Good evening, NXT peeps. I just got back from vacation, so here’s a wrasslin’ review.
NXT was all about the Full Sail audience this week and how wildly different their reaction is towards the wrestlers they can care about and towards the wrestlers they don’t care about at all. But we’ll get into that later. First, let’s run-down the show.
Tonight’s episode opened with a mixed tag match between the teams of Fandango and Summer Rae and Emma and Santino Marella. The good guys won, after mucho silliness. Kassius Ohno fought Luke Harper and lost. Mojo Rawley was introduced via vignette. The Jersey Boyz cut a pretty cool little promo backstage that used elements we saw in their leaked “Presentation Skills” video.
In what I totally forgot wasn’t the main event, the Ascension won the NXT tag titles from Adrian Neville and Corey Graves. Thankfully Bo Dallas’s invitational was what ended the show, with a masked Sami Zayn beating Bo Dallas with a Yakuza Kick.
Now, tonight’s NXT was like 2/3rds of a great show, with a stinker of a title match stuck in between segments that the live audience was totally into. The opener was a great comedy match, just an excellent use of all involved, and the audience ate it up. Emma and Santino paired together very well, bouncing their silliness off each other and magnifying it in the process. Fandango and Summer Rae were up for being the villainous foils and got one of Fandango’s best matches out it.
The match that followed the comedy extravaganza was interesting on multiple levels. Ohno vs Harper was something Kassius asked for in storyline, in order to get revenge on one of the men who put him out for four months. Behind the scenes, it’s been pretty well established that Ohno disappeared for more…..political reasons. He approached his in-ring return with the energy of someone trying to make a good impression on both the judging eyes in the arena and in the back. While designed basically as a quick squash, Ohno did everything between the bells with athleticism and impact. He also looked a little more trim than he did four months ago, which sadly might be the deciding factor determining whether or not he does more than quickly lose to Luke Harper in the future. Which, by the way, I’m guessing was a little bit of a political test in and of itself.
Speaking of Luke Harper, it was cool to seem him functioning by himself and connecting with the audience as well as he does with Bray Wyatt in tow. His presence also drew a really glaring comparison between him and the rest of the Wyatt Family and the Ascension.
I’ve said it before in this column that the Wyatt Family contains every positive contribution the Ascension can give to the WWE and a whole hell of a lot more. They’re simply better characters and can work on so many more levels than the Ascension can, even with the more technically minded Rick Victor now aboard. So if you’ve got the inferior version of the Wyatt Family going up against the make-shift team of Adrian Neville and Corey Graves, two wrestlers that have little reason for being together beyond “we needed a tag team feud and Kassius Ohno got in trouble”, how do you think the at-times particular NXT live audience handled it?
If you guessed they let the match die in a hole of apathy and awkard silence, you guessed right. Eat a cookie.
As harsh as it sounds, this match deserved quiet disinterest. Corey Graves is not currently a wrestler than garners any sort of sympathy from anyone and him being the member of the team to get worked on meant a majority of the match was downright boring. Not that I’d want him to get the hot tag over Neville either. The Ascension weren’t helping matters by being plodding and a little bit ridiculous on offense. It was only when Adrian Neville entered the match that the crowd woke up, but he wasn’t enough to keep this from being the worst tag title match on NXT so far and probably even the worst title match in general. I can only hope from here Adrian Neville goes on to do something more interesting, the Ascension eventually feud with Enzo Amore and Big Kazz and Corey Graves loses the spotlight to someone much more deserving.
Thankfully that wasn’t the end of the show and Bo Dallas generates as much emotion as he does. Bo’s appearance brought the crowd back from the dead and to the point where they were chanting for a jobber they referred to as “this guy” just to spite him. Flash forward past beneficial appearances from two of Bo Dallas’s biggest challenges and Sami Zayn comes out as “El Local” to surprise Dallas as a generic luchador, in a moment that can’t, I say CAN’T, have been without some tongue in somebody’s cheek. It was a very fun segment that pushes us forward to the eventual Zayn vs Dallas title match and a much better way to end this week’s show than the Ascension becoming the tag champs through a boring match.
Overall NXT was a great this week, except for the one match you can and should skip.
Have any thoughts on this week’s show? Feel like defending Corey Graves? Leave a message in the comments section. When you’re done with that you can follow me on twitter and buy my freakin’ fantasy book, now at a discounted price.