Monday, November 10, 2014

Best Coast Bias: The Fix Is Finn

Apparently death was too good for the Ascension
Photo Credit:
It's taken the better part of a year and a half for the Ascension to establish their NXT legacy.

And it took a two second malevolent grin from Hideo Itami at the top of the rampway to suggest it was all about to come undone.

The subsequent five minutes alongside the debuting Finn Bálor proved it, as the longest reigning NXT Tag Team Champions found themselves offenseless while the future of Full Sail -- receiving "Dream Team" chants from the Florida faithful before they'd even finished winning the fight -- absolutely decimated Viktor and Konnor with tandem offense to the point where the Ascension were in the unfamiliar position of being nearly out cold and looking skyward while the Japanese darling and the artist formerly known as Prince Devitt (had to get it in once, sorry) stood posing on the ropes above their vanquished foes.

Granted, this is a clinical reaction. Watching it live was all exclamation points, expletives, rainbow hearts and the rest. When the crowd was chanting "This is awesome!" it was hard not to join them from the benefit of a home seat, and that was before Bálor had double stomped Konnor twice; hilariously, the latter off the top rope as the big man who'd already gotten lit up with stomps and a pair of hesitation basement dropkicks was crawling after Itami, who was taunting him to come on a la his debut at Fatal 4 Way the entire time. They may not have a name, and the crowd's chant of Dream Team may've gotten the naming done without Stamford so much as having a brain cell ripple, but make no mistake about it: their style is kick and also stomp, and they're damn good, too. It was also nice seeing the chant of Finn! go up, since especially given what went down a rhyming chant that started with "You're gonna" that might've caused the Thursday night crown jewel of the Network to put on a seven-second delay seemed to be the most likely and fitting. Maybe next time when the firm of Itami and Bálor give them more time before rushing the ring and playing wrecking ball to the Ascension's decaying building.

Much fun as that close was to anybody not wearing black and red, that wasn't a match. But NXT being NXT, the hour had already put on two high-quality matches, and quelle surprise, the women on the roster got the semi-main position and would have stolen the show yet again had it not been for big-name debuts.

This time, Bayley didn't have to worry about Charlotte knifing her in the back, even though she had enough rage and anger for their whole side as they went up against Sasha Banks and the freshly turned Becky Lynch. Lest you think Bayley had regressed in the character developmental stage she kicked it off with some rabbit forearm shots on the Irishwoman while Jason Alberts was amongst those who registered his approval, but for the white hats it was NXT's Women's Champion in Beast Mode, as Banks dodged getting in the ring with her ex-BFF even after Charlotte had beaten Lynch down to the point where she was literally throwing Becky at Banks before yelling at her to tag in. Of course, the moment Flair's temper led her into a trap Banks was not only there to kick the stick free on the box but to tag in right after it happened. A true classic never goes out of style, kids. Not only did Banks show off her cowardice, but just to make sure you got the neon sign that said BOO THIS WOMAN that hangs off of her like dust on Pig Pen she looked at Charlotte while putting Bayley in the figure four headlock and wooing. Even worse for anybody wanting to hate on the Boss, she reversed a cradle and got the fabric-enhanced rollup on Bayley for the victory to further her claims to the #1 contendership, made almost as fast as she and Becky could scamper up the ramp out of harm's way.

And the show kicked off with Sami Zayn's Road To Redemption (drink!) finally vanquishing Tyler Breeze. In their last high-profile match at the first Takeover either Breeze's low blow was a lucky, fortuitous accident that gave him the opening to Beauty Shot Zayn in the face and pick up the win or a brilliant, opportunistic way of cheating without cheating that gave him the opening etc. Breeze started off hanging move and counter with Zayn early on in the first segment while getting off some rollups and laughing openly about how close he was to ending the whole thing. If he'd been paying more attention he would've noted that Zayn was kicking out a lot at 1 despite Breeze pressing the issue with a series of near falls, and despite Breeze winning on points well into the second segment and uncorking counter dropkicks to pick Zayn off out of the sky in addition to drilling him with the super(model)kick he never kept Zayn down, and his last counter of the match would lead right into his downfall, as Zayn countered his kick blocking by delivering the quickly becoming ™ 1-2 combo platter of the Exploder into the corner followed by the Helluva Kick. In the back, Neville again offered Zayn a shot at the belt whenever, whenever since Zayn Couldn't Win The Big One, followed by him namedropping Alexandre Dumbass' famous Count and dropping the road entirely. It'd served it's purpose, and in an all-too-short Young Regality reunion backstage the GM agreed, thus setting up Zayn/Neville for the belt come Thursday night.

So that answered the question "How are they going to follow up that debut?" pretty nicely, hehn? This is it: the last domino falls, and it holds the NXT Championship belt in the balance. Neville, A-Ry and the like have all been jerks, but so far they've all been right. As it has been for a few weeks, the $64,000 Question in Full Sail is simply this: can Sami Zayn prove them wrong and keep his soul at the same time?

And we've got as many answers for that as the Ascension did for Bálor and Itami.

That's what makes this appointment television and so much damned fun.