Welcome to the Wednesday Wrestling Wreaction.
Affectionately known as the Triple Double U.
I'll be taking you through all of the happenings on NXT and the Cruiserweight Classic.
Previously on the Trips Dubs: We slowed things down on the way into Takeover Brooklyn 2: Return of Jafar, but we still got Hideo Itami putting his knee through some fool's forehead, and a six woman tag match that said bye bye to Carmella and Alexa, and hello to everyone the future of the women's division who's not a Psylocke cos-player or a Werewolf Assassin. Plus, more hot Second Round CWC Action!
This week we go back to Back to Brooklyn for the undercard tapings, and it ain't half bad, let me tell you.
But before we get into it, is anybody else as weirded out by it as I am when the announcers were talking about the events of Takeover Brooklyn 2: I Still Know What You Did Last Brooklyn, like they had already happened? Like Phil Phillips and Corey Graves said "A few nights ago in Brooklyn, we had an amazing night of wrestling or whatever, and how about that awesome Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura match?" even though when they were taping those words, they were talking in the past tense about things that wouldn't happen for like another three hours? Like HOLY CRAP can Phillips and Graves see the future? What other mutant powers do they have? Is Phillips like a really limited shapeshifter? Like he's not spreading his legs during interviews with the wrestlers to make himself look shorter, HE CAN ACTUALLY CONTROL HIS OWN HEIGHT AT WILL.
That would be cool.
Anyway onto the matches.
There are few moments that take you by surprise when you watch as much wrestling as I do.
One of them happened when I saw Tye Dillinger's entrance for this match. His theme hit and Brooklyn went BONKERS. He came out on the ramp and everyone, like EVERYONE in the arena was chanting " Ten! Ten! Ten! Ten!" and he comes down to the ring and if you haven't seen it, it's AMAZING.
I wish you could hear it. It's deafening.
Tonight, said Brooklyn. We are with you.
Tonight, said Brooklyn. We are all Tens.
And at the end there, as he's just taking it all in, as 15000 fans are cheering for him, I thought about what it must have been like to be Tye Dillinger in that moment, and I started to cry.
That was the surprising part.
I didn't know why I was crying, until I thought more about it.
Tye Dillinger is 35 years old. He's only got a few years left. He started out in OVW back in 2006, transferred to FCW in '07, debuted on ECW on SyFy (*shudder*) in 2008 and lasted like five months before he was future endeavored. He bounced around the indies for four years, before debuting on NXT in 2013, but he couldn't get anything going until this Perfect 10 gimmick. And then, BOOM. He took off like a rocket. Not with the top brass, oh no, but with the fans. They started doing the Ten chants during his matches, during his entrances, they loved the guy. But the bookers insisted that a guy who thinks he's perfect has to be a heel, so they kept booking him to lose. To Apollo Crews, to Andrade Almas, to fooking ONEY LORCAN. He's been off TV for over a month.
Now he's back, and they're apparently letting him be a babyface. The crowd is cheering for him louder than ever, and he finally gets to win a damn match.
I think there was a little part of Dillinger who thought he'd never make it this far, and a little part of him who thinks that this might be the biggest hottest crowd he ever gets to perform in front of.
Right after the bell rings, and the crowd breaks out into another chant of "Ten! Ten! Ten!" and he looks around and smiles, is he thinking "If this is the pinnacle of my career, I'm okay with that" ... ? I mean, if you were Phil Phillips, and you could see the future, and you told just-released Tye Dillinger back in 2009 that if he waited seven-and-a-half years, he'd be getting cheered by 15000 screaming fans at an arena in Brooklyn, NY, he'd have said you were crazy, and then he'd say, How would you even know that?, and then you would erase his memory with your mind control powers because I just decided that Phil Phillips has mind control powers too.
Anyway, so I thought about all of that, and put myself in Dillinger's shoes, the kid who could never get over, finally feeling the love from the fans in a match he was going to win, and I was so happy for him that I started to cry.
I'm a big ol' softie, guys. I can't help it.
In a fascinating twist of irony, Tye Dillinger's old FCW Tag Partner from eight years is Dolph Ziggler. Back when Tye was calling himself "Gavin Spears," he and Dolph used to tag together:
Heath Slater Handsome Heath Miller and Curtis Axel Michael McGillicutty Joe Hennig that they're facing for the Florida Tag Team Titles. Spoiler Alert: Tye and Dolph lose.
But almost 8 years later, both men performed in the same arena on the same weekend, in front of probably mostly the same fans.
One of them was wrestling for the top prize in the sport, the WWE World Championship, and the other was the curtain jerker on the "developmental" show. His match was taped and broadcast four days later.
The Curtain Jerker who got tape-delayed was more over with the crowd than the championship contender.
I don't know what it means, or even whether it means anything at all, but I just found it interesting, and I thought maybe you would too.
Tye Dillinger has a match with Wesley Blake, who has new gear, a new gimmick, and new entrance music that sounds like a Skrillex remix of Yanni's greatest hits. It has literally not one thing to do with Wesley Blake. It is beyond confusing.
At one point, the crowd starts chanting "Blake's a Zero!," which is just excellent.
Tye Dillinger wins. Get used to hearing that.
Also if he's drafted to Smackdown,
get used to hearing Mauro Ranallo yelling "USHI GOROSHI!!" at the top of his lungs.
As far as the original question goes, "Is this the pinnacle for Tye Dillinger?," realistically it probably is. He'll be a midcard hero in Full Sail, get called up eventually, and forgotten about after an early mini-push, much like his NXT predecessor, Tyler Breeze.
But there are two things they could do with him that would make him into a goddamn star:
1. Post Samoa Joe rematch, defeat and call-up, put Dillinger in a Fatal 4-Way for the #1 Contendership--him, Andrade Almas, Bobby Roode, and Austin Aries. Aries gets taken out when Hideo interferes, and Dillinger gets the pin on Almas. (This begins the start of Andrade's heel-turn, but that's another story.) Then you have him defend the #1 Contendership. If he loses before the next Takeover, the winner gets the Championship match. And have him wrestle from underneath every time, kicking out of crazy stuff. And by the time he wrestles Nakamura, he'll be hugely over. The crowd will still love Shinsuke, but they'll be pulling for Dillinger. I don't think he should win that match, but he should keep it close. He'd go out a hero.
2. After at least three weeks of vignettes, have him debut on the main roster at the Royal Rumble ...
.... at number TEN.
Imagine, the countdown for the next entrant reaches zero, and this starts to play.
Please WWE. Just do this. For me.
Secret of the Ooze.
So The Authors of Pain, aka Paul Ellering's Ethnic Pseudo-Shield, aka PEEPS, come down to the ring wearing plastic Darth Vader facemasks and Taz Towels. The masks are creepy, but kind of silly. Like, how much more scary do you need to make these dudes? They're already gigantic, wear all black, scream every word they say in the ring in an undecipherable language, and their offense consists mainly of stuff that looks like it could put you in traction. And now they've got to wear black robot skull masks? At least they just enter wearing them. There was a time before they debuted on TV that they were wrestling matches with those things on.
This time they're taking on TM61, who need a new name like yesterday. No, that's not strong enough. They need a name last week, last month, a hundred years ago. They need a new name during the goddamn PALEOLITHIC ERA. No one understands that 61 is the country code for Australia. It's confusing, and if it's not confusing, it's stupid. Just call yourselves Miller & Thorne for now and we'll figure out something later. Cool? Cool.
Stupid confusing name or no, the Aussies do come off looking great here, though. They aren't scared of the PEEPS at all. Good for them. I mean, they still get Hulk-smashed, but at least they weren't afraid of it.
My favorite spot from the match is where PEEP #1 takes Thorne and drags him along the apron like it's a bartop in a saloon and they're both in an old west barfight.
I've never seen that before.
The PEEPS also get to perform their greatest hits, like the high-five powerbombs and that Clothesline-Russian Leg Sweep thing they do for the finish.
Miller & Thorne look about as good as you can look when there's nobody in the building who believes even for a second that you could possibly win.
So ... y'know. That's a point in their favor.
But the biggest development re: the PEEPS is that apparently we have individual names for these behemoths. One of them is apparently named after the gentleman on the left in this photo:
Yes, though it's spelled Rezer, Phil Phillips pronounces it RAY-ZAHR.
The other guys named is Akam.
The way I see it, just call them Tokka and Rayzar and be done with it.
Why not give Paul Ellering a Shredder costume?
In for a penny, in for a pound, I always say.
Actually no, I never say that.
So this is my weekly plea for you to take time out of your busy day
and read my huge Cruiserweight Classic Bracketology Prediction Special.
I spent DAYS researching and writing this thing.
It was first published when the site was like three days old.
I am very proud of it.
There are so many links in there of awesome matches that I found on YouTube.
When I made my picks, I was 15 for 16 in the first round.
All of my picks for the Elite 8 are still in the tournament.
Please Read This.
With sugar on top.
I'll be your best friend.
There, now that that's out of the way:
Please enjoy the first two matches of last night in a series of Gifs.
Rich Swann vs Lince Dorado
These two used to be tag partners, so you knew this match was gonna be good,
and it did not disappoint.
These are two of the best high flyers left in the tournament.
Lince Dorado has teeth on his Lucha Mask.
Rich Swann has little wings on his trunks.
GIVE ME MORE OF THIS ALL DAY.
Rich Swann is one of several guys that have been confirmed for the Cruiserweight Division on Raw.
Thinking of Watching Swann vs Neville makes me so damn giddy, I might pass out. If I do, just keep me from swallowing my tongue and wake me up in time for Raw next week.
On second thought, wake me up in time for Smackdown.
Zack Sabre Jr vs Drew Gulak
This one is harder to gif, because the action was nearly constant, submission holds escaped and reversed into submission holds. It was outstanding.
That was just ridiculous.
Spinal surgeon. We need a Spinal Surgeon. STAT.
Are you kidding me with this guy?
Someone call the Spinal Surgeon and ask him to also bring a Dentist.
That finish is nuts. Certifiably insane.
Sabre has turned down a contract with WWE, so my earlier prediction of him winning it all is certainly wrong now.
Matter of fact, the guy he's wrestling in Round 3, Noam Dar, has already been confirmed for Raw, so they might end the Sabre train next week.
It would certainly be the biggest upset of the tournament.
Not counting the next result:
Johnny Gargano vs TJ Perkins
Here is what happened during this amazing match, in gif form:
First of all you have to understand something.
Johnny Wrestling is a Wrestling Genius.
This match was taped on July 14. It aired 40 days later on August 24, four days after the live broadcast of NXT Takeover Brooklyn 2: Live Free or Do Brooklyn.
In this match with Perkins, Johnny Gargano was selling kayfabe leg damage from an injury in a match at a PPV that would not take place for almost 6 weeks.
Johnny Gargano knew he would be in that tag match with The Revival in Brooklyn on August 20. He knew what the finish was going to be.
The finish was this, in case you don't remember.
Johnny knew that this episode he was taping on July 14 would air four days after the Revival match, and that he could further the story from NXT into the CWC.
What's more, they're teasing a break-up between Johnny and his tag partner Tommaso Ciampa, and have been since the Cruiserweight Classic match, which aired three weeks ago on August 3rd (you can refresh your memory on that one HERE.)
But that match was taped back on June 24.
THAT IS SOME INCEPTION LEVEL BOOKING.
So here's what had to happen, as far as I can tell:
Gargano & Ciampa had to know, before June 24, that the plan was to slow build to a Ciampa heel turn. That was almost certainly the plan when the brackets were set by the powers that be. So Gargs & Champs came up with a plan. Gargano would defeat Ciampa in their match against each other on June 24, which would not air until August 3rd. On July 14, they already knew what the finish of the NXT tag title match in Brooklyn was going to be, and that Johnny would be able to sell the leg damage in a match that would air four days after Brooklyn. Gargano and Perkins even built in spots that would further damage the leg, and Gargano would have to tap to the kneebar.
Now, in their head to head match taped on June 24 and aired on August 3rd, the in-ring storytelling was that Ciampa outfought Gargano and could have won, but he valued their friendship more than the win, so he held back, which left an opening for Gargano to outwrestle Ciampa, and get the win via a roll-up.
After he lost to Gargano, Ciampa did this:
Then he did this:
It was an amazing moment of friendship triumphing over adversity.
Remember, that was taped JUNE TWENTY FOURTH.
Then, in the next step in the kayfabe story, but actually taking place ALMOST TWO MONTHS LATER, Gargano tapped to lose their Tag Team Titles match.
After that match, more of the same, Ciampa with an arm around his buddy Gargano:
This time, comforting rather than congratulating.
THEN, in the next kayfabe chapter, Johnny loses the 2nd Round match that Ciampa probably should have been in. In Tommaso's mind, it's worth losing the match if his buddy goes on to win the tournament. But this? It's a damn waste.
Some further levels that they've gone to to set up this Ciampa heel turn:
Gargano has an interview in the training room before the Perkins match, as he's getting his bad knee taped up, and this is what he says:
"I've heard all the buzz, and I've read all the hype. I'm a lot of people's pick. I'm one of the favorites to win this whole thing. And honestly, I don't want to do anything to let anyone down. So tonight, I'm going to go out there and pour my heart out in the ring and do whatever it takes to leave one step closer to winning the Cruiserweight Classic."
He actually said that: "I DON'T WANT TO DO ANYTHING TO LET ANYONE DOWN."
Hmm, like you might have let your tag team partner down when you tapped out in the championship match?
Look at Ciampa's face when he says that:
No Really. LOOK AT HIS FACE.
LOOK AT HIS EYES.
And look at the shirt he's wearing:
That's his nickname for a reason, people.
Speaking of shirts, at Takeover Brooklyn, Ciampa and Gargano came down to the ring wearing these bad boys:
The back reads "NOBODY WILL DO IT FOR YOU."
The front reads #DIY.
Do it yourself.
DO IT YOURSELF.
As in, what you might be thinking when you watch your tag partner tap out to lose your Championship Match.
As in, what you might say to your former tag partner, your former friend, right before you snap the f*ck out on him:
"Something I've had to learn the hard way, Johnny.
If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself."
*knee to face"
*Air Raid Crash on the apron*
And if all that wasn't good enough, they're presenting Johnny Wrestling as the most sympathetic babyface on the entire WWE roster:
I'M SORRY IF I LET ANYONE DOWN.
This is a long con.
It's the Longest Con.
When they finally pull the trigger on this thing, it's going to be MAGNIFICENT.
The CWC is the best hour of wrestling on TV.
If you agree, but you're wondering how, our comments section has an idea:
Until Next Time, I've been Alex Pawlowski
and this is me realizing
that Johnny Gargano
is selling a leg injury
that he won't actually receive
for another forty days.