TripleR Presents: Oliver's Weekly NXT Review (11/6/13)
Nov 7, 2013 - 10:34:07 AM
NXTians! Here we are, another week has passed and the NXT Universe is absolutely abuzz with talk of tonights main event, which will see Luke Harper take on Kassius Ohno in a rematch from a month ago. It’s stacked full of promise – as is the rest of the card which will feature a new chapter in the on-going evolution of Alexander Rusev and his little blonde friend (her name’s Lana, let’s not beat around the bush like a sexually inept teenager here). Plus – The Ascension have another match against some local ‘athletes’! Hang on, why have I put that as a positive? Come back! Please come back! Here’s something I found in the mail this week from Bo Dallas, by the way:
And on that note, let’s get into…
The NXT Review: 06/11/2013 – The One With More Squash Than A Pumpkin Pie
Sylvester LeFort and Lana are having a chat backstage – LeFort is super pissed about losing Rusev as a client, even though he always paid him well. Lana says something in Russian, which neither LeFort nor I understand – I think it’s ‘svidaniya’, which presumably means goodbye as Lana waves him off and LeFort goes to the ring.
LeFort, now in the ring, is nervously counting some money and is visibly distressed about having to take on his destructive former client as Tom Phillips, Renee Young and – sigh – Alex Riley welcome us to the show. Lana comes out to introduce Rusev in Russian, but she clearly refers to Rusev as the ‘Bulgarian Brute’ and he comes out to his countries national anthem. How quick do you think this will be?
LeFort, inevitably, tries to pay off Rusev who hasn’t even taken his skirt off. The Bulgarian Brute is having none of it, throws him to the ropes and levels him with a body block. He locks in the Accolade, stuffing money in the mouth of his opponent, and LeFort taps.
Who had 14 seconds? That was shorter than Daniel Bryan’s loss to Sheamus at WrestleMania, and does little but…actually, it does nothing. Rusev doesn’t look especially beastly for taking down someone with no prior wrestling history on the show, LeFort looks weak as all hell and that’s about it. But hey, Rusev did it all whilst wearing his skirt, which is something.
BAYLEY! Bayley is happy because her headband has been fixed, and Charlotte’s pretty glad too. The headband no longer fits because there’s too much tape on it, but that’s by the by I guess. The happiest woman in the world lets out a little ‘woo’, and Charlotte says ‘I’m not my dad’. True that, Charlotte. True that. Anyway, here come the BFFs, which the Nature Girl is none too impressed by – they’re not here to cause trouble though, they actually want to apologise to Bayley for breaking her headband and present her with a new one. It has kittens on it! Charlotte keeps pulling trout faces in the background, which I assume means she’s pissed, and when Summer goes to pat Bayley on the head she bats her arm away. ‘What do you think, Summer, I need another stepmother?’ Good line Charlotte. Anyway, she tells the BFFs that they don’t run NXT, and that her and Bayley don’t need to be friends with them – but the former Davina Rose disagrees, she wants to be friends with Summer and Sasha because ‘they’re cool’. And then she throws Sasha a highfive that wasn’t supposed to be a highfive because Sasha was just doing that hand thing she does when she’s trying to act. Bayley is completely pulled into the story of being on Raw and Smackdown and having photoshoots – and the BFFs offer her a spot! Don’t do it Bayley, please don’t! Charlotte takes issue with being called trash and goes to start a fight, but Bayley pulls her back and tells her to breathe – but the Nature Girl just tells Bayley to get off her. OK, so I’m either being completely stupid and blinded by Bayley love or this was wonderful – Bayley’s whole ‘we want to be friends with them, they’re cool’ line completely summed up the whole point of the BFF gimmick – they’re the type of girls that the some kids at school think are cool and popular, but there’s only two of them and some people (like Charlotte) can see right through it – they’re not popular, they’re bloody horrible and only have each other. Plus, with Summer and Sasha wanting to ‘own’ NXT, it sort of figures that they’d go after Bayley as a recruit because she’s the easiest to please member of the locker room and they can totally just manipulate her. Giving her a new headband is all it takes, whereas convincing someone else (like Charlotte, who would really be a better fit) would take more work. I guess the BFFs can’t fight Paige and/or Emma every week, so they might as well get the other two NXT women involved as well and this was quite a good way to do it.
Hey, it’s the mysterious luchadore El Local! He’s definitely not Sami Zayn this time, he’s clearly too chubby. Leo Kruger is apparently ‘back’, but it’s not really been that long since we saw him get destroyed by Antonio Cesaro, is it? Like, four weeks? Anyway, the commentary team are putting over him finding a ‘new fire’ inside him after being taken out by Cesaro after the match they had – let’s see how that manifests itself here.
Local ducks a clothesline and gets in a couple of kicks to the legs, but coming off the ropes he gets absolutely wiped out by a spinebuster from the mercenary. Kruger runs Local into the ropes and hits a knee to the gut a bunch of times, and then levels him with a back elbow. He charges into the corner…but Local gets a boot up! El Local jumps to the top rope, only to get his legs swept out from beneath him by Kruger, who proceeds to stomp a hole in him. Then he just flings him into the opposite turnbuckle before decapitating him with the Slice. Normally, that would be a set up for the GC3, but Kruger isn’t done playing just yet – he hits a series of three snap suplexes, and on the final one rolls through and locks in a Butterfly, which is enough to make Local tap out.
Short, sweet, and leaves Kruger looking good. I like it. I also like this new submission from Kruger, which looks simple enough as it’s just a double underhook, really, but is also very different to any sort of submission finisher I’ve seen kicking about for a while. It’s more logical than the GC3 as well – Kruger had absolutely nothing in his arsenal that let him work the arm in the lead up to that, but a head/neck submission is a far more logical follow up to the Slice clothesline he uses. It’s good to see him evolving his moveset a little bit more, and he still seems to be pretty over with the crowd despite his four week absence.
There’s a little recap of Emma and Paige accidentally hitting each other over the past fortnight, and then we get to catch up with them arguing backstage. Emma is not happy with Paige’s tone right now as she screams in her face, but Paige is not down with her turning this into a joke – she hit her as revenge, Paige thinks, but Emma protests and…sorry, I’ve just noticed Emma’s little lip piercing and have gone into a daze. What was I saying? Oh, Paige. Yeah, she tells Emma to get out of her face or else she’ll rip it off. I’m not sure if they’re actually teasing heel Paige here, because she’s clearly got the wrong end of the stick regarding Emma accidentally hitting her, but this segment does suggest it. I wouldn’t mind heel Paige, actually, it seems a little bit more of a natural fit for her look, but to be honest I want these two to both stay face for the feud – it can work without one or other of them turning. This only added to the build towards their inevitable title rematch which has been over four months in the making. I still can’t believe Paige has been champion for four months. I’m absolutely hyped about where they’re taking this.
Oh hey, it’s Travis Tyler and Troy McClain! I know who they are! They have proper pictures and everything. Ah well, whatever. It’s not like we’re going to need to know their names. This is, of course, non-title and the crowd are fully behind the opponents of the NXT Tag Team Champions, striking up a ‘let’s go these guys’ chant.
Tyler starts off with Victor and immediately get taken to the mat with a waistlock takedown. The Scalpel of The Ascension charges his opponent into the corner and tags to O’Brian while driving shoulders into Tyler’s midsection. O’Brian hits a series of rolling side headlock takeovers before tagging back out and throwing Tyler into a clothesline from his teammate. Victor tags out almost immediately and throws Tyler into a flapjack. And then another tag, this time The Adcension double team Tyler and take him down with a cross armed throwdown thing. And then they spend well over five seconds in the ring connecting with the Fall of Man to give them the win.
The Ascension win a squash. Next!
He don’t get hyped, he stays hyped! Rawley charges to the ring and bounces around like a ball. Tye Dillinger, by the way, is Shawn Spears – the more you know, hey? Both men look about the same size, whereas in his last outing Rawley absolutely dwarfed Danny Burch. The crowd start a ‘let’s go Mojo’ chant and this one gets going.
Rawley forces Dillinger back into the corner out of the early tie up. Tye urges him to bring it, and when Rawley does he ducks underneath and hits a chop to the chest – but Rawley just shrugs it off and wipes him out with a bodyblock. He looks for a bodyslam, but Dillinger slip out into a side Russian legsweep and then takes a modicum of control, stomping on his face before choking him against the ropes with his knee. He goes for more chops to the chest, but Rawley again just brushes them off – only to get rocked by a kick to the midsection, and then taken to the mat in a rear chinlock. The crowd urges Mojo up, and he nearly breaks the hold before getting taken down with a drop toehold, with Dillinger hitting forearms across the face and looking for a pin that Rawley kicks out of before the referee can even get down to count one. Tye rips at the nose of Mojo, but Rawley manages to power up to his feet and hit a body slam, and then cuts off his opponent in an American Football style pose, before just levelling him in the corner. He hits a pair of body avalanches, then Naomi’s Rear View and the Earthquake splash to give him the win.
OK, that was a bit better from Rawley, and he gets the dry ice chutes from the ceiling treatment as he celebrates in the ring. He did look better here than against Burch, but I still don’t really feel that his finisher is quite right for him – he’s a big dude, and the Earthquake splash works with big dudes, but he could have something with far more impact and that looked way more impressive than that. It’s a pretty big thing, getting a finisher right, and I don’t feel like they’ve nailed it with him yet. That said, I pretty much love everything else about him, as it’s great fun and we’ve seen he can give pretty good promo elsewhere in his pre-taped videos. There’s a big future for him here, for sure.
I love Luke Harper so hard. I love him even more after watching him take on CM Punk on Monday night, which was a terrific match. He’s a little less creepy without Bray in tow, but still looks intimidating and, frankly, a little odd. Ohno is really fired up for this one, roaring on the entrance ramp and staring down his long-time rival. This has built up so well since Ohno was ‘put out of action by the Wyatt Family’ and then returned, and I have a feeling what we saw before is only a taster of what we’re about to see. Let’s do this thing!
Ohno strikes first with a single legged dropkick to the chin, and already the pace and stiffness of this match is established, with Kassius taking it to Harper with elbows and knees. The former Brodie Lee retaliates with a slap to the face, but Ohno merely flinches and comes back with a double axehandle to the head. He backs his man into the corner and chops him in the chest, then kicks him in the face and knocks his teeth into the front row. A pair of knees to the head, but Harper comes back with blows to the gut, only to get cut off by Ohno again with a hard right to the face and a pair of boots. Another chop to the chest and he goes for an Irish whip to corner – Harper reverses, but catches an elbow from Ohno who then runs right into a massive back bodydrop. Harper pulls his rival up by the hair, only to put him on his jacksy again with a chop to the chest. A hard European uppercut to Ohno, who has an attempt at a kick blocked and turned into an elbow to the temple, pushing him back into the corner where he has to cover up to avoid being absolutely mashed by elbows, and then Harper pulls him out into a bodyslam. I think that’s the first true wrestling move in the whole match up until now, it’s just been an all-out brawl and I bloody love it. It’s reminding me, oddly, of the strap match that Austin and Regal had on one episode of Smackdown, I think it was in 2001. Barely a wrestling move in the whole thing, they just battered each other silly for eight minutes and it was terrific.
The former Chris Hero grabs at the jeans of Harper, but the Wyatt Family member kicks him off while the commentary team big up the fact that Kassius Ohno is ‘looking like he’s in the best shape of his life’, nudge nudge, wink wink. Harper now tries to separate the jaw of Ohno with his bare hands because he is a sick bastard, before whipping Ohno hard into the turnbuckle and kicking his prone body around. But Ohno finally fires back, two rights to the jaw…and an uppercut from Harper poleaxes him, with Harper pushing him around using his head then just kicking him square in the chest and delivering a headbutt. Ohno looks a little groggy, but does get a chance to fire back with a couple of kicks before Harper delivers some thrusts to the neck and chest area. The Wyatt Family member locks in a cravat, and try as they might the NXT Universe cannot help Ohno get free, with Harper maintaining control in the corner and just slapping Ohno around like a bad mum would treat a child. A stiff chop to the jaw has Renee Young at commentary flinching and Ohno reeling on the mat. Harper picks him up and sends him to the ropes, but Ohno holds on. Discus elbow! But Harper just falls to the outside on his feet. And a rope assisted dropkick finally puts Harper on the floor, with Ohno getting some fire. I fear what these two could do to each other in a no disqualification environment, I really do – this is an absolute potato fest, the two are just clobbering each other. Well, Harper’s mostly just clobbering Ohno, to be fair – although Kassius has got his shots in to give just a hint that he can hang. Hopefully he’ll get a few more in the second half of this thing.
Back in the ring they go, and Ohno drops a senton on Harper and goes for a cover but only gets a one count. An elbow to the back of the head gets equalled by a punch to the gut from his opponent, but Ohno fires back with a chop to the chest. Harper reverses a whip to the ropes, but Ohno just somersaults over the top rope and onto the ring apron…only to get his face kicked clean off his skull. Seriously, there is somebody in row G now wearing Ohno’s face as a mask, while he struggles to make the ten count, finally rolling in at nine and three quarters and being met by multiple elbow drops which get Harper a two count. The Grizzly One stands on Ohno’s head and then pulls him into the corner, connecting with a strong chop to the chest and another slap to the face, sending Kassius to the canvas face down and leaving Harper standing tall and taunting his fallen rival. Ohno gets pulled up by his ponytail and whipped to the corner, but Harper takes a moment before following up…and it almost costs him, as Ohno gets a roll up for a two count! The Wyatt Family member immediately fires back with a shot to the jaw that folds Ohno up on his neck, and Harper follows up with a gator roll before usingit to wrench at the neck of Ohno, who refuses to give up and works his way back to his feet, using his knees to break the hold…but Harper just destroys him with a bodyblock against the ropes, sending him to the apron and allowing him to bounce him throat first into the ropes. Harper hauls Ohno up, but Ohno face palms him, and then connects with a single legged dropkick! Ohno getting a second wind, and he ducks a right hand and then just keeps slugging his rival in the face, before connecting with a running clothesline! A dropkick to the head, and then he hits a running forearm in the corner…a Blockbuster off the top rope! Harper just kicks out! Ohno goes for a neckbreaker, but Harper pushes him into the ropes, only for Ohno to fire back with a knee to the chin! Oosh, big spinning sideslam from Harper! And a boot to the face, but Ohno kicks out at two! These guys are throwing bombs, and Harper hits a running elbow in the corner but as he pulls Ohno out he spins into a discus elbow! 1…2…Harper just kicks out! Ohno is stunned that he managed to get a shoulder up, and retaliates with frustrated boots to the head, but as he charges off the ropes he gets absolutely fucking destroyed by a discus clothesline! 1…2…3…good night Irene!
My God, that was incredible. Everything I expected these two to deliver, hard hitting and brutal from start to finish. My guess is that the Ohno/Harper thing is over and done now, but what a way to end it all. It’s not necessarily up ther with the very best NXT matches from this year, but it was terrific to watch and I would almost certainly put it on again. In fact, I already have. So there that is. Watching to guys maul each other for 15 minutes shouldn’t really be this fun.
There’s slim pickings this week, really – tempting though it was to give it to Bayley because…well, because she’s Bayley, I think on balance it has to go to Ohno. As the only regular NXT roster member in the main event, he kind of wins by default, but it’s not a backhanded compliment – he worked his socks off in that match, and deserves it. Plus, he’s looking pretty good. So that’s something.
06/11/2013 – Kassius Ohno
30/10/2013 – Aiden English
23/10/2013 – Sami Zayn
16/10/2013 – Tyler Breeze
09/10/2013 – Realest Guys in the Room
02/10/2013 – Emma
25/09/2013 – Bo Dallas
18/09/2013 – Aiden English
11/09/2013 – Sasha Banks
04/09/2013 – Sami Zayn
28/08/2013 – Summer Rae
21/08/2013 – Sami Zayn and Antonio Cesaro
This episode absolutely rocketed by, stock full of squash matches – too many, for my liking, and ones that didn’t really enhance anybody. I get why, say, Mojo Rawley needs a squash match, because that’s the way they bring in new people. But the Rusev match was completely unnecessary and could have easily been handled in a single backstage segment. And I think I’ve finally reached the end of my tether with The Ascension as well – I’m getting bored of them not doing anything except squash a pair of jobbers. Thank the Lord, then, for the main event, which pretty much is the only saving grace of the show apart from little moments in the Kruger/Local battle. Ohno and Harper pummeling each other is something I would like to see more often, please.
What’s up next week? Only a 2 out of 3 falls match between Corey Graves and Adrian Neville! Because when you try to take away Neville’s livelihood, Graves, he challenges you in a wrestling match rather than, say, attacking you backstage and taking sweet revenge.Plus (I think) Bayley and Charlotte take on Summer and Sasha! What fun! Let’s just hope we’re all here to enjoy it next week again – stay safe when crossing the road, NXTians, and drink more hot chocolate! Adijo!