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Saturday, October 01, 2016

NXT 229 7/3/14 Review

1. Colin Cassady vs. Sylvester Lefort

Ugh. Enzo's same rehearsed, already ear poison mic spiel goes about 4x as long as the match itself. Lefort has been looking killer lately on TNA, glad someone is giving him some time (yuck, feels weird to say "good for him for going to TNA!"). And really what can you say about a 30 second match? I hate them? Lefort brings about as much as you can in the time, throwing a couple stiff right hands to Cassady's jaw. If you gotta go down, land a few while on the way. Cassady hits his big leaping elbow, and at least all his arm flailing made the elbow look more impactful. Still, bleh.

2. Sasha Banks & Charlotte vs. Bayley & Becky Lynch

I wasn't expecting tons from this but ended up liking it and wanting more. Sasha and Charlotte are a really satisfying tag team, real good at cutting off the ring, and Bayley is an excellent babyface. Lynch dropped all that terrible Irish dancing and was fine as Bayley's hot tag. But the money was in watching Sasha and Charlotte be total bitches to Bayley. This was one of Charlotte's best performances so far, just really showing tons of confidence and coming off like a real jock bully. Sasha is great as her lackey, and it's so good when she does a bunch of her non-offense cheats, stuff like clawing and just slapping someone on the back. Her facials are always great when doing this and Charlotte is always waiting right there for the tag when Sasha gets in over her head. If this was maybe twice as long it would have been something that wouldn't have felt out of place on one of the 80s sets, and it kind of made me hate the WWE Network start time/end time "bullet points" as while it is convenient to know what time a match starts on the timeline, it is a bummer to be getting into a match while seeing "oh this ends in like 30 seconds".

Tyson Kidd is really good at playing bitter veteran and I liked him raining on Justin Gabriel's parade. Gabriel was all excited to be in NXT and Kidd explained to him that it was another rung lower on the ladder, which was lower than his previous spot, and so on. I try not to look ahead at what happens in NXT so I'm going into each episode mostly blind, so I have no idea how long Kidd (or anybody) sticks around in NXT, but I'm hoping he's around for awhile.

3. CJ Parker vs. Steve Cutler

Not much to this one, the debuting Z'Dar-jawed Cutler got zero offense, but bumped around in fine "quick back bump off punches" WWE training style. It was entirely punches from Parker, leading to his standing spin kick finish. Parker is a guy I like, but the announce crew really backed themselves into an awkward corner with his gimmick. He's a dirty hippie who's a self-proclaimed eco terrorist. Regal is the face announcer, who understandably hates hippies. But Regal makes a poor decision in deciding - because Parker is a heel, and a hippie heel no less, that he is going to be opposed to everything about him. The problem is, Regal now comes off like an asshole climate change denier who empties entire bottles of his Aqua Net hairspray into the air while having a Styrofoam bonfire. Like, I get CJ's a dick about it, but it doesn't mean you also have to hate recycling just because somebody shitty does it. Regal easily could have taken a "agree with the message, strongly disagree with the delivery" route which would have actually pointed out the whole nuance of the Parker character. His broad dislike is a rare commentary misstep for Regal, but it's a misstep he should recognize, as I don't want to have to side with Byron Saxton of all people as he points out what good points Parker is making.

4. Sami Zayn vs. Justin Gabriel

Really liked Gabriel in this one, and I really like he and Kidd as dickhead demoted meatheads. I thought Zayn's two comebacks were fairly unimaginative and shoehorned in, or else the match could have been great. Zayn's first offense run just kind of came out of nowhere, and the second was set up by Gabriel climbing to the top while easily seeing Zayn standing up to catch him. It was just kind of lazy. But Gabriel looked awesome throughout, right up there with the most I've ever enjoyed him. The first couple minutes of this were fun as I liked their scrambly wristlock reversals and armdrags, and eventually Gabriel starts bringing some stiff strikes including a nasty spinkick right to Zayn's jaw. Both guys were doing real nice rope running sequences, cutting fast on drop downs, doing fast leapfrog spots. It felt like those Finlay matches in WCW where he would test a guy early in a match by doing super fast sequences and letting them decide their fate. Gabriel hits a great springboard moonsault and plants Zayn with a sick air raid crash on his knee. I kept expecting Kidd to factor into the finish so was pleased that he didn't (other than shouting advice), but the ending was just flat with the silly fighting on the turnbuckles and then Zayn just kind deciding to lock on the koji clutch. It wouldn't have taken much to come up with a better way to transition to Zayn's offense, and that held things back a bit. But overall this was good and I liked Gabriel fully turning postmatch and stomping down Zayn with Kidd. The tag match (Neville/Zayn vs. Kidd/Gabriel that I assume they're building to) should be really good.


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