Friday, December 4, 2015

Best Coast Bias: This Show Sponsored By 1-800-COLLECT-AN-ASS-WHUPPIN'

A hard-hitting main event win for the number one contender
Photo Credit:
The close of the program this week showed Samoa Joe, borderline frothing at the mouth with the look of a man possessed and Tommaso Ciampa still recovering from having almost being pressed into a cube before being made to tap out lest he get choked out. In the previous 600 seconds that'd wrapped up the show, the message to Finn Bálor being about as transparent as a newly cleaned glass window--the Champ better show up with a handful of explosives if he wants to keep his reign going, since what we're getting now is Peak Joe, a superheavyweight who moves like a cruiser and only blows up his opponent's internal organs with his striking capabilities.

NXT's history is too rich and too lustrous to have Joe/Ciampa be even maybe in its top 25 matches of its lifespan, but it was still highlight-filled and the sort of match that everyone should see at least once. (The last time a comparable match happened on big brother Monday nights, The Jorts That Run The Place was in it on his way to another "against the odds" victory back in the summer.)

While Ciampa failed on his pre-match promise to change everything by besting the resident Submission Machine, he more than lived up to the other promise he made of wrestling like a man who had nothing to lose. Both he and Joe wrestled the other as if there was genuine rancor betwixt them, and while you couldn't go so far as to call the contest stiff you would be well within your rights to call it snug in one of the hardest-hitting matches in NXT history full stop, let alone on a "throwaway" weekly show. Some of their forearms hit harder than Fannie Mae's collapse to pensions, and watching Ciampa's reaction to getting beaten up being slapping Joe -- repeatedly -- and Joe firing back in kind before things just (d?)evolved into a cut-rate Japan homage replete with Joe exacting his opponent's pound of flesh was worth the look-see alone.

It looked and felt like something borderline reckless, and that's because they spared no expense when it came to their realistic offenses. Hell, Ciampa even had to get on the Twittah Machine after it aired and reassure his supporters it was all good and just part and parcel of the match. Even though his accompli was fait, Ciampa continued to add another bullet point to his "shouldn't you guys have skipped the crap and have him in full time by now?" c.v. by showing Rafterian onions before finally getting obliterated by a vicious triple combo platter that started with the STJOE and ended with the signature Muscle Buster and Coqina Clutch back to back. And that's not even counting the vicious CroCop styled kick he ate in the corner that looked on its lonesome like it could induce a concussion. Hell, the Full Sailors were busting out the "this is awesome!" chant when Joe was doing nothing but going OVER 9,000 with his basic strikes and some of his lower-level signature offense. If this is the Joe WWE's got on their hands now, they might as well throw him in the Rumble next month, let alone if he becomes the man to unseat Finn Bálor's seat in the catbird perch.

As Joe regains his form by losing his humanity, it was hard not to think back about the other high-quality match that was on the show and wonder if Aiden English and Simon Gotch were going to go back to living up to their team name. Fresh off the admitted disappointment of failing to regain the tag Championships last week from Not The Mechanics, they were on this week to face the quickly rising Chad Gable and Jason Jordan. In the back, while dueling catchphrases rolled out, things still ended civilly with both teams engaging in shook hands no matter how badly both of them wanted to win. But while the Vaudies' mojo seems to have fled into the 21st century away from them, JJABLE keep climbing the tag ranks' ladder with their innate charisma and amateur backgrounds. It couldn't help but be noted while the fans were certainly supportive of Aiden and Simon, the chants went to both members of their opposition.

About the only thing wrong with the match was that it was on a regular program instead of a Takeover where it could've gotten the 15 or 20 to make it really great, but as it turned out the match was merely well-done table dressing to set up the real dukes up punch of the winning squad once again wishing to adhere to the Code of Honor with the vanquished, only to see the Vaudevillains possibly for the first time ever turn their backs on a handshake. For the second consecutive week the young upstarts put a huge notch in their belt by successfully and cleanly beating former NXT Tag Team Champions only to have to bloom come off of the rose to an extent with the churlish post-match response of the former belt holders. Hopefully that bit of trivia gets more watering and room to blossom as we wonder if what happened for the retro aesthetes was a one-time blowoff of steam or an opening salvo in the villainous clip unloading to come in 2016.

But there's still such good stuff to come with what's remaining of the year. Bálor and Apollo Crews will unify on next week's show to take on former rivals Baron Corbin and Joe, with Corbin running through Tye Dillinger in short order in the opener while by contrast Crews was following it up post-match in the back, speaking clearly about wanting to dominate next week so he can get back to seeing whether he or Finn is the better man. While that's the amalgamation of two Takeover matches, another was made official as Asuka responded to Emma destroying the new girl from Jersey with a simple five words - "Emma. See you in London." She then went back to merrily kicking a punching bag from wherever the pretape had taken place while the crowd gleefully informed the Aussie of her impending demise. And, Emma? Real talk? It could've gone worse; Blue Pants made a celebrated return (with inferior new theme music) only to literally end up under the boot of Nia Jax, who would later go on to jump Bayley from behind in the back and throw her through a door. Both these things surely won't do anything to undercut the scuttlebutt that between the former joshi and the bootleg Kong suddenly showing up that when they finally get together in the immovable force/irresistible object dyad that both will be undefeated and the belt will be on the line when it does come to pass.

Bayley can't reign forever, and neither can Bálor; nobody can. Just ask the recently disgruntled Vaudevillains. That's why people are so afraid of the future to the point of it inducing hatred to many. It's the intransigence, the arrogance, the unseen dismissive smirk as it legdrops your dreams and puts a foot on your chest. It's the Mama Blissdamned inevitability of it and the undefeated record.

So far Joe's proven himself to be indefeated. Now the only question left to ask is is his title reign imminent and inevitable?