Thursday, August 4, 2016

Best Coast Bias: the Golden Hour

Johnny Wrestling and the Psycho Killer dominated WWEdnesday night's programming
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We're an entire season away from December, but here's a chestnut for you anyway, money can't buy happiness. What wielders of that cliche fail to note is that money can be used in ways to elevate one's security, stability, and safety, which can directly contribute to the level of happiness that one has.

So it's appropriate that in the House That Dusty Built, every member of NXT's rapidly expanding roster is worrying about getting to the pay winduh, daddy. And since we are watching pro graps based out of Florida and big brother's reinforcing the idea of a winner's purse Monday nights it's only just that a fortnight away from Takeover 2 Brooklyn Streets the first hour of NXT's August airings was loaded and focused on the four men and women who hold Full Sail gold, as well as the people either presently or imminently looking to snatch it up from them.

Start at the top of the mountain with the self-proclaimed Emperor, making an unscheduled appearance to plow through some poor jobber and lay Mojo Rawley out to nolo contendre their imminent showcase for the new SmackDown Live draftee. Still seething over the announcement of the Brooklyn main event last week, Samoa Joe berated William Regal and threatened to lay out a similar fate to the King of Strong Style, only to get dropped like third period French from behind by an upset Rawley. In retribution for having the temerity to not stay in his lane Joe snuck up on and choked out the Hypeman on the ramp before again threatening the well-being of Mr. Shinsuke Nakamura.

But he's not the only one in the employ at Orlando who made their name with strong strikes and signature swagger before heading for the Black and Yellow prestige brand; he's just the one without a championship title, at least for the moment. Before he got here, Asuka arrived, and to this date no one's been able to lay a mark on her unblemished record. Newcomer Aliyah was just going to be the latest victim of Death By Asuka, so it was up to the surroundings to enliven the proceedings (spoiler alert: they did).

The unconquered Empress made a more overtly heelish edge clear pre-match when she interrupted Bayley's backstage interview and invited the once (and future?) World Women's Champion to come and watch if she thought she was ready; when everybody's favorite hugger took her up on the offer and sat down with God's Commentary Team Asuka went out of her way pre-match to put a chair at the nadir of the ramp so she could get an Up Close and Personal view. Bayley threw it aside and thus was within screaming distance as Aliyah got tenderized with a series of strikes and kicks. Lest Ray Charles were in the audience Asuka furthered her point proving by pulling up her overmatched opponent at two before finishing with a tornado disguised as knee strikes, a buzzsaw kick and the championship-winning Asuka Lock. And it's not exactly as if she released the hold the moment the bell rang. Bayley first hopped to the apron and then got into the ring, where she and the champ engaged in a wordless staredown. Sheesh, you'd think they're about to have a contentious contract signing next week or something!

As for NXT's remaining belt holders, the Revival, they have a problem. It's the one thing they've yet to be able to do with their NXTenure, and as Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder are more than willing to inform you, they've done it all. The first dyad to lose and regain the NXT World Tag Team Championships, yes. The men who stared the abyss in the face down in a best of three falls match to the recently elevated American Alpha and came back to win cleanly in the center of the ring? Indeed. Heavy talkers and hard hitters who lay claim to being the best tag team on this dizzy blue marble? Sure.

The pesky thing is that before the week before they re-established their golden bona fides, they lost to Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, and the guys who would an hour after this go on to put on the best first round match in the Cruiserweight Classic as opponents showed their unity in reminding the belt clankers that as many wins as they endeavor to be remembered for they're starting to get defined by their most notable loss. The champs were able to defer yet again this week, using a challenge from TM61 as a cudgel against the Artist Formerly Informally Known As Team Indie's lecherous towards their gold advances. They then would spend most of the main event on the backpedal trying to fight off Shane Thorn and Winston, providing a mighty, mighty challenge regardless of whether or not this match was for their prizes. Dawson managed to use an old Arn Anderson trick off a flash DDT to secure the W, and then when they grabbed the mics to crow about having more victorias than British Columbia out came GarCiampa to mock them for all the names they were dropping before making it clear yet again that They Wanted The Belts culminating in a Pier 4 that led to the header picture and Ciampa counting the pinfall Gargano was making on Wilder.

If you're one of those squinty-eyed TL;DRdians, that's a title match already signed, one to be next in a matter of days, and another one set on the decks to be what is possibly the strongest triple bill in Takeover title match history, which is really saying something.

Add onto all that Hideo Itami finally returning to action for seemingly the first time since last year's WrestleMania and Busaikuing his way back into the winning fold over the CWC's Sean Maluta, and add onto that as well Robert Roode Esq. making his NXT debut and doing everything short of showing up with an orange tan and slandering the grieving parents of a fallen soldier in his first promo to threaten/promise he'd Make Full Sail Great Again and you've got an hour of television that nearly but not quite burst at the seams, instead leaving loyalists and late pass carriers alike with a deep sense of satisfaction only tempered by the anticipation of what's to come ahead.

The 20th cannot get here soon enough. Bobby Roode would call it Glorious, but it'll be even better than that, it'll be golden.