Monday, March 10, 2014

Best Coast Bias: For The Win

Wins and losses aren't everything, but Sami needed this one
Photo Credit:

You either lose close to the top-shelf talent, or you win a lot. These are generally the acceptable ways to make a wrestler. Being who he is, Sami Zayn seems to be transitioning out of the former and into the latter.

If there was any doubt NXT was the Bizarro World WWE, let this week's post-Arrival episode wipe that from your mind. Corey Graves was standing in the middle of the ring having dispatched Yoshi Tatsu via countout in a fine display of douched-out smuggery before locking on a pointless Lucky XIII, drawing out Sami Zayn for the save. But before the "match" had gotten underway, Graves decided the squared circle was a butcher's, and thus the place to unload his beef. He was frosty that he wasn't on the showcase Network-per-view show last week. Moreover, why didn't he get the chances that certain ginger high-flyers got? Why was Sami Zayn getting all these accolades for fighting a man he couldn't beat? And when's the last time this Syrian-Canucklehead won a match?

Leaving the hilarity aside of his misguided belief that he could beat Cesaro (thus furthering the slow-burning face turn of the latter and furthering the heel-deludes-himself-into-thinking-he's-a-valedictorian-when-he's-pulling-down-solid-B-pluses of the Pittsburghian), he raised a good point. To my mind, three Sami wins came up in his celebrated NXT run, and two were against Curt Hawkins and the other was the opening night surprise rollup on the Boss of the World. So there was a simply way to remedy that: shut up Corey Graves and make him stay down for a change. Sami changed out of his Against Me! shirt (sweet irony) and won in the evening's main event, though even this was some work that made the formerly floundering Graves look like a bigger threat than he has since his alignment switch back to the dark hats.

Zayn had to keep working at small package counters until one stuck, and before that found himself getting chop-blocked and getting body blows rained down upon him. While he got to pull off the sweet split-legged Arabian moonsault feint he'd shown against Jack Swagger Sami spent most of the match in defense, which was fine. But something in Graves' eyes suggested this was the opening paragraph of a novel rather than the denouement, and if we're killing time until the rubber match between past and former NXT Champs, Graves can do worse by anyone by putting in ring time against the aerialist, and Sami can build up his resume to go after the Big X by beating Mr. Knucks Up on a few occasions.

And as for the NXT Championship, the show started off with Adrian Neville proudly toting it to the ring for a showcase against Camacho. The outcome was never in doubt, obviously; it started off with the Champ's snazzy new $6,000,000 Man/check-out-the-Red-Arrow-in-slo-mo video and his challenger in the ring. It wasn't a matter of if but when the Arrow would go in flight live, and it did after the barriorista put in a couple moves and showed his unwillingness to adhere to the Code of Honor. Regal noted that as Champion, Neville would now have to forget about the idea of having friends, no matter how strongly John Cena put him over to start the show in the recap footage unseen from after Arrival last week but shown here for further establishing bona fides.

Post-match, Renee got a few words with the Englishman, who noted his cruiserweight status, big accent from a little British town, and referred to himself as a "crazy elf man" by way of look. For such a self-deprecating promo it was sure hard to tell from the crowd's reaction, as all these identifiers got pops. Unfortunately, the crowd ruined their own moment: if you chant No Mo Bo three times or more, the man himself is going to appear. That's just science. While Dallas complemented Neville on his victory he was quick to smilingly back-hand it by stating he wasn't pinned and Neville got up a ladder like a dad up to clean the gutters. So there's going to be a rematch. We just don't know when yet.

That's opposed to the two arrivals we got incongruously enough on this week's show, as Charlotte put her first win on the board against Emma, and this Adam Rose character showed up to beat a cowboy in his debut match (note: Leo Kruger apparently died on the way back to his home planet).

For the newly christened dirtiest diva in the game, it was pretty simple: WWE suddenly remembered they had a Flair on their hands, and worked her accordingly. In addition, her pops showed up to be the most decorated stage mom this side of Mommie Dearest, and backed up his daughter's seemingly delusional belief that with Emma having lost her rematch that she was the next one in line to get a shot at Paige and the Women's belt. Rhinoplasty via a mandatory invite to a knee strike party doesn't sound that fun, but then again, it's not my face. So when the Flairs got in Emma's face after her narrow loss last week, it set the stage for what came.

(Mandatory Young Regality Ship At Full Sail paragraph: watching Renee steal all of Regal's old flirts after sighing contentedly and giving out a dreamy sigh before shaking only his hand and then eyebrow raising the camera right before they panned away to Emma's entrance...why is Renee Young better at selling than 1/3 of people on RAW? To say nothing of the future Mr. and Mrs. Lordship both doing the Emma Dance, a contagion that spread down to Eden in the ring and the referee for two beats before he realized he had to maintain impartiality for the sake of the it too early to call NXT the Show of the Year 2014 for this 45 seconds alone or are we going to keep pretending?)

With Sasha by her side, Charlotte did well enough in fighting Emma to a standstill for a bit, even if the crowd was more into getting into Banks' skin or cheering for Emma than doing more than recognizing Charlotte's right to exist. That's when it happened: Charlotte came out of the corner on a counter and landed awkwardly on her leg. Emma went in for the pinfall, but Charlotte sold the leg like it'd been rolled over by the landing, even drawing concern from Sasha. Everybody else's concerns concerned Emma, and she was worried over Charlotte and outside of her little bubble. If only she hadn't noticed Sasha on the apron being concerned; one Throwback later Charlotte'd picked up the biggest win of her career and Emma was sad and frustrated in the middle of the ring having learned the hard way evil will always overcome good because good is dumb. Oh, sure, she'll probably get her face kneed in stepping to Paige, but the Champion winning by Neville-over-Camachoesque fiat is no longer the fait accompli it would've seemed even in February.

And what more needs to be said about Adam Rose at this point besides all of his fans should get free sleds? Well, let's say this: if he is no longer on the hunt, perhaps he wants to eschew that spinebuster and/or drop or severly improve that clothesline. The Thorn instead of the Slice, mayhaps. But the rolling one-man Mardi Gras who needs to arrive at the Greek had the fans chanting this was awesome before anything had even happened, his theme music makes you want to drink and start a kicky chorus line, and his pratfalls-into-offense recalled some of the best aspects of lucha libre and the Great Muta circa '89. Also, if the Twitter is to believed and his first feud comes against Tyler Breeze (Rose's dander, appropriately enough, only came up after he got punched in the face), you will not get a recap of that match but 14 pictures of unicorns making out under a rainbow, and you will like it.

While it'd be nice if Solomon Crowe stuck to his job and stopped doing mine, the necessary recovery show after last week's triumphant decampment at the fireworks factory did what it was supposed to do, and what NXT will be making its bread and butter on for non mega events: character establishment, usually supported by putting dubs on the board.

I'm still pouring out a little liquor for Kru, tho.