Sports

The Best And Worst Of WWE NXT 6/5/14: Capture The Dream

Pre-show notes:

– Here’s a link to this week’s show on WWE Network, and one for Hulu Plus.

– If you clicked on this page by magical accident and are all, “heyyy, this isn’t Raw! Why would I want to read about NXT?” please consult the first edition of The Wrestling Hipster: 5 Reasons Why Watching NXT Makes You Better Than Other Wrestling Fans. It should give you the ammo necessary to be confident/a total jerk in your wrestling choices.

– We’re halfway through our retro Best and Worst recap of NXT season 2, so check that out. The rookies just participated in a kissing contest and Curtis Axel licked tomato sauce off a heavy lady’s cheek. It was jokes!

– Follow us on Twitter @withleather, follow me personally @MrBrandonStroud and like us on Facebook.

– Share the column or I will hit you in the back with a steel chair when you least expect it.

Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for June 5, 2014.


Best: The Awesome Pure Sports Build Recap Video For NXT Takeover

One of the problems I have with WWE’s big “anything can happen!” mission statement is that yeah, anything can happen, but you’re making what happens happen.

WWE’s big on retconning and rewriting history, but they often seem afraid of making the immediate history seem important. If John Cena faces Bray Wyatt in a Last Man Standing match, they’ll lose their minds and do sorrowful Owen Voices during the actual event, but the second it’s over it becomes a series of still-frames and some vague “it was HELLACIOUS” commentary. They’re done with it. The cycle ended and now we’re onto the next thing, even if it’s a regurgitation.

The money is in realizing that the event we just witnessed has a direct effect on the ones we’ll witness next. It doesn’t have to be meticulously woven together in the details … if Cena wins, calmly and clearly recapping how his win happened and why it was important with the detached reverence of a sports reporter can give it a true gravity. It immediately etches it into “history.” It’s not just a thing that happened. On NXT, an event like Takeover seems like a big deal to everyone. There are people outside the building watching on a screen, the entire roster is somewhere watching a feed, and afterwards it’s treated like a real milestone in the progression of the company. Isn’t that what WWE pay-per-views should be, too? I know there are a ton of them and you can only be so impressed by PAYBACK PAY-PER-VIEW, but saying “this is what happened and this is how it changed things” can make even something as lame as Payback seem like WrestleMania.

Best: Mojo Rawley IS AMERICA

“last week at nxt takeover rusev knocked me down … BUT JUST LIKE AMERICA WHEN I GET KNOCKED DOWN I PICK MYSELF UP I STAND UP TALL AND I’M RIGHT BACK AT IT BABY CAUSE I DON’T GET HYPE I STAY HYPE!”

Yes, Mojo, you are just like America. I’m sure there’s a joke about us being obnoxious and shoving our assholes in peoples’ faces in here somewhere.

Worst: Aiden English Gets Fed To Mojo Rawley’s Ass

I’ve written a lot lately about how being a “good wrestler” doesn’t always mean you win wrestling matches; sometimes it means you’re tasked with making the people who aren’t good at wrestling LOOK good, and in doing so spend a lot of time on your back, staring up at the lights. Aiden English is a very good professional wrestler but he isn’t friends with Gronk, so his job is to eat shit — to literally eat shit — and make “better when you pretend he’s got brain damage” Mojo Rawley look like an unstoppable ass-based juggernaut. So I understand, but I’m gonna Worst it because COME ON AIDEN IT’S JUST A BUTTHOLE, STOP BEING KILLED BY IT.

Mojo was the low point of this show, but I’ll allow it. It’s not like he could follow his Match Of The Year candidate at Takeover anyway.

Best: Bayley Giving Her Headband To Special Olympians

I think the best thing about the NXT crowd is that the understand, love and support Bayley.

Another thing I’ve learned recently is that every time you’re on TV, it’s someone’s first time seeing you, even if you’ve been around for decades. Somebody who has never CONSIDERED watching wrestling is seeing you, and you’re how they’re gonna judge the entire show. If I had to pick a first time seeing someone, it’d be Bayley trying to hug four Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tubemen, giving her headbands to Special Olympians in the crowd and throwing out double air-fives while the crowd chants BAY-LEY BAY-LEY.

It’s weird, but I think I’m more emotionally attached to the success and progress of Bayley than I’ve been to any wrestler in my adult life. Bayley (fictional Bayley the wrestling character, for clarification) is just so absolutely right and great and what a modern WWE babyface should — and more importantly, could — be.

Best: Finally, Bayley Vs. Charlotte

The announce team gets a supplemental Worst for bringing up the “Charlotte and Bayley used to be best friends” talking point and saying they’ve “gone their separate ways” instead of the ACTUAL story, which is “Charlotte turned on her in a tag match and got her beaten up by a posse of mean girls for a month, and this should’ve been the culmination of the BAYLEY GETS REVENGE story.” Thanks for showing up with your Draugr uncle and shuffling that off into oblivion forever, Natalya.

Aside from that, Bayley vs. Charlotte was great. Of course it was. Bayley keeps getting better and better, especially now that she’s basically doing a Chikara match every time she gets into the ring. Charlotte went from “getting better” to “holy shit, Charlotte” at Takeover, and she continues that here with great facials and strong, crisp offense. I wish she (and every Diva) would stop throwing those jumping knee-tuck clotheslines, but whatever. She’s also throwing spinning chops and mocking Bayley’s slip-n-slide amateur wrestling technique, so it’s all good. At least nobody tried to reverse the polarity of the figure four this time.

A supplemental “you’re worse at letting this go than I am” goes to Bill Regal for continuing to explain what’s now known as the “figure four headscissors.” I thought it was the FIGURE FOUR HEADLOCK. I THOUGHT YOU CLARIFIED AND THAT’S WHAT YOU CALL IT.

Best: Summer Hey!

The big news from this match is that Summer Rae has returned to NXT, and God, I’m so happy to have her back. In addition to Summer Rae just generally being my jam, it’s great to have her back where she can work, develop and not be UPSET GIRLFRIEND on the TWO OTHER NETWORKS where she is “upset girlfriend.”

Also great:

1. The entrance distracting Charlotte leading to a roll-up, but Charlotte still keeping it together and getting the win. That’s so refreshing. The look on her face when she’s done sorta says it all. I’m telling you, nobody has better facial expressions than Charlotte. One look and I know the entire story.

2. Sasha “Gretchen Wieners” Banks having no idea how to handle the power struggle.

Best: Seriously Though

After the match, the BFFs put the boots to Bayley. Paige and Emma speed out to make the save. What you want to pay attention to is Bayley’s response to Paige and Emma saving her … as she’s recovering, she gets this IMMEDIATE smile on her face, mouthing “wow” and pointing out that yes, Paige is Paige and Emma is Emma. She’s happy to have gotten beaten up because of who saved her. Is there a more likable wrestling character in the world?

Also of note: they go to do the big “everybody raises everybody’s hand” thing and Paige raises Bayley’s hand, but Emma doesn’t, so Bayley raises Emma’s. That’s pitch-perfect characterization for all three … Bayley wants to be a part of something magical, Paige is outwardly tough by instinctively a good person and Emma doesn’t really give a crap, but is spaced-out and only “good” by proxy. Can we just keep everybody on NXT forever? Don’t go back to Raw please :(


Best: Tye And Jason In The Mooooor-ning!

Donde, está, la NXT Arena,
me llamo Jason Jordan, la araña pequeña.

Best: The PHILLIP GOOLJAR Era Has Begun

The next match is Dillinger and Jordan against a pair of unknowns, and the announce team spends the entire time saying DO YOU THINK THEY HAVE A CHANCE AT THE ASCENSION? In NXT now “winning one tag team match” means you’ve got a shot at the Ascension. It’s what got Kalisto and El Local a spot on Takeover. Anyway, the answer is “no,” because they take FOREVER to beat the nobodies, whereas the Ascension would’ve YAH’d and Fallen Of Manned and been back in the locker room packing up their Egyptian codpieces by the time this was over.

The real news here is that one of the jobbers was named PHILLIP GOOLJAR. I thought they were saying “cool jar,” but it’s GOOLJAR. Capital letters are mine. If you want to check the official spelling, here it is from WWE.com. Goolie looks like an extra from a cop show and gets in way, way, way too much offense while the announcers just go GOOLJAR, GOOLJAR, GOOLJAR. He’s a REAL LIVE GOOLJAR, FOLKS.

I’m done with Jordan and Dillinger, I just want a Backstage Fallout segment where Phillip gives us a tour of his house slash canning facility and is like LOOK AT ALL MY COOL JARS. I LOVE TO FILL UP COOL JARS.

Best: CJ Parker Explains His Star Wars Jokes

Best: I Cannot Say Enough About The Tyler Breeze Music Video

I don’t even know how to write this up. Tyler Breeze shows up grabbing about how he’s beaten “Seth Rogan’s less-good-looking brother Sami Zayn” to become the number one contender to the NXT Championship, a title “so pristine it should only be worn by someone who is, hmmm, gorgeous.” He renames the champ “Adrian ‘The Man That Maybelline Forgot’ Neville” and says one of the best sentences I’ve ever heard:

“NXT Universe, feast your eyes on the 3-time MTV Euro Award-winning music video: MY music video.”

Then, this graphic:

MY HEART.

What follows is Tyler Breeze in a recording studio in full wrestling gear, simultaneously modeling and performing his entrance theme. He brags about the quality of the lyrics (that he wrote, about how great he is) and the video ends with a credits sequence where EVERY CREDIT is Tyler Breeze’s. God, I can’t imagine someone disliking this.

Worst: Let’s Ask The WWE Universe What They Might’ve Disliked About This

John Morrison + gay, got it.

Best: And Now, The Only Thing Better Than The Tyler Breeze Music Video

Immediately following Breeze’s music video (and a Legends House commercial), we get a recap of Bo Dallas losing his Win Or Go Home match to Big E and being ousted from NXT set to STAN BUSH’S ‘CAPTURE THE DREAM.’ I am not shitting you. This is such an unbelievably entertaining streak of programming decisions, man, I don’t know what to tell you. If you don’t remember that song, it’s from the 1996 Olympics.

Un-bo-lievable. So, so perfect.

Also, if I was a conspiracy theorist, I’d say there’s something afoot in this episode. First, Jason Jordan wins his match with an Angle Slam, calling it the “Jordan Slam.” Then Bo Dallas gets a video set to a song from the 1996 Olympics, the same Olympics where Kurt Angle won a gold medal with a broken freakin’ neck. Is Kurt Angle gonna show up on NXT? ARE THEY GIVING KURT ANGLE A DEVELOPMENTAL DEAL, BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE AMAZING.

Also also, Stan Bush showing up on an episode of NXT sure does add fire to my “NXT and Chikara are connected” theory.

Best: The Extended “Bo Leaves” Speech

“YOU HAVE TO LEAVE. I’M GONNA CALL THE POLICE. YOU BETTER GO BECAUSE I’M REALLY CALLING THEM.”
“OKAY THE COPS AREN’T COMING, BUT I’M SERIOUSLY CALLING CAMPUS SECURITY.”


Best: Summer Rae Meets Summer Rae

It was a moment we’d been waiting for for months, and it finally happened: Actual Summer Rae met “Jalapeño on a Steek” Summer Rae, declared that it wouldn’t be needed anymore because she’s back, then walked away with it.

I hope she keeps it and uses it in her ring entrance. She should start beating people up with it. Make it her signature foreign object. I HATE YOU SO MUCH I’M GONNA BEAT YOU TO DEATH WITH MY OWN FACE.

Best: NXT Season 1 In The House

Real talk: Adrian Neville vs. Justin Gabriel was better than Adrian Neville vs. Tyson Kidd.It was faster, the counters were more creative, it maintained an easy-to-follow story and was about 20 minutes shorter. Plus, not to just throw this out there, but Gabriel’s better than Tyson Kidd. If Tyson Kidd didn’t have Tyson Kidd’s connections he’d be Eddie Edwards.

Neville/Gabriel was the perfect match for Neville because it allowed him to get a strong win (with his finish!) on an established WWE presence who is bigger than him, but not so much bigger that it becomes a stretch. I wish they’d played up Gabriel’s history in NXT more, as he was a season 1 finalist and kinda carried the in-ring portion of the show near the end of NXT Redemption, but having him around is good enough for me. I’ll always have a soft spot for the Nexus jerks.

Good stuff. Let’s get Gabriel into 3MB as the replacement drummer for Hornswoggle or something.

Worst: Another Tyson Kidd Match Is Happening, Fact

The best part of Tyson Kidd existing right now is the crowd saying “fact” at the end of his sentences. Fact. Watching him wrestle Neville again doesn’t set my world on fire, but the Y U NO HANDSHAKE story needs closure. Fact. So we’ll see where it goes. Fact. If it goes beyond next week, I will not be so open to the possibilities. Uh, opinion?

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