– Don’t be afraid to contribute to the discussion in our comments section, click the “like” button and share the column on your social media things. NXT is THE BEST, and people need to know it.
– If you’re wondering where you can watch NXT, it’s currently on Hulu Plus every Thursday. If you’re like, “weh, I don’t want to have to pay for Hulu Plus to watch wrestling,” it’s the best wrestling show and Hulu Plus is like 8 dollars. Just do it, it’s fine. You aren’t gonna miss 8 dollars. You can watch this week’s episode (as long as they keep it up) here.
– IMPORTANT: I’m going to be at the NXT tapings tonight, so if you’re a fan, a friend or Renee Young and wanna say hi to me, please do. More on this at the end of the report. More on Renee Young throughout every report ever.
Please click through to enjoy the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for July 10, 2013.
Best: The Best Match Of The Tournament So Far
I haven’t loved the NXT Women’s Championship tournament so far, but Emma vs. Summer Rae turned it around for me. Of all the matches so far, this one is my favorite.
It combines what worked about Summer Rae’s first match — Summer logically using her long limbs to exploit a reach advantage and control her opponent — with what worked about EMMA’s first match — Emma is awesome and we want to cheer her. So instead of having Summer awkwardly try to get the crowd behind a babyface and having Emma do nothing and pull off a victory out of nowhere, we got Summer controlling somebody we want to see break free and kick her ass. That’s good.
The best part (besides Emma winning, obviously, because Emma should always win and march and dance and be happy) is that it leads to next week’s Emma/Paige championship main-event, which is EXACTLY RIGHT. If you’re gonna put the belt on a woman in NXT, these are the two who deserve it. Summer Rae jumping Emma after the match preserves everything important about Summer’s character (she’s mean … that’s it, more or less) and the save from Paige sets up SPORTSMANSHIP and all the wonderful things that come from tournaments and well-written female wrestling characters.
Best: Renee Young And William Regal Should Be Friends Forever
The best moment of the show, and quite possibly the best moment in NXT this year, at least from the perspective of a soft hearted mark like me, was William Regal’s interaction with Renee Young during the backstage interview segment.
Renee is talking to Adrian Neville, Corey Graves and Regal. Neville does his basic “we’re gonna win the match” thing, and it’s fine. Graves does his best Seth Rollins impression and is awful as usual, and then she turns the mic to Regal … and he’s REGAL, right, so you KNOW he’s gonna say something awesome. And then boom, he’s instantly distracted by how lovely Renee is, compliments her and makes her make THAT FACE, which is HEARTWARMING. A cool guy giving a great lady a classy compliment. A sincere delivery (because he’s right), and a sincere reaction, because yo, Bill Regal just called you lovely. That’s the face you’re gonna make.
Worst: Put It Away, Corey Graves
As I’ve mentioned before, the STAY DOWN knuckles are all Corey Graves has. That’s it. He’s not great in the ring, he’s not great on the microphone, but hey, his knuckles say “Stay Down” and that makes for an easy conclusion to wrestling promos. Regal alley-oops it to him and Graves immediately puts up the knuckles to dunk it home, because that’s all he’s got.
I’m going to assume Renee’s face in that image on page one reads, “sigh, we’re talking about Corey Graves’ knuckles again.”
Best: Sami Zayn, Willing A Good Match Out Of Leo Kruger
Speaking of “the best match of something that hasn’t been full of great matches,” check out Sami Zayn getting a fun, watchable and logical match out of Leo Kruger!
They’re pretty clearly setting Kruger up as a challenger to Bo Dallas (when Zayn or Cesaro would be way, way better), so they might as well have him look like a beast. The match has a swift pace considering that it’s mostly arm work, and Kruger avoids the problem I had with his last match: working the arm all match just to hit a clothesline. Here, he works the arm to build to an armbar finish. WRESTLING! YAY!
Zayn should probably be on Raw already, assumedly replacing Interchangeable Partner #3 in a tag team with Kofi Kingston, but I’m happy to have him stick around NXT a while and run game with people.
Best: Bailey, Ric Flair Mark
WWE’s fascination with making innocent people act like they have brain-damage has made Bailey into Lady Eugene for the first few weeks, but she’s finally starting to even out and be 100% adorable. Here, she gets to have a goofy conversation with “Mr. American Dream/Mr. Dusty” until RIC MOTHERF**KING FLAIR shows up and sends her into mark-out mode.
I’m totally into THIS interpretation of Bailey, and I hope they keep her as “way too big of a fan to actually be wrestling” instead of “I don’t know how life and words work.” It’s a nice way to intro Flair’s daughter, too, because Bailey’s familiar enough to bring Charlotte into the WWE Universe, but not good enough to necessitate a win.
Also, good lord, Bailey’s sell of Flair’s WOO is amazing. Look at it.
Worst: DUSTY AND FLAIR SHOULD NOT BE FRIENDS
Worst: Mason Ryan, Still Doin’ Thangs
NXT continues to try to get Mason Ryan over as Minor Leagues Ryback, and it continues to not really set my world on fire. NXT’s such a haven away from classic WWE types that when a guy like Mason Ryan shows up, it feels wrong. Like it’s not even part of the show. I almost forget to mention he wrestled when I write these reports. It’s like an episode of Smackdown accidentally stuck its dick in my NXT episode.
Giving Ryan credit, he DOES look better both physically and in the ring than he did as a mute monster or Nexus type, so the NXT program WORKS, I’m just … I’m just a guy on the Internet, so I like my good wrestlers small, and my big wrestlers fat.
Best: A Handicap Match Ends Like It Should, For Once
On the upside, Ryan finds himself in a match with Enzo Amore and “SAWWWFT” Colin Cassidy, and he loses, but not in that way guys like Sheamus lose when they’re wrestling Rhodes Scholars … he didn’t dominate them and then get cheated out of it, he lost because he’s wrestling two f**king guys. They get the advantage and pin him out of nowhere, because TWO GUYS. Two guys should always beat one guy, unless the two guys are Rosenberg and Stansky, and the one guy is Ryback riding on Andre the Giant’s shoulders.
Also, supplementary Best for the SAWWFT chants making the NXT crowd sound like the seagulls from Finding Nemo.
Best: Dusty Rhodes, A GM Character Done Right
I loved Dusty Rhodes already, but he’s the WWE authority figure finally done right.
He’s a guy we respect, because he’s been around forever, is a former champion, is the father of two great wrestlers and has always (mostly) been a likeable fan favorite. He’s not going to make sweeping YOU PEOPLE heel decisions out of nowhere, and he’s not going to do the Mick Foley I LOVE YOU PEOPLE SO MUCH pandering to create unfair situations for heels. Dusty doesn’t pander to people. Dusty IS the people.
So he considers things and makes logical decisions, because he’s the boss of a wrestling promotion and wants to do a good job. And he CAN do a good job, because he’s qualified. HOW CRAZY IS THAT?
Best: Bray Wyatt Defeats The NXT Final Boss
Enjoy being on Raw, Bray.
The six-man main-event was solid, and was mostly centered around Adrian Neville getting shit-kicked by the Wyatt Family. That got paid off with a beautiful dive to the outside (with a superfluous bump from Neville, because I guess you aren’t supposed to land on your feet on WWE dives), and that combined with the general ineptitude of Graves left Regal all alone with Wyatt. Wyatt quickly Sister Abigail’d the F out of him and got the clean win, defeating NXT’s Final Boss and cementing himself as a Raw guy.
See how that works, Kassius Ohno? If you’d beaten Regal the first time, you’d be holding your hand over your heart and yelling WE THE PEOPLE every Monday night.
Not Really A Best Or Worst, But Still Weird: The Timing Of My NXT Tapings Attendance
As you may know if you’ve been reading the Raw column (or this one), I’m going to tonight’s NXT tapings at Full Sail. That’s fun and everything, but as a guy who tries to avoid show spoilers, it’s going to be weir for me … everything I see will happen AFTER next week’s show, so I’m not going to be able to watch that episode with any kind of fresh, analytical eye. It’ll just be, “oh, here’s what happened a month ago in the storyline.”
I will try not to get jaded about it and spoil anything for anybody. NXT is the best WWE show there is, and in a perfect world everyone reading this would just be at Full Sail with me tonight.