Thursday, June 16, 2016

Best Coast Bias: Eating It Up

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When the idea of luxury donuts started to go viral a few short years ago, it seemed like an Onion article, or an outtake from The Simpsons. On a very incremental level it seemed to offend society and the things we believed to be true. Part of what made donuts donuts was their unstated blue-collar sensibilities and now they were going off in all these fancy flavors and cronutesque directions? It was jarring. How fancy could freakin' donuts get, you know?

You could up the quality of ingredients or have croissants merging with the familiar circles or amend what you used for the icing, and a few hundred other things. A fancier donut is nice to be sure, but they still feel like cheats in some form or fashion.

Maybe the mind wanders to that because of the final post-The End segment on NXT television, a main event promo that could've had some reaching for a box of donut holes. While the NXT World Champion Samoa Joe got a perfunctory airing of his post-match threats masking as celebration from last week, Finn Bálor got to close out the show seemingly to soak in the crowd's affections. To keep things culinary you could taste the thin gruel while he let the Full Sailors work their way through some chants before asking repeatedly "What's next for Finn Bálor?" The obvious answer would be something along the lines of a callup starting on Sunday night; the response that happened was Shinsuke Nakamura coming out instead and while also basking in the crowd's glow saying that if he wanted to be NXT Champion, he had to beat an NXT icon. Bálor may've stopped with the smiles and the friendly multi-step handshake once the challenge was levied, but it was clear both from crowd recaction and Corey Graves' and Tom Phillips' commentary that this dream match was being made essentially because it was one, and that's what NXT does.

It's the pink-frosted cronut in the box. The thin veneer of why this is happening could be easily seen as more insulting to the hardcores and obsessives that make up the vast majority of NXT's fanbase than a shrug and "We thought it'd be cool so we're doing it." Dorothy Parker notoriously condemned Los Angeles by saying of it that there was no there there, and this isn't much of a step up and beyond that. Shinsuke Nakamura could've been NXT World Champion at any point in the past thousand days had his employ stretched back that far; he's Shinsuke Bleepin' Nakamura. It feels like Bálor's been the subject of callup speculation every single day in 2016, and since time is a flat circle this seems to be for him a deed on par to what No Longer Adrian Neville did for him on the way out the door and into Monday nights. The match will be awesome, probably, and the audience wants it, definitely. But the fact the ex-champion's days are numbered in conjunction with the random happenstance of how this match is coming about in airing against the duplicitousness of why it's actually going down puts a sour taste in the mouth, and that's before even getting into how fait this accompli is from a results standpoint; no one expects the Irishman to stay around in NXT for another run at the title and one could argue he could've easily Viktor and We Don't Know What You Mean, Konnor Never Existed weeks if not months prior.

That's NXT at this rate, though, per the conversation in this space last week: you get the delicious goodness of a dream match and some of us will perpetually complain the wrong Michelin-trained baker fired it up.

But it wasn't as if this was an inedible episode of NXT TV, even though things veered at times towards a perfectly cromulent wrestling hour.

The Authors of Pain debuted in the opener with that name as a unit but still weren't revealed as individuals in a nice touch, with Ellering merely cryptically stating in the back afterwords that the answers to questions sought would come in due time instead of celebrating the consumption of fresh meat his charges had just embarked upon. Carmella didn't turn Tessa Blanchard into a serving of summer squash, but she was never really in danger, either. The kneelless TM61 won their first match in their NXTenure, but it was against the decaying remains of the once former champion Dubstep Cowboys who presumably miss Alexa Bliss like the deserts miss the rain, and again, given the edict of Occam's Razor it stands to figure that strong units tend to fray imploding ones. Even with 10ye Dillinger flashing more of a snarl than usual and getting in the face of Andrade "El Perfecto Cien" Almas for a Takeover rematch, it was hard to envision such a highly touted newcomer falling to .500% in his second match even if it took him two segments to put away the persistent Canadian.

It's a problem endemic to donuts, in all likelihood.

Even when you know it's going to be delicious and something that'll probably put a smile on your face, you can't help but wonder about something most notable for their glaring hole where the there should be but isn't.