Thursday, September 10, 2015

Best Coast Bias: New Blood Rising

So real it's surreal Photo Credit:

What it is is a sixteen-team single-elimination tournament. What it's called is the Dusty Classic.

What should it be called?

How about the fiery rebirth of Carnival, since everybody with a decent NXTenure so far seems to be biting the dust at Mercurian levels like their hands have started flashing red?

Last week, both the longest-reigning tag champs and most voluminous holder of the Big X went down without even making it out of the first round. This week was book ended by two more teams with decent Full Sail C.V.s falling down in their efforts to advance. (In addition, we got a few clips of Enzo Amore and Big Cass as well as Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson advancing on to the quarterfinals at live NXT weekend events. Half-hearted applause for some of the footage available in highlight form online, but for completists -- a.k.a. NXT's wheelhouse -- the entirety of the matches should've been made available in some bonus form on the Network even if they didn't want to give the whole things away on the YouTubes.)

And, yes, a tag team did implode upon their loss this week. But that team wasn't Samoa Joe and Finn Bálor, even if Joe seemed a bit oddly chipper and Bálor protective of the title in a backstage segment; no, they went on to defeat the former Champs the Lucha Dragons in the main event (more about which imminently).Instead, the team that seems to be in the record books permanently at 0-1 is MMMBull, as Tyler Breeze and Bull Dempsey went down at the hands of the aforeseen Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. That sentence alone looks wrong.

And yet, Team Indies advanced onwards. In a beautiful bit of symmetry, the entire impetus for BullFit Becoming A Thing was a few short weeks ago when T-Breezie exposed his lack of cardio by running him around the ring as a lap-inducing setup for a gorgeous Beauty Shot so it seemed that agita was woven in their team DNA from the start. It didn't help matters when Dempsey replicated Breeze's corner pose before the debuters came out and he got aggravated by it, or that Dempsey was laughing noticeably after Ciampa slapped TB so hard that it opened a rift in the space-time continuum.

Both Ciampa and Gargano looked good with their offense as the latter brought the flashier stuff and the former brought the violence. And the NXT stalwarts fell apart as Dempsey went for a tag but Breeze was already on the floor, dropped by Gargano moments before. Shortly thereafter, Bull went for his off-the-ropes avalanche, thus knocking down a recovering Breeze who'd just gotten vertical on the apron, and then found himself double teamed and pinned. As such, Ciampa/Gargano will get Rhyno/Corbin in the next round, and Breeze took out his butthurt on his now ex-partner culminating in a supermodelkick. Odd enough that JGTC survived onwards into the next round, but they're not about to debut in NXT by winning what could become its first-ever signature tournament, are they?

...are they?

If they are, they may face Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe in the finals, another sentence that looks like it was Mad Libbed from eighteen months ago. As the Not The Mechanics and Bridge and Tunnel matches weren't Full Sail productions, neither was the match that main evented against the former champion Lucha Dragons. Instead, it seemed to be part and parcel of a pre-Smackdown Tuesday night taping more akin to a Main Event.

That didn't keep the Providence crowd from giving seemingly non-sweetened rapturous receptions to both Joe and Bálor, nor keep Jimmy Uso and Tom Phillips from reacting like this was an instant classic rather than a first-round encounter that a lot of fans watched peripherally wondering if any footwear was going to hit the floor. Since it didn't, the early portion of the match once the crowd cooled a bit and got the This Is Awesome chant out of their system was a showcase for the champ, including his Okada-level dropkick, a Sling Blade, corner gamengiri and tope con hilo on both his opponents in a virtual flight of his greatest hits. The back end of the bout saw Joe get in a couple of jab flurries and while the Dragons didn't go completely offenseless, without their opponents imploding their odds of winning were polling at Gilmore-level levels. A Muscle Buster set up the Coup de Grâce, and they even showed off a signature fist pound variant and Too Sweeted their way off-air as the possible prohibitive favorites -- assuming, of course, Joe doesn't shortcut his way to a title shot by laying out his partner at some point during the Classic's proceedings.

In non-tournament action, Jessie McKay Billie Kay and KC Cassidy Peyton Royce both made debuts, even in losing efforts to Dana Brooke and Carmella. While dressed similarly and both being announced as exports from the Land Down Under (where the likes of them glow and men plunder, obvs) their off-air friendship and semi-frequent house show alliance didn't come up as an narrative thread, at least not yet.Maybe the on-air losses and elevation into the women's division officially rather than catching offense in previous straight-ahead showcases and squashes are leading to that point down the line. For Royce, her working in a white hat v. white hat environment against Carmella went well and actually was a nice minor subplot, with her and the self-proclaimed Hottest Chick In The Ring giving each other dap after a couple of standoffs early on. Royce's Perfectplex's only failing was that it failed to garner the W, and eventually she tapped to Carmella's finisher after getting laid waste to with a pretty wicked Flatliner that needs to be incorporated into Ms. Staten Island's moveset post haste.

As for Kay, she seemed to be the guinea pig to the question "How many hairpull throwdowns can a woman fall victim to in a match?" even if her early fundamentals were very much on point, as you might expect. Tragically for her, Brooke's desire for the belt like her on-again off-again partner Emma meant she was eating up the oxygen in the match's room, and followed her unofficial pattern of watching her pose before cringing while you watch before hitting her with an admittedly impressive looking finishing fireman's carry Michinoku Driver (that somehow has still gone unnamed). She may have a handful of fans down in Florida, but for everybody set to pull out follicles over Eva Marie's assumed rocket into being the centerpiece for the ladies it's not like replacing her with Dana is going to candy any bacon for those of that mind, either.

But those are worries for another time. This time is the time of the Dusty Classic, and so far instead of asking permission, the non Nick and Matt young bucks in the tournament have just stepped up and took it.