Greetings Smurfs. Tonight’s NXT was a pretty neat and tidy one, containing four matches, three of which involved characters from the 3 Championship divisions and another containing two of the writer’s current favorite wrestlers. I don’t believe we got any vignettes but we were lucky enough to listen to Renee Young on commentary for the entire episode, which I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess we’ll be getting more of in the near future. Renee’s successful trial run at the desk means there are now two “rookies” better on commentary than Tony Dawson, who you can kiss goodbye after this episode. We knew he was gone four weeks ago, and since this is the last episode of his final taping, that’s it for him.
Believe me, he left one big word-dump of a goodbye.
As for the run-down of tonight’s episode, NXT opened with a video package building tonight’s main event match between Dallas and Zayn for the NXT Championship. Once the show started we got a rematch for the NXT tag team championships between Corey Graves and Adrian Neville and The Ascension. The Ascension picked up the win on a wounded Adrian Neville. After the match Corey Graves turned on Neville, chop-blocking him while he was already hobbled. Tyler Breeze then beat C. J. Parker, though Parker did steal his I-Phone after the match. No word on if Parker also stole the man’s bank info.
Summer Rae and Sasha Banks beat Paige and Emma. In the main event, Bo Dallas used an exposed turnbuckle to beat Sami Zayn, though the match was restarted by JBL after the ref failed to see Dallas’s leg on the ropes during a pinfall attempt.
Got all that? Let’s talk about the…
Improved Tag Title match:
Holy crap tonight’s tag match was way better than the last one these two teams farted out, though way better than awful is still just okay. Seriously, though, kudos to whoever decided to skip the long, boring period of the bad guys working over the good guys from the last match and focus instead on the story of Graves and Neville just not being good enough and therefore falling apart as a team. Corey turning on Neville thankfully once again makes Graves a heel, a change he has desperately needed in my opinion. I don’t mind this development one bit, though I do wonder who the Ascension are going to feud with in the near future.
Parker vs Breeze:
In what turned out to be a running pattern tonight, this match was okay. I’m not in love with either of these guys but the match was short and sweet and fine. No complaints here. I did laugh at something random during the after-match shenanigans. Parker realized he was bleeding from a cut near his mouth after wiping his face and checking his hand, but then totally went ahead and put his arm around a fan anyway. That’s kind of gross dude, but I guess your character is that of a dirty hippie.
Mean Girls vs…not Mean Girls or, the moment Tony Dawson’s career was catapulted away from sports entertainment:
I liked the tag match featuring all the ladies but, ho boy, was it overshadowed by what was going on at the commentary desk. You know how the past few weeks Renee Young was allowed to provide commentary for only the ladies matches? And how when she was out there doing commentary she was asked for insight on the divas because she was also a lady? Yeah, in this match, when Tony said something about Renee being the fore-most expert on the WWE divas, Renee said what was on everybody’s mind and called him out for being sexist. And I was like:
Seriously. I loudly said this for real, interrupting my girlfriend’s Korean TV show. I am also secretly a monkey.
I’m pretty sure there was a good 15-20 seconds of commentary silence after the exchange, where I can only assume someone important was saying something important into those commentary headsets or some major editing was going on to erase whatever was said next. And Tony Dawson was just never the same again. From then on he was lost, asking his fellow commentators the most inane questions, screwing up the names of moves, calling every pinning combination a “stack-up” and just flailing worse than a Magikarp at a fish-fry. I swear, it was like Renee broke his damn spirit.
So while Paige kicked some butt and Summer Rae wrestled a style that really works for her, in the end what I got from this segment is that you should really be afraid of Renee Young. If you cross her she’ll break you with her mind powers and then interview you in a way that is both professional and entertaining at the same time.
Anyway, back to the wrestling.
Sami Zayn vs Bo Dallas was pretty much everything I wanted it to be:
Wrestling is a weird form of the creative arts. Are you aware of this? I’m pretty sure you’re aware of this. Sometimes s**t happens and then the wrestlers and the company that employs them work around that s**t and the end product ends up being better than it would have if that s**t never happened in the first place. Exhibit A, the King of the Ring where Austin won instead of Triple H. Exhibit B, the 2005 royal rumble where Batista/John Cena screwed up and both got eliminated at the same time and nobody knew what was going on. Exhibit C, this feud between Sami Zayn and Bo Dallas, where Bo got injured and they pushed back their inevitable match a bit, allowing Bo to turn from a terrible wrestler into an awesomely terrible wrestler and cut a bunch of goober promos.
All the character work that happened because Bo got hurt meant Zayn and Dallas had a ton of story going into this match and it…just…worked. This felt like a big match, and mostly delivered as such, despite its difficult positioning as the last match on a four episode long taping in front of wrestling hipsters the sound of their own voices a little too much. Which I guess is my fancy way of saying an actual WWE PPV crowd would probably have appreciated the solid technical wrestling displayed by both men in the match’s opening minutes a little bit more than the increasingly salty NXT crowd. Once the match kicked up a bit and Zayn and Dallas started throwing bombs at each other the crowd got a lot more into it. And believe me, bombs were thrown. Dallas, especially, took some hits that looked very painful, including a perfect splat of a tope con hilo onto the entrance ramp and a nasty sunset flip powerbomb.
In the perfect ending, Dallas won by using an exposed turnbuckle, which I’m pretty sure is how he miraculously beat Big E Langston to start this title reign in the first place. What I wasn’t thrilled about was the random bit in in the middle of the match where Zayn got a crappy three-count from the ref and heel-GM JBL arrived to restart the match. I get that Zayn-against-the-system is where they’re going, but I didn’t think it was a necessary thing to include in this match. Though, now that I think about it, doing the bad three count thing does throw into contrast how Dallas cheated to win and yet JBL didn’t reverse that decision.
What did you think about this week’s show? Are you excited Corey Graves has rejoined the dark side of the force? Will you miss Tony Dawson at all? Are you bummed Sami Zayn didn’t win? Let us know in the big bad world of the comments section.