Monday, December 28, 2015

Best Coast Bias: Leftovers: London

Everybody's favorite ginger snap is back where he belongs
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Unfortunately, this latest episode of NXT -- and as it turns out, the last one in 2015 that'll have new fodder for Internet columnists to dissect -- suffered almost from being what in pro football parlance would be known as a trap game. The previous week had the two-hour blowout Takeover featuring three high-quality title bouts and another fun installment of Death By Asuka. For their last show of the year, it's being dubbed the best of NXT volume one, so one can only presume that since WWEN is beaming it out to us all that they're putting together the first-ever ten-match six-hour clip show.

...hey, a smark can dream.

But that still left one show of first-run material to roll out before the imprint could put a full bow on their wildly successful 2015, and the winners of every single match that showed each burnished their stars to various degrees as a present.

For Elias Samson, it was a short sprint and a win over Bull "Fit" Dempsey to establish his new Drifter persona, ,which so far seems to mostly consist of looking vaguely creepy and putting an acoustic guitar over his shoulder. For Jason Jordan and Chad Gable, it was a rapturous crowd reception that helped propel them to another big win on their ascending rocket which can only be presumed to be aimed in the directions of Dawson and Dash. And for Sami Zayn, after a year of high profile losses and too much time on the shelf, it capped off the hour with a comeback win over 10ye Dillinger and a promise to the faithful that both he and the place he used to be Champion of would only go further up the bracket in 2016.

In the opening four-way tag battle, you had two former Champions in the Vaudevillians and those BAMF Cowboys. The Hype Bros were there, proving that their particular flavor didn't exactly play well on the other side of the pond. But the spotlight was on and stolen by the former Shoot Nation brothers in arms, who came out to a Bayley-sized pop and got their own irrationally catchy song that somehow the crowd didn't end up singing for 10 minutes straight. Both Gotch and Gable played a rousing back-and-forth of counter and counter-to-the-counter mat wrestling that tragically didn't take up the rest of the show and after a four-way Mexican standoff going into the break it was left for the crowd to hope that Jason could Save The Gable while the other three teams in the match traded off blind tags and short spouts of offense without any of them being able to maintain a foothold for very long. JJ would eventually be able to do just that, sending all the other teams scattering with a fusillade of suplexes before a Grand Amplitude polished off Blake for the win. At this point, barring injury, it's not a matter of if JJABLE end up NXT World Tag Team Champions in 2016, but when.

You can, of course, ask Sami Zayn what it's like in NXT to see golden dreams disrupted by the shrill alarm clock of injuries, but you might not want to -- you could get cursed out in a multitude of languages. This was supposed to be the year he reigned as king of Full Sail but his kingdom fell apart so fast thanks to certain French Canadian Murder Bears that it was still probably under warranty when it did; too bad his shoulder wasn't. Dillinger actually controlled the vast majority of the match and while Zayn never looked fully lost in the ring, he also wasn't the guy who seemed to be a potential MOTY every big time out in 2014 and its possible Wrestler of the Year. That being said, in this case Tye Dillinger was Niagara Falls slang for "eventually going to catch a corner Exploder and eat the Yakuza kick", and so it came to pass.

Again, it will be interesting to see in the coming year what they do in an almost completely different landscape with what seems to be the same ol' Sami Zayn. You would presume he would be making a run at the Big X and in so doing perhaps even become the first two-time holder of that World Championship, but when you think of all the names that defined his previous two years, they've all been more or less demoted to Mondays. And how would a crowd react to a match between the two most recent tecnico Champions, anyhow? Would it cause Zayn to lose his smile if he were to come out on the losing end against the Daemon?

We can't presume to know what will come for NXT in 2016--if anybody thought they'd be getting steady feedings of Kana, Uhaa Nation and Samoa Joe every Wednesday at the beginning of this year they probably blipped in here from the Biff Uber Alles alternate timeline -- but we know what they say in the four words that kick off their shows: The Future Is Now. Elias Samson started his here. Chad Gable and Jason Jordan furthered theirs here. And here is where Sami must be pointing to up at the top with his formerly injured arm and all. Whatever his future is in NXT, it will be enveloping a lot of real estate and the top of the card; hell, it might even be the most compelling major question Full Sail will be spending the next 12 months trying to answer.

Not bad for a "trap show", right?

Also, just wanted to thank all the fans who've been supporting me, the Best Coast Bias, and these NXT reports ever since the Zayn/Cesaro best of three falls epic. If you'd like to keep supporting me while I couchsurf and get a T-shirt business off of the ground starting in -- you guessed it -- 2016, check out my fundraiser here. It'll keep me off the streets, a little bit of coin in my pocket, and what should be some funny yet comfortable apparel on the chests of the dozens (AND DOZENS) of BCB fans. Thanks again for your support.