Thursday, February 27, 2014

WWE Network & NXT Arrival

It would be crazy of me to have a wrestling blog and not talk about the WWE Network launch. It's not a perfect launch, but it's been pretty damn good. I still can't get it to work on my X-Box 360 which is a bummer, but it's working well on my computer and they are improving the experience every day. The first day the search function would show you the matches for a wrestler and then start the PPV the match occurred on. Two days later all the PPVs had bookmarks on the timeline so you could jump to the match you wanted to watch. Today, being Thursday even though this probably goes up after midnight and is on Friday, I searched a match and when I clicked the link it jumped right to the part of the PPV where the match started. So it's pretty awesome so far.

The thing I appreciate the most about the Network is being able to essentially construct best of DVDs for wrestlers that I love that will never get those DVDs. I started my searching with Lance Storm and watched his match against Chris Candido at ECW Heatwave 1998 and just watched most of that show and the first three matches are really good. Beside the match I already mentioned you get Justin Credible vs. Jerry Lynn and Masato Tanaka vs. Mike Awesome. I have a good list of wrestlers I want to search after Storm. Some of them are guys I vaguely remember liking and want to see if they are still good like Lash Leroux, Val Venis,  Essa Rios, and Too Much. But more importantly is the ability to check out people like Storm, Dean Malenko, Christian, and all the other wrestlers that are great in the ring, but didn't have the personality to get them DVDs or big time matches.

The biggest high point for my excitement about the Network was NXT Arrival which aired earlier today. The stream broke for me before the main event, but I can live without that match live, although I do want to see Neville vs. Dallas in a ladder match.

The show started with Cesaro vs. Zayn and that match was so good. It played off the history the two men had facing each other in so many great ways that while the match would be good for somebody watching this as their first exposure it was enhanced by having watched the previous matches. So much good stuff in this match, so there's lots to talk about so I'll try and keep it brief. First off the commentary for this whole show and especially this match was so much better than what the main shows get. Why Regal hasn't gotten called up to the main shows is beyond me. Zayn starts off strong, but of course Cesaro puts a stop to that and then goes to work on the injured knee of Zayn and he does a beautiful job of it. He does some dragon screws and rolls up keeping a hold on the leg and does it again and he has some nice submissions to work the leg without being submission moves you'd expect to end the match. Zayn has an attempted comeback where he's on the apron and gets Cesaro on the outside. Zayn's knee is injured so when he does the dive it's an Arabian Press Moonsault so he doesn't put any more pressure on the leg, unfortunately Cesaro caught him and slammed him onto the ramp. Zayn of course refuses to give up and fights into the ring and they just do more awesome stuff and everybody should watch this match. Kind of bummed Zayn didn't get to pull out the win, but if this match doesn't get him onto RAW before March is over WWE is crazy.

Mojo Rawley beat CJ Parker in a short match which is good because I don't care about CJ Parker.

The Ascension beat Too Cool in a decent tag match. I don't care for the Ascension, but I'm a big Too Cool fan ever since they were Too Much so that helped get me interested in the match. Both teams do their usual stuff it was good enough.

Then we get the Women's Title match between Paige and Emma and it was great. A lot of technical wrestling and submission attempts in this match, so anybody worried about Emma being too much of a comedy wrestler on Raw and Smackdown can put those fears on the backburner. Much like Zayn/Cesaro it had the two competitors countering each other based off their previous matches and they did some beautiful looking counters. Emma is in control for more of this match than their last match and I appreciated it. It's not often Paige plays the face in peril so it was good to see her play it here and Emma puts her in some brutal looking submissions to do it. Best part of the match Emma hitting a sitout powerbomb on Paige for a two count while the crowd chanted "Better than Batista," and she did the move perfectly so the chant fit. Paige fights back and hits the Page Turner, but Emma kicked out and then got put into the Scorpion Deathlock Double Chicken Wing and Emma taps out to an awesome looking submission after a hard fought contest.

There were entrances for Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze before Rusev came out and beat the shit out of both of them which sucked because Tyler Breeze is awesome. Then the stream died and I missed the main event, but I'll watch it soon and I'm looking forward to it, but even without the main event Arrived is worth the two hour watch time, and the Network is worth the 9.99 a month price tag.