Best: The Very First Thing We See Is Corey Graves Getting Attacked And Crushed. This Is Gonna Be Good.
Can a show start off better than that? Corey Graves’ mere existence causes one of his co-workers to confront him, and a second co-worker to knock him down and try to crush him to death with a freestanding jungle gym. Gets you right in the mood, doesn’t it?
And we’ve got 54 minutes left!
Best: Tyler Breeze Gets An Actual Match! Or
Worst: CJ Parker Gets An Actual Match, Or
Worst: A Cell Phone Shot Cannot Hurt That Much, At Least Not In 2013
The first match of the show is Tyler Breeze’s first real match as Tyler Breeze and, unsurprisingly, it was built around who is character is and how he reacts rather than what he can do. This is important to the fabric of how NXT works — see also Wyatt, Bray — and probably necessary, because he’s in the ring with CJ Parker. If you’ve never seen Parker wrestle before, imagine Carlito at half speed. Now imagine him doing an embarrassing taunt every time he’s not doing a wrestling move. CJ Parker.
The match itself was fun, and a nice way to either blow off or exacerbate the Breeze/Parker beef (depending on where they want to go with it), but it wasn’t anything special. Parker doesn’t have enough personality to be Bryan Danielson and get an airplane spin over, but dammit, he’s gonna try. Breeze flinching so hard at an attempted punch that he turns and collapses to his knees with his hands over his face is WONDERFUL, especially when it causes William Regal to stammer for 30 seconds, wondering aloud about why a dude who doesn’t want to get punched in the face would become a wrestler. Sometimes all you have to do is address the elephant, and we’re fine with it being in our room forever.
I hated the finish, though. Breeze is trying to recover or escape into the corner (or something) and Parker tries to pull him back by the tights. The referee gets involved in this for some reason, and ends up getting bumped back in a big watusi so he can’t see Breeze pull Parker in by the head, pop him in the face with an iPhone and get the win. The actual spot was executed well and worked and everything, but come on, you cannot hit somebody in the face with an iPhone and knock them out like that. I’m not buying it. When Paul E. Dangerously was hitting people with his phone it was a big-ass Zack Morris phone, and it’d shatter and and pieces would fly everywhere. It was a cool visual, and you were hitting somebody over the head with, more or less, a plastic brick. If you aren’t hitting CJ hard enough to crack the glass or even knock your cover loose, there’s no reason he should be knocked out.
Other than “CJ Parker is a goon and can’t take any punishment,” I guess.
Best: Dance Dance Emmalution (It’s A Thing)
A lot of people judge their love of Emma based on seeing her entrance for the first time, with the wacky arms and the bubbles and the skinning the cat foibles. I think a true love of Emma can only come from hearing her talk in backstage interviews like this, where she’s just so off-the-charts mentally gone, lives in a reality where popular video games are named after her and thinks high-fiving involves doing her signature dance in the direction of your hand.
If you want to know what Brandon’s heart looks like, listen to Emma say “yeah it is you silly rabbit,” and watch her and Renee’s faces.
Best: Summer Rae Is Suddenly The Best Heel On This Show
I love a lot of people on this show, but I’m gonna say it: behind Sami Zayn, Summer Rae’s the best performer NXT’s got right now.
She’s just nailing it. She’s doing what a lot of WWE Divas fail to do … she’s showing personality not only when she’s clapping for Fandango at ringside or being “smart sexy and powerful” or whatever, she shows it when she’s wrestling. She stays in character no matter what’s happening, and never looks like she’s trying to figure out/remember what the next move is. Even Paige isn’t very good at that yet. Summer’s got it, though, and she’s such a fully-formed person I can’t help but enjoy her.
The match with Emma is nice because it works on a very simple formula … Summer uses her size, wingspan and bad attitude to beat Emma half to death, but Emma’s got the crowd behind her, snaps off a few quick, big moves and locks in the coolest-looking submission in the company to get the win. Emma never gets exposed by having to anchor and entire match and keep the crowd behind her, but she gets enough offense in to rock her ridiculous taunts and remind me periodically why I’d wanna be cheering for her in the first place. Whoever says “lets do wrestling matches that work” before NXT tapings really needs to start attending those dry erase board meetings at Raw.
And damn, has there been a more dastardly heel move on the show all year than pouring bubble solution in Emma’s eyes? That’s ice cold.
Worst: Sasha Banks Has The Acting Ability Of A Trout
Summer Rae is ESPECIALLY great when she’s berating Sasha Banks backstage, and it would’ve been one of my favorite parts of the show if Sasha hadn’t graduated magna cum laude from the Eva Marie School Of Acting By Staring. She minored in “not being able to say words without trying to spell something in a spelling bee,” taught by Professor Jojo.
Seriously, Sasha is the pits here. Absolutely terrible. In NXT anybody can turn on a dime and get better — I mean, I never expected to be such a mark for Mike Dalton, or Summer for that matter — but it would sincerely be in Sasha’s best interest to stand next to Summer Rae until she figures out what the f*ck her job’s supposed to look like.
I want more like this!
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