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Monday, October 24, 2016

NXT 230 7/10/14 Review

1. Bayley vs. Summer Rae

This is just about the most natural of personality match-ups, as Bayley is inherently likeable, whereas Summer Rae has a face of someone who should never be booked as likeable. It's pretty basic, and both are good at what they do. Bayley is good at frustrating Summer with her kind of playful sloppiness when doing amateur rolls on the mat (with Summer hilariously kicking her legs in a tantrum), and Summer does mean unnecessary things like palm Bayley's face during pinfalls. Neither thing would make a victory more likely, but they were perfect character moments that illustrated why this was a nice match-up. Albert is back on commentary and as awful as ever, unable to make satisfying points from a logic or kayfabe perspective. "She didn't get all of that kick!" he was quick to blurt over everybody, after a Summer kick that mostly hit fine and was sold as such. After saying Summer earned a title shot because she was in a movie, he then compares her to Trish Stratus. None of his points make sense within a storyline or any other sense, his allegiances switch mid match, he's just really really bad at his job. Sometimes he goes for comedy, other times he supports a heel, none of it lands. But Bayley/Summer is a fun match and Albert is NOT going to ruin it for me! Summer is someone who really wasn't utilized much on the main roster as a wrestler, which is a shame as she's really not bad, and has more personality than most. Her role on Total Divas has made me laugh more than most on that show. And here I liked the struggle over the finish, with Summer blocking the Bayley to Belly a couple times before planting her with her axe leg drop. So far all the people coming back to NXT after a "demotion" have been really fun and nicely integrated into the existing NXT roster.

2. Sin Cara vs. Wesley Blake

I think I may be the biggest Wesley Blake fan. I like keeping mostly out of the present day NXT loop, so it's fun watching and enjoying a guy like Blake and not knowing what is going to happen to him. Maybe he's released before 2014, maybe he's repackaged and super popular now. My only real insight into NXT beyond the stuff I've watched so far, is the guys who show up on WWE TV. I obviously know guys like Aiden English, sadly Big Cass, sadly Mojo Rawley, etc. will continue to be in these reports because they eventually made the main roster. But a guy like Blake? I have no clue, and that's fun for me. Blake is really good at constructing 3 minute matches, with him on the losing end. Cara is in to hit all his shit, and it can't be a coincidence that this was the best I've seen some of Cara's spots look. Blake got into position for runs of Cara offense better than anybody I've seen on the main roster, ate those springboard crossbodys, took a huge bump over the top and then sprawled big into the entrance ramp catching a dive. For his part he made his brief moments count, blasting Cara with a great uppercut and surprising him (and me) with an even greater right hand. His single arm DDT was swank and lead to him stomping the arm and yanking on it, and Cara was kind enough to sell it for him. Super fun match, did tons with the time. I think with 90 more seconds this would land on my "Recommended NXT" list.

They're kind of bonering up this Tyson Kidd bitter vet angle with the inclusion of Nattie. Kidd as the dickhead falling from grace relegated to developmental vet? Awesome. Nattie asking him about his moral compass? Death. Unless it's building to a Nattie heel swerve, her presence is just muddying waters. We already see them on Total Divas and know they're essentially a normal married couple, her inclusion tries to bring too much real life into a great wrestling angle, and it's coming out worse on the other side. They're overthinking this thing.

CJ Parker comes out to offer a somewhat loaded apology to Xavier Woods, and "I'm offering you peace. I suggest you accept it," is a quote that perfectly nails the annoying heel nuance of Parker's character. The manipulative dirt fuck hippy is a great heel character, and Parker gets the finer points correct. A guy who makes good points but has a smug and self righteous way of delivering those points is the kind of character who works great on a show like this, and something that would get immediately clipped to hell on the main brand. On Smackdown he would just be a hippy heel, and the crowd would just be expected to boo him because he's a hippy. His apology to Xavier is somewhat sincere and that's what makes him jumping Xavier even better.

3. Bull Dempsey vs. Angelo Dawkins
At first all three announcers were laying it on real thick about Dempsey's body, really putting over that he's unique because he doesn't have abs. Just within this match it was already making me want to dislike Dempsey, and that's crazy if any of you know how much I love fat wrestlers. And yeah having a guy who looks like Dempsey on your roster is much more rare these days, but announcers didn't have to point out just how fat Blackwell or One Man Gang or Tenta were, because they were clearly big awesome fat dudes. And maybe that's part of the problem with Dempsey, is that they're spending so much time talking about how unique his round physique is, but truthfully he's not that far away from being in fine cosmetic shape. Those other guys either died fat or - in the case of OMG - spent the last 20 years slowly slimming down so that he now suddenly looks like Richard Moll. Dempsey looks like a guy who can go on a 6 month crossfit binge and look like a hairier version of every other physique in NXT. So it comes off like them trying hard to point out just how unique he is, because the thing that they say is unique isn't really special. He comes off more as an out of shape guy than a wild fat guy. The guy needs to pack on another 50 lb. to actually look wrestler fat. BUT. But. Eventually everybody shuts up, and I can just enjoy Dempsey beating up Dawkins, and that is very enjoyable. While he might not totally live up to how they're billing him, he comes off very well in the ring. Loved him turning a Dawkins' armdrag into a slick side headlock, his body shots are great, his elbows are great, really carries himself like a tank throughout the whole thing. He's a guy I would have liked anyway, without all of the spoon feeding from the announce crew. This match was basically a Dempsey showcase, but also gave us by far our longest look at Angelo Dawkins. We've seen him get zero offense against Big Cass, zero offense against Tyler Breeze, and not even get tagged in against the Vaudevillains. We know he's tall. That's about what we know. But this match filled things in a bit! He took a nice beating from Bull, threw an insanely high dropkick, seemed like a guy you wouldn't mind seeing more from; another guy like Wesley Blake who for all I know was never used again after this taping. I'm excited to see where he and Bull go, and I liked all of what I saw here from both.


4. Sami Zayn & Adrian Neville vs. Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd
I was really liking this, even through a couple of clunky Kidd cross-ups, but Natalya's involvement in the veteran dickhead Tyson Kidd story is just the pits. She's a lousy actress, and there were too many moments where she acted all over the place. She's too over the top when she's supposed to be subtle, and I just really wish the storyline had not included her. Unless it leads to a Natalya NXT heel turn, which it probably won't. But I enjoy heel Natalya far more. But I really this was just a straight up tag with two demoted assholes up against a couple top NXT guys. That's all that this needed, the simpler approach. Is there anybody watching out there that would see that tag, and then go "I liked it, but I wish the tag could have furthered some sort of collapsing marriage storyline." It's always a bummer when a person not in the match takes a match you would recommend, and makes it less recommendable. That's Natalya's tombstone right there : "Made Things Less Recommendable". Zayn and Neville are a fun babyface tag team, wouldn't mind seeing both utilized currently this way. It's not like they do tons of double teams (outside of a nutty sky twister press that Neville did off a kneeling Zayn), they just complement each other nicely; just as, Gabriel and Kidd complement each other nicely. Kidd has been a standout as a heel, though he had a couple stumbles in this one. Gabriel turned in one of his better performances though, he's also a guy who makes a better heel than face. And so this was a real nice 10 minute tag, something I easily could have added to the recommended NXT list. But Natalya man. Natalya as TJ's moral compass is just awful.


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