Tag Archives: Hunico

NXT Scouting Report, 12/11: Sami Zayn Needs A Hug

While NXT is often the second (and sometimes THE) best show WWE produces, its primary goal is to make future superstars with Raw getting the cream of the crop, SmackDown nabs the leftovers and those who would probably better off staying on NXT than finding themselves on Main Event, or worse, Superstars .

Each week we’ll scout the “minor league” talent in each segment from the hourlong show (AVAILABLE FOR FREE ON HULU, SO WATCH IT) and decide if they’re ready for the big leagues. This week: How much more of the Kassius Ohno farewell tour can we take? 

The Ascension vs. Hunico y Camacho – NXT Tag-Team Title Match

The WWE likes to trumpet how interactive the product is, mentioning Facebook likes, app downloads, and unique impressions statistics every chance they get. If you watched any of the WrestleMania 31 press conferences from a few days ago you’d swear the main event was already booked as John Cena vs A Hashtag.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting an interactive experience, if it gives fans more chances to consume, enjoy, and spend money on your product then it’s a success.  My problem lies when you use that interactive nature to get lazy with storytelling on screen, and let the extended universe fill in the blanks.

Case in point: The Ascension. I’ve complained for months now that these guys badly need to cut some promos or do something wacky related to their fledging gimmick to make things interesting. Instead, on this week’s NXT, announcer Tom Phillips talks up an article on WWE.com where the team reveals their “power and control over the perception of reality.” I have no idea what the fuck that means, but I like it! Why can’t they just say that on the air? Hardcore fans will surely seek out the article and learn more about these cats, but isn’t the idea to get them over with everyone watching? It’s not so bad on NXT, but the amount that this practice on Raw bums me out.

Okay, on to the match. Nothing terribly great about the action this week, as The Ascension’s title reign hasn’t really produced much excitement beyo-

WAIT I CHANGE MY MIND – LOOK AT THIS PICTURE:

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How have I never noticed Viktor’s Danzig tattoo? Must’ve been ‘cause I blacked out during all those Corey Graves rest-hold marathons. I demand they change their entrance music to “Dirty Black Summer” immediately.

This belongs on… Main Event.

Alexander Rusev vs. Kassius Ohno

Instead of trying to type with all the tears hitting my keyboard, I’ll just link to David and Thomas‘ pieces about Ohno and Indie wrestling.

Oh, and I went to Raw on Monday (here’s my live report if you missed it) and Alexander Rusev beat the shit out of Zack Ryder in a dark match before the show. Not necessarily a sign he’ll be up any time soon, but they’re giving him a look. I think he’s ready.

This belongs on… Smackdown!

Bayley and Natalya Backstage Segment

Bayley is cute enough to make me care about Natalya for 30 seconds. Not bad.

This belongs on… Raw.

William Regal/Antonio Cesaro Match Build

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This belongs on… Raw.

Summer Rae & Sasha Banks vs. Bayley & Natalya

Crisp, fast, and stiff looking action from all four women made this my favorite match of the show. I really like how fired up and pissed off Bayley was throughout – she’s getting close to being on the Paige/Emma  level in the ring – and I like her character even more than those two. Sasha Banks seemingly improves every week – her kicks straight to the gut and “Bankrupt” finisher looked outstanding. Bonus points for when Banks hits the finisher, Bayley’s hair braid went flying off screen – a serendipitous storyline moment for those who pay too much attention. When it’s going right, it’s going right.

If NXT keeps producing superior women’s talent that’s better than anyone on the main roster,  we might actually see a Nexus-style invasion to bring them all up at once and wipe out all the dead weight.

This belongs on… Raw.

Leo Kruger Promo

Kruger pitches himself to Zeb Colter for a coveted spot on the Real American Team. There are rumors that Cesaro might turn face because of how over the Cesaro Swing is with the live crowds. Might be a kill two birds with one stone scenario here, where Kruger can take Cesaro’s spot and The Real Americans unorthodox but somehow effective gimmick can continue.

This belongs on… Smackdown!

Mojo Rawley vs. Scott Dawson

I know that wrestling shows need dudes like Scott Dawson. Solid performers than can make guys look credible in the ring and keep the show moving. Not quite a jobber, not a comedy performer, just a good average grappler. Sorta like Curtis Axel  or Darren Young do every week on the my t.v. Guys don’t set out to be links in the cog – it just kind of happens. No shame in that, it’s a necessary part of the show.

But instead of Dawson settling for that role now, why not take a chance?  This is NXT, where we can get a little nutty with gimmicks and try some shit out. I guess it’s goofy that he has a Frechman for a manager, but that’s not getting him to Raw. If his destiny is a homeless man’s Arn Anderson, I don’t think that’ll fly unless you’ve got the next Ric Flair hiding somewhere. Time to get creative and see if something can spice things up. He’s good enough to at least get a shot.

This week, Dawson was served up to Mojo Rawley and his ass-first offense. Rawley is going to be a huge star with his infectious deadlifts meets Pixie Sticks persona, and his size and speed combo might be the best in WWE next to Big E. Langston (although Bray Wyatt may have something to say about that.) I’m super HYPED (sorry) that these ex-football players and amateur wrestlers have this wonderful developmental system to go through. Getting the time and training to really hone their craft and characters before being tossed onto Raw is already paying off – the aforementioned Langston and Roman Reigns are already capable Hosses after only a year in the bigs. Rawley should be next.

This belongs on… NXT.

Leo Kruger vs. Sami Zayn

Much like Bayley earlier in the show, Sami Zayn wrestled pissed off and he probably lost because of it. Much of the joy we get from watching Zayn in the ring is how much fun he’s having performing for us – it’s obvious he loves to do this for a living. Having him get away from that could be give him character some added depth – as long as it’s actual explained on air via some promos.  Since this is NXT, I’m sure we will. I just hope I don’t have to watch it on the app.

This match was a bit shorter than I’d like – of course I’m happy if every Zayn match was ten minutes long, so I’m biased. I’m fine with an encounter between two top stars going short if the ending is something brutal and unexpected for storyline purposes. But in this case I’m not sure Zayn going balls first onto the ring ropes to set up Kruger’s finisher was that. Plus with the unnecessary extra-curricular activities, there could have been two more minutes of match time, which it probably needed. This one felt a little flat too me. I’ve given a Raw worthy rating to every Sami Zayn match so far… but this one didn’t really help either man. So it goes.

This belongs on… Smackdown!

Matthew Timmons runs the stat-centric WWE website Kayfabermetrics, and can be harassed on Twitter@matthewtimmons.

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Headlock’d: A Case of Mistaken Identity

This week, we play musical masks with Sin Cara, Davey Richards fails to understand what “context” means and find ourselves very pleased with a rather obvious Simpsons reference. (No, not that one… put the cigarettes and short length of hose away.)

Let’s Lock Up!

NXT Scouting Report, 11/20: Everybody Gets A Cookie!

nxt 11:20:13

While NXT is often the second (and sometimes THE) best show WWE produces, its primary goal is to make future superstars with Raw getting the cream of the crop, SmackDown nabs the leftovers and those who would probably better off staying on NXT than finding themselves on Main Event, or worse, Superstars .

Each week we’ll scout the “minor league” talent in each segment from the hourlong show (AVAILABLE FOR FREE ON HULU, SO WATCH IT) and decide if they’re ready for the big leagues. This week: Can a beat-the-clock challenge help our burgeoning sports-entertainers shine? 

Bo Dallas Homecoming

The most interesting thing to watch as Bo Dallas evolves his character over the coming months  is how he handles increasingly hostile crowd. Oblivious Bo is funny, but at some point he needs to learn how to keep that gee-golly shitbird smile going while acknowledging the crowd when they’re ignoring a wordy segment like this week’s slide show. It’s easy when it’s some simple Boo-Urns stuff he can shrug off, but he had to work to get through all his material here. Nothing to worry about necessarily, just something to watch for going forward. Oh, and the two best Dallas lines this week: “There I sports entertained…” and “Did you come here for a cookie?” Oh, and it was nice of Olive Oil to let Bo borrow her shirt.

Overall this was a slam-dunk segment surrounding the championship, it makes the version on Raw seem unnecessarily complicated by comparison. Bo Dallas is the face of NXT, but the fans love Sami Zayn, and Sami wants to title. So JBL’s going to make him work to get there without sacrificing the integrity of the federation. So a beat-the-clock challenge is created to give the rest of the roster a fair shake and not just hand another shot to Zayn. SIDE NOTE: The beat-the-clock challenge is a pretty stupid way to determine a #1 contender because it really doesn’t prove any sort of higher skill level. But it squeezes several matches into one show while simultaneously giving each match urgency, direction and purpose. Tournaments are always preferable, but with NXT’s one hour running time, the story needs to move a bit quicker.

One other big positive form this segment: Zayn came across as a tough babyface without being a dick – “cheeseball” is a great way to get at Dallas without calling him something misogynistic. Hope that character thread continues.

This Belongs on … Raw

Big Cass vs. Alexander Rusev

Even if I’m going to give a beat-the-clock challenge a pass overall, I still need to criticize the wrestlers when they completely ignore logic trying to win the stipulation. Maybe somebody translated the rules into Bulgarian using Google Translate, but what the fuck was Rusev looking at the clock for!?! This was the very first match of the challenge! He had no time to beat! Come on!

Other than that bit of ridiculousness, this was a fine match that made both guys look pretty good. Rusev got to beat up a legit 7-foot dude, and Big Cass got some babyface props for his fighting spirit. His breaking out of Rusev’s first attempt at the Camel Clutch was great, actually looking like a someone ripping and clawing to break a hold. So many times it looks like the guy applying the hold just kind of quits or forgets they are in a wrestling match.

This Belongs On … NXT 

Adrian Neville Interview 

I’d normally hate to celebrate a concussion of a sports entertainer. But in this case…

THANK YOU NEV-ILLE! CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP. THANK YOU NEV-ILLE! CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP.

This Belongs On … SmackDown

Bayley Interview

The variety of female characters that grace NXT is outstanding. And I’d be hard pressed to choose anyone over Bayley as my favorite right now. How can you not love this girl? There is some serious babyface sympathy here, but without her seeming weak or helpless. Outstanding.

This Belongs On … Raw 

Tyler Breeze vs. Kassius Ohno 

Oh god, no one told me Ohno would still be on these episodes. Does this mean we have to sit through four weeks of Ohno matches and promos knowing his fate? Oy vey. Ohno wasn’t a personal favorite of mine, but I know how much he meant to a lot of independent wrestling fans, and I always appreciated his cerebral, big strike wrestling style. It was on full display here as Ohno only went for quick pins. You know, to try and actually wrestle to the stipulation. Not surprising he’d be one of the only guys who understood the rules and wrestled accordingly.

On the plus side, it was nice to see Breeze straight-up dominate most of this match despite the loss. He looked quick, aggressive, and — despite the goofy section with Ohno lying outside and the count-out possibility ignored – focused. Getting in the ring with some one of Ohno’s caliber showed a bit more of Breeze’s in-ring knowledge and timing. The finale of the match, with reversal after reversal, flowed well and improved Breeze all-around stock even more.

This Belongs On … SmackDown

Hunico/Camacho vs. Jobby Jobbers

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This Belongs On … Superstars

Kassius Ohno Interview

:(

Aiden English vs. Adrian Neville 

Okay, so now as the beat-the-clock challenge progresses, I’m starting to even 2nd guess my self whether it has any merit at all. This might just be me whining because it makes my job scouting a bit tougher, but these matches become breakneck and jittery so quick, characterization is mostly lost – and evaluating character is half of my job. Although one could say English’s attempt at a high risk maneuver at the top rope with under 30 seconds shows off his characters lack of ring awareness, we’d have to penalize just about every participant for pulling bonehead shit like that.

But, this match was still strong – both men looked spry and game, with Neville looking especially crisp after wrestling with a “knee injury” the past couple of weeks. Still not sure what kind of character Neville will go with when he finally gets called up – if he wants to stand out past guys like Tyson Kidd or Justin Gabriel he’ll need something more than high-flying skills and an accent. Hasn’t worked for those guys.

This Belongs on … SmackDown 

Leo Kruger vs. Sami Zayn

Did you see that thumbs up Zayn gave the tie-tied little girl in the front row during his entrance? What a great guy, that Sami Zayn. Can’t find a more naturally like-able wrestler going. I was hoping that we’d get Sami on the big stage around this time, as maybe a surprise Survivor Series participant or teaming up with Punk/Bryan against the Wyatts, but as long as we get solid matches each week on NXT out of him, I can be a patient fan.

We’ve seen these two do battle a few times already, and as Alex Riley pointed out (somehow without mentioning The Miz!) their contrast in styles is a pleasing experience. I had been spoiled that Neville vs. Zayn was happening soon, so I saw the beat-the-clock challenge tie coming a mile away. But seeing the timing and skill it takes to pull of getting that spot juuuuust right was awesome. Kudos to Kruger, Zayn, and ref dude for pulling it off.

Also, big ups for Bo Dallas changing into his trunks to watch this match. Always gotta be ready for a fight.

This Belongs On … Raw

Matthew Timmons runs the stat-centric WWE website Kayfabermetrics, and can be harassed on Twitter @matthewtimmons.

Watch, Skim or Skip: Spoiler Alert w/ “Angry” Andy (11/13-11/15)

spoiler_t

Over the course of seven days, there’s a lot of wrestling on TV. But only some of it is actually worth watching. That’s where Spoiler Alert comes in: we break down the spoilers of all of WWE’s pre-taped shows to let you know what you should watch, and which segments and full shows you should skim or skip. This week, Bray Wyatt and his Dueling Banjoes Band wreak havoc on  SmackDown, and Main Event manages to make less sense than NXT only being available on Hulu.   

Main Event

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(spoilers via LordsOfPain.net)

This is usually a pretty good, logical show.  This week?  I’m not so sure.

Natalya d AJ Lee via DQ (DIVAS TITLE MATCH)

That’s right; we’re starting this bad boy with an poorly advertised Divas title match — there was a convoluted callback on Raw where they briefly showed AJ getting Sharpshootered by Natalya two weeks ago on SmackDown —  featuring the most popular diva since Trish Stratus.

Anyway, Nattie takes the win when Tamina interferes, and AJ runs away through the crowd with the title. Hopefully this angle is acknowledged on a future show, Nattie gets a little revenge on Tamina, and an honest title shot against AJ Lee. I won’t hold my breath.

Justin Gabriel d Tyson Kidd

Everything about this match is wrong. EVERYTHING. For starters, Kidd JUST CAME BACK from injury, and has been kinda-pushed on Raw for the last two weeks. Having him job out on the show nobody watches is mind-boggling.

Secondly, before Kidd got hurt, these guys were teaming regularly. Why are they wrestling each other? Why aren’t they taking on The Real Americans? The Shield? The Wyatts? The Ascension? Why are they fighting EACHOTHER, WITH NO BUILDUP?

Third, both of these guys, last I checked, were faces. Their styles pretty much demand it. Either of these guys playing the heel….sucks. It just sucks.

3MB d R-Truth & The Prime Time Players

You read that correctly. The guys who job twice a week to a team with a tiny bull mascot just pulled off a win. Who’d they beat? The guy who JUST BEAT RYBACK CLEAN. Who else? The team that, just a few short months ago, seemed destined for the tag titles. So much for THAT face turn.

SKIP this show… the booking is illogical and the results are inconsequential. Watching this show would be a mentally-exhausting waste of time.

SmackDown

WWE-Smackdown

 (spoilers via WrestleZone.com)

Main event is announced as CM Punk and Daniel Bryan vs Ryback and Curtis Axel. Considering what Heyman had to say about Ryback on Raw, I see this show ending very badly for Mr. Joe Hennig.

Luke Harper & Erick Rowan d The Usos

Bray cuts a promo after the match, and is attacked by an Uso. Wyatt has him visit Sister Abigail, then finishes his promo – promising victory against Punk and D-Bry at Survivor Series.

Ryback is backstage. The former Paul Heyman guy doesn’t want to team with the least-successful Paul Heyman guy ever.  Who would?

Natalya d Tamina

Oh look, follow-up to that disaster on Main Event. AJ Lee gets knocked off the apron. Hopefully this is going somewhere, considering all three of these women can actually, you know, wrestle. The only way Nattie will ever get the title, though, is if she turns around and hands it to Summer Rae. The clueless announcers call her Mrs. Fandango. I call her the future Mrs. Angry Andy—and the future Divas Champion.

R-Truth & The Prime Time Players d 3MB

This does NOT excuse what you did on Main Event. Period.

John Cena d Alberto Del Rio in an ARM WRESTLING MATCH

This one was 2 out of 3 falls, so Cena won 2-0. Naturally. Del Rio says “oh yeah?” and puts him through a table.  Nothing builds the reputation of a damaged title while simultaneously selling a pay-per-view like an arm wrestling match (WITH WEP-UNS.)

Cameron & Naomi d The Bella Twins

Were Asksana and Alicia Fox busy? At least the babyfaces won, I guess. Oh, wait. They are all faces, but less over than HBAJ and Sheisel.

The Great Khali d Hunico & Camacho

Welcome back, Hunico!  Maybe you’d be better off taking some piggy-back bookings from Chris Hero.

CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs Ryback & Curtis Axel

This one ends in a no contest, when the Wyatt Family attacks.  The lights go out, and when they come on, all former WWE Champions have disappeared.  The Wyatts still need to complete their Deliverance roleplay, so make Ryback and Axel squeal like piggies instead.  Punk and Bryan come out from under the ring and attack Rowan and Harper.  Bray Wyatt escapes up the ramp.

SKIM this show.  DVR is your friend.  This one starts and ends strong with a LOT of filler sandwiched in between.

@AndyMillerJMS

WATCH, SKIM, OR SKIP: SPOILER ALERT W/ “ANGRY” ANDY, 11/4-11/8

spoiler_t

There’s a lot of wrestling on TV every week, but only some of it is actually worth watching.  That’s where I come in: every week, I’ll break down the spoilers of all of WWE’s pre-taped shows to let you know what you should watch, and which segments and full shows you should skim or skip.  This week, the Divas division actually starts to make sense … but does that mean it’ll be worth watching? (Spoiler alert: meh) 

MAIN EVENT

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(Spoilers via PWInsider.com)

The Usos d Hunico & Camacho

Hey, Hunico’s back!  Remember him?  He was the fake Sin Cara (you know, the good one).  After he lost the mask, he arbitrarily teamed up with Camacho.  It was pretty easy at the time to see which teammate had the talent, and which was Camacho.  Hunico went out with an injury, and both have been gone… seemingly forever.

Before I complain that their “comeback” match is a job to the Usos, I’ll wait and see the match.  Main Event typically opens with a strong match, given a good amount of time.  Hopefully this will be no different, and Hunico & Camacho can make their way back to the midcard.  WWE DESPERATELY needs solid heel tag teams.

All that said, this should be decent to good.  The Usos are always solid.  Hunico can work, as long as he’s not too rusty.  Camacho is Camacho.

Nikki Bella d Alicia Fox

I don’t see this being anything more than a 4-minute plug for Total Divas, that happens to air during a supposed wrestling match.

Take this match to enjoy the fact WWE has separated the Bellas from AJ and Tamina.  More on that in the Smackdown spoilers.

The Wyatt Family d The Prime Time Players

Wyatts are on their way up.  They’re feuding with two beloved former WWE Champions.  They’re feuding with THE GUYS at the top of the show.  They NEED to win matches like this, and decisively.  Expect Darren Young to bump like a madman, and for Titus to put them over as the beasts who can annihilate the big man.

WATCH (the beginning and end of) this show.  (When you hear “YOU CAN LOOK BUT YOU CAN’T TOUCH,” go heat up a Hot Pocket.)

SMACKDOWN!

WWE-Smackdown

(spoilers via Wrestlezone.com)

CM Punk d Curtis Axel

Punk wanted a representative from the Wyatt Family, but he got one from the Hennig family instead.  Thousands in attendance, and millions watching around the world at home, feel the same disappoint Curt felt for years.  Oh well.  As long as Axel doesn’t try to cut a promo or pull a hip flexor, this should be good.

AJ Lee & Tamina d Cameron & Naomi

AJ makes Cameron tap to the Black Widow.  The best part of this match is it features clear-cut heels facing off against legitimately likeable babyfaces.  When AJ feuded with the Bellas, the fans didn’t care.  The Bellas acted like the cast of Mean Girls Gone Wild, and were supposed to be the faces.  AJ called them a bunch of untalented broads who don’t deserve to be in the ring with an actual wrestler, and was supposed to be the heel.

This match rights a big wrong.  You put CM Punk’s next ex-girlfriend and her Lady-Diesel enforcer/tag team partner against a team the crowd LOVES.  Their gimmick is fun.  Their personalities are over the top babyface, like Kofi Kingston (except Cameron & Naomi occasionally win).  And while far from perfect, Naomi is pretty decent in the ring, and highly athletic.

This match may be short, but it’s the most logically-booked WWE women’s match in recent memory.

John Cena & Alberto Del Rio want to fight TONIGHT, FOR THE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE.

Vickie says no, because that’s not best for business.  Fans hate title matches.

Alberto Del Rio d The Great Khali

Same match Del Rio always has, except he’s wrestling a 7-foot, 350-pound cardboard cutout.  Hopefully this match is a couple of kicks, a dropkick, and a cross armbreaker.  Anything else only serves to make everyone involved look really, really bad.  Khali is best served, at this point, in a tag team.  In India.

R-Truth & The Usos d 3MB

Truth is in his hometown for this show, which makes his victory surprising.  6 talented guys here, but don’t expect much.  This will be solid for what it is, but won’t get the time it needs to develop into anything amazing.

Daniel Bryan d Luke Harper

DQ finish when the rest of the family gets involved.  CM Punk makes the save.  Bryan’s bumps SHOULD make the former Brodie Lee look like an unstoppable killing machine.

John Cena d Ryback

Del Rio gets involved after the match, and goes after Cena’s arm.  Cena chases him off, because he’s Cena.  I wouldn’t mind if Del Rio actually gets to look like a threat against Cena.  It would only make sense, considering Del Rio’s finish is an ARMBAR and Cena just got back from ARM SURGERY.  Nope.  Super Cena stands tall.

SKIM this show.  The work on this show will be solid.  But if you’re not into the characters involved, you might get bored, fast.