The Final Say on NXT
Written by: AJ Say
Welcome to the debut of the Final Say on NXT on The Wrestling Chronicle. Each week I’ll break down the most recent episode of NXT on the WWE Network, giving my take on the characters, matches and cult of Full Sail.
For those who are new to NXT, here’s the short and dirty – it’s the WWE’s minor leagues. To borrow a baseball term, some performers are on the AAA level (Sami Zayn, The Ascension), AA level (Sasha Banks), A level (CJ Parker) and Rookie league (Mojo Rawley, ugh) level. To take it a step further, you even have your AAAA players (Tyson Kidd) who had a shot at the majors and just can’t stay there.
Who’s taking a step closer to the big show tonight? Let’s find out:
Stars on the rise:
The VaudeVillians – Simon Gotch makes his on screen speaking debut in a brilliant sketch with Aiden English, filmed as a classic 1930s-style vignette. I’ve been excited about this tag team since I first heard they’d be working together, and Gotch has stood out even when he was moonlighting as one of Adam Rose’s Rosebuds. Yeah, he was the guy in the fez. Any sketch that includes the phrase “Excelsior” is a winner in my book. Just when I didn’t think it could get any better, they walked onto the stage with an old-school megaphone. The production values are beyond amazing, the music is perfect. And then English busted out a senton. This is my new favorite thing ever.
Collin Cassady – The man has sneaky good pipes. But really, I’m more excited for Enzo Amore’s return. If you haven’t seen the “realest guy in the room” cut a promo, you’re in for a treat. Plus this, and the VaudeVillians, strengthens an otherwise weak tag division.
Tyler Breeze – Prince Pretty just keeps getting better. The WWE has a star in the making with Breeze, I just hope they don’t push him too quickly (like they did with Adam Rose). His character fits well with the Full Sail fans, but he’ll have to do some major work to connect with casual fans. Of course, he still has a ways to go but he’s already a solid doubles hitter at NXT. Once he starts hitting a few out of the park, he’s going to be a force. He puts me in mind of a young Shawn Michaels. Yeah, I went there.
Kalisto – While I’m throwing out crazy comparisons, let’s go with this one – he’s the next Rey Mysterio. I’m not sure he’ll ever win the world title, but he’ll sell just as many masks – and not end up on the disabled list as much as Sin Cara.
The BFFs – After all the momentum gained during NXT Takeover following the brilliant Charlotte-Natayla match, I feel like Ric Flair’s offspring has been serving as a backdrop in this Sasha Banks-Summer Rae feud. Charlotte hasn’t stood out as the NXT Women’s champ and I could really care less that Summer Rae has returned. Hopefully this feud heats up and Charlotte is able to find some real competition. She’s shown that she’s capable of great matches, let’s see some more of that.
Alexa Bliss – Bliss has potential, but I just haven’t seen enough of her character outside of “cute pixie who curtsies” to form a strong opinion. Still, she’s already better than Eva Marie.
The Ascension – Another act that’s impressive physically, but I don’t see them connecting with casual crowds the way that they have with the regulars at Full Sail. Fall of Man still looks cool though.
Mojo Rawley – People make fun of John Cena’s five moves of doom, but sadly the former Prototype could teach Mojo a move or two. Rawley’s matches have all been the same – sell for a few minutes, hit a punch, splash, ass kiss of doom, followed by the earthquake splash that doesn’t look effective unless you weigh 500 pounds. The WWE missed a golden opportunity to repackage Mojo as a disciple of the Ultimate Warrior, even after Warrior’s passing, using it as a tribute. The frantic run to the ring, the physique and the charisma would work well for Rawley. The truth is, he’s still green and he hasn’t shown any improvement. If he has improved, they need to give his character more depth than ADHD former football star.
CJ Parker – I think Parker shopped at my Goodwill because I recognize that shirt from my short lived hippie stage.
Tyson Kidd – Kidd has X-Pac heat from me. I have no interest in the Dungeon-trained grappler. He has no personality; he didn’t make an impact on the main roster so he comes down to developmental and can’t win the title there. His meddlesome wife puts him in a tag team (because that worked so well for him the first time) with Sami Zayn. Sure, he’s turning heel but I still don’t care about him. At least we’ll get to see Zayn go over in some fun matches that will hopefully showcase his unique offense.
Check back in early next week for a profile of a NXT prospect and then for a look at the latest episode of NXT.