Thursday, September 24, 2015

Best Coast Bias: Spotlights, Please

What's next for the villainous champs?
Photo Credit:
It seems crazy to type, but it's true: we're under two weeks away from Takeover: Respect.

What makes it seem insane is the fact that in the leadup to it we're seeing the usually underserved aspects of NXT take center stage, thus relegating the Big X into possibly the third ring of the Floridian circus (and possibly serving as Samoa Joe's Oculus the more he says the word champ to his Dusty Classic partner and taps his title -- we'll see if that implodes on next week's program when they go in against the Bridge and Tunnel boys). As just mentioned, the Dusty Classic tag tournament has taken up a fair share of the oxygen in NXT's room, with two more quarterfinals set for the go-home session next week with the other seeing Jason Jordan and Chad Gable set to face the Hype Bros to determine who'll face The Artists Formerly Known As The Mechanics. How sad for Dash and Dawson to beat the reigning and on-this-show-defending NXT Tag Team Champion Vaudevillians only to see their victory get whittled and shoved into a video package. As for the champs, more on them imminently.

Of course, what's taking up most of the CO2 when it comes to the live Network spectacuganza coming on the Seventh became television canon last week, the Bayley/Sasha rematch for the NXT Women's Championship in the main event with an Iron Women stipulation added as well. It wouldn't be surprising at all to find out sometime next week that someone was in line for the big two-hour show just to assure themselves a prime seat in order to see that main event which hopefully goes into an unadvertised but still necessary overtime just to settle the score once and for all. Yet while the combatants of that clash weren't on the show in anything but video packaged form, the ground beneath them moved in perceptible ways with two differing narratives:

1) The Still Undefeated Eva Marie, Accidental Troll Queen of Full Sail, and
2) Dana Brooke and Emma Committing Suicide By Joshi

So let's start with the latter.

Kana -- now Asuka's -- welcome to the land of black and yellow seemed eerily familiar in cadence to when Hideo Itami showed up last year. Happy to have arrived, psyched to receive the immediate full embrace of Full Sail, and hoping to culminate a dream come true into being a champion. And then Dana Brooke and Emma came out after she Hancocked the John, ran her down verbally, and demanded she leave. The most surprising part? She did. There were a couple pauses in there to stoke the audience; it sure seemed as she got to the top of the ramp and the crowd was chanting her new nom de graps that she was about to charge back down into the ring and uncork the fifth level of hell on her antagonists. But instead she smiled a smile that was too thin to be misconstrued as friendly, something that if it had to be translated out of silent Japanese into verbal American would go roughly "I am going to rip your chest cavities open, stuff them with various candies, and turn you into my own personal piƱatas." But that moment, whenever it comes, wasn't here, and so she left.

Perhaps we didn't get all red anything there because we'd gotten hashtag All Red Everything in the opening match on a night of rematches, with Eva Marie facing and beating Carmella once again as she had in the episode after/before Takeover: Brooklyn. Well, not exactly the same way: in much the same way Tyler Breeze had to use the ropes to overcome the power of Bullfit after this match, Eva took a countout victory here. To our knowledge and to be fair, the pay window pays equally irregardless of metaphorical asterisks. Carmella showed good babyface fire by holding a grudge while the audience razzed the Total Divas starlet with a variety of chants, "That's a kickout" and "All botch everything" amongst them. In her previous match against Billie Kay, there was a kickout that possibly wasn't, but this was merely retconned into continuity by the astute NXT makers and had Eva pre-match praising the ref for not giving in to the biased peer pressure of the Full Sailor haters, thus allowing her to continue on and win the match rightfully. So a variant played out here, where she got her foot on the ropes and a brief (and honestly, completely illogical) controversy ensued with the Usual Suspects doing commentary since the angle taken showed her leg extended towards the rope without her foot actually being seen on it.

She then dumped Carmella and waited out the count, thus adding something along the lines of the four of clubs to the championship contendership house she is currently building up to the way she's inducing thrombosis into the crowd that reviles her. The subsequent replay made manifest her lack of duplicity, and also brought up a hilarious question: wouldn't it be funny and sort of the most NXT thing ever done if she was nothing more than the Orlando Jordan to Bayley's He Who Shall Not Be Named?

The main event featured a tag title rematch between the newly crowned aforementioned Vaudies and their thorns in their sides, the Dubstep Cowboys, with special guest appearances by Blue Pants and Alexa Bliss. Sans the ladies for 95% of the match, the gentlemen, Blake and Murphy put together a thoroughly cromulent match that while technically sound and never boring also never seemed to quite have the groove that the four of them found in Brooklyn. This can be attributed in part to the smaller stakes and smaller crowd, but in large chunk due to the ex-champions suddenly reverting to a bevy of chinlocks rather than more compelling ways of maintaining an offensive advantage.

The reset button was mashed with authority when Aiden English uncorked a Liger-level shotei, allowing him to hit his corner and his erstwhile partner Simon to stoke Oh My Gotch chants amongst the faithful; a short time later, a Whirling Dervish put the bow on their first title defense. Having disposed of the mandatory rematch and also having been bounced from the tournament, it'll be interesting to see if the Dash/Dawson dispatching of them in it leads to their next challengers, as there isn't really much justification for Alexa's henchmen to get one last shot at the belts less some sort of stipulation match (though oddly the obvious intergender trios match between the full teams has yet to be enacted and may occur on the 7th).

Keep in mind that both the semifinals and finals of the Dusty Classic are already lined up in addition to the main event Iron Woman title match, so given the usual brevity that happens when NXT supersizes their offerings there may not be much more to get out of the 7th besides naming winners of a possible trophy that'll probably be destroyed and putting on yet another in a series of Match of the Year candidates. Oh, and Tyler Breeze against Apollo Crews because why not?

But if that's the case, don't be surprised if next week's offering is stuffed to the gills and has tons of things that seemed to be staple gunned together in the penultimate second; given the possibilities of a looming 11th hour, NXT spent 10:00 in a slightly more accelerated version of cruise control.