The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT – 5/8/14

Taped from Orlando, FL

Your hosts are Rich Brennan, Jason Alberts & Renee Young

NXT Women’s title tournament: Emma v. Charlotte

Emma gets a rollup for two, but Charlotte necksnaps her off the apron for two while Renee and Jason argue about relationships. Nice headscissors by Charlotte is reversed by Emma for two, but Charlotte lays her out again for two and goes back to the headscissors. More coolness as Charlotte uses her legs to ram Emma’s head into the mat, but Emma makes the comeback. Renee relates a story about Emma giving her some brownies while Emma loads up the pink cobra, but Charlotte rolls her up for the pin at 3:50 to advance. This Santino deal is just killing Emma, although Charlotte gets exponentially better every week. **

The Legionnaires (Sylvester Lefort & Marcus Louis) v. El Local & Kalisto

Finally, some tag teams! Local gets caught in the French corner and Lefort gets a neckbreaker for two as Renee shows off her French skillz. Louis pounds on Local with some good intensity and Lefort drops a leg for two. Louis with a neck vice, but Local makes the hot tag to the much-hyped Kalisto and he’s quickly flying all over the place. Louis charges and hits the floor, as Kalisto does a crazy rolling kick and handspring spinkick to finish at 4:20.   Good debut all around here. **

Camacho v. Captain Comic

Comic is a masked guy who I don’t recognize, who is part of Adam Rose’s entourage. Camacho beats on the poor schmoe while Renee feels like he’s taking a beating for something that’s not really his fault. You tell ‘em, Renee. The crowd actually tries to get behind this poor guy, but Camacho finishes him quickly with the samoan drop and running powerslam at 2:32. Adam Rose saves him from any further humiliation. I sense a Special Event showdown forthcoming.

NXT Women’s title tournament: Alexa Bliss v. Alicia Fox

Alexa is apparently a fairy of some sort and she’s tiny. That being said, if she has ANYTHING going on in the ring she’s getting rocketed up to the main roster and you can bet cash money on it. Alexa flips around the ring and moonsaults with her knees onto Fox for two. OUCH. Fox takes her down with a fierce backbreaker for two and a northern lights for two. She works a headlock as Bliss appears to be bleeding from the mouth in her debut, so that’s gotta suck. Bliss fights back with forearms and rolls her into a small package for the pin at 3:11 to advance. She’s got some fight in her! **

NXT #1 Contender Battle Royale:

We’ve got a bunch of scrubs and then entrances for Mojo Rawley, Sami Zayn and Bo Dallas. Curt Hawkins is still alive?!? Brodus Clay eliminates him and Oliver Grey, but everyone gangs up and gets rid of Brodus. Mason Ryan presses Aiden English out, which I guess was his severance package. We take a break and return with more deadwood getting thrown out and some kicky-punchy battle royale stuff. Baron Corbin is still hanging in there, which makes sense considering they’ve got plans for him, supposedly playing off Sons of Anarchy. At least HHH is more up on current pop culture than his father-in-law is. Jason Jordan dumps Mojo, but gets put out by Corbin, who in turn gets clotheslined out by Dallas. Tyler Breeze finally ends Bo’s run (to the delight of the crowd) leaving Breeze, Zayn and Tyson Kidd as the last three. Breeze and Zayn slug it out on the apron and get nowhere, teasing multiple eliminations, and then Kidd charges and ends up hanging there as well. All three tumble out at the same time at 13:37, and the crowd immediately chants “Triple threat” because they’re collectively great bookers. So next week, three-way for the #1 contendership.

Some good short matches this week and a surprisingly hard-hitting women’s match, but you all know my feelings on battle royales in general and specifically the trope of holding one to determine a #1 contender. It’s a really tired booking crutch and I’m kind of disappointed that NXT is going that route instead of “guy who wins a bunch of matches in a row” or “guy who attacks the champion” getting a shot.