Tag Archives: Darren Young

WrestleMania 31 Polls

WrestleMania 31 Logo


With WrestleMania 31 only a few weeks away, I figured it would be about time to see what results people are believing are going to come of “The Granddaddy of Them ALL!”

Please vote on who you think will win each match!


Da Infamous DiZ talks about Summerslam 2012

*All moving gifs courtesy of ilovewrestlinggifs*

Hello again, dear friends and enemies. Welcome back to the site. If you’re like me (and you’re not, because I’m the incarnation of perfection) then you come here for pro wrestling and/or sports entertainment commentary, insight, witty banter and, of course, the occasional bit of hardcore animal porn. But since the nation of Kickassia has passed the Protection of Oriental Pigeons Act (aka the P.O.O.P. Act) we’ve had to fall back on pure analysis.

But not me, true believers! Never a fan of the status quo or hot bird-on-bear action, I, the Infamous One himself, is proud to bring you ranting! Yes, ranting, pure unadulterated ranting on something we all love to hate: the WWE! As we all know, last night was Summerslam 2012, one of the big four PPVs the company puts out, and the question is simple: “DiZ, you clandestine paragon of forthrightness, what did YOU, in all your greatness and humility that I can never hope to achieve, think of the PPV?”

Since you are so kind to acknowledge my greatness, I’ll tell you. I’ve picked up a bad habit, I’m sorry to say, one that compels me to actually buy the PPVs, fry up some chicken wings, drink Yuengling and Sam Adams and occasionally endure a random appearance by a long-lost friend. The last element within that circle did not occur last night, but just as well. Those long-lost friends are usually casual fans and at a certain point last night they would have felt cheated out of the $0.00 they paid to watch it.

Not that they matter. What did I think? Well we start with the pre-show match between Antonio Cesaro, the man of five languages (and six words) versus the United States Champion (and I use that term loosely) Santino Marella. Just for you, reader, I’ll treat you to highlights from the match via moving gifs which highlight the best parts of the matches. So let us begin.

The Book of Man Logic says: applying teeth to clothing that may touch another man’s crotch is ill advised.

We all know the reign of Santino Marella as the United States Champion has been stupidly underwhelming.  His high point came in the Elimination Chamber match when he was literally the cock of the walk.  His inclusion into the PPV, even in the pre-show, is fulfillment of the role of the champion who puts others over.  Enter Antonio Cesaro, master of one-word phrases and questionably attractive European women.  He’s quickly risen from being Teddy Long’s pseudo-adversary to PPV pre-show talent, and why not?  He’s a big Swede who beats people up, kind of like this guy here (only he’s Spanish).

Besides that, with patriotism very high right now (election years will do that to you) a good international heel is needed, and Cesaro fits that bill to a Rocky IV kind of perfection.  The match was entertaining, far more than Marella has been in a long time, and his loss came as a sigh of relief to us, the masses.  Frankly I think Cesaro can enact a respectable and entertaining run as the United States Champion, and maybe he’ll even bring a little validity back to the title.  The big question now is who he feuds with next.  I’m hoping for a low-to-mid carder who hasn’t exactly had a chance to shine or, hypothetically, gets thrown into walls by giants.

Aksana, when we return to hotel, I must break you…

Match one (two if you want to speak in technicalities) was between the Show Off Dolph Ziggler and Y2J Chris Jericho.  I don’t know who said it, but a very wise person said that this match had the potential to be the best PPV opener in the history of the WWE.

I agreed.  Jericho versus Ziggler, old versus new, unofficial mentor versus unofficial mentee, Yomi versus Shura (Yu Yu Hakusho fans might get that one), and sure enough it was all that and more.  The in-ring psychology of the match suggested to me that Ziggler was like a younger brother to Jericho, desperately trying to earn his elder sibling’s respect through ability, skill and imitation.  That, as well as the fact that Jericho’s role in the WWE right now is to put over the next generation of stars, fueled this great match.

You got a degree and you know sign language, but do you have a heavy metal band? HUH!?!

We were treated to just over 13 minutes of smooth ring work and flashy bravado that ended, surprisingly, with a Jericho win.  The crowd was enthused and, even better, we were treated to the Lion Tamer.  Not the Walls of Jericho as many figured, but the Lion Tamer.  I explained to one person, “The Walls of Jericho is a renamed Boston Crab.  The Lion Tamer is there to crush your skill and snap your back in two.”  Big brother wasn’t amused.

But I’m looking past that and to what this match might mean for this feud between Jericho and Ziggler.  It seems like many a Superstar right now are playing the shadow game to a wrestler they emulate or idolize, and this is the first time I’m seeing how blatantly this is being shown.  I don’t see Jericho doing anything big for a bit and Ziggler may not cash in that briefcase in the near future (or maybe he will; get the belt of Sheamus; oops, spoiler) but we may finally see that almost Rule of Two Sith thing I was hinting at so long enough back when Cena was supposed to join the dark side.

Maybe.  I hope so.

It’s “No! No! No!” because typing “Yes! Yes! Yes!” into Google is X rated.

Match three was between Daniel Bryan and Kane, more in-ring story for the long (and compelling) arc between AJ, Punk, Bryan and Kane.  While the “anger management” angle has seemed to fade a little bit, the sun that is Bryan’s career hasn’t subsided in the least.  Easily one of the finest workers in the WWE in a long time, he makes the ring work look good and he plays the crowd to perfection, whether friendly or jerky, aggressive or downright psychotic.  Pair him with Kane, another of the great workers in the WWE, and we have a great match.

It is interesting, I think, that this angle has lasted as long as it has, and it all revolves around a Diva, the most powerful Diva on the program, the Diva that did what Eve couldn’t do and did it without any sexual innuendo (the mantra is “I will resist Eve breast, mouth or sex jokes.  I will resist…”) and now it seems like she punishing every man that had any relation with her along the way.  Look at Punk and his triple threat.  Look at Bryan and his psychological evaluations.  Look at Kane and his relative third wheel status.  Look at Josh Matthews and…

The moral of the story, kids, is that just doing your job is hazardous to your health.

Well to be fair, he was just doing his job.  But really, when’s the last time that paid off?  That’s not very “Be A Star”-ish, WWE.  What does it say when a man who is just trying to do his job gets manhandled and may just suffer from some anal bleeding?

But Bryan won the match via a Small Package (ironic, I know) and AJ has promised retribution and consequences for Kane’s attack.  A great match, great work from both Superstars, great tolerance for Josh Matthews.  I don’t know WHO he pissed off to get thrown around and beat up as of late but he’s taking it all in stride.

Our fourth match was for the Intercontinental Championship, a real barn burner between token talking Mexican good guy Rey Mysterio and (not a) movie star Mike Mizanin, aka the Miz.  I didn’t know what to expect or think of this match but I have to admit: I hate Batman and Bruce Wayne just a little bit more now that we have this image:

Insert generic Adam West Batman quote here.

Personally I think he’d have been better off coming out as the Riddler, being “Mysterio” and all, or even Bane, because of the similar Mexican heritage, but hey, when you need to impersonate a hero, you impersonate everyone’s favorite psychologically damaged, sexually repressed/confused, forever lonely billionaire!  Trust me, I know Batman lore, I’m being VERY nice just saying that.

Like I said, I didn’t have much of an opinion for this match because my only thought was that I wanted the Miz to win.  I’m in the minority here but I’m not big on Rey Mysterio for the same reason I’m not big on Sin Cara: I don’t see their styles soar because they rarely face other luchas.  When the eventual (and inevitable) battle between him and Sin Cara becomes a reality (not that tag team mess where they look like Double Dragon) I’ll probably enjoy it more.  After all, what is Sin Cara in the WWE but in the shadow… of… Rey… Mysterio… do I hear the sweet bells of validation?!

The actual match was surprisingly good.  The back-and-forth was clever and enjoyable, and the end of the match actually did feature some serious edge-of-your-seat(-with-a-beer-in-hand) moments.  The Miz’s victory pleased me even more because it looked like a hard fought victory, which is the best kind of victory.

Match five was the rather noteworthy Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio 463 (I don’t think the number is that high, but it might as well be).  We’ve seen this match plenty of times but despite Del Rio’s in-ring skill he’s just not that fun to watch overall.  He’s rather dull on the mic and he’s grown stale.  Someone’s left the cap off of the bottle of Senzao if you catch my drift.

Therein lies the issue: the actual match was solid.  It was clean.  But like the Primetime Players vs. Kofi Kingston and R-Truth 353 (again, not that many, but might as well be) back when A.W. was their manager, the crowd wasn’t into it.  A.W. brought energy to that match, and Ricardo Rodriguez couldn’t do the same for this match.

There was a certain time when the crowd popped though that caught my attention, as shown here:

The crowd popped at the armlock. Otherwise, they said, “We are not amused!”

But that pop actually came BEFORE Sheamus displayed his strength, when Del Rio locked in his finisher.  That was curious, but even when Ricardo threw his shoe (you’re missed, A.W.) the crowd just wasn’t into this otherwise solid match.  Sheamus retained, but it’s about time we had something new.  Sheamus vs. Del Rio has long since overstayed its welcome, and I wouldn’t mind seeing Orton in the WHC title hunt again.  Speaking of Orton… no, nothing.  I just wanted to get your hopes up.  Like I said to Quinn before: he dismantles with arguments and logic.  I just hurt people’s feelings.  Deal with it!

The next match was the Primetime Players against Kofi Kingston and R-Truth, who seemed to be dressed in Superman attire for some reason or the other.  You’ll notice the lack of moving gifs for this one.  That’s because there are none (or at least I don’t feel like looking).  It was a standard match, and the consistent chant of “Kobe” throughout (or maybe “Kofi”, it was hard to tell) was the highlight.

My biggest thing was finally acknowledging that one of the biggest African-American wrestlers in the WWE right now is a Que.  That’s gotta be an interesting article in the Oracle I reckon.  Kofi and R-Truth (I call them “Good Times” because I think of this song when they come out) retain their titles, but honestly I don’t feel too strongly either way about them right now.

The WWE Championship match followed this tag team encounter, and the first thing that caught my attention was the order of appearance.  John Cena was first, then the Big Show, and finally the CHAMPION CM Punk.  That’s good.  It’s progress.  Punk wasn’t in the main event but that’s a gripe for another post.

There’s no more animal porn, but this… is our loophole.

I’ll say this: that match was as good as it could have possibly been.  There was a consistent attempt to keep it a one-on-one bout and the double tap out was, predictably I’ll admit, interesting if not a little cliché.  Punk’s victory was the icing on the cake because it was both so like him and so unlike him at the same time, which only makes his tweener status (HE’S NOT A HEEL!) all the better.

But you have to wonder: is this part of a grand months long arc like that of Daniel Bryan?  We know the Rock is waiting at the Royal Rumble for his match (with no reasonable explanation as to why this match CAN even go down) but what until then?  Minor sidestories within?  Gaiden?  Cheese?  The Tahj Mahal?  Hammer?  I’m actually voting for Hammer.  Otherwise, CM Punk is a terrific tweener, in the same vein of Stone Cold himself (SHADOWS!  SHADOWS!  SHADOWS!) and I like that.

He’s walking around in this dress that she wore, she is gone, but the joke’s the same… pretty in pink… isn’t she? (I had to do it)

What the people (i.e. – many of thee) don’t understand is that there’s a lot more to the characters you love and hate in the ring.  There’s more than just black and white; there is gray, several shades of it, about fifty to be exact.  That’s where CM Punk is.  That’s actually where a LOT of wrestlers are, but people don’t like to think.  There’s black and white, but no gray.  Gray SUCKS!  So people just think, “Oh, he hit the Rock so he’s a heel!”  Shut up, fool, he’s a tweener, between face and heel, adept in both, master of none!

I’m sorry, I got angry because I envisioned your (ADRIAN!) face and just screamed at the computer screen.  Let me sum up my feelings on those that feel like CM Punk is a heel with this:

The fine for this little infraction gonna be rollin, rollin, rollin, rollin, rollin…

Next we had our Cash Money performance, and being an ardent hater of anything post-2003 from the Cash Money camp that was NOT Teena Marie let’s just apply the above moving gif to my feelings for the performance.  There wasn’t enough dancing Layla but there was enough trying to sing Spanish announcers.  That made the overall performance about a C+.  It would have been a B-, but like I said: not enough dancing Layla.

Finally, my legion of followers, we come to the main event.  Brock Lesnar versus Triple H.  I’ll offer this disclaimer now: if you’re a casual fan of pro wrestling/sports entertainment, this match sucked.  If you’re a deep thinking pro wrestling/sports entertainment fan, this match was intriguing.

Lesnar: Hey Trips! Jimmie John’s profits are up! This ass-whuppin is on me!

It was like a game of chess, that’s the only way I can describe it.  And chess, while interesting, isn’t always something that has your eyes shifting like a game of ping pong.  It was like a ballet almost, a psychological struggle between a man with no morals and a man who still thinks he has something to prove after losing a record third time to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.

Lesnar: Oh yeah, I’m a major cinephile. Check this out! JUDOOOOO CHOP!

No tables were destroyed, no weapons utilized, just some retrospectively brutal attacks by both combatants.  Looking at what this match is truly here to symbolize, you have to wonder if this is all part of the long road (or an extended storyline) leading to the end of Triple H’s in-ring work.  He’s been around for a while, staked his claim, and now he’s been emasculated and defeated, both as an athlete (Lesnar’s repeatedly beat him senseless) and professionally (Lesnar didn’t get his way, but he left the scars).  Is it time to see the end of Triple H, the wrestler?

Lesnar: I love John Briley too! CRY FREEDOM!

Maybe.  I have a scenario in mind actually that would be a perfect way for Triple H to leave the ring, but it would need to happen at Wrestlemania.  In any case, it was a gentleman’s match, not full of spotfest excitement or bloody indulgence but true, technical, specified brutality.  Watching from both a casual and deep thinking pro wrestling/sports entertainment state of mind, I was equally bored/angered and amazed/melancholy, because with the abundance of shadows I’ve spoken of earlier, who exactly is the shadow for Triple H?  Stone Cold’s legacy is in the spirit of CM Punk right now.  Hogan’s is in Cena.  Rey Mysterio’s is in Sin Cara.  Jericho’s is in Ziggler, maybe even a few others.  Could perhaps Sheamus…

Well, it was a deep match, with Triple H tapping out to Lesnar.  He left the ring like a king who had finally taken too many wounds.  Classy.  Very cool, very classy.

That sums up the PPV for me.  Because I’m in the weird habit of paying for these and essentially hosting little private parties for them now, I hold the PPVs, especially the big four, in a higher regard now, and I can say that Summerslam didn’t disappoint.  The crowd wasn’t as enthused at all times as they could have been, and the main event is going to be a polarizing thing for many, but by and by I liked it, money well spent, a nice compliment to my many, many beers.

The DiZ gives this PPV a B for a grade.  That’s about all I have to say today.  You stay classy, San Diego.  I’m Ron Burgandy…?

Backlash – NXT Review 1-4-12

Here at L.E.W.D., we value the opinions of our readers and contributors alike.  After all, without your reads and remarks this site would be just another random WordPress powered blog featuring a motley crew of ranting wrasslin’ fanatics.

But there’s something else we value just as much here in the hallowed halls of cyberspace allotted to us; you see, we value valid and sound argument just as much as we welcome dissenting opinions.  That’s just one of the things that makes being a wrestling fan fun;we get to engage one another in healthy debates about a subject we’re all passionate about.

But that’s the key to it all…just as much as we value our readers and welcome their comments, we are particularly high on valid and sound arguments.  Rarely are we ranting without a purpose, and we expect the same from anyone who may claim that we’re out of touch with reality.

So imagine the jubilation I felt when a new reader perused our site here, trudged through one of my pieces, and left some very interesting comments. Oh lucky day!

As most of you know I vacation often in the land of long-windedness, so I felt it necessary to draft an entire post to respond to our friends’ perspective rather than leave a year’s worth response to his/her already lengthy post.  So as I crack my knuckles and drink my 5-hour energy shot, I ask you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

What follows is a calculated and somewhat impassioned point-by-point response to Migelle Patterson’s reply to my review of January 4th’s episode of WWE NXT.  Migelle’s responses have been kept intact to maintain the integrity of the original post, and will appear indented and italicized below.

Migelle wrote:

Very good review about the younger wrestlers get a story but serious change is a good it makes things bigger and better, nxt should go! wwe should do a better new brand,

I appreciate the kudos, Migelle…I think.  I mean, it starts off flowery enough but then I’m confused by the use of grammar and a lack of a few things that make sentences sentences.  You know…periods, commas, nouns…But hey, I’m not paid to be the L.E.W.D. Grammar Police; come to think of it I’m not being paid at all for this…

But more interesting is your suggestion for the WWE to make things “bigger and better,” for them to “do a better new brand.” With most fans complaining that they can’t even do the B-show right (Smackdown), I’d be quite hesitant at adding another completely different roster to the mix.  And honestly speaking NXT is a brand in and of itself, seeing as most of the stars there only make these piddly cameo appearances elsewhere in the WWE.  But whatev, let’s trek forward…

i feel there destroying the new talent with gameshow points and cornie storylines and they are cornie,

Uhm…they haven’t really done the whole “redemption point” thing in awhile, at the least not for a month or so.  Have you been watching the show, Migelle??? ::eyes suspiciously::

As far as “cornie” (corny) goes, the stuff on NXT couldn’t possibly be any worse than Natalya farting or “The Funkasaurus.” It’s all about perspective, my friend.

the superstars on nxt are midcard wrestlers they should be given something to get better for, like a exclusive championship, whats a better storyline then a rivalry go for two going for samething gold,

Now THAT I agree with you on.  The superstars on NXT are essentially mid-card wrestlers that I feel the WWE will eventually put over as huge stars.  Right now, however, the best place for them is on NXT; if moved right now, each of them would get swallowed up by the mega superstars on RAW or virtually ignored on Smackdown.

I also agree that a rivalry storyline for something more important and significant than a relationship would be ideal for two or three of the superstars on the show.  In fact before the show’s current format, I lobbied for two of the superstars to have a similar rivalry even while vying for those silly points.  They actually created something like this between Darren Young and Titus O’Neil, but turned Titus heel and decided to move in a different direction.

It’d be different to have John Laurinaitis and Teddy Long visit the show for a month and “scout” talent to bring to their brand.  But hey, what do we know, right?  We’re just fans…

i feel tna x division has it right…

Whoa whoa whoa…this is a family-friendly site, Migelle.  Mr. Quinn Gammon is the only one here who can get away with such vulgar language, and that’s because he’s a closet Russo fanatic…

with there young stars goin for gold to, wwe should have a title simular to the x divsion a superstars title a storyline to see whos the best in that division makes great compeition,

I hear this often; fans suggest that the WWE add yet another title to their already convoluted ranking system.  Instead of adding another title, might I suggest they clean up the secondary title divisions (Intercontinental, US, Tag Team, Divas) and make those worth a damn before adding another title that won’t be worth a damn.

I’m with you on the “best in the division” storyline, Migelle, but that’s what ROH does consistently and they’re the #3 wrestling company.  As revolutionary as that idea sounds, it’s also slightly counterproductive.  I mean theoretically, the “best in the division” is the guy with the championship, right?  Question is: how’d he get to that point?

i say titus o’neil and darren young rivialry does well, bateman and curtis fighting over maxine its cornie, in storylines like that its best we know the wrestler for 2 years before they a tempt that kind of rivalry get to know them more as wrestlers see who’s more better in and out the ring stir all the favors in so to speak there still new guys,

Titus O’Neil made his WWE debut on June 8, 2010 during the second season of NXT; Darren Young debuted on the first season of NXT in February of the same year.  Curtis and Bateman during the fourth season in December 2010,and Maxine during the second season in September 2010.

Wait…all four of the stars mentioned made their WWE debuts…2 years ago?!?!?  What more do you want from them…an extra two years???  Are you sure you’ve been watching this show, Migelle? ::eyes even more suspiciouslier::

not just that make a new brand of nxt they need 8 more superstars to make it, like elzikel jackson, drew mcintirey, evan borne, mason ryan, heath slater, jandar mahall, justin gariel, and i liked lucky cannon, this superstars are not doing as well so it best to build them up till there ready for that push,

Now I…you know what, nevermind.  I’ll let you all figure that one out on your own.

come on nxt it poo, new wrestlers are better then that, they should let them debut and in impress to get a gud contact,like that ecw superstars thing, axe nxt, new brand, new start for superstars looking for that push and up and comers ready to show what they can do for something to fight for, so im sorry it is as bad as you think it is.

This is where we get down to brass tax.  NXT plays a role in WWE programming that I’m sure none of us outside of the company are familiar with.  For the sake of this conversation, I’ll gladly speculate on it.

When ANY wrestling promotion puts on a show for fans, they don’t start said show cold duck.  The crowd must be warmed up so that enthusiasm comes through for the televised product.  Think about all of those no name scrubs that warm up for Evanescence, Motorhead, and Jay-Z; it’s the same thing with wrestling.

Let’s look at RAW; this weekly show is televised LIVE across the United States and the world, which means that the stuff we see on TV is happening as we see it (to a certain extent), as opposed to something having been taped three weeks ago and airing for the first time when we actually see it from the comfort of our living rooms (i.e. Smackdown and Impact Wrestling).

With that being the case, RAW doesn’t come on until 9:00 PM in the city I live in.  Let’s say they’re taping a particular episode of RAW from my city; that means that the show won’t “start” until 9:00 PM.  Who in their right mind would leave their home at 8:45 PM for a 9:00 PM show on a Monday night with work and school to do the next night?  That’s right, not as many as you would assume.

So therefore the shows start around 7:00 PM, 7:15 PM or so, right after people have gotten off of work and had a bite to eat and picked up the kids from all their after school activities.  But if the show doesn’t start until 9:00 PM, what do you do for two hours?

You tape NXT; you tape Superstars; you have “dark matches” and allow fans to get autographs from superstars that may not be on the show for the night.

Since NXT serves as the “warm-up” show for Smackdown, there’s no way on God’s livable green garden that anything offered on that one hour show will be better than the two hours of Smackdown following it.  That’s just stupid.  Not to mention that the show is only an hour, so what can you possibly play out in one hour that can give a “new start for superstars looking for that push and up and comers ready to show what they can do for something to fight for“?

Jack squat.

Fact: the WWE has shows that come on television on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and also one Sunday a month.  Fact: the WWE has just started a series of shows that are designed and created to be viewed on YouTube.  Fact: the WWE has already saturated the entertainment world with its brand of pro wrestling.

Having said that, you’re SERIOUSLY asking for another show, another brand for superstars to get the opportunity “showcase” their talents???

News flash, my friend: the WWE is about making money.  To even get signed by them in the first place is a big deal, and if you as a superstar can’t navigate the political bee-ess in the company and/or make them money through your appearance and appeal, then you will be relegated to a fairly average position or released from the company altogether.

Fans have this unhealthy obsession with having every superstar on the roster getting this undefined mega “push,” without realizing that if every superstar got that undefined push, there would be no one left to “push” them in that position.  Ergo wrestlers and shows have roles; if everyone plays their role, we continue to get a decent product that occasionally impresses us.  Once folks start reaching in the wrong bag, however, things get chaotic and we’re left to writing comments with assloads of grammatical errors about how much we dislike the company.

The fact that O’Neil, Young, Bateman, Curtis and Maxine have been wrestling for 2 years and some fans still don’t know who they are says more about those fans than it does about them.  Those stars and the WWE have given us plenty of opportunities to invest in their characters and yet we turn and blame them because NXT doesn’t live up to the RAW or Smackdown-like expectations we hold it to.  That’s particular fault is on us and NOT on the WWE or their stars.

The irony of it is that my original review was done so well because I actually took the time to not only watch the show, but to watch it as a fan; I could’ve easily bitched and moaned about redemption points and corny story lines, but I didn’t.  I watched it, I took from it what was salvageable, and I wrote about it.  I even went as far as to dissect the matches and the implications of what the stars were doing in the ring…how is that not getting to know these stars and how they wrestle?

Is the show must-see, ground breaking television?  No.  Do they have the most thrilling action offered by the WWE?  No.  Are the stars well-known mega stars that can pack arenas?  No.

But do they bust their asses day in and out for us?  Yes.  Do they work within the parameters they’re given?  Yes.  Does the program they’re on offer us some glimmer of happiness in the middle of frustrating work weeks?  Yes.

Opinions are like belly-buttons and we’re all entitled to them, but we can’t seriously complain about the state of a product, clamor for more blood, and demand something better when we have not given the company any good reason to alter the state of their product other than to keep the few of us that are whining about it from whining about it.

Having said all of that, I’m sorry that you feel that NXT is not worth your time, Migelle.  I won’t apologize for enjoying the show and the product, as I think it’s fine for what it’s worth.

But I will say this: if it wasn’t for a show like NXT, where would your next John Cena, Kane, CM Punk or whomever come from?  Perhaps that fictional new WWE brand that in perhaps six years would become as bland and useless as NXT has in your view…I mean really, ECW was that place and fans were pissed because it wasn’t the original ECW.  Some folks are just never satisfied…

Thanks for your time; you’re wished well in all your future endeavors.

WWE NXT Review – 1.4.12, a.k.a. “It’s Not As Bad As You Think It Is…”

The show that most fans forgot existed...

I’m always amazed at the levels and depths of hypocrisy we humans can amass in such a short time.  In particular I love how we tend to clamor for change, going to extreme lengths at time to alter our current situations, yet fiercely defend all that we hold true to our hearts because at best we’re all creatures of habit.

Pro wrestling falls into this category more so than anything else I can think of at the moment.  Fans across the board want more from an organization’s product, but actually do very little to expose themselves to anything outside of the product they’re complaining about.

This is to say that some who complain about the staleness of RAW or the atrociousness that is Smackdown on SyFy probably don’t watch anything the WWE offers outside of those two shows.  That in and of itself is a damn shame seeing as the WWE offers tons of programming outside those two flagship and groundbreaking shows.

Hence this nifty review of the January 4th episode of WWE NXT Redemption, something that I haven’t seen done often on Hit the Ropes Radio (shameless plug), the wrestling section of Bleacher Report (shameless plug), The Enigmatic Generation of Wrestling (shameless plug), the RiZE Revolution (shameless plug) and perhaps even the NXT page of WWE.com (…the site sells itself).

For starters, the show isn’t as terrible as some make it out to be if you accept it for what it is in its current state.  What started out as a glorified Tough Enough has transformed into a neatly packaged, one hour mini-drama that appears to be the incubation chamber for future WWE Superstars.

Strip away the redemption points, throw out the stupid and asinine “challenges” (which they did long ago, thankfully), and what you have left is about 45 minutes of serviceable wrestling and well-crafted, simple story lines.  Think of NXT as the agent that cleanses your palate between the foolishness that may/may not take place on Monday and Friday nights.

Sticking closely to this notion gives the show a unique flavor and the ability to develop a small crop of stars that (hopefully) will become champions and larger-than-life WWE Superstars in the near future.

The following graphic shows the superstars on NXT that are featured prominently on the brand.  The stars listed in red are currently involved in major story lines featured on the January 4 show:

I could have easily put pictures of these folks or named them, but where's the fun and complication in that?

Notice how out of the 16 stars I mentioned, only 6 of them are currently involved in major story lines.  To further shock you senseless, there are only 2 major story lines on the show to begin with, and those story lines intertwine each other at points effortlessly.

Think of RAW and Smackdown with the various convoluted dramas that involve a select few members of a 50+ person roster…please stop once your head starts hurting.

Yesterday’s show furthered drama between Derrick Bateman and Maxine, two creepy lovers that were engaged to be married.  Enter Johnny Curtis, who apparently went out on one date with Maxine prior to the “Bate-a-Max” (get it?) union, and all of a sudden the even creepier third wheel is constantly hitting on/making out with Bateman’s woman.  Maxine called the engagement off two week’s ago after she witnessed Bateman hit on her mom…

Work with me, it’s actually a decent story…

Believe it or not, Curtis is actually pretty funny with his mannerisms and facial expressions...WAY more scintillating than Johnny Ace and Cena Sr.'s Boy

Last week’s show saw Maxine officially align herself with Johnny “Mr. Steal Yo’ Girl” Curtis, and this week she viciously crushed Bateman’s heart by announcing to him during his main event match that she was engaged to Curtis and would wed him in two weeks.

Bateman lost in the main event to Darren “No Days Off” Young, who is involved in making Titus O’Neil’s life a living hell.  Young believes he’s the true alpha male on NXT, and Titus O’Neil is the popular baby face thorn in his side.  Percy Watson is just along for the ride, kinda like how Zack Ryder is John Cena’s plucky young sidekick.

By understanding all of this, we can look at NXT from a different perspective to reveal the golden nuggets we’ve been lusting after for so long.  Four matches took place on the show yesterday:

  • Alex Riley defeated Michael McGillicutty via pinfall with the TKO (Fireman’s Carry into 3/4 Turn Neckbreaker)
  • Maxine defeated Kaitlyn in 1:53 (important to know) via submission with a Standing Dragon Sleeper w/ Leg Scissors
  • Trent Baretta w/ Yoshi Tatsu defeated Curt Hawkins w/ Tyler Reks via pinfall with a Tornado DDT
  • Darren Young defeated Derrick Batemen via pinfall with the Fireman’s Carry Double Knee Gutbuster

Here’s what the show produced overall:

Darren Young didn't make it on the WWE '12 video game even though most of his Nexus stable mates did. That's probably because he's really the Black John Cena, and there's only ONE Cena per game...
  • Darren Young asserts himself as the top heel of the show, with Johnny Curtis trailing close behind him.
  • Young’s “No Days Off” persona comes off as a brutal and intense fighter that wrestles with fire and passion.  Curtis’ smarmy and slimy character excels on the mic, but still wrestles like the green or red practice grapplers on the Smackdown vs. RAW games.
  • Maxine has the mic skills, looks, and wrestling acumen to potentially be a top heel manager/valet that could one day be a Diva champion to be reckoned with.  She could climb the ladder in the same way as Trish Stratus, but probably won’t be the face of the company because she’s not blond.
  • Albeit short, the 1:53 Divas Match between Maxine and Kaitlyn told an excellent story.  Kaitlyn, a female body builder, wrestles with power moves and intensity.  Maxine, who was essentially tossed around for most of the match, managed to pull out a victory by forcing Kaitlyn to tap out to a submission that has caused her trouble before. Notice it wasn’t a 47 second match that ended with a roll-up…
  • Trent Baretta, Yoshi Tatsu, and Curt Hawkins prove that there are plenty of exciting stars available to boost the incredibly lackluster Tag Team and Mid-Card Divisions.  Tyler Reks just doesn’t do it for me; I find it hard to believe someone’s viciousness when they sound like Drew Carey.
  • With a little more mic time,Alex Riley will be ready to be primed as a future WWE Champion.  Mike McGillicutty has that same swagger, but honestly needs a gimmick that allows him to stand out from the likes of Ted DiBiase or anyone else who wears a banana hammock, knee pads, wrist tape, and black boots.
  • Speaking of which, McGillicutty was introduced as “The Natural” Michael McGillicutty.  With Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennig as his father, Larry “The Axe” Hennig as his grandfather, and that cool ass throwback nickname, the creative team can’t do ANYTHING with this man?

Other important notes from the show:

  • The 100th episode of NXT is coming up in two weeks…even though I like the show, I’m not sure if I should be excited for this or not…
  • To celebrate 100 episodes of NXT, former contestants have been invited to return to the show to give their thoughts.  Justin Gabriel dropped in last week, and Michael McGillicutty and Alex Riley surprised us this week.  If we’re blessed and highly favored by the wrestling gods, Brodus Clay will show up next week and take out the entire NXT roster.

In all, I would have to say that the January 4 episode of NXT Redemption was good, perhaps even better than RAW from a creative direction perspective (the NXT crowds are typically dead because…as stated at the beginning…most fans don’t watch the show enough to know who the hell they’re looking at). Granted the show isn’t as polished, refined, or well-received as RAW or Smackdown, but it’s not supposed to be and your expectations shouldn’t be that bourgeoisie.

I suggest you give it a try, and to make sure you don’t have any excuses for not watching it, here it is in its entirety: