Welcome to the Wednesday Wrestling Wreaction.
Also known as the WWW or the Triple Dub.
I'll take you through all the happenings on NXT and the Cruiserweight Classic.
Since there's not much in the way of actual wrestling to discuss on NXT I've decided to add a little impromptu NXT Takeover Prediction at the end of the article, since you've all be such good little girls and boys this year.
We'll handle the Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura interview later, as part of the predictions for TakeOver: Brooklyn 2: Age of Ultron.
But there were two matches tonight, might as well mention those:
So over a year ago, Hideo Itami was "attacked in the parking lot at Full Sail" by which we mean "needed Rotator Cuff surgery and we decided to write him off the show." Here's how the aftermath played out:
We still don't know who did it, but I really hope it's Kevin Owens. The "that's a shame" deadpan delivery is vintage KO, and I'd love to see an Owens-Itami feud.
We need to figure out the identity of the guy who put Hideo on the shelf so he has some direction to this comeback of his. He's taking out his frustrations on the wrong guys. Plus. beating up dudes who lost in the first round of the CWC is beneath him, even dudes like Mustafa Ali, dudes who can do stuff like this:
That's cool and all, but Hideo Itami is not impressed, and he beats Ali in less time than it takes to make a Hot Pocket.
So yeah, let's figure out who was behind the attack, already. Whoever it is, I just hope it's not Rikishi.
The Recent Past and the Hopefully Not Too Distant Future.
Smackdown call-ups Carmella and Alexa Bliss are back for one night only, introducing the NXT TV audience to Nikki Glenncross, Mandy Rose and Daria Berenanto. Liv Morgan is there, too, because I'm pretty sure she's Carmella's kid sister and their Mom told Carmella that she had to let Liv tag along.
I'm not as familiar with these new women as some of you, but as near as I can tell, Glenncross is like a She-Hulk version of Blue Pants, Berenanto has a pretty sweet MMA gimmick that will totally get over if they give it time, and, judging purely from the sound of Corey Graves' orgasms, Mandy Rose is the blonde Eva Marie.
The match gives every woman a chance to shine, Morgan is great at playing the face in peril (she's so damn tiny and cute, like a week-old kitten) and when she takes a kick from Berenanto to the chest, it looks like she might crumble into dust.
Near the end of the match, Alexa Bliss gets Glenncross in position for her modified Chokeslam STO, which I just call The Goozler.
It is a move that no one has ever reversed. But Glenncross does, into a damn REGAL CUTTER. Glenncross then celebrates right into a vicious spear from Berenanto. It's a great sequence.
Carmella gets the victory by submission with The Code of Silence, a great move with a stupid name.
Unless you're going to give her my Mafia Hitwoman gimmick that I pitched on last week's SmackDown React-Down. Then it's a great move with a great name.
So we've got these four women: Mandy Rose, Nikki Glenncross, Liv Morgan, and Daria Berenanto, plus the debuting Ember Moon, and her Takeover Opponent Billie Kay. Provided that both Asuka and Bayley will be up on the main roster by Mania 33, it's fun to think about which of these ladies will be facing each other for the Women's Championship at Takeover Brooklyn 3: Brooklyn With A Vengeance.
Me? I've got Ember Moon as champ, facing off in a Triple Threat with Daria Berenanto and Nikki Glenncross. But I could easily be swayed.
The NXT Women's division is in good hands. I hope.
The Second Round continues with Two Great Matches and One That's Not So Great.
Here's your weekly reminder that if you haven't read my HUGE CruiserWeight Classic Bracketology Preview, you can do so HERE.
Akira Tozawa vs Jack Gallagher
Jack Gallagher is definitely a fan favorite coming into this match. Akira Tozawa is the Honey Badger of this tournament. He don't give a F*CK.
Gallagher, or "Jackie Boy" as the Full Sail fans have taken to calling him, is the ultimate showman. He's cocky, brash, and one of these days he's going to get himself killed. Also, as Mauro Ranallo blatantly stole from me during his commentary last night, his trunks make his butt look like a tiny hot air balloon:
From this article, dated August 7.
You dirty thief.
I'll let you have a pass this time, Ranallo, but if you insist on using my intellectual property without my consent, you'll be hearing from my attorney.
Anyway, back to the match. After some chain wrestling, Gallagher puts Tozawa in a modified Indian Deathlock, lays down beside him and f*cking WAVES at him.
I don't know how he does it, but as God is my witness, he rolls Tozawa into a little ball. You have to see this:
Then Gallagher kicks him in the butt. Because of course he does.
Of course, Tozawa takes exception to this, and gets in a few good shots, including a Bicycle Kick that will buy your dentist a new boat.
But Gallagher keeps finding new ways to inflict horrible pain onto Tozawa, mostly involving bending Tozawa's legs in ways God never intended.
But even with all that bending, Tozawa refuses to break. The dude is just made of iron, and Gallagher is unable to put him away.
Tozawa hits a snap German Suplex #OuttaNowhere.
Akira then immediately follows it up with another German attempt. Gallagher valiantly struggles to grab the leg again, but Tozawa fights him off and bridges beautfiully for the 1-2-3.
WINNER: Akira Tozawa by Pinfall.
WWE should sign both of these mean before I finish typing this sentence. It does not make sense that one of them is no longer in the tournament.
They went to war, and one of them had to lose. I'm not entirely certain the right man won, but I do know I can't wait to see Tozawa vs Gran Metalik in Round 3.
That is, if Tozawa can walk by then:
Noam Dar vs HoHo Lun
Look, I've seen Noam Dar wrestle AJ Styles, and the match was amazing. You should watch it too.
So I have to believe that it's not his fault that his first and second round matches have been botchy snooze fests.
HoHo Lun is as green as Kermit the Frog's nut-sack, and it shows. I have high hopes for the kid, but right now, he's not up to snuff, and probably doesn't belong in the tournament, let alone in the second round.
I should mention, at one point, there is a chant where the crowd sings the Imperial March from Star Wars by just using "Dar."
Full Sail, man. I don't even know sometimes.
Eventually, after selling the crap out of HoHo's botchy offense, Noam Dar reverses a waistlock right into his trademark Knee Bar.
WINNER: Noam Dar by Submission.
Brian Kendrick vs Tony Nese
Here is the story they're telling with this: Brian Kendrick wants to win this thing so bad, that he'll resort to every dirty trick he can think of to get the job done. (In his last match, he targeted his opponent's ORTHODONTIA.) He's a dirty, dirty slime ball, a scuzz bucket of the highest order, and he should feel bad about himself. In this match, he's up against Tony Nese, who is stronger, faster, and just better than Kendrick is, by every conceivable measure. But Kendrick flat out refuses to lose. He resorts to shortcuts and chicanery at every turn, in order to get Nese off his game. Like when he fish-hooks the nostrils to get out of a fireman's carry.
Or when he somehow locks Nese's arm in the turnbuckle pad, and chokes him in the corner.
Kendrick keeps working Nese's arms, trying to remove the advantage of the much stronger man. It's a sound strategy, but watching it is very frustrating for me, since I hate Brian Kendrick more than I hate lima beans, and I f*cking HATE f*cking Lima Beans.
It does allow Nese to pull off the move of the match, though, reversing an armbar into a buckle bomb. It's awesome. Nese is far and away the better performer, the more deserving wrestler, but no matter what he throws at Kendrick, the disgusting bastard won't stay down. He keeps hitting power moves, keeps getting a two count, and I keep saying "Dammit" under my breath.
Falcon Arrow, Two Count.
That aforementioned Buckle Bomb, Two Count.
Pumphandle Michinoku Driver. Two Count.
Eventually Nese goes high risk, tries for the 450, Kendrick gets out of the way, and locks in the Bully choke.
WINNER: Brian Kendrick by Submission.
I understand the story-telling, both with Kendrick's over-all character, and with the in-ring stuff, but I can't abide the kind of bush league tactics that Kendrick uses, not in this kind of competition, which, as I've said before, is the closest thing to the Olympics of Professional Wrestling as we're ever going to get. Cheaters shouldn't prosper here.
Very impressed with Tony Nese, though. I hope he gets signed to NXT.
Also, I hope Brian Kendrick gets torn limb from limb by a pack of wild dogs.
The dirty Lima Bean.
As promised, my predictions for
NXT Takeover Brooklyn II: Electric Boogaloo
When in doubt, always go with the person making their debut. Also when in doubt, go for the person who gets a video package about their debut:
Also also when in doubt, go for the person wearing the Assassin's Creed costume.
PREDICTION: Ember Moon in a walk-over. She's your next feud for the Women's Championship.
Again, the debuting superstar always picks up the victory. Also also also when in doubt, pick the guy with the greatest theme in the history of professional wrestling:
I've said it before, but this is what would happen if 1978 Queen and 1991 Metallica had a baby.
And that baby was raised by wolves.
Wolves who know karate.
PREDICTION: Bobby Roode sends Almas back to the drawing board. Seriously, dude is so in need of a repackaging. Have Roode kayfabe injure him, and let him come back wearing the La Sombra mask.
And if you could also have him come back with no suspenders?
And no funny hat? Cool, thanks.
I've been a big fan of No Way Jose since he made this face:
This was just before he used his heat vision to melt a Russian tank, if I'm not mistaken. I'm probably mistaken. That episode was like two weeks ago, and I'm probably conflating it with something else I watched since then.
I have a bad memory sometimes.
Oh, well. This video package definitely has me all kinds of hyped for this match, though.
We've only seen Jose in a few glorified squashes, so I'm pumped to see him up against some real competition.
PREDICTION: Austin Aries. I didn't say I thought Jose was going to beat that competition. At least not in their first match. He needs something to overcome. I mean, besides that hair.
The build to this match has been fantastic. This is going to steal the show, y’all. I can feel it.
PREDICTION: Gargs & Chomps. The Revival get called up to Smackdown immediately, to feud with American Alpha, and GarChomp get involved with The Authors of Pain, also known as Paul Ellering’s European Pseudo-Shield.
Also known as P.E.E.P.S.
That right there is one of the best hype videos for a PPV Match that I have ever seen, Male or Female.
This is going to be so good, you guys. SO GOOD.
PREDICTION: Asuka wins ugly, and turns full heel on Bayley after the match, becoming the Japanese Clown-Faced Nightmare-Fuel we all thought we were getting when she first signed.
Ember Moon has to contend with that.
Bayley meanwhile, gets called up to the Main Roster like yesterday, maybe even showing up to challenge Sasha Banks at the Raw after Summerslam.
Either that, or she goes to Smackdown, and waits around for Eva Marie to get medically cleared after that bout with the nasty hangnail.
The thing I love most about the build to this match, especially as laid out in the interview from last night, is that I understand why Joe is so pissed. He’s got a point. He had to scratch and claw and face top talent, multiple times, beating the whole roster basically, until he finally got his shot at Finn Balor’s title. Nakamura wrestled Blake and Murphy. (In separate matches, people. Don’t get excited. Although, that is a handicap match I’d like to see.) Of course, we all know Shinsuke is the only one deserving of the #1 Contendership slot, but Joe doesn’t care. He feels slighted, disrespected. William Regal checked with Asuka before making the match with Bayley, but he didn’t extend the same courtesy to Joe.
Joe is full of righteous fury, and that spells Yikes.
PREDICTION: Nakamura gets cocky and gets laid out. Joe ANNIHILATES him.
Then at the next TakeOver, Shinsuke takes what he’s learned from the first time, and wins a hard fought match, having to hit three Kinshasa Knees to finally put Joe away.
Then in December, at TakeOver London II: This Time It’s British, Shinsuke wins the rematch.
Joe goes away and we don’t see him until late January, as a surprise entrant in The Royal Rumble. He doesn’t win, but he’s in the final four. He eliminates Brock Lesnar, which leads to their match at Wrestlemania.
As you’ll find I say often in these things, A guy can dream, can’t he?