This week's episode is listed in the Network library as "Episode 238 - September 3, 2014"...typo, or are they prepping for the move to Wednesday?
- All four competitors in the Takeover Fatal 4Way will be in singles action tonight; at this point, I smell four squashes.
- Alexa Bliss emerges from the pixie dust they store her in for a shot at the Women's champion, but ends up Bowing Down to the Queen.
- #1 contender Bayley is not interested in any of Charlotte's crap.
- Tyler Breeze believes he will win the NXT title next Thursday because he's better looking than everyone in every room he's ever walked into...among other reasons.
- Devin Taylor speaks Spanish just like Sin Cara, who only speaks English after making his tag partner Kalisto translate all of his answers about the tough challenge they face against a team that is as strong as they are in the Vaudevillains.
- Breeze successfully navigates his tune-up match against Tye Dillinger.
- Somebody tell Kevin Hart that he's not the only person who enters the ring via the bottom rope, because, wow, is Alexa Bliss tiny. She's still pretty green too, visibly stumbling on the ropes when heading up top for what turned out to be just an arm drag takedown and looking awkward charging into the set-up for Charlotte's tilt-a-whirl gutbuster.
- The champ still takes things to the boring old ground a little too quickly, and the Powerbomb tease was cruel - I'd love to see her add that to the arsenal and I bet Bliss could sell it like crazy, too. Very much like her just grabbing a handful of hair to set-up the cutter finisher, though.
- Bayley's music hit, the champ got an incredulous look on her face and I suddenly found myself smiling. The Hugster nailed the line about being taken seriously because she's seriously taking the title, but go home show booking has me worried that her connecting with the Hugplex means she'll be denied in the title match.
- That Charlotte immediately shrugged off the Belly-to-Bayley for the back-away-staredown reinforces my issues with it as a finisher. It shouldn't sometimes leave people stunned into immobility and sometimes allow them to pop up with a sore neck.
- Prince Pretty has completely integrated comedy heel and legitimate threat into one character. And I still have zero confidence that he wouldn't be jobbing on Superstars within a month of a call-up to the main roster.
- Somebody tell Sin Cara to stand farther away from his tag partner, because, wow, is Kalisto tiny. They didn't give him much to work with in this interview, but his reaction to the punchline (Sin Cara speaking English) was pretty good, and I'd like to see him book speak in something other than sports clichés and react more to what's going on around him.
- You only think Tyson Kidd is putting over the men he'll face in the Fatal 4Way, when in FACT he's only putting over himself.
- Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady deliver a segment that would have rivaled "Mr. NXT" for best of the year if not for one dated gag (but even with that it was probably great enough to stay in the conversation).
- Adam Rose fights a man he's feuded with under two different gimmicks, and does the job for Kidd.
- Sami Zayn says he'll pin anyone to win the title at Takeover, but he really wants to pin his friend Adrian Neville...because he's the champ.
- The recently departed Veronica Lane interviews the Vaudevillains, who clarify that they do not have a chance to do anything - they will prove their superiority against the luchadores and then against tag champs The Ascension.
- Zayn takes care of business against Marcus Louis, whose partner Sylvester Lefort is at ringside...setting him up for a post-match attack from Enzo & Cass where they attempt but fail to use the bucket of hair removal cream procured earlier.
- Clever Kidd promo, but you have to be disappointed he didn't work in one FACT. He could have easily put one after each set of credentials he offered for the individuals who all turned out to be him.
- Oh, my stars and garters, did I laugh for the Enzo & Cass bit. I was pretty much a goner from when Amore revealed that they were "at...Hair". I've missed their bickering, especially when it reaches a point where it becomes clear that Cassady is the smarter of the two ("what's a Sasquatch?") - okay, basically anything where we're reminded how sneaky funny the big guy can be ("horseshoe like Seabiscuit"). Carmella's a better actress than Daniel Bryan's physical therapist and Claire Lynch combined. And the poodle bit was delicious, old school foolishness. Just great stuff.
- Maybe it's a week of wishing WWE wouldn't drop Michael Sam's name for free publicity, or folks pointing out that Chris Jericho's pink tie comments from Raw should have been left in the Attitude Era. But the stereotypical gay guy who brought in the poodle, and especially the fact that one of the two calls him "sweet boy"...just don't do that. It ruined Enzo's line about their run-in almost turning into one of those "World Star beatdowns where you lose a shoe", because I felt like I was laughing at just missing out on a hate crime. I don't want to laugh about just missing out on a hate crime.
- "Holy jeez. It works." Still love youse guys, though.
- The Exotic Express sure has shrunk, hasn't it? Seemed like it was twenty folks deep when he debuted this Spring. Now it's a five people and a rabbit.
- Don't have many specific comments about the matches featuring the men who'll fight for the NXT title next week, but in general, they were really good. Despite my initial suspicions, they weren't squashes per se. Yes, the outcomes were never in doubt, but the enhancement guys got their licks in and none of the stars came across as going through the motions. The perfect example of a short match with an obvious outcome advancing the story and still being worth watching.
- He's integrating the character into the moveset more and more; really like how he spins the Spinebuster (while the NXT crowd sings the "Oh" of his theme song) now. If only they had let him work that stuff out before rushing him to the main stage. It's probably too late for Adam Rose anywhere but NXT, but if he ended up in the position Kidd's in now, it might work out fine.
- Something I love about Tyson Kidd...he used his momentum from hitting the neckbreaker to bouce back into pinning position on Rose. Freaking awesome.
- Godspeed, Veronica. Simon Gotch said it best, "Excelsior!"
- If they're turning Sami, they're hiding it really well. This was just the intensely noble version of happy beard guy. Which I still love, and who should probably win the belt next week. Unless Breeze or Kidd do. I can't decide, except that I don't think there's much else for Neville to do with it, so I'd like it to change hands.
- Louis is my new favorite non-indy undercard NXT guy. And it's for three reasons. (1) His facial expressions are amazing, and he uses them constantly. (2) We haven't seen much in the ring, but at least his limited moveset consists of slams, backbreakers and really aggressive work within rest holds instead of the usual strikes. And (3) his background as a prison guard is just the greatest throwaway backstory ever. Now I can picture him as Pornstache on Orange is the New Black. Or Claire Howell from Oz.
- As funny as the Enzo & Cass location skit was, "make your appointment at Bosley now" might have been the line of the night.
Segment Three / Main Event
- Adrian Neville likes to take risks, so that's why he booked himself in a match he doesn't have to lose in order to lose his title.
- He's not losing tonight against CJ Parker, though.
- Sin Cara & Kalisto make clean, fairly quick work of the Vaudevillians to win the tag tournament. They even left enough time for a staredown against The Ascension.
- Did someone intentionally edit Neville's interview to make him sound bad? His read of the line "it's a challenge I look forward to" was either as a question, or someone cut off the rest of that sentence.
- Not to play pick on Adrian or anything, but you ever notice how he never seems confident in timing his "point to the sky" move during his entrance with the smoke geysers?
- The announcers (Tom Phillips, Renee Young and Byron Saxton, doing a perfectly okay job) all agreeing that it was kind of dumb of you to book yourself in a Fatal 4Way must suck, too.
- He got a good match out of CJ Parker, though. That should count for something, right?
- Kind of weird that Kalisto came out with Sin Cara to Sin Cara's music. Are they even going to try to get him over on his own or is he just going to be known by the "lucha" chant and his association with the more established gimmick? A "generic luchador", if you will?
- The Code of Honor was adhered to start the tournament finals, which was kind of nice. I can't decide if I want them to definitively pick an alignment for English and Gotch or if they should stay in tweenerland. I wonder if part of the booking decision here wasn't to avoid having two teams that act like heels but get cheered face off on the live special.
- In this surprisingly brief match, I was most impressed by Aiden keeping up with the chain wrestling and acrobatics of Kalisto at the start. But things were rough for both teams here, and neither of the Vaudevillains looked very good after that start.
- Wish they would do something to pad the ramp at Full Sail Live. It seems like once a month where there's a diving spot where I'm convinced someone's neck was broken. Tonight, the sound made when Kalisto hit the Topé con Hilo on English at the finish scared the bejeesus out of me.
- A finish that should have come after the Salida del Sol. This felt a little too much like a showcase for the wrong masked Mexican. Hopefully, Kalisto will get a chance to shine at Takeover. I kind of feel like The Ascension will retain, though. They're so close to a year long reign, and it'd be good for both team's characters if Team Lucha had a personal reason to want to beat them beyond just wanting the belts.
Every promotion that has a need to book a go home show for an event should watch this episode and pay attention to how it's done. Everything moved things forward toward Takeover, and every feud got a moment to shine except for Mojo Rawley vs. Bull Dempsey, and that is what it is anyway.
A brief moment of not being a STAR about sexual orientation didn't ruin a great show, and one where we learned that freaking Kenta is going to be on a WWE show next week.
Don't worry about what we need la crème for...howudoing?