesting if he doesn’t. If a meltdown could ever fundamentally change a character, it’d be this one. With Kevin Owens lurking on the horizon, there are so many things that could happen. The best part is that something WILL happen, and R-Evolution will change something somewhere for a long time. If Zayn wins, there’s a question of how he got there and if he can keep it. If he doesn’t?

Can it be next Thursday now please?