Damn there is a lot to catch up on in el Mondo de pro wrestling, so I’m going to try to keep the focus narrow and get right down to business, which was always kinda the idea to begin with.
NXT, September 7, 2016
TM61 VS Davari and Neese
This was a great match, indeed great use of some of the wrestlers involved in the Cruiser Weight Classic, no longer in the running to win the tournament, to add some variety and exciting matches to the program. TM61’s finisher looked strong as well as their clothesline game. Neese was impressive with quick kick combinations. The show would benefit a lot from continued use of CWC related talent in the mix
Asuka speaking in English here felt more natural than when Hideo Itami took a turn the week before. This promo benefitted from ocassional lapses into Japanese to add intensity. The idea of her being a completely dominant champion was forwarded. A trick about the English skills improving, that I think would benefit both Asuka and Itami – it is said that for Japanese in particular who learn English, there is a lot of word by word translation in the mind. That could be the cause of the slower deliberate delivery. Some coach or coaches on hand (my services are available…) should instill the notion of ‘thinking in English’ to get them on their way.
Ember Moon VS Leah Von
I loved Leah Von’s music. Simple, a bit on a post punk or surf rock tip, stood out for its simplicity. I hope they keep it and don’t try to razzle dazzle on every track because that will get old fast. Ember Moon continues to have a very impressive look and her finisher holds a lot of anticipation.
Austin Aries VS Cien Almas
Aries also has some excellently suited and underrated entrance music. It goes perfectly with the notion of a big ego coming through. Cien did not connect with me here as well as at Takeover. I think the only way to go with him is take out and REBUILD. If they go for something heroic, flashy, not cool and loose like the hat and baggy ring wear they will be on the right track. That or make him a smug heel.
Nakamura VS Steve Cutler
This was simply a great exhibition of Nakamura’s amazing move set. Meanwhile Joe sitting in on commentary, speaking very quietly and looking on with quiet intensity promises something more down the line with him and Nakamura.
Nothing all that BAD or WEIRD
This was a perfectly good episode of NXT. A nice balance of technical matches (the opening tag) and I don’t think you ever want to have an episode without at least one of these, new talent looking strong by going over up in dominant fashion, and promo work done to develop feuds. Hopefully with more intensity as it gets closer to big show date.
It did occur to me there is something in the way of cleverness and humor missing lately compared to NXT circa 2 years ago or even last year. Perhaps some effort could be made to get back to that.
In Asuka, Ember Moon, and what Sanity could very well be like, there is a strong notion of fantastical character in the women’s division. The type that might draw in a different audience than wrestling programs often get, one that might draw the interest of young women seeking powerful role models or perhaps into comic book, anime, or cosplay scenes. This has unique potential.
CWC, September 7, 2016
As it gets closer to the finals there is not much to it but for the matches to speak for themselves. Here were too great ones, the first extremely sound technically, the second with a bit more flair. They were a bit less exciting than the previous week’s pair of quarter final bouts because the styles of each opponent were similar rather than different.
Zack Sabre Jr VS Noam Dar
This was again very unique territory for WWE programming with its focus on submissions. The story became Noam Dar working Sabre’s weakened leg while Zack Sabre jr. attacked Dar’s compromised arm. Noam sold brilliantly, showing a lot of pain and emotion, and really waking me up to his potential in this round of the tournament. He had some extremely impressive looking offense at times. There was a slight bit of feeling awkwardness regarding timing, only because they were taking their time and building what really felt close to being an athletic competition. Sabre Jr. hits these incredible moves where he jumps or lunges at Dar and in the process ties him up and works in very domineering submissions.
TJ Perkins VS Rich Swann
This was also a very good match, highlighting more showmanship. They actually managed to work in a sequence where Rich Swann dabbed, taking a page from Perkins’ style, and as a result Perkins got incredibly pissed off. Serious heat over a dab! Perkins’ incredible moves included sling shotting himself over the ropes into a swinging kick to his opponent on the outside with a huge arch. He also landed a great suplex combination. Swann landed an amazing variety of mid-air kicks throughout the match. A solid injury story made this a compelling match, with Perkins taking the win but showing his concern for his friend immediately afterwards. It is a great thing that both these guys are signed to RAW.
The NOT COOL
It is very cool that the crowd is very much into the matches, and that they had a favorite in Rich Swann, also cool. But for them to yell ‘bullshit’ after the match was a bad note to end on. The match was over, so the chant came off like that off a bunch of spoiled brats. Get into it but don’t be jerks.
The stage is set for a very impressive final show this Wednesday. It will take a page from impressive NJPW tournaments where other matches are incorporated into the show – here being Gargabno and Ciampa in tagteam action. These guys make a great team and a rematch with The Revival is much anticipated, but with this being a very eventful time period for Gargano already, one wonders if intrigue will be pushed further with the more experienced Ciampa turning on Gargano in the midst of his meteoric rise?