2 out of 3 Ain’t Bad

Most weeks NXT is WWE’s 2nd best show (and sometimes the best.) But its primary goal is to produce future superstars to one day grace our televisions on Monday Night. Each week we’ll take a look at each individual segment and decide where else in WWE’s suite of shows it could be on today. 

AJ Lee (C) defeats Bayley to retain WWE Divas Championship 

Bayley nails her role as the star-struck comic con groupie, I especially loved her hug-drives in the corner turnbuckles. She does bashful as well as The Ultimate Warrior did batshit. Showing some real character beats that would work on any WWE show, Bayley would be a welcome change in a stale women’s division with only one true character type.

Also, AJ’s visit to NXT let her stretch out a bit as well. Too small to “squash” anyone on Raw, this is as close as she’ll get to a dominant win. For whatever reason WWE wants no part of a woman’s champ who consistently looks strong. And this is the 2nd time we’ve seen her break out a Shining Wizard, so hopefully that’s a thing going forward.

Quick wrestling-nerd tangent: isn’t it a bit odd that right after a huge angle ends where Paige won the NXT Women’s Championship, AJ defends the supposedly more prestigious Divas title against somebody who randomly asked for it?  Really just to try and get more hugs?

Where was Paige, Summer Rae, or even Emma complaining about not getting a crack at the butterfly belt? I know that’s some serious fantasy booking (Paige/AJ segment thanksssss) but at least acknowledging the more deserving NXT challengers could have given AJ an extra heel segment to work with as she brushed them off. Oh well.

Verdict: Raw 

***

CJ Parker photobombs Tyler Breeze

Short but effective way to further Breeze’s introduction to the NXT universe (do we have to say that, is that a thing?) and setting up Parker’s re-introduction later in the show as a living 17-minute Phish guitar solo. My only concern with Breeze thus far is how similar this schtick is to Fandango, two guys with more important things to do than get hit in the face. Although through NXT exposure Breeze should have an even better grasp on his character than Fandango did when he debuted.

Verdict: Smackdown 

***

The Ascension defeat Ron Hicks & Michael Zaki

I’m not sure what the deal is with these cats. Are the supernatural, or just really serious dudes with a vaguely religious name? Oh, play-by-play guy Tony Phillips tells us they have “archaic and ancient principles,” so that clears it all up.

At least it’s encouraging that O’Brian and Rick Victor have some legit tag-team moves, which are lacking in the WWE tag-team division. But where do these guys fit in on the roster? The Wyatt Family already cornered the creepy ohgodwhatthefuck market, but in a more “real-world” way. The Ascension are basically steampunk Sons of Damien Demento, stuck in a wrestling world that doesn’t believe in magic anymore. Don’t see them on the main shows.

And hey Victor, those goggles, they do nothing!

Verdict: Superstars

2 Comments

  1. GreggulatorAugust 23, 2013 at 9:27 am

    NXT this week was totally great.
    * AJ/Bailey was a fun little competent batch of storytelling. They’re really emphasizing “how to work as your character” to these guys — see Wyatt, Bray — and it’s creating compelling stuff in what otherwise would be sort of a waste of time. Also, AJ has developed to the point where she can carry someone who is really green to a decent affair. Her stuff looked real crisp and tight.
    AJ’s this really weird super worker in a lot of ways.
    * “YOU’RE RUINING MYYYY LIFFEEEEE” is my new favorite slogan. Tyler Breeze works better as an inherently sad figure with the self-esteem of a snail.
    * CJ Parker sucks in the ring. He does the Phish fan thing well. I wish they’d make him a little more of the “Older hippie dude who hangs out with Occupy vegan anarchists” vibe.
    * A Bulgarian who dresses like he’s in Gladiator LARP, wrestles barefoot, knows Muy Thai and breaks wooden boards over his knees? AND also grunts and speaks random Bulgarian trash talk? That explains more than anything my continued lifelong love affair with wrestling.
    * I just skip the Ascension stuff.
    * That main event — wow. That was a ton of beauty. It got a lot of “Match Of The Year” hype from those in attendance. It’s a shame this came out the same week as SummerSlam because it would get that hype from everyone else.
    That was virtually a perfect wrestling match. It was simple, crisp storytelling with amazing execution.
    The first fall was great — Sami knows he can surprise Antonio and does so right away. Second fall was awesome, too — they got a reverse chinlock over as a kill move. Third fall turned into the required “both guys throw bombs at each other to win” and Cesaro’s slight experience advantage gave him the win.
    So many amazing little things in this match. Antonio being a total jerk by lifting Sami by his ear and wiping his shoes with him afterwards. Sami hoping that insane floor DDT gets him a countout win.
    Awesome stuff.

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  2. […] Most weeks NXT is WWE’s second best show  (and sometimes the best.) But its primary goal is to make future superstars who will one day grace our televisions on Raw. Each week we’ll scout the “minor league” talent in each segment and decide if they’re ready for the big leagues. This week we find out if the show’s gone SAWFFFFFFT after last week’s Match of the Year main event. […]

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