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It was only when I started going back through all the shows from the past few months that I realised just how long it’s been since the last fashion post. And yes, I do go back through everything for these posts. Ded-i-ca-tion! Think about it…there’s been a major draft, some amazing PPVs, some of the roster were deported, and then they were allowed back in the country again. Some of the roster married each other, some big names have parted ways with the WWE (some voluntary, some by force), new stars have been made, new champions have been crowned (kind of), the first series of NXT finished, a new one began and the Nexus became part of the wrestling furniture. It would be impossible to run through every clothing related happening since Wrestlemania, but I’ll try to pick out some of the most memorable. You might need to go and get some tea and biscuits before you get stuck into this one. ‘Tis a long’un.

You better take a good look at that banner above the first paragraph, folks. Not only because we’re redesigning the site at the moment, but also because since I last did a fashion post, our favourite oiled fashion disaster has retired. Dave Batista, I miss you and your double-deni. Although, when I saw Big Dave covering up in a high-necked top and a cat-burglar hat a few weeks before he departed, I figured his time left with us was short.

The beginning of the end.

So, there’ll be no more near-naked Batista, sitting in the middle of the ring, sulking because things didn’t go his way. Let’s take a moment to remember…..

So what now for Dave? Rumour has it that he’s opened up an exclusive cocktail bar for select members of the community in Manhattan. I wish him all the very best.

Thanks, Adam.

As one veteran says goodbye, a new breed of superstars comes to the fore. Such is the circle of life. The Nexus may not have been around for long, but they feel like part of the family already. Look at them there in their cheapo t-shirts:

Their transformation from FCW wannabes to PPV hijackers was quite astonishing. Let’s take Justin Gabriel, for example. He was so cute before he turned bad. There he was with his dimply smile, ironed black hair and Matt Hardy inspired shirts.

Aww. Bless.

A couple of months, an evil streak later and……

Please note, as a face he wore white trunks and as a heel they’re black. Apparently, encasing your junk in white PVC means you’re angelic and wrapping it in black plastic makes you eeevil. Also the highlights and asymmetrical haircut. They’re eeevil too. Wade Barrett has only improved since winning NXT. He’s ditched the oversized winter coats and looks ever the illustrious leader:

It’s no wonder he beat David Otunga to the NXT trophy. Especially when Otunga decided to cover his head in stick-on plastic diamantes for the final show:

Dude! NO!

Otunga’s look hasn’t changed much since his rookie-hood, but Darren Young has had a major make-over. Personally, I’m not sure which is worse, so I’ll leave you to decide:

As for Heath Slater, he looked like a cock before he was on NXT, during and after.

Mmm. Ginger beard and girlie shades. Yum.

Our next batch of rookies don’t seem to display such extreme fashion guises. In fact, they’re fairly normal looking. Well, normal for wrestlers anyway. I mean, check out how miserable Kaval looks at having to wear his mentors’ home-made merchandise:

But don’t let grumpy-chops fool you. In his spare time, the man with the deepest voice I ever did hear likes to do a spot of catalogue modelling;

Look at all that smizing! Tyra would be so proud.

I’m sure his mentors would wholeheartedly approve. While we’re on the topic of LayCool, let’s have some REAL TALK.

Despite the fact that they appear dressed in increasingly elaborate self-branded outfits every week, not a single piece has appeared on WWEShop.com. Although, there is a youth Divas t-shirt available, so at least little girls have something to wear to cheer on the Divas now.

If WWE want to release some LayCool Flawless merchandise, I will most definitely buy it. Ms. McCool is now Mrs. Calaway, courtesy of her marriage to a certain Dead Man. And speaking of the Undertaker, you know you’re a wrestling fan when you watch the Eurovision Song Contest and assign wrestlers to the countries competing, based on their performance outfits. Clearly Taker’s a big hit in Eastern Europe.

Sing your hearts out, Ukraine and Albania!

Let’s move on. I just admitted to watching the Eurovision Song Contest. Quick! We need a more pleasant subject. Ah yes. CM Punk. Punk has gone through quite the transformation over the past few months. His once flowing locks were shorn in the name of defending the Straight Edge Society and I spent several weeks mourning the loss of his face.

Thankfully, just a couple of weeks ago the Big Show de-masked Mr. Punk and his face (plus shaven head) were visible again. Hooray!

It was rough, but we made it through and came out the other side stronger.

Going back to the ladies, my Maryse envy has been hitting new heights lately. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be her or anything, but let’s be honest, the girl fills her clothes rather beautifully. I’m not sure a halter-neck string bikini and a cropped lace top are quite suitable clothing for jiu-jitsu training. Eve has the edge in the practical clothing stakes.

But Maryse’s in-ring attire is always ace and this dress almost made me give up on life. I can’t compete with that.

But you never know, maybe I’ll go through some sort of image evolution one day and end up looking that glamorous. Bahahahaha! I couldn’t even keep a straight face typing that. Someone who did go through an image evolution though was Shad Gaspard. He ditched JTG and his urban streetwear to forge a solo career. All was looking trendy:

Until…….

Yawch! Matt Striker should have a word in his ear. That's not right.

You know, when Dave disappeared I worried that I’d have nobody to follow regarding hit-n-miss fashions. But I had not anticipated the wonder that is the cougar herself, Vickie Guerrero.

She started off in her blouse and ‘mum-jeans’, but her efforts to impress and keep up with the youthful Dolph Ziggler have been nothing if not brave. Check ‘em out:

Eeeeek! Wait. That last one was a bit dodgy. Tight dresses with zips right up the middle scream ‘street-walker’. Not even Kelly Kelly can pull that one off.

OK. Maybe Kelly.

But it’s OK, kids. In recent weeks Mrs. G’s cracked open the summer wardrobe and thrown on some rather flattering sundresses.

So all’s well that ends well. Even if she doesn’t look very happy about it. I love you, Vickie.

Sunshine seems to either bring out the best in our sense of dress or the worst. Just think of all those outfits you wear on your summer holiday that you wouldn’t dream of wearing back home. Drew McIntyre, I’m talking to you:

But I'll forgive you because you were just back from your honeymoon with Tiffany and you've had a rough time of things lately.

Sheamus could teach Drew a few things about dressing for an occasion. While stranded in Belfast as a result of the Icelandic volcanic ash, Sheamus strutted around in a mighty fine ensemble of muted colours and handpicked items. Ok, so the tie probably should be on top of the shirt, but still, he looks good, oui?

I should move on before that underlying Sheamus crush rears its ugly head. I fear that I’m a change of hair-do away from swooning for Sheamus. As Sidekick Andrew points out every time I mention it “It’s the voice, isn’t it?” Errrr, yah! Show me a girl who doesn’t love a boy with an Irish accent and I’ll show thee a liar! And while we’re on the subject of crushes I’d rather not admit to:

Yep! Zack Ryder. While he’s in his ring gear… nothing. Not even a tingle. But in his civilian clothing (as above)…. WOO WOO WOO! Although, my real reason for mentioning he of the glorious tan is to report that he’s FINALLY dropped the half-tighs/half trunks hybrid and gone for more standard trunks:

While the Long Island Iced-Z reveals a favourable increase in flesh, Cody Rhodes seems to be becoming even more naked, and it turns my stomach slightly. I mean, look….

eww

The lack of knee-pads doesn’t help and when he opts for his light-coloured boots, the boy looks practically naked. Enough. Get him some tights and a vest.

So there you have it. That’s your latest instalment of WWE clothing triumphs and disasters. I’ve learnt a few things from this trip down memory lane. I’ve learnt that I miss Beth Phoenix, Triple H and Mickie James a lot more than I thought I did, and I’ve discovered a few universal truths that will never change. I shall impart this wisdom forthwith. Never forget these important wrestling fashion rules:

  • Mark Henry in speedos is like a car-crash. You don’t want to look, but you just can’t stop yourself. You probably should look away though:
  • Jerry Lawler will always wear horrendous t-shirts:
  • Use somebody’s clothing as a weapon against them and you will be fired:

GUEST POST WEEK: the nxt stars

[This first post in our exciting Guest Post Week has been written by the fantastic Trey Irby. Quite frankly, anyone who sees the genius of Wade Barrett is OK by us and anything we say should be taken as gospel. Read, enjoy and show some love, please.  - Ray]

Before I begin, I must send my apologies to those across the pond for the so far disappointing performance of the Brits in the World Cup. After all, you lads actually like this damned sport while I flip between it and Scrubs reruns during the coverage. This is not important information.

There is important information coming, though. All is not lost, lads! Similar to how the Irish Curse became the glorious Sheamus, Britain will one day too have its wrestling champion. And WWE will hopefully have at least three big stars it can carry to the next decade.

Wade Barrett is the greatest human the world has ever known. This is a purposeful exaggeration, but I shall explain. This man will single handedly change the scene of the wrestling world. Yes, another exaggeration. But hear me out. His achievement is shocking and phenomenal. Going into NXT, he only had a notable commentary stint in FCW where, among other things, he did commentary for a Bryan Danielson/Kaval match. His work was average at best in the ring when he started on NXT. And yet, he’s the best promo out of the group of rookies, even including the now axed Danielson. Perhaps it was the real influence of Chris Jericho that turned Barrett into one of the most shockingly comfortable promos in WWE today, a man who was given the tough order of selling the biggest angle of his career a mere four months into his run on television and knocked it out of the park. Much like Barrett telling Bret Hart that the decision to sign his NXT co-horts was “easy,” it is easy as hell to see Wade Barrett become one of the company’s biggest stars.

I’m sure someone would want me to list Daniel Bryan. So I won’t. Bryan will be a giant deal, don’t get me wrong. His placement in the future will be like that of (okay he was a killer and a horrible human being in the end but I’m strictly referring to ability and not murder, alright?) Chris Benoit. He’ll maybe get a run with the title, cut a shocking good promo in 2017, lose the belt and put over some new guys and be generally respected. And yes, he will be back with the company.

So instead, I will list the non-shocking second star: David Otunga. The sound you hear is people yawning and getting bored, not unlike a current David Otunga promo and match. But calm yourself. With the big NXT angle, the one thing that helped and hurt him is shattered. All through the four long months, all we heard was about Otunga sexing that American Idol chick, equating WWE to a land of starfuckers, pardon the expression. But with the angle, all of this is gone. This affects everyone in that Skip Sheffield will likely not be a crazy cowboy at least until the angle’s finish. Tarver won’t be that weird loser guy and Heath Slater is finally not that goddamn one man rock band. Everyone is a soldier to the army, and their gimmick is gone. So now Otunga has no pressure. He is a poor worker right now, but Ezekiel Jackson had similar poor ability, and he was given the shot to competence. Plus, he’s still a starfucker. Which will save his job, even if he doesn’t even have the gimmick.

And finally, brace yourself, Michael Tarver. Yes, Gabriel is a better worker. Yes, Slater might be easier to boo. Yes, Darren Young does have John Cena’s face. And none of them have the small thing that Tarver has: creativity. I’m serious. Tarver’s expressions are already far and above his peers, from his initiative to wear every cool NXT pun-based shirt he could make, to the presence of his T bandana, Tarver is literally the last man I forget in this stable. And that will help him in the end. In the battle of making himself memorable, he got to be the chill inducer who kicked off the big NXT angle. He has the look of a big name star down. Now, this could be way off. TNA, for example, got money in their pocket with the downright amazing look of Pope D’Angelo Dinero and squandered it fast. Tarver’s promos aren’t bad, though, and neither is his work.

This NXT angle will hopefully not be a failure. If anything, it will be a fascinating experiment. Let’s see what comes out of it.

nxt season finale: in which we bemoan the lack of acrostics in today’s society

“When a love comes to an end, weaklings cry, efficient ones instantly find another love, and the wise already have one in reserve.”
Oscar Wilde

Realistically I’ve never been one to cry much, and I’m hardly the most efficient person in the world (look at my history of late and missed posts on this very site for evidence of that) – however… getting on in years does infer a certain wisdom. Now that Series One of NXT has come to a close, let’s hope I have “one in reserve” to replace it.

Excitingly, this week’s episode of NXT was the Season Finale (or, to translate to the Queen’s English, Series Final.) After the turmoils of juggling, drinking fizzy pop and selling over-priced pamphlets, we were left with only 3 remaining Rookies at the end of last weeks show as you may remember:

These are Striker's special "NXT" shoes...

As seen in Episode 12

...and Episode 14.

Suspiciously, this final episode was filmed in Dallas, so there was always a possibility that the entire run of NXT had been a dream, and that the Pros would all emerge from the shower as if nothing had happened.

If you're too young to get this reference, know that I hate you...

To begin, this week’s episode opened with a nice recap of the series so far, showing all the highlights and eliminations to date. Following this, Boss Lady Ray’s dapper and delectable Dean Striker introduced the five eliminated rookies (all of whom looked as happy as the Magical Man from Happy-Land. You know the one, he lives in a gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane) followed by the Pros…

GEEK FACT: H20 are a straight edge band, Punk was in one of their videos

Let battle commence! We started the actual show with a triple-threat match, to be followed by the first of two Pros’ Polls and the first elimination of the night. By the way, they did announce the Pros and Rookies for Series 2 of NXT throughout tonight’s episode, but I’ll cover all those next week once we’ve seen them in action. You’ll just have to be patient, which I am well aware comes easier for some than others…

Enjoyable though the match was, it was still only as good as a match containing David Otunga could be, but Barrett and Gabriel both put on a good show. Otunga was pinned first by Barrett after Gabriel had hit his 450 on him. Gabriel then took the advantage over Barrett for a while, including this pinning attempt which had Michael Cole describing it as “Gabriel slithers down the back of Barrett…”

I'm not stooping that low, if you need a joke for here ask Joey...

Gabriel started to get the upper hand, and attempted another 450 on Barrett (any wonder Josh Mathews called him a one trick pony earlier in the show?) Barrett countered with his knees and got the pin, winning the match; much to the pleasure of Jericho.

Wade, there's a little crippled boy sitting in a hospital who wants you to win this series. I know because.. I crippled him myself to inspire you.

After the match, the Pros all huddled together in that terribly convincing manner that they have, to discuss the notes they have meticulously taken throughout the previous match. Then, after tabulating the results of that Poll, and cross-referencing with a database of results from the previous weeks, taking into account both house shows and TV, then and only then were they ready to pass those results onto to Matt Striker. Either that or it’s all being made up on a week by week basis. You decide.

Striker then decided that asking the eliminated Rookies who they wanted to win was a good idea, with mixed results…




Does Striker look convinced?

Meanwhile, alarm bells were starting to ring in the bunker. Maybe both Ray and myself have watched too much wrestling in the past, and maybe my natural cynicism is starting to rub off on her (as the actress said to the bishop) but this business seems to be such a fan of swerves. Pushing Barrett as the favourite… the Rookies prepared to give an answer judging him the best… the Pros’ Poll judging him Number One… we were worried. Of the three finalists (national bias aside) we wanted Barrett to win, but I was starting to think that wasn’t going to happen…

Phew!

Inside the ring, Striker gathered Otunga and Gabriel close to his “beautiful baby blue eyes” to view the final results of the Poll. Now that we knew Barrett was safe, the Bunker was pulling for Gabriel to get through. Silly Cheryl Cole dress aside, the guy isn’t a bad wrestler at all and could do really well, at least among the younger female contingent of the WWE Universe.

Bugger!

So, Gabriel is gone; and we’re left with Barrett and Otunga as our final two competitors. Oh well, I still think he’ll do well once he rids himself of the overbearingly awful baggage that is Matt Hardy, and at least he’ll have some time off to pop back to South Africa and watch the World Cup or something. Sorry Justin, diplomatic immunity isn’t going to save you this time, just ask Murtaugh…


Luckily this is a recap, so you can be spared the ridiculously awful spectacle of Matt Hardy’s “heartfelt and unrehearsed speech” at the top of the ramp. A speech that he started before the microphone was switched on, restarted word for word once it was, then managed to make so unintelligible and uninteresting that the sound guy decided to just play the NXT theme over the end of it (and that’s with me still retaining the high ground and not going anywhere near the line “one thing I see when I look inside you”)

Oh Justin... nobody enjoys a Matt Hardy promo that much!

Anyway, after the disgustingly dire and disastrous debacle that was Matt Hardy’s promo, we moved onto promos from the two Rookies – people who should be less experienced than him and not quite as capable on the microphone. Note the important word in that sentence: “should”. Otunga, for all his in-ring inability, is very charismatic and more than able to cut a decent promo. Barrett on the other hand, as well as wrestling, had a spell on commentary alongside Dusty Rhodes at FCW: a position you’re not going to get unless you’re comfortable on the mic.

I'm ignoring the fact that Otunga has more sequins than a bar maid at Funny Girls, Boss Lady Ray can cover that...

“Creative and Entertaining” were the two criteria requested by Striker: unfortunately Otunga’s idea of that is to call Wade ugly (placing focus on his broken nose: imagine a bare knuckle boxer with a broken nose!) whilst bragging about his own good looks.


Entertainingly, Otunga mentioned his “it-factor” during his promo, leading to a (shoot?) from Barrett that is worth watching in it’s entirety. It’s OK… I’ll wait for you and meet you afterwards.

Great Khali burns… WWE management unable to hang on to any intangible quality… adding two letters to the front of It Factor… all good stuff and without a doubt the more successful promo. Unfortunately this did nothing to silence our earlier alarm bells, as Barrett coming out on top here is surely only helping to cement his loss later on.

Or will it? Time for another Pros’ Poll to find out the final winner. Time to gather round and compare those notes again…

The left hand side of this picture reeks of awesomeness

The next section was ostensibly the announcement of the winner of Series One of NXT, but it was interrupted first by The Miz announcing that he would once again be a Pro next series, followed by Regal seemingly losing all control and just tearing into each Pro and essentially announcing Barrett as the winner…

Incredible stuff I’m sure you’ll agree. Calling Christian “Benjamin Button”; insulting Jennifer Hudson; calling Hardy “Eugene”; pleading with R-Truth to fight him; complimenting Jericho on his two moves; Punk realising that he’s had enough of NXT and just walking out…

Tremendous though this was, and terrifying inasmuch as it supported our theory that Otunga was going to win, Striker decided to assert his authority (something he does on a regular basis around here) and just declare the winner while all this was going on. Obviously we’re all resigned to the fact that it will be Otunga now. Regal has declared Barrett the winner. The Pros’ Polls have announced him as Number One. The Rookies have voted for him. Yet the WWE loves to wrongfoot so obviously they will choose the guy who’s engaged to Jennifer Hudson…

Oh Emm Gee

X <- that’s a big kiss from Boss Lady Ray and myself to the WWE for actually managing to surprise us. We were both convinced Google-Boy was going to win, so to see Barrett as #1 was very satisfying indeed. But that’s the end of Series One. In an attempt to please Oscar Wilde however, WWE are attempting to prove their wisdom by starting Season 2 straight away.  As I said earlier however I won’t mention the Pros and Rookies until next week. Well, apart from this one to close with:

...as if millions of ROH fans suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly ignored...