TripleR Presents: Oliver's Weekly NXT Review (5/23/13)
May 23, 2013 - 5:04:08 PM
The NXT Review: 22/05/2013 – The Derrick Bateman Memorial Edition
If I could find a good quality picture of Sami Zayn, I’d use it. Alas, WWE doesn’t seem to want to make one available because they have made it their mission to infuriate me, so an El Generico picture will have to do. Ah well. Tony Dawson and William Regal are your commentators tonight, presumably Brad Maddox is off sipping cocktails by a swimming pool somewhere, or maybe visiting Disney World. Much as I love Regal and Dawson’s no slouch, I already miss Maddox.
Curt Hawkins is wearing a hat! And he’s had a haircut! What a guy. I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again – Hawkins and Reks were the most underrated tag team of the past few years, and deserved more than a spot on NXT: Redemption for their troubles. A shame it was a) all cut short and b) they never got anything resembling a push. Sami Zayn makes his entrance punching the air and the crowd are already into him in a major way. I’m really looking forward to this, so let’s get straight to it as the crowd strike up an early ‘Ole!’ chant. The two contest a pair of collar and elbow tie ups, both of which Hawkins overpowers Zayn in, and whilst Zayn avoids a shot in the corner Hawkins slips outside the ring to counter the reverse strike. He regains the advantage in the ring with a shoulder block, but his opponent avoids him off the ropes and hits a series of three arm drags, including one skips his way into around Hawkins’ back. Hard chops in the corner now from Zayn, who then mounts his rival and rains down punches, only to be pushed off and caught with a big Pele kick to the temple – that was absolutely beautiful, well done Curt Hawkins. Hawkins stays on top with a rear chinlock, but Zayn works his way out with another armdrag, a pair of clotheslines and a side suplex to keep the upper hand. Sami Zayn then hits a big dropkick for a two and a half count. Looking to take advantage, he tries for a body slam but Hawkins escapes and hits one of his own. With Zayn down, Hawkins slaps him round the face and attempts a powerbomb. But Zayn reverses it, and slips into a wristlock. With his opponent under control and keeping hold of the wrist, Zayn runs up the corner and springs out into a DDT for the three count and a big debut win! Hurrah! Yay Sami Zayn!
Lots to talk about here, even if it was only a short match. Hawkins looks oddly like a bad AJ Styles Create-A-Wrestler, for one. But let’s be honest, it’s all about Sami Zayn, who looked impressive, if not astonishing, in his debut match on NXT. That finisher was crisp as a Walkers Ready Salted, and although he didn’t show a huge amount of speed or high flying, I’m sure there’s plenty left in the tank for the future. Either way, with him having been given such big billing it looks like there are some seriously lofty plans afoot for the former El Generico on NXT – hopefully we’ll see them come to fruition very soon. On his way out, Zayn high fived a little girl, and said ‘we’re going to get to know each other very well’. I look forward to it, Mr. Zayn, I really do.
A nice little promo package for Corey Graves airs, just him talking about his tattoos and how much they mean to him, that they remind him he is unstoppable and indestructible. I think Graves is hugely underrated as a promo guy, actually, and his final line in this is pure gold – ‘I’m not here to make a mark. I’m here to leave a scar.’ I LOVE that, it’s wonderful.
Sad faces all round that this is what it’s come to for Cesaro. An NXT match against the perma-jobber Yoshi Tatsu? Is that all they can give him? Poor guy. Tatsu deserves more than this as well, as I’ve said before. He’s a solid hand. Look, if Curtis Axel can get some kind of push for essentially being a solid hand, why can’t Yoshi? I’ve got no problem with Axel getting a push – it’s possibly overdue, if anything, but straight into the main event? I guess that’s what you get for doing laundry for The Rock, Brock Lesnar and Triple H.
Anyway, Cesaro overpowers Tatsu early on back into the corner, but the Japanese warrior dodges a shoulder charge into the corner and hits a diving crossbody and a dropkick. Some offense for Yoshi! He comes off the ropes…and gets nailed with a Very European Uppercut. Neutralizer, 1, 2, 3, match over.
Cesaro grabs a microphone and asks if this is the best NXT has to offer, and that he puts the ‘W’ in WWE. The ‘World’ one or the ‘Wrestling’ one, Antonio? Please clarify. Anyway, there’s nobody better than Cesaro, so he claims himself. Kofi Kingston chants from the crowd – oh Christ, don’t bring that jumping idiot out…it’s Sami Zayn! He says that the people don’t agree with him and that he is the competition and lays down the challenge in Arabic. And then in French. And then in English. This match is on. Can you spell dream match? I know this has happened before, but still.
Cesaro kicks off with a Fireman’s Carry takeover and gloats to the crowd. Zayn with the rear waist lock, but Cesaro reverses into a wristlock and prevent his opponent from flipping out of it, forcing him down in a test of strength for a pair of short counts. Zayn bridges out of the last one and kips up, then jumps up to the top rope. He jumps again, lands with his knees on the top rope and backflips through into an armdrag. Holy shit that was very, very nice. Zayn with an armbar now to keep the bigger man down, but he powers out with blows to the midsection and drops Zayn on the ropes neck first. Antonio whips Zayn from corner to corner with powerful Irish whips, and that’s enough for a two count, as Regal puts over the fact that the WWE higher ups will be watching Sami Zayn now he’s called out Cesaro. The Swiss Sensation locks in a rear chinlock, and even though Zayn gets back to his feet and attempts a sunset flip, Cesaro’s too strong and reverses it into a double foot stomp. Cesaro then hits a massive lariat for a two count, which looked and sounded enormously painful. The former El Generico finally gets back to his feet and lands a sweet heel kick to the chin, then blocks Cesaro running in with an elbow and stacks him up in a roll up for a two count which his opponent pushes out of, sending Zayn to the apron. A shoulder block to the midsection from Zayn gives him the time to reach the top turnbuckle but Cesaro catches the crossbody attempt into a backbreaker for a two count. The strength of Cesaro never ceases to astonish me, the guy is so strong it’s hard to believe. He charges into the corner now and lands a big European uppercut right on the chin, which again gets a two count. Zayn looks out as Cesaro gloats to the crowd, but he’s playing a little bit of possum – as Cesaro bends to pick him up he goes for a small package! But Cesaro powers him up into a suplex attempt! Reversed! Zayn with a roll up for the win! Sami Zayn wins two matches on his debut night in NXT!
Zayn won’t be celebrating too much though – as he basks in his achievement, Cesaro strikes from behind and beats him down, and then nails the neutraliser on the man that just defeated him. Oh please, please, please let me get what I want and make this a feud. These guys could work magic over more than the six or seven minutes they were allowed here, and I’d love to see it happen. Hell, if this is what Cesaro has been demoted to NXT for I’m all in favour – let these guys go to war over the next couple of months and put on great match after great match. Cesaro has the ability to make highflying offense look good – look at how excellent Sin Cara or Kofi Kingston looks against him. Having him make Zayn look impressive on his debut was a masterstroke, and if it continues the two will only continue to make gold in the ring. Stupendous.
Renee Young is backstage with someone but Emma interrupts. She’s not the scheduled interviewee, Renee – just blow her off! Oh, look, this was supposed to be Audrey Marie’s interview time. You know, the one that just got released? Yeah, her. Emma calls her ‘Amy’, and then ‘Alicia’ because she is a klutz and a little bit brilliant. Audrey Marie is pretty pissed, but Emma tries to calm her down by doing The Emma. But Marie is pretty insistent that nobody likes her stupid dance. Hey, Audrey – **** you. I do The Emma all the time. Sometimes, if there’s music on and I really like it, I bust it out. Sometimes, when I’m in the shower, I bust it out. And sometimes, when I’m in the supermarket and they’ve got the brand of vegan cream I like, I bust it out. The Emma is a dance for all occasions. Get with the program. Ha, Emma says that ‘stupid’ must be the new hipster word for ‘totally cool’, and then when Audrey threatens to take her out, Emma asks if they could go and eat as she skipped lunch. Oh Emma, you are a simplistic comedic gem. Audrey tells her to leave and Emma Emma’s her way out but accidentally pokes Marie in the head on the way. Whoops. Well, I guess that’s a match for next week.
Ooh, a Bray Wyatt promo video. Dammit, even Bray’s promo videos are better than anyone else’s – this intercuts scenes of animals in nature being eaten with the destruction left by The Wyatt Family, all while Bray cuts a promo over the top of it about being the destroyer of just about everything. I heart Bray Wyatt and want him to win things. Seriously, Wyatt vs Langston for the NXT title after he wins the battle royal next week. You want me to fantasy book? Harper and Rowan take out everyone then Bray tells them to leave the ring at the end. Mega heel heat for cheating his way to victory, but putting him over as the cult leader in control of his charges. Done. You can have that one for free, Dusty.
Somebody saw Robbie E and decided that he wasn’t annoying enough so created Enzo Amore. He cuts a little promo about being a bona fide stud and everyone on the NXT roster being fake tough guys. Apparently everyone’s a ‘G’ until a ‘G’ walks into the room. Anybody? No? Oh look, Vince McMahon looked down the back of his sofa and found Mason Ryan. ‘I can’t wait to see Mason Ryan wrestle’ said nobody, ever. Amore tries to avoid Ryan in the early stages, but Ryan just cuts him off and throws him across the ring forcefully. A huge clothesline practically kills his opponent, and then he drops him into the turnbuckle before making sure the job is done with another clothesline. The dead Enzo Amore gets hoisted into a Torture Rack then spun out into a neck breaker – a move which I shall now christen the Luger Breaker – and picks up the win.
‘Hey, I’m so glad Mason Ryan’s back’ said nobody, ever.
Graves makes his way out to a big pop, leading his ‘#FilthParade’. Somebody in the crowd is going absolutely mental, screaming intelligible nonsense. I’m pretty sure she’s not a fan as she just shouts ‘you suck’ over and over again. She’s still jaw jacking with Graves as Bray Wyatt makes his entrance – I’m not entirely sure she likes him either, actually. This is weird. I really like Wyatt’s mask, I kind of hope it becomes a recurring thing ala Cody Rhodes. Neither man is actually wearing wrestling attire, which makes this all feel a bit weird – Wyatt has a vest and a pair of white cotton pants on, and I’m not sure Graves (sporting some fetching red jeans, braces and what looks like a pair of Doc Martens) has ever seen wrestling attire. Oh, Tony Dawson puts over the fact that Chris Jericho broke Wyatt’s nose. Pretty sure that’s not the true story, but there we go.
They lock up, and Wyatt gains the advantage with his superior power, sending Graves skittering across the ring for safety. Regal says that, as an old villain, he’d be using the mask to headbutt his opponent. See, that’s why I like Regal on commentary so much. Other people would just say ‘he could use that mask as a weapon, shouldn’t it be illegal?’ and whine on about it. Regal appreciates that it’s been legalised by him being allowed to wear it in the ring, and says that he might as well use it. Graves now overpowers the larger Wyatt somehow, and forces his opponent onto his posterior in the corner to dodge a punch screaming ‘stay down, stupid’ at him. Now now Corey, play nice or don’t play at all. The former Husky Harris charges out of the corner straight into a drop toe hold and a front face lock, Graves using his speed to gain some advantage over the larger man. Wyatt finally powers out with a suplex, but Graves keeps the hold locked in, actually, still grinding his opponent down. Wyatt finally gets to his feet and powers out of the hold, throwing Graves towards the corner only to be hit with a dropkick, and that causes Wyatt’s facemask to pop off. Bray takes a breather to refit the mask, and on his return to the ring starts to pound down his opponent. Graves gets the knees up to block a body avalanche, and locks in a triangle choke around the ropes. Coming back in, though, the tattooed one gets nailed with a crossbody, as Wyatt runs the ropes as quickly as a big man can. He’s amazingly quick for someone of his size, is Bray Wyatt, he moves exceedingly fast when he wants to and that crossbody was almost completely out of nowhere. I’ve got a really fat cat at home and when he runs, he reminds me of Wyatt – deceptively quick.
Wyatt now grounds Graves with a variation of a rear chinlock, but he gets sent flying over the top rope as he looks to take advantage. Graves then tries for a baseball slide, but his opponent dodges and pushes him into the steel steps, keeping the advantage now as he throws him back into the ring for a two count. Wyatt follows up with the body avalanche into the corner, but Sister Abigail gets reversed into a roll up as Wyatt’s mask falls off yet again. He still manages to kick out, but Graves hits a crossbody and takes the big man down, then follows up with some big strikes to the head and he seems to be targeting the exposed and injured nose of Wyatt – great strategy, one that Regal has been begging him to use on commentary. A high knee now nails Wyatt in the face and Graves then hits a big forearm into the corner and connects with a chopblock. He gets pulled away from the 13th Step attempt, though, as first Rowan and then Harper hit the apron and he has to dispose of the. A low dropkick to Wyatt and now there it is, the 13th Step locked in! Both Regal and Dawson have started to refer to it as the ‘Lucky 13’, which is a horrible name so screw that. Rowan distracts the referee and that gives Harper a chance to break the hold, the rat bastard. Wyatt gets to his feet and nails Sister Abigail and that’s all she wrote.
Post-match, the Wyatt Family stand over Corey Graves and celebrate before stomping a mudhole into Graves to add insult to injury. Kassius Ohno hits the ring! He sends people spinning with elbows to the jaw but as he goes after the ringleader Rowan and Harper strike from behind, leaving Ohno to be taken down with the Sister Abigail. What a shame, but it looks like we’ve got a new alliance formed here between Graves and Ohno, as NXT goes off the air with the Wyatt Family standing tall yet again.
That was a nice little match, that main event – I didn’t really get why Graves didn’t build more to his finisher. In previous matches he’s really focused in on the leg, but this one wasn’t like that, he went for some bigger moves that didn’t really pay off for him and his finisher attempt came after some very short build. But all in all, a good main event to end what was another solid night of entertainment. I guess we’re now going to see some kind of Graves/Ohno tag team, which is a shame when you consider it could have been Regal and Ohno kicking arse and taking names if I’d had my way but whatever – this uses two of NXTs top names in a tag team to take on the Wyatt Family for the tag belts, and puts together the sort of team that they need to face during their run. I’m behind that wholeheartedly.
Two matches and two wins make this an impressive debut night for Sami Zayn, who showed off a lot of what he can do. Of course, we already know that this is a guy who is ready for the big leagues – I mean, Christ, he made a feud with Kevin Steen entertaining so deserves all the medals in the world. But his match with Cesaro, especially, hinted at what he can do and will bring to NXT on a weekly basis. I hope that the post-match beat down will lead to a feud between the two, as there’s a whole lot of potential in there for magic to happen and I would love to see them go at it again.
22/05/2013 – Sami Zayn
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, let me tell you something – this wasn’t half bad. It’s not a show that will be remembered forever, although the impact of Sami Zayn’s debut might well be felt keenly in the coming weeks and months, but I don’t think there was a poor match. Oh, actually, I’m forgetting Mason Ryan vs Enzo Amore. Ah, whatever, it’s not like I’ll need to know their names in the future. That was dire, though. Outside of that, everything was good to watch, even Cesaro squashing Tatsu like a fly. I think that’s the way to do a squash, for what it’s worth – a little bit of offense for the lesser guy, but an ultimately dominant win. The main event was actually nicely paced, and the two guys worked well with each other. I said I was looking forward to that in the run up and it didn’t disappoint.
With that one over, we charge on to next week. I’ve got two words to bring you back – Stephanie McMahon. I mean, come on, I know you want that. I guess she’s going to announce something for the ladies of NXT, seeing as she’s a lady herself. On top of that, we’ve got the battle royal for the number one contender, which should just about feature everyone in NXT in the ring vying for that opportunity. I know you can’t wait for that NXTians, so don’t miss it - take care when crossing the road and raise your mug of hot chocolate to the memory of Derrick Bateman’s career! Zbogom!