Thursday, October 8, 2015

Best Coast Bias: Destined To Do This Forever

Thanks, Boss
Photo Credit:
In 2067 at a Christmas party in a retirement home somewhere, a last piece of banana bread will be about to be snatched up and grabbed in one lovely if wrinkled hand. And the other end will be grabbed by a counterpart; actually, that's wrong to say--not a counterpart, but the counterpart.

And Bayley and Sasha Banks will lock eyes before all four of them narrow, and with all the strength they can muster they will forget they have osteoporosis and start throwing as close to bombs as they can muster over a piece of a dessert, because it's not about the dessert and it never was and it always is. When they met for the first time earlier in the 21st century they were fighting over that end piece; when the 22nd century puts their brains into robot casings their mind-controlled metallic hubs will be firing AK-94s and land cruise missiles at each other; when the Precambrian started, the molecules that'd main event in a few million years entered each others' atmospheres and formed the first building blocks of what would come to be known as a "death glare"; when their granddaughters show up to break up the fight and try to keep Grandma from getting booted from the home, they'll put on a mini-reprise of their main event from WrestleMania 72.

Sure as taxes, death, and trouble, their latest chapter in their contretemps spotlighted another fine two-hour spectacuganza down in NXT, this time with the spotlight firmly on them and 30 minutes' time in which to escalate their rivalry and make a few hundred in Full Sail feel like a few thousand in Brooklyn. If Bayley taking the belt in Barclays was the Black Album, then the Rematch of the Year was Watch the Throne: nodding to the past while looking towards the future, not knowing how to do it besides big enough to be seen from space, and two of the best in the game once again not being perfect but over the course of their alloted time as close to flawless while still flawed as makes no difference.

For the opening of the Iron Maiden, the crowd rifled through a few chants while the present and former NXT Women's Champions ran through their own Grand Prix, matching each other roll-up for roll-up. It became apparent to everybody that it was going to be That Kind Of Throwdown when Sasha almost gave herself a snapmare driver off of a Japanese armdrag in the opening five minutes. Both women fended off the other's signature maneuver, and it very much looked like we would have a half hour built off of Takeover's title Aretha and Otis style. Then, because she's the eternal CEO of BossCorp, Banks took Bayley's gesture of giving her room before helping her up and turned it into a hairpull throwdown. The crowd in the little interval that followed alternated reactions between booing, laughter, and applauding as she took a slight bow. But more than fine character work, it was a presage of how she'd earn the match's first fall as she blocked the referee to pull off an eye-poke and flash schoolgirl (which also paid off their pair of flights of opening roll-ups).

In addition, post getting victimized by the Bostonian's okey-doke, Bayley would get more aggressive as the match continued on, and this would pay off in the finish because NXT is goddam magic and of course it did. The Champion would even things up with an almost flash Bayley-to-belly after taking advantage of The Boss' aggressiveness in trying to extend her lead to 2. Thus having fallen prey to that, Banks ratcheted (phrasing) up the offensiveness and the offensive, winning the third fall after throwing Bayley into the steps three times right in front of the Bay Areaian's family and Izzy and hers before throwing her into the big LED wall clock at the top of the rampway. Not just content to do that because the next time she'll be able to help herself will be the first, she snatched the headband off of Izzy's head while earning the fall and then when Full Sail's favorite nine-year-old had the temerity to cry openly and look for consolation in her father's arms Banks stood in the middle of the ring mocking her crying before throwing the headband at her and smack talking her. On one end of the scale there's kinda bad, way down in the ninth circle of Hades there's former Vice(?) President Cheney, and closer to the Dickish end of things is making a fourth grader cry and then mocking her for it.

It should be noted at this point, the match was about halfway over.

Bayley got in another flash fall to even things up a few moments later to tie the bout up at two, and the longest fall would be the last one. Thus rallying and at times doubling if not tripling her offense while throwing in some nods to their Brooklyn bout, Bayley would even things on the cosmic score from that match by slamming The Boss' hand into the steps a couple of times. Not only that, but she'd single-arm DDT that banged-up arm into the middle ropes because when it comes to these two, time is a flat circle. Then after another arm slam into the steps Bayley would run up them and fly off with a lariat. Sasha would come back and send Bayley into the steps, then Bayley would catch Banks' patented between the ropes crossbody suicida and seamlessly transitioned into a Bayley-to-Belly on the concrete (in front of her fam and Izzy's, because of course) that put her perfectly in position to get the match's fifth fall.

Except somehow it didn't, and the clock raced onward.

The former Champ almost fought it off, as it looked like Bayley was going to deliver the avalanche Bayley-to-belly that'd felled Charlotte on the Hugster's Sami Zaynesque road to redemption. That she did fend off. What she failed to fend off, however, was an Anglesque pop-up Bayley-to-belly that rocked the ring and now Bayley would be up 3-2.


So Bayley went for her Tiger Driver '91, the super poisoned rana that'd set up her Championship run. Banks somehow landed safely in a seated position and while Bayley tightened the pony and recovered to a standing position Banks had a look on her face that recalled Minaj inquiring Cyrus if she had anything interesting to add earlier in the summer. And then from hell's heart, she stabbed at Full Sail with the first-ever Sasha-to-belly.


And the two minute warning.

And the BankStatement.

Well, this definitely should've been it. Bayley fought in it for around half a minute, while Corey Graves astutely noted on commentary that while Banks had the hold she was having problems with it due to what Bayley had did to her hand earlier in the match. Bayley would try the same reversal she had success with in their Barclays match, only for The Boss to reclamp the hold on and get in a couple of stomps. But Bayley would twist enough to grab the injured hand and slam it into the mat.

Then--it's really annoying to try to describe the indescribable, but we're here for a reason, nuh?

It looked like Bayley was going to pull Banks into a Yes!Lock, then she turned it into a hybrid with a sort of Rings of Saturn styled double armbar. And then she started pulling on the fingers of the injured hand. And then she started stomping on Banks' head.

That's right; Bayley laid down with the monsters and managed not to become one herself.

And still, through all that, through all of that and Full Sail going nuclear and the clock melting down into the horizon, Sasha Banks was three seconds away from forcing a draw.

But by that thin sliver, she didn't.

This time, Izzy wept for a completely different reaction. It wasn't just her. Eventually, after the replays and a small period of recovery, it was the Women's Champion, too. As she should've, since the entire roster was out at the rampway applauding. And it wasn't just her, since we got to see what she saw: Sasha Banks, staggering towards Triple H and William Regal with Japanese style bouquets in their arms in the front of the assemblage. And Sasha Banks, destroyer of childrens' hearts who doubled majored in smack talking and edge snatching, 2015's probable Wrestler of the Year and all 25 of the Top 25 under 25, fell to her knees and wept.

It wasn't just her.

Some former Queen of Wrestling or other helped her up, so she could let the standing matriarch fornicating O that she deserved for being so very good at being so very bad for so many of Full Sail's nights wash over her, along with a Thank You, Sasha chant. In the ring, Triple H gave Bayley a hug (natch) and raised her arm before she got her bouquet and the middle of the ring all to herself with her belt as the credits rolled.

That was to say nothing of possibly the final shot of Sasha Banks in her NXTenure being a small smile towards the vanquisher and the woman who'd ultimately, finally earned her respect. Or the online video that went up after the match with both of them that just seems to exist to stab eye ducts in the junk. Again, writing about it isn't watching it, and as usual when the Doctor of Huganomics meets the B.A.D.dest diva in NXT and WWE, it's appointment if-the-house-catches-on-fire-while-watching-then-we're-going-down-in-flames-with-it television.

But most of the program wasn't that, stellar as that was, but rather the culmination of what is widely presumed to be the First Annual Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic. Both the semifinals and finals took place on the show, and the three matches both individually and taken as a piece had taut through lines running and humming like electric cable through them. We waited through the first round, and the quarterfinals, and then as well as the other two finishing rounds waiting for the other shoe to drop in the unofficially named Irish Samoa squad of NXT Champion Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe. It didn't happen before tonight. It may afterwards, with this #1 contendership battle royale coming up next week, but even with Bálor getting his leg busted up by Not The Mechanics, he and Joe are the first Cup holders having run through the competition and notching four clean victories no matter the odds.

In their semifinal against D and D, it looked like they were going to run through their opposition in under 300 seconds. But Dawson's chop block changed the course of the evening, and allowed the Baby Brainbusters to cut off the ring, focus on a body part, get in a few cheap shots when the zebra was occupied and do all of the fun things that make heel teams compelling. Hell, they even busted out the Demolition Decapitation for gits and shiggles. Joe came in to jam up their whole opera, and then even through hesitation delivered their finishers to finish off the opener. Speaking of teams where the impediment could've easily been each other on the other side of the bracket, Baron Corbin and Rhyno went against Jason Jordan and Chad Gable. The involvement of the Lone Wolf meant that the shoot-styled singlet wearers with the amateur backgrounds got to receive the crowd's love (Gable even getting his name serenaded to Kurt Angle's theme most notably out of a handful of hilarious Chad-related cheers). When the takedowns and armwork were happening, it meant JJABLE had the momentum; when things slowed down and were mostly right hands, it was obviously in the corner of the frenemies. Despite suffering a nice Chaos Theory rolling German out of the corner at Gable's hands, Corbin recovered to pick him off moments later with the End of Days, sending he and the former ECW Champion to the finals.

Given the fact that both Bálor and Rhyno as well as Corbin and Joe had been in separate feuds in NXT's 2015, it was odd but oddly appropriate that they helmed the match for the Cup. But both of those, the shiny new trophy, and The Champ's injury all turned out to be a kind of scarlet carp; hell, Bálor even started the match and while he was selling the injury it didn't stop him from getting the hot tag or putting the literal Coup de Gráce on the Classic after a Muscle Buster and Joe taking the ass-whomping of two men beforehand. Afterwards, Cody, Dustin, Eden and a couple more of the Rhodeses joined the tournament winners in the ring, with Cody speaking briefly but from the heart about remembering, respecting, and keeping the American Dream alive in the place he helped build. Again, that was it--no swerve, Dustin even in street clothes, and as Joe noted in the above video, he could've done some stuff in order to get his shot (somehow Kevin Owens baiting Sami Zayn into getting a title shot not only seems like it happened in a different promotion but also as if it happened in that different promotion's 2014) but despite his covetousness still managed to keep a white hat crooked on his head, even if it comes with an edge.

And as if that wasn't enough for the evening, Asuka made her debut against Dana Brooke. The good news for DanaBot is that she is still alive. The bad news was pretty much everything else, and it comes without empathy. Apparently on the bodybuilding circuit the phrase "don't poke the bear" doesn't exist, and Dana didn't just poke it, she refused the handshake to kick off the match, patted it on the head as if it was a cute backstage interviewer, and then slapped it. For the first time in Full Sail history, a You Fucked Up chant broke out (and was wholly deserved, obviously). The kicking and ass-kicking commenced shortly thereafter, and even with Emma getting involved eventually Brooke would give up while locked up in a now signature crossface chickenwing procured with body scissors. Less the Evil Aussie think she was somehow off the hook just because Asuka had spindled, folded and mutilated her running buddy, well...she's not. She's really, really not. Not if but when. At least hopefully she's learned her lesson about bear-poking. Once she's reminded that beatdown happened to her, Brooke can throw in a reminder or forty seven.

The other match on the card had Apollo Crews still in ascension, and Tyler Breeze still the holder of the Bayley Memorial (S)He Can't Win The Big One Cup. But as he has through his short time down Florida way, Crews had to do more and took on more offense before pulling out a win with a modified powerbomb. Most intriguing was the hybrid athlete busting out a modified Pounce on the floor that Breeze justifiably sold as if he'd tried to stop a car doing 45 mph with his good looks alone, and the finish suggests that the days of the press splat setting up a standing moonsault may already have fallen out of favor. Monte Carlo's newest seasonal resident even worked in a Sharpshooter amidst his cheap shots, brief flurries, and landing the Supermodel Kick, but his continual failures against people who aren't the Bull Dempseys of the roster rolls on apace for another year, finisher counters or no.

This wasn't his night, and never was going to be, to be fair.

What it probably was was the end of the first book of the first wave of NXT female wrestlers, with Bayley kicking the final pages shut and more than a handful of people being demonstrably moved to tears when it ended. But there's a couple of Australians that're just starting to make names for themselves. There's another one who's been showing off her ass and reminding people she got the table settings down before most people realized they were hungry, and the woman now on her trail seems to be a narrowly contained IED that kicks instead of explodes. Hell, worse comes to worst, they can always bring out Eva Marie and have the rancor she engenders justify her existence.

But when all of them are gone and all this is remembered memories from the way back instead of something fresh still working its way through the collective consciousness, Sasha Banks and Bayley will be there, one across from the other, scrapping and clawing to the point where they won't even split banana bread in their old age since as the old adage goes what they fight for isn't the Championship (even when those are involved) but the Championship of each other.

Right now, Bayley's got the upper hand.

It remains to see for how long, or when and where The Boss will get it back.

That book is still yet to be finished, but one thing anyone who's seen them battle over the past few years knows simply it'll be worth the wait when it is.