Before the PPV started, and I saw Scott Stanford’s face commentating the opening match, I jokingly said, “I’ll do a Top 4 just so I can put Scott as #1.” Scott doesn’t get the #1 spot, but only because some of my favorite in-ring storytelling happened in the ring during this PPV, and none of them were for matches that were originally scheduled.
4. Primo & Epico vs. Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd vs. Prime Time Players vs. The Usos
A match to bring new number one contenders to the tag title as Primo & Epico had their shot slip through their fingers by missing the 30 days. Besides excellent match quality, heightened by Primo, Epico, Kidd, and Gabriel, the entire plot had a good story. AW, surprise, cheated Primo & Epico and went from being incompetent to just being a cheat, which was interesting. He’s better suited for the Prime Time Players, and not because he’s another black guy, but because his character works for two men who see dollar signs. Primo & Epico are on their way to becoming faces, now the question remains if they will take Rosa with them or leave her behind as well.
3. Scott Stanford
I know, I know, it’s Scott, he should be higher, but you guys did not watch the preshow for Scott Stanford. You should have, but you didn’t. You watched to see Otunga lose to Clay (75 of 81 of you predicted correctly on that one). However, out of five commentators throughout the show (counting Striker and not counting the Spanish announce team) Scott was the only one who remained coherent and made a lick of sense. Striker knew when something was coming up and stopped to wait for it, ignoring Scott’s question or lead-in. Cole, Lawler, and Booker T showed shades of that same ridiculous laughing during matches. Sure, the Tuxedo Match was not what the IWC wanted to see, but it’s made worse when the commentators spend more time laughing and making fun of it then trying to pretend we should be interested in it. You’d never hear Scott spend most of his time laughing at a match. No, out of the five, he did the best, and he was saddled with Otunga vs. Clay which was the most predictable match of the night.
2. Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
I know I said that the matches were not ones scheduled, but to me this was not a scheduled match. Ziggler was a fill in, and the fill in everyone was looking forward to. For good reason. Ziggler puts on quite the show in the ring and always has while Sheamus continues to be Sheamus. There were parts during this match I honestly thought Ziggler was winning it all, but we knew it was not going to happen in this particular match. Still, they put on a great show and even though Ziggler lost both men put on an entertaining show.
1.5 Kane and AJ
1. Hunico vs. Sin Cara
The first time I watched the PPV I missed this match completely. Not because I didn’t want to see it but because doing the predictions takes up a lot of time. Having missed it completely I had to go back and watch it and I wondered how I could have not been paying attention. Hunico and Sin Cara put on the match they should have put on when it was Sin Cara Azul vs. Sin Cara Negro. Sin Cara has returned and is the superstar he should have been the first time he was overpushed and against Hunico who deserved the overpush and never received it. In other words, two incredible wrestlers in an incredible match that… no one really cared about or watched. Still, upon rewatching everything, it was my favorite.
There were only about four things that happened this week in NXT so doing a top four almost seems pointless. Instead I’m going to point out the flaws of this week’s episode of NXT, and no it will not be that this season has gone on for 36 weeks.
This week we see a match between Kaitlyn and Tamina again. This is a solid match. These two women have a different style and Kaitlyn is likely my second favorite diva currently with the company. My first and third are Maxine and AJ. We’ll look into that phenomenon another time.
Before Kaitlyn’s match she and AJ are seen in the locker room for the second week in a row. This is the second week in a row I find myself straining to hear what the two of them are saying. There is no reason to shout in a locker room but I feel like the two of them are mumbling to one another and wonder how they even understood each other standing right there. These two have great chemistry, but they need to turn it up.
The Usos battle Tyson Kidd and Johnny Curtis. Finally Johnny Curtis gets some air time and it’s a solid match, which Curtis loses. The problem is not the match it is that you knew Curtis was going to lose to the Usos. It’s pretty much the same curse Superstars have every week, predictability in ring.
Speaking of predictable, tonight’s match is Percy Watson, Titus O’Neil, and AJ vs. Derrick Bateman, JTG, and Maxine. Bateman won last week so that must mean, yup, he’s losing to O’Neil again this week. Back and forth between these two, constantly. It feels like this has been going on the entire 36 weeks when I know it has not been that long.
But damn close.
O’Neil continues to harp that Maxine has fish lips and the crowd continues to not really react to it. While Maxine might have been my least favorite on NXT Season 3 she is now my favorite diva. Does she have fish lips? Well she does have full pouty lips, but that is sensual, not something to be harped upon. Plus, if you realize that a joke is not working, move on.
As always the highlight of the show is Maxine and Derrick with a smattering of JTG. While JTG might not be able to say how fly he is as well as Scott Stanford with his own, “JTG-6 because I’m so fly,” he is entertaining and moves well in the ring. Maxine and Derrick have chemistry between each other and just as they shine in the ring and out, separate or together. These two make NXT worth watching, even if the show is a recap of last week, and the week before that, and the… you get the picture.
“Yeehaw we’re here in Texas baby, yeah.” Derrick Bateman opening up NXT for us this evening.
This week NXT picked itself back up from last week. It decided it was not going to do the same thing, entirely. While a few matches were familiar there was enough to keep the pace going that NXT found itself more entertaining than Raw.
As always, my top 4 reasons to watch NXT:
4. Lack of the Recap
Perhaps Raw understood the complaint. After showing Triple H being attacked by Kevin Nash when it happened then two recaps during the Monday night show perhaps the writers understood we did not need to see it again. Of course there was a Raw recap but I found myself celebrating that it was John Cena saying he chooses The Rock. And the spittle incident was cut as best they could. Less recap on NXT this week than usual. That earns it points.
3. Tyson Kidd, Curt Hawkins, Matt Striker
During the show Matt Striker hands to Hawkins a notice of suspension for one week, telling him not to worry about it since he was already injured and unable to work. Tyson tells Striker not to insult someone holding a cane. I love watching Striker in a more active role on NXT than the “Let me announce a few challenges,” role. Tyson Kidd has his chance to shine on NXT and proves it when he goes out to the ring to compete against Jey Uso. The Usos have a slightly tweaked entrance this week. They still give their chant but they have drum beats behind them and after they complete their chant a rap starts. It’s better than silence following them to the ring. I love Jey Uso but I found myself rooting for Tyson Kidd. This is further pushed by the fact that he had Curt Hawkins in his corner.
2. Kaitlyn, AJ, and Tamina
This NXT was too great and giving it four reasons was hard. So the girls are all together. Why? Because each one deserved her time to shine. Kaitlyn and AJ start off their scene talking to one another and Kaitlyn brags about how she is going to win against Tamina, who ends up standing right behind her. And old joke but it works so well for these women. Kaitlyn turns to Tamina and says, “You are surprisingly stealthy for such a… tall person!” Kaitlyn and Tamina proceed to put on a solid match that makes me wish Tamina would change her ring attire. She looks like she is dressed to go to a corporate luncheon without the suit jacket while Kaitlyn sports a new outfit that is her most flattering yet. I love both of these women and watching two powerful women wrestle, and well, makes me smile.
1. Derrick Bateman and Maxine
Derrick is consistently at the top of my list, for good reason. This week he has to be paired up with Maxine because there was so much good about NXT some had to be condensed. During Bateman’s match with Titus O’Neil, where Bateman wins thank heavens, Maxine and AJ proceed to do commentary. Jack Korpela grins like a school boy as he ogles Maxine and Maxine brushes it all off, though not unkindly, as she is a bit unkind to AJ. AJ is good on commentary, Maxine is great. Maxine gives barbs with little effort and looks incredible doing it.
While Derrick had some of the best lines of the night his best moment of the night came after his match when he had Maxine join him in the ring. He told her his love for her and then got down on one knee and asked Maxine to marry him. She proceeded to slap him, kiss him, then say yes. I was not sure if she was angry or wanted to cry or a little of both but it was the best moment in NXT history, better than Aksana and Goldust’s proposal and bomb of a marriage. I’m rooting for these two, in marriage, health, and career.
I always go with four, but an honorable mention goes to the beginning of the show.
“My by default best friend, JTG.” – Bateman about JTG “Next WD star!” – Bateman making fun of O’Neil and his inability to say “WWE”.
The show starts off with Derrick, JTG, and Maxine on one side and Percy Watson and Titus O’Neil on the other. I’m either a growing fan of JTG’s or I just really dislike Titus O’Neil and Percy Watson. Or a little of both. However Bateman and JTG seem to make a fun pairing that ended up becoming trapped in matches with these opposing men. Titus O’Neil needs to work on his mic skills and has to pander to the crowd to get pops by wearing pink bottoms and saying it was for the two women in his life he’s lost to breast cancer and for the women in the audience or watching who have also suffered. It’s a nice sentiment, but the poor man stumbles constantly over his words.
JTG and Bateman however shine with better mic skills, and then better skills in the ring. Sorry guys, even if JTG lost to Percy, he was the more entertaining of those two.
“Marks, get set-” – Matt Striker opening up a challenge. I swear he said “marks”.
This weeks Top 4 is kind of jumbled together, but for good reasons. The stories and segments ended up flowing very well together. So first I give you the Top 4:
4. Tyler Reks vs. Yoshi Tatsu
3. Kaitlyn and AJ
1. Derrick Bateman
Now the reasons why it’s hard to separate these:
Number 4 isn’t as hard to separate. Tyler Reks comes out in his wrestling garb with Curt Hawkins who is sporting a cane that is stylish with his overall look. I am now wishing Curt Hawkins would just adapt the cane to be a permanent part of his look.
Tyler Reks says that as long as he is wrestling solo he will be taking out his aggression for Hawkins’ injuries during his matches. In comes Yoshi Tatsu, who needs new entrance music to go with this darker look. Tatsu is sans face paint again this week, which is a shame because even though it wipes off by the end of every match it is symbolic of him. Unless he wants to start wrestling in that mask he better bring back the face paint.
Tyler Reks is a surprisingly solid speaker for a man who looks like a surfing caveman. That is in no way an insult, I’m a fan of Reks, it’s just you come to certain expectations and when they are blown away it makes a person an even bigger fan.
Reks and Tatsu put on a solid match and look good fighting one another. This match alone could have been a reason to tune in to NXT, but then you have:
Number 3. Kaitlyn tells AJ she will get vengeance for her against Maxine and Maxine’s evil ways. Kaitlyn is still not as comfortable on the mic as she could be but she has grown since she began on NXT during season 3. Seeing her again and about to fight Maxine again had me taking notice, if just because their season 3 match was likely the worst match I had seen from two divas in a long while. This match was far beyond that match! Leading us to:
Number 2. Maxine loses her match to Kaitlyn when Kaitlyn smacks a submission on her that has me cringing just thinking about it. Despite this loss Maxine shines in character. She is Bateman’s partner, lover, and is a general upstart that despite being called “fish lips” shows she has skill and sex appeal. Maxine makes small appearances during Derrick’s bits on the show and has more personality than most divas would dare to show. Of course Maxine leads us right into:
Number 1. Derrick Bateman. It’s not secret I’ve become a huge Bateman mark since he returned to NXT Season 5, but this episode gives him the chance to show everyone else what I already saw in him. Personality: check. Skill: check. Timing: check.
Bateman starts off the show in a challenge. Oh no, Striker brought back the challenges? Only sort of as Bateman never really takes it seriously and gets himself disqualified, only to find himself having to face Titus O’Neil and Percy Watson in a tag match. But he’s left to find his own tag partner. He ends up finding that partner in JTG in a segment that had me rewinding to watch again. During this segment he talks to Kidd, Maxine, and then finally ends up with JTG. During all of it, and even through his loss, it’s hard to take your eyes off of Derrick Bateman.
Despite all of these reasons you are still refusing to watch NXT? Shame on you.
4 Top reasons to watch NXT this week
This week I suffered from something close to déjà vu watching NXT. Didn’t I see these same matches last week? Just with the opposite endings?
However that was not nearly as bad as Percy Watson and Titus O’Neil trying to tell Maxine she had “fish lips”. They sounded enough like schoolyard bullies in their segment with Derrick Bateman and Maxine that Bateman mocked them with, “LOL. This coming from the man who barks like a wounded seal.”
Despite repetitiveness and awful insulting coming from Percy and Titus the show was still stellar. Why?
4. The Return of Matt Striker
I’ve complained for at least two weeks that Matt Striker had not been coming out on Superstars. I love Striker, more than I thought I did. When I was not seeing his face on NXT it was making me angry and then I complained a lot. His return made him not just the host of the show but seems to be pushing him as the acting General Manager of NXT. Another sign that NXT is becoming less about the competition and more about characters, plot, and wrestling.
3. Maxine vs. AJ
Sure, we saw this last week. And the week before. And possibly the week before. But these two work well together in the ring and AJ bends in ways that make me cringe. I feel like every time Maxine puts her into a hold that AJ should be snapping in half. Instead she simply rolls with it and continues to fight. Maxine also sported redder hair on NXT. I said it was so she and AJ looked less like sisters. Maxine said it was because she heard Laurinaitis liked redheads and she wanted to impress him.
2. Rematch between The Usos and Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks
The ending was predictable, last week Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks won. It still did not stop the four of these men from trying their hardest to steal the show. They almost could if it hadn’t been for…
1. Derrick Bateman
Derrick is consistently working at becoming the best on NXT. It was pointed out early in the show that there were only two contestants left. Apparently being suspended also made Darren a non-contestant now? Derrick came in halfway through the season and has stolen the show. He has the look, he is learning the moves, and he most certainly has the mic skills. At first he seemed uncomfortable as a heel, this episode he embraced it and enjoyed every aspect of his character. Paired with Maxine you either love the two of them or hate them but you will be entertained.
Other things of note during this show is the commentating team of William Regal and Jack Korpela. Regal has always given it his all and his all is pretty great. Korpela came in the first two weeks and did not know the rhythm of the show or his commentator partner. This episode he seems to have found his rhythm and while he is still not stellar he is no longer painful to hear. In fact I would say he’s good.
And you are still not watching NXT, are you?
Don’t forget WWE NXT is available on Wednesdays at 4pm EST and then any time after that.
This week Superstars made a triumphant return to wwe.com. Here are the top four reasons you should watch it!
4. Matt Striker and his Ego
That wording might sound like I’m being harsh to Matt Striker but in fact this might have given us insight into how Striker really feels?
“I personally feel I’m a top tier announcer, a top tier manager, I can still go in the ring put a mic in my hand and again I’m top tier. But I’ve gotta eat and so I’m sitting right here and trying to be as neutral as I can.”
Matt Striker did not seem in the least vain when he was asking Jack Korpela what he was going to do about his job and then announcing how he felt. Instead Striker laid it on in the way he does all of his commentating: this is fact. Do not take what he is saying with a grain of salt. For those moments as his words come out of your speakers you will believe him.
3. AJ vs. Tamina
I have been waiting to see Tamina in the ring again. I’ve been a fan of Tamina since her explosive debut with the Usos last year. She might not be the best stylistic diva on the roster but she is learning. She may not be the most attractive diva in the ring but you can not keep your eyes off of her.
Put Tamina up against AJ, who bends like a pretzel and can take a wicked beating, and you have a solid match. AJ and Tamina look beautiful in the ring and keep your eyes entertained, even if you feel a bit dirty as you watch AJ.
2. JTG vs. Alex Riley
In a blog from just the other day I complained about being able to notice Alex Riley’s botched moves. Today he makes it into my top four list on Superstars. Why? I did not notice a single misstep in his match against JTG, who has also grown as an athlete since you stopped watching him. Alex Riley slowed down and it made the world of difference.
Now, instead of being the part where I groan during Superstars, this was the most delightful match I was able to see.
1. Scott Stanford
Scott Stanford is not just Zack Ryder’s broski. There is a reason he was picked to work as a commentator with the WWE. The man has the voice, he has the skills, he just does not get the time. He is engaging and going to make Superstars worth your while. For those who complain that Superstars has no underlying plot Scott Stanford and Josh Mathews will give you that plot. They will tell you the locker room stories that make these men and women a bit more interesting to watch.
Scott’s come a long way in his year at the commentating table (October 7th will mark his one year anniversary with Superstars). He’s taken the time to learn what is going on and bring it to you with excitement and vigor. He could make the most boring of shows worth watching, and Superstars is far from boring.
Other things of note during this episode are two other matches: Percy Watson vs. Michael McGuillicutty and Tyson Kidd vs. Ted Dibiase. Tyson Kidd’s Superstars matches would normally make my top four list, however this match felt cheated on time so they could show a recap of what happened Monday night. These two men deserved more time.
Scott Stanford’s best commentary lines from this week:
“JTG is the flyest Superstar here in the WWE.”
“JTG graduated from the mean streets with a degree in Flyology.”
“When he turns it on, BOY, he really turns it on.”
“Would you ever use that term to describe me? A pop off the screen personality?” Josh: “Nope!”