TripleR Presents: Oliver's Weekly NXT Review (8/21/13)
Aug 22, 2013 - 2:21:48 PM
NXTians! You join us on possibly the most hyped NXT show to date – tonight, in that very ring, Antonio Cesaro and Sami Zayn will wage battle in a two out of three falls match so publicised that, in the words of J.R. himself, the whole world is watching. Weeks of tension, of back and forth, of shared victories, of insinuations that somebody may or may not have once worn a mask, all come down to this. But that’s not all! Owner of my heart Bayley will go one on one with the person we are contractually obliged to call psychotic AJ Lee! Plus – some possibly significant matches in between those two! Are you ready? No, he said…oh whatever. Let’s dive right in to…
The NXT Review: 21/08/2013 – The One With The MOTY
We start with a look back at the feud between Cesaro and Zayn, from Zayn’s initial roll-up victory, through Cesaro brutalising Zayn over two months ago to get his win back, via the triple threat and tag matches involving the two to last week, where Zayn laid down the challenge, and Cesaro accepted. Oh man, it is so on. This first started in May – over three months ago. There’s a real art to the way that, not only the competitors, but NXT has pulled this out and yet managed to hold all the excitement going into the final leg of the story. Nobody’s bored of this, there haven’t been multiple promos from the two – just enough to keep us all intrigued and allow us NXTians to enjoy the feud for what it is. I can’t wait. But first…
BAYLEY! Bayley comes out waving to the crowd and does a wonderfully awkward belt motion like she kind of thinks it’s something she should do, but isn’t really sure she should be doing it at the same time. The look of pure undiluted joy on her face makes me so happy, you guys. The joy she has feels so genuine that it rubs off on you, and I dare anybody to watch her in character and not just smile the whole time. So good. AJ Lee skips her way in to a significant pop from the crowd as her opponent appears to be on the verge of hyper-ventilating in the corner. Byron Saxton gives us the big match introductions, and the bell ring-a-lings to start the match.
Bayley tries to calm herself and then offers a hug as the crowd chant ‘hug it out’, but AJ just shoves her down with a palm to the face. Lee hits a pair of neckbreakers for a two count, and then takes Bayley to the corner and stomps her down. She takes her opponent down to the mat and locks in a cravate. ‘You want a hug Bayley?, she screams, ‘I’m hugging your neck now!’. Oh, that’s wonderful. Can these two wrestle every week? I’m getting far too much enjoyment out of this and it’s only thirty seconds or so old. AJ wrenches back on the cravate, locking it in tight, as Alex Riley points out that Bayley needs to focus, which she does to enable her to get back to her feet and come off the ropes, but Lee nails her with a flying forearm to take her back down. Bayley gets her head smashed into the top turnbuckle, and after a kick to the midsection the crazy girl takes some time to celebrate…but takes too long! Bayley dodges her charging in and AJ eats turnbuckle then gets a hug, and Bayley uses the hug to drive Lee into the corner repeatedly. Wonderful, just great character wrestling – and she apprehensively goes for the cover which AJ kicks out of. Bayley with a flying clothesline into the corner and a body slam…only a two count! She comes off the ropes and drops a knee on the sternum, then repeatedly goes for the cover, getting gradually more frustrated. She soon gets a smile on her face however, as she realises the crowd are chanting her name while she ascends the turnbuckles and she flies off with a big spinning elbow to AJ, again only getting a two count! Bayley seems to have hurt Lee here, as the latter clutches her mouth, and she tries to console her, looking devastated that she’s hurt someone who she holds in such high esteem…but Lee’s playing possum! She strikes with a kick to the midsection to take Bayley down to one knee, and hits the shining wizard! 1…2…3! What a devious act!
I wish this had had another five minutes of time, because it was so damn enjoyable. Bayley’s character is so fun, like I said her joy is the most infectious thing and really does get you to buy into her matches. The very best thing is that everything she does is so about the character she’s playing. Look at what AJ does – she wrestles as a crazy psycho who’s a little unstable all the time. Bayley does that, but as the excitable fan. Both are perfect in their roles. Compare that to, say, Kaitlyn, who’s character lacks on every level imaginable, and you’ll see what’s better for yourself. It’s simple enough to do – facial expressions, knowing what a character would do in a situation, that sort of thing. Admittedly, 90% of Kaitlyn’s problem (and I don’t mean to rag on Kaitlyn here, because I like her. I really do. Man, I wish I’d used Layla for this example instead) is that she has no defined character, but she still doesn’t wrestle as anything discernible. I don’t know what Kaitlyn stands for – she’s like a politician who turns up, says absolutely jack shit then expects people to vote for them. Whereas I know a vote for AJ is a vote for crazy and a vote for Bayley is a vote for having a lot of fun and freaking out when somebody famous walks past you in the supermarket. That’s change I can believe in.
Ladies and gentlemen, Tyler Breeze has entered the building. Walking backstage and looking at himself on his mobile again, he stops a girl and asks if she wants to take a picture. I’m pretty certain it’s Kendall Skye who he’s talking to. Anyway, she says yes, but when she leans in Tyler says that he just wants her to take a picture of him. Here’s CJ Parker with the photobomb behind him, pulling faces and stuff, and he legs it just as Breeze pulls the plug on extra photos. Breeze is furious about the photobombing, and says that CJ Parker is ruining his life. Ah Tyler Breeze, you wonderful self-obsessed narcissist you. More fun and frolics on NXT, there appears to now be a feud brewing out of a rogue photobomber and a male model. Come on, you can’t make this shit up! Except…well, you can, because here it is on a fictionalised wrestling program. But whatever! Fun! Giggles!
Yup, Ron Hicks and Michael Zaki become the first ever recipients of the double 70s silhouette! I have no idea who either of these guys are, I’m pretty sure that Michael Zaki is not, however, the guy from Tough Enough. Ooh, they’re going up against The Ascension here, both of whom have new pictures on the NXT website and new entrance gear. Look at them! Look at Conor O’Brian! Look how ridiculous he is! What a crazy guy.
Victor massages the shoulders of O’Brian in the corner, and he runs headlong into Zaki with a kick to the midsection, then going straight into the rolling side headlock takedowns before locking in some kind of headlock – wrenching at the back of the neck whilst talking smack right into the face of his opponent. A tag to Rick Victor, and O’Brian hoists up Zaki so that he can double chop his abdomen. Victor now takes it to Zaki in the corner with a combination of chops and European uppercuts, then back body drops him but keeps hold of a wrist, and so keeps his opponent under control. He tags out to O’Brian, and they whip Zaki off the ropes and catch him in a cradle, before just throwing him up in the air and driving him down to the mat. Sweet double teaming there. Victor tags back in, and he and O’Brian roar at each other before connecting with the Fall of Man (it’s that leg sweep/flying clothesline combo thingy they do) and that gives them the win because Ron Hick is incapable of doing anything, apparently.
O’Brian screams ‘we will rise’ into the crowd, and you’d be hard pressed to go against them on that assertion. There’s something undeniably impressive about watching the pair of them, even if they do seem to mainly operate in squash matches right now. Still, they’re quite entertaining, at least. It’s really about time they went after the tag belts, I know they’re super early into their NXT career, really, but…I mean, where’s the rest of the competition? These guys are building up some serious momentum, and I’d love to see them go up against Graves and Neville for the titles. Surely it’s just a matter of time?
Man does Pamela Anderson look rough. Huh? This isn’t that CJ Parker? Damn. This 60s hippie schtick is all well and good and stuff, but can you really get away with playing a character that is, effectively, stoned out of their mind all the time? He’s billed as being from the Moonchild Commune, dances his way to the ring like he’s listening to Hendrix at Woodstock, has music that effectively is Hendrix at Woodstock, and…well, I guess this is all rather fun, isn’t it? Lots of fun tonight. I like fun. It makes me happy.
He moves pretty darned quickly, though, that’s for sure, swapping from a rear waistlock into a side headlock with ease against Baron Corbin before having to break the hold in the corner. Corbin comes in for a lock up, but Parker ducks behind and locks in a half nelson to transition into another side headlock. He comes off the ropes and leaps out of the body slam attempt into a roll up for a one count only, but coming off the ropes a second time fails miserably as the former offensive lineman takes him down with a strong shoulder block. Corbin connect with a couple of blows to Parker in the corner, but when he charges in CJ gets a boot up and then runs out with a big flying clothesline to clean his clock. He hits a running double knee, then follows up with a sort of chop to the throat before hitting a variant of the DDT, leaving him and his opponent lying face down on the mat. And that’s enough for him to pick up the win, and he dances in celebration!
Renee Young comes in for a post-match interview, and asks Parker where he’s been since he was last seen in NXT, to which CJ says it’s more to do with where he hasn’t been, but he’s now finally found what he’s been looking for. You may call him a hippy, but he’s just a guy who’s going with the flow and having fun. WE LIKE FUN! When Renee asks him to explain the videobombing, he says that ‘bomb’ is pretty harsh and that she needs to mellow out – he prefers to call it ‘videoloving’. Fair enough. Tyler Breeze’s music hits, and he is super pissed off, charging to the ring whilst still staring at his phone. Man, he’s so angry with what CJ Parker did earlier, ruining his gorgeous picture. Parker says he’s just having a good time, but Breeze isn’t here for jokes – the only joke is the Lenny Kravitz wannabe across the ring from him. Parker motions to hit him, but Breeze bails because ‘nobody touches my face!’ Ah, wonderful, this is all kicking off. I’m so in. I like the new CJ Parker character, but nowhere near as much as I like Breeze, who’s work here was really nicely done, if a little simplistic. Hopefully these two can put some seriously good things together down the line.
Super bonus Dolph Ziggler! Alexander Rusev comes out first, clutching a piece of wood with Ziggler written across it. He’s got an Eastern European sounding name, so I’m going to go out there and assume he’s a heel. He’s also wearing what can only be described as a brown leather skirt – according to the commentary he’s got some sumo background, as well as muay thai. He’s a fat CM Punk! He breaks the piece of wood over his leg as an act of strength – fair enough, but that thing looked like balsa wood to me. Somebody needs to call Jim Duggan and shoe him what a real piece of wood looks like. Ziggler gets the loudest reaction of the night so far, running across the stage and wiggling his butt as the crowd goes absolutely wild. This Rusev guy is absolutely huge, by the way – no idea why they’re debuting him against Ziggler, but hey, this should be interesting, very similar dynamic to Ziggler vs Big E Langston. I miss Langston on NXT already.
Rusev is holding his hands above his head as he approaches Ziggler, not sure if it’s for a knuckle lock or what, but the crowd is a little more focussed on who’s getting Ziggler’s t-shirt. Ooh, Ziggler ducks underneath Rusev and locks in a roll up for a two count! Close to a quick finish there. Rusev strikes back with a kick to the midsection and a punch to the head, but of the ropes he ducks a clothesline attempt and then stops himself coming off the other ropes. Rusev’s style is really interesting, apparently this arm thing is all part of the muay thai training thing, and off of a lock up he throws Ziggler into the corner. Ziggler’s been playing to the hand thing so far...but not anymore! He connects with The Best Dropkick In The Bi-zy-ness, right to the face of the Bulgarian giant, and then charges off the ropes, but gets caught going for a cross body! Rusev connects with a load of knees then throws Ziggler to the outside, and the Show Off tries to regain some breath. Rusev’s having none of it though, and throws Dolph back in then connects with a body avalanche in the corner. He locks in a reverse bearhug, but Ziggler breaks it with a jawbreaker, then dodges when he charges into the corner. A huge splash in the corner by Ziggler, then he connects with another dropkick to the face off the ropes! Two count only! Ruseve reverses an Irish whip and then just charges into Ziggler for a two count of his own. He picks Ziggler up…no! Ziggler with a Fameasser! Another two count! Dolph stalks his opponent and goes for the Zig Zag but Rusev holds onto the ropes and then hits a…spinning heel kick? Holy shit, a spinning heel kick from a 300 lb man? That’s eerily reminiscent of Big Shows missile dropkick. Rusev is going to go airborne now…he misses the splash off the top rope. Zig Zag connects! This one’s over.
Woah, I am super impressed with Rusev. Astonishing agility for a big man, that spinning heel kick was breathtaking. In the end, it just wasn’t enough to get the win over Ziggler, but hell, he looked damned impressive here and I hope we see some more of him soon. Ziggler – well, he’s Dolph Ziggler. I mean, come on, what do you expect from the guy? He bumped his backside off, looked excellent doing it, and picked up the win. Guy’s great – now why has he been Miz-ed into a feud with his buddy when he should be kicking Del Rio’s face in?
Zayn makes his entrance, slapping hands with the fans on his way to the ring while Byron Saxton introduces him, and the crowd pops for Cesaro coming out to…Zayn isn’t wasting time here! He soars over the top rope and connects with a senton on Cesaro then starts to pound him on the outside. Sami flings Cesaro back inside, and the referee finally rings the bell…Zayn connects with a big boot in the corner and rolls Cesaro up…1…2…3!
Sami Zayn goes up 1-0!
That came out of nowhere, and this match is off to a really hot start as a result. The tempo is set, and Cesaro now needs to get a grip in the match and gain a fall himself. Zayn connects with a punch as Cesaro runs in, then sends the Swiss Sensation over the top rope with clothesline. The Canuck connects with a double axe handle off the apron, then whips Cesaro into the steel steps at ringside, before bashing the skull of Cesaro against the apron. He rolls back in to break the referees count, then rolls back out to inflict some more damage. Finally he rolls Cesaro into the ring, but he rolls through to the opposite side and when Zayn comes to get him in he connects with a shoulder to the gut. But that’s not enough to halt the momentum of Zayn, who comes back with a calf kick and mounts his rival in the corner for ten…Cesaro carries him out but Zayn flips over for a sunset flip, blocked by Cesaro who goes for a double stomp but Zayn rolls out of the way and into the corner. Cesaro looks to follow him in but gets hit by a back elbow twice, and Zayn creates enough separation to hit a cross body off the top rope…only a two count! Zayn pulls his opponent up, and Cesaro finds a little fire, but Zayn soon puts the flames out...no, Cesaro hoists him up and drops him on his face on the turnbuckle! Cesaro now takes control, even though he only gets a one count, keeping the speedy Zayn down and slowing the pace. He mounts him on the mat and connects with a series of punches and repeats the act in the corner, then locks in a neck wrench, keeping this affair on the mat. The crowd get behind Sami and he fights his way to his feet, then breaks the hold by driving Cesaro into the corner…but he comes out and locks it in again! Zayn finally does it again and breaks the hold, giving a chance to connect with a few strikes but Cesaro cuts him off mid kick and hoists him up for a massive power bomb! Only a two count!
It’s still Cesaro on top, locking in that neck wrench again, but Zayn slips around and connects with a jawbreaker. He comes off the rope but Cesaro levels him with a strong clothesline for a two count. A double stomp gets the Swiss-American another two from the referee as Zayn just will not stay down. Zayn is now fighting on his knees, and finally gets to his feet to connect with some chops to the chest, but Cesaro asks him to bring more than that and he does! Bouncing Cesaro off the ropes with every blow to the head, Zayn is working up a head of steam…no! Cesaro just picks him up and throws him over his shoulder to the mat, then mounts him for more punches to the head, even as Zayn tries to cover up. Another double stomp and Zayn is really winded now, as Cesaro picks him up for the delayed gut wrench suplex…Zayn spins through it! Pinning predicament, 1…2…no! Cesaro kicks out! Zayn ducks out of the running European uppercut in the corner and connects with a headscissors takedown off the ropes! Again only two! Zayn goes to get him up…but Cesaro connects with a bridging fallaway slam! Another two count! Holy hell is this ever a close match up!
Cesaro looks to drive home the advantage on a downed Sami Zayn, circling him and locking in that neck wrench again, but Zayn throws him off into the ropes, only to run headlong into a shoulder block. Off the ropes comes Cesaro and as Zayn tries to jump out of the way Cesaro catches him, but Zayn slips out into a roll up…1…2...Cesaro narrowly avoids a repeat of the finish to the first match these two had! Zayn takes it to his opponent now and looks to whip him off the ropes but Cesaro reverses and gets him up for the Very European Uppercut, but Zayn twists in mid-air and turns it into a dropkick! Then as he looks to follow up Cesaro catches him in the middle of running in and locks in the neck wrench again, spinning Zayn around to really cut off the oxygen…Zayn taps! Zayn taps out in the neck wrench!
Cesaro draws level to 1-1!
Wow, that was a wonderful fall, full of reversals and counters, and Zayn just couldn’t hold on in that neck wrench manoeuvre. A curious way to lose a fall, but Zayn tapping makes sense – he needs to be able to still fight in a third fall, so it’s best for him to tap out a little earlier than he maybe usually would in order to save some strength. Pretty smart stuff from the little Canadian, and as the referee check on him Cesaro gets the crowd to chant ‘we the people’ in the background. We’re at sudden death and the next fall wins, as Cesaro connects with a running European uppercut! 1…2…NO! Zayn kicks out! But he looks completely out of it, and rolls to the apron where Cesaro pulls him up by the ear. Zayn finds some pluck and connects with a couple of weak blows, but Cesaro pulls him down across the top rope to stop his brief flurry. Holy shit! He then connects with a superplex from the second rope, lifting Sami in to the ring from the apron! That never fails to leave me flabbergasted, the strength it must take to lift someone that high from below where you are…it’s crazy. He rushes into the cover but it’s still not over! Riley and Phillips sound astonished on commentary after that move, as Cesaro pulls Sami up by his chin, screaming that he will never, ever beat him…Zayn goes for a cradle, but Cesaro reverses it and pulls him up into a suplex, no, Zayn slips out and rolls him up…two count only! Cesaro straight into the neck wrench but Zayn flips it over into a pinning situation and the Swiss Sensation only just kicks out! Zayn with a big boot in the corner! Can he win with the move that started this epic off…no! Cesaro kicks out! The crowd is in raptures, chanting ‘this is awesome’ as both men look absolutely spent by their efforts.
Zayn is narrowly up first, and he looks to whip Cesaro off the ropes, but the big man blocks it once, twice, and then comes back with blows to the head. He whips Zayn into the ropes…but Zayn changes it up into a running sunset flip powerbomb! Surely that’s it…1….2…2 and 7/8ths! Cesaro just gets out in time as the referees hand brushes the mat for the third count! Holy shit this is the best match I’ve seen in years, and it’s still not over! Cesaro has fallen to the outside and Zayn lines him up from the opposite side of the ring…he runs and flies between the bottom two ropes for a suicide dive then catches Cesaro in a tornado DDT on the floor! I know that move! I marked like a child when I saw it! Amazing scenes, such a beautiful thing, such grace, such elegance…just holy ****ing shit, you need to see this match. Seriously, however you do it, stop what you’re doing and watch this. Cesaro just beats the ten count and then just kicks out of a cover from Zayn, who immediately locks in a knuckle lock and looks for the springboard tornado DDT…Cesaro just stops him halfway through it! Wow, what strength! He deadlifts Zayn to his shoulders…holy shit. Holy ****ing shit Oh my God. He just pushes him up off his shoulders and into the Very European Uppercut! The Neutraliser! He connects with the Neutraliser! And that’s enough to finally put Zayn down for the three count.
Cesaro wins the match 2-1!
I’m breathless just watching that, it…it defies words. There aren’t words. Keep your Lesnar/Punk and your Bryan/Cena – this is the best match WWE will have all year. What an ending sequence. What a match. By Gawd what a match. Cesaro celebrates as the crowd chant ‘we the people’ along with him, then the shows fades to black with the fans chanting ‘match of the year’ and Cesaro feigning kicking dust over his fallen rival.
You owe it to yourselves to watch this, you really do – I can’t do it justice. I’ll do my darndest to find a link to it and put it at the top of next week’s review if that’s at all possible. For now, scour the internet, sell your mothers to Russian spies, do whatever you need to do to get your hands on a copy. This was brilliant. If you follow me on Twitter (@MrOlliB) I’m pretty sure I’ll be putting a link on there when I find it and just constantly raving about it for the rest of the week. Maybe even year.
Sami Zayn and Antonio Cesaro!
Well done, chaps.
21/08/2013 – Sami Zayn and Antonio Cesaro
07/08/2013 – Enzo Amore
31/07/2013 – Bray Wyatt
24/07/2013 - Paige
17/07/2013 – Adrian Neville
10/07/2013 – Bayley
03/07/2013 – The Crowd
26/06/2013 – Emma
19/06/2013 – Everybody in the main event
The best week of NXT television to date. No questions asked. Bayley vs AJ Lee was a whole lot of fun, Rusev looked ridiculously talented against Ziggler in a nice little match, CJ Parker looked interesting against Baron Corbin plus started something between himself and Tyler Breeze for further down the line, and The Ascension did a thing. But really, you could forget all of that if you wanted to – the main event, on its own, qualifies this as being a stupendous episode of NXT, and one everyone should watch. Antonio Cesaro and Sami Zayn didn’t so much as raise the roof, but burn that ****er off. This should be the yardstick for great wrestling in WWE.
Who cares about next week? Let’s live for now. What a week. Also, they’re taping next week’s show tonight, so I have no idea what’s going to be on it. Drama! Intrigue! Come back here next week and we’ll see exactly what has to follow that. I’d be quaking in my boots if it was me. Until then NXTians, stay safe when crossing the road and drink more hot chocolate!