Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE NXT: We did the standard TakeOver B-show pre-tape, on which I have to disagree with Scott and say I tremendously enjoyed watching a pile of little British vegans beat the shit out of each other. Add some more! Bring back Diaper Skeleton! Violence for all, buffalo cauliflower po-boys for some!
AAH! IT’S NOT SCOTT! Also, hi! As you may have noticed from the byline that you didn’t read until I just mentioned it, I’m not Scott. I’m Brandon. You may know me as the guy who wrote the first four-ish years of this column. Scott’s on vacation and this isn’t one of the episodes where I’d have to comment on Kassius Ohno’s onesie-ass wrestling gear for enormous nostalgic toddlers, so I’m filling in!
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for August 30, 2017. Hey, what happened to the lasers?
Worst: Don’t Cut A Promo On Me Or My Son Ever Again
If you were wondering, one of the major reasons I stopped writing the weekly Best and Worst of NXT column is because at some point during the past … let’s say, year and a half, NXT stopped being charming “Eugene” NXT — a wrestling savant in a goofy package — and became a straight-up Nick Dinsmore.
Up first this week is the new king of the Nick Dinsmores, Drew McIntyre, as he responds to the attack from three much smaller Nicks Dinsmore at NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III. He’s answered by the littlest Nick Dinsmore, Roderick Strong, who challenges him for the NXT Championship.
In all seriousness, I love this weird, excitable Drew McIntyre. At NXT Los Angeles he would hit a move, throw his head back so his hair whipped sweat everywhere and do these erratic little crotch chops that weren’t even crotch chops, he was just bumping the sides of his hands against his hips. He seems like a very large, very strong man who is on a lot of pre-workout all the time, and he’s doing the Neville thing where he’s too conscious of his accept so he ends up growling like a Dragon Ball character. I can picture Drew McIntyre trying to calmly drink a cup of coffee in the morning and just splashing it all over himself. And then SCREAMING ABOUT IT.
Roderick Strong being like 1/3 the size of McIntyre doesn’t seem to bother anyone but me, so all right. Between Drew’s hunched over threats and Roderick’s janky delivery of human dialogue, the opening segment felt like a Rick and Morty bit.
Rod wrestles Bobby Roode tonight, because Roode’s peacing out to go to Smackdown full-time and, if there’s a God, Gloriously DDT Dolph Ziggler straight into the Laugh Factory.
Best: Lars Attacks
I’m happy to be filling in on a weekly report just to say a few things I’ve been keeping to myself, the most important of which being, “this French Angel-looking motherfucker Lars Sullivan is THE SHIT.” It’s like William Regal signed Shrek to a contract and then pissed him off.
I also love that he’s like, an average dude with no impulse control trapped inside a monster’s body. Did you see that pre-match promo he did before attacking No Way Jose? He’s like me, if they put my body into a Frankenstein and let me punch people without getting in trouble. He’s my favorite.
Note: Regal also has to launch an investigation into an attack on SAnitY, whom he finds knocked out surrounded by a bunch of also knocked-out NPCs in the Full Sail parking lot. Hope it wasn’t the guys who showed up at the end of TakeOver and this show to attack people!
Best: And Speaking Of My Favorites, Here’s Peyton Royce
Precious resource Peyton Royce gets a win over Ruby Riot thanks to an absolutely buh-rutal kick to the face from Billie Kay. Seriously, look at this thing:
She calls that “Shades of Kay,” which barely works as wordplay. If she wanted a good name for it, she should’ve called it “Every Kick Beings With Kay.” Maybe that’s too long.
The interference is what it is, but at least it looked great, and it continues the very easy to like story of Ruby Riot being outnumbered and needing to find her own answer to the Iconic Duo. For more information, consult this Dot Com Exclusive on YouTube (cough) where Peyton and Billie tell backstage interviewer Teenage Lurch all about their plans.
Best: Compact, Is The Secret; Is The Moment, When Everything Happens!
This week’s second best use of trash behind Tyler Breeze espionage is Heavy Machinery using a two-man version of The Compactor to win their squash match. The two-man version is so much better.
The jobbers here are “Damien Aweel” and “Edwin Negron,” which I’m 90% sure were names of Doctor Who companions. All you need to know about them is that they looked like henchmen that’d be hanging out in a warehouse during a drug deal gone wrong, and that they weren’t sure if it was a handshake of a fist bump:
Before the match I guess Heavy Machinery were like, “we’re not going to stop Aweel, we’re going to BREAK Aweel.”
Best: Roode, Dog, And The Dweebs
The best match of the night, and quite possibly the best actual Bobby Roode match we’ve gotten in NXT so far, is Roode vs. Strong. This was a follow-up to Roode losing the NXT Championship at TakeOver, and Strong taunting him with the lamest blown kiss you’ve ever seen a human man attempt. It was like Lucille Bluth trying to wink.
This was the match it needed to be. They showed a lot of fire during the match, which NXT guys forget to do a lot of times when they’re supposed to “hate” each other, and while Roderick still kinda looks like someone playing as a child character in Big Head Mode, he’s got good chemistry with Roode. Too many of Roode’s NXT opponents have just kinda done their thing at him instead of with him. I’m not comparing him to Ric Flair by any stretch, but he’s like that. You get Dusty to work Ric Flair’s match with Ric Flair, it’s gonna be great. If Dusty wrestles Dusty’s match with Ric Flair, it’s not. Some guys just have a thing they do well. James Storm got that better than anyone, which is why he’s had literally all of Bobby Roode’s great matches.
It also works for the characters. Strong got his revenge and was a Real Man or whatever for his family, and Roode got his butt kicked on the way out.
Drew McIntyre shows up to taunt Roderick from the ramp like a goober, and Team ROH shows up to earn points with me by kicking his ass for it. C’mon, Drew, you basically laid out an open challenge and then got into the pomp and circumstance because one dude in a windbreaker stepped up? Tranquilo, tranquilo.
This sets up a good story for Roderick, by the way, the “will he or won’t he” surrounding him taking his natural spot as the Ole in a Four Horsemen of little kicky punch Ring of Honor guys. If he takes the spot, that faction gets an actual connection to NXT, and a member that “betrayed” the audience to give them a little heat, maybe? If he doesn’t, he’s DDP to the nWo, in the loosest possible use of those terms.
- Lars wrecking three dudes by himself
- Hideo Itami probably losing another match he’s got no business losing
- Andrade Almas looking into Cezar Bononi’s genetic lunchbox and finding a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with the crusts cut off
- Xavier making his 10,000th call to the Performance Center to mention he’s a former Ring of Honor Champion
- Me, maybe! Sorry!