Friday, December 11, 2015

Best Coast Bias: You Have One New Message

If Bálor keeps getting his lunch handed to him, maybe there's something he can summon...
Photo Credit:
Next week was the trip to the fireworks factory, and it's not exactly a secret. Given the fact that it's going to be not only a two-hour live spectacuganza that usually causes a spasm of hosannas and fist pumps from the cognoscenti, but in addition will not only be the first time that NXT takes such things out of the country but into a sold-out and presumably rabid London crowd to boot? Well, it can be forgiven that this week's show was the bubble wrap to make sure the value package that the entire imprint has on the line coming up on the 16th got delivered across the pond safely.

Go-home shows almost exist in their own bubble or back tab since the focus is on the push for the upcoming, bigger card while still making sure the participants put on a show while not injuring themselves in the process.

But before the predictability ensued on the last show before Takeover: London, something at least semi-shocking did occur to start off the show.

Enzo Amore and Big Cass' music started, the crowd roared, the Bridge and Tunnel boys came out with the Queen of Staten Island...

...and Enzo failed to make the intros.

In fact, none of them said anything. They looked bypass serious as they got in the ring, and even Marlee Matlin could tell that these



piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiised. The fact their cannon fodder showed up looking like non-Mexican non-union equivalents of the reigning champions D and D (a fact immediately noted upon by the best announce unit the E's got on offer) meant their mood wasn't going to be brightening up any, and despite the fact Chanukah was well underway it wasn't going to stop them from serving up 500% of the USDA's recommended daily serving of squash. Cass channeled his inner Nash, Amore somehow summoned whatever infected Husky Harris off of a vicious crossbody of all things, and they used their usual two-man projectile signatures to vaporize the poor victims before making sure Scott and Dash got the message; they were family, family that'd been doing the damn thing longer than any other team in NXT history, and retribution would come when they got the belts. Their post-match promo provided a (necessary?) subtext to what Corey Graves as much as said put some fuzz on what had been more or less known for being affable goofballs. Which is fine -- you want credibility when it comes to the fighting, and Amore's been getting better on the stealth tip all year long and Cass' physical presence means he'll always be taken seriously. SRUS BISNISS Amore and Cass isn't exactly a selling point, but they carried out the duty well here in communicating their bond as well as being able to play against type to show how important the climb is to the top and how crucial the belts are in a land such as NXT.

No belt is bigger than the Big X, and once again it was the focus of the borderline parejas incredibles main event (after all, why give away the singles matches on the live special when you can plug two matches at the same time in a tag event that also triples ((?)) (((quadruples?))) as a way to get the big names out there but not pick up too much wear and tear on them?). In the recent past, Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin were at each other's throats, and in the even more recent than that past, Apollo Crews had more than held his own against the champ before falling victim to Baronference. But at least the heels had the common sense to admit to not getting along pre-match, as well as Crews cheerily threatening to come after the belt once again post-Takeover and a presumed win in another similar segment for the white hats up to and including picking up the belt only to put it on the champion's shoulder before walking off.

Despite the frisson teased on both sides, the match went off without any in-ring intrafighting, highlighted by the fact that the Joe/Crews and Baron/Finn Bálor teases both pointed to potential future matches that could be done (and in the case of the former, done quite well) but hamstrung by the fact the bout only went about 600 seconds in total. In the end, Joe busted out a Death Valley Driver to set up his Clutch, Baron and Crews were brawling their way towards the concession stands if Full Sail has those, and Bálor was finding himself choked out for what seemed like the umpteenth time since Joe decided to go for his. For such an usually astute group, in the lead-up for London the announce team hasn't even gone so far as to mention the champ's dark passenger, one that if memory serves correctly hasn't been seen since it appropriated the crown jewel of Orlando away from current Intercontinental champions back at the outset of the summer It's quickly becoming evident that despite reserves of fighting spirit, moxie, and any other synonym you want to throw in here, one thing Finn Bálor isn't is ready to handle Samoa Joe and still prevail as champion. Now the Daemon on the other hand... what Emma and Dana Brooke looked like they were facing before they left the high ground of the stage and scurried to the back. Ladies. Ladies. Ladies. Sometimes that crowd can be chanting for the sake of doing so, but when they're saying "Asuka's gonna kill you"? Like Eric B. and Rakim before her, she ain't no joke, and the evil dyad found that out the hard way when after some big talk backstage with human armrest Tom Phillips, they wandered out while Asuka was tuning up on some poor organ donor from Jersey. On Monday nights, the heel(s) show up, the babyface gets distracted, and then they proceed to lose via chicanery and evil laughs because good is dumb. On this Wednesday night, the babyface got distracted, made sure they weren't about to get jumped, and then landed a roundhouse kick the results of which could best be described in 2015 as christuckerreactioninfriday dot gif. And then in this case good laughed because good is also kind of evil in this case, while evil was left sputtering "welp that didn't work" before turning tail between their legs.

This was a natural pairing to a later part of the show in the semi-main as elsewhere in the division, Bayley had a successful run up against Peyton Royce only to be in the presence of the Troll Queen of Full Sail and her evil henchwoman Nia Jax, the latter of whom will get her shot at the belt next week and the both of whom drew that Ohio Players level fire in heat from the crowd. It wouldn't be too far of a stretch to say that it was Vicki Guerreroesque. Jax informed Eva she'd be doing her own talking and Bayley that she'd be doing her own taking of the belt. As much as BCB supports Hug Life, there is just something inherently compelling to putting Asuka and JAx on different undefeated runaway trains until they collide for the belt. Then again, there is something to be said for having the first triple threat title match in Women's Championship history. (Let us rue for the umpteenth time WWE's refusal to have full-out three-way dance elimination matches.)

But that's the thing -- well, amongst a fusillade of others -- that makes NXT so damn compelling right now. Every Champion has multiple future paths they could be going down. Bayley, as mentioned, is going to have some iteration of the Eva Jax alliance after her belt, and Asuka's still borderline putting chumps in the hospital while Emma's going through a career renaissance and while not of the Revolution certainly helped put the track down so the Horsewomen would end up having somewhere to rumble over. Dash and Dawson, in addition to the upcoming Bridge and Tunnel challenge have got to have the ascendant Jason Jordan and Chad Gable team on the horizon as well as the Hype Bros (who took a W away from the free-falling BAMF in the show's other match). And Bálor's in the soup with everybody else that was in the main event, in addition to the man suddenly out of NXT's time, Sami Zayn about to make his return to the place he used to rule if only all too briefly at the outset of the year.

(In another nice bit of unspoken storytelling, as Bayley emulates Zayn in alignment she's also the one of the 4HW who's still down in Florida full-time, so her landscape is now filled with new faces that she's got to try to fend off and co-exist with. When Zayn left, Bálor had barely earned the number one contendership, Crews hadn't even debuted, Corbin was still somewhat beloved, and Joe, as you remember, showed up first when it looked like Owens was going to move his modifier from FIGHT to KILL. Still can't believe we didn't get a Joe/Owens headlining match for a live special.)

To quote Mae West, too much of a good thing. To quote a former WWE Champion, wheels up, let's fly.

After all, we've got a metric frakton of fireworks to set off next Wednesday.