Good morning my mortal friends! As they say in the shock jock radio business, I quit this bitch!
No, seriously, I am actually quitting this bitch. Once again I’ve taken the fairly ballsy step of moving halfway across the country for work, this time for a wonderful job that doesn’t necessarily pay all that much. Even now, pre-moving expenses, I can’t afford and therefore don’t have cable or non-phone internet. Everything you’ve seen over the past month or so has been posted from the office computer and, since asking my new employers if I can upload my little wrestling blogs from their company equipment seems like a poor way to make a first impression, I think now is an appropriate time to call it a day. It’s been a fun ride but life is a chain of moments, all good things come to an end, yadda yadda yadda.
My last article for TJR (probably) will be next week’s NXT review, the one after the big Takeover special. I’ve no idea what happens on that show, but unless Voltron himself bursts forth from the ring and challenges Charlotte for the NXT divas title, I don’t think it’ll be as exciting as what we go over this week.
Speaking of which…
NXT specials are the payoff.
Holy crap this NXT special was good. I love this version of NXT, but the hour-long weekly format means sometimes you go months between matches that feel particularly important. Such is the unfortunate nature of the wrestling beast. Takeover, however, was built well and featured almost every single noteworthy performer currently on the roster, with every segment given enough time to at best wildly succeed and at worst mildly disappoint. In simple terms, it was a good PPV, except, you know, nobody paid for it.
In terms of in-ring action, this special killed, serving up another quality trifecta of Sami Zayn special/women’s championship match/men’s championship match, just like NXT Arrival. After having a day to think about it, I’d have to give the competitive match of the night to Natalya vs Charlotte. To say it was good would be a massive understatement, because this match managed to simultaneously validate Charlotte as a champion-caliber competitor and vindicate Natalya as being just as good a wrestler as everyone has always said she was, despite not using every 2 minute match on Raw to show it. The two of them freakin’ clicked, trading wrestling hold after wrestling hold like it was no big deal. The action never really stopped, and while the extended figure four spot contradicted every other extended figure four spot ever, the match was otherwise a near masterpiece of modern WWE women’s wrestling. Fairly good-natured grappling transitioned smoothly into a more typical wrestling match when strikes started to fly, keeping the match exciting but not repetitive, all the while building towards a Charlotte finisher that looked great (which doesn’t always happen) and a feel good ending wherein the nastiness between characters were set aside for what I interpreted as two real people being very proud of each other and their accomplishment. It was a cool moment, and built up the championship as a thing every woman on the show should aspire to hold. Good stuff.
Because the women’s championship match was so good, the men’s championship match had a tough task in following it and I don’t think they succeeded to the degree that they could have. The opening technical wrestling didn’t compare favorably to what Nattie and Charlotte pulled off earlier and the story of the men being mirror images of each other wasn’t quite engrossing enough to carry the match through its run time. To be honest, though, I can’t really be too critical because I started to nod off towards the end, though that’s kind of its own critique, isn’t it?
So yeah, the wrestling was great, peaking at the women’s match, but there were a couple other points worth mentioning, the first being that…
I am very surprised Kalisto wasn’t featured more prominently.
Kalisto is the next coming of Rey Mysterio. El Local is…not that, so when their team got put against the Ascension on this special I figured it was Kalisto’s time to be crazy athletic and El Local’s time to lose for his team. Imagine my surprise when Kalisto is the one that gets to sell well but show very little offense. Yes, he is the smaller of the two wrestlers, so that set-up makes sense, but letting the NXT talent with possibly the biggest potential go through his first major event as just some other wrestler was a foolish decision, in my opinion.
I’ve never laughed so much at flag-waving bulls**t.
Here’s a peak into my inner monologue during the Alexander Rusev segment.
Alright, here comes a squash match. Did Lana just turn around and show her butt for no reason? Oh God, Rusev’s got a flag. Why? He’s waving it so angrily. I guess that makes sense, he is kind of a wildman. Nothing like exploiting a real and dangerous political situation for wrasslin’ heat. Noone’s died recently in Ukraine or anything. Ugh, this will only lead to more nationalistic bulls**t. Yep, here it comes, here’s Mojo waving an American flag. ‘Merrica,‘Merrica. That Putin joke wasn’t terrible, I guess. Oh, here’s a fight!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!, Oh my god, Mojo’s dead! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
And so on. I truly did not expect Mojo to die to Rusev almost instantly, nor did I expect baby Cena to continue to get his ass kicked all the way up the ramp. It was amazing, the perfect treat for anyone who’s sick of Mojo’s limited ability and ass-based offense.
But enough about me, what did you think of NXT Takeover? I already know Mike Holland’s opinion, but what about you? Were you shocked Sami Zayn tried his crazy powerbomb? Were you disappointed when it didn’t go quite as planned? Did you think Paige’s promo was a little…weak sauce? Leave your comments and let us know. It might just be your last chance to do so.