– You can watch this week’s show on WWE Network here. It’s free this week, so just watch it there.
– If you missed it earlier in the week, we’re finally recapping NXT season 3. It’s the worst thing in the world so I’ll need your help every Wednesday to survive it.
– Don’t be Xavier Woods. Be kind and share the column:
Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for July 10, 2014.
Best: Number One Contender Matches For The Women’s Championship And The Accompanying Explanation
First things first, “Bayley’s gonna hug you” chanted in the style of “Joe’s gonna kill you” is the best NXT chant of the year. Its only real competition was the dueling “Party time/All the time” chant for Adam Rose, and Raw and Smackdown (and Twisted Tea) made sure that was never a thing we could enjoy again.
Second things first, I not only enjoy a solid match to decide the number one contender for a championship belt — in a functioning women’s division, no less! — I enjoy an explanation for why the two people fighting are fighting. The announce team brings Summer reappearing in NXT and immediately getting title opportunities and how weird that is. By itself, that would’ve been a Best. Albert even mentions the logic of having someone that’s proven themselves somehow being rewarded for being a valued member of the team or whatever. But then they explain that Summer went to management and somehow convinced them to give her this shot, which not only gives her a logical reason to be here, it plays right into Summer’s manipulative, gold-digger character. Perfect.
The match itself was enjoyable. It wasn’t on the level of Paige/Emma or Charlotte/Natalya by any means, but it didn’t have to be. The crowd will love and support Bayley in basically anything she does these days. Summer was a little iffy, but I’m gonna let that slide this week and assume spending a few months slumming it in catfight feuds with Layla and Reality TV’s Eva Marie creates an abnormal amount of rust.
One major problem, though:
Worst: Rudy Charles Is Still F*cking Up These Matches
If you saw Raw on Monday night, you watched former TNA referee Rudy Charles (now WWE referee “Dan”) go full Gooby in two different matches: he mixes up the legal men in the Usos/Wyatts tag match, then allows Cameron to tag in while she’s halfway down the ring apron. Terrible officiating. Some of it on purpose, some of it not.
On NXT, Rudy Charles reffed Bayley/Summer Rae. TWICE he interrupts crucial pinfall attempts to check if Bayley’s shoulder is up. Normally I’d congratulate a ref for paying attention to that shit and making sure the wrestlers are on the level, but man, he just straight nuked the match’s momentum. The camera was in position to hide Bayley’s shoulder both times, too. The first one I can understand, but for the finish — a finish he knows is the finish — he stops in the middle to jam his hand between Bayley and the mat. There is no way Bayley’s shoulder was up enough to tank the ending like that. Summer’s death glare tells you everything you need to know.
Does Rudy know how WWE officiating is supposed to work? Is he confused because people aren’t bumping him three times per match?
Best: Tyson Kidd Stink-eyeing This Entire Interview
1. Hey Justin, pretty sure I don’t need to see your entire mons pubis while we talk.
2. Tyson is INCREDIBLE here. He doesn’t say a word, but he reacts to everything Justin says in pitch-perfect character. You know that thing I give Sasha crap for where she reacts to parts of sentences and not the points of the statements? This is the opposite of that. Him making “really” face and doing “so-so” hand when Gabriel says NXT has lots of great talent was superb, and his “hold on a second”-to-bail was probably the best way to handle Devin Taylor.
Best: Visual Continuity
What are you doing with your eyeballs, Sasha?
If this scene of Sasha Banks and Summer Rae having an argument in a mirror seems familiar, it should; it’s the same visual they used back in September of last year when Summer was convincing Sasha to stop being a hapless babyface and be her lackey. See?
I appreciate NXT for being the only thing WWE makes that rewards you for paying attention.
Best: Wild And Younger
So hey, is it weird to anybody else that Sin Cara’s winning jobber squashes on NXT? It’s not the original Sin Cara, who’d have enough box office clout or whatever to make special appearances and Sheamus people. At the same time, Sin Cara II is still enough of a presence on Raw and Smackdown that he should be treated like a special guest, right? What’s odd is that NXT place is the last place you could do that, because it’s WWE’s only smart crowd, and that’s where Hunico wrestled for a long time and everybody knows what’s up. So why’s this happening? Is Sin Cara getting an NXT-specific character, or did they just want to put Wesley Blake on TV again and fired all the Clay/Hawkins/JTG types that might otherwise beat him?
Best: Referee Drake Wuertz
That new referee seems cool. Want to see him take a powerbomb onto a bed of nails and stab somebody through the face with a syringe?
Worst: Xavier Woods Is A Terrible Person
CJ Parker comes to the ring and says that he wants to apologize to Xavier Woods for what happened last week. Woods shows up dressed like one of the Original Kings Of Comedy. Parker apologizes to Woods — sincerely, even — and Woods’ response is to be all sassy and insult him a bunch. Parker rightfully gets a little angry, but keeps his cool and assures Woods that there’s no catch, he just wants peace. He’s a hippie, after all. Woods responds to THAT with an obnoxious hand gesture, blowing into his fist and acting like he’s gonna poke CJ in the eyes.
Reminder: Xavier Woods is the good guy.
Anyway, Woods remembers the phrase “RUN AND TELL THAT, HOMEBOY” from an Antoine Dodson shirt he saw hanging near the Grumpy Cat one at Hot Topic and thinks he’s won the argument. Parker “kicks” him in the back of the head as he’s leaving. I put kicks in quotes because he kinda grazes his afro. Woods is COMPLETELY KNOCKED OUT. PYRO AND BALLYHOO.
Can we skip all this stuff and get to the part of the feud where CJ Parker accuses Woods of contributing to the death of the only remaining Funkasaurus in captivity?
Best: Let Me Wash The Taste Of That Last Segment Out Of My Mouth With The Vaudevillains Doing Nothing
For absolutely no reason whatsoever there is footage of the Vaudevillains trying to fit through a doorway at the same time and getting stuck, then having an out-of-sync, black-and-white conversation about how they’ll be champions one day. It made me smile, which a white piece of paper with VAUDEVILLAINS typed across it in Times New Roman could make me do right now.
I’d like to think the announce team was watching this on the monitors and did spit-takes trying to be the first person to say WHAT CHANCE WILL THEY HAVE AGAINST THE ASCENSION?
Best: NXT Has Turned A Loveless Marriage Into Compelling Television
“Is the Olive Garden fine or is it not?”
“I said it was fine. It’s fine.”
“Yeah but you don’t mean it’s fine.”
“No, I love you, it’s fine. Go to the Olive Garden.”
“I said nothing.”
“WHY DO YOU ALWAYS DO THIS”
Worst: The Battle Of Who Brandon Could Cheer For Less
The next match is Fat Neil squashing Angelo Dawkins, which I’m almost positive NXT put together just to see which one I’d cheer for. The results? Angelo Dawkins. I know, I know.
Here’s my rationale: Dawkins is in full jobber mode here and not doing any of the awkward Hip Hop Ninja Turtle stuff he did that one week I decided I hated his guts. The shooting sleeve is still there, but whatever. ‘Unbreakable’ Bull Dempsey still has a stomach in a King Kong Bundy onesie that looks like Jesus cleaning a bowling ball. He’s cutting post-match promos about how he’s a “wrecking ball” and never once calls himself Wrecking Bull. Advantage: Dawkins.
Worst: The Announce Team Needs To Stop Loudly Reacting To Everything That Happens
I’ve mentioned it before, but Renee Young goes OOOOH! like she’s watching a nasty head-drop or a Burning Lariat every time a wrestling move happens. Every single one of them. A guy hits a hiptoss and Renee goes OOH!! OOH!!!! She’s got the rest of the booth doing it now. Just dead silence for 20 seconds, somebody hits a dropkick and three people simultaneously go WHOAAAA!!! OHHH!~!!!
(You guys are supposed to be calling the match, not standing around in the background of a Worldstar video.)
Best: Sami Zayn Blows Devin Taylor’s Mind
Best: International Airstrike Rides Again
The main event was a lot of fun. Kidd and Gabriel have always worked well together, and if they’re trying to add some personality to it, that can only make it better. Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville teaming up was great as well, as they got to do some of the more indyriffic stuff we remember from their past. Partner-assisted standing corkscrew moonsaults for the early match nearfall! I wanted them to all start superkicking each other.
The best part of the match was this:
Natalya ends up on the apron and gets bumped to the floor. Kidd and Zayn are both stunned for a moment and the action stops. Kidd does this amazing, dramatic covering of his mouth with his hand and tells Sami to wait there. He starts through the ropes and Sami follows him, so Kidd just rolls him up and pins him. It was MAGICAL. Kidd immediately rushes up the ramp and starts pumping his fist in celebration, leaving his wife unattended for several moments before noticing her coming around the corner and rushing to her aid.
The best part is that Tyson Kidd actions are TOTALLY JUSTIFIABLE. His wife isn’t a civilian, it’s Natalya. We saw her putting it all on the line in a Women’s Championship match a few weeks ago. What, are we supposed to assume veteran pro wrestler Natalya broke both of her legs and suffered brain damage because she fell like three feet onto her butt? Tyson knew she was fine, took advantage of Sami Zayn being the most gullible dude on Earth and won the match. +1, Tyson.
Plus, Natalya’s gotta be in on this by now, right? There’s no way she’s gonna get on the apron like that in the middle of a match AND lie on the ground for like two minutes because she fell down once. Come on. They’re both horrible people, we just haven’t caught the reveal yet.