TripleR Presents: Oliver's Weekly NXT Review (5/17/13)
May 17, 2013 - 9:07:13 AM
Hey NXTians, what have you been up to in the past week? I’ve mostly been kicking back with the new The Wonder Years record, which is straight up fire from start to finish. Worth a look if you like that pop-punk sort of thing. I’ve also been digging the new Daft Punk and The National records too, both of which have been put up online to listen to by the bands in question. Some really great music out there this week, it’s a phenomenal time to be a music fan.
Anyway, time for business – let’s get down and dirty in Orlando, where this week the Intellectual Saviour of the Masses and owner of the second best beard in WWE today Damien Sandow will take on Dolph Ziggler’s friend and confident Big E Langston with the NXT championship on the line. Elsewhere…well, nobody really knows, actually. Some stuff will happen, that’s for sure! So much stuff! So let’s see what there is in…
The NXT Review: 15/05/2013 – The One Where Bo Dallas Is A Dick
Everything gets started with a look at Damien Sandow laying down the challenge to Big E Langston for a match for the NXT championship last week. Will the ‘Master of the Five Count’ survive the challenge? We’ll find out later on!
Your ring announcer tonight is somebody blonde and incredibly annoying, but Brad Maddox is on commentary, so that sort of levels it out. The First Lady of NXT swans her way down to the ring as a seemingly invisible promo between the two from last week is referenced on commentary. Did anybody see that go down? Apparently Summer interrupted Natalya passing gas and talking about the Hart’s. Can’t say I blame her. The two lock up, and Natalya gains the early advantage with a side headlock take down, which Summer reverses into a head scissors that the lady in pink kip ups out of. Natalya now with another takedown and a headlock, but Rae reverses it into a wristlock behind the back, only to get it turned into a straight wristlock by her opponent which is again reversed with a head scissors. The First Lady of NXT hits a cheap gut shot and locks in a wristlock of her own, but Nattie rolls out of it and locks in her own hold, only for Rae to throw her to the mat. Lots of nice mat work in the early going, although now Natalya powers up and nails a running shoulder block into an attempt at the sharpshooter, which Summer Rae breaks in the ropes.
Summer fights back with an elbow to the face, but Natalya dodges and hits a few blows to the head followed by a discus clothesline for a two count, which leads to Rae begging for a time out in the ropes. It’s all a ruse, of course (why do people fall for this all the time? Have they never watched a Ric Flair match?), and as Natalya comes in for a handshake Rae throws her to the outside. On her way back in, Summer nails a savate kick for a two count, and then continues to work on grounding her opponent down with a rear wristlock. The First Lady of NXT is all over her opponent here, as she chokes her with a boot in the corner. To quote Brad Maddox, Summer Rae has got legs for days and she knows how to use them. Natalya gets a roll up out of nowhere for a two count, but when they get back up Summer nails a Ziggler-esque jumping DDT and rolls through to slap her opponent about a bit, before working on stretching the right arm and bending the fingers back. William Regal being in NXT is clearly rubbing off on people. Oh look, here’s Paige appearing from the back, and as Natalya nearly has Summer in a sharpshooter she gets up on the apron, only for Rae to send Natalya careering into her and she then gets the sneaky roll up for the three count and the win. Paige then charges after Summer Rae to the back.
That was really good stuff, actually, although they could have built up to the finish a little more - the Paige stuff was weird, seems like an odd way to work in that feud rather than just have her rush the ring at the end to echo what Summer did to her last week. Unless they’re going to run a mini-feud between Paige and Natalya, I guess. Still, I’m looking forward to seeing those two face off again. And poor Natalya – can’t even get a win on NXT. Remember when she was the sidekick of the Divas champion and they were going to run riot through the division? Of course, it all came to nothing because nobody really bothers with booking a solid Divas storyline on the main roster, but hey, it was at least two steps up from being the whipping girl in another person’s feud.
Renee Young is backstage interviewing Sami Zayn! Our first look at the former El Generico…by heck is he handsome without the mask on. Nice sweater vest/shirt combo, too. He’s making his in ring debut next week against Curt Hawkins, so that’s something to look forward to. Sami Zayn’s first real words on NXT? Complimenting Renee Young’s blouse. What a guy. He puts over Hawkins as a formidable opponent and says he’s not nervous, but excited to make his NXT in ring debut. We are too, Sami, we are too. That was a nice little promo, actually, nothing amazing but it served its purpose, and gives a little build to next week. Plus, can I just say how nice it will be to see Curt Hawkins back? Hawkins and Reks were one of my favourite tag teams of the last few years and I wanted them to end up winning the titles after a long build. Shame that never happened, eh? But yeah, I loved Hawkins and Reks, and with the former having been out for a while it will be good to see him back, even if he will likely be cannon fodder for Sami Zayn. Plus, El Generico! Olé!
Wyatt cuts his standard promo on the way to the ring. Well, I say standard, nothing’s really standard about the former Husky Harris now. Honestly, Bray on the microphone is always a highlight. Wyatt says he’s wearing a mask because he sees things a little differently after being shaken up by Chris Jericho, and that he’s the new face of fear. In fairness to him, he looks absolutely terrifying in his mask, as he claims to be the eater of worlds. I know you’ve had a few hot dinners, Bray, but I’m not too sure about eating a whole world. Still, he looks monstrous. His opponent is Danny Burch, or as some may know him as Martin Stone, who spent a few years on the UK circuit before being signed to WWE late last year. He looks pretty well put together, kind of like a Kurt Angle sort of build (at least I don’t think that’s down to the singlet alone), but is put over as a Cockney brawler on commentary, and a hot prospect by Brad Maddox.
Wyatt force Burch into the corner and slaps him in the face, but Burch comes out of the corner with some straight punches to the face. Wyatt fights back with some strikes of his own, knocking his opponent down and dropping an elbow, before grabbing him in a chinlock and screaming ‘look at his face! Ask him how he feels!’ – channelling his inner Mark Henry there. Wyatt Irish whips his opponent off the ropes and hits a flying crossbody, leaving his opponent prone on the canvas. Bray then drags his opponent into the corner, hits a body avalanche and dances out into the Sister Abigail for the win.
Bray looks so damn impressive in these squash matches, just so dominant, and I figure this continues his push to the top of the NXT card, even if he will have to overcome much bigger obstacles on his way there. Really think he should be being positioned for a run at the big ‘X’, though – I’m not Langston’s biggest fan anyway, but why on Earth you wouldn’t take the belt off him when he moves up to the main roster is beyond me. And hey, you know what, if they’re going to do it like that fine, but why not have Big E wear the belt on Raw or Smackdown. Why not promote NXT through having the champion on TV? Maybe that will all change when/if it gets put on US TV. It should. Oh, by the way, people are dancing to Wyatt’s theme in the crowd. Just waving their arms slowly, as if listening to the new Coldplay ballad or something. It’s a little strange but I think it might just work if everyone did it. Sort of like an admission of following his cult or something.
Backstage, Adrian Neville is talking to some guy in a shirt and tie about Oliver Grey’s injury and how he’s doing, but…wait, what is that…yes, I hear singing, so that can only mean one thing!
Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-doo,
Adrian Neville where did you go?
Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-dee,
Bo Dallas he has been looking for you.
Are you upset as Bo cost you the gold?
Or is it because of some news you’ve been told?
Who gives a crap about Oliver Grey?
That British fool just gets in our way.
Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-doo,
This was so painful it made Oliver sick,
Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-dee,
Bo Dallas you’re a bit of a dick.
OK, so Neville is talking to someone quite innocently and then Dallas appears and interrupts a conversation because he is a dick. Then he asks if Neville is still cross about the tag titles that Dallas kind of cost them last week because he is a dick. And then, when Neville says he’s been speaking to Oliver, Dallas not only interrupts him but says ‘Oliver, who gives a…?’ because he is a dick. Then, instead of , you know, saying sorry or something, Bo Dallas goes on to wax lyrical about John Cena just in case Adrian Neville hasn’t heard of him because, you guessed it, he’s a dick. Best part of the promo? Neville gives Dallas a withering look that says it all and says ‘Bo, I know who John Cena is, mate’, but the ‘mate’ literally drips with ‘you’re a dickhead, I wish I’d never picked you as my partner’. Oh no, it gets better – Neville then just shakes his head and says ‘what are you talking about?’ In fairness, nothing that Bo has said in weeks has made any sense, so well done Adrian. Now just twat him in the face. Oh, and now we get to the point – Bo Dallas has signed up for a battle royal in two weeks’ time, and says (because he is a dick) that Neville probably won’t get in because all the spots are taken. But Neville’s already signed himself up, Bo, you dick! Ha, suck on that! God, that was painful to get through, but well done to Adrian Neville for trying to make it bearable. Dallas has just made himself slightly above Sheamus in my ‘I hate it when you talk, you’re a dick so why do people cheer for you?’ list. Infuriating. But hey, there’s a battle royal in two weeks! That should be fun!
The Ascension Conor O’Brian vs the two guys he destroyed last week for fun. Quick, guess who’s going to win? O’Brian swats Sakamoto aside to start with, then hooks him in a…I’m not really sure what to call it, it’s like an inverted Gory Special, with Sakamoto’s back against O’Brian’s front. Answers on a postcard, guys. Anyway, Pierce then comes in, but gets treated with the same amount of disdain, receiving a big boot to the face, a pair of running shoulder blocks and then some rolling side headlock takedowns. The Ascension with a big suplex, but he allows Pierce enough time to tag Sakamoto, who gets thrown into the ring by O’Brian. Sakamoto tries to chop the giant down, but O’Brian no sells, and then no sells some double team offence from the pair. This is absurdly dominant, as Conor hits a body avalanche on both guys in the corner, then nails a double flapjack to get a pinfall win on both of them.
Dear Conor O’Brian, I love you. I’m kind of glad to hear the reports that O’Brian has got a new tag team partner, but I sort of wish they’d just leave him in singles competition, running roughshod over opponents. It’s a bit difficult to stomach…Oh, hang on, there’s Rick Victor looking on from the stage. Interesting. Don’t think we’ve seen him since last July, but I wonder if he’s going to be the new tag partner, and not the rumoured Judas Devlin. Very intriguing. O’Brian is captivated by his appearance, that’s for sure, staring him down from the turnbuckle. Maybe, just maybe, we’ve seen the birth of the new Ascension.
Corey Graves is backstage, talking about his ups and downs, not just on NXT but in life. Apparently his father once told him that the only way you get to succeed is to fail first, and keep failing until you get lucky and break through. Graves is entered into the battle royal in two weeks as well, and pledges to win…as he gets confronted by Bray Wyatt, who is baffled that Mr. Graves (his words, not mine) is just sat around playing it cool when there’s a war going on right outside his door, a war that’s already caught up to Kassius Ohno, and one that will catch up with Mr. Graves too because The Wyatt Family owns NXT. Corey Graves doesn’t have a family, and he believes that if Wyatt and his swamp people keep messing with him they’ll all stay down. That was tense, and I really liked the promo work by both guys in it, putting over a bigger angle that’s going on in NXT right now as well as playing into their personal rivalry. Graves didn’t look like a slouch next to Wyatt at all, which is no mean feat, and I think that the two of them coming face to face could be a very interesting match next week.
You know, I sort of hope that Langston undergoes some sort of Mark Henry-esque career transformation in a couple of years and starts being a dominant heel who just straight up kills guys, it would really work for him and be far more interesting than this stale face shtick. I mean, he’s a little bit interesting as Ziggler’s buddy but that’s not really doing anything for him. As for Sandow, well, as I said last week, he’s better than this. The crowd are going nuts chanting five here as the two lock up and Langston, inevitably, gains the advantage and forces his opponent back into the corner twice. Big Emilio locks in a side headlock that Sandow only fights out of by punching him in the ribs, and then still gets hit with a shoulder block. Ooof, then he just wriggles out of a Big Ending attempt, only to get hit by a big bodyslam and five punches to the ribs because, you know, gimmick and stuff. Sandow finally gains some traction with kicks to the knees and punches to the face, but even then Big Evan strikes back with a back elbow for a two count. The Intellectual Saviour of the Masses rolls to the apron, but Langston just throws him back into the ring, and throws him up in the air out of the corner. Sandow really hasn’t got going here, and he just escapes another Big Ending attempt by worming his way to the outside.
Back in the ring now, and Big Ernest hits a big hanging vertical suplex. Sandow finally gets some semblance of an advantage, dodging a charging Langston in the corner and then just wearing him out with straight right hands and a rear chinlock. Phew, I was starting to worry that this was going to be a long squash. Langston powers out, but Sandow hits a lovely dropkick to the face to halt his momentum, and that gets a two count. Sandow now with a head scissors locked around the 22” neck of Big Eteocles, but Langston fights out and then just pushes his opponent out of the ring to create some space. His rival uses some speed though, and rushes up the turnbuckle to hit a double axe handle, and follows up with knees to the head. Maddox is counting down the amount of time that Sandow needs to find in the pinfall on commentary, and he is now only one fourth of a second away from victory as The Intellectual Saviour of the Masses wears Langston down with another rear chinlock. Even though he fights his way up to his feet, Big Eoghan doesn’t stay up for long courtesy of a dropkick to the knee from his rival, who then starts to kick and knee him in the head. Sandow’s really trying to keep the bigger man down here, but pretty much just by pounding him, as Brad ‘Beef Mode’ Maddox says that Langston can dead lift 5,000,000 lbs because why not. Big Ezekiel gets some mojo back with a hug belly to belly suplex, and follows up with two clotheslines and a series of knees to the gut. The crowd are going crazy as Langston hits the running body block and takes the straps down for the Big Ending…but Sandow reverses with a sitout rear mat slam for a two count! So close! A side Russian legsweep from Sandow, but the Cubito Aequet misses! Langston flings him to the ropes, but telegraphs it and Sandow kicks him in the face then connects with a neckbreaker, and now the Cubito Aequet connects for two! Now he looks for the Terminuus but Big Ewan reverses for the Big Ending and this one’s over.
Blimey. That was pretty slow and steady to start with, but the last three or so minutes were pretty great. After the match, Langston of course hits the Big Ending again and counts to five with the crowd, which is a bit of a dick move. The cameras fade to black with Langston covered in steam from his own pyro. You know, I’m really struggling to connect with the NXT championship at the moment. I don’t really like to say it too much, but the booking of the top title has been a bit of a sore point on NXT for me, as it just seems to be short feuds – there’s no really long story around it right now, and that’s a little disappointing. I think this sort of epitomises that – Sandow challenges one week, gets beaten the next and then somebody new will come along after the battle royal in two weeks and we’ll repeat the same process. It’s not hard to watch, but why haven’t they booked this title as well as the story surrounding the tag titles or something? There are plenty of good heels on NXT that could be put into an actual storyline against the champion. Why not Ohno? Or Wyatt? Or O’Brian? Or even one of the faces, Graves or something? Even Dallas? I don’t think it would take much. Is it because they have no guarantee of Langston actually being on the shows to progress a story? And if that’s the case why leave the belt on him? It’s really starting to get to me, and given that we’re now going to the Divas storyline well of a battle royal for the number one contender I feel it’s just going to be the same old story. It’s really hard to stomach.
A difficult one this week, as a few people impressed but nobody really blew me away. Wyatt’s match was a squash but good, and his two bits of promo work were really good, Summer Rae again looked good in her match against Natalya, and I even liked some of what Langton did in the main event. But I think one other person stood out for me, and that person is…
Yeah, so, Conor O’Brian. Sure, his match was a handicap affair and he destroyed his opponents, but he’s looked impressive enough over the past few weeks, including his glimpse of the gold, to warrant an MVP award. I really, really like the former rat man from NXT season 4, he’s big and agile and has what I believe J.R. would call a ‘big upside’. I think when it really clicked for me was when I compared him in my head to Kane, he’s got that sort of presence about him and yet can hit moves off the top rope as well. I’m really hoping that he does reform his tag team with Rick Victor, as teased here, because I think the two could have a good run – certainly, the feud between The Ascension and The Usos was compelling and interesting, and the two could add another name to the roll call of tag teams pursuing The Wyatt Family on NXT.
15/05/2013 – Conor O’Brian
08/05/2013 – The Wyatt Family
01/05/2013 – Summer Rae
24/04/2013 – Adrian Neville
17/04/2013 – Emma
10/04/2013 – Kassius Ohno
03/04/2013 – Adrian Neville
20/03/2013 – Leo Kruger
13/03/2013 – Bray Wyatt
NXTians, the show was really solid this week. I loved the opener between Summer Rae and Natalya, aside from the slightly screwy ending with Paige’s interference – I didn’t think that went down as well as it could have done. But the match itself was terrific. The two squashes in the middle served a good purpose to the two winners, and the main event had a hot ending that I really liked, even if it was a bit of a trawl to get there. In fact, the only thing I didn’t like this week was, as always, Bo Dallas, because he was an absolute dick in that promo exchange with Neville. What is it with faces being dicks at the moment? I feel like I bang this drum far too much, but why can’t faces have morals and be upstanding guys? Ah well, at least Neville’s apparent disdain for everything the guy said salvaged the promo a little.
Another NXT in the bag, and we progress towards the battle royal in two weeks’ time, which should be interesting to see at least. Will unlikely alliances form? Will someone come out as the leader into the match? Or will it be an open field going in? We’ll find out next week, as Sami Zayn debuts against Curt Hawkins under the main event of Bray Wyatt vs Corey Graves! What a pair of matches we should have there! Now, if only Antonio Cesaro would show up in the middle of them, we might have a hell of a show on our hands next week. Until then, you beautiful NXTians, take care when crossing the road and drink more hot chocolate! Arrivederci!