Friday, February 27, 2015

Best Coast Bias: KOwned

Waiting for KO
Photo Credit:
In the ring, Finn Bálor was doing it to THE Brian Kendrick. At the announce table, Kevin Owens was doing it to Alex Riley. One victim is a sympathetic man doing the best he can do despite some delusions of grandeur and the other is famous for cosplaying Al Bundy's Polk High years and being slightly less annoying than the Miz. These divergent woods came together in the main event for the last NXT episode of February 2015, and while Owens and Bálor have yet to actually engage each other beyond mere words at separate times they're doing a fine job of illustrating the difference between chaotic good and chaotic evil.

Bálor is the former, the man who stepped into the ring undefeated and took down the longest-reigning interim WWE champion ever by surviving a MurderDeathKill leg lariat and an AlmostSomehowEvenWorse bridging Tiger suplex to pull off a win with his signature trioka of Sling Blade into the shotgun dropkick hand on the pump into the Coup de Grâce. Good as Kendrick looked and as hard-hitting as it was, with Finn holding the #1 contendership and cutting a swath of destruction in Full Sail since his fall debut the outcome wasn't ever in doubt. Fortunately, to counter balance that out, the NXT champion was dans la maison for the last show before that pesky Sami Zayn fellow comes back from injury and Abu Dhabi. (Garfield and Friends aficionados, please note the use of AD is literal in this case.)

At first Owens was content to talk up the joy of his children getting to play with the Big X back home and cast a little shade at Bálor for not moving in for the kill on a temporarily incapacitated Kendrick, but when Riley started asking if his title-garnering pummeling at Rival had more to do with the personal than the professional, the French Canadian Murder Bear let his already thin mask of sanity slip. He then proceeded with glee and venom to inform the former main roster member that his ruthlessness and bloodthirsty nature were features and not bugs in his way to become champion, something Riley would know Jacques and Merde about. Temporarily silenced, when the five did deign to talk to the ten again he noted he wouldn't have done that to a long-time friend, thus causing the champ to leave before the break before he'd do something he regret.

After a post-match staredown between the Champion and future challenger Owens with Bálor encouraging the former to get in the ring and threw hands, Owens returned to the table and used them to give Riley a free flight over it, one that has the former NXT star hoping to reinsert himself into the active side of the roster much to the chagrin of the Villain in Charge. The only real problem is, unless you're Rich Brennan or Tom Phillips (trying to protect Riley after the fact as a sort of ersatz Vince McMahon, thus making Corey Graves a psuedo-Piper to Owens the Giant in this analogy), it's not exactly been an exemplary week to be an ex-wrestler doing commentary for NXT, has it? The two fifteen-year-olds in a C.M. Punk suit constituting of Graves spent most of the week mansplaining online, and Riley is about as beloved amongst a smart audience as mold in guacamole. Rest assured if this is the mechanism that puts Riley back in a more active role and they end up having the teased match a familiar chant will go up from the audience faster than you can get to the end of this sentence. But then again, maybe that's the point; maybe we've had the animal wrong all along. It's entirely possible he's the French Canadian Murder Honey Badger - he did debut by throwing C.J. Parker in the air and letting him go splat. It could easily point to another difference between his evil of fighting on his terms whomever he wants because he can and Finn's willingness to only do that fairly between the ropes to date. Either way, the champ has a lot of orbs he's trying to juggle into March between Bálor's eventual challenge, Zayn coming back imminently and Owens/Zayn II already set in the books via the rematch clause, and possibly beating up Alex Riley so badly that the internet explodes in a joygasm that would look as if it fired out of a unicorn's genitals.

Speaking of such colorful, bright and sparkly things Hideo Itami got laid out with one after he Sick Kicked Bull Dempsey further down the ladder in the show's opener. Guess who did it? Oh, come on! It's not fun if you don't guess. Yes, Tyler Breeze had won the day, and decided to commemorate the moment by putting 2015's entry into the Heel Accessory Hall Of Fame up in the air to take a self-centered survey of the gorgeous layout and laying out. Unfortunately for him, as he was working out his angles, Itami was pulling himself up off the deck. And he was Not Amused; a few kicks later, and Breeze went scurrying into the night.

It was that kind of Wednesday night, where the message was the medium. KO got tired of A-Ry's crap and used him as his own personal handrag to clean a table. Breeze got tired of Itami's arrival superseding the work he'd already put in and laid him out with something out of a combination Cat Fancy and sex dungeon, even if only for a few moments. Jason Jordan responded to Tye Dillinger's hogging the match against the Lucha Dragons by leaving him to get double-teamed, Dillinger responded by calling him and then anybody else out to fight, and Baron Corbin responded to that by trucking the Canadian in about :22.

And Becky Lynch responded by damn near ripping Bayley's arm out of its socket. Kudos to Lynch for expanding her submission hegemony by figuring out another way to do it via a modified cross armbreaker, but poor Bay. On a show where the divas actually get a chance to the point where the last major advertising of the evening was a thirty-second clip dedicated wholly to the Sasha Banks/Charlotte title rematch next week, the only thing missing in the latest chapter of the Bayley/Lynch contretemps was more time. As it was, it still got the point across. The pumphandle suplex Lynch debuted against her (former?) best friend Sasha in the four-way at Rival also trucked Bayley's business, and her European uppercuts looked crisp and snappy as well. Never one to fall without showing her determination Bayley fired back and even did some rabbit punching before some step-up corner back elbows that've become her signature. But Lynch was able to counter a possible super Bayley-to-belly and hang the left arm up on the top rope, leading to her being able to reverse a standard b2b attempt into a Fujiwara before transitioning that into the game-ender. No wonder the crowd was chanting for both women as the match continued on (not nearly long enough, but still); in WWE, they'd rather show a video package and cause a hashtag to be spawned while focusing on promoting their reality show, leading to an environment where nobody could possibly care and you feel foolish for even trying vs. NXT which just sticks to Wrestling 101 before advancing to 201, 301, 401 and eventually 451 and deriving entertainment out of the sport in a land where women aren't just crazy props, multiple titles have heft and weight, and instead of feeling stupid for caring one can easily care even while seeing how the magician is doing their tricks and be captivated all the same.

So if your Sunday best isn't pressed yet or you need to put some popcorn in the popper, get what you need get done done. NXT's such a magical fairy tale land it looks like they're even about to make murder entertaining.