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Please click through to enjoy the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for October 9, 2013.
Best: Antonio Cesaro Does His Best To Get Leo Kruger Over As A Cool, Tough Guy By Being The Coolest, Toughest Guy
Leo Kruger matches are never fantastic but Antonio Cesaro matches are, and Cesaro deserves some sort of pro wrestling Nobel Prize for his work in the field of trying to get Leo Kruger over.
The match result was actually really surprising to me in its realism, with Cesaro spending almost the entire post-break fight beating Kruger up and choking him out, then pinning him. The story is that Cesaro kept mauling him and Kruger kept staying in there, but he never got a big hope spot and hit a bunch of lariats to make you think he was gonna win. He just … loses well? I’m not sure how to phrase it, but I think Cesaro’s look of shocked respect after the match — and his decision to take a cheap shot on the guy for MAKING him having a look of shocked respect — did more for Kruger’s ambience than a thousand kick-outs.
I’m excited to see where Antonio Cesaro ends up in a few years because it feels like everybody has figured out that he’s an exceptional athlete who can do things nobody else can do and wants to cheer him for it. By this time next year I expect the people leaving “rael americans fags wrestling so bad” YouTube comments to be wearing Cesaro shirts while he yells HEY on Raw, UFOs Brodus Clay every week and is more famous for some stupid idiosyncrasy instead of anything he actually adds to wrestling. I will be okay with that, meaning I absolutely will not be okay with that but I’ll be happy that he’s happy and famous and rich. Worst case scenario, WWE never picks up on it and I get to see him Swiss Death Kobald at National Pro Wrestling Day or whatever.
Best: Santana Garrett
Charlotte had a nice, quick little match against Florida-area wrestler Santana Garrett, who you may remember from her stint in TNA as the F in Orlando Jordan’s MMF relationship or from her work in SHINE, the Skipper to SHIMMER’s Barbie. I got to see her wrestle at SHINE 11 when I was in the area for an NXT taping and my two lasting impressions were “she’s gotten a lot better” and “she is too pretty to be standing beside me.” Also she was selling Santana Brand Headbands at the merch table, which is adorable.
Anyway, she’s good, and I love that both she and Charlotte really look like ATHLETES in addition to wrestlers. I don’t think every wrestler needs to look like they can kick my ass in real life (because wrestling is not real, and fiction allows for unbelievable things to be contextually believable), but it helps. Santana should probably have a permanent job at Full Sail, if only to give Sara Del Rey a break from trying to teach Jojo how to do a forward roll without paralyzing herself.
Worst: Charlotte’s Finisher
That said, Charlotte’s finisher is … not working. If you haven’t seen it before, she sorta flips over you and does a cutter. Like John Cena’s old “Throwback” move combined with the RKO. Here it looked especially bad, when the six-ish foot Charlotte trying to do a flip over the not-six-foot Santana while she was on all fours and drive her face into the mat, but there was barely enough room between Santana’s head and the mat for Charlotte’s arm to even fit in there, so it whiffed and hit with the impact of an Eva Marie bump.
If you’re gonna stick with that move, make sure the person’s at least sitting up (or backed into the corner, Diamond Dust style) before you try it. Too bad The Miz yanked the figure-four leg lock, that’d be the easiest and most logical move for her to win with. But what do I know, they think Curtis Axel needs a shitty facebuster instead of the Perfect Plex.
Worst: Speaking Of Curtis Axel
During the match, Alex Riley (the horrible, horrible Alex Riley) kept making a big deal about how much of an honor it must be for Santana to get a match in NXT and “already” get to face Ric Flair’s daughter. Charlotte’s had what, three matches? If she was wrestling FLAIR, sure, it’d be an honor, but wrestling Nick Hogan doesn’t mean you’ve been in the ring with the Hulkster. Did Alex Riley get into the ring with Michael McGillicutty and be all WOW, YOU BRIEFLY LIVED IN MR. PERFECT’S NUTSACK, WHAT A PRIVILEGE?
Worst: You’re Still Acting, Sasha Banks
During the match Summer Rae and Sasha Banks wander out to the ring to add some facetious LayCool-style cheering and jump Charlotte after the match. They deliver a quick promo about how they’ve given themselves nicknames, hitting a borderline Christopher Daniels/Kazarian vibe (I’m gonna start calling them SHE-GO) before namedropping Paige, summoning her and getting into a fight with both Paige and Emma.
This is all well and good, but man, we have got to create situations where Sasha Banks isn’t forced to stand there and react to other peoples’ sentences. I got distracted by how much it looks like she’s wearing veneers. Is she wearing TWO sets of veneers? Her head and body are so petite but her eyes and her teeth are so big it looks like a larger person is trying to escape from inside of her. She’s a beautiful girl, don’t get me wrong, she just the worst facial expressions and body language and may or may not be cross-eyed. For the love of God, get the Kanye glasses on her as soon as possible.
Best: STAY HYPE (WHILE I TROUNCE THIS JOBBER WITH MY ASSHOLE)
Mojo Rawley gets his gimmick. If you haven’t seen him yet, his gimmick is that he is EXTREMELY INTO THIS. That’s it. He’s turned up all the way all the time and won’t stop screaming and posting and yelling YEAHHH and throwing his fists in the air. He’s a Big Fat Party Animal from a college sex romp comedy in the stupid giant jock from that same movie’s body. It works, and it’s hard not to cheer along with him when he WILL NOT STOP CHEERING FOR HIMSELF UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
And yo, his finisher is the Earthquake. He’s so hyped that his rectum is CLENCHED and can be used to cause EXTREME DAMAGE.
Worst: Alex Riley, Again
The only downside to the match, aka the only downside to most NXT matches, was Alex Riley once again pretending like we’ve never seen this dude before. Remember last week when Sami Zayn came out dressed as El Local, a thing they specifically set up on the previous episode to make it matter, and Riley just deadpanned, “I have never seen this man before in my life?” Yeah, I guess Riley wasn’t around for that SummerSlam Axxess video they showed about 40 times a month and a half ago where Mojo teamed up with Xavier Woods and they identify him by name several times.
But nah it’s cool man, go study your Miz tapes. As a guy who writes on the Internet and isn’t paid by WWE to talk about wrestling on TV I can handle the history and the logic and the reasons for everything.
Worst: So How Many Matches Are In This Cass/Enzo vs. Rusev/Dawson Best-Of Series
I’m so tired of watching Enzo Amore and Colin Cassidy wrestle Sylvester LeFort’s team that I can’t even give a Best to EnCo’s pre-match speech, which involved them singing the theme to ‘Cheers.’
One of my least favorite things about modern wrestling feuds is how people who have an issue with each other can only wrestle each other. Back in the day if Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes had a beef, they’d wrestle normal matches against unrelated people en ROUTE to their big showdown … they’d build interest based on stories and statements. Nowadays they’d develop a beef, wrestle in the same night, wrestle on the next show, wrestle on the next show and then have a pay-per-view match that didn’t end definitively so they’d start over. It’s obnoxious and makes me tired of watching wrestling. I feel like I’m just watching reruns for three months.
It’s also not fair to the wrestlers, especially wrestlers in development, because unless Enzo Amore’s prospective WWE career is “lose to Alexander Rusev every week,” what exactly is he learning? It wouldn’t kill you do to Enzo vs. Zayn one week randomly because, you know, wrestling is supposed to be a sport and a job. The Red Sox play the Astros sometimes, guys, they don’t just play the Yankees 162 games a season.
Best: So Many Bests
Sami Zayn did a quick backstage interview with Renee Young about how happy he is to be the number one contender, and good God I enjoyed this. Let me give you a quick rundown of Bests, because there are too many:
1. Sami Zayn continues to be WWE’s most reasonable and likable babyface, expressing sincere joy that his INCEPTION PLOT to briefly cover his face and win the number one contendership by doing so worked out. Plus, he’s wearing a Rancid shirt.
2. Bo Dallas is SHIT OUTTA PLANS and shows up to whimper about how badly his feelings were hurt and offer a second option: he and Sami team up and go after the tag team championships so he doesn’t have to defend his belt. Bo as a coward who won the belt off a guy who won’t be around anymore and though he was in the clear but is terrified of an irresistible force coming his way is amazing, especially since Bo’s read of every line is “betrayed 3-year old girl.”
3. Bo yelling UN-BO-LIEVABLE at what’s transpired. He’s hurt, but he’s so into name wordplay that he’s just doing it naturally. <3
4. Renee Young's face. It's a nice face, but it also possesses the ability to perfectly encapsulate what it's looking at. For example, here's Renee's face telling you everything you need to know about Bo Dallas.
Best in the world.
Worst: The CM Punk “Best Since Day One” Commercial
Speaking of Best In The World (I am such a good writer!), the commercials for Punk’s new BEST SINCE DAY ONE shirt really bother me. The idea is that it feature all of Punk’s shirts up until this point, you know, to suggest that he’s been in the Best in the World since he showed up. The problem is that they start with the Money in the Bank shirt, the white Best in the World one, and work their way up.
That’s not “day one” of anything. It’s not day one of him calling himself the Best in the World, unless you wanna include that Stone Cold Steve Austin shirt in the commercial. It’s not day one of his title reign, because he doesn’t HAVE the title anymore, unless you want the shirt to say BEST DURING DAYS ONE THROUGH DAY 434. It’s not day one of his WWE run. THIS is day one of his WWE run:
And that’s not accurate when you show it during an episode of NXT, the only WWE thing that regularly admits a developmental system exists. Was Punk not the Best in the World from that day in OVW when he wrestled Danny Inferno? I’ve seen Punk’s DVD, I know you guys have the footage to make that commercial really cool.
Worst: See That Chinlock? That’s The Only Offense Aiden English Got
The main event was Rob Van Dam more or less squashing Aiden English. That’s fine. Aiden’s only been “around” for a few weeks, and as much as I love his songs about being a sports entertainer in the 21st century and his Dudley Do-Right voice, I wouldn’t expect him to beat a 17-year popular veteran. If Zayn can’t beat Cesaro in the blowoff and Ohno can’t beat Regal, of course the Digivolved Marion Fontaine isn’t gonna beat RVD.
I’m just sad that The Shield and the Wyatt Family are both out of NXT now and the match just ended with a frog splash and posing instead of RVD’s head on a spike, but eh, what can you do.