I had a top 4 written out for NXT this week and I just could not bring myself to be all super positive for the show. I was NXT’s biggest defender (okay, one of, I can think of a few other good ones). When people stopped watching because it got boring, or didn’t tune in because of the “wacky” storylines, I stood by it. I stood by it as I realized they were never going to finish the mystery attacker story. I stood by it as last week it went into major overhaul.
But, seriously, why are we all tuning in for this? To be introduced? And told who we are supposed to be rooting for? Many of the people who are like, “Wow, this is great,” are the same people who complain about having Cena or Orton shoved down their throats. Now they are like, “This guy is so awesome,” because they saw a promo package and a less than two minute match.
The matches and match lengths are as follows:
Seth Rollins vs. Jiro – 1:32
Jinder Mahal vs. Jason Jordan – 2:52
Leo Kruger vs. Aiden English – 1:24
The Usos vs. Ascension – 3:40
Richie Steamboat vs. Rick Victor – 4:22
Antonio Cesaro vs. Dante Dash – 1:44
Derrick Bateman vs. Johnny Curtis – 3:47
Match time in a 44:30 show was 19:21 (give or take a few seconds, I’m not perfect and time-keeping). This is meant to be an introductory period, but in true WWE fashion they are introducing to you the guys they want you to cheer for in matches with inadequate amount of time and expecting you to swallow it whole. Rollins defeats Jiro in 1:32, he must be awesome. (Jiro is no longer with the company). Kruger defeats English in a whopping 1:24, promptly showing you how awesome Kruger is and how horrible English is (he’s not, he’s actually quite good). Cesaro squashes Dante Dash in 1:44! Yay?
Then the main event of Bateman vs. Curtis didn’t even last as long as the Steamboat vs. Victor match, which was a horrid display of Steamboat saying he wants to be an individual but then does all of his moves like his father, reminiscent of Tamina’s, “I’m an individual but look how well I do Daddy’s moves” promo on NXT.
This is not taking away from any of these men. There is not a man who came out that I do not like in some capacity, though I like some more than others. But to fill time they took a match from another taping, The Usos vs. Ascension, and stuck it in the middle. These men deserve better than to have the audience told that they are good. Let them show us.
I know, many of you tell me to give it time, but if this was my first time tuning in and I didn’t know who any of these guys were I would have not tuned back in again. I’ve watched wrestling shows before and given them only two episodes of my time and stopped watching, uninterested. But I love NXT, I love the men (and the women that have yet to showcase) of NXT and FCW. I want to see them do wonderfully, but I do not want a mini-show where it’s reminiscent of how they would push someone on Raw or Smackdown until they are established.
Rant over, next week the Top 4 will return. In case you were wondering what the Top 4 of NXT would have been this week:
4. Bray Wyatt Promo
3. Leo Kruger
2. The Usos vs. Ascension
1. Derrick Bateman vs. Johnny Curtis
Okay, so as the show is coming near its close the stories have sort of gone out of the window and we’re waiting for NXT to pick up some storylines to really get it going. During this transitional period we are getting an FCW with just matches, but most of the men in this ring know how to keep a story going, even if it’s just during their match.
4. Benicio Salazar vs. Erik Rowan
Okay, so this match was not a great example of storytelling. As far as I know this was Salazar’s last match and for some reason had to have him unmasked to be defeated in about 20 seconds by Rowan. I love Rowan’s look and I hope he runs with it, but that’s all this match was, unfortunately, a way to showcase Rowan.
3. Garrett Dylan vs. Kassius Ohno
Garrett Dylan is still a little green along the edges but every time I see him he’s improved on the last time, so he’s got the rhythm and is taking it up a notch each time. Ohno decided this would be the match he would really learn to sell nearly being pinned and kicking out. Combined, the match was good, but not the best, but taking into consideration the type of match, is absolutely forgivable. It also was still a match worth watching and in no way should be skipped.
2. Alexander Rusev and Colin Cassady vs. Ascension
In case you have been living under a rock, Ascension consists of Conor O’Brian (with an a, not an e) and Kenneth Cameron. Colin Cassady seems to be evolving into a look that suits him and Rusev seems to be nearly recovered from a pervious injury. This is the match that should have debuted Ascension on NXT. This match showed off their skills like most matches do not and it gave a taste of what their opponents could do. Cameron and O’Brian show off how well they work as a tag team, seeming to read one another’s minds when it comes to switching off. They carry a brutality in their movements, even when they are not knocking down their opponents, and it carries over from their in-ring work to their interactions. This is what I want to see more of from these men. Rusev and Cassady did a great job of holding their own and it was a great look at what these men can do and hopefully this means some positive development will happen for them with their characters.
1. Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
Well there was never any doubt really that Ambrose and Rollins were going to have the number one match of FCW, of the week, of the month? It was that good and Ambrose does the, “I’ve been brutally beaten,” routine better than I’ve seen it before. His shoulder is dislocated and he takes a moment ala Mel Gibson in one of the Lethal Weapon movies and stands against the ring and tries to smack it back into place. Later he gets Rollins into a submission hold and tells him, “You break my arm, I’ll break your leg.” Unfortunately for him, but good for Rollins, Rollins does escape and gets Ambrose into a submission you might find familiar. Rollins does ultimately win the match, but Ambrose puts up one Hell of a fight.
I knew this Raw was going to be good from the start. For once we arrived in plenty of time, which meant cheaper parking. The Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana reminded me of the arena we had gone to in Indianapolis. Not bad prices for parking, spacious so that people could go inside if they wanted to, with horrible seating inside. Oh, the seating arrangements themselves are great, especially the ones we ended up at, but the seats and their cushions, just awful. Still, I like an arena that starts letting people in an hour before hand as opposed to a half an hour, and it’s nice when the lines move fast.
However, we still had to wait for our tickets to arrive at the box office.
While waiting I tweeted Tyler Reks to let him know that Chris would be wearing his MidCard Mafia shirt. Reks said he must see a picture.
I sent the picture of Chris, at the arena, with the shirt on and was tweeted back that Maxine agreed to be Chris’s date for the night. This became a running joke for the rest of the night. (For those who haven’t caught up, Chris is my boyfriend of five years).
So, hey, we already had a good laugh and our tickets ended up arriving at 7:30 on the nose which gave us a lot more time than usual, and we needed it.
We were in section 216 row 6. At the time I had no clue where that was, I was just following the signs. As you can see from the picture, it wasn’t all that far away!
Standing in line to get through the ticket checks (no one checked signs or purses here unlike every other arena I’ve been to) someone was talking about shirts behind me. So his friend says, “All of your shirts have woofs on them.” Woofs? “Are you a werewoof or something.” Oh. You know there is an “L” in there, right? The guy then continued to wonder how anyone could boo Cena, Cena is awesome. Another guy saw our sign we made for Dena, “Striker Appreciation Sign,” and proceeded to tell us the story about he really was a teacher and was fired for all of the sick days he was using for working the wrestling circuit. Not something I didn’t know, but the guy really wanted to seem knowledgeable so we just let him go.
Once we sat down I turned from the stage to look up because I was going to meet Tom for the first time and he said he would meet us at our seats. So I was expecting him to come from above me. Suddenly, at about the same time I hear, “Solace!” “It’s Lombardi.” I turn and standing at the barricade is Steve Lombardi, the Brooklyn Brawler. I’ve never jumped out of my seat so fast in my life as I ran down towards him, not thinking, hello, barricade. And Lombardi, being him, simply climbed it and came over to us. At that time Chris also had to point out to me, “There’s Tom,” and I look, and sure enough, about the same place, is Tom, but he wasn’t going to climb everything, and I couldn’t blame him.
The first words from Lombardi were, “You know Tom?” Yes, I know Tom, or at least would soon! I hugged a man I had practically adored for ten years, at least. If Undertaker was my 80s of wrestling, Lombardi was most of my 90s of wrestling. Even as a teenager I had a huge crush on the man and meeting him gave me sweaty palms. The first thing he said to me really was to thank me for my dedication to the WWE and all of my tweets and blogs. Haha, wow. I had no clue what to say to be honest, I was kind of a grinning mess at this point.
Tom joined us at this point and I was stuck between two people I really admire for their work and here they told me they liked what I did. Yes, yes, I was excited. Tom pretty much copied Lombardi and said, “You know Steve?” Well, no, but yes? I do now! Lombardi explained to Tom that I was the first fan he had ever come out to meet that he didn’t know already. Yup, trying not to be a complete screeching female at this point.
The majority of the first part of the conversation was starring Steve Lombardi. He asked where we lived and I was explaining it to him, so used to people going, “Where?” and forgetting I was talking to someone in the wrestling industry. I said, “Lima, Ohio,” and he said, “Oh, I know where that is. Where Al Snow is from.” Why, yes. I always forget this tidbit myself.
I let Lombardi know that I had once had a huge crush on him, he almost looked surprised. I was surprised by that! I loved this guy! I still do, and maybe a little more now. He asked if I was sure I wanted to say that in front of Chris, but Chris does hear me talking about Scott Stanford. Every day. Chris is used to it, and besides, he was Maxine’s date tonight, not mine. Onward with loving Lombardi!
Lombardi also asked me about his parody account that I’m friends with on twitter. I told him the man absolutely adores him and means no offense by it, he really does want to pay homage to Lombardi, but Lombardi insisted he does not speak like that. “I don’t say, hey yous,” and Tom vouched that this was true. Lombardi does have a definite accent, but it’s a sweet, intelligence to it. Have I mentioned the man has aged beautifully as well? Eh-hem, sorry, but that man is so well built, has a brilliant smile, and just… yeah… excuse me…
Now, where was I? Oh yes, so I was told to definitely tell everyone about meeting him, which wasn’t a problem, I kind of couldn’t get over it myself, still not over it. And to especially rub it into that parody’s face to let him know I met him, but in a teasing way, no worries. No animosity here! This is when he mentioned that he can’t do twitter, he doesn’t have time, and I was tempted to beg him harder than I already was. I would love for Lombardi to be on twitter, and I think a lot of other people would as well. I know quite a few people who every time I say #WeWantLombardi immediately retweet me. Tell Lombardi you want him on twitter! Leave it in the comments, he’ll read it!
Oh, also told him we had a sign for him and he was surprised they didn’t take it from us. I mentioned I’ve never had a sign taken and he did correct me that we did at the one. Yes, we did, that was because of where we were sitting though, we would have blocked the cameras. Boo. The man has a better memory than I do.
Then he left and it left me, Chris, and Tom. Ah, one man I adore and another who was leaving me for Maxine. Oddly, my conversation with the man you guys probably don’t know is the one I will not give a lot of details on, but I love this man. He’s a genius at what he does and will never take full credit for anything. Humble, handsome, sweet, creative. I’m lucky to know Tom.
We didn’t get a lot of time because then the announcement started about turning off recording devices. We said bye to Tom and went back to our seats. One of the two women in front of us turned and said, “Who was that you were talking to?” I assumed she meant Lombardi and not Tom and said, “That was the Brooklyn Brawler.” She turned to her companion and said, “I knew it was him.” Awww.
No, as usual, I don’t have any pictures or signatures. It was absolutely enough for me to have gotten hugs from two men I think are brilliant.
The dark match was Bray Wyatt vs. Alex Riley (of course). What surprised me is that most of the crowd recognized Bray Wyatt in some capacity, even if not by his new name, and were booing him nearly instantly. This was one of the loudest crowds I have ever been apart of and in general they would cheer or jeer for most people who came out.
Bray Wyatt gave a promo and wrestled a match that was given a decent amount of time. It’s the first match I’ve seen him wrestle since becoming Bray that lasted more than a few minutes and I can now fully stand by that I like Wyatt now. Alex Riley, though, needs a push again. Despite how long it’s been since he was in a big feud the crowd remembers him. He steps out and the crowd was deafening. Of course, for a lot of things last night, the crowd was deafening.
Next was introduction of Josh Mathews and Scott Stanford. WOO!!! SCOTT!!! He was wearing a purple shirt, so this made me extra giddy. At one point they were talking to one of the techs on the side and Mathews and Scott were working in hand signals to him, for some reason I found this completely amusing.
Scott goes through and touches hands with everyone in the front row on the side he goes through. He says hello to as many people as he can on his way to the table and then gets down to business for the first match. The first match is Kofi Kingston vs. Michael McGillicutty. McGillicutty probably had one of the quieter reactions of the night, though at least there were some boos. It was a reaction.
After the match was over and the two superstars cleared out Scott looked for us in the crowd and gave us a smile and a wave. Okay, so I’ll admit, being acknowledged by Scott was not the mark-out moment of the evening, but I still giggled like a school girl!
The next match was Darren Young, accompanied by Titus O’Neil and A.W. vs. Epico, accompanied by Primo and Rosa. How good this match really was I’m not sure because I was distracted by the fact that they allowed A.W. a mic and he added nothing to the match, at all. Plus I wondered how that would work when it came to listening to commentating later, because I want to hear Scott’s voice!
After the match ended the commentators leave. Scott then goes to the other side and while Mathews walks past everyone in a hurry to get out of the arena Scott now says hi to the other side of the arena, smacking hands and giving everyone he can a quick hello.
There was still time before Raw was going to begin. Lillian Garcia sang the National Anthem, and did so beautifully. Though I think this is only the second time I’ve heard it sung since we started our circuit of shows just a little less than a year ago. (This was our ninth show since September of 2011)
You guys have already seen Raw so I might rush through this a bit more now, since this is already much longer than I typically have one of these. The first match, though everyone was cheering wildly for all three men in the ring, and AJ when she came skipping out, was weak in the beginning. I like Punk and I can appreciate Bryan, but they move too slowly to set up their moves and it begins to become obvious to even me where they are missing shots. One kick reminded me of the Show punch to Vince last week. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it was obvious to me. Still, was a good show for the three (and fourth when she made her appearance) and for now this angle has me very intrigued.
I was surprised at how loud the crowd was throughout most of it, and then Jack Swagger came out. I was honestly embarrassed for him that there was just no reaction except from about ten people, and I could see them all, Chris and I were included in there and the two women in front of us. I cheered my head off for him, but we knew he would lose to Santino. Entertaining, though!
I give credit to Triple H for keeping his promo short and sweet. I never want to take away what Triple H has done for the company and will do for it in the future, he just has to stop repeating himself when he’s out there and shorten it up a bit. Like this one!
John Cena’s promo was somewhere between horrid and making me chuckle. I have to admit I cracked a smile at some points, then rolled my eyes at others. Especially when he didn’t really have anything to associate more with Laurinaitis at the end. Thank goodness for Chris Jericho! And that jacket! It was odd to see Jericho’s hair grown out a bit, I almost didn’t know how to handle it. It was also one of the first times I thought he looked closer to his actual age, but not in a bad way. Men have this distinguished look where as they get older they are better looking, and Jericho with a style like that only made him more handsome to me. Not sure how much I like the stipulation for the ladder match, not with Cena joining it now, but it could be interesting.
The divas were fun to see, and Chris announced, “I have to cheer for Maxine to win because I can’t have both of my dates mad at me.” I don’t care what anyone says about Vickie, she looked good out there. She may be softer than the other women but she still made her cougar outfit look good. Layla needs to be nice to her, though! Vickie’s still wearing the Cougar necklace that Layla and Michelle McCool had given her!
Did I mention I was laughing my butt off when Show came back and hit Clay again? And again? Yeah, I loved it. But I’m still a Big Show fan. He may not be what he once was, but I still adore him.
After Raw went off the air it was two on one. Tensai and Big Show vs. John Cena. Cena, who was nearly dead, had his kryptonite taken away and revived enough to take down the two men. Afterward, Laurinaitis came out to, “You got fired” chants and had an Attitude Adjustment done to him. I wonder if this is punishment because every time he gets it done to him he doesn’t even look invested in it. It was a quick close-out for Raw and we booked it out of there.
Oh, and Chris did come home with me.
No Way Out actually had some pretty decent wrestling, as did Raw this week. I almost thought it was impossible for a show to top that. Then I watched Superstars.
4. Ezekiel Jackson vs. Hunico
All right, if anyone was going to make Jackson look good it was going to be Hunico. While this doesn’t live up to Hunico’s match with Sin Cara on Sunday it was decent and worth the one watch. Nothing special, but not bad.
3. Zack Ryder vs. Drew McIntyre
The main event tonight was incredible. The crowd was going crazy for Ryder and they decided to give him as an opponents Drew McIntyre. Okay, so you knew Drew was losing. Ryder was not losing with this crowd, despite the WWE’s obsession with having men lose in their hometown, there isn’t a man more over in his hometown. The two of them put on a match that has you on the edge of your seat if just to see what they are going to do next. McIntyre makes fun of Ryder’s “LI” hand gesture to the crowd and at one point walks across Ryder’s face. But, Ryder did win and the fans rejoiced.
2. Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. Tyler Reks & Curt Hawkins
The Kings of Change take on my favorite face tag team since, well, quite awhile. Surprisingly the match was a showcase of Reks and Kidd. Reks gets brutal with Kidd and Kidd tries to get brutal right back. I love Kidd’s ability but watching him try to put the very large Reks into a Sharpshooter was a bit funny. Reks also did a move he calls the Guilty Spark to Kidd, which had him putting Kidd over his shoulders and dropping him across the ropes. It’s much cooler than I described. However, at the end of the match Hawkins had to take the pin, but so far this is match of the week. Four incredible talents showing off their skills. Oh, and I can’t forget the brilliant, “Let’s Go Hawkins!” chant that started off the match.
1. Scott Stanford
Speaking of incredible talent, did you hear what he had to say this week? And Josh? What happened to Mathews this week? He seemed to be a whole different commentator who was engaged in conversation and the match and between the two they were not missing a beat. This was the best commentating job from the team since they first teamed up. I hope they both keep the momentum.
Scott Stanford’s best lines of the night:
“What have Reks and Hawkins done in a year of being a tag team? Both Kidd and Gabriel former champions.”
“I was trying to take the temperature, get into the core of what they were feeling.”
“Now Hawkins takes one right in the kisser!”
“The Tag Team division just sizzling right now in the WWE.”
“Hawkins and Reks told me they are still very proud of the People Power Era. They are going to continue to honor the John Laurinaits/Shane Douglas Dynamic Dudes tag team with those 80s neon ring gear.”
“Zack actually recording for Z True Long Island Story backstage just a little bit ago and McIntyre goes by and smacks the camera out of Ryder’s hands.”
“Right where the vertical and horizontal mats meet, right on Zack’s back.”
I love Jack Swagger, but coming up with 4 is hard because he’s the most underutilized man that never gets to stick with a character. I know a list of things I like about him, but it would be picking apart every bit about him and naming moves and promos he’s done. He deserves better than a break down because Swagger is greatness, all together, whether you want to admit it or not.
4. Ability to just roll with it
Swagger has gone from a bit of a player, which was quickly dropped, to a man with a championship title showing off his other skills, which was a joke in the way the WWE handled it, and then he joined up with Vickie and mostly got ignored for Ziggler. But Swagger does not let it slow him down nor does he let it affect what he’s doing. He works his way into any character he’s given, or chooses, and does it brilliantly. It’s just a shame WWE has the attention span of a three-year-old and forgets what they were doing too quickly for him to develop.
Not just the music, which is an explosive sound that gets the audience rocking, but the way he comes out. He positively resonates with energy. He does pushups with perfect form and bounces up from them with ease and comes down smiling, even as he is booed.
2. All American-American
As is usual with characters that should be faces, the All American is a heel. He and Derrick Bateman could have been making a great tag team that promotes America, instead Swagger is a heel that doesn’t even get half the air time his ex-partner did. The smile that goes along with the character has him as someone who should be a top superstar, with that character.
1. His In-Ring Prowess
Despite the fact the man can lock in an ankle lock like nobody’s business (and rarely breaks any bones and the face somehow always escapes) and for a large guy he moves with speed and efficiency, he’s underused. This is a man that people should be scared of in the ring, but because he has that smile and doesn’t look as intimidating as he can be, again, underused. But he’s flawless in the ring and lifts and powers through better than most of the men on the roster.
With skills like his, why isn’t he used more?
There was so much lacking in new NXT. They were too concerned with trying to show you who you are supposed to be rooting for they forgot the reason NXT became popular again with the people who watched it was for the storytelling. Instead, I’m going to focus on what I enjoyed about NXT.
4. Bray Wyatt Promo
I was one of those people who actively disliked Husky Harris. I might have been in the minority, but his character didn’t have much going for him and while his wrestling skills were improving I wasn’t over my dislike. As Bray Wyatt he slowly began to win me over and this promo was the best one he’s done yet. His words went well with the soft southern sounds that fill the background along with shots that remind you of dark things happening in the swamps. I hope he keeps this, and works it into the character when he’s in the ring.
3. Ascension vs. Mike Dalton and CJ Parker
Really this one is about Ascension. The promo, the wrestling skills, they have it, but I had to give their opponents, Mike Dalton and CJ Parker, the nod because they are incredible athletes. But they were not who the new NXT wanted to showcase so they were brought out to lose to Ascension, Kenneth Cameron and Conor O’Brian. I still get chills when Ascension are mentioned, in the ring, have a promo, exist, and it was a particular fun highlight for me. I just wish they had been given a longer match, it would have shown their own skills while showing off the skills of Dalton and Parker.
2. Derrick Bateman and Johnny Curtis
YES! Some storytelling! The “hate” between Bateman and Curtis continues as they chat about their match next week on NXT. This after Curtis had just come out of the bathroom. Bateman asks him if he’s going to wash his hands and Curtis replies by wiping his hands on his shirt and saying, “They’re clean.” Bateman calls him a dirt bag and Regal in commentary says, “If I was Derrick Bateman I would rip his bloody throat out.” Looking forward to the match.
1. Michael McGillicutty vs. Tyson Kidd
Granted, I’ve seen these two put on better matches before, but they are still great in the ring and had the only match of the night that wasn’t a showcase for someone they want to promote. The first half of the show was filler, the second half of the show was almost story-telling without the same usual care. If you can’t give us the stories we wanted, at least continue to give us the matches we were used to. This isn’t Raw or Smackdown, and it’s not for a reason. No more squashes, give us two men (like McGillicutty and Kidd), two women, four men, whatever, that are out there to wrestle and show off their heart (pun intended).
Yes, I got a little more ranty than I meant to. I’m just hoping they are still working their way into a groove. We will see!
I always do Top 4s, but this week I would have loved to have added more. There are several honorable mentions, but I’m going to list them all. Instead, many of them are going to be on the poll at the bottom. For now, the Top 4 matches that had me blown away this week.
4. Tyler Reks & Curt Hawkins vs. Derrick Bateman & Percy Watson – NXT
If I was completely biased, this would have been number one! Instead, I’m only slightly biased. This match seemed to star Reks and Bateman against one another, though Hawkins shines because let’s face it, he’s incredible. Watson may not have lived up to the other three men in the ring, but considering he was hardly featured it helped this match. The best match for NXT and gets a mention during a week when there was some incredible wrestling in WWE TV.
3. Sheamus vs. Tensai – RAW
I never thought that I would be saying this, but not only was this one of the matches of the week, but it was definitely the best match on RAW, and a RAW that had good matches to begin with. Sheamus and Tensai went at one another like they were trying to mutilate one another and I’m sorry during the commercial break we had missed some of it, part of the reason being live and cutting to commercials during a match can suck. Once in a while I like out and out brutality and the two gave as good as they received and made me want to watch Raw all over again.
2. Mike Dalton & Xavier Woods vs. Jake Carter & Corey Graves – FCW
Besides my obsession with Dalton and Woods having matching pants, and Carter and Graves just having the right attitudes and looks, the four men always put on an excellent show. This also might be the last time we see these teams working as tag teams as FCW on television is coming to an end and some have moved on to NXT. These four do prove in this match why some of them will be major superstars one day.
1. Hunico vs. Justin Gabriel – Superstars
Did you see this match? If you did not you are depriving yourself. Justin Gabriel returned from injury with better form and more passion for what he’s doing. He’s found his rhythm and shows it off against Hunico, who despite being nothing more than a jobber now, is one of the ten best wrestlers within the company. And I said wrestler, honest to goodness athlete, not character. Character… they did their best to brush him aside. If you watch Superstars for any match from the past week, watch it for this.
I’ve noticed lately on Superstars the Raw portion has been consistently using “bigger” names while Smackdown seems to get the “throwaways” or “jobbers.” However, Smackdown usually has the better match. Is this week any different?
4. The Usos vs. Prime Time Players
Though they aren’t introduced as Prime Time Players, I’m sticking with the name Titus O’Neil and Darren Young came up for themselves. This wasn’t a bad match, but calling it a good match might be a stretch as well. The antics of the PTP were fun and Scott gave us little tidbits on Young’s hair and why he had a pick go through it before the match began, but the match itself… Let’s just say both tag teams have done better.
3. Zack Ryder vs. Michael McGillicutty
This certainly wasn’t last week’s match with Jack Swagger. This one was to give the #1 Borski a win back and so they gave it to him against McGillicutty. McGillicutty looks good, as does Ryder, and it was a match that had me cheering (quietly for McGillicutty since I’m Scott’s #1 fan I feel dirty when I don’t cheer for Ryder). However after this match came the match of the night, and possibly the match of the week, and everything else that went on in the show paled in comparison.
2. Justin Gabriel vs. Hunico
Since Gabriel’s return he’s decided to make me like him more than I did before. I never disliked Gabriel, but I was not a fan of the 450 and that seemed to be what they were pushing Gabriel for. He’s returned and seemed to have picked up speed and been trying a few different moves that fit into a style he’s comfortable with. Against Hunico, who people forget is a damn good wrestler that was drowned in what has been brushed off as a stereotype character and never taken seriously for that reason. This match proves their timing, and control when they both miss the commentator’s table and Matt Striker has to stand up to check on them. As of today, this is match of the week for me.
1. Scott Stanford (with special nod to Matt Striker)
We all know I think Scott is the best commentator on this planet, but Striker does need some appreciation as well, especially during this episode. He seemed to remember how good he really is and while he may have only commentated one match, he proved again why he was a great commentator who deserved to still be doing PPVs, not Superstars only. Scott continues to prove he should be doing more. He explains why he knows what he knows about the superstars which is simply, he goes up and asks them. He finds out what makes them tick and why they are in the ring. What happened backstage, what is happening in their careers, and what he should know about their pasts that make them a contender. For twenty minutes of onscreen time the man does his homework, takes his notes, and helps bring the entertainment home.
Scott Stanford’s Best Lines of the Week
“Thanks for the answer by the way.”
“To make him feel good I might have to watch it once or twice.” – About Ryder’s new DVD
“Into your living room with that Broski Boot!”
“If your hair is nappy, nobody is going to be happy.”
“That slap just reverberated throughout the arena.”
“But if they can back it up, is it cocky or confidence?”
“They shout out millions of dollars, I just shout out couple of bucks.”
Sunday’s episode of FCW is pretty much full for the one hour show. It has a promo from Seth Rollins, which might be his best yet, talking about his match with Dean Ambrose next week. Summer Rae and Rob Naylor, in a fetching matching pink, concede Maxine’s office to Dusty Rhodes. Raquel Diaz came out looking Gaga’d up. Wait, what? Uh, the blue lipstick has to go…
4. Audrey Marie vs. Paige accompanied by Sofia Cortez
Audrey Marie just is not improving in the ring. As a former champion she does not live up to the ability that should claim and is trumped even more because she’s facing off against Paige, who is nearly flawless in her abilities. This match also continues the destruction of Paige and Sofia’s alliance as Sofia’s quick hands are the reason Paige loses this match
3. Big E Langston vs. Bo Dallas
Big E Langston (who I suspect will end up with a name change at some point) gets all of the offense in during this match. He beats up Dallas (formerly Rotundo), he beats him up some more, he beats him up again, and then Dallas wins with a spear. Langston sells this spear like the champ he should be because it’s the best Bo-Bo’s looked with a spear yet. Great display of Langston’s abilities, but not a great match.
2. Rick Victor vs. CJ Parker
This is where we get into great match territory. The first two matches, while good, did not live up to these two. I had a hard time choosing which I preferred, but in the end the great Rick Victor, with new ring gear and music, faced off with CJ Parker, with new ring gear and music, fell into #2. Parker’s put on a bit more muscle, and it cost him in movement during this match, almost like he’s not quite used to it yet, while Victor continued to be the dominant wrestler he is.
1. Mike Dalton & Xavier Woods vs. Jake Carter & Corey Graves
Dalton and Woods had on new shiny pants, which I loved, and it must have given them super-powers because they won this match-up. But that’s not to discredit Carter and Graves in any way. This was a fast paced match where there were never any lulls. Both tag teams work like tag teams should, knowing when to tag, knowing when to help out. It’s a smooth match and starts off the show with a bang. When a show starts off hot it’s hard to turn away.
Sorry, no pictures this time, but here, watch the episode!
Every week I go through and review NXT, FCW, and Superstars. Every week I talk about the quality of matches on the show and how much I enjoy them. To show you where my idea for quality lies welcome to the first edition of Top 4 Matches of the Week (in WWE).
4. Smackdown – Dolph Ziggler vs. Christian
Dolph Ziggler and Christian have quite a few things in common, and being underutilized for their talents is a big one. You knew when they were going to meet up that this was going to be the most entertaining match of Smackdown. The problem is these men are made to bump crazily. Why is that a problem? While you get a few great moves from them because of their agility, they both have such crazy bumps there is a lot of time spent wondering, “Now what?” This doesn’t take away from the fact that these two men are incredible and this still is the only bigger show match to make it onto the top 4.
3. NXT – Tyler Reks vs. Jey Uso
Yes, I have a bias towards Tyler Reks, but his match with Jey Uso was the best on NXT that week. Jey is the better wrestler of the two and Reks is better than anyone gives him credit for. Plus, Reks gets the win.
2. Superstars – Jack Swagger vs. Zack Ryder
Swagger won! Swagger won!!
1. FCW – Jason Jordan vs. Leo Kruger
Yup, the two guys from the developmental show are the ones who ran away with best match of the week. The match itself had the best storytelling, the best in-ring work, and that little bit of comedy I like to see in matches, at least sometimes. Kruger and Jordan told a great story with facial expressions, gestures, and every twist in the ring. Thanks again, guys, for a match I’ll watch again and again!