Happy Valentine’s Day! Or as most wrestling fans know it, Friday.
I have to say, I’m starting to get a real bad feeling about the direction of this show ever since the main WWE monkeys noticed that it’s a thing that exists and is airing on their new network. Nothing good ever comes from that, but hopefully it’s an aberration that ends once they get it out their system with the live show next week.
Taped from Orlando, FL.
Your hosts are Tom Phillips, Alex Riley & William Regal
Natalya, Bayley & Emma v. Alicia Fox, Summer Rae & Sasha Banks
Emma gets a sunset flip on Summer for two, and she runs away from Nat and brings in Sasha. Sasha gets a kick out of the corner, but Nattie takes her down with a suplex for two and follows with a dropkick. The announcers have a wonderfully wacky conversation about how Alex would marry Emma and take her last name, and Tom incredulously notes “She doesn’t have a last name!” That was pretty funny. Even better is Renee Young’s disgust with the whole deal, and then fawning over Regal immediately after. The characterization on the announce team is even better than most of the characters on RAW right now. The heels take over on Bayley and we go to a break. Back with Summer working Bayley over and Fox coming in with a lengthy facelock to build the heat, and Summer chokes her out while doing stretches on the ropes. Summer boots her down for two, but Summer fights back with a suplex and it’s hot tag Emma. Alicia wants no part of this action, but the BFFs walk out on her and the EmmaLock finishes at 12:05. Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling. **1/2
Aiden English v. Colin Cassady
Cassady slams English out of the corner while Regal now fawns over Aiden with a man-crush. “Look at his body…it’s like he’s carved out of ONYX!” And yet we still get JBL on two of the main shows. English misses a legdrop and Cass makes the comeback with the SAWFT forearm smash, but English takes out the knee and finishes with the Director’s Cut at 2:21. Cass should really do a running forearm and call it the SAWFT Touch. So English wins this feud, and it was fine for a time-filling deal. *
Sami Zayn joins us, and the Antonio Cesaro loss is EATING HIM ALIVE. So Mr. Cesaro comes out for his reply, and notes that Zayn can look forward to a great career…down here. (Crowd: “Oooooooooh!” What is this, a Chuck Lorre sitcom?) Sami reiterates how far back they go and how cool it is that Cesaro spends time in NXT when he doesn’t have to…but he’s kind of a coward for not fighting him. Cesaro is curious about the state of Sami’s knee, because he doesn’t want there to be any excuses this time. The crowd wants a pinky promise, so Sami obliges…and then Cesaro kicks him in the knee anyway and still refuses. And then HHH comes out and ruins all the fun by being deus ex machina and forcing Cesaro into the match. What a buzzkill. I watch this show to AVOID omnipotent authority figures coming out and making matches. See, this kind of thing is exactly what I mean by a bad feeling about the direction of the show, as they were having a great back-and-forth segment and then HHH came down from the mountain to just settle things for them like they were children or something. And isn’t JBL supposed to be the GM on the show? It’s bad enough we have to wade through the layers of fake authority figures on RAW as it is, now we have to add NXT to the giant convoluted flow chart that is the WWE chain of command, too.
Tye Dillinger v. CJ Parker
CJ gets a quick senton and airplane spin, and finishes with the Third Eye at 1:19. Just pull the plug on this guy already. Parker cuts an angry promo afterwards about how he recycles and loves the environment in his fuel-efficient car and the crowd is incapable of love. That’s a start. The angry pretentious environmentalist hipster douchebag is actually a surprisingly untapped resource for wrestling heels. I feel like a better direction would be if he started acting all passive-aggressive as well, but this is a start and at least it’s a real character.
The Wyatt Family v. I Dunno, Some Guys.
Harper finishes one of the geeks with a lariat at 0:50, as you’d expect. Oddly enough, the new episode of New Girl featured Jess’s sister…Abigail! COINCIDENCE? Probably. Or maybe THAT’S WHAT THE MACHINE WOULD HAVE YOU BELIEVE.
Man, HHH really harshed my buzz, as CJ Parker would say. OK show otherwise, although obviously they’re just going all in with the live special and basically cruising through the buildup to it.