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    Thursday, May 25, 2017

    NXTBT: Nexus Or Against Us (July 18, 2012)

    Welcome back, folks, to another NXTBT!

    Sons and Daughters

    One noteworthy thing about this era of NXT was just how many of the guys and girls were the offspring of former wrestlers. Almost every other wrestler is the daughter/son of somebody in the industry, and you often hear the commentators play this up. Sometimes, the lineage is blatantly obvious, such as with guys like The Usos and Richie Steamboat. Other times you have to do a little digging to find out the connection—Bray Wyatt doesn’t exactly look like the son of a tax collector, does he?

    This week we got to see Tamina Snuka in NXT, and it’s really weird. For the most part of her career, Tamina has always played heel, but here she’s the smiling fan favorite. Her opponent is Kaitlyn, who at this point is still a few months off her Divas title run on the main roster. She’s also playing the heel, which is just as bizarre. Did someone mess up and switch their roles before the match?

    Tamina picks up the win in a match that really isn’t anything special, with one of the worst-looking Superfly Splashes ever seen. Seriously, get on the Network and take a look at it. The way she seems to land on her knees just takes all the awe out of it, and it’s so far away from what her father or even the twins do.

    Also, I didn’t even realize that Tamina is already 39 years old. Yes, she’s around the same age as AJ Styles, and is even older than Randy Orton!

    Raquel Diaz also made her debut this week, picking up the win over Paige. As I mentioned before, Diaz is the daughter of Vickie Guerrero and the late Eddie Guerrero, but unlike Tamina, she doesn’t blatantly show off that connection here. There’s no lying, cheating and stealing mentioned—heck, if you didn’t pay attention to commentary, the only way you’d pick up on the connection is through Diaz’s Gory Special to end the match.

    While Raquel Diaz didn't last too long, the whole gimmick is fun to watch. Her whole deal on exfoliating ugliness looks like a female version of Cody Rhodes’ Dashing gimmick (remember that?), but instead of putting paper bags on heads, she’s drawing on them with lipstick. It’s a Divas’ era gimmick, yes, but it was a fun one.

    Rounding out this week’s trio of wrestling progeny is Richie Steamboat, who got his match with Leo Kruger after the previous week’s kerfuffle. We already saw Richie a couple of episodes earlier, and it's mostly the same stuff here. Here, the connection is much more obvious—Steamboat's moves in the ring just harkens back to Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat's signature maneuvers.

    Photo taken from Uproxx.

    William Regal points out how Kruger tries to use various parts of the ring to his advantage, which actually fits well with Kruger’s South African Aristotle gimmick (and even his later bounty hunter one). The match starts off well enough, but never really got into a higher gear as Kruger picked up a quick win using the ropes as leverage. It’s a nice way to set up both guys in this feud—Kruger is the wise, crafty fighter who isn’t above bending the rules, while Steamboat is the plucky babyface who wants to keep things fair. It also sets up a rematch down the line, which we’ll get to when the NXT Championship tournament rolls around. 

    Nexus Or Against Us

    NXT’s rotating card of main roster visitors gave us a little Nexus reunion in this episode, with former tag team partners Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater taking on each other in the main event.

    As you would have expected from two guys who’ve teamed together for so long, this was a decent show of familiarity. Slater spent most of his time wearing down Gabriel, knowing the latter’s fast-paced offense all too well. Gabriel eventually gets his kicks and flips in, and Slater tries to ground him again. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s at least serviceable. Gabriel won when he hit an odd-looking DDT, even if Slater looked like he kicked out early enough.

    Photo taken from AllWrestlingSuperstars.com

    It’s funny looking back on this pair, actually—back then, I was all in on Gabriel turning out to be one of the best guys out of the Nexus (only below Wade Barrett and David Otunga). He looked cool and did cool stuff in the ring, so I expected him to be the next plucky, aerial babyface akin to Evan Bourne (now Matt Sydal). Of course, none of that really materialized and Gabriel eventually left in 2015. Now, he’s best known for being one of John Morrison/Johnny Mundo’s lackeys in Lucha Underground

    Meanwhile, Slater has since gone on to feud with WWE Hall of Famers, form three relatively amusing groups (3MB, Slater Gator, and the Social Outcasts), and even became Smackdown Live’s inaugural Tag Team Champion! Also, he's now got an above-ground pool. Clearly we can see who turned out the better of the two.

    The Rest of the Show: 
    • AWWWWW FULL SAIL! DON’T YOU DARE BE SOUR, CLAP—wait, no, that’s wrong. Anyway, we got our first look at Big E Langston in this episode, and it’s certainly a far cry from the booty-shaking, cereal-shilling, thicc af dude we have today. Here he’s all serious talking about big endings and powdering up, and seems to be Tye Dillinger's predecessor to having an interest in a particular number. If you haven’t seen Big E in his NXT run, you’re in for a fun time.
    • Jinder Mahal def. Percy Watson. Yes, it’s the Percy Watson, whom we currently see on the commentary table of NXT. William Regal is nice enough to tell us that Watson was actually the protégé of a certain John Cena at one point, which is something I’ve never heard of before. That’s obviously not enough to hinder our current WWE Champion Jinder Mahal, and the Camel Clutch picks up another victim. All hail the Maharajah!
    • Aksana flirts around with Alex Riley backstage, only to play coy when Antonio Cesaro shows up. Riley gets accused of being American, and in turn he tells Cesaro to “never trust a girl.” This sets up a match for the next episode, while seriously being the most ass-backwards thing NXT might have ever put out. Seriously, never trust a girl? Who approved of this shit to air?

    Okay, this wasn’t really a nice episode of NXT to sit through. They’re still in that opening phase of letting everyone know who the new guys are, which means that the main roster guys still have matches here and there. It’s not that bad, of course, but it really feels like watching Main Event or Superstars when guys like Heath Slater, Michael McGillicutty, and the Usos are your last match of the night. Thankfully, we’re only one or two episodes away from the NXT Championship tournament, and things get much more interesting from there.

    Cover photo taken from Uproxx.


    Anthony Cuello is an HR and training practitioner. When he’s not sleeping or reading the Harvard Business Review, he covers Lucha Underground for Smark Henry. A psychology nut, he tends to watch wrestling looking for these small nuances of in-ring behavior. He dreams of a wrestling business with good people management practices, and hopes to help make that happen one day.
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    Item Reviewed: NXTBT: Nexus Or Against Us (July 18, 2012) Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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