Straight too it again this week, as Byron Saxton informs us that we're opening with a six Diva tag match. And that means we get the gossip columnist version of Renee Young at announce with the crew of Tom Phillips, Alex Riley and William Regal.
Bayley, Emma & Natalya vs. Alicia Fox, Sasha Banks & Summer Rae
- You know, I've been trying to maintain the believe that the females of NXT would save women's wrestling in WWE. But I keep seeing signs that it's gonna go the other way, with the glamour model Botch-a-mania of the main shows infecting the developmental show. And even more than the familiar "send a bunch of girls out there" booking of this (it at least makes some sense given that the BFFs are a stable) or that Natty seems to be a regular on NXT now and Foxy ain't far behind...it's that they keep calling this a "Divas" match. WE CALL THEM WOMEN ON WEDNESDAY NIGHTS, OKAY?
- Sorry, sensitive subject these days. One of the story's here (they still do that right: when six women hit the ring, there's not just one, but several narratives at play) is that Alicia is being evaluated by the Beautiful Fierce Females for potential inclusion in their clique. I do like that Fox is getting some time in Florida, as the more I see of her the more I think she could be quite good in the ring. Extra time with Sara Del Rey (and, lately, Mickie James) could be the difference for her.
- Raw rivals Emma and Summer start off, and it's not long before SR heelishly races to the corner for protection. Neat move turning a mean girl hug into the tag that brings in Banks. Sasha executes an innovative counter when she puts on the brakes when Natalya goes to pop over after being whipped to the corner so that she can attack the Canadian from behind.
- Bayley comes in to a big pop, and hits her running monkey flip on Fox, but then turns into a big drop kick from the former Divas champ that earns a nearfall and takes us to commercial. This contest seems largely designed to show us B playing the face-in-peril role of a tag match. Surprise! She's great at it.
- The First Lady gets another chance to show off how much she's grown as a performer. In addition to her generally more fluid looking offense, she does a nice ballet warm-up stretch that pushes Bayley's head into the second rope. I love it because it not only shows her developing the leg-based offense that I assume WWE requires her to use, but it also works in the dancer elements of her main stage persona. She also does an awesome taunt where she sits Indian-style in between a crawling B and her corner, mocking her as she tries to get to a tag before swinging both her legs out to give her two boots to the face.
- Punches and a release suplex to Alicia eventually allows for the hot tag to Emma. After the Aussie gives elbows to everyone, Fox makes it to the corner only to have the mean girls abandon her. As Summer, Sasha and Charlotte head up the ramp, the Emma Lock forces Foxy to tap.
Bayley, Emma & Natalya defeat Alicia Fox, Sasha Banks & Summer Rae in approximately eight and a half minutes via submission when Emma taps Fox
It looks like one of those weeks when we'll have no backstage segments, as The Artiste demands his spotlight for a version of "Everyone's a Hero in Their Own Way". You'll get no heat from me if you come out to Nathan Fillion-performed songs from Joss Whedon-penned musicals, sir.
They really need to work on transitioning from the main song to his "in the double U, double U...E" catch phrase, though.
Colin Cassady vs. Aiden English
- Looks like Colin has his own Trinatron and entrance theme now. And, Big Cass is spelled with two 'S's. Good to know. I'm sure it's only a matter of time until that's his official name.
- He's still pretty green, as the fact that 95% of his offense is punches attests, but I still dig the seven footer. There's a bit early on where he catches English's leg and uses the distance that creates to weave away from a couple of swings. He then spins Aiden around with his leg to land a shot to the jaw of his own. Stuff like that adds to the Looney Tunes feel of his character that I enjoy.
- Brief back and forth ends when The Actor ducks a big boot with a theatrical "HA HA" that is just perfect. His attempt at a crossbody is caught but the big New Yorker, but when Cass goes to transition into what I assume would have been his finisher, English slips out to hit the Director's Cut.
Aiden English defeats Colin Cassady in approximately two and a half minutes via pinfall
That was pretty clean, and I'm not sure where their feud goes from there. I'd be perfectly fine with the program continuing, though, since the characters play off each other naturally and the performers really have good chemistry.
Sami Zayn heads to the ring with a slight limp. The Olé chant starts, and he doesn't seem too into it.
He cuts a really strong promo that addresses the concerns that many of us have had with the build to his match at Arrival against Antonio (yes, he still has a first name here). His whole career has been about moving forward, but for some reason losing the two-out-of-three falls match has him stuck. He keeps searching for the one moment when he screwed up and he can't find it.
Cesaro interrupts to say that there wasn't any one moment. There is just that he is better than Sami. They both put each other over in speeches that allude to their history under different names in different companies. I don't know about you, but Toni saying "you should" when Zayn tells him he respects him is exactly why I love heel Cesaro.
The Real American asks is the Likable One's knee is alright. We think this is because he wants his opponent to be 100%, but Cesaro is on some serious old school heel $#!+ right here. Sami and the crowd think he is going to agree to the match, and a chant of "pinkie promise" from the NXT zone sends both guys into crowd-pleasing mode as they tease the pinkie swear.
But it was all a dirty trick! AC says that his answer is still no and adds a kick right to Zayn's injured knee. That brings out the COO (did we just do away with JBL as authority figure here in favor of Triple H as The Authority?) to make the match because the fans want to see it, but more importantly, because he wants to see it.
That was dope, but this episode is still kind of pissing me off. The total runtime is listed on Hulu as 42 minutes, and by this point that has included a three minute Elimination Chamber video and a commercial for the new Shawn Michaels DVD.
Tye Dillinger vs. CJ Parker
- What the heck kind of name is "Tye"? Does anyone really spell it that way? He got the jobber entrance, but at least they put his name on the screen. The crowd cheers when he gets a takedown out of the initial lock-up.
- Parker reverses that for a takeover, lands a senton, does the airplane spin and connects with Third Eye for the win.
CJ Parker defeats Tye Dillinger in approximately one and a half minutes via pinfall
After the match, CJP cuts the promo we were all expecting. He's basically the PC, Earth-loving version of CM Punk's Straight Edge heel, or Daniel Bryan's vegan one. It's okay. The closing about how since the fans don't have love for him, he doesn't love them either is pretty lame, though.
It would work if we ever cared about him, but since all the crowds have done is crap on him, it's pretty empty. Unfortunately for CJ, I don't see this version of the gimmick faring much better for him.
They're here. Full main stage entrance - Bray takes to his rocker as the lights go completely out.
Jason Jordan & That Guy (Marcus Lee?) vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan
- The red beard starts with a brutal-looking assault of the white guy I think they refer to as Marcus Lee.
- Harper eventually tags himself in and looks to calm his brother. When it looks like he is going to whip Rowan into the legal man, the boys reverse it and Erick sends Luke flying into Jordan on the apron. The First Son then connects with his discuss clothesline to Lee, and that's all she wrote.
The Wyatt Family defeats Jason Jordan and Marcus Louis in less than a minute via pinfall when Harper pins That Guy
Post-match, the boys hold Jordan up so Bray can grab him for a Sister Abigail. The lightning quick version he can hit from anywhere is great, but I'll always miss the slow version with the waltz and kiss.
The Eater of Worlds gets a microphone to cut a quick and dirty promo, the best line of which is "this world has already been conquered, but my poison still flows". He ends by saying that NXT will always belong to The Wyatt Family.
That was great, but I wouldn't read too much into it. Last summer, The Shield came back to announce that NXT still belonged to them and they'd always be watching, but we haven't seen or heard from them since. This reminded me of that.
I liked a lot of what was here, but there wasn't much 'there' there, if you know what I mean. February 27th can't get here soon enough...
What did you all think?