The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT – 02.12.14 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. The Pulse 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.
The SmarK RAW Rant – 02.10.14 Live from Los Angeles, CA Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL & Jerry Lawler Betty White joins us to start, showing that Vince still has his finger on the pulse of America’s youth. This quickly leads into the usual Authority interview to start, as they’re RECONSIDERING other people as the Face Of The WWE. Is that like the new replacement for the dead World title now? Stephanie is wearing white so I guess they’re the babyfaces this week. Randy Orton comes out to protest as usual as we repeat the same skit it feels like we’ve seen for months. This “Face of the WWE” storyline is so stupid. Daniel Bryan now comes out and reminds us that he beat Orton last week, and he wants a match with Kane tonight. Sadly, Kane is on leave for a week and has a strongly worded letter coming to him. And HHH gives Bryan the week off as well. Wow, that was a thrilling open to the show. The Wyatt Family v. Cody Rhodes, Goldust & Rey Mysterio Rowan pounds on Goldust, but he comes back on Harper with a rana! Harper bails and Cody tosses Rey onto him in a cool spot as we take a break. Back with Goldust getting the heat, but he powerslams Harper and makes the hot tag to Rey. He runs wild with a tornado DDT for two and the 619, but Bray trips him up. Cody hits Bray with a dive and Goldust hits Rowan with one, but Bray catches Rey with a running Sister Abagail to finish at 8:35. I feel like a LOT was cut out of this match, as they came back from the break really late into Goldust’s heat segment. Hot match, though, as Goldust continues to be ridiculously motivated. *** Let us take you back to Royal Rumble, where Roman Reigns kicks everyone’s ass and sets the new record for eliminations. The Shield has no fear of the Wyatt Family, but Roman seems to give Renee the funny feelings in her special place. Renee questions Ambrose on his lack of title defenses, and Roman tells him to get on that shit. Meanwhile, the New Age Outlaws rescue Betty White from the Divas, because there’s rumors of someone playing a prank on her. Whoever said that RAW without the matches would be the worst show on TV is so completely right. The Real Americans v. Christian & Sheamus The crowd actually starts doing the “We The People” chant as Cesaro throws Christian around. Swagger comes in and walks into the corner kick, and a missile dropkick gets two. Over to Sheamus, who puts Cesaro down with a clothesline for two. The babyfaces work on Cesaro while the crowd chants for the heels, and then Cesaro and Sheamus get into an awesome slugfest with the crowd cheering Cesaro the whole way. Sheamus actually seems pretty amused by it. Sheamus gets clobbered off the apron as we take a break. Back with Christian taking the beating and it’s a GIANT SWING to get Cesaro even more over. That gets two. Swagger with a powerslam for two. Christian is finally able to fight them off and make the hot tag to Sheamus, and the Regal Roll on Swagger gets two. Cesaro breaks up the Brogue Kick to a big pop, and Swagger puts Sheamus in the anklelock. Christian saves, and the Brogue Kick finishes poor Swagger at 13:01. Hot crowd + Good tag team wrestling = Happy Scott. ***1/2 As usual, you follow the formula and good things result. It’s the like the opposite of the Lego Movie’s lesson. Alberto Del Rio v. Dolph Ziggler What a change from a year ago. Ziggler gets a quick burst of offense and a fameasser for two, but Del Rio finishes him with the superkick at 1:30. We’re getting into Zack Ryder territory now. Stupid fans, thinking that cheering Ziggler will lead to anything. Don’t you know he works too fast and tweets the wrong things? Batista saves poor Ziggler and the crowd boos the shit out of him. Batista puts Del Rio through the table with a powerbomb to continue this feud that literally no one cares about. US title: Dean Ambrose v. Mark Henry Ambrose gets overpowered to start, as expected, and bumps around the ring for Henry. We take a break and return with Ambrose going up and getting slammed off. Powerslam and the Shield runs in for the DQ at 9:13. * The Wyatts come out for a confrontation, and wouldn’t you know that Reigns is the one to call their bluff. And the Wyatts walk away. It’s kind of amazing in that they seem to have forgotten how to make anyone a star, except for Reigns, who they are doing everything completely right with. So clearly they know how to, and just choose not to. Libertarian Kane joins us, still on TV despite getting a week off. And Daniel Bryan attacks, also on TV after getting a week off. Cole calls Kane “the so-called Big Red Corporate Sellout”. I have literally never heard anyone call him that. Bryan chases Kane off. Randy Orton v. John Cena Whereas last week the importance was the possibility of being considered the new face of the WWE, this week the importance is that both men are looking to build momentum towards the Elimination Chamber. Cena works a headlock and Orton bails. Sign in the crowd: “Batista and Orton have great tattoos”. See, the fanbase isn’t ALL negativity! Back in, Cena with a bulldog for two. Orton pounds him down and tosses him and we take a break. Back with Orton in control and they do a slugfest where, god bless them, THE CROWD BOOS BOTH GUYS. That was awesome. Orton tosses Cena again and continues having a snarky dialog with the crowd, and we hit the chinlock. Orton with a DDT for two. He stops to antagonize the crowd some more and Cena makes the comeback, but Orton gets the backbreaker for two. Cena tries the FU and Orton reverses to the powerslam for two. They fight to the top and Orton brings him down with a draping DDT and then yells about how he’s never done that before. Nice to see him having fun with it for a change. Cena blocks the RKO with an STF, but Orton makes the ropes. He POINTS TO SIGN to show he means business, but misses the punt and then comes back with the RKO for two. Cena gets the FU for two. Back to the top, and the guillotine and FU finish at 22:18. CENA HAS SUCCESSFULLY BUILT MOMENTUM! It was a match. ***1/4 The Pulse This was basically cut down to three good matches and a minimum of crap, which makes for a really good show, even if it’s not building to anything I care about. The Real Americans match was clearly the highlight and they should have been the tag champions ages ago, though.