Monday, January 5, 2015

Best Coast Bias: In With The New Year

"Have fun getting demoted to Monday."
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It took a lot of runs and a lot of permutations, but once the Ascension coalesced into the Viktor/Konnor dyad so familiar to Full Sail addicts their dominance was so ubiquitous that it seemed wasteland was the only appropriate term to use in calling the smoldering wreckage around them that'd once been a tag team division.

Teams failed in their efforts to stop them, then broke up and fought each other over their failure to succeed, and those were the lucky ones; anyone with a decent memory can remember two iterations of what nowadays would be Corbin fodder standing nervously across the ring from the former champions waiting to get Fall Of Manned as K and V retained the belts until it became rote. Why bother learning people's names when you're just the latest batch of fresh meat for the grinder, anyways?

Like everything else in the history of mankind, it was a great time that seemed to have no end in sight until, of course, it ended and completely imploded on the way to doing so. The mythical line of Never Weres and Couldn't-Have-Beens must've raised their Krav Kalash up as Finn Bálor and Hideo Itami dished out another conquering for the first NXT of 2015 over the former champions, probably sending them "upwards and onwards" towards RAW and Smackdown while the international workrate connection now are free to roam Florida looking for fresh meat and perhaps even a shot at the tag titles, more about which later. As much fun as it must've been for the vicitimized to watch their aggressors get fed some of the thin gruel that'd been shoved down their throats, it was as much fun for an NXT fan to watch a modified funhouse mirror version of their first clash at Revolution. This one would start with all four men clubberin' but with the Ascension having figured out how and when to dodge the partner-switchoff hesitation basment dropkicks, and plenty of corner cutoffs from the black hats. But in the opening half of the match they didn't have an answer to quell the tide Finn unleashed, and when they did in the second half he undid it all with a tag to Hideo, who showed off his style (spoiler alert: kicking. Lots of kicking.) and a badass hybrid tornado DDT/hangman on his way to besting Viktor. In Revolution, Hideo took the beatdown and Finn rode in to his rescue being all Lickerlicious; here in the rematch, the inverse happened and hopefully helped remind people just how good Itami is in his own right bad-ass Oedipus body paint or not.

But first -- speaking of Revolution -- there is the little matter of who'll be holding the championships if/when the Dream Team comes to get their first taste of NXT gold, especially since the Vaudevillains are looking to do the same thing first. After the Lucha Dragons put forth a pretty sprint in dispatching of Team Scrubs Tye Dillinger and Jason Jordan, out came Aiden and Simon to lay them out from behind. Number of successful finishers executed: 1. Number of boos from the crowd for this dastardly deed: [negative crowd response still loading | would you like to retry? Y N] Apparently Gotch and English are only doing this to the crowd because they love them and you guys don't even know how they treat them when they're alone, or whatever. Something's got to be done, however, since the Lucha Dragons are liked, but not so much that they can overcome the crowd's diffidence towards them. It's one thing for them to be less popular than the law firm of Bálor and Itami, but when they're losing out to heels doing heelish things on the applause-o-meter then something's going to be done. And the Ascension aren't going to be walking through that door for them to lose to and break up as a result of; it's hindering Kalisto in what're supposed to be his foundational months and it's wrestling for the sake of wrestling for the most part for Definitely Not Hunico Sin Cara. If they're not going to make history by putting on a triangle match or a triple threat at whatever the next Takeover: Insert Subtitle Here for the belts, the least they can do is put it on another team the crowd's more invested in and tell another story there.

Yet, outside of the probable wishing out to the cornfield, the main thrust NXT brought into the new year was stories continuing: the first appearance of Sami, but only in a Vine or Twerkle or whatever to say he was coming next week and conversely Owens blowing off an interview with Renee around Hanukah, for one. For another, CJ Parker got murked by Baron Corbin again, leading to Corbin out-and-out grabbing the ringside Bull Dempsey after his latest squash and bieling him to the mats to kick off a brawl that had to be separated by the refs. What a microcosm of the whole thing: Bull gets in a shove and runs away so Corbin struggles with the English language and decides "screw it, let's just hit him". If anybody is going to define Shh No More Talky in 2015, BC is the early leader in the clubhouse. Charlotte could barely get in a metaphorical "Shut up, the champ is talking" and brag about pulling an Ascension on the women's division without Team BAE showing up--at least Nattie showed up to have her back and presumably a fun tag match in the future. Curtis Axel interrupted William Regal again and gets (fed to?) Itami on the next show as a result.

Most importantly, NXT proved that Redemption Happens Here, as the River Crossing Boyz brought out Carmella after the requisite intros and the crowd started chanting for Blue Pants before Enzo Amore or Big Cass could get an in-ring word in. So after some more schmoozing and a mild superlative avalanche, out came OBP (you're welcome, Stamford) to a reaction that'd shame the tag team champions. And then this went from kerfuffle to actual rivalry, as Enzo's inexplicable on-the-apron shuffle lead into the LOLDISTRACTIONFTW. Call her Ms. Small Package, or Ol' Blue Pants, the world's best Kitty Pryde cosplayer, or even Ms. Bates, but with her first victory in her first appearance on the WWE's flagship in the new year she proved she was for the money and for the show, that she wasn't waiting for the go. Now we actually have something to look forward to when they clash heads for a fourth time (presuming this is an unofficial best of five), since the outcome will actually be in doubt and Carmella may not actually win. Like so many of the other stories on the holiday show, this feud must continue.

You can probably guess which two were the only ones to fall outside of that statement. Bundle up, boys: the Wasteland's pretty cold this time of year.

(Would you like the joke about RAW's commentary three-headed monster or should we take it? It's up to you. You can have it, if you want.)