Best: Antonio Cesaro Does His Best To Get Leo Kruger Over As A Cool, Tough Guy By Being The Coolest, Toughest Guy
Leo Kruger matches are never fantastic but Antonio Cesaro matches are, and Cesaro deserves some sort of pro wrestling Nobel Prize for his work in the field of trying to get Leo Kruger over.
The match result was actually really surprising to me in its realism, with Cesaro spending almost the entire post-break fight beating Kruger up and choking him out, then pinning him. The story is that Cesaro kept mauling him and Kruger kept staying in there, but he never got a big hope spot and hit a bunch of lariats to make you think he was gonna win. He just … loses well? I’m not sure how to phrase it, but I think Cesaro’s look of shocked respect after the match — and his decision to take a cheap shot on the guy for MAKING him having a look of shocked respect — did more for Kruger’s ambience than a thousand kick-outs.
I’m excited to see where Antonio Cesaro ends up in a few years because it feels like everybody has figured out that he’s an exceptional athlete who can do things nobody else can do and wants to cheer him for it. By this time next year I expect the people leaving “rael americans fags wrestling so bad” YouTube comments to be wearing Cesaro shirts while he yells HEY on Raw, UFOs Brodus Clay every week and is more famous for some stupid idiosyncrasy instead of anything he actually adds to wrestling. I will be okay with that, meaning I absolutely will not be okay with that but I’ll be happy that he’s happy and famous and rich. Worst case scenario, WWE never picks up on it and I get to see him Swiss Death Kobald at National Pro Wrestling Day or whatever.
Best: Santana Garrett
Charlotte had a nice, quick little match against Florida-area wrestler Santana Garrett, who you may remember from her stint in TNA as the F in Orlando Jordan’s MMF relationship or from her work in SHINE, the Skipper to SHIMMER’s Barbie. I got to see her wrestle at SHINE 11 when I was in the area for an NXT taping and my two lasting impressions were “she’s gotten a lot better” and “she is too pretty to be standing beside me.” Also she was selling Santana Brand Headbands at the merch table, which is adorable.
Anyway, she’s good, and I love that both she and Charlotte really look like ATHLETES in addition to wrestlers. I don’t think every wrestler needs to look like they can kick my ass in real life (because wrestling is not real, and fiction allows for unbelievable things to be contextually believable), but it helps. Santana should probably have a permanent job at Full Sail, if only to give Sara Del Rey a break from trying to teach Jojo how to do a forward roll without paralyzing herself.
Worst: Charlotte’s Finisher
That said, Charlotte’s finisher is … not working. If you haven’t seen it before, she sorta flips over you and does a cutter. Like John Cena’s old “Throwback” move combined with the RKO. Here it looked especially bad, when the six-ish foot Charlotte trying to do a flip over the not-six-foot Santana while she was on all fours and drive her face into the mat, but there was barely enough room between Santana’s head and the mat for Charlotte’s arm to even fit in there, so it whiffed and hit with the impact of an Eva Marie bump.
If you’re gonna stick with that move, make sure the person’s at least sitting up (or backed into the corner, Diamond Dust style) before you try it. Too bad The Miz yanked the figure-four leg lock, that’d be the easiest and most logical move for her to win with. But what do I know, they think Curtis Axel needs a shitty facebuster instead of the Perfect Plex.
Worst: Speaking Of Curtis Axel
During the match, Alex Riley (the horrible, horrible Alex Riley) kept making a big deal about how much of an honor it must be for Santana to get a match in NXT and “already” get to face Ric Flair’s daughter. Charlotte’s had what, three matches? If she was wrestling FLAIR, sure, it’d be an honor, but wrestling Nick Hogan doesn’t mean you’ve been in the ring with the Hulkster. Did Alex Riley get into the ring with Michael McGillicutty and be all WOW, YOU BRIEFLY LIVED IN MR. PERFECT’S NUTSACK, WHAT A PRIVILEGE?
Worst: You’re Still Acting, Sasha Banks
During the match Summer Rae and Sasha Banks wander out to the ring to add some facetious LayCool-style cheering and jump Charlotte after the match. They deliver a quick promo about how they’ve given themselves nicknames, hitting a borderline Christopher Daniels/Kazarian vibe (I’m gonna start calling them SHE-GO) before namedropping Paige, summoning her and getting into a fight with both Paige and Emma.
This is all well and good, but man, we have got to create situations where Sasha Banks isn’t forced to stand there and react to other peoples’ sentences. I got distracted by how much it looks like she’s wearing veneers. Is she wearing TWO sets of veneers? Her head and body are so petite but her eyes and her teeth are so big it looks like a larger person is trying to escape from inside of her. She’s a beautiful girl, don’t get me wrong, she just the worst facial expressions and body language and may or may not be cross-eyed. For the love of God, get the Kanye glasses on her as soon as possible.
Best: STAY HYPE (WHILE I TROUNCE THIS JOBBER WITH MY ASSHOLE)
Mojo Rawley gets his gimmick. If you haven’t seen him yet, his gimmick is that he is EXTREMELY INTO THIS. That’s it. He’s turned up all the way all the time and won’t stop screaming and posting and yelling YEAHHH and throwing his fists in the air. He’s a Big Fat Party Animal from a college sex romp comedy in the stupid giant jock from that same movie’s body. It works, and it’s hard not to cheer along with him when he WILL NOT STOP CHEERING FOR HIMSELF UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
And yo, his finisher is the Earthquake. He’s so hyped that his rectum is CLENCHED and can be used to cause EXTREME DAMAGE.
Worst: Alex Riley, Again
The only downside to the match, aka the only downside to most NXT matches, was Alex Riley once again pretending like we’ve never seen this dude before. Remember last week when Sami Zayn came out dressed as El Local, a thing they specifically set up on the previous episode to make it matter, and Riley just deadpanned, “I have never seen this man before in my life?” Yeah, I guess Riley wasn’t around for that SummerSlam Axxess video they showed about 40 times a month and a half ago where Mojo teamed up with Xavier Woods and they identify him by name several times.
But nah it’s cool man, go study your Miz tapes. As a guy who writes on the Internet and isn’t paid by WWE to talk about wrestling on TV I can handle the history and the logic and the reasons for everything.
I want more like this!
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