TripleR Presents: Oliver's Weekly NXT Review (12/4/13)
Dec 5, 2013 - 8:03:40 PM
Hello NXTians! Yes, this is back – two weeks off tending to a tiny human, but finally back on track. And we missed so much! I trust you’ve all been keeping up to date with NXT seeing as it’s free on Hulu, but if not you’ve missed the following:
• Bo Dallas returned from giving kids in Bolivia squirt guns! Hurrah! He did send one final postcard (or Bo-stcard – thanks Randall!) before he came back, though:
• Anyway, Bo cut the promo of his life about his Bo Dallas vs The World tour – there were balloons, streamers, party hats, the full works. He also got more heat for saying ‘I have prepared a slide show’ than a lot of heels on the main roster do. JBL turned up, and then Sami Zayn showed his face, having finally been allowed back in the building. In the end, JBL set up a beat the clock challenge to determine Bo’s next challenger.
• Long story short, Zayn and Adrian Neville ended up with the same time, so the Wrasslin’ God set up a play off for the next week – the winner would be the number one contender!
• Bayley got super mad about Charlotte being mean to her, but she did it in the most Bayley way imaginable and, of course, I loved it. Somehow, she ended up challenging Summer and Sasha to a tag match where she’ll have a mystery partner.
• Hunico (!) and Camacho turned up and won a match, so now they’re the top tag team on NXT or something and get a title shot, I guess. Nice, huh? Oh, they beat The Ascension the next week, as well. Non-title, mind you.
• Antonio Cesaro started a beef with William Regal after something to do with a flag and Byron Saxton. So there’s that.
• Emma and Paige had a little face off in the battle of the super cute lip piercings and continue to tease a match in the future but I wish it would happen now. Oh, and a Paige/Natalya thing happened, too to set up a match tonight.
• Kassius Ohno’s final NXT match against Tyler Breeze aired and I lit a candle in rememberance.
• Neville and Zayn had an absolute stormer – but it was the Man That Gravity Forgot that came out on top and he’ll challenge Bo Dallas tonight!
Phew! Right then, without further ado let’s find out what happens in…
The NXT Review: 04/12/2013 – The One Where Alex Riley is Unbearable
We catch up with Antonio Cesaro, looking pretty handsome in a suit it has to be said, backstage and he’s got some words for Lord Regal – he’s pretty cross that he stuck his nose into his business, but before he can say much more Leo Kruger turns up and asks to be a Real American. Which…yeah, that’s interesting. I like it. Do it now, add more hypocrisy to Zeb’s rhetoric. I really like the pairing of Cesaro and Colter because it’s basically Zeb being completely delusional which is why it’s great. Anyway, Cesaro asks for a favour in return for speaking to the Mustachioed Magnificence, and then turns away from the camera where they plot what to do to Sami Zayn. Ooh, scheming! Master plans! I’m down.
So, this is for the NXT Women’s Championship, which Paige is defending for the first time in forever – it’s about time she had a defence. I have a real bee in my bonnet about how people talk about Natalya, because I think she’s kind of crappy. Well, not crappy – she’s a good wrestler but an appalling ‘Sports Entertainer’, in much the same way that Alberto Del Rio is. I will love watching most Alberto Del Rio matches, but I don’t want to see him talk ever again most of the time. As evidence, I hold up the match she recently had with Summer Rae on Raw – the NXT graduate does everything to involve the crowd in the match, while Natalya is just sort of there until she has to put a sharpshooter on. So…yeah, I will do my best to not let my general feelings about Natalya overshadow this battle of ‘women who have done some wrestling for a long time’.
They run through the standard side headlock takedown into a headscissors reversal stuff, then Paige gets an armbar locked in. Natalya forces her way up to her feet and flips her way through it, before taking Paige over into an armbar of her own. The Norwich Nightmare works her way to a vertical base and goes to flip through in the same way Mrs. Kidd did, but then is just like ‘**** it’ and nuts her in the nose. Nattie bridges out of a jackknife cover and transitions into a backslide but can’t get Paige’s shoulders down because, you know, she’s sorta average. The Brit blocks a kick, but the Canuck transitions down into a toehold. I guess it’s a toehold – it’s that bit of the STF with the legs, but there’s no stepover and no facelock. So just a toehold. Paige manages to get an arm under Natalya’s chin and transition into a sleeper, but she ends up on the mat again after the pink and black lady breaks out another side headlock takedown. The Raven-Haired Lady breaks the hold with a hair pull, but off the ropes Natalya knocks her down with a shoulderblock. She comes off the ropes again and Paige hits the mat but Natalya flips over her for no ****ing reason whatsoever. You could have just run that, Nattie, you really could. Pointless fripperies in wrestling bug me, I feel the same when Adrian Neville flips his way across the ring. Just run man, it’s quicker. Less showy, but quicker. There are a good number of better wrestlers than you in the world, and they do not front flip their way across the ring because they know it’s pointless.
Paige wriggles out of a sharpshooter attempt and takes a breather on the outside, but just gets caught in side headlock when she comes back in. She loses her shit on Natalya after breaking the hold, stomping on her in the corner and getting a two count, before locking in a chinlock and cutting her off as she tries to fire back. Paige locks in an abdominal stretch as Alex Riley tells us about the ‘phenomenal technical wrestling’ we’ve seen from the two of them. I’m not sure what to make of that, to be honest – it’s been good, but ‘phenomenal’? I think we’ve got into a rut with women’s wrestling, in the WWE at least, where we accept that average is good. When people talk about Brie Bella improving I kind of look at it and think ‘yeah, she’s improved, but she’s gone from being shit to being not as shit’. She’s not suddenly become one of the best wrestlers on the planet, just one of the best female wrestlers in WWE. Which is like saying Resident Evil: Extincition is one of the best Resident Evil films – they’re all below average. Natalya worms her way out of Paige’s hold and into an abdominal stretch of her own, but pulls at the leg as well for a bit of variation as one of the commentary idiots says she’s doing it for extra ‘twerk’. Bloody hell. Somebody could make a packet by doing alternative NXT commentaries with sensible people talking. I’m getting side tracked from the match here, sorry – Paige throws Natalya to the corner and rams her head against the turnbuckle, then with her opponent on the apron she pulls her head in a start to drive knees into her head. But Nattie reverses! Dragon screw from Natalya, and she stomps the hell out of Paige, then whips her to the ropes. The Brit ducks a clothesline and they collide in mid-air whilst both going for crossbodies! Paige is up first, but she misses a leg drop and gets it taken to her by Natalya – clotheslines, a slap and a snap suplex, all followed up with a sit out body slam that gets a two count. Natalya ducks after sending Paige off the ropes, but the Anti-Diva connects with a kick and comes back off the ropes, only to be wiped out by a discus clothesline! Natalya locks in the sharpshooter, and Paige is crawling to the ropes with all her heart…and she rolls through to send Natalya into the turnbuckles! Smart stuff by the Norwich Nightmare there. Natalya struggles out of the corner and goes to pick up her opponent…Paige Turner! Outta nowhere! Paige wins!
As I said, that was a good women’s wrestling match for WWE – I’m not going to wax lyrical about it for match of the year or anything, but it was good for what it was. I would sort of echo what Riley said in that it was a solid technical match, but I don’t think they really got the crowd into what they were doing enough – in many ways, the problem I said I had with Natalya at the start is the same one I’ve had with Paige since she came to NXT. Neither of them works the crowd, just the match, and they’re essentially gimmickless wrestlers just wrestling. I think that’s why someone like Emma or Bayley is possibly more over than Paige right now – the crowd can connect and get into the matches of the first two because they work a gimmick and play to the crowd. Paige doesn’t do that as much, outside of the odd scream. Don’t get me wrong, she’s supremely talented, but there’s improvement to be made there. Still, a good start to the show.
Lana and her charge, Alexander Rusev, are backstage talking in Bulgarian. Tyler Breeze turns up and thanks him for his help last week (he took Kassius Ohno out before their match). Breeze calls Ohno ‘kind of a fatty’ because they like to break the fourth wall on NXT, before getting cut off and dismissed by the blonde Eastern European. But Breeze was going to invite them waka (?) that he is hosting next week. I’ll tell you what, they’ve really taken the wind out of Rusev’s next feud here, as he was clearly going to challenge Ohno on his way to the title. I guess he’s sort of feudless now, and this whole promo exchange has been rendered a little pointless given Ohno’s absence. Lana does tease him going after the NXT Championship at the end of it, though, saying it would come after he crushed Ohno.
Mojo Rawley is hyped backstage! He’s more motivated than he’s ever been and is working hard to one day become NXT Champion – I like how they’re pushing the importance of winning the top title to a lot of people on the show this week, makes the belt seem very significant. Sylvester LeFort appears, promising to make all of Rawley’s dreams come true, but Mojo isn’t having none of it and divulges that LeFort has been stiffing Dawson on his paychecks – which Dawson then sort of corroborates before brushing under the carpet. It ends up with Rawley accepting a challenge from Dawson for next week, so that’s something to look forward to. Rawley’s method of acceptance was just to say ‘I stay hyped’ in Dawson’s face, so I’m kind of assuming he’s saying yes but who really knows. Still, this was fun for what it was.
Oh Aiden English. I love you so hard. He sings his way to the ring as ever, and makes short work of his opponent here, hitting a spinning necbreaker out of the corner and a suplex while shouting Shakespeare at the audience. He nails the Take A Bow after about a minute and that’s the end of this one – to be honest, it seems pointless to write any more than that, because this was as pumpkin as a squash can get. Of course, the man delivers a perfect encore, claiming that everyone wants to see him right here in the DOUBLE YOU DOUBLE YOU EEEEEEEEEE before being showered in roses. Lovely stuff. It’s about time we saw him in a real feud though.
Just as English is leaving, Antonio Cesaro shows his face again and wishes to apologise personally to Byron Saxton, inviting him up on the stage from the commentary table so he can do so face to face. The two shake hands while Cesaro apologises for losing his temper when he touched his flag last week in the ring, and he does so in five different languages. Saxton accepts his apology, and Cesaro tries to get him to join in on a ‘We The People’ chant. Byron puts his hand on his heart, but his chant is frankly lacklustre – you’ve got to feel it, Byron, deep down in your chest! Cesaro is pretty pissed that he’s being so rude, so attacks him, asking him where Regal is and calling him useless before slapping him down the entrance ramp. One man boos while everyone else chants ‘yes’, so I think we know where the NXT Universe lie on Byron Saxton. Cesaro vs Regal should be good though, right?
Oh man, another promo segment? This is getting very talk heavy in the middle here. This time we’re catching up with Sami Zayn after his loss to Adrian Neville last week, and he says that the better man won but he’s still coming for the NXT Championship…before Leo Kruger turns up and takes him out. Well, I guess that’s what he was discussing with Cesaro at the top of the program. Keeping Sami away from the title seems a little pointless right now as he’s unarguably hot, but a little feud with Kruger before he finally gets a chance at the title again won’t hurt, I suppose.
Tom Phillips has turned up to fill in for Byron Saxton. Alex Riley asks where he was when Saxton was getting sorted out by Cesaro. Because the professional wrestler sat in the commentary booth couldn’t possibly have got up and done something about it, oh no, it should have been the completely untrained guy who commentates on matches. Sigh. Seriously, I want your job Alex Riley. I will fight you for it. Anyway Tyson Kidd is taking on Leo Kruger, some ten months since he was attacked by him while injured. You would have thought they’d have given this some build or something, but no it’s just going to fill in the middle of the show. I don’t want this to turn into the ‘Alex Riley has said something stupid’ week, but he genuinely says he confused Tyson Kidd, a pale looking Canadian, with Eddie Guerrero. Jesus.
Kidd flies out of the blocks with a back elbow and some big dropkicks to the head before stomping on the South African in the corner. Kruger finally wards him off by grabbing the ring apron and kicking him off, then pounding on his rival in the corner. He whips Kidd across the ring, but the Canuck telegraphs the back body drop and kicks him in the face before taking him out with a snap suplex and OH **** YOU ALEX RILEY. Some more stupid commentary. Kidd rams shoulders into the gut of his opponent in the corner, but Kruger turns it round and starts to slow the pace. He catches a big boot attempt in the corner and drops to the mat while holding it, in what I guess is a kind of knee breaker? Working the injured knee – that’s nice and logical. Kruger bends it across his leg to inflict more damage, but when he releases the hold and looks for a shin breaker Kidd slips through and into a roll up for two, before getting a backslide for another two count and then absolutely eating a punch to the jaw from Kruger to change the momentum again. The Mercenary drops his weight across the knee and then dragon screws him across the ring, leaving his opponent reeling in the corner. And a sharpshooter from Kruger! And it’s better than The Rock’s! But who’s this? Sami Zayn has shown his face and Kruger is distracted by him. Roll up from Kidd! 1…2…3! Kidd wins!
That was quite good actually, for what it was, but far too short given the history that exists behind this pairing. I feel like it could have been a main event one week or something, rather than just chucked in the middle of a show to further the new Zayn/Kruger beef. But it was a good match, for sure, and Kruger seems to look better each time we see him, finally coming through on being that methodical mercenary he’s been put over to be. Zayn vs Kruger is confirmed for next week, though.
Hunico and Camacho say they have to take things rather than be given things because they’re not rich, so they’ll take the NXT Tag Team Championships next week. Lovely.
Alex Riley steals my ‘he’s not the Man That Gravity Forgot, he’s the Man That Gravity Briefly Chooses To Ignore But Then Remembers The Existance Of’ line on commentary. Don’t think that redeems your terrible performance tonight, Riley, I’m still coming for your job. The two get the big match introductions and the crowd is all hot – let’s get it on!
The two tentatively lock up, with Neville gaining the advantage and wrenching the arm of his opponent as an ‘IRS’ chant goes up. Dallas manages to change it up, but the Geordie flips and twists his way out of it and takes his opponent down with a hard wristlock for a cover attempt and Bo bails to the outside. He comes back in and kicks his opponent in the gut as he goes for a test of strength, driving him into the corner. Dallas whips his opponent across the ring, but Neville leapfrogs him, does his flips and hits a second rope crossbody – would it really hurt him to just run across the ring? I know I’ve said it once this week already, but his flips don’t even carry him to the opposite corner. The cross body gets him one, as does a dropkick to the face, after which Bo bails to the outside again. The champ talks himself up on the outside, and when he comes back in offers up another test of strength, only to pull Neville into a front facelock. The Man That Gravity Forgot drives the hold into the corner to force the break, but as the ref facilitates it Dallas hits a cheap shot with his elbow to send him reeling across the ring. And when he flies out of the corner with a forearm Dallas takes a turnbuckle cover off – how many times are we going to see this happen?
Dallas is keeping Neville grounded now, circling him and connecting with stomps and knees before locking in a cravate. Neville finally gets the crowd going and reaches his feet, but Dallas stays on top with a knee to the head and a hard Irish whip into the turnbuckle. He hits a running clothesline and a bulldog out of the corner for a two count, looking frustrated when Neville kicks out, and then he drops multiple knees to the head of his rival. He pulls down his kneepad…but misses a second rope kneedrop! Come on Adrian! He kicks the knee that Bo just landed on and flies off the ropes with a pair of forearms and a spinkick to the head – man, he’s so quick. Bo rolls to the outside, but Neville soars and hits an over the top rope twisting moonsault that…er…well, it nearly missed, to be honest, Bo just catching Neville’s legs. The turnbuckle pad has been tied back on, by the way. Back in the ring, Neville gets a two count but then looks for Red Arrow…no, Bo rolls out of the ring again so instead he hits a top rope crossbody! That seems to have damaged both of them, and the referee is counting – he’s at seven…eight…nine…Neville rolls in at nine and three quarters, but Bo Dallas doesn’t make it and loses the match but retains the title!
Woah, that was unexpected – Neville must surely have another shot down the line now, which I really didn’t think would happen as I saw this as more of a one off. The NXT Universe is pretty livid, but the longest reigning NXT Champion in history has held onto his title once again. He’s now approaching 200 days as champion, which is pretty spectacular when you think about. Who can stop Bo Dallas?
This was a tough one, this week, as I wasn’t super impressed with anybody in particular. However, even though I had my criticisms of her, I think Paige certainly put on the best match this week with Natalya, and seeing as she’s the NXT regular of the two she gets the nod. Like I said, I think she’s extremely good at wrestling, but needs to flesh out her game a bit to involve the crowd a little more in what she’s doing – she’s on her way, and her screams do get a response, but there just needs to be a little more connection there for everything to come together.
05/12/2013 – Paige
13/11/2013 – Corey Graves
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
This week started well with Natalya vs Paige, but it got very, very long in the middle with all the talking and promo segments. The main event was very good, as was Kruger vs Kidd, but the balance was somehow not quite there in terms of what they presented, with too much talking and not enough action. That said, this was a better week than the ones we were seeing before the return of Bo – it’s surprising how the program took what I would say was a turn for the worse without the champion being present.
With another week in the book, we look onwards to next time out – and that’s going to be headlined by Sami Zayn taking on Leo Kruger one on one! Plus, will Cesaro have anything more to say to William Regal? And…er…Mojo Rawley vs Scott Dawson, I guess. Oh, and Bayley! Bayle will be here! It’s good to be back, NXTians – until next week, stay safe when crossing the road and drink more hot chocolate! Aufweidersehen!