The Good, the Great and the Awesome from NXT 7/17/14
Tyson Kidd continued the most improbable run of any WWE Superstar in 2014 as he once again delivered a show-stealing performance in the main event of the July 17 episode of NXT.
Squaring off with Sami Zayn, Kidd proved himself to be the heel that the entire brand is built around. He turned in a stellar performance, as has been the case for several months now, while talk at the commentary table focused on the attitude change of the talented Hart Dungeon graduate and his marital issues with Natalya.
The outcome of said match against Zayn may not have been favorable for Kidd, but it will only fuel him in the weeks and months to come.
Elsewhere on the show, Sasha Banks proved that she is a danger to any of her fellow NXT Divas who assume she will fade into the background now that the BFFs are no more. Her win over Alexa Bliss solidified her as a threat to the Women's Championship.
Tag team wrestling received a spark in the form of The Vaudevillains and the return to the ring of Enzo Amore, who teamed with Colin Cassady to take on Aiden English and Simon Gotch. With NXT Tag Team champions The Ascension watching intently, English and Gotch established themselves as potential challengers, and Amore and Cassady furthered their vendetta with Marcus Louis and Sylvester Lefort.
With another week in the books, relive the best of the best from the July 17 show with the Good, the Great and the Awesome!
Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady vs. The Vaudevillains
The opening match of this week's show was incredibly disappointing given the talent involved. It was screwed for time and was merely the background for the advancement of the budding rivalry between the New Jersey duo and the team of Sylvester Lefort and Marcus Louis, known collectively as The Legionnaires.
With that said, the emphasis put on tag teams by NXT management indicates that it is trying to rebuild a division that has included The Ascension and little else for the last year.
If WWE has proven anything, it is that tag team wrestling can still thrive in today's wrestling landscape, and building teams that could play a huge role on its programming in the future is the right step to take going forward.
Amore and Cassady are a team that an entire division can be built around thanks to the unique nature of their gimmick and the crowd response they garner whenever they step foot in an arena. The Vaudevillains are outstanding thanks to the devotion to their gimmick, and The Legionnaires are great punching bags for whichever babyface duo they share the ring with.
Add in Jason Jordon and Tye Dillinger, as well as the aforementioned Ascension, and WWE has planted the seeds for growth in NXT's tag team division.
Xavier Woods vs. CJ Parker
The feud between Xavier Woods and CJ Parker was a simple as it was brilliant. An old-school wrestling rivalry that existed simply to help the heel environmentalist Parker get over with the NXT crowd, it culminated Thursday night in a very competitive match between the two.
Parker controlled the majority of the match, but Woods proved why he is one of the more effective underdogs in the sport, fighting back with his flashy and energetic offense. He nearly scored the win off a roll-up, but Parker reversed, shifted his body weight and scored with a roll-up of his own.
The heel winning would seem to indicate that the program will continue, but it would be more beneficial to all involved if that were not the case.
Parker got past a main roster star in Woods and should now concentrate on moving up the card. The evil environmentalist with a fiery temper has worked for him in ways that the ineffective Moon Child gimmick never did.
He is more believable in his current role, and the anger that he has for the fans following the way they treated him when he was a babyface has really shined through in his promos, making him a better speaker and overall performer.
Woods deserves better than what he has been stuck with thus far on Raw and SmackDown, but his size is a major detriment to any plans he had of one day advancing further up the ladder in WWE. While his work is strong and his will is undeniable, he may have to settle for being a midcard performer at best.
Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks
In her brief stint with NXT, Alexa Bliss has proven to be a great underdog babyface. Cute, adorable and quite talented for someone with her limited experience, Bliss has a great future in the company as a role model for girls.
But Thursday was all about Sasha Banks, who dominated Bliss and ensured that she would not become an afterthought at a time when former BFF teammates Charlotte and Summer Rae are preparing for a major match over the Women's Championship.
Her dominance of Bliss re-established her as a threat to the title and any other NXT Diva unlucky enough to cross her path. Her crossface submission (and the torque she put on it) was impressive and believable, and these traits of Banks' offense often go underappreciated.
Sami Zayn vs. Tyson Kidd
Take two insanely talented wrestlers, give them 10-15 minutes in the night's main event and watch them work their magic. That is exactly what happened Thursday night when Sami Zayn and Tyson Kidd capped off this week's NXT with a great match.
Born from a controversial finish to last week's tag team main event, which featured Kidd pinning Zayn while the redheaded Canadian checked on a fallen Natalya, the match was a heated battle between two Superstars right in the middle of the NXT Championship hunt.
Without a distraction to capitalize on, Kidd failed in his attempt to continue his winning ways, adding another chapter to his incredible run thus far with NXT.
Kidd is so obsessed with proving himself as one of the best, as championship material, that he has allowed his career to overwhelm his personal life. He does not treat wife Natalya with the respect she deserves. Instead, he uses her as a pawn in his journey toward the NXT Championship. Without that pawn to provide a distraction, he was unable to outwrestle Zayn, who simply proved to be the better man on this week's show.
After another crushing singles loss, one that threatens to eliminate him from championship contention, it should be interesting to see what direction management takes the Kidd character.
Will the loss trigger a breakdown that sees Kidd drop the facade and finally go all in on his heel turn, unleashing more aggression and intensity than he ever has before? Or will he continue to be the cocky, arrogant heel that downplays his wife's accomplishments as he attempts to prove himself superior?
Former intercontinental, European and tag team champion William Regal has been the best color commentator in pro wrestling for the better part of a year now, and he proved why Thursday night. He brought unmatched insight to the matches while integrating his brand of comedy to the mix.
He discussed his disdain for CJ Parker before turning around and putting him over. As a result, fans understand that the Parker character is detestable, a villain they are supposed to despise but one that is a very dangerous competitor.
His debate with Byron Saxton over the attitude change in Tyson Kidd only helped put that performer over and gave fans the opportunity to choose whether they agreed with the veteran in-ring competitor or Saxton, a young Superstar himself who has recently appeared on Raw and SmackDown as a backstage correspondent.
Every NXT grappler that takes to the ring benefits from having the enthusiastic Regal on commentary. Regal helps these stars get over with the audience in ways they simply will not when they make it to the main roster and are at the mercy of Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry Lawler.
While their appearance in the opening match of the night may not have been great, or even awesome, The Vaudevillains certainly shined in the brief backstage promo they were involved in with Kalisto.
They played up the gimmick to perfection, never speaking a single word. Instead, they used facial expressions and body language to respond to the Mexican luchador. It was incredibly effective and a match was made for next week's show without them uttering as much as a "yes."
The incredible effects, the great music and the dedication of the performers is helping the gimmick get over in ways that few could have ever expected.
A great addition to one of the freshest, most entertaining shows in all of wrestling.