– We’re five episodes into our retro Best and Worst recap of NXT season 2, so check that out. Husky Harris runs an obstacle course soon and you should probably see that.
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Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for May 8, 2014.
Best: I Am Probably Giving Rich Brennan A Complex
Two weeks ago I wrote three unnecessarily venomous paragraphs and a numbered list about new NXT play-by-play man Rich Brennan asking dumb questions and not knowing how a figure four works. If you missed it (and don’t have the finger strength to click that link), Charlotte wrapped her legs around Emma’s neck and Rich said it was a “figure four but on the different half of the body.” The suggestion being that any time you cross your legs, you’re doing a figure four. My retort was basically, “Sharon Stone was not doing a figure four to her vagina in Basic Instinct, Rich.”
Anyway, Rich returns this week with the permanent (?) broadcast team of himself, Jason Albert and Renee Young, and when Charlotte pops on the leg scissors again, he calls it, “that headlock … or that necklock!”
I would like to formally use this space to apologize to Rich for nitpicking him to death on his first show, and I will try not to dissect every semantic disagreement I have with his job performance. Hell, I don’t want to pulling NO THAT’S NOT A BELLY-TO-BACK SUPLEX RICH IT’S A SAITO for months until the guy’s babbling incoherently trying to call wrestling matches and drinking himself to death.
Best: Emma’s ‘Emmaginative Treats’
Renee continues to do that troubling thing where she’s an enjoyable, affable color commentator until she’s asked to talk about women, then flips a switch and can’t stop saying things like WOMEN CAN’T ACTUALLY BE FRIENDS THEY’RE SECRETLY HATEFUL MONSTERS. It’s weird. I don’t know why she does it, unless she’s still unable to remove the Raw announce team stink you get from being on too many episodes of the JBL and Cole Show.
The (strange) highlight of Renee’s Divas commentary this week is her mentioning Emma’s ‘Emmaginative Treats.’ They’re “protein-packed brownies, chocolate and peanut butter,” and they give Emma the energy she needs to be competitive. Theory: those things are laced with a ton of drugs.
Think about it. Emma is vapid, clumsy, obsessed with bubbles and carrying around a glittery gender-specific snake puppet in her boot because her insane, nationalistically-phony boyfriend convinced her hitting your arm in the right places turns it into an actual snake. Furthermore, later on this same episode of NXT, Renee Young takes an “of COURSE I’ve been on the bus” stance in her relationship with Adam Rose, the most clearly On Drugs guy in wrestling. Dude eats Dum Dums and plays Hungry Hungry Hippos with man-sized rabbits. Is Rose Emma’s hookup and Renee’s the middleman, or is it the other way around?
Wait, has Adam Rose ALWAYS been Adam Rose? Did he just have a bad trip and convince himself he was a South African big game hunter for like two years?
Best: Emma Acts Like A Raw Diva And Pays The Price
I haven’t clearly established it in a paragraph yet, but this week’s opening match was the first round NXT Women’s Championship tournament showdown between Emma, the heavy favorite given her success in the previous tournament, and Charlotte, the other heavy favorite because she’s the only one with an obvious storyline.
The match isn’t as good as last week’s Bayley vs. Sasha showdown, but it’s solid. Charlotte’s shown a lot of improvement lately by cutting back on the ridiculousness of her moveset in favor of being a (comparatively) giant Flair who can stiff-arm you in the face. That’s what we need to see from her. A lot of throwing her weight around, peppered with some Flair flops or being launched off the top rope by her crotch. Gotta keep the “Flair” part in the foreground at all times.
My favorite part of the match is how Emma loses. Spoiler alert, Emma loses. She starts making a big comeback using wrestling moves and looks like she’s got things under control, but stops to pull BIRDO ARM out of her boot and spin around in circles. That causes her to hit Sasha instead of Charlotte, and allows Charlotte to roll her up for the easy win. Two things:
1. Emma acting like Raw Emma on NXT DIRECTLY led to her losing the match, as it should be, and
2. Charlotte knows Raw Divas are extremely susceptible to roll-ups
Best: The NXT Tag Team Division Just Got A Lot Better
A few weeks ago, NXT randomly had this great tag match between two teams we’d never heard of. Jason Jordan and Tye Dillinger (aka J.J. Dillon) vs. Sawyer Fulton and Baron Corbin. It felt crucial to the success of the NXT tag team division, which has for far too long been 1) the Ascension and 2) people who lose to the Ascension and are never seen again.
This week continued that wonderful, wonderful trend with a match between two new teams WITH CHARACTERS. CAPITAL LETTERS. On one side was El Local and Kalisto, blue luchadors (bluechadors?) who make the crowd chant LU-CHA LU-CHA LU-CHA. On the other, La Resistance 2000, Sylvester LeFort and Marcus Louis. They have FRANCE across their butts. The match is a pretty by-the-numbers excuse to make everybody watching go “this Kalisto guy’s been on the apron the entire match, what gives” and then “OH MY GOD KALISTO,” and that worked like magic. Because oh my God, Kalisto. This is that New Rey Mysterio you’ve been looking for under the Sin Cara mask, guys.
Worst: Marcus Louis Is Not Working His Promo Class Gimmick
I only have two notable complaints. The first one is that Marcus Louis just debuted on NXT and isn’t doing his amazing Presentation Skills gimmick. I won’t spoil it for you if you’ve never seen it, but take a minute-40 out of your life and watch this clip. It starts off dumb, gets GREAT dumb, and ends with the greatest final line in wrestling promo history. No hyperbole.
If LeFort and Louis have “known each other since they were teens,” is this WWE’s sneaky way of working a loving homosexual relationship onto television finally? In the form of EVIL FRENCH GUYS?
Worst: El Local’s Gear
The other complaint is that El Local’s new gear bothers me. The problem is those lightning bolts around his upper thighs. They look like they’re trying to form a belt, right? But they’re too low, and nothing breaks the negative space around the waist until you get to the middle of his back … so basically it looks like El Local’s wrestling with his pants falling down. His ass is hanging out like those trap door pajamas cartoon characters wear. Cinch that shit, Local. Or sash it, I don’t know.
Best: LOL Captain Comic
Match three followed up a story nobody ever expected to be followed up … apparently the people in Adam Rose’s Rosebuds party crew are supposed to be wrestlers, not NPCs played by wrestlers, and if you get into a fight with one you’ll have to wrestle him. So on last week’s show, David O-Tonga bumped into a suddenly-there luchador, and now they’re having a match. His name is CAPTAIN COMIC. Yes, like the MS-DOS platformer. Adam Rose should add a Pepsi-loving tentacle to his posse and see where it gets him.
God, I hope Camacho ends up in a match against Adam Rose’s bunny only for it to unmask as Sami Callihan and beat his ass.
Worst: Alexa Bliss Promos Sound Like Strip Club Commercials
This is Alexa Bliss’s debut on NXT, but she’s been here twice before. The first time was that awful moment when Tyler Breeze tried to take a two-person selfie and ended up being photobombed by CJ Parker, starting a months-long feud that desperately begged us to cheer for a dancing hippie. The second time was as a substitute ring announcer, because sometimes they give up on you and put you in utilitarian roles. WWE Network pre-show analyst Alex Riley, I’m looking in your direction.
I’m apprehensive to say anything critical about Bliss after that ring announcing stint, because saying “she’s gorgeous but probably shouldn’t be out here ring announcing” got me TONS OF HEAT. People love to blindly support their wrestling crushes. I’d beat someone with a whipped bag of soap for shit-talking Bayley, so I understand. I’ll be careful to only compliment her, and not point out how in her backstage promo she sounded like a girl from a strip club radio commercial. You know the ones, where the girl’s about to have an orgasm because she’s saying “COME down to the LANDING STRIP, where we’ve got the HOTTEST gross buffet in town” or whatever. How she thinks “wrestling promo” means randomly emphasizing words like you’re delivering a valedictorian speech. Nope, I will not point that out at all.
Best: The Rest Of Alexa Bliss Was Pretty Great, Though
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Again, super pretty. Like, stupid pretty.
2. Her actual last name is ‘Kaufman,’ and now I’m mad we don’t have a Diva named ALEX KAUFMAN.
3. Her gimmick is “cheerleader,” but also a fairy? She is covered in glitter and carries out handfuls to blow into the audience. She’s also wearing a tutu. Maybe there’s more to my strip club comparison than I thought?
4. Her entrance theme has CHIMES and might be the dumbest, catchiest thing they’ve come up with in a while. I’m gonna be walking around singing it all day. ♫ “I’m wearin’ all my BLING BLING! BLING BLING!” ♫ Sadly there isn’t a version on YouTube yet with the fairy jingles edited in.
5. I liked her entrance theme, so I can’t wait to see what they replace it with for her SECOND match.
6. Alicia Fox is carrying her SO HARD. Watch that first tilt-a-whirl slam, where Alicia doesn’t just slam her down, she basically forces her to sell by shoving her into the mat afterwards. Alicia Fox more than anyone would benefit from a WWE vacation, a stint in SHIMMER, a trip down to Texas for Inspire Pro and a run in Japan where she gets to be a kingshit heel for a year and a half. She’s too good, and we’re never gonna see it.
7. That tilt-a-whirl into a small package was all Alicia, but it was fun to see the new kid win. And she curtseys. How am I supposed to hate a wrestler that curtseys? (note: besides Hunter Hearts Helmsley.)
8. She’d better still be a Rosebud.
Best: A Battle Royal!
Worst: … That Accomplishes Nothing!
I love battles royal, and I don’t care if they’re FOR something. A battle royal for the sake of having a battle royal works for me. It does sorta bug me, though, when a battle royal happens for something specific, then gets completely ignored when a problem arises. Remember those Royal Rumble matches where guys get eliminated simultaneously, and instead of referees just saying “okay, we can’t tell who won, both of you get back in the ring, we’re restarting because we have to have a winner” we spend a month or two arguing about it and having followup matches that aren’t fair to anyone ELSE eliminated? Whew, that sentence got long.
But no, we got that here, with a 20-man battle royal just being an excuse to set up a triple threat for a shot at the title. You know, a match we could’ve just come out and made without the setup, because Tyler Breeze, Sami Zayn and Tyson Kidd are all guys who could believably have a shot at Neville.
Still though, battle royal. And that triple threat should be great.
Worst: Xavier Woods
Xavier Woods might be the most kayfabe incompetent wrestler in the world. Hot on the heels of a handicap match loss where he macho postured and got beaten up so bad he couldn’t even get into the ring comes a SELF-ELIMINATION in a battle royal.
Woods has GOT to eliminate Camacho AT ALL COSTS, because … uh, he’s Camacho? He might Samoan drop a few guys before being eliminated? Regardless, Woods starts chopping him and Jason Albert’s all COME ON, X-MAN for some reason, and Woods decides his only course of action is a Cactus Jack clothesline to eliminate Camacho. And himself. DERP.
It looks like he wanted to do the clothesline and skin the cat back into the ring, possibly for a Celebratory Dance, but couldn’t pull it off and just slumped to the ground helplessly. He actually sells his own clothesline, watch him. He goes up and over, then lets go of the ropes and like, collapses forward. I know it seems like I’ve got some kind of agenda against Woods, but man, my job is to watch the wrestling shows and point out stuff I like or don’t like. Some wrestlers just consistently give me new things to dislike, and Woods is one of them. Sorry, everybody.
Best: I Don’t GET Eliminated, I STAY Eliminated
Jason Jordan is my favorite wrestler.