Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Best Coast Bias: Self Portrait Of The Young Man As A Rising Star

The Big Skyscraper classin' up a fan's phone
Screen Grab via PredaDORA the Explora Tumblr
This was quite the packed show, and the normally rabid crowd had plenty of stuff to pick from to give their highest ardor. Former WWE Champions, Bo Dallas pulling off possibly his first Cheney move, and Sami Zayn threatening to get in Antonio Cesaro's face next week based off of dueling promos.

And none of those things got the week's lone "This is awesome" chant. No, for that, we have to go to-- Colin Cassady?! All right, who's been screwing with this thing?

The answer, of course, is Big Cass and his wheeling buddy Little Enzo themselves. They were supposed to be the slickly greased goombas who you wanted to see get their faces punched in, the little guy running his yap as the brains of the operation with the strong silent muscle. But they were both too funny and too quick witted while seeming dumb, and even without Enzo leading the charge Cassady's taken his ability to take a singles spotlight and make it his own in-ring and out through the sheer strength of his character work. And that wasn't on display more than it was when he got in the ring against the Man of 1,004 Furs, Tyler Breeze. Firstly, Tyler be Tylering. But getting tired of waiting around, C² made it work in his favor by stoking the crowd. It's like S A W F T SAWFT was custom-made to get under the flawless skin of a horribly vain man like T-Beezy, and it happened three times.

Then Cassady went out of the ring and mocked Breeze's entire entrance to the rapturous cheers of the audience, and the approval of the don't-ever-leave-me-again Master Regal -- the old villain even complimented him on his hip action. That's when it happened, in the middle of Tyler's pitchfit. The crowd chanted "This is awesome!", and unlike their sudden allegiance switch earlier to pro-Ascension yelling YAH all the way as they disposed of Those Guys, this made total sense.

NXT is the petri dish in which to generate characters. You can see the problem with not having identifiers elsewhere as Sylvester LeFort looks for recruits who's biggest claim to fame to this point was getting shooting star pressed as lumberjacks by Adrian Neville in his losing Championship effort (but more on him later). People need A Thing before people'll care, and the further the character goes, the more likely it is to turn heads and propel the individual in question up the ladder closer to the rarefied air of the main roster. Hell, at this point the name Mike Dalton looks weird, doesn't it? Breeze mainlined his fury early, but then Cass went after the face and could've sealed the deal...only to choose his friendship with Enzo over the match he was currently in when Aiden English popped on screen to menance the wheelchair bound Italian.

[BTW, there's a term for a man who picks on somebody in a wheelchair; it starts with an S and you can guess the rest.]

While that sort of dedication to a friend is admirable, it's also the sort of thing that gets one Beauty Shotted right in the molars. Another shady win for TB and his spin wheel kick of increasing discomfort, and his winning streak should line him up for a title bout. But Cass ran backstage, and found a perfectly untouched Enzo. They then did a quick promo adeptly combining humor with the undercurrent of menace caused by English continuing to screw with them, and now out of wins to furry boot. They may not be into pinochle, Cards Against Humanity, or Ticket to Ride, but they're winning the big picture game that matters, and a rapidly growing fanbase along with it.

In a weird way, they're the Bizarro Bos. (The BizarrBos? The Bozarros? BOMG, I should probably stop while I'm still bohind.) Bo Dallas went from implict to explicit heeldom this week. Showing up late for the contract signing? Not signing so you could bring out an opponent's countryman and beat him down? Glaring the whole match at your future opponent between moves on your current one? Cheap shot on the way out of the ring? As usual when the words Bo Dallas have been thrown around in the past 18 months, not cool. Not cool at all. It led to a wholly deserved Neville tope, and a show-ending brawl that went all the way back up the ramp. The WWE Network is generally looked at as a game-changing thing, and since no one's officially signed up for it yet or any other content provider has followed suit, consider Dallas' alignment Thing One that it's causing change in.

Kept to its own little cabal of loyalists like your friendly scribe and fellow like-mindeds, it's easy to make Bo an anti-heel heel in his borderline Walter tightie Whites. First-hand, children can be easily persuaded to root against the longest-reigning NXT Champion because of his delusional happy world that permeates language, attitude, and ringwork alike. But with the neighborhood coming, something good may be being lost in the myriad of subtleties that the house was built upon. We know it runs in his genes, and his pre-match promo was sufficiently grating and self-unaware. Let's just hope in the need to get more eyeballs on their reigning show of the Year that they haven't just turned the Boverlord of Full Sail into the last thing he needs to be: just another heel.

You're reminded of the negative corrolations that that can bring when Corey Graves comes back on this show and CJ Parker wrestled the Miz.

Just saying.

The opposite of that, of course, is faces like the Jersey Boyz and like Bayley. Did I SQUEE when she threw a little girl a headband on her way out to the ring side by side with NattieKat? Not out loud. The little girl did. Now, did I SQUEE when Renee Young was introduced at the table and proceeded to shake Regal's hand before patting A-Ry (who on this episode even managed to sound magnanimous) on the shoulder and barely recognizing Tom's right to exist? Yes. Yes, I did. And that was even before the Young Regality ship went Full Sail in every sense of the word with Renee flat-out admitting if Regal was two decades junior they'd be a power couple. And, hey, guess what else? Sasha Banks has gotten much better in the ring. Whether she was, Charlotte should've just come back from. Certain THs will call it the Del Rey Dojo, and he's probably right, but man. Banks incorporated her Hundred Hand Slap into back work right off the back off a cheap shot since Bayley was so desperate to rearrange the North Carolinian's features and then worked the back over with stomps and more to set up a straightjacket hold.

Bayley got a comeback in before the inevitable catfight broke out, and Sasha used that to her advantage to roll up BayBay with the trunks in hand. But the Dr. of Huganomics survived and Belly-To-Bayleyed her for her second win over the BFFs, with one to go. Charlotte's barely gotten any ring time and yet, the lust is there to see Bayley finish off her clean sweep of the Plastics. This is especially needed given Paige's AWOLity and Emma slowly starting to grow into a RAW roster spot. Paige is the bad girl for the grown folks, Emma is the silly savant for those who might believe in guilty pleasures, but Bayley's a pure cut babyface who's growing and still not losing her love for the game. Honestly, there's a name for people who hate Bayley, or for what people like Colin Cassady bring to the table more and more every week, and that name is Al-Queda.

Sympathetic babyfaces, even when they come from unexpected places, are the lifeblood of wrestling. They take the beatings, and they come back against the odds. This isn't to say they lose their sense of humor, or joy of their works. This is merely to say in the funhouse mirror world of pro graps that they are the best of us writ large.

And when it's well done, it doesn't get more awesome than that.