This was actually an incredible week for wrestling and it was hard to narrow it down. I tried very very very hard to not be biased, but let’s admit that to some extent, I am.
4. Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler – No Way Out
It was between this match or their match on Smackdown. The reason this one won out was the amount of time given to it. These are two men who do not slow down and do not give up on their need to put on a show for the audience. In the heat of the moment during this match people forgot that Dolph Ziggler was a replacement for Del Rio and were gasping and holding their breath as a few times it looked like he could win. Another thing that held the Smackdown match back was that now it’s become a match we have seen a few times. Let Ziggler win, he’s incredible in the ring and deserves that “damn” title.
3. Hunico vs. Sin Cara – No Way Out
As I said in the No Way Out blog, this was an incredible match and I wish this is what it had been like when they had feuded as Sin Cara vs. Sin Cara. Instead this was a welcome back to the man they push harder, Sin Cara, but done in a way that Hunico looked incredible, and he is. WWE just needs to use him correctly. Still worth watching for the athleticism and where Sin Cara has seemed to have found his stride.
2. Zack Ryder vs. Drew McIntyre
Zack Ryder has hit a plateau, lucky for him the plateau is still pretty far up there. However he’s constantly paired with men who can easily dominate him in the ring, ala Drew McIntyre. Drew has fun with this match even though he’s going to lose and it becomes even more entertaining. McIntyre’s ruthlessness paired with Ryder’s playfulness make for two men desperately seeking that win over the other in a way that keeps the flow going. In case you can’t tell by now, I prefer matches that are pretty much non-stop. Drew, as Ryder lays on the mats, goes to the audience and teases them with the “LI” hand gesture, keeping the crowd focused on entertainment even when a man is down.
1. Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. Tyler Reks & Curt Hawkins
Okay, so this match had Reks in it, who might happen to be in my Top 5 (and not my Booker T Top 5 but a pretty solid Top 5) and it had Kidd in it (not far down the list either) oh, and the newly improved Gabriel since his return, and Hell, can’t forget Hawkins and… … … Okay, I went into a small explosion of excitement because this is four incredible wrestlers in one match and I might be biased, but the match is a testament to why Reks is awesome. The Guilty Spark (which involves dropping Kidd on the ropes, you must see it) is incredible. Hawkins does not get to wrestle much in this match, it really is more about Kidd and Reks, but Hawkins is not to be outdone and does not let the fresh Gabriel take him down easily.
The fact that the top two matches were commentated by Scott Stanford has no bearing. Mostly.
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.”
We are reaching the end of the NXT that is being taped during Smackdown. What will happen to that extra hour? Will it be shorter shows now? How will we see Full Sail’s NXT? And what about FCW? A few of those guys seem to think it is just being completely abolished. As usual, watching NXT leaves more questions than it gives any sort of answers and Vince continues to flip us off. Which is why I have a certain number 4.
4. Maxine on Commentary
Maxine’s being on commentary during the Kaitlyn vs. Tamina match was a big flip off of our own, of the writer’s own, of the NXT superstars own right back at Vince. Kill the storylines, fine, but we’ll make sure there is some sort of interaction between these superstars other than being randomly thrown in the ring together, or at least seemingly random in the 6 Man match. Maxine’s weakest point is her commentary, probably because she’s much better being sensual or angry than she is speaking with a clear head, but she still holds her own and chats up Regal while Mathews sits there and botches line after line. It’s as close as we are getting to storylines until Full Sail and I thank whoever thought this bit of brilliance up for at least trying to give us something.
3. Kaitlyn vs. Tamina
Regal comments on how strong both of these women are and that they can deadlift over 300 lbs. Either way, these two women have come a long way and Kaitlyn’s submissions are looking impressive. The match is nothing new for either, though, and it drops it a bit.
2. 6 Man Tag Match
Justin Gabriel makes his return on NXT after his injury by teaming up with Percy Watson and Derrick Bateman against everyone’s favorite NXT heels Michael McGillicutty, JTG, and Johnny Curtis. Curtis asked they not call him creepy, then came down to the ring looking… well, creepy. For as long as the match was it started off slow and didn’t really pick up until those last couple of minutes. In those last couple of minutes it was fast paced and frenzied, but in a way that makes you laugh and enjoy the ride. Bateman jumps out and body surfs, or planks, on two of the guys and Gabriel takes the win without using a 450 Splash, which totally earned him points with me. I think wrestlers should have multiple finishers, and Gabriel still had great movement on this new one. But, poor JTG was pinned (and bleeding) and it made me a little sad.
1. Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins vs. The Usos
Someone might be mad at me later, but this match had the most cohesive movements and consistency. The Usos, who are good for being related to Rikishi and being brothers, looked up to par in this match-up and I can’t help but think it’s because of Reks and Hawkins. Have Reks and Hawkins had a bad match since their return to NXT in September? While everyone comments about their wearing “Hart” colors (because hey, there’s no way color schemes have ever been repeated in the WWE ever, it’s not like everyone doesn’t wear black and red…) they are missing the match. When Reks and Hawkins step out my attention is immediately drawn to them and I can’t help but cheer, in my living room, when I’m by myself with the cats and scaring them. A lot of back and forth in this match and it was the least predicable of the matches since Reks and Hawkins won! Yeah, in case you can’t tell, this was my favorite match of the night, and might have been my favorite match of the week so far.
When I go to watch Superstars I usually think, “Well, I already know how the top 4 is going to go,” and I don’t stress, though there are weeks I have refrained from writing one for a lack of being able to come up with 4 things. I try not to be a Negative Nelly when it comes to blogging, it won’t really help you want to watch the show! Which is what I want you to do! This week I wondered how I was going to be able to stick all of the things into a top 4 since there were actually four matches… and Scott Stanford! We can not forget Scott Stanford.
First, let’s talk about match length. Lately I have taken to timing matches, the parts that are actually seen. So from bell to bell, not counting commercial breaks. This particular 50+ minute episode of show had 25 minutes and 54 seconds of wrestling. What the Hell? What happened to the other 25 minutes? Oh right, Raw recaps and commercials that are embedded into the file. Next week I might start timing how long the Raw recaps take. Four matches in 26 minutes? Of course this was better than the last 3 hour Raw, which had 31 minutes of wrestling, and definitely more than four matches.
Okay, now to shake off my negativity and get to the top 4!
4. Alicia Fox vs. Natalya
Alicia Fox isn’t always the best in-skill worker, but Natalya, like her boyfriend, tends to be the controlling interest in a match. Natalya also shines in her new outfit with the cape that never received as much love as it deserved! The women put on an entertaining match and Natalya gets better at the Sharpshooter every time I see her do it. These two also always seem to have fun when they are facing one another, even if they are supposed to hate each other.
3. Ezekiel Jackson vs. Drew McIntyre
I grew bored with Jackson awhile ago, like, shortly after he came back from his injury, so why does this match gets a higher spot? Well, Drew, of course. Drew’s new hairstyle probably helps this a bit, because without it being completely pulled back, and having the braids, he’s even yummier. I don’t know what they are doing with Drew, but he can still Future Shock a wrestler and make me cringe. Yeah, this match made it to three based on McIntyre. I admit it.
2. Santino Marella and Zack Ryder vs. Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins w/ Scott Stanford
Oh yeah, I’m completely cheating. Scott commentated my two favorite matches of this show and I will completely claim that it was because of him that these were my two favorite matches. Sure, Reks and Hawkins are great wrestlers that can take on any tag team, even if they are constantly losing, but Scott helps! Who else has that enthusiasm in the matches, besides possibly Regal? Ryder and Santino were destined to win this match, though, and if you have already seen Smackdown you understand why, but it’s fun in the meantime. Reks also sells taking the Cobra like no one else.
1. Hunico vs. Tyson Kidd w/ Scott Stanford
Kidd is likely the best wrestler in the WWE right now, which is why he gets showcased on shows like Superstars and NXT. He has the skill and it’s better to get the chance to watch him wrestle than to throw him on some show that will have him getting squashed all of the time. Hunico proved a long time ago as the second Sin Cara that he has the skill to match Kidd, though at a slower pace. The two of them take this match to levels that the other shows should be showcasing as main events, and thanks to Scott Stanford (who explains to us the cost of the bike that Camacho and Hunico take out to the ring) it’s commentated like a main event.
See, I managed to get Scott into one and two, and slip in all four of the matches that in some way were worthy of the show that bases itself on the wrestling of the talent.
Hey, what a surprise, NXT was my favorite part of the night.
We started off standing in line to get into the Huntington Center and in front of us someone referred to Lord Tensai as, “that Chinese guy.” I had to hold my breath and count to 10 or else I was going to jump on him and pummel him into oblivion. Behind us a woman called Chris Jericho gay, which meant it was Chris’s turn to hold his breath and count to 10.
We were a bit more leisurely walking around Huntington Center as they let people in an hour before hand and the lines moved relatively quickly. Of course, when we have time, there were no Ziggler shirts available to buy. We did buy a program for $10. No Derrick in it and it still had Jack Korpela in it. I love Jack, but perhaps this program needs some updating?
The dark match: Ezekiel Jackson against… Dean Ambrose again! This one really was more of the Dean Ambrose Show. Ambrose talked ahead of time, was booed like crazy, and then won the match. Kids whined. This was a worse crowd than the night before. Let me tell you about the people in front of me before I go on to the show.
A mom and dad brought their two sons and their two friends along to enjoy Smackdown. We were on the second floor (which were actually great seats since it was a small arena). The balcony has just a metal barrier that is easily climbable and the metal “ledge” was about the width of six inches. It’s not a lot to keep someone from climbing right over, and those kids were leaning all over it and around. The mom and dad once each told the kids not to lean on it, but they didn’t listen. Dad got on his phone and never got off of it through the whole show and Mom just didn’t give a crap. So I was yelling at the kids most of the time and whenever someone got up there wasn’t a security guy in sight. Yeah, I was doing anything I could to ignore the Hell out of those kids.
The first thing taped at Smackdown is NXT, likely so they can get the yellow ropes out of the way. Imagine my excitement when Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins walked in and took their seats at ringside. I immediately got on my phone and sent Reks a direct message on twitter, because I had to tell someone he was there, and I’m not about spoilers on my timeline. I said, “I see you!” in my excitement.
Regal acknowledged them first thing before NXT really was rolling by staring them down with that smug look he does so well. Unfortunately you only see the tail end of it on NXT. Actually, NXT minimized Reks and Hawkins being in the audience, which was a shame. Reks and Hawkins were very interactive with the fans, talking to those around them, holding up their signs, and even getting a “Regal Sucks” chant started. Let me explain why that in itself was amazing. Toledo was all about faces. Every time a face walked out the screams were deliriously loud, and the crowd screamed just as loudly when Regal came out before NXT started. So when Reks and Hawkins had the crowd shouting, “Regal Sucks!” it was quite the feat.
At one point Reks and Hawkins held up their tickets for Matt Striker to see when he went over and interacted with them.
Reks was on his phone at one lull during what would be a commercial break and Chris pointed out, “Reks is texting someone.” Wasn’t I excited when my phone buzzed a moment after Reks put his phone down.
Now, all of this with Reks and Hawkins that was going on, besides the end where Regal throws them out of the arena, never made it to air. That’s a shame, because Reks and Hawkins might have been the most exciting part of the show, and I love most of the men on NXT. NXT was not a boring show, but the fact that Reks and Hawkins were in the audience actually gave the audience a sort of buzz, a contact high of greatness because this should have been shown throughout the entire show. Clips of them should have made it on. Their show of support for their fellow athletes as they applauded the wins. They were nothing but entertaining and NXT only showed one part, and that was them being thrown out? Who was thinking what there? They had an excellent storyline, an excellent shot, and excellent athletes and decided it would be in the background. When I mentioned Reks and Hawkins were there as we watched NXT the next night I was asked no less than 5 times where they were. No one saw them until the ending segment unless they knew to look.
I would like to point out that JTG also had a loud pop. Crazy loud. The kids loved him, and I was screaming with the kids. I’ve always liked JTG and he’s a great wrestler. I believe this is the first time we had the chance to see JTG wrestle at any of the shows. He had been at a few of the other Smackdown tapings, but we didn’t get to see him wrestle.
Not the first time we were able to see Kidd wrestle, though, and that’s as exciting as it is every other time.
But where the Hell was Derrick on NXT?
After NXT was over I already knew the rest of the show was going to go down hill. I mean, what was going to top Reks and Hawkins for me? And Kidd? Unless Derrick made it to Smackdown?? That might top it!
Superstars as a taping of Khali and Jinder Mahal where the crowd proved they lacked in intelligence. As the match was going on not once, but twice a “USA” chant was started. I was beginning to get embarrassed to be a part of this crowd! Khali was another those little kids were screaming for non stop.
Time for Smackdown! And since I’ve been asked a few times, no, Lilian did not have any shoe malfunctions and never tripped. Loved her zebra print dress.
The first match of Smackdown ended in a disqualification. The second match of Smackdown, which was Brodus Clay against Jack Swagger, also ended in a disqualification in almost the same way. Later during the show Swagger and Ziggler came out demanding a rematch and this time the ending was Swagger walking out on Clay and refusing to continue the match, which will likely be the ending that makes it to television instead of having two disqualifications in a row.
I don’t get why Clay has children in the ring with him to dance. They don’t look happy, they look freaked out. Or like they have no idea what they are doing in the ring.
To my mixed excitement, suddenly Derrick Bateman came out. YA- shit, this means it’s going to be bad, doesn’t it? At first I thought they were going to feed him to Damien Sandow, which I might have been more pissed about than what it ended up being. After a speech from Sandow it ended up being Ryback. I like Ryback, but Derrick deserved better than a squash match. Now I know why he was barely on NXT, and sacrificing a good match on NXT, or plot, or whatever they likely would have done with him, instead he was thrown to Ryback. Again, I like Ryback, I don’t like his matches and I don’t like they fed Derrick to him. My mood just kept tumbling.
The main event: pretty much another rematch from the beginning of the show. They fit in a re-record, ran a bit over, and still it was probably the shortest taping I would say of Smackdown I’ve seen.
The after dark match was Randy Orton against Kane. This was entertaining in that these two men seem to have a bit more fun with doing things when the camera is off of them. Sure, they were still in character, but they looked less stiff against one another.
I have to admit that in the very beginning of this episode, I worried. Okay, not the very beginning. The Glee-esque opening, “And that’s what you missed on NXT,” was hilarious. But then they opened with Watson versus Curtis. No story, just throwing them back in the ring together. But the show went up, up, and away from there!
I have to admit that in the very beginning of this episode, I worried. Okay, not the very beginning. The Glee-esque opening, “And that’s what you missed on NXT,” was hilarious. But then they opened with Watson versus Curtis. No story, just throwing them back in the ring together. But the show went up, up, and away from there!
4. Percy Watson vs. Johnny Curtis
Besides just having complained about the match opening the show it was a great match. Just, predictable. In the determination to be different and not give us very long feuds, which I like, NXT does tend to go one to one and then need a tie-breaker. Great for storyline, but sometimes you need a shakeup. Still, sound match that shows off Curtis’s skill and Watson’s moves.
3. The One-Liners
Okay, they weren’t all one-liners. Some played off of one another, but the writing for this show is spectacular. Or whoever is coming up with what everyone decides to say.
Maxine: “Matt Striker is fine. There is nothing wrong with Matt Striker.” Josh: “HE WAS KIDNAPPED FOR 3 WEEKS!”
Regal: “Please let it be Derrick Bateman, I’d like to fire him.” Derrick: “No one is, no one’s a fan of me. I’m a fan of you though Regal! I used to like playing as you on WCW/nWo Revenge!”
Curtis: “Single, ready to mingle.”
Regal: “You don’t have to sign it, and you don’t have to work here.”
Kaitlyn: “Maxine, aren’t you used to these by now?”
Hawkins: ““What are you going to do, you little midget?”
2. Maxine vs. Kaitlyn
These women just work wonderfully together. It’s a far cry from their first match ever together, which I think is part of what makes the two such a joy now. When they are in the ring you can see how far they have truly come. Beautiful match that ends with Maxine wrapping herself around Kaitlyn and putting on an expertly executed Dragon Sleeper. My only complaint: NXT needs more divas. More Natalya would be great!
1. Curt Hawkins vs. Tyler Reks
I am going to try to keep this as short as possible while describing how fantastically horrible and wonderful this was. Hawkins and Reks are ousted as the kidnappers. Reks and Hawkins confront Regal claiming the film was doctored, they weren’t really the kidnappers. Striker comes out, says he wasn’t beaten by fists, but with a blunt object, much like a walking stick. In his hands, Hawkins’ cane. Oh yes, quite nice. Regal, tired of the two slackers, tells them they must fight one another. Whoever loses is fired. Reks begins to refuse, but Hawkins panics and punches him, turning this into a brawl.
These two men do not just wrestle. This is a knock-down drag out (without blood, kudos!) They fight through a desperation to stay employed, not thinking about who they are fighting on the other side. Reks ultimately wins (didn’t see that coming) but both are still ultimately fired.
Solace has a heart attack.
Will she survive? Guess we’ll find out next week, on NXT
Ho-Hum, another mostly predictable episode of Superstars. The matches can be good, can be, but there should be a bit more elasticity when it comes to predictability. This is part of the reason Scott makes it to number one every week. I want a match I can’t predict the end of!
4. Jinder Mahal vs. Ezekiel Jackson
The most predictable match of the night. Sure, some might say that it was more obvious that Kelly Kelly would win, but no. Jinder Mahal was going to win. With a Camel Clutch. There was no doubt. Ezekiel Jackson is starting to lose the muscle definition he had gained as he was injured last year and while it’s making him look soft he did not look bad in the ring. Jinder Mahal was sporting a new coat, which I adored, and a white turban, which I didn’t. The colors were wrong to go with the new sparkly gear.
3. Brie Bella vs. Kelly Kelly
I don’t care what people say about the Bellas, I like them. No, they aren’t Maxine, or Natalya, or even AJ and Kaitlyn, but I’m not a hater of the Bellas. The match, though, is sub par and Scott’s commentary is the best part of it, but he sounds enthused enough that you can bring yourself to care, whether you are a Bella fan or Kelly Kelly fan. Ultimately, Kelly Kelly wins, surprise, surprise, and all remains the same with the world. Many conspiracy theorists will tell you this is the “last hurrah” for the Bellas as the rumor mill has them on the way out at the end of the month.
2. Kofi Kingston vs. Curt Hawkins
Kofi wins. Bah. But of late I’ve enjoyed Kofi again. Maybe he needed to stop being tagged with someone? He looked good, enough, in the ring against Curt Hawkins and oddly I was not outraged he won. In fact I was instead just glad to have seen a good match. Not my favorite match of the week, but still a darn good match!
1. Scott Stanford… duh
Here, just let his lines for the week speak for themselves:
“Time for some boom boom pow.”
“A wise guy, eh?”
“And it’s booty call time!”
“Kelly Kelly pounding away on Brie Bella!”
Wrestlemania is so jammed pack full of gimmick matches that have little to do with storylines people care about that they left out a glaring error, because they forgot they were supposed to be pushing tag matches again. Epico and Primo hold the tag team titles but who remembers that? It’s not the men’s fault but sadly misused booking. Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins have been used better and they are on NXT.
Speaking of Reks and Hawkins… Oh yes, you knew I would go there.
Solace’s Dream Missing Match
Before the start of the show Reks and Hawkins are up to their usual antics of being bullies and utterly cool while doing so. When they run into Epico and Primo they make fun of them for not having a match even though they are tag champs and for having to be managed by a woman whose only talent is dancing. This is where Regal does his thing and comes in to announce that since there was some time to fill on the card and people want to see their tag team champs he is going to make an impromptu tag match. However, if Reks and Hawkins lose they get to clean the entire arena once everyone leaves with a pro showing them how it’s done. Reks and Hawkins agree on the condition that Regal will do the sweeping instead if they win. Regal agrees because he believes there is no chance that Reks and Hawkins can win.
Epico and Primo put on a great show, and even get a little help from their former stable-buddy Hunico, but they just can’t hold up to Reks and Hawkins. Reks and Hawkins ultimately win the tag titles from Epico and Primo. No, not because I prefer Reks and Hawkins, but because Reks and Hawkins have done more to show what tag teams should be like in the last six months than anyone else has. These men should be the two going around and crushing any and all other tag teams, while helping to build groups who want to take them down.
After the show Reks and Hawkins hand Regal his broom and wish him luck on cleaning. Oh, and they found his pro, the ever handsome Scott Stanford, who is the lone man cleaning the arena corridors. As soon as Reks and Hawkins leave, and Scott starts saying how happy he is to work with Regal and how he could use the help, Regal instantly starts making excuses. His twins need him. His wife found out about Maxine. Etc. Leaving poor Scott to sweep on his own and Regal calculating a better revenge on Reks and Hawkins.
Of course I found a way to incorporate Scott into this. What were you expecting?
I missed Tyler Reks when he first appeared on ECW. My first experience with this man was on Smackdown when he went up against Kaval and took his spot during Bragging Rights back in 2010. Sadly, I disliked Tyler Reks then, but mostly because I had gone through NXT Season Two with Kaval and had been rooting for the man with the deep voice. Reks took the spot and I couldn’t say I was thrilled.
As time went on I stopped blaming Reks for Kaval’s treatment, and subsequent seeming bad attitude, and decided to give Reks merit for what he actually brought to the screen. Unfortunately that was short-lived as he once again seemed to disappear. Then, on September 27th, Reks made his return to being someone to watch on the computer screen as he and Hawkins debuted as a tag team on NXT. While NXT is often the lesser of the shows, this has proven quickly to be an improvement and Reks has branched out. Now, months later, as a staple of NXT Reks has proven he is a man not to be REKoned with. (Man, that was bad)
The Top 4 Reasons the man with the dreads and great taste in clothing is worthy of your adoration:
4. The Dreads
Okay, so really it’s his whole look, but I wanted to say the dreads because it would annoy so many people. The biggest reason I see for people not liking Reks is the dreads. I think it is a pretty asinine reason not to like someone, especially when he makes it work. Unlike what Regal says on a recent episode of NXT, Reks’ dreads are clean and a part of his entire look. The man knows fashion and works it around his brawn. The sculpted beard adds a flair of a crisp clean to his face and makes this man look like he belongs on the cover of magazines.
3. Fan Engagement
Even as a heel he can coax you into a reaction. Besides what he does on twitter, which is engage in conversations and encourage people to watch the shows he is on, which is a brilliant way to gather a following, when standing in the middle of that ring he knows how to make you react. He also knows how to react to it without being whispered to by someone. When he’s booed he will take it and explain why he knows you are booing him, all while not completely insulting the fans. Reks is the most engaging, non insulting heel, while still maintaining that aura of dark anger when he needs it, usually in the ring. He looks for reactions to what he is saying and knows how to work the mic to those reactions.
Speaking of knowing what to do with the microphone, damn can this man speak. Reks goes from goofing off and talking about being the Xbox King when feuding with Tatsu and Barreta to in the ring with a microphone, seriously telling Regal where he can shove his janitorial duties. Reks does it all with a lilt in his tone that suggests he takes everything as seriously as needed while taking nothing too seriously. He speaks eloquently while not sounding like he’s trying too hard. This man’s voice matches the attitude and the looks, and there is so much more about him I could go on about. But really, let’s get to the main reason he deserved a Top 4.
1. The Ability
Tyler Reks does something a lot of men seem to have forgotten how to do when it comes to ability: he throws a punch. AND he makes it look good. When he fought Curt Hawkins on Superstars back in 2011 he threw two subsequent punches that looked like they landed hard and he pulled his hand back and reacted like a man who had just pummeled someone instead of simply brushing off two strong punches. But wait, there is more, because Reks does far more than punch guys. This man kicks, clotheslines, and slams the best of them with a proficiency that should make others jealous. He is calculating without moving slow, he is destructive without ending a match too soon. He seems tireless in the ring. Yes, this man is at the top of his game.
Oh, in short, Tyler Reks is more than he’s being given credit for. Whether alone, or pair with the ever fabulous Curt Hawkins, this is a man to look out for. He is already a king of NXT, in a year he will be taking over every television screen as a main eventer on at the very least Smackdown. He just needed the opportunity, and he has taken it and run with it.
It is a bit odd re-watching a show that you sat at, but there is a good reason to watch shows that are pre-recorded as opposed to live: what are the changes? This NXT really did not suffer changes, but unfortunately, as usual, our signs and voices did not make it on screen. But, there is still a top four to be had in all of this, so without further ado…
4. The Usos vs. Darren Young and Titus O’Neil
William Regal decided this episode of NXT was going to be a tag match sort of episode. Unlike Teddy Long tag team matches on Smackdown, these were not random. Darren Young and Titus O’Neil are trying to establish themselves as the resident evil doers of NXT. What better way to help prove this than to feud them with The Usos who happen to still be darlings for fans in attendance. I have to admit that seeing Darren and O’Neil try to copy The Usos’ entrance was highly entertaining and the best thing I’ve seen Titus do since he was eliminated from NXT all of those seasons ago. This was a better than good match while still not being great because this was the slowest match of the three. It’s still weird at all to put Titus O’Neil on my list and not completely bash him the entire time.
3. Michael McGillicutty and Tyson Kidd promo
This is a testament to how much Kidd has grown in my estimation, and McGillicutty gets better at cutting a promo every week. I have always wanted to like McGillicutty from when I first saw him as a contestant on NXT, but… he was bland. He’s grown in wrestling but his character was hardly there. Suddenly, he has character, and he shows it while belittling the crowd and Kidd. “I’ll tell you about your rematch, Tyson. It’s not. Going. To happen.” That is when Tyson Kidd comes out to stick up for the poor crowd, “So, according to you, not only am I a loser, but everybody in this arena is a loser as well? But fortunately for you Mikey these people don’t have a microphone, but I dooooo.” And what is it with Kidd’s outfit? He’s been training more, he’s more sculpted, and that outfit, wooo baby. Sorry, what was I saying? Oh yes. Michael and Tyson both show the world that they know how to speak and then go over the ropes and start fighting one another in an all out brawl. This could be a highly entertaining feud while we wait fro Trent Barreta to return!
2. Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins vs. Alex Riley and Percy Watson
Regal makes this match when it seems Reks and Hawkins are making trouble for Riley and Watson. Regal tells the MidCard Mafia if they lose the match they will be doing Regal’s laundry. This is where Hawkins and Reks prove why they are a tag team. They wait for the ref to have his eyes in their direction before they make the tag, they give each other tips while the other is in the ring, and they seemingly have the “telepathy” that Regal referenced earlier in the show. I like Riley and Watson, but Reks and Hawkins deserved to win this one because they are more technically sound and have a better flow. These two should be giving the Tag Team Champions a run for their money. All they need is a half-clad woman to join in and dance about and they would easily be the greatest in the company.
1. Derrick Bateman and Kaitlyn vs. Maxine and Johnny Curtis
Now, if the last match was so technically sound, why did I put this one at number one? No, it was not just because I wanted to make sure Derrick was number one again. Stop accusing me! This one continues a longer storyline and brings about a new arch in this love
mash-up. I happen to really dig mixed up love stories, of course. I’m a woman. I was raised on soap operas and bad romance novels. And these men are better than any men I read about in a novel. No, I will not be using them as characters in my next novel. Despite the WWE having different names for these couples, I will refer to them as Batelyn and Maxis. I like those better. Anyway, after that long description about why I love this storyline, the four of them put on an entertaining show in which Derrick and Kaitlyn win, they both go and hug Derrick’s mom (who I recognized before Regal pointed out who she was, I’m that awesome), and then Derrick tells Kaitlyn, “Tag, you’re it,” and the look on her face right before he kisses her is incredible. NXT’s storylines could be their own sitcom and then you get great wrestling in the middle of it!