Wrestling friends! Shanna is back for another week for a show that's soon to be on the WWE Network, NXT.
I have to say that it's quite lovely to be hammering out my thoughts on this show for a 2nd week in a row. New Years Resolutions have been flying in and out of my head all week, but here's the only one that makes sense: I need to watch LOTS more NXT in 2014. And not just one or two episodes here and there either. I'm talking every single show every month until 2015. But to keep the motivation going, I need YOU, dear reader, to tag along with me. Commenting on these articles makes me happy. Sharing this report with your friends also makes me happy. Telling me what you love and hate about my writing, NXT or WWE in general (on Twitter @AbsoluteSmark) is also fun. Seriously. Let's chat sometime.
Okay, shilling over. Let's get on with the show, shall we?
Match 1: Bayley vs Summer Rae
As longtime readers of this column know, I'm biased toward the ladies of wrestling. I really want to see these girls succeed and be great at wrestling. Anybody from NXT's ladies division would be a great asset to a crumbling Raw Diva's division, especially due to the recent departure of Kaitlyn from WWE's ladies ranks.
Bayley is adorable, a natural good gal, and is clearly very popular. Summer Rae is great personality wise, but her wrestling leaves much to be desired. Summer wrestling is a real struggle for me to watch. One because she's not as polished as a Paige or Emma which I can excuse in some cases. And two, which I cannot ignore, because she spent all of this match using DANCE MOVES as defensive wrestling. We get it. She tangos with Fandango every Raw and Smackdown. Does this really mean that she needs to spin and cha- cha in the ring when she's supposed to be wrestling? I think not.
This was a passable match and not the worst I've seen as far as the ladies go, but I wouldn't exactly go out of my way to recommend watching it either. I guess this must've been an off night for everyone.
Commentary Note: Alex Riley and Byron Saxton were flat out obnoxious with their commentary here. Normally I can block it out, but Riley has taken it upon himself to talk louder when he thinks his points aren't getting across well, and Saxon is too busy trying to heel/face to actually call the match. Awful and distracting.
Move of the match: Summer Rae's ridiculous and ineffective "dance as an offense" strategy
Meanwhile, backstage: Xavier Woods is here, and Devin Taylor is ready to interview him. In a rather short backstage encounter, Devin says that (Corporate) Kane is here and that he'd like to give Xavier "something to do". Xavier responds to this not with fear, but by ripping open his jacket, saying he's at 9,000 in a WACKY TONE, then backing away.
Shanna says: Ooof. The realization that I'm in no mood for Xavier Woods tonight hit me when he said he's at 9,000. What exactly does that even mean? And even more bewildering is the announcement that The Ascension will be taking on Hunico and Camacho in a TORNADO TAG MATCH. Goody.
Match 2: Colin Cassady vs Aiden English
Here's what I liked about this match. There was some serious intensity between these guys. Lots of aggression in their back and forth, which is much better than Colin standing there limply despite the fact that Colin got knee gouged last week by the oh so unclassy Aiden.
The best thing to come out of the sing off last week was that it established Aiden as the heel that we all knew he was, but we pretended not to know. He is no longer the cutesy, rose accepting, hand kissing theater guy. Now he's just angry because he knows that the people don't truly like him and will turn on him and like a FOOL like Colin. This makes him upset. I love that something so silly turned into something fairly serious.
Here's what I didn't like about this match. Colin, please don't say S-A-W-F-T while you're wrestling. That word is sacred and should not be used for cheap attempts to liven up a crowd or to show how focused you are at beating Aiden. Which you didn't even end up doing anyway. Repeated SAWFT's during match = losing. Remember that for next time.
Commentary Note: Alex and Bryon are both still obnoxious, but Alex Riley did have one good line about giving Aiden English the hook while he was singing. Touche, Riley.
Move of the match: Colin with some solid forearm shots of Aiden's back
Winner: Aiden English
Meanwhile, backstage: Devin Taylor is back again, and this time she's interviewing Adrian Neville who got royally screwed by my boy Tyler Breeze during his NXT championship match with Bo Dallas a few weeks back.
Devin asks Adrian Neville how it feels to come close to winning...and I can't hear the rest of the question because Adrian's phone starts ringing. Adrian answers, and Tyler Breeze quickly says wrong number and hangs up. The camera moves out to reveal Tyler Breeze hiding in the corner. Adrian calls him over and asks why Tyler's calling him when they're in the same room. Tyler says that he's calling to avoid having to look at Adrian's uggo face, and that way his eyeballs won't have to melt. Tyler apologizes for costing Adrian the match a few weeks ago, but it's with a smirk that says he really isn't sorry. Tyler and Adrian bicker back and forth about whether or not Tyler's truly sorry, which ends with Tyler saying that the NXT universe deserves a champion who is...gorgeous. Adrian says that he wants to play a game (Tyler hates games). Adrian promises to play a waiting game with Tyler. Adrian would like to beat Tyler's face in now, but he chooses to wait until next week to do so. He wishes Tyler happy waiting, and that's that.
Shanna says: Tyler Breeze vs Adrian Neville? I think I dig it. I'm pretty sure that Adrian and Tyler can bring some good out of each other.
Match 3: Xavier Woods vs a MYSTERY OPPONENT
Ever hear of the saying "you don't know what you've got til it's gone?" This applies to Xavier Woods.
You see, he was gone from NXT and dancing his face off with R-Truth on Raw, and I grew to like other characters during his absence. It happens. Now that he's back, I simply don't care very much that he is. I'm glad he's moved up and wish that he would stay there. And, like I said, I'm not in the mood for Xavier.
Anyway. Kane comes out and reveals that due to something that Xavier's did wrong, his opponent for tonight is Alexander Rusev. When Alexander is announced, something interesting happens. I mentally checked out on this match. I checked my twitter, brushed my hair, and generally didn't pay much attention to the action. Sorry, but I'm not sorry.
I had a good discussion with a twitter pal earlier today about Alexander and why he bores me so much. That pal said that most characters like Rusev are one dimensional and meant to be the sort of wrestling talent that makes other talent look good. If that's the case, Alexander Rusev's only hope is wrestling someone like Xavier all the time. Giving him the wrong opponent to work with will spell doom for him and he'll lose what little momentum he has.
Does anybody out there like Alexander Rusev and think I'm completely nuts?
Move of the match: n/a
Winner: Alexander Rusev
Meanwhile; backstage: Kofi Kingston challenges Alexander Rusev to a re-match after losing to him last week. Which was awful enough to sit through the first time. Anyway, Kofi uuummms and uuuuhhhh's his way to challenging Rusev. Not much to see here.
Match 4: Tyson Kidd vs Baron Corbin
Alex Riley starts off the match by mentioning that Tyson Kidd reminds him of Eddie Guerrero. A not so astute observation if I've ever heard one. They have a similar build body wise, but Guerrero definitely had more swagger than Tyson Kidd does. I loved Eddie, and Tyson is no Eddie. Oh well. A fair comparison as far as bodies, but not wholly accurate as far as personalities. Moving on.
It bears mentioning that I feel nothing when it comes to Tyson Kidd too. There's far too much talk about his marriage to Natalya and being involved with Total Divas when it comes to him. Which is probably because he doesn't have much going on at the moment. And with a performance like this match, I can see why he's not doing much. In the end, I was rooting for the jobber more than the veteran talent. Not good. I want to like Tyson Kidd, but performances like this don't do much for making me like him.
Move of the match: As Alex Riley put it: The twisting neck destroyer. Alex Riley is clearly an idiot.
Winner: Tyson Kidd
Match 5: The Ascension vs Hunico and Camacho
Tag Team Tornado match
Had this match been Hunico and Camacho wrestling anybody else besides Rick Victor and Conor O'Brian, I'm sure this would've been a fun watch. But we didn't get that. Instead we got this match totally brought down by The Ascension and their lack of a urgency. Hunico and Camacho brought it. Rick and Conor could hardly keep up. Watching Hunico and Camacho diving and leaping all over the place was fun. Watching Rick and Conor lumbering their way to keep up with the more energetic team was painful. It's sad to see the actual champions be outclassed.
The end sequence of this match was one of the better that I've seen watching this show, and had Rick and Conor stepped up, this would've been one for the ages.
I wouldn't say skip this match because Hunico and Camacho are worth watching. But if you do watch this match, try not to get upset by what Rick and Conor can't do.
Move of the match: Camacho leapt out of the ring straight into an uppercut by Rick Victor
Winner: The Ascension
And that's NXT for this week, kids.
Stick around Ring Rap for the news of the week, and be sure to be here next week as I write up another episode of NXT.
If you'd like to see the sights and sounds of this show, you can get sucked in to NXT right here.
Or, if you're like me and sick of watching this show on Hulu, fear not! NXT will be a featured show on the WWE Network! What's the WWE Network, you say? You can read all about that wonderful bit of news right here.
Until next week, wrestling friends.