Worst: This Is Probably The Best Mason Ryan Match Ever, But That’s Not Saying Much
What is going on with this episode of NXT? This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife.
The next match, after an Askana tag and 170 minutes of Corey Graves punching, is Alexander Rusev against MASON RYAN, buffered by another in an endless series of Sylvester LeFort What-gettings. The announce team tries to get Mason Ryan over as “the strongest person on the NXT roster,” which is total, total bullshit, both because of Mason’s powerless vanity muscles and because Antonio Cesaro was JUST here. Cesaro could lie down on a couch and pick Alexander Rusev up with one arm, Mason Ryan couldn’t pick up Paige without her doing a push-up on his shoulder.
The match is … okay, with Rusev getting in some of the cool power offense that seemed a lot cooler when Dolph Ziggler was selling it and Mason trying desperately to do everything in order. The ending features not one but TWO distractions, leading to a running rump to the stomach from Rusev and about a quarter-second of a camel clutch before Ryan taps out. Did WWE send out a “tap immediately, we don’t want to see you struggling in submissions” memo? Because the difference in tapping immediately and at least TRYING to fight it before tapping is night and day, with the struggle making the winner AND the loser look tougher. The way they do it now, it’s like you’re tired being in the ring and just want it to be over.
Best: And Now, Here To Save The Show, It’s Sami Zayn Vs. Jack Swagger
Watch this match. It’s the Survivor Series ’96 Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin match to Zayn/Cesaro’s WrestleMania 13. Mania 13 is the one everybody’s gonna remember, because it’s the crux of an important story and filled with all these unforgettable moments. Objectively, though, the Survivor Series match might be better, because it’s just two guys who are great at wrestling wrestling their asses off. I’m not saying Zayn/Swagger is objectively BETTER than Zayn/Cesaro, but it’s in that league, and should be seen and remembered by the same amount of people.
I want two things:
1. Sami Zayn to stay like this forever, because he’s making some serious magic right now, and
2. Jack Swagger to get an extended stay in developmental. Not because he isn’t good, but because he’s TOO GOOD to be where he is in WWE, and could stand a cool 6-month-or-so prestige run down at Full Sail where he tears it up against every person there who can work. Then, when he’s done preferring pot or astronaut work to his big leagues success, bring him back up and let him unleash that shit on Bryan and Punk and whoever else.
Loved everything about this match. The crowd, Zayn’s ridiculous sells of Swagger’s clotheslines, the dive feint that got a bigger response than anything most people in NXT have ever done, the PAYOFF to the dive feint, everything.
Well … almost everything.
Best/Worst: Bo Dallas Is The Worst Human Being
Bo Dallas shows up right at the end of the match, right when people are losing the last, tiniest pieces of their mind, and invokes the I’M HERE, YOU’RE DISTRACTED, NOW YOU LOSE pro wrestling trope of doom. It happens. He doesn’t really DO anything, but he’s there, so he gets hated for it. That’s Bo Dallas in a nutshell, isn’t it?
As a fan, this is infuriating, because there is no reason why Sami Zayn should’ve lost to BOTH Real Americans. That guy is HOT FIRE right now, and I’m sick of seeing him get beaten all the time. As a guy who writes wrestling columns, I LOVE this, because sure, you can’t let your Raw guys go down to NXT and job for everybody all the time, but you CAN get Sami Zayn so f*cking fired up that he pulls a Ron Simmons vs. Vader and just MAULS Bo Dallas in their eventual NXT Championship match. Oh man, that’s going to be the greatest moment ever. I want the entire match to go “running boot in the corner, second running boot in the corner, third super-gross running boot in the corner, debut of the top rope brainbuster, title change.” Give it about 40 seconds. Send Bo up to Raw to be Bray Wyatt’s Kerwin White brother or whatever and let Sami spend a while being the biggest, most kingly fish in our beautiful little golden pond.
I want more like this!
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