Best Somehow: We Didn’t Pay To Hear Triple H Talk
I spend a lot of time in these columns justifying NXT Full Sail as a canonical part of the WWE Universe — “they mention it on Raw sometimes” and the Shield debuting are really my only solid links — but I’m increasingly okay with it being a standalone, “Steampunk Batman rides a dinosaur and fights Dracula” Elseworlds thing where wrestling shows are happy and great and everything bad becomes good.
Case in point: the 200th episode of NXT began with Executive Vice President Of Ruining My Good Time Triple H coming to the ring and giving a speech, but it was … nice? He put over NXT, name-dropped a bunch of talent that has come through it and made it on the main rosters, reiterated the importance of the Performance Center and even openly acknowledged that we’d rather watch wrestling than hear him talk. He did a little soft-shoe with his D-X catchphrases and he was done.
I don’t get to say this a lot, but since we’re in Elseworlds, I’ll say it here: The Triple H you see me hating on week in and week out is “The Game,” the fictional man on the television who sorta merged with the Internet’s perception of himself to represent everything hopeless and self-serving in professional wrestling. Paul The Real-Life Machiavellian Pro Wrestling Magnate seems like a pretty f*cking cool dude.
Two complaints for the opening tag team match:
1. The running boot in the corner should not be Sami Zayn’s finish, it should be the exciting thing that sets UP the finish, and
2. I’m doing that thing I do with The Shield with Sami Zayn now where he’s had so many good matches it’s hard for me to objectively pat him on the back for stuff like this, because it isn’t exceptional, which is the most unfair thing in the world.
That said, Zayn teaming up with Tyson Kidd to take on Leo Kruger and Antonio Cesaro was as enjoyable as you’d expect, and I continue to like Tyson Kidd a thousand times more when he’s down at Full Sail throwing cannonball topes con hilo instead of on Total Divas or Raw, where the best thing he gets is showing Eva Marie a hammerlock so he can rub his junk on her butt. I wanted a little more from the match, especially with Adrian Neville’s title quest coming to an end and Cesaro/Regal looming, but it was good. If we’re gonna run Cesaro against Kidd, might I suggest “handcuffing Tyson Kidd to the rope and giant-swinging Natalya until she turns into Summer Rae.”
Worst: Emma. Is This Opposites Day?
I gave a Best to a Triple H speech and am giving a Worst to an Emma backstage segment. What’s wrong with me? Am I dying?
Nothing makes me madder on a wrestling show than when people I love do bad things. I give Chris Jericho, CM Punk and The Rock the most grief for their face personalities because their heel personas are so near and dear to me (and because “face personality” means “acting like an illiterate goober”). When I see Emma my heart goes !!!!, and when I see her mumble through some bad improv and worse line-reads with Natalya it goes ((((. I need to figure out how to use emojis in wrestling reports.
If you didn’t watch it, Natalya is backstage watching Tyson Kidd’s match (which is over, so she’s in theory just watching herself watch a television screen) and Emma comes dancing in. Natalya illogically accuses Emma of almost poking her in the eye, which never comes close to happening, and Emma illogically accuses Nattie of being “too good” for NXT despite having been on the last several weeks, teaming with Bayley and wrestling Paige. This turns into an argument about dancing, a challenge for a match and that horrible “I’m leaving! Good! Great! SO GO! I AM!” shit hacky writers use when they can’t figure out how to get out of a scene on ‘Family Matters.’
Awful, awful stuff. I need something happy involving Emma to get this taste out of my mouth.
There we go.
Best: NXT Retrospective Videos
Throughout the show we get these cool little recap videos taking us back to important moments in NXT history, and as 1) a wrestling history and continuity obsessive and 2) an NXT mark, I really loved them. We got a look back at Daniel Bryan vs. Chris Jericho on NXT s1e1, the game show-to-Full Sail transition episode and Seth Rollins winning the NXT Championship. Next week’s supposed to mostly be a clip show, and I am surprisingly okay with that. Derrick Bateman and Daniel Bryan cheating to win immunity challenges, please.
Happy 200 episodes to my favorite WWE show. And hey, 150 more and you’ll have as many episodes as NXT Redemption.
Best: THE BOSS
They’ve done a great job solving nearly every problem I had with Sasha Banks, and they did it by giving her five additional extraneous accessories a week. Tremendous.
One thing I like about Sasha in the ring is that she just feels like an athlete. When she moves, she moves with a bounce. When she runs, she seems quick. When she jumps, she seems like she can jump high. That’s honestly missing from a lot of women’s wrestling, and if Sasha can maintain a ridiculous character while burning it up in the ring and never acting or having backstage interviews ever, she could be one of the very best.
Supplementary Best: Paige
I liked the Women’s Championship match a lot and I think Sasha might be Paige’s best non-Emma opponent. Sasha’s quickness sorta demands Paige keep up with her and stay moving, which is good for Paige, because she often looks like she’s trying to slow herself down and match the skill level of her opponent. Sasha can also eat the shit out of the Paige Turner, which randomly got a Christian Cage “let’s set this up for day” preface and a pretty lovingly sick arm swing that made it all okay.
I want more like this!
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