CJ Parker vs Baron Corbin
I’m a sucker for ridiculous wrestling hometowns, and “Moonchild commune” is pretty funny. Mix that with play-by-play man Tom Phillips’ line “he looks like the Predator got hit over the head with a Jackson Pollock painting” and I at least enjoyed a bit of Parker’s segment. But his wrestling was blah, and this gimmick of a photobombing hippie who takes the brown acid while squeezing out two more pushups a day than Kassius Ohno doesn’t work for me.
But his confrontation with Breeze was fantastic, at least at showing how much more fun Breeze can be. Bonus points for Breeze debuting his glorious pissy voice. How could we ever root for Parker in this scenario? He’s Bo Dallas with dreads, a “stealth” heel nobody’s going to get behind. Not buying it. Can’t wait until he eats “Blue Steel” from Breeze (that’s what I’m calling his finisher until told otherwise.)
Verdict: House-show for the match, Smackdown for the Breeze portion.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Alexander Rusev
Dolph Ziggler wrestling dudes that outweigh him by 100 pounds will always be great. As will giant Bulgarian beasts who slap their thighs before running shoulder blasts in the corner. How great was Rusev in his debut? A 300 pounder will a spinning heel kick and a splash of the top rope, all while looking like Sagat crosses with E. Honda? Throw in random taunting in Bulgarian and I’m sold.
Props to Dolph, coming down to NXT and letting Rusev kick his ass a bit. He didn’t let him too much because he can’t get shown up that badly by an NXT newbie, despite getting worked over being Dolph’s schtick. Can’t wait to see him maul jobbers for two months then annihilate Mason Ryan back to jolly Wales.