Episode eight started as a normal episode and then it became clear that there was a theme underlying it: a certain…royal quality. A touch of Regalness, if you will. This episode falls in love with (almost) every minute of the episode of NXT that originally aired on July 10th, 2013. If you don’t have WWE Network, you can watch the show here.
In this episode:
Summer Rae is back to do hairflips and compete in the semifinals of the Women’s Championship Tournament. As Bob puts it, the crowd is “cautiously aroused.” Summer’s wrestling style involves a lot of submissions, likely on account of her ridiculously long legs, as well as yelling at her opponent a lot.
Her opponent in this case is Emma, who comes out to a pretty lively scene full of bubbles, cheering fans, and…is that an articulated Emma sign?
Wow, yes. Yes, it is. Anyway, after getting stretched by Summer a bit, Emma rolls her up for a pin attempt (while dancing):
Summer reverses it:
But Emma reverses HER pin attempt, sinking even deeper and winning the match by literally sitting on Summer’s face. If you were wondering whether or not Bob has thoughts on this, now might be a good time to go back and listen to every other episode we’ve done.
Afterward, Summer attacks Emma because she’s a mean girl/sore loser/heel, bringing out honorable goth swashbuckler Paige to “make the save,” as they say. Are they friends now? Is there mutual respect between them? Was Paige just doing the right thing? All we know for sure is that we already have their ship name.
Meanwhile, backstage, Bayley makes the kind of face typically reserved for seeing a living legend walking toward you…
…because that’s literally what’s happening, as wrestling legend Ric Flair is here to introduce his daughter to NXT.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Charlotte, a person who will be EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to the future of NXT, WWE, and wrestling as a whole. Spoiler alert. She shows up with her dad and Bayley offers to be her opponent for her debut match next week. We’ll have a lot to say about that when it happens, but suffice it to say for now that people who have followed the careers of these two athletes might get a bit of a shiver down their spine look at the image above, where they meet for the first time.
Bayley also timidly asks Ric Flair to do the thing, and Charlotte just looks embarrassed to be alive.
But I mean, come on. It’s Ric Flair. He does the thing.
Bayley’s face is all of us.
Up next is a match that might have deserved to main event this episode, if the main event wasn’t WILLIAM DILFING REGAL stepping into the ring to try and stop the swamp cultists from waking Cthulhu. Sami Zayn vs. Leo Kruger is a lengthy and excellent contest, and really provides a showcase for the concept of “working” a body part. In this case, Sami’s arm.
It starts happening early, but gets delayed for a while as Sami’s high energy takes over the match. It’s hard to screencap a lot of the stuff Sami does because it happens so quickly, and we’re still not good enough at this to be able to make our own GIFs, but we can show you Kruger’s reaction to Zayn’s flurry of offense:
Incidentally, Miles and Bob briefly discuss a move Zayn pulls off called an “arm drag.” He does a fun flippy version of it, but basically it’s this:
Sorry, not sure how that last inside joke got in here. The POINT is that eventually Kruger takes control by applying, as Bob puts it, “arm tortures.”
Zayn is able to get out of this at one point by getting his foot to the rope, an incredibly important trope of submission wrestling that we’ve discussed before:
But ultimately, he’s being outwrestled, and there’s only so much you can do when a crazy South African is tearing your arm to shreds.
Just a fantastic example of submission wrestling that makes sense, tells a story in the ring, and makes both wrestlers look good by the end. You’ll never hear anybody talk about this match EVER, but if you haven’t seen it, you should. Worth your time.
Speaking of things being worth your time, here’s William Regal making Adrian Neville and Corey Graves look a thousand times cooler just by standing next to him:
That’s actually the end of their backstage interview. Regal actually kicks off this bar-raising theatrical performance by politely refusing to give a shit about the other people in the room.
Although when it’s time for Renee to come talk to him, he makes he clear that he very much knew SHE was there.
Again. Renee. All of us.
Bringing us down a little from our horny Regal feelings is this week’s offering in the…feud? Maybe? Between Mason Ryan and Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady? We’re not sure it’s a feud, but it’s definitely a handicap match (two guys vs. one). Though not, we might add, a standard one. Miles actually didn’t say anything about this on the episode, but in most handicap matches, the team with the numbers advantage has to at least tag in and out. Here, Enzo and Cass are apparently allowed to just gang up on Ryan in the ring with no tags and no consequences.
Ryan puts up a good fight even with the odds stacked against him, but really, nobody on the outnumbered side should ever win a handicap match. I mean, I guess if one of the guys on the other side is some weird dude from Jersey who’s five foot nothing and whose best offensive move is “being annoying.” Then maybe. But in this case, while Ryan is getting Cassady up for a big move, Enzo manages to get him in the knee with a chop block, causing Cass to fall on top of Ryan and pin him.
It should also be noted that Ryan is kicking out as the three is being counted and almost makes it, another thing that happens frequently in wrestling to indicate that the losing party lost JUST BARELY.
We also have a shot of Bob’s face when Mason Ryan lost this match:
And as a final note before we forget this one ever happened, it’s time for the first ever #CrotchWatch! Starring previous #ButtWatch standout Colin Cassady, who we’d like way more if the word on his crotch had been spelled slightly differently and was meant to indicate a willingness to accept situations as they are, not worry about how they could be better or worse.
Finally, it’s time to deal with the aforementioned swamp cultists. AGAIN. BECAUSE THEY’RE AWESOME AND THEY KEEP BEATING PEOPLE.
You know, they look so evil and scary, but the Wyatt Family really is a caring community of evil fear monsters. Just look at Bray tenderly remove Erick Rowan’s sheep mask from his cute widdle face:
The match starts out fine, but really picks up, of course, when William Regal gets in the ring and starts murdering people.
For context, you should know that William Regal was a sneaky, dirty, streetfighting heel for most of his wrestling career. He was a great wrestler and one of the toughest people alive, but he would also never, ever hesitate to break the rules for an advantage. The dude was known at one point for his blatant and constant use of brass knuckles. So of course he decides to hit people even though they’re in the ropes, even going so far as to discreetly kick Luke Harper in the face while attempting to block the ref’s vision:
When the ref sees what Regal is doing, the cheeky fucker even starts counting along with the official during his five count.
Then, in perhaps the greatest moment of the match, Regal tags in Neville, then grabs the ref around the neck in a “look here, my good man, I don’t think my actions were against the rules at all, let’s discuss this reasonably over in the corner” type of gesture and turns him around while arguing his case…
…just so that Neville can DO THE SAME GODDAMN THING to Harper while the ref’s back is turned.
“These are the good guys?” you ask incredulously. Well, yeah, sure. It’s just that William Regal energy, man. You can’t resist it. Just accept that you’re going to be kind of a dick for one night. Insert your own joke about William Regal and being a dick for one night here.
Other highlights of the main event include Neville getting the absolute shit kicked out of him, like the time Luke Harper grabbed on to his entire face:
Or the time Erick Rowan tried to bend his spine in half:
Or the time Harper just sort of held him upside down in the air for a while because he could:
Eventually Neville makes the HOT TAG, which also happens to be your Wrestling Term of the Week! If there was a museum of wrestling tropes, this picture would be in the first exhibit.
Regal comes in and cleans house, and everyone does a bunch of cool stuff, but alas, a happy ending is not to be. We wish we could show you the brutality with which Regal sells Wyatt’s finisher, Sister Abigail, but again, we can’t make GIFs yet. Just trust us. It’s rough. Bob is forced to close out the episode on a sad note, but her growing knowledge of wrestling allows her to understand that overall, it’s a positive thing for guys like Regal to take the loss to up-and-comers like Bray.
And hey, maybe he needs to be, like, nursed back to health or something, huh?
That’s it for the Episode 8 visual companion. I know we’ve been behind on these so you’ve probably already heard the next episode, which features Elle Collins of With Spandex, but if you haven’t, you should go listen to that. It’s a doozy.
We’re spending this week and the next one catching up on Visual Companions with the aim of being all caught up by the time Episode 14 drops, so watch this space for Episodes 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13, all coming soon! Thanks for reading!
By the way, that is, in fact, our music! It’s called “Learnbuckle” and it was created by the uniquely talented Rafael Medina, whose work you can and should follow via his Twitter account, @EarthMeauxFaux! You can also follow Miles @mjschneiderman, MeganBob @meganbobness, and the show itself @nxtwrestlingfan.
Additional music and sound credit to:
“Eyes Gone Wrong”, “Greta Sting”, “NewsSting”, “Samba Stings,” “Machinations”
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0