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Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for April 10, 2014.
Worst: Well, This Isn’t Getting Any Easier
I’ve spent all week writing about the Ultimate Warrior. I wrote about his Raw promo on Monday, his death announcement on Tuesday, the celebration of his life and career on Wednesday and the opinions of opportunistic vultures and Internet weirdos on Thursday. On NXT I got my first “in memory of” graphic.
I’m not sure I’ll ever truly know what to say when a guy who was once a Wrestling Buddy passes, but I’m glad WWE’s the only organization classy enough to call him by his name. He changed his name to WARRIOR. Everyone else is like “Jim Hellwig” or “James Hellwig” with a bunch of “professional known as the Ultimate Warriors” after it. The guy was WARRIOR. WARRIOR died. Respect the guy enough to give him that.
Worst: How Are You Supposed To Manage A Viral Chant Of The Entrance Music You Aren’t Using
This isn’t getting easier, either. Another Adam Rose match, another bastardized version of his entrance theme. They’re using it in the promo videos for his impending Raw debut so I guess they’re never paying up to use the real one and we’re never getting back our glorious World Goes Wild Woo.
The problem is that the soccer chant version of Rose’s original theme is still going. Wrestling crowds have really gotten into chanting theme songs lately … the NXT crowd is chanting Rose’s theme, crowds were chanting the Real Americans theme throughout WrestleMania weekend and New Orleans was singing and swaying to church songs in support of Bray Wyatt. Hell, at the Shimmer show on Mania weekend Leva Bates dressed up as Gambit and the crowd chanted the old X-Men cartoon theme. Don’t forget the sing-songy “John Cena sucks” catching on, too. The lasting legacy of Fandangoing seems to be the notion that we can sing something other than “na na na na hey hey hey goodbye” at wrestling shows.
My support for Adam Rose remains at 0%. I just can’t do it. It’s like meeting the man of my dreams, and then meeting his beautiful wife.
Best: The Oompa Loompa Parade Was Pretty Cool I Guess
It’s so easy to love you. WHY WON’T YOU LET ME LOVE YOU.
Worst: Watch Out, Devin Taylor, This Guy Is Literally An Underdog-Eating Forest Wolf!
Corey Graves had a quick backstage interview with Devin Taylor to discuss what happened with Sami Zayn’s brain (brayn?), and while it avoided some of the hilarious mixed metaphors and phrase misunderstandings from last week’s attempt, it had the creepiness cranked up to eleven. Graves starts the interview by telling Devin she’s cute and asking where they found her, and it’s probably the worst attempt ever at a Roman Reigns/Renee Young Baby Girl. I wish Devin’s response had been, “in a Hawaiian tropic catalog.”
Graves also loses infinity point for being the only pro-Barry Bonds guy from Pittsburgh. Corey’s the guy who’d come out in a Cleveland Browns shirt and be all I LOVE THE STEELERS, LOOK AT THEIR LOGO, IT’S BLAZE ORANGE, LIKE STEEL.
Best: Lotso vs. The Boss
I really enjoyed this week’s Divas match, pitting Bayley against Sasha Banks. I’m hoping this means Bayley can pick back up with her “I want revenge on Charlotte” storyline and not just ignore it forever. It’s such a copout. Why wouldn’t Bayley still be mad about that? Her lack of self confidence? Does she feel like Natalya showing up and beating Charlotte is good enough, because Bayley idolizes WWE Superstars and thinks that’s as good as it gets? Paige (or whoever) needs to shake her by the shoulders and be all, NO, KICK THAT GIRL’S ASS, BAYLEY.
Sasha’s strikes are a little iffy sometimes, especially when she starts clubbering, but the finishing sequence more than made up for it. If Sasha can start hitting moves with force she’ll be the best Diva they’ve got. As a follow-up note, I hope they never change her HIP-HOP #5 demo entrance theme.
I noticed something I really loved about Bayley, too, aside from all the other stuff — her ability to actually build momentum. I mean that literally. Watch when she hits the ropes. A lot of women run the ropes and just kinda touch them with their back because they aren’t fast and don’t have any weight behind it. Bayley actually builds up forward momentum and bounces off of the ropes. That doesn’t sound like a thing you should be praising someone for, but it’s an important and under-appreciated piece of being a great all-around wrestler.
Worst: Well This Isn’t Very Good
Mojo Rawley vs. Sylvester LeFort certainly isn’t a thing I want to see when I watch NXT. What happened to Enzo? I know he was hurt, but having him around was always a good time. I got that NXT roster poster at WrestleMania Axxess and dude’s not even on it. Mojo’s got a big picture and a spotlight, though.
As for LeFort, there is no way that guy should still exist after Lana was born from his brain fully-grown and brought up to Raw. The roster poster also features like 10 guys I’ve either never seen, haven’t seen in a year or only recognize from house show results. Can we bring one of THEM up instead of wasting time with LeFort? And if not, can we have a Diva accidentally sit down on a stripe of white paint and have it cause LeFort to chase her around trying to kiss her the entire show? Because that is seriously my Sylvester LeFort fantasy booking.
(I like to imagine that Mason Ryan watched this movie through a hole in the wall like Norman Bates in Psycho. The remake, with the gross noises added in.)
Best: Mason Doesn’t Get Hype, He Stays Hype
There was one good thing about Mojo’s squash:
Okay, that’s pretty endearing.
Worst: Why Can’t Brodus Clay Keep His Eyes Open When He Screams?
Brodus Clay shows up and powerbombs Sylvester LeFort, assumedly Muhammad Hassan’ing him, then cuts a promo about how Adrian Neville is a coward who won’t answer his challenges. This does a lot to establish Neville as a fighting champion who isn’t concerned about size differentials (good) and cements Brodus as a loudmouthed coward who probably doesn’t deserve the things he’s complaining about deserving (good?), but I couldn’t help but notice one thing … why can’t Brodus scream with his eyes open?
Watch the promo again. Look at that picture. Every time he raises his voice, he furrows his brow really hard and closes his eyes. Can Brodus not shout? Is this a learned thing? Is he trying not to sneeze?
Best: LOL Camacho
Best part of the show this week in a WALK was the re-debut of Oliver Grey, who you probably do not remember as Adrian Neville’s old tag team partner. He is Wrestling’s Hugh Grant. That’s his gimmick. He’s just a boy, standing in front of a girl, asking her to interview him about his return to NXT.
The reason this was the best part of the show is because THE BOY CAMACHO shows up out of nowhere cosplaying David Otunga, cutting a 100% unrelated to anything happening promo about how he hates Adam Rose. As he does this, he looks down and to the left, clearly reading from cue cards because I guess he couldn’t remember “Adam Rose is a poser and I’m gonna beat him up” without elaborate prompting. Grey’s all, “haha what,” and Camacho just purses his lips and wanders away, because he forgot his argyle coffee thermos and doesn’t have a prop to work with.
Best: Five Star Match Warning
The other, closer-to-an-actual-Best-Best moment of the show was (believe it or not) an appearance from The Great Khali. He shows up suddenly to stand uncomfortably close to Devin Taylor and starts putting over NXT hard, talking about how this is his first time at NXT and all he’s heard is great things. Then, BAYLEY. Bayley wanders up and hugs him for no reason, saying that she wanted to know what it felt like to hug him and commenting that he’s “a little slippery.” She then starts making out for how tall he is and I want to hug them both.
And then if that wasn’t enough, CJ Parker shows up with a f*cking wind sock on his head and yells “PLEASE TELL ME THAT YOU RECYCLE!” That leads to a confrontation that sets up a Parker/Khali match for next week — an absolute BURNER OF BARNS — and Parker’s reason for accepting the fight is wonderful: “judging by the size of ya I’d say you produce about three tiiimes the amount of human waste as the average wandering generality out there in the NXT universe.” You are delightfully weird, CJ Parker.
Khali starts talking and nobody understands him, so Bayley volunteers to translate, as she’s been “taking Punjabi lessons.” Devin Taylor’s sell of this is AMAZING, because it’s the exact facial response you’d have if a mental 8-year old told you they’re balls deep in a foreign tongue. Khali offers an adorable, “thank you for translating!” as they walk away.
Somewhere offscreen, Camacho stares at their knees.
Best: The Bo Movement
And now, our poor hearts break.
Bo Dallas shows up and decides he’s gonna pull a Daniel Bryan, asking the NXT fans to file into the ring in support of him and LET THEIR VOICES BE HEARD about how Bo deserves another title shot. The entire crowd turns its back on him. Even the people in Bo shirts. Bo flips out, drops to his knees and starts screaming about how he was always there for the fans and gave them cookies that one time.
This is magical. It’s also the perfect ending to Bo’s character arc on NXT. He’s finally realized that his defense mechanisms have all been false, and that the people he’d lied to himself about finally got through to him. He’s NOT beloved. Bo-loved. Whatever. The chants aren’t in support of him. They’re saying boo, not Bo. Even though he did one nice thing for them once. It’s Bray Wyatt’s character arc in reverse.
Best: Wait, JBL Is Still The GM?
“You don’t have enough people to occupy a see-saw in that ring!”
That’s funny but HEY THIS IS THE FIRST TIME YOU’VE SHOWED UP TO WORK IN LIKE THREE MONTHS, JBL, WE HAD AN NXT PAY-PER-VIEW AND EVERYTHING. TRIPLE H HAD TO DO YOUR JOB FOR YOU. They should’ve just had Dusty Rhodes come out to make the main event and be all “I don’t remember NOTHIN’ about the fall and winter, daddy!”
Worst: Not A Great Way To Spend Your TV Time, Justin Gabriel
1. JBL dropped a little foreign language into his introduction of Justin Gabriel. Did NXT get a free trial of Rosetta Stone or something?
2. I got excited when I realized Justin Gabriel was in the main. Regular readers may know that I have a huge soft spot for the NXT season 1 crew and about 10% of my internal monologue during WWE shows is Nexus reunion fantasy booking. That Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal almost shorted me out. But yeah, this even happens on NXT. Mason Ryan is there! He was in the New Nexus! BE HIS FRIEND, JUSTIN, LET THOSE OLD CORRE RIVALRIES GO.
3. The match was a 2-minute squash dragged out for 10 minutes. I have no idea why. It’s certainly not a great use of Justin Gabriel’s fleeting TV time, and it doesn’t help Bo, because the crowd clearly doesn’t like or take him seriously and he’s gonna be on Raw in a few weeks. So … we couldn’t have done this in five and edited something else into the show? The worst part of NXT is knowing my favorite guys are only on like, one out of every four episodes.
4. Justin Gabriel should start feuding with Adam Rose. Because he doesn’t really like flowers, but he likes the rose, which is an English flower, right?