Thursday, April 2, 2015

Best Coast Bias: Getting In A Couple Of Shots

Is this the next man up to get KOed?
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Fresh off extending their hegemony by a successful run out to the Best Coast during WrestleMania weekend, it would've been easy for NXT to use the first of April's month as a joke show, a recap, a writeoff, or any if not all of the three. Instead, the show felt surprisingly overstuffed, a Dr. Banner coming to swaddled in the clothes of The Other Guy, and this all occurred without the benefit of having the champion show up anywhere besides a short video package recapping the events of last week's main event.

That wasn't to say that Owens and his Championship weren't the main axle driving the show even in absentia: Sami Zayn's back and owed a rematch, Rhyno's still hungry and goring people, and in the main event Tyler Breeze overcame an early deficit to beat Hideo Itami two falls to one and solidify his claim towards getting his first clean shot at the Big X in about a year.

Zayn came out to kick off the program to the usual feted response, and mentioned while he'd had fun overseas performing in front of his people it was time for him to get back his belt via -- per the crowd's response to what his plan should be -- kicking Owens' ass. He showed slightly more venom than usual while still putting over the fact this was a different, leveled-up French Canadian Murder Bear than the one he'd grown up with a decade ago or even fought a couple of years ago but it didn't stop him from sounding determined to be the first to do what nobody else in NXT's been able to accomplish. Perhaps that's the sort of thing that'll be coming up to main event a two-hour live special before the summer pops up, who can say. We know what Rhyno said, since it kept Devin Taylor from asking any follow-up questions of the former champion, and it was simple. He was the first in line, and as such the line formed behind him. The look on Zayn's face said a lot of things; mainly "two fights against two dudes that nobody knows that went 20 seconds each isn't going to keep me from trying to kick the smug off my old BFF's face". But let's keep in mind there was also a tease with Finn that's yet to occur, so whether this was a red herring or a breadcrumb is a culinary $64,000 question we're some distance away from answering.

As for the main, it was most notable for the relative lack of length. Assuming the stipulation meant that after this there was going to be a parting of the ways, it was weird to see it get under 15 minutes of time and/or go the full length fallwise. (Keep in mind previous NXT tilts like this have gone clean sweep. Also to keep in mind the Jason Jordan/Tye Dillinger thing could've been moved, and even Bayley's rollup win over Emma depending on if there's going to be follow-up soon to Bayley girding herself for a run at the Boss and Emma devolving into a meta ouroborous and generally the most despised person this side of Mike Pence.) They tried to bridge this disconnect by being clever - the second fall going by hyperquick since it was just Tyler playing possum for a few beats before luring Itami into his signature Beauty Shot Outta Nowhere (™ CutevilleCorp) - but given the nature of the third fall it couldn't overcome the lack of time and spottiness with the almost equal playing field Itami and Breeze were on with regards to talent and position coming in. Even Eva Marie got time to work in Full Sail, you know? Even another sudden Shot to overcome the Sick Kick that'd felled him in the first fall meant in front of a crowd rapacious for more when Breeze had notched one of the biggest wins on his CV it met with a collective ellipsis rather than a series of exclamation points. Still, if they were looking for a cheap excuse for Prince Pretty to get another title shot and the fun possibilities of a Breeze/Owens affair, they got what they wanted.

Also notable by her absence was the Boss, but the latest in a series of her ex-besties showed up furious that most of the division had gotten a shot before her. This is true; Charlotte, Bayley, and even Alexa Bliss recently have taken what Becky Lynch feels is her shot at the table. If Emma's tying up Bayley by narrowly holding in her hostilities and looking Confederate money fake in the act of so doing during yet another loss or series thereof, then sure, once earned the undercarriage of the former Black Irish should get in a shot against Sasha Banks in an effort to take a run at the center stage. The seizure-inducing Dubstep Cowboys suddenly caught lightning in a bottle, after all, and now they hold gold. Formerly unable to hang around even 300 seconds in the ring, they shaded but didn't bend the rules en route to a clean fall in gaining the W over the Lucha Dragons. It was fun seeing Wesley Blake hit Sin Cara to set up the end game with the Jackman cosplay apron punch, but it was even better seeing them both innovate little old school tag-team tricks and add to their offensive arsenals with the time that they got during the match when they weren't looking like the victims for another Wednesday night wrestling program. The luchadores lose nothing by losing; Kalisto's offensive pyrotechnics Monday assured that. But Buddy Murphy and Blake are sticking around with the belts and still adding legitimacy, so this helped a bunch going forward and provides the exact sort of talking point the sharp announce team can add in in further telling their story.

Let's hope when the time comes for them to get in there against the Bridge and Tunnel squad that they all get to time to let the story breathe.