Each week we’ll scout NXT’s “minor league” talent, based on where each segment would fit best on a main roster TV show. If you’ve only managed Main Event or Superstars-level work so far, you should probably spent some more time in the Performance Center. But if you’ve manage to consistently make some Raw or Smackdown-worthy content, it should only be a matter of time before you’re sent headfirst into the main roster meatgrinder. Congratulations!
This week we find out if the show’s gone SAWFFFFFFT after last episode’s Match of the Year main event.
Corey Graves attacked by The Ascension
The Ascension manhandles Corey Graves during a backstage interview with Renée Young in classic, effective wrestling trope to set up this episode’s main event. And, as a special bonus, Graves is injured and unable to compete.
The beatdown was fine, but O’Brian needs to work on his maniacal laughter, as it comes off more Dr. Evil than intimidating. And while Rick Victor’s black contact lenses look cool under the sweet lights during their intro, in the interview segment he just looks blind. Watch this segment again – Victor looks ridiculous trying to stare down Graves.
Maybe I’m being a much too cynical wrestling fan, but I just don’t think The Ascension can work as serious evil dudes, especially not after what The Wyatt Family accomplished portraying of actual honest-to-God wrestling evil. And after Conor O’Brian’s performance in the main event, I’m not sure what WWE thinks of him either.
CJ Parker vs. Tyler Breeze
Tyler Breeze debuted his bitchy voice on last week’s episode, and this week we’re treated to his “stinkface,” which is just as glorious. His contempt for CJ Parker and his awful hippie lifestyle just oozes through the arena; I especially loved his repeated screams of “you’re disgusting.” Last week I wondered if his character was too close to Fandango’s, at least in execution. Here Breeze was a determined, angry wrestler bent on revenge. He had clear purpose and executed it in character, something Fandango hasn’t done yet.
This is a wonderful combination of silly gimmicks that work so well together, but it spells bad news for the newly minted Phish-Fanatic (Phanatics? I don’t even want to know, to be honest). I’m not sure how he’ll work against another opponent – sort of like how Swagger’s “real American” gimmick was seemingly constructed to go against a babyface Mexican champion in Alberto Del Rio and not much else. After that feud, the Zeb Colter angle , while enjoyable, hasn’t had any teeth. Without Prince Pretty to bounce off, not sure Moonchild has any legs either.
But Breeze can play his iPhone obsessed duckfaced perfection against anyone and it’ll work. I would have liked have seen a longer match here, especially since Breeze’s first couple of bouts were quick squashes, but I’ll never complain about “foreign object” victories for heels. A quick 4G to the forehead was enough to capture the victory for Breeze, and continue a great debut run in NXT.