Thursday, July 30, 2015

Best Coast Bias: Oh, Tags

"You see, wh--wha had happened--funny story...TRUE story..."
Photo Credit:
It's easy to get relegated to the background when Kevin Owens and then Finn Bálor are the aces of your main singles division and Sasha Banks is the queen of your other one, all three names likely to pop up on a fan's ballot for 2015 Wrestler of the Year with the Boss quite possibly in the lead for that category not just out of that trioka, but worldwide.

But over the past few weeks, the tag team has been bubbling quietly in the background, building to the main event of the Vaudevillains taking on BAMF for the belts. That tilt was merely the culmination of the last NXT hour in July, as three tag matches took place in both the beginning, middle, and end of the program.

Good thing they did, too: watching Kevin Owens apron powerbomb some fresh meat is nice, but it might as well have been a Potemkin bomb; we cared about everybody else he's laid out in NXT either because they were beloved or because we wanted them to shut up on commentary and about everything ever. KO laying out some no-name for sheer gits and shiggles reinforces a message to everybody who heard it the first time and has the director's DVD commentary at this point. Jesse Sorensen getting the Baron Corbin Treatment was only interesting in the fact that his head stayed on, thankfully. And Charlotte also made a borderline And Special Guest Star appearance and pretty much dismantled the DanaBot 5000 pretty handily, to the chagrin of Emma and the probable off-camera joy of Devin Taylor.

So it was up to the dyads sandwiching the show, and the Champions quietly sneaking up on a half-year into their reign to headline the program. Part of the reason they're garnering rare actual heat from the Full Sailors is Wesley Blake's complete willingness to be silly with his hair; the closest thing the WWE has to a proto-Sheamus, he even had the fans jeering him via using modified lyrics from Aqua's unmentionable and horrifying 90's one hit wonder as he stood on the apron. Another crucial part is their willingness to look for all the world for most of the match as if they aren't just going to go down to defeat but will finally get full comeuppance, pinballing around the ring as Aiden English pulled off early one-on-two offense that somehow maintained its crispness without giving in to being contrived and Simon Gotch looking good late. Even their offense has tamped down to the basics and skullduggery, almost as if their running suplex/frog splash (former?) finisher left even a crack in the door for something admirable. But the most important F from BAM is that B, A -- yet again, Alexa Bliss provided the difference in them continuing on into August with belts in hand by cutting off the Whirling Dervish before it could get fully operational and Buddy Murphy's willingness to put fabric in his rollup immediately afterwards as a result.

Sufficiently disgruntled, the Vaudies beat on the champs and delivered the Dervish on Blake, but reacted to Bliss' possible sneak attack by possibly heeding the chants of the crowd for chivalry and holding the ropes open for her to depart the squared circle. She reacted by talking smack. And then slapping Gotch. And then English. And then leaving. And then... and then, nothing, actually. She walked up the ramp back to her boys, who put her on their shoulders with the belts, and the credits rolled. First off, WHY YOU GOTTA MAKE MAMA BLISS SAD, ALEXA!? ¿Por que?

Secondly, English better hope his final protestations were true, otherwise their credibility as challengers took a huge breach in their hull. Getting screwed out of the belts is one thing and getting slapped by Trish 2.0 another that one usually would have to pay for, but to have both happen in about 150 seconds makes them look not only like bad sports (even with that being slightly justifiable that aspect gets sort of nerfed by their actions towards Bliss), dullards and eunuchs. On the other hand, these could all be the machinations that lead to Mama Bliss leveling the playing field. Probably not, but it's still a point of concern; whether this is a hiccup or cancer remains to be seen.

But hey, why worry too hard? When the break's over in a few weeks, Takeover's gonna be happening in BK just outside of NYC and with the English/Gotch pairing having been granted their shot and failing at it, this is exactly the spot they've been building over the course of the past few years by having Enzo Amore and Big Cass in their virtual backyard snatch the belts from the alliance that screwed them out of having the belts at the last NXT live two-hour phantasmagoria. Right?



...yeah, about that. They came out in the opener with their Carmella to face Apparently We're Not Calling Them The Mechanics Anymore For Some Reason (Ed. Note: They will be known henceforth as the Grease Mulkeys, so it is written, so it shall come to pass. -- TH), all crowd singalongs and witty one-liners. They left with Amore cradling his injured (ayfabekay) arm and doing the backpedal up the ramp as Scott Dawson blew them a kiss in their departure. Dawson could do such a thing, of course, because he and Dash Not Wilder had beaten them. No BAMF shenanigans, no screw-up by Amore even if he was a little woozy having gotten laid out down the stretch--D and D laid out Big Cass and feasted on the weaker link of the Bridge and Tunnel Boys by laying him out with a Codebreaker finish 3D variant that desperately needs a better name than whatever one our trusty announce team gave for the pristine W.

Bridge and Tunnel are officially what certain Baby Boomers call the schneid, having lost not only this affair but the number one contendership match against the Vauds clean. Couple that with the loss they suffered with Bliss' turn to the dark side, and it's clear their once-ascendant star may've burnt out already and doomed them to the Barkley - Ewing - Drexler bin marked Almost.

And while the Bridge and Tunnel boys fall through the stratosphere and Dawson and Wilder get on the board, the still not wholly gelled coalition formed between Jason Jordan and Chad Gable keeps climbing up hoping to get into range for the shot at Bliss and the Boys. Since their opponents were Elias Samson and Carlito and Hakushi's bastard son, this was the dictionary definition of developmental. But the crowd was pretty amped for Gable to get in there, and Jordan watched his partner go to work in the ring with some chain wrestling and offered a few begrudging smiles from the apron as Kurt Angle v. 2.0 put Sampson through the wringer via the aforementioned amateur style with a sprinkling of submission work thrown in. JJABLE (™ ButchCorp) still needs some work to do; some other double team moves that aren't their sweet-ass finishing alley-oop into a bridging German suplex would be a boon to them as the year continues on.

Then again, when this year started Blake and Murphy had first names, no babe, and the begrudging respect of the audience.

Six months is short in the cosmic sense, but longer in a personal one. And as Wes and Bud'll tell you, sometimes all it takes is the right couple wins at the right time to find yourselves out of the foreground and into the spotlight.