Thursday, January 29, 2015

Best Coast Bias: That Little Extra Something

The poop has become, as they say, real
Photo Credit:
A major portion of what makes NXT such must-watch appointment television is that it rewards you for having history with the program and paying attention for the entire hour. But as any promoter worth his or her salt will tell you, there are a million ways to make the same old hook shine like new.

Oh, sure, you can do it in the big, obvious, borderline seizure inducing way the show began when the Dubstep Cowboys (™ HolzerCorp) got a snazzy new NXTron that pretty much powered them to the biggest upset in NXT history when they lifted the tag belts off of the Lucha Dragons. Considering the almost squash they fell victim to before a blind tag lead to a modified victory roll, there actually isn't all that much to say besides congratulations to Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy and "damn, son, y'all done fell off" to Sin Cara and Kalisto.

But when it came time for the main event contract signing, well, that was such a grace note it's probable most fans missed it. It went to form right up until the final minute, to boot. Sami came out, then Owens, and they death glared each other the second it was possible to do so until the latter entered the ring. Regal said this wouldn't end up like every other contract signing in WWE (to the cheers, laughs and claps of the Full Sailors) and put a ban on physicality between them under threat of scotching the whole match.

(Sidenote: how great that they have the #1 contendership tournament going but haven't announced when the finals are. If one was of a mind, you could easily see an alternate scenario in which Sami and Kevin gave in and he just either made the finals the new main event of Arrival -- presuming on the name -- 2015, or started the 2/11 special with the finals and the winner getting Sami in the main after Owens had been banned from the building or some such. Anyhow.)

So he signed sans fuss and noted after Owens didn't that they'd been up and down the highways and biways for a decade plus, with and against each other, and it all lead them here. He swore to beat the hell out of Owens--the same KO who'd pick up mic in lieu of pen, and noted the whole non-title aspect of the proposal. He stayed true to his fighting anybody and everybody ethos, but he wasn't here for personal vengeance or anything, it was about the business of being champion and getting more cash and a better life for him, his wife, and his kids. So until the match was made a title match, he was signing Jack Squat. Some people fell for the okiedokie put out last week like this wasn't going to be a title match eventually, unlike BCB. What do you think this is, the Rumble? NXT knows what they've got and how to use it.

Zayn entreated a clearly recalcitrant Regal to make it a match for the Big X, since he knew Kevin wouldn't do it otherwise and the GM was the only person who didn't want it to be for the belt. A few Zayn-sized pops from the crowd later and the Daniel Bryan chant, Regal then put the pen to the paper and (assuming) modified it to be for the belt. Again, because he's Sami Zayn, he signed without hesitation. Kevin waited out some No DQ and Sign Owens Signs chants before Owens added something to Regal's addition, signed it and tossed it off towards Sami before donking him with the pen and leaving up the rampway. Seeing that happen, especially after Regal pointed Owens in the direction of the titled-up addendum, could not possibly be a coincidence. It's like any longtime fan of Breaking Bad seeing Lydia being an addict for coffee and adding a small white powder to it every time after fiddling with it in the final season; if anything this side of Mid-South reeks of Chekov's [Fill In The Blank] when it comes to the pro graps, NXT is it.

And with one more show to go before the 2/11 two-hour spectacuganza, the new sparkle on the line is borderline Nixonian: what did Owens sign, and what is the (assumed) stipulation? Keep in mind, there's only one show before the 11th, so presumably we find out next week. But given past history and the skills of the men involved the mind reels at the delicious possibilities. NXT has been especially good about giving viewers straight-up wrestling matches 99% of the time but deviating from the form notably for two of the live specials last year where Neville ended the Bo Era in a ladder match and successfully defended the strap in the aforenamed Fatal 4 Way, and neither of those matches had the one-on-one animosity on a boil here for the offering.

Stupid time, move faster! We want to be February 11th already!

All the prominent ladies in the division want it to be then, since they can finally go off on each other and not pretend to have a tag match before deteriorating into a brawl where everybody lands and nobody wins. Maybe by then they'll have fixed the slight technical problems they encountered before fully getting into the latest Kidd/Neville re-up anthem. (Of course, there almost wasn't enough time in the Corbin/Dempsey rematch/quarterfinal for there to be any technical problems. Bull. You're Seven Mary Three. Baron has proven himself to be at least the Stone Temple Pilots, so far as you're concerned. Might we suggest a ubiquitous soundtrack staple from last year's pop charts for you to add to your playlist?)

And man, speak of people who are forever doomed to be LaTavia to someone else's Beyonce...Tyson Kidd could've won this tournament and gotten another shot at Sami (who's he's beaten) and the NXT title (which he only got once Sami loosened the belt from around certain waists). Unfortunately, he was up against Adrian Neville and The Man That Gravity Forgot owns Tyson the way Tyson owns a few cans of Friskies. This wasn't a Greatest Hits medley by any means, but it did start off with a lot of wrestling into counter wrestling and Latin American standoffs between the next bouts of wrestling into counter wrestling.

Kidd nearly won the match by countout with a vicious baseball slide headscissors combo platter that sent the former NXT Champion into the steps, but it merely got him the advantage going into the break of the night's best match rather than the duke. Back on the other side of the adverts, once Neville got off a handless Asai suicida moonsault, the writing was on the wall. No way Kidd could be a survivor after taking that, the Better Than Batista bomb, and ultimately the Red Arrow said no, no, no to his title dreams. So it is that Neville moves on in the hopes of being the first man to beat Baron Corbin, while Finn Bálor and Hideo Itami -- who exchanged the usual title > friendship backstage banter in a brief segment between matches -- face off in the other semifinal of a surprisingly all white-hatted final four. Most importantly, any man who prevails would be a viable choice to go against St--Owens or Zayn. And least you think a title change couldn't magically happen in a fortnight's time, ask Los Dragones about belt security down Floriday way.

Should you be lucky enough to be lobbing questions at the roster, also ask the new guy if he added a codicil to the first live event main event of the year, would you?