For the longest time I wanted to write another NXT review because there are so many exiting things to write about and to remember. So finally here it is, also with a few videos from past episode and some general talking about NXT and WWE. Enjoy!
Once again I have to start with some kind of a foreword because with recent news that the coming NXT special on 07 October 2015 from Full Sail University will head to the history books as “NXT TakeOver: Respect” it finally dawned on me what I really like about NXT and what I truly hate about WWE. And I will jot it down right here, right now.
It’s actually nothing really special and also quite obvious. But I still feel the need to point that out once again and with the clearest words I can think of. Nothing will change of course. But you never know.
Now I’ve seen NXT last week and this week they showed a little replay from Bayley’s celebration for finally becoming the NXT Women’s champion. She had quite a road to travel to reach that point. It took her a while from being just this nice girl that always hugs anyone to earn her respect from Charlotte and finally beating Sasha Banks at the latest NXT TakeOver. Sami Zayn also had to go such a long way. Or The Vaudevillains. And Tyler Breeze is another guy who springs to mind when you think of guys or gals with a long hard ride to go until they achieve that very target that’s placed on top of that mountain. Tyler Breeze isn’t there yet. But I’m still very positive for him to reach this top as well. Because with every guy or gal there is progress in their wrestling abilities and their portraying of their very character. If a gimmick isn’t working properly, they get some time off to work on it and come back with another one to try if the new gimmick gets more reactions out of the NXT crowd.
And all this is exactly what I don’t see in WWE. In NXT every fan finally can cheer for his or her favourite because everyone at some point will get their hands on this big prize. But in WWE there’s only a handful of guys and one or two gals whom you feel the company want to be on the very top. And these few guys always get the big prizes or are main eventing Pay-Per-Views and get their big wins at WrestleMania and / or SummerSlam. In WWE you’ll know very soon whom the company wants to be loved because they push them constantly. And when you are a fan of a guy who isn’t seen as a big star by the company you will know very soon that you have to wait several years until your guy will finally get something back for his hard work, so you can also cheer for him and celebrate with him. Very often this doesn’t happen at all because injuries happen or your guy has to put over the company’s chosen guy etc.
In WWE basically all feud stories circle around “jealousy” and there’s hardly ever progress in stories or a longer story that you desperately want to see unfold every week. There are a few promising starts of feuds but too often they are abandoned and wrapped up highly disappointing. Most feuds are just plain stupid (especially when they involve men and women) or there isn’t any progress, so fans don’t care anymore. Far too often WWE missed the point when they should have taken a very feud to the next step or make one guy turn on the other one. The Mizdow angle was such an example. For the longest time The Miz could do anything with Mizdow, humiliate him and put him down. And there were a few scenes when Mizdow turning on Miz would have been the greatest thing ever. It actually happened at WrestleMania but it was far too late.
Also with the feud between Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt. They started with Wyatt talking about Ambrose’s past, about a mysterious female person who would still cry for Ambrose. We still don’t know who this person was and we’ll never know because at some point WWE cancelled this angle and went for just Bray Wyatt now wanting to destroy Ambrose for a reason we also don’t have a clue.
Most things done in WWE don’t make any sense and this is highly frustrating. Because you watch RAW and see a great cliffhanger. But at the coming RAW life just goes on and the story isn’t continued or not with the solution of the very cliffhanger. You spend the whole week making up scenarios and having ideas of what could happen and then WWE doesn’t continue the story or even worse: the participating guys don’t even have an appearance.
In NXT it’s the exact opposite. People in the back always desperately try to make sure that everything makes sense, stories are continued and brought to a finish or head into another feud but without leaving a bad taste in fans’ mouths. The main feud gimmick here really is “respect”. Because at some point the heel will show his or her respect to their face opponent. And as a fan you don’t just want to see your favourite winning the big prize; you also want to witness this respect between both competitors. It doesn’t hurt kayfabe at all when Bayley and Sasha Banks hugging each other after their hard fought fight for the title belt. But it hurts my brain when commentary and booking decisions in WWE constantly put down certain guys who deserve better and who would be huge stars in NXT because of their abilities.
One wise man once said that wrestling is supposed to be fun. And I do have fun watching NXT because I can see that talent is used to their abilities and you can see progress and highly emotional stories. But I don’t have much fun watching WWE because I don’t like it when someone tries to tell me whom I should like. Because apparently they think I’m not able to see myself so I need some help. I’m actually very allergic to that strategy and when I get it, I’ll turn against the guys the company likes and puts titles on their waist. I will always be with the guys and gals who are treated without respect and who aren’t used to their abilities.
Now these are the major differences between NXT and WWE and I think it’s rather obvious why so many people like NXT while they moan about WWE.
NXT even makes botches part of a storyline
Let’s just have a little look back to last week when William Regal announced that at NXT TakeOver: Respect Bayley vs Sasha Banks will be the main event in a 30-minute Iron (Wo)man match. It will be a long, hard ride for Eva Marie to get to this point. Because this week she opened the show with her match against Carmella and I really can’t see her as NXT women’s champion right now. From what we see she really wants to get better in the ring and she trains hard for this goal. I also don’t really like it for most of the people in the NXT audience being completely against her even if that changed a little since she made her (second) debut. But I do understand these people to a certain degree that they can’t stand her because initially she was signed because of her looks and she basically had zero experience in a wrestling ring plus didn’t really want have anything to do with that.
But people are able to change their opinions and should always get a second chance. Now I do see improvement in her wrestling. She’s got some good moves and she execute them correctly most of the time. But she is still very slow, nothing really seems to be naturally, her acting needs a lot of improvement, her punches don’t look like they could hurt anyone, even if she would connect and her holds are plain boring. But still NXT (WWE) seem to push her hard to be the next NXT women’s champion. Maybe because WWE wants Bayley in the main roster as soon as possible and now another female has to be built as champion. But Eva Marie isn’t this woman. She needs at least another year to improve herself, get better in her acting and make her punches look more believable. I’d really like to see Emma as next NXT Women’s champion but unfortunately she has to make Dana Brooke look strong.
For this episode of NXT the match of Eva Marie against Carmella had a decent length of just over five minutes but had quite a weak finish when Carmella was counted out because she hit her head on the metal outside the ring. At least she didn’t lose via pin fall. Also, Carmella really is a natural talent when it comes to connecting with the crowd. She kind of imitates Enzo Amore’s antics in the ring to make it clear where she comes from but also adds her own thing with the moonwalk. Carmella also is good in the ring and deserves to get the title in the future, too.
And just to make a reference to the sub headline: in her last match Eva Marie seemed to botch a near fall when she apparently didn’t get out the pin at two. Now NXT made a little video with her to make her thank the referee that he saw she got up her shoulder at two and so didn’t botch. That really made all fans look a bit stupid who discussed and complained about her all week. Maybe that’s the strategy of NXT now: make the fans look stupid, so they won’t complain about Eva Marie anymore.
William Regal introduces Asuka to the NXT Universe (and the world)
The next match happened to be Bull Dempsey against Tyler Breeze and this one was a real fun set-up once again. It was really brilliant to team them up for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classics, so they could have their little mini feud afterwards. These two guys are definitely fun to watch and they had a decent just over nine minutes match to entertain the audience. Tyler Breeze won in the end but with some help from the ropes, so I first guessed they would have another match at NXT TakeOver: Respect. This special gimmick basically screams for a match with these two against each other. But instead we will have Tyler Breeze going against Apollo Crews – for whatever reason. NXT tried to explain later with a little backstage meet-up between Apollo and Tyler but I still don’t really get it. Hopefully Bull Dempsey will cost Tyler Breeze the win at NXT TakeOver: Respect for both of them having a No. 1 Contender match for the NXT Championship which Bull Dempsey will finally win.
Next was William Regal out inside the ring for a contract signing of the newest female wrestler in NXT: Asuka f.k.a. Kana. She expressed her happiness to be in NXT quite clearly and finally signed her contract. But very soon the introduction ceremony was rudely interrupted by Dana Brooke and Emma – and please, ladies, explain to me how on Earth you are able to walk in such high heels! – they talked a little trash to Asuka and made her walk away. But she didn’t leave without shooting these two a look that probably make freeze hell. A 2-on-1 handicap match at NXT TakeOver: Respect would be nice!
Later on William Regal was back in his office and was asked about Asuka. This is what he had to say:
“Well, I gotta hand over to my friends on YouTube – just YouTube ‘Kana‘ and see for yourself. This lady is incredible. She’s just a fighting machine. And believe me, if you’ve never heard of her, everybody in the industry has and all the competitors here in NXT and the WWE have all heard of her. And they all should be worried because this lady is ferocious. And I think it’s exactly what we need here in the NXT women’s division.”
Simon Gotch is the prototype of wrestling to a certain gimmick
We got a little update on the progress of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classics (look here for the results including some tiny spoiler) and then we had the re-match for the tag team championship between The Vaudevillains and Blake & Murphy. Of course Alexa Bliss was at ringside again but just a few moments into the match Blue Pants came out to hunt Alexa Bliss up the ramp and backstage. So no interference was possible once again. Both teams got around eleven and a half minutes of match time and I’m ever so impressed with Simon Gotch when he’s in the ring. Because this guy probably has got the most fitting gimmick fighting style. Just this rapier like kick in the Gif gives you an idea. And together with Aiden English these two are probably the most unique tag team and easily to separate from all other tag teams in NXT / WWE right now. I just enjoy watching them and these two being the current tag team champions is just a perfect fit. Of course they won their match and retained their titles in a quite manly fashion.