Someone somewhere in history said that the best things are worth the wait. And after a particularly horrendous week in my personal life, I was very much looking to escape from reality and be amazed by what NXT had to offer. This show did not disappoint.
Follow along with me as we build up to the end of the show that earned Match of the Year praise from all around the internet.
Match 1: AJ Lee (C) vs Bailey Divas Championship match
There are so many things to love about women's wrestling in NXT. One of them is Bailey. I didn't "get" her before and found her annoying, but she's growing on me. Perhaps it's because she's from San Jose like I am, but something about her need to hug people and be forever friends really resonates with me.
And then you have AJ. No bones about it, AJ is the best thing going in the current WWE divas division. Not because she's champion or because she's a good wrestler (she's both of those things), but because she truly understands how to entertain. Putting these two together is something of a dream match for me and this match lived up to my high expectations. When AJ yelled out "Do you want a hug, Bailey? Do you? Because I'm hugging your neck now!" I was taken to a women's wrestling nirvana that I haven't been to Mickie James beat Trish Stratus at Wrestlemania all those years ago.
This dream match is no longer a dream, but a beautiful reality. Bailey spent most of the match trying to hug AJ and be friends, but in the end, Bailey's friendly nature cost her the match and AJ Lee retains her title. But with wrestling that isn't pillow fighting or less than 3 minutes, do us fans really lose?
Move of the match: This technically isn't a move, but Bailey's repeated attempts to hug AJ during the match. Bailey just can't help putting possible friendship over a title match!
Winner (and still Divas champion): AJ Lee
Meanwhile, backstage: TYLER BREEZE is in the building doing what he does best. Admiring himself. But then he does something a little bit better. He sees a pretty woman walking past him and asks if she wants to take a picture. She says yes. But Tyler is very quick to say that he wants her to take a picture of HIM, and points to where she should be standing while she's taking that photo. Out of the shot.
But alas, my joy doesn't last very long because the ANNOYING CJ Parker photobombs Tyler's (gorgeous) photo. When Tyler discovers that his photo has been ruined, he stomps off proclaiming how his life has been ruined. Oh, Tyler.
Match 2: Ron Hicks and Michael Zaki vs The Ascension (Conor O'Brian and Rick Victor)
As much as I love NXT, I'm not so in love with The Ascension. Sure, they're scary and both Conor and Rick work well together, but I find the other wordly type of gimmicks boring unless they're in some kind of battle with another other wordly type of team for control of Skyrim. Or something. But regardless of how I feel, The Ascension pick up the win in this match. But it's your standard tag team squash that The Ascension has done a million times before. You aren't missing anything if you skip this match.
Move of the match: N/A
Winners: The Ascension.
Match 3: Baron Corbin vs CJ Parker It's very rare that my hate meter goes off watching NXT, but it did during this match. I really, really don't like CJ Parker, guys. Not because I prefer Tyler Breeze, but there's something very annoying about watching him stumble to the ring for his match against Baron. The feeling doesn't go away as CJ wrestles, because his performance is nothing remarkable. CJ's persona makes my teeth chatter, and not because I'm cold. And I'm not getting the connection of photo bombing Tyler and being a hippie. Not digging CJ, and the match ends with me feeling very under whelmed.
Move of the match: N/A
Winner: CJ Parker
In a lovely surprise, Renee Young makes her way down to the ring to interview CJ Parker (ugh). She asks CJ where he's been, and his response is "where haven't I been?" When she asks who CJ Parker is, his response is: "He's just him"
CJ Parker is the worst thing I've seen on NXT in my brief time as a fan of this show.
But my horror doesn't end, because out comes Tyler Breeze and he's ANGRY. Tyler doesn't like CJ Parker and brands him a loser, and a Lenni Kravitz wannabe. (I knew there was a reason I loved Tyler so much) CJ drops the loving hippie act and goes to punch Tyler in the face, but stops as Tyler slides out of the ring, screaming about how DARE CJ TRY TO TOUCH HIS FACE and to STAY OUT HIS TYLER'S PICTURES.
In essence, the thing I love most about NXT will be feuding with, what I feel, is the worst thing on NXT. My next few recaps should be fun!
Match 4: Alexander Rusev vs Dolph Ziggler
I feel like there were two purposes for this match. One is for us to watch Dolph flop around like he does so well, and the other is to see how Dolph, who flops, reacts to Rusev, who stomps and refuses to flop. I like the contrast of this match and how it wasn't the typical squash. Normally a big man like Rusev would put down anybody on NXT, but he just can't find a way to put away our show off. By the time this match gets to the point that Rusev is climbing the ropes (no small feat) I was fully in it. Too bad it ended right after that.
In my opinion, this match was like watching Dolph wrestle a brick wall. A brick wall with arms and legs, but a wall nonetheless. It might not be Dolph's most memorable match, but Ziggler's presence and Rusev's refusal to lose made this interesting.
Move of the Match: The Zig Zag to Rusev that ended the match.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Match 5: Sami Zayn vs Antonio Cesaro 2 out of 3 falls match
I should've known what I was in for when Zayn started off this match by leaping out of the ring and hitting Cesaro as he was making his entrance. I really should've known what caliber this match would be when Zayn big booted Cesaro out of nowhere in the corner. It looked like Cesaro got his bell rung. It only got better from there, folks.
If there's ever a match that deserved the hype surrounding it, this was it. This is an NXT masterpiece. Main eventers wish they could have a match this good. I was so stunned by how good it was that I don't even know how to describe it without going full spoiler and giving you something to expect. But I won't do it. If there's ever an NXT match that you NEED to see, it's this. In all my years as a wrestling fan, I've not seen a match this unique or exciting from someone who isn't on the main roster, well, ever. If you're on the ropes about watching NXT, watch this show from beginning to end and then watch this match 3 or 4 times and see if you're not chomping at the bit for next week's episode. I dare you.
Move of the match: Antonio Cesaro, from the 2nd rope, pulling Zayn from a standing position on the apron (outside the ring) into a superplex inside the ring. It has to be seen to be believed.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
And that ends NXT for this week. I'm excited to be a fan of this show after the performances from Zayn and Cesaro and can only hope I will see another match like that on this show.
NXT is like no other WWE experience, because you get to think the superstars of this show are great before they ever show up for Raw or Smackdown. Get yourself a Hulu Plus account, pay the 8 bucks or so a month and get immersed in NXT. You will not want to miss the next Zayn vs Cesaro.
Until next week, folks.