– Over at The Mandible Claw, I devoted the first half of a podcast to my “WWE NXT and Chikara’s universes are connected” theory. I assume you’re interested in NXT (because you’re here), so go check that out and let me know what you think. Spoiler: the second half of the podcast is about Randy Orton’s penis.
– Likes, comments and shares are appreciated. Last week a guy called me a “joyless pessimist who shouldn’t be watching wrestling” for putting a lot of Worsts into an NXT column. The NXT COLUMN, the one where I’m usually called a fapping fanboy because I love everything and think everybody’s great. Share this around so I can have more weird reactions to get bent out of shape about!
– Here’s a link to this week’s show. Again, it’s free and you should be watching it. Although if you skip this week’s episode, I’m not gonna yell at you.
Please click through to enjoy the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for September 11, 2013.
Best: Enzo Amore’s Gear
I spent 20 minutes sitting here trying to think of something funnier to say than, “he looks like a lady’s underwear.”
The show opened with Enzo Amore and Big Cass going full B*A*P*S in a tag team match against Sylvester LeFort’s international team of fighting Legionnaires, and it, like Enzo, was a harmless little f*ck. Nothing much was accomplished, but the finish was interesting. Rusev and Dawson went for a Hart Attack version of Rusev’s spinning heel kick but they took too long to set it up, so the referee counted them out and disqualified them. I sorta like that, but the crowd had NO IDEA what had happened, because that NEVER HAPPENS. It’s like that “if you break up a pin more than once the referee will shoot DQ you” rule Harry Smith mentioned in an interview once and apparently everyone on the Internet but me knew about. Some things work better with precedent. I dunno, maybe this is to help set the precedent?
Also, if I had a dime for every time I liked this Enzo pre-match speech more than the last one, I’d have zero dimes. Although the idea of not being able to teach somebody how to be seven feet tall is pretty great. I guess he’s never seen the Radioactive Man movie episode of ‘The Simpsons.’
Worst: Mismatched Animal Print
Don’t do it. I haven’t been this bothered by mismatched clothing since Liv Tyler wore a red bra with white panties in Empire Records. It was Rex Manning Day, Liv, you knew you were gonna seduce him. It was premeditated! YOU HAD TIME TO PICK OUT AN OUTFIT.
Best: Look How Small That Referee Is
He’s like a nesting doll from inside Teddy Long.
Worst: Sorry, Brandon, None Of Your Favorites Are In This Episode
So yeah, one of the things I have to come to terms with on this week’s show is that the people I get all swoony about on NXT — Sami Zayn, Emma, Bayley, etc. — are nowhere to be found. Hell, Tyler Breeze only shows up in passing to forearm CJ Parker and bail. In their place are guys I find it difficult to get excited about, like Scott Dawson, Xavier Woods, Sasha Banks and so on. That makes the episode especially disappointing for me. That’s not helped by last week’s main-event, which was off-the-charts good.
The good news is that Paige shows up and Corey Graves doesn’t, so everything kinda balances out. Anyway, let’s talk about Bo Dallas.
Best: This Is Bo’s Show, And It’s A Bo-Nonsense Show!
1. considers himself a mentor to Sami Zayn
2. was only at ringside to cheer Zayn on against Jack Swagger
3. will happily give Zayn a non-title match when he’s healthy
4. will “be the first to sign” a petition requesting Sami Zayn get a title shot he doesn’t deserve otherwise
5. is still dressed like a Bee Gee
The only way this angle can end is with Bo falling off a skyscraper and exploding before he hits the ground.
Best: Renee Young Sells The Imaginary Flight Of An Invisible Bird
Believe it or not, my favorite single moment of the show involved CJ Parker. HOW DID I GET HERE.
CJP is backstage explaining his beef with Tyler Breeze to Renee Young, who has started differentiating her Raw ponytail from her NXT ponytail and don’t think I haven’t noticed. He uses one hand to illustrated Tyler Breeze, angry and stuck in stasis, and the other to illustrated CJ Parker, who is like a beautiful phoenix flying into the sun. He kinda bird-hands the hand into the air and he and Renee watch it fly away … then, in a moment of absolute comic brilliance, Renee also remembers TO SELL THE SUNLIGHT squints her eyes, loses sight of the bird and goes back to interviewing Parker without a word.
Renee sold imaginary sunlight. There needs to be some kind of legitimate, achievement-based Slammy Award so Renee can get it for being better at her job than anyone they’ve ever had.
Best: Sasha Banks Is Still History’s Worst Actor, But This Match Was Pretty Good
I’ve given Sasha Banks a lot of shit recently for having the acting ability of a trout and not being able to understand complete sentences, but she’s getting better in the ring and put on a nice little match with NXT Women’s Champion Paige. At one point she jumps up out of a knucklelock and turns it into a victory roll, and everyone watching went “oh shit, Sasha Banks” in unison.
At some point we’re gonna have to canonize Sara Del Rey for the work she’s done so far in WWE developmental. Yes, I know you can only canonize dead people, but you know, we might as well consider “Sara Del Rey” a dead person.
The stuff after the match wasn’t great because Sasha needs to be able to aptly communicate the feelings of a human being to a wrestling audience and she can’t do that ANYWHERE, but making her a finger-snapping Bella Twins-esque person is gonna get her a lot farther in WWE than trying to make her likable. If that doesn’t work, make her Curtis Axel’s girlfriend and get them over as a pair of Kevin and Brittany dolts who can barely walk upright and we love them for it.
Worst: Seriously Though, Holy Shit, Sasha Banks’ Acting
Look at her face. That’s “devious happiness.” That’s the face she used to describe feeling “totally awesome” after losing to Paige and attacking her from behind. She guffaws her way through some dialogue, then rests her head on Summer Rae’s boob. Even Summer’s like, “ehhh, okay” about it. Not sure where they’re going with this, unless they’re going to “everyone hates Sasha Banks.”
Worst: And Now, 15 Minutes Of Leo Kruger Doing An Armbar For No Reason
Last week I declared Corey Graves vs. Rick Victor the most boring match in NXT history, but man, Leo Kruger vs. Xavier Woods gave it a run for its money.
I’m not a big fan of Woods — he’s such an Impact Wrestling guy in style, wrestling and presentation I can’t get over it — but he’s usually fine in the ring. I like Kruger as a character and performer, but his wrestling’s always been a little shaky. So what do we do with them? Why, we have Kruger attack Woods backstage for no reason to set up a match in a week, have Kruger slowly (“methodically,” which is WWE code for “f*cking slowly”) work an armbar for almost 15 minutes, have Woods do nothing X-Division Exciting besides a headscissors or two and then boom, have Woods win the match with a clothesline and Gail Kim’s finisher. It was not great.
I really hate Woods’ “IT’S MORPHIN TIME” move for two reasons
1. they really have no idea what to do with Woods, because he’s a smart guy who is supposedly into 1990s pop culture but all he does is reference 90s things in passing en route to being STEREOTYPICAL WWE BLACK WRESTLER #1, with the afro and the James Brown split and the dancing. So sure, he’s yelling POWER RANGERS before he does a move, but what the f*ck does that have to do with Power Rangers, and
2. it involves using every part of his body, meaning no matter HOW the heel wrestles the match, Woods has to no-sell some kind of injury to make it work. He’s not gonna sell having his neck worked, because he’s got to flip on his neck for no reason. He can’t sell the leg, because he needs both of them to land out of a flip and jump again, when he could just run forward and hit a clothesline. He can’t sell the arm, because he uses the arm to hit the move. And you can’t do much of ANYTHING with an injured torso, but in WWE logic an injured torso only hurts you if you try to splash somebody with it.
And sure, Woods made sure to use the uninjured arm for the clothesline (and to his credit sold the arm when he was trying to hook Kruger’s leg for three), but he’s still getting his ass beaten for 20 minutes and doing neck flips. Can’t handle it. 20 MORE MINUTES OF ARMBAR, PLEASE.
Worst: The Show Ends With Xavier Woods Dancing And Yelling FONKAYYYY At The Camera
Please tell me Sami Zayn is on next week’s episode.