The Best And Worst Of WWE NXT 4/22/15: Alex Riley And The Ragiacs

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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for April 15, 2015.

Best: Sometimes You Just Want To See A Dude Hit All His Moves In A Row

This week’s opening match is Finn Bálor vs. Tye Dillinger, who still has his Generic Hip Hop Entrance Track #4 and is now actively getting made fun of by the announce team for his weird party-lines.

When he debuted, Bálor was this indestructible superhero who materialized from thin air to fill in for Funaki and be all, “AVAST, ASCENSION! TASTE MINE PAINTED FISTS.” Since then he hasn’t really developed a human personality, but his matches have been more traditional and built around him selling a bunch before getting the upper hand in late-match move exchanges. It’s the indies main-event/Ring Of Honor style. Lots of respect, lots of kickouts, lots of big moments. That’s all well and good, but sometimes you just want to see a guy get his shit in and win.

That’s what this match was, and while it wasn’t the most exciting thing in the world, it’s appreciated. Bálor should be able to eviscerate Tye Dillinger by looking at him. He gives him a little to make him not look like a total chode, but once the moves start hitting it’s over. That’s how it should be sometimes, you know? Your stuff just hits and you hit it all in a row and you win. It’s not a predetermined move animation, it’s just a high success rate. Besides, it’s Tye Dillinger. Alexa Bliss should be able to truck Tye Dillinger right now.

Worst: Devin Did Not Grab A Chair And Hit Dana Brooke In The Face

1. When I say “Dana Brooke reminds me of Miss Piggy” I don’t want that to sound like a fat joke, or like I’m calling her a pig. She’s in incredible shape, so don’t take it like that, but yo, the girl straight-up reminds me of Miss Piggy. Look at her. Look at Miss Piggy. She should start referring to herself as “moi.” Her manager should be a frog on a bicycle.

2. The catchphrase: “This is Dana’s playground, and playtime … is over!”

With dry, cool wit like that, she could be an action hero. If playtime’s over, why’s this a playground? Doesn’t a playground exist solely for playtime? Is it a nice day outside so the teacher’s having class under the big tree? I need to understand your metaphors, Dana.

3. The day when Devin Taylor goes HAM on one of these f*cks and breaks their arm Pentagon Jr.-style is going to be the best day ever. Just once I want like, Becky Lynch to say “you’re an idiot, Devin” and Devin to unleash this primal scream and bash her in the sternum with a pipe.

Best: Never Put A Kevin Owens Promo Immediately Following Dana Brooke

My favorite part of the show might’ve been this Owens promo, which is so casual and detached I had to watch it a couple of times to make sure I got it all. At first he’s preoccupied with the chill in the air — something I’m attributing to the DEADLY REVENGE of Sami Zayn looming in the distance — then has the most regular conversation with Devin Taylor anybody’s ever had. He asks her if she saw his match and is super condescending to her, but in that way real inconsiderate people might be.

He’s not planning to break Alex Riley or whatever, he’s just sick of him. He proved his point, Riley won’t stay down and now he’s gotta go through the motions and play out the inevitable. He just wants Riley to put his headset back on and leave him alone. It’s so damn heelish because he’s not being a pretender … he knows he’s crushed everything Riley wanted to accomplish, and he doesn’t give a shit. He’s done with it. Emasculating Riley’s not even fun anymore. It’s boring.

I think that’s why Owens and Zayn are “destined to do this forever;” Owens is the best at making his opponents feel worthless, and Zayn is the one guy who will never stop fighting to prove his worth.

Best: Becky Lynch, Ring General

This started off a little slower and more awkward than I was expecting, but oh man, it got real good by the end.

I think the problem is that you have the Divas fatal 4-way from NXT TakeOver: Rival minus Sasha Banks, which right now feels a little like painting the Last Supper without the dude in the middle. They still managed to build a good story, though, with Charlotte as a destroyer and Bayley as the scrappy underdog who is willing to die at the destroyer’s feet, and Becky as the smart one who has played the video games before and knows how to win a triple threat. You incapacitate one person, then run over and try to hit big moves on the other. That sets up the great exchange where she counters Bayley and locks her in a leg submission, but ends up getting Naturally Selected by Charlotte because she’s facing the wrong way and lost her in her field of vision. Also, the big moment where she tries to superplex Bayley and gets a combination powerbomb/flying elbow.

The finish is the thing everybody’s going to remember, because it’s a brilliant way to get one up on Charlotte. Charlotte’s got the highest stats of any Diva in the promotion. She’s taller, stronger, faster, more agile, all of it. Her one issue is that she’s a Flair, so her innate tendency to add a “f*ck you” instead of closing the deal can cause her to slip up. It’s why her finish needs to much dumb setup, and why she adds a big bridge to her figure four. That bridge looks great and adds leverage, but it also leaves Charlotte blind to what her opponent’s doing. So if, say, she’s in a triple threat match and bridges up to try to win all fancy, the third person could crawl over and cover Bayley without her noticing. It’s brilliant, and I love that the NXT women have observable strengths and weaknesses beyond “they’re a woman so any signature move can beat them.”

Best: Don’t Spit In The Wind, Etc.

Hideo Itami wrestles CJ Parker, and it’s all about the moment at the beginning where Parker throws the daintiest kick ever and Itami just stares at him and walks forward. That’s everything you’ve ever needed to know about Hideo Itami.

These Parker appearances weeks after he left the company are reminding me of that ‘Silence in the Library’ episode of Doctor Who. He’s dead, but these episodes are storing his thought patterns after death. Like two weeks from now his pattern’s going to degrade and we’re gonna find a skeleton backstage with “Hey! Who forgot to turn out the lights before leaving the room?” playing on loop.

In case you missed the match, Itami won with the Shotgun Kick, which will be taken away from him a year from now when WWE googles “shotgun” and finds out guns can hurt people.

Worst: This Guy

Rhyno wrestles Some Guy and beats him so fast I originally missed the entire thing. I heard Rhyno’s music, thought they were doing another Rhyno video package and didn’t look up until it was over. Whoops!

Anyway, that’s a picture of the guy Rhyno beats bracing himself to get hit while Rhyno’s like five feet away. This is what happens when you go into matches with the Cat Zingano gameplan. “Ronda Rousey’s famous for grabbing people by the arms and throwing them to death 10 seconds into a fight, I should start the fight by running at her with my arms out.” “I’m wrestling Rhyno, I should probably keep my arms to my sides and runs straight at him.”

Real quick, is weird to realize that of all the members of Team RECK, Rhyno’s the one left standing in WWE? Edge is retired, Christian’s in “honey, no” retirement and Kurt Angle’s a Kinnikuman character in TNA because nobody wants him.

Best: These Weirdos

1. Blake & Murphy are the weirdest characters WWE’s ever created. I just do not understand them. Last week they bring Carmella a bouquet of flowers they’ve ripped in half so each of them could hold a piece, and this week (technically last week too, since this was originally posted as an ‘NXT Breakdown’) they see her and decide to improv an original song about her and play invisible instruments until her friends show up. They are … special, I don’t know.

2. There’s maybe nothing I love more in the world than listening to Enzo Amore say “fugazi.”

Best: Alex Riley Something Something OH WAIT HERE’S SAMI ZAYN

Kevin Owens wrestles Alex Riley again and it’s the same as before. Riley’s 2010 developmental offense is no match for Owens, who has learned strikes and wrestling moves that actually hurt people, and are not just 30 variations on Cross Rhodes. Derp. I hope next week, Alex Riley is backstage in a blood-soaked hoodie eating a week-old, moldy sandwich, spittling about how he’s SO HUNGRY and is still FIGHTING AND CLAWING FOR EVERYTHING.

Anyway, this was NXT’s way of saying “everything’s fine and normal and kinda boring” so you’d go YEAHHHHH when Sami motherf*cking Zayn popped in and dived off the top rope onto 20 people on the outside. It’s a beautiful way of them saying “old with the old, in with the new.” Riley is the obsolete model. Zayn is the new ideal. He’s going to show up and punch this cold-hearted, invulnerable jerk until he’s cowering up the ramp and showing ass for the first time in his WWE career.

I just hope Riley has to do color on Zayn’s next match with Owens. I hope he has to call Zayn beating Owens and winning back the NXT Championship, and I want Corey Graves to never let him forgot how much that is not him.