NXT is in the books for October 9th, and here on The #NXT Day, we have our usual 3 big topics to talk about. Let’s get to it.
If I Could Be Serious For A Minute
Oh, Lance Storm, how little we appreciated you when you were on television each week, and how much we miss you now that you’re not. You have, however, trained some quality wrestlers, and the biggest star of them all (so far) seems to be taking your favorite tag line to heart.
In fact, if last night’s show had a theme, it would be seriousness - we saw a number of top talents competing with a bit more intensity and a bit less frivolity.
Tyler Breeze defeated Mojo Rawley in sound fashion, even (hopefully) unveiling a new submission finisher with his Fujiwara armbar, a much better match-ender than his very average spinning heel kick.
The Vaudevillains also seemed to have a more serious side this week with their impressive victory over Enzo and Big Cass. No longer was Aiden English conducting the entire time, nor did Simon Gotch engage in any squats or other strongman shenanigans. Perhaps their change in theme music had a purpose after all…
Finally, we saw Titus O’Neill, who normally spends his WWE time seemingly as a zookeeper, what with all the bunnies, bulls and gators surrounding him each week, compete in a very long (for NXT standards) and intense match with Sami Zayn, picking up an impressive victory.
What does this all mean in the grand scheme of things? Well, I might be reading way too much into this, but I think and hope that WWE has learned a valuable lesson.
Lesson: The overly silly or comedic NXT characters have hard transitions to WWE.
Adam Rose and Bo Dallas are, for all intents and purposes, going nowhere on the main roster, and don’t even give me Bo’s winning streak over Mark Henry as evidence to the contrary - that story is much more about Henry’s eventual heel turn than anything pro-Bo. (Ha!)
Arguably the two biggest NXT debuts of 2014 aren’t anywhere near even the mid-card title picture and I think a lot of that has to do with their characters. Inherently silly, not very serious at all, which makes it hard for fans to buy in.
So when I see Tyler Breeze unveil a new finisher that seemingly works very well or the Vaudevillains drop some of the schtick in exchange for a more intense approach, I take that to mean that WWE recognizes that while the gimmicks these three men portray are excellent, the characters need to be equal parts style AND substance in order to make an impact in WWE.
And that, Mr. Page, is a very good thing.
Itami Means Pain. . . As In Painful To Watch!
My good friend and fellow truth-teller Josh Petrie (@jpetrie18) and I are not afraid to be heels in our blogs, as evidenced by his recent discussion of Dean Ambrose the non-wrestler and by the fact that I’ve likely pissed off a good portion of the IWC with that image you see above this paragraph.
Kenta has been all the rage for months, if not longer. He’s got the best kicks in the business, they said. . . Punk and Bryan all basically copied their style from Kenta, they said. . . He’s going to win the NXT title in his first month with the company, they said. . .
Well, its only been a few episodes into the newly-dubbed Itami’s WWE career, but all I have to say to those big Kenta fans is…
Dear God, is Itami hard to watch right now. I have yet to see him perform a single wrestling hold or move; everything he’s done has been strikes. And not even entirely good strikes at that - his springboard dropkick on Justin Gabriel a few weeks ago was botched, his hesitation dropkick on Viktor last night was weak. . . What am I missing, KenTami fans? Have you enjoyed his NXT matches? Is this what I should be expecting from these new Big Three signings? (Considering the multiple matches I’ve been sent of Devitt and Steen, I have higher hopes for those two.)
If Itami doesn’t drastically improve in the ring, he’ll be back in Japan by this time next year.
So far, I am unimpressed.
She's Good. . .Too Good
Last night’s match between Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch was a solid outing between two capable wrestlers who may soon be feuding over the NXT women’s title. Six months to a year ago, had I watched that match, I may even have called it ‘good’.
That’s before Charlotte changed the game.
It’s time for my weekly “Charlotte is the best female wrestler in WWE right now, and possibly the best in history” proclamation. I’ve discussed it with some folks on Twitter, though, and I don’t seem to be alone in my thinking. While others may put talents like Gail Kim or Trish Stratus ahead of Mrs. Bram (a fact I was unaware of until this week), they all agreed that considering Charlotte’s relative inexperience, it won’t last long.
I mean, do you remember the train wreck that was Trish when she started wrestling? I recall one match where JR had to apologize to the fans for the catastrophe taking place in the ring. She must have botched just about every move she tried, and she wound up becoming a WWE Hall of Famer.
Charlotte is already immensely talented, so much so that by comparison, the other NXT women seem like they’re taking part in an entirely different sport. This is like when Brittney Griner was playing college basketball and some people thought she should join the men’s team so it was more competitive. I honestly saw a headline the other day that said Charlotte should contend for the NXT championship, not the women’s title, but Neville’s belt. I personally think that’s a ridiculous notion, but just the fact that the conversation can be had at all speaks volumes.
Charlotte needs to get to WWE pronto so that we can stop with the comparisons and let talents like Banks, Lynch and the rest have a fair shot at greatness.
Only one is our quote of the night, which goes to Renee Young, saying that “The chip on Mojo’s shoulder is actually from the steel ringpost.” Clever line, Mrs. Ambrose, clever line.
As always, friends and humanoids, feel free to send any feedback, comments and vitriol my way. Just don’t send me Kenta matches from Japan - I’m too scared to watch them.
Until next week!