The Best And Worst Of WWE NXT 8/28/14: Be Hair Or Be Square

Pre-show notes:

– If you’re a WWE Network subscriber, you can watch this week’s episode here. If not, [a hacky joke about how much the network costs].

– Thank you to Danielle Matheson for covering last week’s episode while I was in a car headed to Chicago. I covered TNA Hardcore Justice in return and everybody got mad at me. NEVER AGAIN.

– Be sure you’re reading our retro recap of NXT season 3. Reviewing old episodes of NXT is a thankless job, especially the ones about Naomi dressed as the Hamburger Helper hand. That’s not a weird reference, she is shoot dressed up like the Hamburger Helper hand.

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Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for August 28, 2014.

Best: Let’s Take A Moment To Talk About WWE SuperCard

WWE SuperCard is a pile of garbage.

It’s barely even a game. You get digital playing cards with wrestlers on them, and each one has different statistics. You put together a “deck” (a row of cards) and play them against the computer based on commands like CHOOSE THE ONE WITH THE MOST SPEED. You pick your guy with the highest speed and then 15 seconds of badly-animated card rasslin’ occurs. You win or lose based on how your numbers line up. There’s no strategy, and after playing hundreds and hundreds of games to get something better than SIXTY UNCOMMON YOKOZUNAS you’ll find yourself losing to a kid named TRAPLEHDAGAME who has played 20 total games but paid extra for good cards.

And you will not be able to stop playing it.

It’s like crack cocaine, if crack was boring and didn’t make you feel anything. It somehow tricks your brain into thinking spending three days on an automated King of the Ring with no actual gameplay involved for a reward of two bad cards you already had is a CRUCIAL NECESSITY. Suddenly you’re cramming in games during red lights. Letting people get in front of you in line at the grocery store so you can finish a match. Your Rare Pro Eva Marie needs those two uncommon Justins Gabriel to be 14/25 instead of 13/25! If you read that and had no idea what I was saying, good. Stay away from it. This is how bad for you WWE SuperCard is: it teaches you to rely on Eva Marie. SHE’S GOT SO MUCH CHARISMA.

Please bear with me while I rush through this NXT show report. JOHN CENA looks like an opponent I could beat, and yes, his name is “JOHN CENA” because when the game asked him to type in his name, he thought it meant “which wrestler do you want to be.”

Worst: It’s Time For The Ascension To Stop Being Cute

So, the wrestling show.

The opening match of this week’s episode is, you guessed it, The Ascension vs. “Local Talent.” Local Talent continues to be an hilarious way to describe jobbers in NXT because they never go anywhere, and I guess Orlando is just TEEMING with unsatisfactory wrestlers. It’s become such a foregone conclusion that they’ve stopped announcing funny names for the losers. Pretty sure one of them was the Sixth Doctor:

After the match, The Ascension tries to get about six different catchphrases over at once, and you know what? It’s time for you guys to stop being cute. “Anni-yah-lation” is cute when you do it once and I KNOW it must be fun to yell phallic shit like WE WILL RISE AAAHHHHHH, but aren’t you guys supposed to be the Legion of Doom? Aren’t you supposed to be ancient Egyptian speed metal occultists or whatever? Why are you bouncing around and doing sing-alongs with the NXT crowd instead of decapitating people and drinking guts out of their skulls? If you guys show up on Raw going YAH YAH YAH you’re gonna get eaten alive. Put the Road Dogg stuff in your pocket and work on being a true physical threat … you’re in a place where the toughest guy is 5-feet tall and acts like Zoolander. You think Brock Lesnar’s gonna be cool with you guys putting the Eye of Ra on your shirt and going “LOOK, IT’S THE EYE OF YAH, GET IT?” He’s going to stab you in the heart with his fist.

Best: Bill Regal As NXT GM!, Or
Worst: Regal’s First Decision

The NXT FINAL BOSS is now NXT ACTUAL BOSS, and that’s a great decision. Regal is already a God to anyone who watches NXT, and now every time a wrestler has a problem with him I’m gonna be all, “YEAH, FIGHT HIM, DO IT.” I don’t care if it’s Bayley. BAYLEY VS. REGAL.

Two problems, though:

1. Regal’s very first decision as Raw GM is to give Tyson Kidd another NXT Championship match at their next special event, which we’re just calling “NXT Takeover” again. Not only is this kinda dumb — how many matches in a row can a guy lose and still be considered the #1 Contender? — but it’s IMMEDIATELY overruled by wrestlers. Tyler Breeze and Sami Zayn show up and argue about who deserves what, and Regal just goes, “sure, whatever you guys think is best.” That’s … not exactly filling me with confidence, Bill. Don’t be a Raw GM on NXT. Be Dusty. Know what you’re doing. Don’t just show up and wait for four guys to unexpectedly brawl so you can make a tag team main-event.

2. Wasn’t Dusty removed from his position so The Authority could have someone they could control in charge of NXT? That’s why JBL was there. Did everyone just forget about that? Triple H MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE NEW GM. Is NXT babyface William Regal in The Authority now? The difference between Evil Authority Triple H on Raw and Beloved Guy Who Gives You Whatever You Want Authority Triple H on NXT is pretty jarring sometimes.

Worst: Jojo Announcer

Everything she says sounds like the “When you’re lackin’, you’re losin’ … and I’M OUT THA DAWW part from En Vogue’s ‘My Lovin’.’ Tell me I’m wrong.

Best: Bayley vs. Sasha, Again

Two weeks ago was about telling the Bayley and Sasha Banks rivalry story. This week’s match had a completely different point: show that Bayley is focused and ready for anything, and that she’s a strong enough competitor to hang with the NXT Champion.

So, the match we get here is much shorter and to-the-point. Bayley has wrestled Sasha a billion times and knows what she’s going for, so she just puts her foot down and stops it. The HugPlex/Belly-to-Bayley to finish Sasha off was brutal, and now there are no questions that Bayley is the most deserving of an NXT title shot.

I hope once the Bayley/Charlotte story concludes and Charlotte assumedly ascends to Raw on a flaming chariot that we get a series of Boss victories and a formal Bayley/Sasha title match. Yes, I’m assuming Bayley wins the NXT Women’s Championship because I am emotionally invested in her and can’t assume otherwise. Also, how can you give Sasha Banks a new entrance theme and not be the B-A-N-K-DOLLAR SIGN one?

Best: Hang In There

After the match, Bayley’s side-pony gets OUT OF CONTROL and she compares herself to the cat from the ‘Hang In There’ poster in the ultimate I LOVE YOU BAYLEY one-two punch. Charlotte interrupts her and tells her to “stick to hugs” or she’ll get destroyed. Bayley says she doesn’t want a hug (drawing an “oooh” from the crowd), she wants a handshake, and wishes Charlotte good luck. Charlotte bails. This is all perfect.

The best part is Charlotte stopping mid-sentence to do the classic Ric Flair “SHUT UP, FATBOY” to the crowd. They needed it. I don’t know if this was the last taping in a set or what, but the Full Sail crowd was RANK for this episode. They were so into chanting whatever they could think of that they chanted “Goldberg” at Adrian Neville (what) and chuckle-yammered to themselves while Bayley was talking. Take it down a notch, Full Sail. In fact, take it down like three notches.

Worst: Let’s Ask The WWE Universe What They Think Of Bayley Vs. Charlotte

Stay on NXT forever, everybody.

Worst: Why Are You Trying To Hurt Me, NXT

Here’s the going theory: Bull Dempsey is a big fat guy who mauls people and uses indie wrestling catchphrases. When the people at NXT put him together, they thought, “Brandon’s gonna LOVE him. He loves independent wrestling and hosses!” Then Bull showed up and was the perfect storm of awfulness … he moves like he’s still in his first month of wrestling school, he looks like Fat Neil from ‘Community,’ his singlet holds his stomach so it looks like Jesus cleaning his bowling ball, he’s directly lifting Eddie Kingston promos, etc. But NXT doesn’t see any of that … they see a big hoss with an old-timey name who does a bad version of Misawa’s finish and they’re all COME ON, BRANDON, WHAT’S THE PROBLEM.

So the next step in getting Bull over with me is to put him into situations where I HAVE to cheer for him. They start feuding him with Mojo Rawley. They put him in a tag team with Mojo and have him jump Mojo’s shit at the first opportunity. Now he’s getting an extended squash of Angelo Dawkins, who is has once again gone full Michael Bay Ninja Turtle with his “we’re assuming this is what a Childish Gambino is” gimmick. So yeah, out of the two guys in the ring I like Bull Dempsey more. But I see what you’re doing, NXT, and I won’t let you lower my expectations.

Next week, Bull enters to ‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus and formally retires Corey Graves. Watch.


1. I missed you, “Devin Taylor gets her mind blown” gag.

2. Now that Wesley Blake has given up real, live cowboydom to wear Benoit tights and slap his thigh when he kicks, Marcus Louis is my favorite under-the-radar NXT performer. He’s so WEIRD. Plus, he looks like somebody tried to stuff Andre the Giant into Prince Devitt’s body.

Best: Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville vs. TyTy

This entire match was good, but I want to point out one really beautifully-executed thing: the finish of the match is supposed to be Adrian Neville getting accidentally brained with a Helluva Kick, Sami being upset about it and the heels getting an opportunistic victory. Normally, Neville would get hit with a finish and just lie there forever because he was supposed to. I’m sure you’ve seen guys get hit with a DDT or a Rock Bottom or something and just lie in the corner of the ring for 15 minutes while the other people finish the match. Anyway, they EARN IT here, because HOLY CRAP did Sami Zayn obliterate Neville with that kick. If I’d gotten hit with that kick I’d still be out. I don’t care if they taped it a month ago.

I’m also really intrigued with where they’re going with Zayn heading into Takeover. Ugh, I can’t call it “Takeover,” it feels like I’m referencing the wrong thing. Takeoverer. I’m also really intrigued with where they’re going with Zayn heading into Takeoverer. He’s been the most sincere, reasonable babyface since debuting, and now he’s right on the edge of being SICK TO F*CK of never winning the big one. The NXT Championship is his One Ring, and it’s turning him into Gollum. He obviously didn’t hit a Helluva Kick on Neville on purpose, but after the post-match stuff … damn, maybe he did. If Kevin Steen shows up and helps him win the championship I will lose my mind.

I’m glad to have you back in my life, NXT.

Supplementary Best: Rich Brennan Calling The Michinoku Driver

Get on the Rich Brennan bandwagon, people.