Friday, June 3, 2016

Best Coast Bias: Endpoints

At the start of the show, the Revival were as amused as they let themselves get got
Because they're the quick-witted, they're the ones who catch on the quickest. Some slower case studies need (500) days to do it, and in some unfortunate cases it's a late bus that never arrives.

As much as next week's Takeover is dependent on familiar rivalries at the top of the card in title matches, none of those admittedly fine tilts have anything on one of the most notorious one on one matches in the history of mankind: expectations vs. reality.

Expectations were that when the Revival started the show running their mouths and running down their once and future opponents in the name of getting to be the first-ever two time NXT World Tag Team Champions, Mssrs. Chad Gable and Jason Jordan would pop out for a rejoinder. Reality unexpectedly saw Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa come out instead, take the "are you lost?" and "good hands" jibes in stride and eventually clear the ring to set up the evening's main event match. As such, the former champions took on in essence Team Indie, had a couple segments worth of work to set up their title bid next Wednesday night -

- and lost clean in the middle of the ring to a superplex reversal.

Mind, what we suspect NXT will do and what they actually do dovetails a lot. It's what part of makes watching WWE's Wednesday night imprint so beloved and a linchpin of the Continuity Bear Twerk Team, the consistent thread of logic that hums underneath almost everything eventually like a well-oiled machine. But outside of the still-months-away Cruiserw(w)eight Classic, Ciampa and Gargano didn't have anything lined up in Full Sail to make this seem like the outcome of the story. People have contendership matches maybe a thousand times before big events and even to get tested is rare. Outright losing is borderline unheard of.

Hence the Revival's post-L flipout, where they wiped Gargano out of the ring, laid Ciampa out with their finisher and were set to give him the same kneebusting they'd given to Big Cass last year. This was the cue in reality for American Alpha to hit the ring, and after a couplet of back and forth fisticuffs Dawson and Wilder found themselves release German suplexed and out of the ring. This put the throwbacks in an unusual position of having lost not just one but two fights on the heels of each other.

And as for the match's victors?

Well...if you didn't get enough of them proving their bona fides physically, you can watch them and hear them enunciate what they feel is a pretty foolsafe argument.

Yet former champions aren't the only people falling victim to their perceptions not conjoining with actual reality, as witnessed by the main event/contract signing. Since last fall, Asuka's theme music might as well have been Mark Henry's. Asses have been kicked. Wigs have been split. Both in and out of storyline, women who've dared face the former Ms. Most Dangerous have had their effs KOed. She's barely gotten a mark laid on her up to and past the point of receiving the NXT Women's World Championship, but as catchy theme songs put it, Nia Jax is not like most. Molten hot over the past month, the number one contender swore at the close of last week's program (even off-mic) that if the Empress got close to her again, she was going to drop her where she stood. Asuka said that she talked too much and that if she wasn't afraid of her, she should be.

This was the red carpet to the titleholder inviting Jax to a signature strike party, one that was RSVPed yes to with an emphatic powerbomb that splatterified the champ. Point made, Jax left the ring peaceably while a conflicted William Regal looked concerned over the safety of one of NXT's brightest lights. One who'd escalated things, but maybe didn't deserve that; a hallmark of fine villainy anywhere and he'd know better than most. Some can't help but be reminded of certain scenes from The Dark Knight watching the past few weeks and months play out as everything Asuka throws usually ends things in her favor, but while Jax isn't directly chortling at her or taunting her with the love of her life it's clear that the usual way of business has seemingly met the agent of chaos willing to blow up a person and a half to prove their point. Whether or not Jax burns Asuka's reign to the ground is still a matter of speculation at this date. Besides, when has NXT ever given one of their most beloved stars a two-month title reign to get over a land monsteohhhhhhh.

Finn Bálor's reign was way longer than two months to the day, but the repercussions of it ending are still being felt and it culminated in a tetchy sitdown with the new NXT World Heavyweight Champion and ex-bestie Samoa Joe that Corey Graves presided over. Somehow it didn't come to blows and featured nothing but verbal javelins yet one could be forgiven for thinking that the animus on display wasn't just for cameras' sake. Bálor expressed no regrets about taking the match that cost him his belt and noted that while he hadn't been in a ladder match before last year he'd won that one with the belt on the line. Joe sniped about having to jump through hoops to even get into a position for a shot he felt his then-friend should've handed him and even noted the medical staff swarming him at Dallas, insinuating that the constant stoppages wedged just a tiny enough of a crack for the Irishman to once again narrowly survive him then. As expected, neither man is scared of each other, or the cage, and both feel they are the one who'll end up reigning NXT's mountain supremely.

The Revival as well as Bálor are looking to become the first two-time champions in their respective divisions, and both their roads look hard to hoe not just because they're facing superlative competition. Asuka staggered up from one powerbomb but if another one comes it could splatter the title reign she worked so hard to build. Austin Aries kneed the crap out of Elias Samson and made him tap to the Last Chancery--the crowd responded by chanting the name of the Greatest (Japanese) Man Who Ever Lived in response. And off of a successful notch in the ledger over Once Again Buddy Murphy, 10ye Dillinger's online begging bore fruit to get him on the 2-hour Network Special... all he has to do is overcome this man.

You start seeing too many things that aren't there, you develop blinders. And especially between the ropes, an eye or two made out of blind spots is the through line to the harsh reality of an asskicking.

We expect this because we know it, however - Wednesday night, The End begins. And it doesn't get any realer than that.