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BO DALLAS vs. BIG E. starts things off and it's really friggin' good. This has so many fun little things. The crowd gives Big E. the "5" chant. Big E., at a few different points, has Bo set up to give him 5 corner punches and the like but Bo always worms at 4. That's pretty brilliant. Bo also does a lot of great "I will never leave you!" stuff. The match has such perfect symmetry. Bo beat Big E. to take the NXT Title and did so by using an exposed turnbuckle. That was sort of the beginning of Bo's transformation to his current character. Bo expresses shock when Big E. kicks out of his Double Arm DDT, which he's used as his finish a few times. Bo uses his sneaky heel wits by unrolling athletic tape from his wrists, tossing it to distract the ref, and unties the top turnbuckle. This ends up backfiring and Big E. ends Bo Dallas' NXT career in a great bit of storytelling. Bo's reign ends with him weeping tears of sadness on the outside, having an A+ style crybaby temper tantrum.

 

Ah, it gets even better after the match. Bo's temper tantrum continues post-match. And he finally acts heelish to the crowd. "I don't use strong language like this often... BUT YOU PEOPLE STINK!"

Kudos, Bo Dallas. You managed to find you voice as a character. You did a marvelous job and your commitment to looking completely ridiculous is A+ work. Hopefully it connects on the big stage.

 

SAMI and TYLER BREEZE is set for next week after a super fun interview segment between these two. Sami talks about his loss while Breeze eventually meanders through to interrupt. Breeze brings the hilariously narcissistic heel to this while Sami plays a great angry-yet-sensible babyface straight man, staring off into the distance like he can't believe this is who he has to put up with in his chosen career path. I've had that same look in my face several times during my career. The time a 55-year-old saleswoman at the newspaper I worked at came to work wearing a black European singlet with a brown blazer over it for some reason. The meeting on corporate branding I was forced to go to that somehow ended with an IT guy telling an entire room of people how much he loves and how often he goes to Cracker Barrel. The publisher at another newspaper who called us in to have a staff meeting -- during a time of cuts to our 401(K) match -- to inform us that his favorite move was "The Big Lebowski" and, from this point on, we were to call him "The Dude." The temp I worked with who gave an example of her high school step dance routine before an entire room of nursing professors. The creep I worked for who claimed he could remember his own birth and was obsessed with swords. The Scientologists who infiltrated that company and tried to make me write an essay responding to an article written by L. Ron Hubbard's uncle.

Sami Zayn, the most relatable wrestling character ever.

TAMINA has a rematch against returning conquering heroine PAIGE! And, uhm, this match is really great. This is the best divas match in recent history. I legitimately am having a hard time remembering a divas match this good. I think Tamina's has secretly become very solid since she returned as AJ's muscle. This match is shockingly stiff. They really lay their crap in. Paige takes a nasty apron/floor bump combo and apparently wants to lose spinal mobility before she's able to rent a car on her own. The end comes when Tamina goes for the Superfly, but Paige gets her knees up and wins via a roll-up. My one problem was the end, and it's a real nitpick. Paige was too close to the corner when Tamina leaped off. But that's just a super minor detail in a true hidden gem of a match.

 

ADAM ROSE vs. CAMACHO was pretty fun. I like the booking -- Camacho thought he'd stomp Rose, is shocked that this dude can go, and rolls out of the ring to not give his opponent any inch of credibility. Maybe they have a No DQ/No Countout match?

SASHA BANKS looks STYLING. Her vs. Nattie is a solid NXT divas affair. It's not terrific or anything to stand-out but it's just a solid few minutes of professional women's wrestling. Charlotte does some really good apron work in this at the end, and has a great look on her face after Nattie makes Sasha tap.

 

CURT HAWKINS comes out. I have absolutely no recollection of anything he has done. I know he's been around. I thought he was a cowboy at some point? Was he in JBL's Cabinet? I love his wardrobe, in particular the sunglasses he stole from Sean Royal of The New Breed. Alas, when did he steal them? Did he go back in time, to 2002, to take them from the team that went back to 1988 to eradicate Lazertron? My mind is blown, but this is a friggin' WRESTLING look. RENEE reveals she lives in Queens and she and Curt go to the same bagel shop. This is a Neville squash. Was Curt one of those guys who just got released? Legit, I have no recollection of this dude.

TYSON KIDD comes wandering out. He's a total goof. His piece on the microphone is so lame. FACT! I have a Wrestlemania moment lkadf;aldjfa;l. Neville's not a scintillating mic guy himself but someone recently has taught him well -- just keep it simple and to the point. And this is, and he gets a good diss. "The only person in your family walking away with a title at Takeover... as usual... will be your wife." They stare each other down before Tyson gentlemanly backs away. Not a bad final segment.

 

Takeover's going to be a blast.

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TAMINA has a rematch against returning conquering heroine PAIGE! And, uhm, this match is really great. This is the best divas match in recent history. I legitimately am having a hard time remembering a divas match this good. I think Tamina's has secretly become very solid since she returned as AJ's muscle. This match is shockingly stiff. They really lay their crap in. Paige takes a nasty apron/floor bump combo and apparently wants to lose spinal mobility before she's able to rent a car on her own. The end comes when Tamina goes for the Superfly, but Paige gets her knees up and wins via a roll-up. My one problem was the end, and it's a real nitpick. Paige was too close to the corner when Tamina leaped off. But that's just a super minor detail in a true hidden gem of a match.

 

Thoughts on their first match? Their match at the Extreme Rules PPV was pretty good. I was actually shocked at how good it was. It sucked that the crowd couldn't give two shits about anything going on in the ring and it came to pretty close to Budokan Hall levels of silence. Where do you rank the Emma/Paige match from NXT Arrival?

 

I think that at this point-in-time it is safe to say that Paige is winning the Diva Of The Year race as far as workrate is concerned. If Tamina can replicate her work with Paige with other Divas- Tamina could easily be a dark horse. Work aside, Alicia Fox is still the most interesting female on the main roster.

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I really, really, really liked Paige vs. Emma a lot. That match was a blast and the atmosphere was great. But this was a Divas match that felt like a fight whereas Paige/Emma was a very good match between two fierce rivals.

Tamina has become secretly good since she returned as AJ's muscle. She has great mannerisms and has really become at least decent.

Alicia Fox has always been good in the ring and has finally found a personality to make her stand out.

Paige is the diva of the year but I think we've all forgotten very quickly just how good AJ is.AJ was the only diva with any real TV time who cared for a really long stretch of time. I can very well imagine a big-to-do backstage after AJ's "Pipebombshell" where they gave her crap and she talked about the merits of actually trying to make your TV time worth something.

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I think that at this point-in-time it is safe to say that Paige is winning the Diva Of The Year race as far as workrate is concerned. If Tamina can replicate her work with Paige with other Divas- Tamina could easily be a dark horse. Work aside, Alicia Fox is still the most interesting female on the main roster.

 

 

Alicia Fox can really go. She has the best looking strikes of any of the women.

 

Tamina is still green and I really don't like the three bodyslams spot.

 

Paige is fantastic but I think she is being poorly served by the way her matches are being booked, taking a beating for 80% of the match and then wining with a quick comeback is not playing to her strengths - she has a good varied offensive arsenal and she's not getting much of a chance to show it off on the main roster shows.

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Sasha should teach the two members of the Ascension how to clubber convincingly. I think she gets visibly better in the ring each week. 

 

Overheard in the ring: As Adam Rose did that ludicrous bicycle kick while between the ropes, from off camera, Camacho gave the best, most disgusted "Ridiculous!" in response. Each week on this show, someone says something in the ring that is both really funny and nicely in-character. 

 

Bo Dallas's calm "I want to say something to all of you that came here to see me tonight: I STRONGLY DISLIKE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU" was great! I finished the line out loud with "I hate you all" as he paused, assuming that this would be his next line, but his dramatic, heartfelt pause and then going with a less mean STRONGLY DISLIKE as his insult was a much better choice. This dude throws really good temper tantrums. 

 

I thought that Paige's bump from the ropes to the apron and then to the floor looked damn painful. 

 

I don't want to be too negative, but the announcing was terrible tonight. I like Renee, but she kept speaking at awkward times. Riley was okay, but whoever the PBP person was kept having awkward pauses and was really halting. This show badly needed Regal to add character and match development in the spaces between the calling of moves. 

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Paige is fantastic but I think she is being poorly served by the way her matches are being booked, taking a beating for 80% of the match and then wining with a quick comeback is not playing to her strengths - she has a good varied offensive arsenal and she's not getting much of a chance to show it off on the main roster shows.

Honestly, I found Paige's matches on the main shows better when she was eating offense. She doesn't come across well as a dominant babyface especially with the lack of personality. 

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I agree that Paige/Tamina was really good. I also enjoyed the PPV match and good to see them get another go in front of a more vocal audience. I took a while in coming around on Tamina but she has really come a long way.

Man, when we get the eventual BFF implosion and Sasha and Charlotte finally go at it, the crowd is gonna eat it up.

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Paige is fantastic but I think she is being poorly served by the way her matches are being booked, taking a beating for 80% of the match and then wining with a quick comeback is not playing to her strengths - she has a good varied offensive arsenal and she's not getting much of a chance to show it off on the main roster shows.

Honestly, I found Paige's matches on the main shows better when she was eating offense. She doesn't come across well as a dominant babyface especially with the lack of personality. 

 

 

I want her to start working submissions more or something. Be a Lady Malenko. Get her from 'cool chick that screams' to 'cool chick that screams and breaks your arm'

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Paige is fantastic but I think she is being poorly served by the way her matches are being booked, taking a beating for 80% of the match and then wining with a quick comeback is not playing to her strengths - she has a good varied offensive arsenal and she's not getting much of a chance to show it off on the main roster shows.

Honestly, I found Paige's matches on the main shows better when she was eating offense. She doesn't come across well as a dominant babyface especially with the lack of personality.
 

I want her to start working submissions more or something. Be a Lady Malenko. Get her from 'cool chick that screams' to 'cool chick that screams and breaks your arm'

That. Hell, throw Regal out there as a mentor figure, implying he's been tutoring her.

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Paige is fantastic but I think she is being poorly served by the way her matches are being booked, taking a beating for 80% of the match and then wining with a quick comeback is not playing to her strengths - she has a good varied offensive arsenal and she's not getting much of a chance to show it off on the main roster shows.

Honestly, I found Paige's matches on the main shows better when she was eating offense. She doesn't come across well as a dominant babyface especially with the lack of personality.

 

 

I want her to start working submissions more or something. Be a Lady Malenko. Get her from 'cool chick that screams' to 'cool chick that screams and breaks your arm'

 

That. Hell, throw Regal out there as a mentor figure, implying he's been tutoring her.

 

 

THIS.

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The other thing with Paige they're doing: She's 21 and the arc is that the divas aren't giving her respect. Her sneaking wins this way makes sense due to her age, lack-of-experience and the general storyline narrative. It's a slow elevation to dominance. Also, if Paige goes on a monster run and squashes everyone in sight (or at least gets really decisive wins), what's the payoff? They don't have any heel monster for a Clash-Of-The-Titans.

The only other Diva they can really build a big match to is AJ when she returns. But AJ's far from a monster and did the same thing in terms of stealing wins by hooking people unexpectedly into the Black Widow, using Tamina, heel deception, etc. That's going to end up as more of a battle of wits.

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Overheard in the ring: As Adam Rose did that ludicrous bicycle kick while between the ropes, from off camera, Camacho gave the best, most disgusted "Ridiculous!" in response. Each week on this show, someone says something in the ring that is both really funny and nicely in-character.

 

That spot is so stupid, but the name "rose pedal" is brilliant. I'm torn on whether I want him to keep it or not now.

 

This has to be the first show in a long time where the divas matches go 1-2 for best on the show. Paige/Tamina and Sasha/Nattie were both very good. I don't really like the way the divas tournament has played out though. I'd have rather seen Alexa upset Charlotte and Sasha go all the way and use Charlotte's entitled "destined for greatness attitude" to fuel the breakup.

 

Also liked the promo to set up Zayn/Breeze and Neville squashing Hawkins in the main. Neville has quietly been booked very strong since NXT hit the network.

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I really wish the finals were Bailey vs. Charlotte. That's what they've been building to for months now. But it does make sense for Charlotte to get the belt, Cheat 2 Win, until Bailey gets her just due.

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Natalya and Charlotte did have a promo exchange a few weeks back("my uncle beat up your dad"), so there is some backstory to the tournament final...still, it sucks to see how thin the women's division in NXT has become without Paige or Emma.  Hopefully Becky Lynch and a few others can get into the mix soon.

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CURT HAWKINS comes out. I have absolutely no recollection of anything he has done. I know he's been around. I thought he was a cowboy at some point? Was he in JBL's Cabinet? I love his wardrobe, in particular the sunglasses he stole from Sean Royal of The New Breed. Alas, when did he steal them? Did he go back in time, to 2002, to take them from the team that went back to 1988 to eradicate Lazertron? My mind is blown, but this is a friggin' WRESTLING look. RENEE reveals she lives in Queens and she and Curt go to the same bagel shop. This is a Neville squash. Was Curt one of those guys who just got released? Legit, I have no recollection of this dude.

 

Curt Hawkins was Zack Ryder's tag team partner as the Major Brothers/Edgeheads/La Familia. He then was gonna tag with Tyler Reks as some stripper team until Reks bailed. The only notable thing he's done since was be the guy Brodus Clay debuted the Funkasaurus against.

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Colt Cabana and Miz and Morrison are the most to blame for Ryder. Their webshows on WWE.com were his first appearances as the Woowoowoo guy.

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I'm not sure how to feel about the NXT opening. One one hand, I like the beat and the video and audio sync really well. On the other hand, the song lyrics are awful and just about everyone featured in the video is no longer on the NXT roster. All things considered, I think they could stand to redo it starting at Takeover.

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The other thing with Paige they're doing: She's 21 and the arc is that the divas aren't giving her respect. Her sneaking wins this way makes sense due to her age, lack-of-experience and the general storyline narrative. It's a slow elevation to dominance.

 

Face champions never get over when they're booked weak. Paige more or less works every match as an underdog. If they wanted to go that way with her they should of had her work up to the belt.

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