Friday, January 3, 2014

Best Coast Bias: Train Keeps A-Rollin'

Making history, one Legitimate Japanese Businessman's Kick at a time
Photo Credit:
At this point, Full Sail should just have "All I Do Is Win" on loop. As the theme for the show, playing at the end of sessions at the Performance Center, and a Muzak version of it in the elevator should there be one in the facility.

(Also, in case it hasn't happened yet, Hip-Hop Muzak is an innovation brought to you by ButchCorp™!)

The Fastest Hour In Sports Entertainment kept doing what made it my personal favorite show of '13: fun and funny segments, nuanced and steady development, insight from William Regal, and hey, what a concept: letting people really good at the pro graps go out and wrestle similar organisms in their genus.

And, really, if you can't wretch a little "aw" of the catacombs of your black heart when a row of little girls is doing the Emma Dance or Sami Zayn takes a moment before he hits the ring for an important best of 3 falls match to give another one his autograph, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be luring in victims so you can sew their asses to other victims' mouths?

What was really notable about the show, even before we got to either 1a or 1b in the Greatest Grappler In The Galaxy main-eventing, was that the future was served in a way that either Big Red or Little Blue on Monday or Friday nights seems to be loathe to do at times. Alexander Rusev came out to take on Kofi Kingston, who had the building merrily BOOM!ing along. And then the match happened, and short of a couple brief rallies and the Boom Drop it was a veritable Bulgarian showcase. Lana found the line of being involved vs. getting her man DQed, and toed it adeptly for her first time doing so. Then Rusev broke his back, made him humble, made the former US and IC Champ tap in the center of the ring. Shenanigans? Sure. But still technically a clean win and the biggest one for Rusev, aided and abetted by his barrage of knees to the gut, alley-oop Samoan drops, and running avalanches.

While Rusev is going up the ladder in the hopes of securing a title shot by looking good against someone from the main roster, for Emma that set of steps has already been done--she took on and defeated Natalya (by submission, no less!) to earn a rematch against Paige for the Women's Championship. As pretty much NXTphile has been saying since the tournament final went down, BRING THE REMATCH THE EFF ON. The match was on par with the past few months of women's matches down in Full Sail that weren't the original title match, replete with chain wrestling straight out of Calgary...Alberta, Canada and dueling rollups before both ladies started hitting signature maneuvers. The difference? Natalya couldn't get the Sharpshooter, and Emma put her in her lock.

Emma had to really crank on it in order to get NattieKat to submit to it, and watching Emma work the bridge of the Emma Lock you know what there's no way for me to finish that sentence and keep this a family-friendly website, but it's worth seeing the qualifier round for the Air Sex Championships break out during a wrestling match. While peeved, Natalya again showed her good sportsmanship while quietly showing that Emma/Paige is a coin flip, and even got a couple Emma Dance shimmies in on her own before ceding center stage to the bubbly Australian. This may be NXT, but it might as well be WWE because despite the former Divas Champion getting her share of cheers it was We Want Emma.

And lo, though we are barely into 2014, Mason Ryan puts himself in the front-running to take NXT's Darwin Award. Sir, you were wrestling Tyler Breeze. You were winning, for the whole half minute or so the match was going on. Why you slid out of the ring to clothesline Sylvester LeFort, who was just standing around ringside being greasy and looking sleazy after you shot down his attempt to manage you is beyond me, anyone with a working IQ, and a week-old ham sandwich. You didn't deserve to lay a mark on beauty; what you deserved is to get the Beauty Shot in the teeth. You should keep getting them until you learn, and no, William Regal writing that off as a teachable moment doesn't excuse you.

Hell, NXT is the place to learn. They even found a way to get people to boo Aiden English (well, mostly)--by having his bonafides called into question by losing an audience-picks-the-babyface-by-applause singoff to the surprisngly adept Colin Cassidy. Sure, he wasn't dealing in the arias and octaves of English's opera stylings, but he turned both Danny Boy and My Girl into anti-English dulcet tones and I sure am not going to sit here and hate an audience for suddenly turning into all the backup Temptations at once. I don't understand why they're now going to be enemies when they could've teamed up with Enzo and ruled this place seven ways from Sunday, but such goes the wrestling and the intricate delicacies of Aiden's ego. Once he chop blocked Cass, just for a moment it reminded us odd ducks oh right, I *boo* this man. How good was this thing, up to and including Renee giving Cass words of support before the first go-round? Regal reacting to the Artiste getting despised for the first time in a long time was a heartfelt "I still love you, Aiden" and it was merely Number Four And Close To The Best.

Number One and the Best, natch, was Mr. Sami Zayn. And wouldn't you know, he kicked off 2014 by kicking Leo Kruger in the face (see above) and starting off on the winning end. That shouldn't be a surprise, but kinda is; given last year, what Sami was known for was two things - 1) being the axis in awesome matches that he 2) lost. Not this time. For the first time in a decade of WWE history that I can remember, you could bring out the brooms for the best of 3 falls match. It wasn't even like Kruger showed up sick or wasn't up to snuff, either.

It was just that Zayn is clearly a sharpened arrow aimed squarely at the bullseye of Bo Dallas' NXT Championship reign, and heaven help anything touching the air between the projectile and the moment of impact (again, like the Paige/Emma rematch, it could happen three weeks ago and that would be Absolutely Peachy by several people, if not all). And while the Blue Thunder bomb was in e ff e c t, Zayn got to break out a bunch of stuff last seen in a wrestling ring as done by his earthly mentor, some vanilla Mexican wrestling aficionado of little note. That's what history's done, trained you to think 3 falls (especially in NXT, megaespecially considering Zayn's jump to a wider consciousness of wrestling fan came in a -- you guessed it -- losing effort in a bo3 match) and this is the part where Kruger swats this pest with a crazy move or makes him tap out to his submission hold. Maybe in Earth-2, Leo. Here in NXT, Sami Zayn's house? He's dropping the top on his whip, and this probably has Bo feeling some type of way about it. But that's another MOTYC for another time.

"Best for business" is a term used at will on the big shows. The reality is that what's best for business is another year of NXT like the one we just got; after the year's opening show, it seems like history could be well on its way to repeating itself.