– Here’s a link to this week’s episode.
– If you enjoy the Best and Worst of WWE NXT, make sure you’re reading our ongoing retro recap of season 1. I didn’t get a chance to put up a new edition this week because of real-life obligations, but it’ll be back on Monday. This is your only reliable source of Carlito jokes on UPROXX, guys.
Please click through to enjoy The Best and Worst of WWE NXT for January 1, 2014.
Best: Bayley Gets Serious
The first match on this week’s show was also its best, a quick one-on-one match between Bayley and Summer Rae, because I guess Charlotte died on the way back to her home planet.
This is the kind of match I’ve been waiting for since I became a Bayley fan. She’s still “Bayley,” still innocent and walking out arm-in-arm with Natalya and desperately wanting hugs from everybody, but she’s also smart enough and enough of a functional adult to deal with her problems and pro wrestle the shit out of people. Summer tries to lure her in with another hug offer and headband goof, and Bayley acts like she really wants it, but ultimately knows Summer is full of crap and tricks her back. The finish of the match is Summer going for a spin kick but Bayley hanging onto the ropes, then going straight into a suplex the announcers call a “Belly-to-Bayley,” which is about a billion times better a name than the Hugplex. And the Hugplex is a good name.
In theory now Bayley has decisively beaten the First Lady of NXT in the middle of the ring and should be getting her shot against Charlotte. Bayley has the skills and the impulse control to beat her now — because frankly Charlotte’s a worse and less-experienced version of Summer Rae — and can be positioned as a legitimate challenger to the NXT Women’s Championship. Paige and Emma aren’t gonna be around forever, you know.
Worst: This Announce Team, But I’m Not Going To Dwell On It
I could fill up 10 pages with announce team Worsts, but I’m going to boil it down to one: William Regal, Tensai, Renee Young and Brad Maddox are nowhere to be found this week, so it’s just an indistinguishable three-man booth of Michael Cole-esque guys who won’t stop barely knowing wrestling information and yelling things. Not a good look, guys, but I guess if you’re in training to become the choads we see on Raw and Smackdown you’re on the right track.
Worst: Ah Crap I Thought You’d Left
Somebody give Devin Taylor a “fake geek girl” gimmick so pro wrestling can have TWO people who think “Over 9000” is a thing Imgur came up with.
Best: Tyler Breeze Is Adorable And I Want To Protect Him From Mean People
This is my new favorite non-Bo Dallas exchange:
“Tell you what, Breeze. You like to play games, eh?”
“No I hate them.”
“…. welp, I like them, and I’m gonna play one right now. It’s called The Waiting Game.”
“UGH THE WORST ONE”
“It’s a good one!”
“I hate it.”
“Listen, I could give you a facelift right now with me fist.”
“DON’T DO IT”
That’s how good Tyler Breeze is. Adrian Neville has no idea what words mean and can barely say the ones he remembers, but Breeze’s totally in-character (and adorable) responses tie it together. Neville could’ve just said “purple monkey dishwasher” and I would’ve sat here with my eyes all big waiting to hear Breeze interrupt him.
The entire segment doesn’t make any sense, but in the good way. Breeze cost Neville his match against Bo, so now he’s standing nearby enough to interrupt Neville’s interviews, but with his back turned so he doesn’t have to see his face, and his entire plan was to call and say “wrong number” but still be RIGHT THERE WHERE EVERYBODY COULD SEE HIM? And he clearly wants to start something and get into a fight, but he’s terrified of getting hit, but he’s so into this conversation and will answer all of Neville’s statements on a line-by-line basis. I don’t understand it and Tyler Breeze is the greatest.
And yes, I’m calling Neville “The Man That Mother Nature Forgot To Make Good Looking” for the rest of his life.
Worst: Aiden English Is Repeating His Songs Already
Oh, so that’s how you make me not like him.
Worst: I Want To Get All Cattywampus On Whoever Made These GEICO Commercials
I will pay 100% more in car insurance to avoid ever knowing or working with the people who’re responsible for 90 of the 100 commercials I see. GEICO should start selling pizza and Popeye’s chicken and control everything.
Best: Welcome Back, Xavier Woods
I need to stop being so worried. I’m in love with the “minor leagues” or wrestling, so when a guy like Kofi Kingston shows up to compete with the non-rostered guys, my Internet-ruined brain goes “HE’S GONNA GO OVER, I HATE THIS, GIVE THE NEW GUYS A CHANCE.” But NXT is a magical place where everything works and everything’s happy, so that’s rarely what happens. Kofi just gets trucked and eaten by Alexander Rusev, just like Enzo Amore might, and it’s fine.
So Xavier Woods shows up and I think, “ugh, he’s a Raw guy now so he’s just gonna kill whoever he wrestles because they want us to like him,” but NOPE, LOL times a hundred because here he is getting trucked and eaten by Alexander Rusev. Yes, like Enzo Amore might.
Worst: Okay, I’m Dwelling On It
Both Colin Cassady vs. Aiden English and Tyson Kidd vs. Baron Corbin were solid matches, but I got so distraught listening to commentary that I couldn’t properly enjoy them. English’s neckbreaker looked good for the first time ever, but the announce team’s there going GET THIS GUY THE HOOK. Kidd/Corbin was worse, because it involved this exchange, which I had to listen to about 10 different times to confirm as verbatim. To provide context, Tyson Kidd did a Buff Blockbuster to win the match. Then, this happened. Italics indicate the moment when his voice starts breaking, so he just starts yelling louder and faster.
“YA I WAS TALKING TO HIM IT WAS LIKE, MAN YOU’RE SO CREATIVE IN THE RING YOU COME UP WITH DIFFERENT STUFF ALL THE TIME AND THIS IS ONE OF THOSE MOVES WE’RE TAKING A LOOK AT, IT’S ALMOST A FLOATOVER NECKBREAKER I WAS LIKE MAN TYSON TELL ME PLEASE I’M A JOURNALIST WHAT DO YOU CALL THAT and he goes it’s Tyson’s, Twisting, Neck Destroyer, Device, so just as creative with the name as he is in the ring.”
The real exchange was:
“MAN TYSON PLEASE I’M A JOURNALIST WHAT DO YOU CALL THAT”
“What, have you never seen a Buff Blockbuster before? Buff Bagwell used to do it.”
“I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE SAYING MAN WHAT’S THAT MOVE”
“have you ever watched wrestling before”
“YES ONCE WITH THE MIZ, HEY YOU SHOULD CALL IT TYSON’S TWISTING NECK DESTROYER DEVICE”
“yeah I’ll get right on that”
Worst: The Match Was Okay, But I’m Never Taking Baron Corbin Seriously
More than anyone in NXT, Baron Corbin looks like a guy who barely got trained to wrestle but is main-evening at your local independent show because he’s tall and has muscles. Here is a list of ways I’d improve Baron Corbin:
1. Stop calling him “Baron Corbin”
2. Maybe call him “Derrick Cannon”
3. If you’re gonna keep calling him Baron, make his finish “The Red Wings.”
Worst: The Bikes Are Back
Hunico and Camacho are back to riding luxury low-rider bikes again, because they are Mexican, and at least they aren’t riding lawn mowers. And by “they are Mexican” I mean ONE of them is Mexican. Does Tonga have any signature thug vehicles? Maybe Hunico can push Camacho out in a wheelbarrow next time.
Worst: Do We Have A Ghost Announcer? What’s Going On?
NXT’s been switching Divas in and out as ring announcer and only show them selectively so I never quite can tell who’s announcing, but this week it sounded like somebody at Full Sail had forgotten to get the ring announcer audio and got somebody to do it last minute over Skype. The audio doesn’t seem to fit, you never see anybody announcing the wrestlers and the lady announcing sounds so disinterested it actually made me consider this entire paragraph. They should figure out how to get Siri to announce the shows.
“Sorry, I don’t understand ‘Monaco and Camacho from Mexico.’ Would you like me to do a web search?”
Best/Worst: The First Ever NXT Tornado Match
A tag team match with “tornado” rules means one of two things:
1. Kerry Von Erich is in it
2. There are no tags and everybody’s in the ring at the same time
These can be a little iffy, because the rules are what make tag team wrestling work. The hot tag, those gags where the referee holds back the good guy and doesn’t see the bad guys cheating, keeping your opponent on your half of the ring … all of those things are what fundamentally create drama in a tag match. When everybody’s in the ring at once, that’s all out the window, and it’s basically a battle royal with four guys. It’s weird. They work sometimes, but usually only if they’re really crazy, and everybody’s fighting everywhere or the two one-on-one pairings are far enough apart to tell two independent stories.
This was just a hell of a lot of guys pairing off in the corners and punching. It got kinda exciting near the finish, but it still didn’t work. Watch how long it takes Hunico and Camacho to set shit up. Camacho tried to bounce off the ropes at least three times before Hunico was ready with his Young Bucks-style rope separation. The Ascension aren’t exactly the Hardy Boyz either, so what should’ve been a rough, brutal brawl just played as … well, nothing. No drama, no nothing.
Ah well. The “we want Pitbulls” chant was pretty funny at least. (Sorry guys, it ain’t happening.)