Monday, December 23, 2013

Best Coast Bias: I Am Tyler's Smirking Revenge

BOO THIS MAN (no, seriously)
Screen Grab via Predadora the Explora Tumblr
Let us now add an entry to the NXTPedia (which, bee tee dubs, Totally Needs To Be A Thing) in commemoration of the 200th episode, shall we?

Chekov's selfie is a dramatic principle requiring that every element in a major Championship match centered around Tyler Breeze be necessary and irreplaceable to the finish; i.e., if you focus on Neville slapping Breeze going to the commercial break when he's trying to do his job as the one notable lumberjack in the match, then Breeze should bail out Bo Dallas from the Red Arrow and cost him the Championship in the process.

You could almost feel it in the air the entirety of the match even before that ending. The crowd was happy to see Neville, per usual, but they were more about "somebody for the love of Crom please beat Bo Dallas" than throatily in The Man Gravity Forgot's corner like they would be for, say, Sami Zayn. But this is all part of the plan, as is having a bunch of seemingly random unnamed roster talents around the ring except for the sole solitary case of the King of Vain. While Bo showed a fear of the lumberjacks keeping him from losing by countout again, or being restricted from perhaps loosening another turnbuckle, Neville went about his normal aerial defiance of logic including a sweet leg lariat out of a handspring. But when he slapped Tyler, the gun went from being on the mantlepiece to on the table.

Outside of two blink-and-you'd-miss-them shots before the ending, Breeze wasn't seen again. This allowed the focus to be on the title match, and moreso on Adrian's offense. When he wasn't tuning up the hamstring with some kicks, he was unfurling standing Shooting Star Presses and monster Owenzuigiris. When Bo got hemmed up by the nameless horde when it looked like he was trying to leave the ring, Neville cut the middleman out and tope con hiloed the entire lot of them. (Bo's look of terror into impending doom really should've been the jpg, and yet no one had it!) Thus having removed every obstacle to the big X in his mind, the Englishman brought the fight back to the ring, and then Chekov's selfie snapped. That's not the only thing it did, however.

This now adds to Bo's legacy as NXT Champion as having a small strand of undeservingness running through it the entire run but still having the ring savvy to profit off of openings, whether he creates them or not. It opens the door to maybe hopefully fiiiiiiinally getting Zayn/Dallas II for the belt in play when NXT starts their 2014. It gives Neville a talented guy to have beef with in Breeze. And somehow, almost incomprehensibly, it's done what the staff has been trying to do for quite some time--and that's give the fans a reason to boo Breeze. It remains to be seen if that'll happen due to the contrarian nature of the average Full Sailian, but the dominoes all seem to be in place to fall perfectly.

Speaking of perfectly (or things in the vicinity of said utopia), the first 15 or so minutes of the show were absolutely peerless. Triple H came out and while only talking for five minutes (!) made it all about the NXT Constellation, the roster, and the small but proud history of the enterprise. He easily guided the crowd out of chanting for him and into chanting NXT before mentioning this being the virtual birthplace of Sandow, Cesaro, the Shield, and the Wyatt Family. But those references weren't enough for the fans, natch. They needed five, and after letting the Big E chant ring out Helmsley noted it was also the launchpad for the new Intercontinental Champion. After literally noting they were there to see action and not to hear him talk the show kicked off with Leo Kruger and Antonio Cesaro v. Sami Zayn and Tyson Kidd.

Hey, surprise, all four of these guys are good at the professional grappling! Before Sami and Antonio could even get to renewing hostilities the Match of the Year and This Is Awesome chants were going. Cesaro even used his thigh wrap to eye rake Zayn almost as if he were preparing to try to out Regal Regal next week. Hell, he's such a master of making the exemplary look routine that his snatching Tyson Kidd out of the air and smoothly converting him into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker was just par for the course. Even Byron Saxton had to agree about the skillset while still feeling salty about the Swiss Superman'd done. The crowd wanted, and got Sami, who then resembled a domicile ablaze with monster Steamboat body presses and Blue Thunder bombs. In the end, Team Canada got the duke with Kidd tope con hiloing Cesaro through the ropes and Sami flatlining Kruger with the Respectable Japanese Businessman's Kick. Any and all permutations and combinations of this should continue in the future.

The thing about the future is no matter how much you hope that you have a handle on it, it doesn't adhere to your hopes and sometimes it can conjure up things that would've ruptured the brain even in the recent past. How else to explain the weirdness of the Ascension's open challenge being answered by two men closely resembling David Richards and Edward Edwards calling themselves the American Pitbulls? Perhaps El Generico sent them as emissaries to see how his number one fan Sami was doing. Either way, while the visual dissonance was strong the rechristened Derek Billington and John Cahill went back to making their new names.

The Champs eventually laid them both out with the Fall of Man, but before then Richards lived up to his rebranding in both good ways (the howl before the top-rope headbutt was like hearing Bray Wyatt sing about time being on his side) and bad (an accidental slip off a backdrop counter attempt where he landed head first in a hypercringeworthy moment) while John "John Cahill" Cahill hit possibly the best WWE-branded Shining Wizard in years. Hunico and Camacho came out after the match to smacktalk the Champions, but to be honest the idea and the weird feeling of the Not Wolves around makes them far more compelling challengers and possible eventual Champions. The Ascension is at the ceiling of their prowess, if I were to guess. Camacho is not about to turn into Roman Reigns, at least right away, and is just an outgrowth of the criminally underrated Hunico. If we're living in a world where ginger generic luchadors get more awesome by unmasking, why not the Pitbulls?

This is the same institution in which going evil turned out to be the best thing to ever happen to Sasha Banks' career, as she keeps rising up the elevator and putting on increasingly better matches. While Emma and Natalya traded barbs and snips leading to a future #1 contendership match (and boy, there are enough parallels between the GIVE ME THE EFFIN' REMATCH ALREADY betwixt this and Zayn/Dallas to build a house on), Sasha got in the ring and got vicious. Even her sleeper had a bodyscissors and her 100 Hand Slap flurry of open-handed chops to the chest looked like a tornado with fashion sense. Unfortunately for her, she was going in against Paige, and even more unfortunately, she took out her backup when she was aiming to separate Paige's head from her shoulders. Paige then proceeded to almost to do that to Sasha, folding her up like a 7-3 offsuit with a Paige Turner No Not Her out of a backslide setup. Believe when I say the last thing the rest of the division wants to see is Paige not only finding new ways to transition into her denouement but pulling them off more crisply and more viciously.

There's going to be an English/Big Cass sing-off, a Breeze/Neville showdown, at some point in the near future sizzling Championship rematches for the Championship as well as the Women's belt, and in the mother of all dark Christmas presents, REGAL/CESARO NEXT WEEK. In a land where Chekov's selfie was born, the consistent narrative cohesiveness and top-shelf wrestling means that roster deserved each and every bit of that praise that I, Triple H and Full Sail gave them to kick off the show.