Wowee zowee, welcome back to another installment of me watching and loving wrestling! I listened to the Talk is Jericho podcast recently where he responds to Eric Bischoff’s podcast, 83 weeks, where we get Eric’s perspective on the Monday Night Wars. The episode I have yet to listen to is the four hour episode about Jericho’s WCW run. Apparently Jericho talks s--t about Bischoff in one of the books he’s written (I popped for Jericho calling him “ATM Eric” regarding his inclination to write as big a check as needed to secure talents) and Jericho wanted to clear the air on some things that were discussed. So, as Chris Jericho, the greatest wrestler EEEEEEEEEVER, and Conrad Thompson discussed his entire three years in WCW, I realized how much I actually saw his entire run and how I remembered all the minutia of his time there because I just liked the dude. One of the main revelations to me was that Jericho got his WCW finisher, the Liontamer, from Chris Benoit, specifically from a run in Japan they did together when Jericho describes himself as still being a bit of a mark for Benoit at the time. It’s cool that he got that submission during that time and it got me to seek out a match between Lionheart and Wild Pegasus and see the actual moment when, mid match, Chris Benoit puts Chris Jericho in the original Liontamer. It is worth noting that Chris Jericho swears like a sailor during the match and because it’s in Japan, the crowd is very quiet and you can hear every sound, very much like an NXT crowd.
Well, enough about that. I watched all of Raw because I wanted to see Brock and it was awesome until it was over and then I went back to being annoyed, so, it’s time for all that s--t to end. Just do it, already. Brooklyn is gonna s--t all over any finish that happens at SummerSlam (I almost wanna see Brock keep the belt and really just f-----g bury the title) and this has the chance to rival WrestleMania XX on the s--t-show meter, so I’m stoked. Lets get to the good s--t now.
Oh man, the thumbnail for NXT is Ciampa holding up the title. That rules. He rules.
NXT kicks off with a video package showcasing the main event from last week and just seeing the highlights makes the match seem even more sinister. This video package rules and NXT rules. I have avoided spoilers so I’m going into TakeOver not knowing any of the plan, which is incredibly exciting considering that I never expected Ciampa to win. Holy f--k, that dude is on his own level. I can see him competing against and beating Lars Sullivan, Velveteen Dream, Alistair Black, Adam Cole, f-----g EVERYONE. I hope his title reign is awesome.
Heavy Machinery are in the first match of the night and I am way more invested in them after watching Otis Dozovic compete by himself a few weeks ago. Oh, and they are gonna pummel The Mighty? This is gonna be a great night! “It’s on like Donkey Kong.” F----n Mauro. S--t, man, this repackaged TM61 is way more interesting to me. I like them being all out a-----e heels instead of being babyfaces. It’s a pretty standard tag match, Dozovic is the one taking the beating and The Mighty look good. They have a sort of swagger as heels that they did not as TM61. Obviously, Heavy Machinery are designed to be loved by fans. They are almost huggable but so f-----g brutal. Tucker Knight, the one who was injured weeks ago by The Mighty, waits patiently for the tag and when he finally gets tagged in he throws some fists (meh) but then just DOMINATES the collective of the Mighty, at one point doing a rolling cannonball of the apron to the outside! And it looks good!
Mid match, the Street Profits’ music hits and they just appear in the crowd, rowdy and partying. They f-----g rule. NXT has the best f-----g tag team division right now and they are killing with it. As the Street Profits’ music cuts, Dozovic takes over, kicks the f--k out of The Mighty and then he and Tucker Knight do their finisher and it’s over. That s--t was awesome.
(The updated still image of Ciampa now has him with his Miz jacket on with the title over his shoulder and it f-----g sucks. He doesn’t look like a monster but he does look like a f-----g heel and thats awesome.)
Oh s--t, out comes Mustache Mountain for a squash match with some enhancement guys. Good deal for those dudes! I look forward to watching these dudes perform their brand of wrestling. Trent Seven is such a fun presence in the ring and Tyler Bate is just such a phenomenal athlete. Their opponents’ names are Matt Knox and Brandon Taylor and they look like auto generated characters in WWE 2K. Knox starts off just making fun of Tyler Bate and it’s actually pretty funny. Bate wollops Knox and tags in Trent Seven, who showcases some British Strong Style. Bate with the exploder suplex! Bate also with a standing shooting star press and holy f--k! The guy who he is throwing around has gotta be a sloppy 260 lbs and Bate makes it look easier than me throwing my 5 year old around. Mustache Mountain make it look easy and the match is over.
Oooh, they each grabbed a mic for a post match moment. Trent Seven is even better when he has a microphone. Seven sounds so cool and natural. Bate, on the other hand, is a little rough and it doesn’t really impress me much to hear him. I’d rather watch him than hear him. Buuuut, the whole point is that they are invoking their rematch clause and challenging for “their” titles at TakeOver. Awesome. That will rule. Apparently, Mr. Meltzer gave their last match a 5 star rating and that surprised me. 4.75 in my opinion. There is ALWAYS room for improvement.
TOP 1% time!! EC3 looks awesome and he seems to be totally appreciating his position in life right now. I don’t know much of his work in TNA but he has impressed me so far in NXT. His opponent is Kona Reeves and I really hope this goes well. These two seem like total pricks, but I am actually rooting for EC3 at this moment. I thought I was pulling for Kona, but not with the two of them side by side now. NX3 NX3 NX3. Nice. EC3 looks like his abs are airbrushed. He definitely makes Kona Reeves look a lot less Fine. Reeves misses a kip up and I’m not even slagging on the guy, but just saying that I’m ALWAYS impressed when people do that and I never see someone miss. Reeves looks JUUUUUST like Rocky Miavia with a blonde wig on but he is definitely not even close to THAT point yet. Unfortunately, I don’t think this match is doing Kona any favors, even though I like the term Kona Clutch for the Cobra Clutch. Reeves doesn’t seem to have any focus or story to tell as a wrestler and that stinks. He isn’t a cheater, he isn’t evil, he isn’t bad. I don’t know. Huh, Velveteen Dream comes out, mid match, to cut a promo on EC3 about how he is still sore about Royal Albert Hall (i still haven’t watched that) and challenges him to a match at TakeOver? Kona Reeves comes up from behind a distracted EC3 and hits him with a Samoan drop? Stupid move, dummy. EC3 hits him with his torture rack into a Diamond Cutter called the 1% and it’s over. Well, my ship of potential love for Kona Reeves may have sailed with this match. It was almost like Cena going over a new talent. I think EC3 could possibly get to be the next John Cena if done correctly, unlike our dearly beloved Roman Reigns. Inexplicably, we cut to a backstage promo with EC3 accepting the match with the Dream and he sounds great in a short bit of mic time. I’m pleased with the EC3 experiment thus far.
Right as her music hits I know Candice Wrestling is coming to the ring and I have totally turned around on this s----y Foo Fighters song now because I love her and want her to win every time now. Out comes Shayna Baszler and she is a bad-f-----g-ass. For all of her Twilight cosplay she does when she is in civilian clothes, she looks way more intimidating in her ring gear. Most of it is her hair being pulled back so tight and she just looks ready to tear you apart. Baszler starts the match by offering Candice the chance to bail on the match. LeRae responds by knocking her ass out of the ring. Candice starts squeezing onto Shayna’s hand and tries to climb the turnbuckles and Baszler knocks her off and her landing looks f-----g rough. Baszler stalks her outside the ring and tosses Candice, shoulder first, into the steps. With that, we have Shayna’s focus for the match: the shoulder.
Fuuuuuuck, Basler gets into her gross joint manipulation s--t and I wanna barf. Candice is like rubber and I can barely stand to watch this. Oh, m----------r, they do the spot where Baszler stomps Candice’s elbow a la Dakota Kai and I’m totally crawling out of my skin right now. LeRae takes some more beating but eventually gets the upper hand, though she’s really selling her arm as being f----d up. Then Candice runs and flies through the rope for a suicide dive and still manages to protect her arm. She is really f-----g good. Candice Wrestling hits Baszler with a few good offensive moves but still gets caught in the Kirifuda Clutch but she gets a rope break. After another little flurry of offense, Candice Wrestling misses her most excellent Lionsault and Baszler wraps on the Kirifuda Clutch in the middle of the ring and it’s not long before LeRae has to tap out. As all good heels do, after a great match and a clean win, she continues to torture Candice and put the clutch on again, only to be broken up by Kairi Sane, who, when not dressed as an FF7 character, actually seems like a slightly credible threat. Sane somehow comes off as furious and serious here. This is helping to build my interest in a match that I’m not terribly interested in, even though it will be wonderful.
Backstage segment with Mustache Mountain being asked about if they have any tricks up their sleeves for TakeOver and as they are responding they are met my War Raiders, in full make up, outside, who let them know that they will be waiting for whoever is the NXT Tag Team Champions after TakeOver, be it Undisputed Era or Mustache Mountain. I love Tyler Bate and Trent Seven but I’m still not convinced that they are working well in NXT in the big picture. I hope to be proven wrong, but I want more for them than to be job guys.
Regal backstage announces TakeOver matches: Dream vs. EC3 and Ricochet vs. Adam Cole (BAY BAY). The TakeOver card is really taking shape.
“CIAMPA” appears on the TitanTron and his theme music hits: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. This is unbelievable. If you told me a year ago that I would love Tommaso Ciampa as the NXT Champion and be hoping for a long title run I would tell you to get f----d. He walks out to a chant of A-----E and he is responding to individual people about how he won. “This isn’t about you. This isn’t about you. This isn’t about YOU.” This guy is writing the book on how to do this. Actually, I feel like he is reading Chris Jericho’s book on how to “do” pro wrestling. THIS IS MY NXT NOW. Everything this guy has to say is perfect. He is on a Stone Cold level of authenticity. SHUT THE HELL UP chant and he responds “I look sooo good with this title…” I love this guy. I never want to see him in person just because: kayfabe. Ciampa rolls out of the ring to s--t talk the old granny in the front row to remind her that this is HIS moment and that he is HER NXT Champion. What an a-----e. YOU’RE AN A-----E. Response: “It’s so heavy (the belt)”.
Tommaso takes up the top turnbuckle as a seat and proceeds to s--t on Johnny Wrestling, reminding us all that, once again, Johnny sucks and Tommaso wins. Ciampa puts himself over for being the only person to “pin Aleister Black in a one on one match” and says how Johnny and Aleister can argue over who is loser 1A and 1B. “I, Tommaso Ciampa, am the greatest sports entertainer of all time.”
As he sits in the middle of the ring, Black’s music hits and as he marches down to confront Ciampa, Gargano appears out of nowhere and starts pounding on Ciampa! Tommaso high tails it out of there and as Johnny starts to cut a promo on Ciampa about how “YOU ARE ONLY CHAMPION BECAUSE OF ME!” He is met with a massive f-----g spinning kick from Aleister Black and then a chant of YOU DESERVE IT!!! This is f-----g great! Black sits in the ring and says “I guess you’re right, he is champion because of you” Black’s music hits and he walks out as the Copyright 2018 appears in the bottom of the screen. Curious that they didn’t show Ciampa again but it also wasn’t about him at that very moment. It was about Aleister Black being pissed that Johnny Wrestling couldn’t keep his s--t together. Boy oh boy.
Well, NXT done did it again. That was such a fun and wild hour of content and I am pretty f-----g stoked for TakeOver, especially as the card starts to really take form. The one thing that was a full blown bummer for me was that I don’t think I am as open to the idea of Kona Reeves anymore. As superficial as it is, a lot of it is his physique, which I could no longer deny when put next to the adonis that is EC3. EC3 might look pretty dorky in the face but his body is really f-----g impressive. Again, I’m also impressed with his use of his limited mic time, so I know that he and Velveteen Dream are going to possibly steal the show, and likely early in the night. I don’t even care what the outcome of the title match will be at TakeOver because any of the options will be fine. I’m sure the finish of the match is going to be incredible, but I do feel like Gargano’s appeal is starting to fade. I also think Aleister Black needs to move on to the main roster, sink or swim. He could move into the dark space the Undertaker once ruled, not being the Dead Man, but rather a Keeper of sorts. I would really like to see Ciampa just connive his way into wearing that belt for the longest run in the title’s history. F--k it. The guy clearly gets it. I like the way he is doing his job, ESPECIALLY when compared to Big Old Broccoli Lesnar. Ciampa has a mission: Be the top guy. Lesnar told us all, 2 nights ago, that he thinks Monday Night Raw is stupid and he doesn’t care about wrestling. That’s a pretty rough f-----g way of generating heat, Mr. McMahon. I prefer my champions to be available and interesting, and thats exactly what Triple H has been providing me with since I started watching this show.
In the words of the immortal Jason Hook:
Wrestling Rules. F--k The World. Party Hard.