This week's episode went live on WWE Network at 4PM Eastern time. I discovered this while sitting around at 8:30 and thinking, "I wish I could start watching NXT now". This is not the only instance of me and Triple H being of the same mind tonight...
While the earlier availability makes spoilers a little more likely and raises questions about posting results in the open thread, for tonight, it made my job a little easier, so we'll deal with those issues when we know if this is a permanent change.
- The Vaudevillains take out Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady with surprising ease, and are our first finalists in the tournament to decide who will face The Ascension for the tag belts at Takeover (II: The Quickening).
- Les Legionnaires attack Amore & Cassady from behind on the ramp, and take a razor to the left side of Enzo's beard.
- Triple H makes an appearance to officially announce the next live special, on September 11th. It will follow the format of ArRIVAL and Takeover (I: The First Takeover) and all three belts will be contested on the two hour show.
- The Game also teases the announcement of a new General Manager on next week's show.
- Recap of last week's main event, and Devin Taylor catches up with Tyler Breeze, who is not happy with Tyson Kidd for jacking up his title shot.
- Among the reasons why Enzo & Cass vs. Simon Gotch & Aiden English is problematic - too much awesome entrance. I think I have to give the nod to the Vaudevillains for originality, but it's very close. If we include the fact that the NY/NJ boys appear to play rock, paper, scissors to decide who starts the match, it might change my vote.
- Not sure they'll be able to get away with stuff like the "Gees", "Us?", "Gees like us" repartee on the PG main shows, but keep innovating fellas. As great as their standard entrance schtick is, things get exciting when the Realest Guys improvise.
- Loved the spot where Cassady hurls Amore at Aiden in the corner, and Enzo rotates out of the ring to land on the apron. That's how you do ass-based offense, Mojo. The other "best thing" about this too short match was Gotch doing some actual strongman stuff when he caught Enzo and transitioned him onto his shoulders to start That's a Wrap.
- The Frenchmen certainly know how to escalate a feud quickly, non?
- In my notes for this post, I wrote down "remember when JBL was GM of this show?" as Hunter was making his babyface entrance. WE'RE TOTALLY ON THE SAME PAGE, MAN. Paul - as soon as this budget cuts thing blows over, have your people call my people.
- Nobody spoil the general manager reveal for me. I'm strangely excited for it, although I'm pretty burnt out on authority figures and don't realistically expect anything ground breaking here.
- Was very excited to see Prince Pretty vent about Kidd's interference in his title match last week. It was a very brief promo, but it served its purpose.
- Tyson Kidd gets a much needed victory, but in less than thrilling fashion when Breeze decides he's not that mad after all and rolls out mid-match.
- Women's champ Charlotte earns a decisive victory over Becky Lynch.
- Enzo challenges Sylvester Lefort to a hair vs. hair match at Takeover.
- Mojo Rawley defeats Steve Cutler with his ass, and then gets seriously hyped about Bull Dempsey kicking that same ass last week.
- At first, I was a little annoyed with the walkout finish, and with Tyler reversing course on being pissed at Tyson about last week. Mostly that was due to the fact that, in the few minutes we got, it looked like they had really good chemistry, and both men are workers I look forward to watching. Breeze proved again that he can add fire to his heel character without working face, though, and backing down at the first sign of adversity when there's nothing at stake fits that heel character very well. His questioning "why the media is so focused on this?" in the post-match interview was perfect.
- Kidd celebrating his "win" post-match was pretty great, too. Loved his putting on the Mayor of Cutesville's entrance hoodie to mock him, and that he couldn't help but smile when the crowd chanted "FACT!" at him as he backed up the ramp.
- Becky Lynch looks like a completely different character than her debut as Happy Irish Lass. That's a good thing. I'm still not sold on the AJ + Paige = Lita thing she's got going now, though. The plaid punk ring gear is dope...maybe if she got to cut a few promos and actually explained her character, motivations, etc to us?
- The Nature Girl has a very Randy Orton-esque style to her matches. It's effective for keeping her a heel, but you can feel yourself tuning out. This will really be an issue if they want to turn her, or if crowds want to cheer her. Mostly, I remember very little about this match, which isn't a great sign for where either woman is right now.
- Enzo introduced himself as "trash talker skywalker". See what I mean about letting him loose on the mic? I get why they put the Vaudevillains over strong in the tag match, but here's hoping the hair vs. hair match is a coming out party for the Certified G.
- You know what would get fans behind Mojo again? Something other than splashes and buttplay in his matches. Actually thought his "Bull stole my smile" promo was well delivered, but he's too far gone for a simple course correction at this point. He needs the full Bo Dallas gimmick overhaul.
- Assuming Rawley faces Dempsey at Takeover, it should be booked just like Lesnar/Cena from SummerSlam.
Segment Three / Main Event
- Three of the longer entrances take up the first few minutes of our main event slot - at least Sin Cara came out with Kalisto, probably to account for the Exotic Express.
- Team Lucha looked sharp in beating Sami Zayn & Adam Rose, who almost wrestled heel while helping the masked men impress heading into the tournament finals.
- The "Lu-cha" chant and hand gestures do nothing for me - and are a good reminder that a lot of people dig stuff that does nothing for me. It should catch on with the younger crowd, and Kalisto should be a money maker because of it. And the fact that he's a super-fun, really talented worker.
- Getting a little ahead of myself thinking about Kalisto on the main roster, but it's hard not too when you watch him work and think about how badly they need a kid-friendly babyface AND a major Latino representive on Raw and Smackdown. I hope they keep him aligned with Sin Hunico, too, and have them tag even as they (and especially Kalisto) work singles matches. They complement each other so well, will probably only develop more & cooler tandem maneuvers over time and, darnit, babyfaces should have friends.
- He's got so many spots that fans are going to go nuts for, and he avoids the frequent lucha libre trap of having them look like all acrobatics with no impact. Some of it just knowing when to use them - his cartwheel out of the arm drag and spinning to land on his feet on the snapmare takedown are just inventive chain wrestling. The springboard handstand hurricanrana thing he pulled on Sami? I don't even know what that is.
- Looks like they've named his standing shiranui. If I heard right, it's Salida del Sol, which is a nice callback to his independent name/gimmick. Didn't he have a different move he called the Rising Sun in the indies, though?
- There were other guys in this match? Hunico is slowly but surely turning Sin Cara into a solid gimmick. They're smart to change up the colors on the ring gear drastically, and allow him to mix in more power stuff, but he can do the aerial work and deserves a chance to establish himself in this role.
- As I mentioned above, it seemed like Zayn & Rose were almost working rudo. Which is great, because the latter's character always acts like a dick anyway, and it gave Sami a chance to show some versatility. I liked seeing him incorporate little things like bailing when Kalisto was quicker than him, or getting frustrated when struggling, into his act. Their post-match comraderie confirms that it was a one-off deal, like their partnership, hopefully, but they performed their role well. That kind of stuff should be a check mark in their favor with the powers-that-be.
- Quick commentary note - Renee Young is getting better, but she still falls back on the gossip columnist angle when she gets flustered. The three-person booth does her no favors, though, as Byron Saxton and Tom Phillips have a good rapport and she ends up being the odd person out too often.
- Nice to see JoJo Offerman earning her keep with ring announcing duties. Thought she did okay...still haven't seen anyone stand out as great at that gig on this show.
Perfectly serviceable episode that moved things forward for the live special. While there were some great spots in a couple of matches, the in-ring action was noticably less impressive than the last few shows. Enzo's challenge and the main event are probably the only things I'd rewatch.
Howudoin after watching the August 21st NXT, Cagesiders?