Thursday, May 14, 2015

Best Coast Bias: Words Apart

Mama, there go that impossibly handsome man again
Photo Credit:
Second verse, same as the first.

It might be Sami Zayn who gets the big 180 seconds of a video package to start off the show with his valiant attempts to fight through injury to somehow unmake John Cena's United States championship reign, and even a few exclusive post-match comments where he s w e a r s that injury or not he can still beat Kevin Owens next week at Takeover: Unstoppable.  He can do these things, of course, as long as he's at a remove; as long as he's not within range of his ex-best friend himself.

When that happens?

You know what happens: the center cannot hold, and things (bonhomie, title reigns, shoulders, et al) fall apart.  So it was a desperate Sami Zayn towards the end of the go-home show, still trying to find out why all these months later.  When the specter of professional jealousy wouldn't goad an answer out of the sixth NXT champion, the fifth one started leaning in on the familial aspects and how Sami was more popular with the-unnamed Owen than his own dad was.  It seemed once Sami hit that note, Owens was frustrated to the point of wanting to eschew the verbal non-harm agreement and go after him, but the hand with the belt came up a couple of times.  It was almost a talisman about he who haveth the gold maketh the rules and how it was as big a string as he was able to pull on Sami as their charred remnants of their friendship is.  (Again, remember Zayn's co-opting of Owens' original turn of phrase -- to invert the classic sportswriter's saying, they ((allegedly)) are not fighting for the championship of each other, they are fighting for the championship.)

Owens then left the ring, and got 90% of the way out of the building before he finally spoke.  He was terse.  His back was to Zayn the entire time.  And whether or not the shoulder injury is genuine or not, the small soliloquy Owens spoke rang true to the end.  Sami went home back at the year's outset not to get his head right, but because Owens had hurt him, and he was still hurt, and he was the one who did it.  In a chillingly blasé way, Owens said that he was going to do it again come next Wednesday -- and that this time, Zayn wouldn't come back from it.  Having hit his gutter version of a high note, KO left, leaving a clearly rattled Zayn pacing the ring as the credits rolled.

To be sure, the Full Sail brass is churning as much ade out of these lemons as they possibly can.  But that being said, the nature and depth of this possible "injury" injury is still in full dishevel, and having spent their sugar the past two weeks with compelling if non-physical segments between the Canucks, will NXT fans hoping for another instant classic in Owens/Zayn II: Olé!-ctric Boogaloo be sipping nothing but sour if it turns out Sami can't go to Sami heights in his rematch to regain the gold?  The one-armed man is on deck, and if he can't go, that changes the tenor of the ass-kicking contest dramatically.

We find similar problems in the triple threat #1 contendership with regards to Hideo Itami's injury putting him out for the rest of the year.  In the short term, since this was taped ahead of time, he and Finn Bálor were able to tag against the vaguely familiar Adam Rose and Tyler Breeze.  They may have found a long-term answer, too, since they did it last week, this week, and can ostensibly do it again in a few days - have Breeze kick it in the face.  Last week two bodies laid at his feet; this time around he threw his tag partner in as almost a bonus to add to the body count. 

The match itself was fine but suffered from the usual "good guys at odds while thrown-together black hats inexplicably mesh" trope; early on, Finn justified the pop of the night he got coming out by lighting up Rose once he got the (hesitant, to be sure) tag.  He held the advantage until he got cut off on a springboard attempt, thus firmly placing him in the Bad Part Of Town whilst Rose and Breeze traded tags and shots on him.  Then Itami came in off a tag and laid waste -- well, mostly to Rose, who'd spend the rest of his on-screen time taking Prince Pretty's bullets both indirectly and then directly.  Itami would drop him with a flying lariat meant for Breeze, and after Finn blind-tagged in he'd eat a Sling Blade as well.  Bálor had Breeze set for his Coup, but Itami took that moment to blind tag himself back in.  That was planned.  Walking into a small package for 3 probably wasn't, but it was hilarious.  Not Paul Pierce yelling "series" when there was still time left for a putback funny, and yet pride, like a summer day, goes before the (pin)fall.

The former overseas friends started verbally getting together the main ingredient for a stew, so Tyler -- as is wont to do -- stirred the pot by shoving Itami into Bálor before supermodelkicking the former and snapping a Beauty Shot off onto the latter.  At this point Amanda Freitag would probably say something about the plate looking good but the mouth feel being a little rough.  Adam went to celebrate a rare victory for him with his partner, presumably because he'd taken the butt-kicking to spare Tyler's health meter along with the ShaqKobesque implosion of their opposition, and a crowd that was kinda-sorta already leaning in T-Breezie's direction lit up with chants for him immediately after he supermodelkicked Rose as well.  If they're desperately worried about rerunning Finn/Kevin again Tyler can easily slide into place by directing all his uggo comments towards the French Canadian Murder Bear, but keep in mind this: the last time Tyler Breeze earned the #1 contendership, he got it last year by pinning Sami Zayn.  Again, Zayn has to be good enough to go to make that admittedly thin possibility a reality.  And you can insert the proper Dumb and Dumber quote here.

Most of the rest of the show belonged to the ladies, as it should.  Off-ring, Charlotte and Bayley extended a challenge for Unstoppable to Dana Brooke and Emma, which got accepted.  (And Devin got patted on the head again by Brooke, so they're definitely going to come to blows before the summer's over.)  In-ring, the Women's Champion about snatched the weave off some poor cannon fodder before finishing her off with the BankStatement to lend credence to her pre-match promo that her ex-partner Becky Lynch had just gotten lucky last week at the contract signing; moreover, Carmella and Alexa Bliss had a Freaky Friday of a match where they seemed to switch alignments as it was going on. 1) This was aided and abetted by the Dubstep Cowboys coming out when Carmella was starting to put her signature submission on Bliss, and this distraction led to her shooing them off the apron and eventually getting laid out with the Sparkle Splash in defeat. 2) The admittedly sometimes hinky Full Sailors in the building lighting into the champions with a NO MEANS NO chant before any actual verbiage had happened, with Carmella stoking it on before lighting into Murphy and Blake herself, without the help of the Bridge and Tunnel boys, saying how Enzo Amore and Big Cass would be taking the gold and spelling out for them what they'd be as a result.  3) WHERE MAMA BLISS AT THO.  (That has nothing to do with the match, admittedly.  But still!) (Ed. Note: We here at The Wrestling Blog agree that Mama Bliss should be on every show. Official stance.)

This, alongside the longest Baron Corbin victory to date against a game Solomon Crowe and a subsequent pull-apart with Rhyno, sets the table for the second NXT live Network Special.  Injuries may have muddied the waters with the top two billed matches, but as any Queen will tell you, the show must go on.

Besides, worst comes to worst they can have Banks and Lynch headline, right?