Good evening NXT faithful. Since the last time we got together on this here internet Kassius Ohno was released from his developmental contract. He has since posted a classy blog about the situation on his facebook page. You can read it here. I don’t really have much to add about the topic that hasn’t already been said. Ohno was talented, but didn’t really excel on NXT due to reasons we’ll probably never be totally privy to. I will point out that Ohno’s feud with Richie Steamboat was pretty good, and has been largely forgotten about as people discuss his NXT career following his release. Last week’s match against Luke Harper is also not Ohno’s last match for the WWE. Kassius actually wrestled on three of the four episodes filmed during the set of tapings that will start to air next week. So you’ve got a few more chances to satisfy your Kassius Ohno fix before you’ll have to go see him live.
Here’s this week’s show:
Not bad, right? Charlotte turned on Bayley and joined forces with Summer Rae and Sasha Banks, Aiden English beat Camacho and Mason Ryan pretended to wrestle. And in the main event Corey Graves and Adrian Neville proved their worth.
Charlotte knows how to turn heel:
I don’t mind sounding like a broken record when it means something is going well. So everybody repeat after me: the NXT divas and the creative team that works with them know what they’re doing. Every time a diva’s character is starting to falter, that weak link gets quickly corrected, resulting in a refreshed and more interesting wrestler and a better overall division. Just like a heel turn has done wonders for Sasha Banks (did anyone else notice the TV debut of the Kanye-shades?), Charlotte going to the dark side is a smart choice. She’s got too much of the Nature Boy in her to stay a goody-two-shoes forever.
Bonus points for whoever decided how to reveal the heel turn. We’ve seen people abandon their partners during a match, we’ve seen them turn on each other with a sneak attack, but combining the two ideas and having Charlotte slap the crap out of Bayley when she desperately needed to make the tag out was a very impactful way to get the job done. Bravo.
I vote “Neigh” on Sweet T:
Tonight’s episode was the second time Tensai has had a spot at the commentary desk, but I’d say it should probably be his last. He wasn’t quite as awkward as when he was with Alex Riley and Todd Phillips, but he didn’t add much to the conversation. I don’t think he’ll get better fast enough to justify paying him as much as they do when a small army of generic young men are standing right behind him, waiting for their turn.
Mason Ryan works best in two dimensions:
Um…have you taken a good, hard look at Mason Ryan lately? Here’s a picture taken outside a NXT live event.
Yeah, that dude is freaking ripped. He’s got muscles growing out of his muscles, and what appears to be some sort of internal parasite living in his left forearm. You’d have to be pretty darn terrible at the whole “wrestling” part of wrestling to look like that and still be stuck in the WWE’s developmental system nearly four years after you started.
And yet here we are. Ryan beat the British jobber tonight, in a way that made him look neither physically strong nor athletically competent. Danny Burch pretty much wrestled around Mason Ryan, perfectly illustrating the fact that Mason looks great in 2-dimensions and absolutely horrible when he has to interact with other objects or people in our three-dimensional reality.
I could have also said, “Mason Ryan is the anti-Chris Hero” and ended this section right there.
Wrestling is all about expectations:
One of the most important things I’ve noticed in wrestling, as well as the vast world of experiences that exist outside of it, is that nothing occurs in a vacuum. Everything has consequences and precedent and outside factors. Last week’s main event I found disappointing because of the high expectations I had for its participants. This week’s main event featured Corey Graves, whose previous pattern of failure prevented me from getting too excited about a 2/3 falls match between him and his former tag partner. But I’ll be damned if they didn’t surpass my low expectations and turn in a good match.
There were several factors working in their favor. The 2/3 falls format pretty much forces you to tell a story, and so they did. Graves is also back to being a heel and thankfully back to his much more effective heel offense. That offense set the stage for a pretty intense final fall, which really hooked me when the injured Adrian Neville tried and failed to hit his big move. It’s not often we see failure happen in the WWE, not with such a nasty-looking crash to go with it. During the submission that followed Neville looked as badass as he’s ever looked, fighting his hardest to force a rope break and eventually outwrestle Graves for the third fall and the win.
Even with that final sequence it wasn’t an amazing match, but it was good, and good’s enough if both guys look better after the bell than before it.
What about you? What’d you think of the main event? Did it redeem your faith in Corey Graves? Or are you more concerned with Alexander Rusev and his random blond lady? Let us know. We don’t bite often.