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– If you’re wondering where you can watch NXT, it’s currently on Hulu Plus every Thursday. If you’re like, “weh, I don’t want to have to pay for Hulu Plus to watch wrestling,” it’s the best wrestling show and Hulu Plus is like 8 dollars. Just do it, it’s fine. You aren’t gonna miss 8 dollars. You can watch this week’s episode (as long as they keep it up) here.
Please click through to enjoy Emma. Also, the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for May 29, 2013.
Best: Luke Harper Is The Most Fun Wrestler To Emulate In Everyday Situations, Or
Best: NXT Jobber Squashes
Okay, I need to divide this up to make sure I touch on everything.
A Best goes to Luke Harper, the former Brodie Lee and current Good One in the Wyatt Family tag team, for being the most fun wrestler to emulate. Before he does something, he kinda looks around and goes “oooooh” in a low rumble. Then he’ll hit a move, pause to make sure it worked, then look at the crowd and go YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH. Try it, it’s a blast. Put a piece of bread in a toaster, go “ooooooh” under your breath like you CAN’T WAIT to see what’s gonna happen to that bread, and start it toasting. When the bread pops up, look around your kitchen and yell YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH. It will make your entire day better.
Another Best goes to NXT for having jobber squashes that are actually jobber squashes. On Raw, ignoring that two months when Ryback would murder local guys in pairs, the closest thing you get to a jobber squash is a guy they like (Randy Orton) beating a guy they don’t (Antonio Cesaro, Wade Barrett) in about two minutes. Whoever isn’t getting pushed at that moment becomes helpless and can’t win, but as soon as they’re getting pushed, they’re beating Zack Ryder in that same two minutes and speaking openly about how they don’t have competition. It’s weird. On NXT, the consistent, hard-to-beat characters (the Wyatt Family) will run into a pair of the saddest dudes you’ve ever seen (Sawyer Fulton and Travis Tyler), beat them up for a couple of minutes and … that’s it. That’s GREAT. I don’t have to sit over here going “ughhh why does Travis Tyler lose every week” because Travis Tyler f**king sucks and everybody’s in agreement. I like jobber squashes a lot. I don’t feel like I need to hurry up and get to the “good” parts of the story.
A kay-fab’d Worst goes to the only guy I can think of worse than Travis Tyler, Sawyer Fulton. Travis (who has a delightful TT on the butt of his trunks … they should add an underscore and make it say T_T) starts off the match and doesn’t necessarily do WELL against the Wyatt Family, but he hangs in there. He doesn’t get immediately pinned. He makes the world’s slowest/worst hot tag and tags in Fulton, who cannot even muster a HOUSE AFIRE before getting hit with a few moves and losing. You did not help your team, Sawyer Fulton. Also, you are named like a country singer.
Best: Stephanie McMahon Makes An Announcement And … I Don’t Hate It? WHAT IS THIS BLACK MAGICK
The announce team cuts to a pre-taped announcement from Stephanie McMahon (because yeah right, like Stephanie’s gonna go all the way to Full Sail), and my brain goes WOOP WOOP ABORT ABORT because I sat through the General Manager Stephanie era, and let me tell you, THAT is the worst era of pro wrestling ever. Katie Vick, John Cena showing up, weird abandoned incestuous Eric Bischoff romance angles … it was rough. 2002-2003 (her Smackdown GM run) is when your friends who loved wrestling in the Attitude Era stopped watching. 2008-2009 (aka “post-Chris Benoit,” her Raw GM run) is when those friends stopped casually following it on the Internet just to keep up with what was going on and gave it up for good.
Anyway, Stephanie announced that the NXT Divas would be getting their own title (which is great, because there are like, four of them) and did so in three ways that make Brandon happy:
1. with the debut of a beautiful new title belt
2. with the announcement of a tournament to crown the champion(‘s waist), starting next week
3. by calling it the NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP instead of the Divas Anything
Well done, Stephanie. You appeared on TV without making my head and heart hurt. Now I don’t have to force my way into your office and angrily snap your keyboard in half.
Best: Emma Is The Greatest, I’m Serious
♫ boooop boopadoop BOOPboopBOOPbooda
boooop boopadoop BOOPboopBOOPbooda ♫
Emma gets to wrestle this week, which means Hulu gets to upload a clip of the match featuring her full, wonderful entrance. If you’re new to NXT (because of this column or otherwise), Emma’s entrance has several important steps: (1) her hilariously obnoxious entrance theme, which should never be changed (2) the dance, which you already know about (3) Emma BEING AFRAID OF BUBBLES (4) everyone in the crowd doing the Emma dance, because she’s the most over person on the show (5) the best part of the dance, when she’s at the ring apron and basically mimes Triple H’s entrance, but with DANCE ARMZ (6) an attempt to “skin the cat,” which does not always work (7) happy dancing for ring entrance success!
Basically the only reason I’m doing this column is to tell you about Emma and make you love her. She names everything the Emma Something or the Something Emma, to the point that the announce team tries to come up with new Emma Things on the fly. She does forward rolls into her pose like she’s The Great Muta. She beats Audrey Marie into future endeavorship and dances about it. You are contractually obligated to love her.
Worst: I’m Not Sure How I Feel About Son Of Vader
See that Jack Swagger-looking motherf**ker on the right, in the airbrushed bicycle shorts? The one who looks like Cody Rhodes and The Miz had a love child. That’s Jake Carter. He’s the son of Vader.
You know, this guy.
I guess Wrestler Sons just have to look like this now. Big ugly tough guys (Vader, Dusty Rhodes, and so on) get jobs as pro wrestlers in the 70s and 80s because that’s what big ugly tough guys did. They were successful, made a lot of money, gained a lot of fame. So their sons (Jake Carter, Cody Rhodes, and so on) grow up privileged, in a society that is increasingly judgmental about how its pro wrestlers look, so they end up lean and muscly and manicured in hot pants, absorbing nothing that made us like their family in the first place. Cody’s a special case, but don’t forget how f**king terrible Cody Rhodes was for a while, teaming with Bob Holly and basically being Evan Bourne without the shooting star press.
I’ll admit though, I mark out when Jake backs guys into the corner and starts hammerblowing them in the ribs with Vader punches. I just wish he was less like Jack Swagger and more like … well, Vader’s actual son.
(that Vader/Z-Man match is one of my favorite matches ever, by the way)
Worst: D-Squared Is Like Impact Wrestling, The Tag Team
This is “D-Squared,” Scott Dawson and Garrett Dylan. I keep wanting to call one of them Doolin-Dalton. They are the latest in WWE’s ongoing, century-long interpretation of “rednecks” as “shirtless guys who wear vests and hats and drink beer.” Stone Cold Steve Austin, Jamie Noble, Trevor Murdoch, and now these guys. Their manager, as you may have guessed, is rap album-era Macho Man Randy Savage.
Worst: Aw Man, This Is The Last Show For Everyone Who Got Cut, Isn’t It
I suppose I shouldn’t be happy for the loss of Audrey Marie when this episode of NXT also marks the last (for now) appearance of my favorite NXT guy ever, season 4 rookie and season 5 protagonist Derrick Bateman.
Here’s a guy I liked when he was wrestling in Cleveland as THE DEVIANT~. Tilde added by me. He gets a WWE gig, shows up on NXT as the rookie of my favorite wrestler, films the shoot funniest backstage vignette in WWE history, is integral to making NXT Redemption my favorite WWE thing in a decade (seriously, it was absurdist and wonderful … one episode had a f**king ‘Glee’ opening), works on the easiest-to-love character this side of Emma (the USA Guy) and then … he’s gone. Both boo and hiss to you, WWE. At least I’ll get to enjoy Michael Hutter on the independent circuit for a while until they wise up and rehire him. And hey, if you’re in Tampa next Thursday you can watch him judge Air Sex.
Bateman gets killed by Big E Langston with the quickness here, which is disappointing. That’s not meant to take anything away from how great the NXT version of Big E is, though, don’t get me wrong. The guy gets to have an in-ring energy he can’t show on Raw, where he’s just always about to EXPLODE and the crowd gets his schtick and encourages it. My kingdom for a Raw crowd wise enough to start chanting FIVE, FIVE, FIVE, FIVE, FIVE and make him do it.
Best: Battle Royal!
The main-event of this week’s show is an 18-man battle royal for a shot at Big E Langston’s NXT Championship, wherein we get to see a lot of cool people we like (Sami Zayn! Kassius Ohno! Briley Pierce, also in his last appearance!) and must pretend like these shows aren’t taped a month in advance and Wikipedia spoilers aren’t updated on the reg. NXT exists in a time warp. One time Antonio Cesaro showed up to defend the United States Championship a week after he’d lost it. It happens. Longtime readers may know that I love a battle royal, good or bad, and will almost always give them a Best. This one would’ve gotten a best just for Big E and Brad Maddox on commentary alone.
The story of the match is set up simply: Mason Ryan is a thousand times bigger than most people and eliminates over half of the competitors by himself, doing what we’ve been begging guys to do since battle royals were created and just grabbing dudes and chucking them over the top. None of that “lean them against the turnbuckle and hug their legs” stuff people do when they’re pantomiming elimination attempts. People get thrown out of the ring all the time. All you have to do is run them toward the ropes by the hair and toss them. AJ Lee could eliminate The Great Khali from a battle royal with no problem if she was tall enough to grab his hair and Khali was agile enough to run 8 feet before collapsing.
The other story is that Adrian Neville (who you may remember from his time in PWG, Dragon Gate or New Japan as PAC, the man gravity forgot) is adept at eliminating monsters. He eliminates the match favorite (Bray Wyatt) late, and he eliminates Massive Eliminator Mason Ryan with a rana when Ryan tries to powerbomb him out of the ring. It sets up a cool monster vs. underdog story, which is then kinda sorta ignored because of the third story:
Worst: WWE Loves Itself Some Bo Dallas
Of the final five guys in the match, four are legit, top-level NXT guys who could win the championship. Neville, Bray Wyatt, Kassius Ohno and Corey Graves. GUESS WHO WINS.
That’s right, it’s Bo Dallas, the guy who made everybody facepalm when he won the chance to compete in the Royal Rumble over guys like Neville and Wyatt and Ohno and Graves! Now he gets a shot at the NXT Championship, which he will obviously lose because spoilers do not exist in this dojo.
Anyway, the Rise Of Bo Dallas is legitimately disheartening, so I’ll end the column with one of my favorite NXT talking points: the fact that one of the worst guys on the show and one of the best guys on the show are brothers.
Best: Masked Bray Wyatt Is Somehow Even Better Than The Regular Version
I haven’t gotten a chance to write about it yet, but you know that cool, weird looking Cape Fear Bray Wyatt you saw on the Raw commercial and got excited about? Well, in NXT he’s evolved into something EVEN BETTER THAN THAT SOMEHOW with the addition of a SCARY MASK and PSEUDO BUTCHERS CLOTHINGS. Not sure where to stop pluralizing there but DUDE LOOK AT HIM.
He got his nose broken, so like a lot of athletes, he started competing in a plastic face mask. Wyatt turned it into something special: a statement about how he no longer saw a human being when he looked in the mirror, but a cold, faceless killer. The true face of the Eater of Worlds. If THAT doesn’t get you excited to see this guy on Raw, I don’t know what will.
(and if you are not excited to see Bray Wyatt on Raw, perhaps this Bo Dallas fellow will entertain you!)