Happy holidays, wrestling fans and cautious newcomers! We give you the gift of the NXT episode that originally aired on July 31st, 2013, and which for some reason involved a comically absurd level of dance content! If you don’t have WWE Network, you can watch this episode here.
In this episode:
The self-proclaimed enemies of SAWFTness (and by extension, both Miles and MeganBob) Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady kick this one off (and in doing so, also kick off a whole entire conversation about toxic gender roles and masculinity in wrestling). Nobody is really happy to see them, but at least they’re only here to get thrown around the ring by these guys:
For the uninitiated, these gentlemen are a very 2013-specific tag team called Tons of Funk. On the left is Matt Bloom, formerly known as Jason Albert, Prince Albert, just regular Albert, A-Train, Baldo Train, just regular Train, Giant Bernard, Gigante Bernard, somehow not just regular Bernard, Mongolian (what), Lord Tensai (oh fuck that’s right this part of his career was problematic), just regular Tensai, (seriously) and finally, “Sweet T,” which is what the announcers call him here. Shortly after this he would retire and become a full-time NXT coach, eventually rising to the position of Head Trainer.
The other guy is Brodus Clay, also seen here in the later stages of his WWE career. He would go on to be known as Tyrus in other promotions. He’s also a Trump supporter, so that’s about all the time we have for him. Mason Ryan comes out and dances, guys, that’s the important thing.
In more dance-related content, Summer Rae interrupts NXT General Manager Dusty Rhodes, Emma, and NXT Women’s Champion Paige backstage to say that she wants a championship opportunity. Turns out that to get that, she’s going to have to defeat Emma in…a dance battle. Which is not a thing Bob knew existed in wrestling. It’s delightful, come back for Episode 12. Also, please enjoy Emma’s ridiculously fun dress, and the sight of her and Dusty dancing together.
This episode also features the first-ever encounter between Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks, back when they were both basically playing the same “smiling, waving, happy to be here” character. Partially as a result of this, the crowd does not care about this match, which is bizarre to think about in 2020 considering the matches these two women will go on to have. Apart from historical significance, this match is short and largely unremarkable — though there is one moment that drew Bob’s attention, and also provided a glimpse as to what Banks could be if she were given, say, a slightly more heelish character…
It COULD happen, is all I’m saying.
Pictured from right to left: Tyler Breeze, some unnamed dude in the background, and Bob’s reaction to Tyler Breeze personified in human form. Granted, if she’s so annoyed that she wants somebody to come kick Tyler Breeze’s ass, the character is probably working as intended, but still.
Also, it seems like literally everyone in NXT likes playing with their hair:
One of the most important parts of this episode is that it is the final appearance of the Wyatt Family as members of the NXT roster. It’s not their final NXT appearance, period, but they have officially been called up to the quagmire of Raw and Smackdown. For their curtain call, we get a video package in the same style as the ones that played on those main roster shows to announce the Wyatts’ arrival, then Harper and Rowan squash the jobber team of Mickey Keegan and Aiden English, and then Bray cuts an awesome promo for the fans at Full Sail, who fucking love him. This is the start of a new taping, and with the audience fully aware that the Wyatts are on their way up, Braymania has begun to reach a fever pitch. People are extremely excited to see him shake up the main roster, because it was 2013 and we still thought Vince McMahon was interested in pushing NXT talent.
The Wyatts have seen mixed success on the main roster. Bray himself is the best example, as he’s been given huge push after huge push only to have the rug pulled out from under him so many times that by the beginning of 2019, he was a running joke, someone who kept talking about how scary he was, but who was never presented as a serious threat to anybody. That changed with the debut of his new persona, a personality split between an amiable host of the Firefly Funhouse children’s show and an unstoppable supernatural force of destruction knows as the Fiend. While the actual execution of this idea has had mixed results, Bray is, at the time of this writing, a world champion in WWE, having managed to re-invent himself yet again.
Harper and Rowan had a couple runs as tag team champions on the main roster, but Harper in particular was never utilized to his full potential, a waste of talent that ultimately led to his departure from the company. Rowan, meanwhile, spent some time hanging out with the New Daniel Bryan before doing…whatever it is he’s doing now.
Incidentally, this is the actual final appearance of Mickey Keegan, pictured above looking down at wrestling gear that looks strangely similar to Bo Dallas’ in this same episode:
Keegan retired from wrestling due to a neck injury, which is probably why he didn’t take any hits in this match (or, come to think of it, he and English’s match against the Ascension in the last episode). We hope he had a full recovery and is living his best life. Time to find another tag team partner, English! Make it a good one!
By the way, since it comes up, this is not a bodyslam:
In wrestling, jumping up in the air and landing on someone is commonly referred to as a “splash.” A bodyslam looks like this:
Hey, might as well use the most famous one.
Sylvester LeFort leads Scott Dawson out to face Corey Graves, who’s just gotten a pep talk from his partner Adrian Neville. We’d show you a still from that backstage scene, but it’s literally just the two of them talking, and you’ll see Neville’s track suit in a moment. To summarize the actual match: Corey Graves wins.
After a brief conversation about submissions, it’s time to talk about some people who are kind of a big deal.
That’s right, the Shield have arrived in NXT! For those who don’t know them, that’s 4-time WWE world champion Roman Reigns on the left, 4-time WWE world champion Seth Rollins on the right, and one-time WWE world champion Dean Ambrose in the middle. They’ve also won pretty much all the other championships in WWE (like the United States and tag team championships, which they’re pictured holding) and, in the case of Rollins and Ambrose, other promotions as well. It’s kind of hilarious how much Bob hates these jerk-offs and has no context whatsoever for why she should like or care about them.
They’re here because Adrian Neville committed a crime or something, we couldn’t really figure it out, the point is that Neville challenges Ambrose for the US title and Corey Graves gives him this LOOK:
Friendship is magic, guys.
The main event features Leo Kruger and Antonio Cesaro taking on Sami Zayn and NXT Champion Bo Dallas. There are two main storylines going on here: First, even perpetual good dog Sami Zayn isn’t sure about this whole Bo Dallas thing, which plays out toward the beginning of the match as Bo wants to be tagged in and Zayn is clearly hesitant:
Dallas ends up tagging himself in, which doesn’t go well. And later, Cesaro prevents him from tagging Zayn back into the match:
The other story is that Zayn and Cesaro don’t even care about this tag match, they just want to beat the piss out of each other. Their rivalry has grown so heated that at one point Cesaro is able to bait Zayn into chasing him around the ring, allowing Kruger to take the advantage:
And eventually, Zayn and Cesaro literally stop caring and just fight each other all the way to the back:
This leads to Kruger getting the drop on Dallas (who, you’ll remember, Kruger will soon be challenging for the championship) and pinning him to win the match.
Much to the delight of the crowd, we might add:
Will Kruger be able to pin Dallas again when the title is on the line? Can Zayn and Cesaro’s feud be contained? What’s the deal with all these main roster championships we’re seeing these days? Two of those questions will be answered in future episodes, but the other will be answered right now!
Start memorizing, naught students. The quiz is on Monday.
Oh yeah, Bob also explains the Spider-Man/Juggernaut dynamic in wrestling terms in this episode, and it’s…startlingly accurate. You can really tell she’s starting to get it and WE’RE ALL SO PROUD OF HER. If she keeps it up, maybe someday we’ll show her some main roster Wyatt Family stuff. It was good for a little while!
That’s it for Episode 11! Hope everyone had a great holiday. We’re getting so close to be actually, really truly caught up on the visual companions, so thanks for reading and stay tuned!
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, or visit www.nxtwrestlingfan.com
Additional music and sound credit to:
“Eyes Gone Wrong”, “Greta Sting”, “NewsSting”, “Samba Stings,” “Mistake The Getaway”
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0