No BS this week, as Tony Dawson and William Regal take us right to the action.
Big E Langston defeats Aiden English
in less than a minute via pinfall
- English is in the ring when the show starts - surprise, surprise, surprise. I have to say, I like his look and demeanor. He has a maskless Dasher Hatfield, turn of the (20th) century sportsman look and his character seems like the kind of "fun heel" you'd get from Chikara. Not that we get much of a chance to see it here...
- Honestly, when they told us last week that E would be here, I was expecting a kind of farewell promo. The squash works to establish him as pissed off - he comes across as more angry and less cocky than usual for most of this segment. But Seth Rollins call-up had me conditioned to think he would be more Antonio Cesaro-esque special attraction in NXT now that he was belt-less, whereas flattening a jobber is something they'd have a guy they're rebuilding do.
- Aiden does some gymnastics to dodge a few early charges, and hams it up in the corner with a Randy Orton pose for the crowd. And then he gets shoulder blocked and Big Ending-ed.
- Then he gets Big Ending-ed again for a Langston-administered five count. In our first flashes of his typical goofier bad-ass persona, Big E is convinced by the crowd to deliver his finisher a third time.
The adorable Emma is backstage with the even more adorable Renee Young for an interview that is my favorite segment of the show. (Spoiler alert - I really didn't like this episode) The Aussie has her bubble gun, and is doing the arm movements of her signature dance to try and pop the bubbles. When asked for her strategy in her upcoming tournament match, the Lance Storm-trainee says she is going to win. She tells Young that she can't have her bubbles, but does ask her to hold the gun while she wrestles.
Emma defeats Aksana
in approximately three and a half minutes via submission
- The usual dancing and near pratfall entrance for Em. The crowd seems "meh" for it until she's in the ring and then they get loudly behind her. Aksana responds to that and her continuing to dance by grabbing her hair and slamming her face first to the mat.
- After some more sloppy offense from the Lithuanian, she does her "sexy crawl" thing and delivers a side kick out of it that seems to legitimately hit Emma square in the eye and nose. Regal tries (and is pretty successful) at describing it as strategy and selling the psychology of it throughout the match.
- Emma manages some clean counters - there's a nice shoulder to the mid-section through the ropes followed by sliding through Aksana'a legs and pulling her down for a pin attempt - but eventually it devolves to a rolling cat fight and then the veteran slams the rookie's face to the mat with her thighs by thrusting her pelvis to the mat while she has her in a head scissor.
- Here's why I'm not confident we're going to get a renaissance in women's wrestling, at least a WWE-led one. Every Divas match has the cat fight spot, that for me comes across as sloppy and unconvincing, and several spots where the offense makes no sense other than to highlight a sexually desirable feature of the aggressor's anatomy. Book women's matches the same way you book men's matches, and if your female wrestlers can't work that way, replace them. There are attractive women who can go, and audiences that will find their skills as athletes and entertainers attractive without having spots that are constructed like fetish porn.
- Anyway, Emma wins a pretty rough match out of nowhere when she locks on her Dil-Emma submission finisher. It's a bridging inverted Indian death lock, and it looks cool. But like AJ Lee's Black Widow, it's a bit clunky to set-up.
New bracket, and - bearing in mind that I avoid spoilers - while I don't think they're going to give us a face vs. face final, if Summer beats Emma, I will riot. Small-scale, localized rioting - maybe incite one of my cats to flip over a litter box...but rioting nonetheless.
Hey look, it's that Leo Kruger video from the last month's worth of shows! At least this one has a graphic that says "NEXT!"
Leo Kruger defeats Dante Dash
in approximately three minutes via submission
- They sure are cleaning out the cupboards for enhancement talent during this set of tapings. Dash is a former All-American linebacker from Rutgers, per Dawson, and certainly looks like it. He also goes by the nickname, The Playmaker - not sure if Michael Irvin or Montel Vontavious Porter approve, but one's retired and the other's in Japan, so...
- Out of a lock-up, Kruger starts working the arm. That's pretty much the entire match. Dash tries to punch out once or twice, but it always reverts back to an impressive armlock variation.
- Really enjoy the job that the announce team does building up Leo's unhinged mercenary hunter character. I always mark out when Regal mentions some foreign wrestler he's worked with that I've never heard of - this week it was South African Danie Brits, who William says has trained Kruger.
- Nifty back-hammerlock release suplex leads to LK's "Slice" clothesline and GC3 (inverted keylock) submission. I very much like how Kruger says "tah-tah" before slapping on the finisher.
Bo Dallas defeats Mickey Keegan
in approximately one and a half minutes via pinfall
- I'm so confused, because Bo comes out like normal and the announcers are still putting him over as an underdog babyface.
- They don't mention until after the bell, but Kruger never left ringside and is crouched down by the barricade, stalking his prey. I love that guy.
- Dallas hits multiple atomic drops before Keegan manages a basic slam. The champ (I can't believe I have to call him that) bounces back quickly, does his springboard bulldog and then hits the lamest finisher in the business for the win. You can almost hear crickets when he does it, too.
Corey Graves & Kassius Ohno defeat Scott Dawson & Garrett Dylan
in approximately nine and a half minutes via submission when Dylan taps to Graves
- Sylvester Lefort introduces his boys in French. I see where an oddball pairing like this rednecks and Euro-trash one could work. But this one is not working for me. Garrett does not have his BBQ sauce this week, but Scott has his flashlight. And the commentary about how it's to "check tires and other things he'd rather not mention" is just dumb.
- Ohno starts and lays Dawson out with his superior striking. Regal addresses his issues with KO, saying that he is keeping an eye on him and that he will have to re-earn the Villain's trust. He also says that he thinks Kassius and Graves are merely co-existing and that they will be at a disadvantage against a true team like D² (they're not calling them that this week, but I need all the nicknames I can get when writing these things).
- The mis-matched faces make quick tags in the first part of the match with Ohno focusing on strikes and Graves working Scott's arm. Corey does a slick back drop arm drag that I've never seen before, but he gets distracted by Dylan on the apron and that lets the heels take the lead.
- As I think I've said before, the Savior of Misbehavior does a great sales job on babyface beatdowns. I give him a ton of credit here, because Regal's comparison to the Four Horseman and the Freebirds are not making me a believer in Dawson & Dylan. Scott reminds me of a chunky Jamie Noble. I see more potential in Garrett, but it is more raw than Raw-ready at this point. The manage to execute their Southern Pride tandem maneuver, but even that is like the rest of their offense - basic.
- Graves eventually hits a jawbreaker to get a tag, and KO cleans house, culminating in what looked like a side suplex driver. He eventually is taken down by the aforementioned Southern Pride (Dawson scoop slam followed by a top rope leg drop from Dylan), and it's his turn to sell for a while.
- There's a series where Ohno tries to unbalance Dylan and then go for a tag where both men's acting veers way too close to unintentional slapstick. Kassius does eventually get a tag. After tying Garrett up with a leg lock in the ropes (Graves is always working the submission psychology), he hits a backbreaker. The pin attempt is broken up by Dawson, but after KO clears him out, the leader of the Filth Parade chop blocks GD and applies Lucky 13.
After a minute, Regal leaves the booth to hit the ring for the good guys. Despite the lack of any big spots that would lead you to believe that Graves, Neville or Ohno was really incapacitated, they mysteriously disappear and leave the former Sir Steven to receive most of the Bray Wyatt treatment.
Dawson, Dylan and Lefort fade into the background while Wyatt tells Regal that "I'm the king around here" as the credits flash.
That ending sounds cooler typing it up then it felt when I was watching it. I guess we are headed to a big Regal vs. Wyatt war, which should be awesome, but this was a mediocre chapter in that larger story.
I'm really sick of all the sub-three minute squashes, too. Don't even get me started on Bo Dallas.