– IMPORTANT THING TO READ: I was at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin all weekend so I’ve got “festival sickness,” which is a lot like regular sickness only part of it had to suffer through The Misfits. What I’m getting at is that I’m under the weather and downed about 3/4 of a bottle of cough syrup, so if the report gets wonky or hyper-emotional I apologize in advance.
– The Best and Worst series of reports now has a handy “share this” button, which makes not being a bastard and taking two seconds out of your life to promote my work easier than ever. I’m a blogger! You have to do my work FOR me!
– Here’s a link to this week’s episode. You have 2-out-of-3 chances to get though the episode in one sitting, and you’ve already lost one to a Corey Graves chopblock. SORRY.
Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for November 11, 2013.
Worst: This Is The Week Where We’re Mean To Bayley
Last week’s episode featured an ominous segment where Summer Rae and Sasha Banks acted suspiciously nice to Bayley in an effort to (I guess) make Charlotte mad, and with the announcement of Charlotte and Bayley vs. Summer and Sasha in a tag match for this week, pretty much every sign in existence pointed to NXT’s most adorable character getting the … uh, raw end of the deal. Pun intended?
This was my list of acceptable ways for the match to end:
1. Bayley going “bad” but still being Bayley in a Sandy from Grease situation
2. Charlotte turning on Bayley because she’s a Flair, and the Flairs are all disreputable scumbags
3. Charlotte and Sasha having a “when doves cry” moment where they realize they’re the color-swapped versions of the same character
4. Bayley hugging everyone and everyone deciding to be friends
Anything other than that can go straight to Hell.
I’m sad they didn’t go with #4 (or #1, frankly, because Bay could wear the f*ck out of some high-waisted leather=look leggings), but happy they went with #2, because I really didn’t want to go to Hell. It makes the most sense. I wrote about how weird it was that Bayley’s only friend was this up-looking snobby lady who kept being catty and sarcastic and telling her not to touch her, so Charlotte maintaining that character and being the Voldo Tamina Snuka of the BFFs is a good call. The Flairs should never be good guys. They are the worst of the worst. They pay off referees and skip out on alimony payments and hang out with Crowbar and do clonazepam and alprazolam.
My only other sincere Worst is in asking, “who can Bayley go to for support?” There aren’t really any other Divas like her in NXT. Paige is a mean-spirited hothead, Emma is self-obsessed and doesn’t take anything seriously … Bayley’s got a passionate innocence that really alienates her from modern wrestling’s cesspool of babyface assholes. Unless Mojo Rawley’s gonna start Earthquaking Divas, Bayley might have to go it alone.
Best: This Week’s Commentary
It was thorough, interesting and informative. Occasionally funny. William Regal was there, and Alex Riley wasn’t. Who among us could’ve figured out that magical formula?
Worst: LOL Camacho
Welcome back, sweet prince.
I know I’ve joked a lot about how illogically offensive the Los Matadores gimmick is for dressing up two Puerto Rican dudes as Spanish bull fighters because brownish folks are all the same, but we don’t talk enough about Camacho being a Tongan-American guy from Florida who gets packaged as a Mexican gang-banger.
The guy stomps around the ring in khaki pants yelling Rosa Mendes Spanish as the announcers CANNOT SHUT UP about how Mexican he is. “He’s from Mexico!” “Yes, he spends his vacations in Mexico, also!” “Some of his FRIENDS are Mexican, Mr. Regal!” etc. If Camacho was on Raw, Michael Cole would never shut up about how they’re both super Mexican.
Best: The Artiste
Aiden English, of course, is great. I was reading earlier this week about how English gets the heat he’s supposed to get at NXT house shows, and at first I was like, “what f*cking plebe doesn’t like Aiden English,” but then I thought about it, and about how important NXT house shows must be to the development of a WWE wrestler.
At Full Sail, you’ve got an ECW-ish audience of a few hundred regulars who show up and go nuts for the asinine shit they can’t get on Raw. It’s why Emma got over so huge for dancing badly and f*cking up her ring entrance. It’s why Tyler Breeze is suddenly a cult hero, and why Aiden English doing everything he can to be the most obnoxious person in the world gets him a bigger round of applause week after week. If that was all you ever knew in developmental, you’d show up on Raw in front of 14,000 people who can’t read and wish you were the Road Dogg and your career would just collapse in on itself.
Visits to house shows give you an extremely small sample of that crowd, so when you’re at Full Sail you can get buck-naked and wallow around in admiration, but you’re prepared to do the actual things that work in wrestling in front of people who paid more than $10, didn’t just wander over from A.V. club and stop to laugh at the irony, and are prepped and ready to fire with every horrible slur you can imagine.
Best: Lana’s New Talk Show Segment, The DANGER ZONE
Has Alexander Rusev always had that Bulgaria tattoo? Why haven’t I made fun of him for that yet?
Anyway, Lana and Rusev had a short backstage thing at least 100 miles away from Renee Young where they speak (I’m assuming) Bulgarian and make some pro graps threats. The thing I took away from it is that when Lana speaks a foreign language she sounds like a character from ‘Game Of Thrones’ when they’re forced to speak some made-up language, and they’ve practiced it phonetically and it BASICALLY sounds right, but it still sounds like they’re reading it off the back of a fortune cookie fortune.
Worst: The Mason Ryan Push-speriment Is Still Going On
Mason Ryan got a quick win over Danny Burch, and the announcers are like SOMETHING BIG’S GONNA HAPPEN FOR THIS MAN SOON, and in the background you could basically hear Tensai doing the exaggerated collar tug. Some guys look like beautiful gigantic porno Adonises, folks, it doesn’t mean they’re good at wrestling or capable of lifting another human without him jumping as hard as he can. Mason Ryan would’ve been the Kingshit of F*ck Mountain if he’d come up during that La Resistance era when every third dude was an oily, hairless WBF star.
The thing I noticed here is that Mason Ryan and Aiden English — two extremely, extremely different men — have the same finisher. Ryan makes a bunch of torture rack gestures and yells I’M GONNA BREAK HIM or whatever, then just hits him with a cobra clutch slam, aka The One And Only. English does the exact same move, he just turns his hips to the side when he does it. They wrestled in back-to-back matches.
I know y’all can’t really Steiner Screwdriver folks anymore, what with all the concussions and the child horseplay deaths and all, but at least rotate your 8 acceptable finishers around so they don’t bump into each other like this.
Best: FIREWORKS ARE GOING OFF IN THE BACKGROUND OF THIS GRAPHIC, or
Best: Next Week’s Gonna Be Awesome
… but you misspelled, “Bo-mecoming.”
This HAS to be a video they’re gonna use to hype her showing up on Raw in a few months, right? It has to be. Unless a bunch of production guys got together and were like, “lol how can we make Emma seem kinda like Hitler,” a basic, brand-heavy reintroduction of her catchphrases has to be for the main show crowd.
The sad thing is that if they hype her up as this egotistical dancing dictator lady and have her mess up her skin-the-cat ring entrance to garner sympathy and support like on NXT, it’s gonna result in exactly one night of “who is this shitty wrestler who botched her own entrance, botch botch botch.” Then suddenly Emma is Lady Sin Cara and nobody gets it.
Best, I Guess?: Adrian Neville vs. Corey Graves, 2-Out-Of-3 Falls
Maybe it’s the cough medicine talking, but I went into this expecting it to be the worst, most boring thing ever, and it was actually pretty good. I use “actually pretty good” on a sliding scale like the one you might use to describe Nikki Bella getting both feet up on a dropkick.
It played out like a GLOW match. If you haven’t watched a lot of GLOW (what is WRONG with you?), nobody sells anything. They aren’t in the business of selling. They just take turns winning. Daisy will bodyslam Babe the Farmer’s Daughter or whatever, and Babe will act hurt, but then Babe will do a monkeyflip and pose and everything’s fine. That’s how this one played out. In the first fall, Adrian Neville just straight-up did all his signature moves to Graves and pinned him with little-to-no effort. The second fall was Corey Graves pretending the first fall never happened, doing all his moves to Neville and submitting him with little-to-no effort. GLOW match.
And honestly? It kinda worked. Graves and Neville aren’t Zayn and Cesaro (by a long shot) (by the longest possible shot), so they aren’t gonna build this exciting dynamic out of what they’re doing in the ring and tear the roof off the place. Their best case scenario is to competently wrestle a match they’re comfortable wrestling, and they did that to the best of their abilities. Sure, the crowd sat on their hands the entire time and chanted for Tyler Breeze, and sure, Neville only seemed to sell the leg between moves (kick with the bad leg, touch the leg for a second, jump up and down on the bad leg, touch the leg for a second, and so on), but I’m literally the only guy in the WWE Universe expecting Kawada, so they were fine.
Best: AND THE CROWD GOES POLITE!
Try to find the most and least interested person in this photo:
At least you got a standing ovation from those four guys.