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TripleR Presents: Oliver's Weekly NXT Review (9/11/13)
Sep 12, 2013 - 10:34:13 AM
NXTians, welcome back to the column that blurs lines like Robin Thicke, The NXT Review! That’s a current pop cultural reference, right? I don’t really know; I’ve heard that song’s huge but I’ve been lost in a musical nest of 2 Chainz and Los Campesinos! for the past couple of weeks. Or months. So what does this week of NXT hold for us? Well, after a vicious attack last week by the South African mercenary Leo Kruger, Xavier Woods is out for revenge in our television main event! Plus – will Sasha Banks heed the words of Summer Rae and deliver a destructive beatdown to our NXT Women’s Champion Paige? Plus – what did Rusev, Dawson and LeFort have at Sizzlers (yes, yes, I was wrong. Again. Darned thick French accents being hammed up for the camera!)? All this, plus a little more, in…
The NXT Review: 11/09/2013 – The One With Talking Heads
We are straight into the action with the Realest Guys in the Room, and Enzo has a microphone! He’s a certified ‘G’ and a bona fide stud, and Big Cass is seven foot tall and you can’t teach that. He’s pretty pissed that they got jumped by two guys who are S-A-W-F-T SAAAAAAAWFT! Sylvester LeFort has come out, and he’s removed his sunglasses so clearly means business. He says everyone is scared of Multicultural Society, of Dawson and Rusev, and introduces them both. Oh man, this one is on like Donkey Kong, as Rusev breaks his board with ‘Enzo’ on it across his knee while the crowd chant SAWFT at Multicultural Society. Regal corrects Tony calling it a 4 by 2 on commentary and says it’s a 4 by 1 – that’s more like it.
Dawson and Amore kick us off and tie up in the middle of the ring. Dawson forces the certified ‘G’ back into the corner but he ducks around and hits a quick jab to the jaw of Dawson, sending him reeling, and then ducks a clothesline and repeats the act. As Dawson works up a head of steam, Amore tags out to Big Cass, who comes in and immediately catches a boot from the Redneck Wonder in his hands. Dawson begs him to put it down, and Cassady obliges then hits him with a knee to the midsection. He continues to pound on Dawson who is, very roughly, a foot and a half shorter than Big Cass, and goads his fellow Legionnaire members before asking if Enzo wants some. Hell yeah Enzo wants some of Scott Dawson! He comes in, hitting multiple jabs to the jaw, and looks to whip Dawson off the ropes. Dawson reverses, then blocks a short arm clothesline attempt and absolutely nails one of his own which is enough for a two count. That looked devastating. And Rusev gets tagged in while Dawson holds Amore in an abdominal stretch, connecting with a kick. Somebody call the emergency services, we’ve got a face in peril! Rusev levels Amore and then hits multiple falling headbutts before scooping Amore up and resting him against the ropes to deliver a series of knees to the kidneys before just throwing him to the mat. Dawson gets tagged in and pulls Amore up by his hair, but Amore starts to fight back – jabs to the gut and he comes off the ropes…but Dawson levels him with a back elbow. He knocks Cassady off the apron and tags to Rusev and…ooh, that was nice. Dawson holds Amore up and Rusev nails a spin kick to take him down. Oh, and then it gets weird, because Dawson stupidly goes for a pin attempt despite not being the legal man. Come on guys, pull it together. And…hang on, why’s the bell ringing? The ref got to a five count? Really? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tag match end on that – I’m sure one has but that was some odd stuff.
Still, Multicultural Society celebrate but it’s Amore and Big Cass who are the winners by disqualification, and when that’s announced Amore celebrates with gusto. Er…that was weird. Like, really weird. The match was…nothing really to talk about. For all I like Amore, he’s still not really got enough going in the ring, and the same goes for Big Cass. Throw in Scott Dawson, who I’m starting to think is the worst guy in NXT right now, and you’ve got a worrying concoction going. At least Rusev looks good, yeah? And the ending was really, really flat. I could understand it if there had been a prolonged beat down by the two guys or something, but to call for the bell on what was a pretty standard double team move is weird. I can see why the crowd weren’t into it, and the ref didn’t really do anything to get Dawson out of the ring. And why would Dawson go for a pin? What a knob. Hmm. We’re off to a flat start. This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife.
Oh, here’s Bo Dallas. What are you doing here Bo, didn’t Sami Zayn injure you so badly that you can’t wrestle right now? So, what’s the NXT Champion got to say for himself this week? Come on now, you know the Willy Wonka of NXT doesn’t speak for himself!
Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-doo,
First I would like to thank those who Bo-lieve,
Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-dee,
It makes me believe I can fly don’t you see?
Last week I came out to have Sami’s back,
He needed a mentor to save him from the sack.
When I’m fully healed I’ll give Sami a match,
But he’s not done enough to make it for the strap.
Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-doo,
Thank you so much for all the support,
Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-dee,
Don’t stop Bo-lieving when you’re in this sport.
OK, so basically Bo is skirting giving Sami a title shot because he’s not earned it. Which is true – Sami keeps losing! You don’t earn title shots by losing! Another case of the heel being logical and making a good point – there’s far too much of this; it makes me agree with Bo. And I don’t want to agree with Bo. I want to watch him get his arse kicked. Two notable crowd things – they all chant ‘fix your pants’ at him because they’re caught in the top of one of Bo’s boots, and there’s a loud, seriously loud, ‘Pocahontas’ chant, which is hilarious. Still, Bo continues to absolutely nail this character – this was a bit less subtle than it has been recently, but he’s so good right now it’s kind of absurd. Especially given how shit he’s been for months beforehand. His promo’s aren’t tip top yet, and at one point here he stumbles over his words a bit, but they are really getting the job done. Plus, this injury stuff – he’s either putting the pain to the back of his mind or it’s a complete work, because he sure as hell doesn’t look injured. This just increases the heat I suppose. Good stuff though.
Renee Young is joined by CJ Parker and, I mean, seriously, fuck this guy. He says something about giving his love, whereas Tyler Breeze wants to keep his love. To be honest, Hippy Carlito is definitely somebody I don’t care about. Oh here’s Tyler Breeze from behind with a beatdown! He takes a selfie of himself lying across the fallen CJ Parker, then checks it for gorgeousness before walking off. Renee Young pretends to care about Parker, but clearly doesn’t give a shit really – I mean, who does? I guess the Breeze/Parker thing isn’t done yet, which…well, at least we’ll get more Tyler Breeze, right?
You know, if AJ Lee needs some Total Wrestlers to take on the Total Divas, I really think she should just come down to NXT and grab some people instead of having to make do with a hodgepodge of talent on the roster. I mean, she can’t use Kaitlyn because their beef is too recent, so she’s left with Aksana (a fitness model, not a wrestler), Alicia Fox (who was originally a wedding planner although can at least wrestle well) and Layla (a Miami Heat dancer). I mean, come on, that’s easily as bad as the Total Divas cast. Couldn’t she have just gotten Paige, Emma and Sasha who are actual wrestlers with proper, non-WWE, wrestling histories? Wouldn’t that make more sense? I mean, there’s a ton of holes in that storyline, but it really bothers me when they have the perfect people available to them and choose not to use them in favour of people who really, really don’t fit the story. And besides, who’s the heel? I sure as hell am not cheering for the Total Divas, but I also don’t want to cheer Layla, Aksana or Alicia Fox. Can I just boo them all?
Anyway, sorry about that brief dalliance with Raw and Smackdown stuff – back to NXT. Paige gets an almighty pop on her entrance and still looks phenomenal with that title round her waist, while Sasha is greeted with a reasonable amount of silence. The crowd are chanting ‘happy birthday’ at Paige because she’s 21 now! Hurrah! The main roster awaits!
The two lock up, and Sasha gains the upperhand with a wristlock, but Paige flips out of it and then connects with a headbutt before flinging Sasha around the ropes. I love that Paige uses a headbutt – I don’t know why, there’s just something interesting about it. Sasha actually manages to turn the tables and tries to steal Paige’s trick of throwing her opponent into the ropes, but Paige blocks it and gets Sasha with the move herself. ‘Nice try, Sasha’ she screams, and goes in for the pinfall but gets only a two count. She sweeps the legs out from under Banks and tries for another pin but again only gets two, Sasha just popping up a shoulder. Shoulders back down, but Sasha pops up an arm again. And again, this time Sasha bridging out of the pin! Proper wrestling stuff! Bryan and Cena did this at SummerSlam! Paige climbs on top of Sasha (minds out of the gutter, boys) and gets in for the pin again, but Sasha pushes up and leaps, spins and gets a cradle locked in on her opponent…1…2…Paige kicks out! Great sequence there, really enjoyable. Sasha locks in a rear waist lock, but Paige forces her back into the corner and connects with elbows to the head, before stomping down the cousin of Snoop Dogg/Lion in the corner, but Sasha slips out and rolls Paige down head first into the turnbuckle. Ouch, that looked a little nasty.
Sasha locks in a Camel Clutch, and she’s already looking a lot more aggressive than she has before – Summer Rae must have really gotten in her head. The Brit tries to fight out, but Banks transitions into a sleeper with a body scissors, keeping her on the mat. Paige finally gets to her knees, but Banks just pounds her on the back and then whips her across the ring and connects with a back elbow which just gets her a two count. The former Mercedes KV goes back to that sleeper with the body scissors, and Paige just can’t fight out of it and seems to be fading here, fighting as much as she can but not gaining any traction…until now! She gets the cloud clapping along and slips out of a bodyslam attempt and into a roll-up…1…2…no, Banks kicks out and connects with a dropkick to take Paige back down! And she’s straight back to the sleeper again! Paige bridges up and gets into a pinning situation which means Sasha has to break the hold. Back on their feet, and Sasha looks for a suplex but Paige blocks…and connects with a Fisherman’s suplex of her own! The crowd are singing ‘We Will Rock You’ as Sasha looks to pick Paige up from the apron, but the Anti-Diva connects with a series of knees to the head! This match has been terrific so far, just completely different to anything you’d get on the main roster – fiercely competed and lengthy. Paige comes back in to get Sasha up for the Paige Turner but Banks rolls through and gets a pin…no! Paige kicks out, and whips Banks across the ring but Banks holds the ropes and she misses the dropkick…Sasha now comes off the ropes and connects with a crossbody…but Paige rolls it through…1…2…3! This one’s over!
Sasha looks heartbroken as Paige celebrates with the title, and pushes the Brit away when she comes to console her. Paige offers the hand but Banks refuses, and as Paige turns her back she strikes! She connects with a series of chops to the chest and then connects with Damien Sandow’s Terminus! Oh me! Oh my! We’ve got ourselves a little rivalry brewing, and if their first match can be as enjoyable as this was it could lead to a lot of good stuff. I really, really liked this, Sasha looking good and not being as flashy as she has previously worked well for her, and Paige still got to get in her signature moves but shows us a little more than she has before in terms of actual wrestling. Yes, yes, very good indeed. Ooh, bonus feature – Sasha is backstage texting when Summer Rae sidles up and praises her work. Banks says it felt awesome and thanks her for bringing out her inner rage, then the two have a little hug. Well, that’s nice – but let’s never ever let Sasha Banks talk or act again, yeah? Thanks NXT.
Ah Kruger and Woods. Woods and Kruger. The crowd are into both of these guys, Kruger’s slightly deranged character going over well with isolated chants of ‘Kruger’, whilst they pop nicely for Woods and clap along to his theme music. I mean, like I’ve said before – I outright hate the character Woods is playing, but he’s impressive in the ring so I can understand why people like him. This is all stemming from that attack in the car park last week, where Kruger left Woods lying in pain. Let’s do it!
Woods hares after Kruger to start with, looking to catch him quickly and get some sweet revenge, but Kruger avoids him at every turn, getting through the ropes or slipping to the outside to leave Woods unable to hit him. Finally, Woods gets his man, grabbing the South African’s ponytail as he walks around outside and says he’s going to rip him apart, but it’s Kruger who gains the upper hand here, pulling the arm of his opponent down across the ropes. Back in the ring, he starts to work on the arm, driving the elbow into the shoulder joint and jamming it down across his own shoulder, before locking in an armbar. William Regal on commentary briefly forgets Kruger’s name, but then comes back by pointing out that he’s not working over the dominant arm of Woods, which he’s doing pretty well here. He’s had this armbar locked in tight for a long time, and every time it nearly gets broken he finds a way to lock it back in somehow, either by driving it across his shoulder or just taking Woods back to the mat. Woods even drives him into the corner and hits a couple of blows to the midsection, but still Kruger keeps it locked in – it’s a simple armbar, but it’s doing its job here.
Finally Woods creates some separation, pushing Kruger into the corner again and hitting some blows to the chest before armdragging Kruger out. He gets caught by a knee, but ducks a clothesline following an Irish whip and connects with a headscissors takedown! Kruger sent to the outside and Woods looks for a dive…but he connects with nothing but mat as Leo moves out of the way. Oosh, that looked pretty nasty. Kruger throws his prey back in the ring and starts to stomp on him, beating him down on the mat and driving an elbow into that shoulder joint that he was previously working. He traps the left arm and hits a suplex on Woods, with him landing on his own injured arm, and then starts to rip at the face of his opponent. The dancing student just can’t gain any traction here, as Kruger returns to that armbar again – I’d really like to see something else right now, Leo Kruger, and just as I think that he transitions it into a hammerlock. The crowd seem to have lost interest in this, as they’re now chanting ‘we want Ryder’ – why? Why is that a thing? I mean, I want Ryder to go to NXT as well, because Lord knows he could do with it to work on his character and wrestling, but still.
Kruger keeps that hammerlock on and drives some knees into the arm to keep working it over. Finally Woods gains some momentum, connecting with a jawbreaker to break the hold and then delivering some hard kicks to the hamstring of the South African mercenary, before connecting with a dropkick and coming off the ropes…straight into a sidewalk slam from Kruger which is enough for a two count. Kruger then connects with a suplex and floats over into a pin for another two count. Woods is down, and the Mercenary takes the chance to climb the ropes and deliver…nothing at all, as the double axehandle misses! Woods fighting back now with his good arm, a headbutt and a dropkick and he kips up! He looks for the It’s Morphin’ Time clothesline but Kruger catches him in a big spinebuster! Two count only, even with Woods stacked up! The Slice…misses! Woods with a messed up Lost In The Woods for a two count of his own! It’s Morphin’ Time connects! Eat Defeat! The win is Woods’!
I don’t know what I think anymore, as I think I now like Woods way more than I could ever have imagined. I really like watching him in the ring. Kruger was good here, but good God does he need to find more ways to work the arm than an armbar or a hammerlock. There’s a time and a place for the – 90% of the match isn’t it. A good old double knee armbreaker here or there would be a good addition, and some more variations on landing his opponent on his arm like in his suplex would be a good move, I think, as otherwise it’s kind of dull to watch – it needed some more momentum shifts to his opponent to break up the monotony and improve it. And just some different style rest holds – it’s fine to use them repeatedly, but doing them differently would make it more interesting and allow for those momentum shifts to happen. Instead of one long armbar, go armbar - opponent fires back-some other form of arm hold – opponent fires back and so on. Like I said, I think the crowd (like me) became bored halfway through the match to be honest, and it was lucky that it finished soon after the ‘we want Ryder’ chants broke out as otherwise we could have been in for quite the disaffected live audience. Ho hum – a solid B, I guess.
I’m not sure who really deserves this most – as I’ll cover in a minute, I thought it was a pretty drab episode all told – but Banks certainly impressed me the most this week, showing so previously unseen matwork and toning down the highflying. If this is the new Sasha Banks, then I’m all for it in the ring. My only worry is that a title feud with Paige means more ‘acting’ – welp.
11/09/2013 – Sasha Banks
04/09/2013 – Sami Zayn
28/08/2013 – Summer Rae
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
Hmm – a very curious episode. The first match hardly got going and had a really horrible ending that just didn’t work at all, and Kruger/Woods was a bit flat until the end, essentially just because it was all very dull arm holds from Kruger without enough fire from Woods to keep the interest held for a good length of time. But the middle was, I felt, pretty good – Bo’s promo’s need work but it’s fascinating to see him in this character, finally looking at home and like he’s doing something that adds, rather than detracts, to the whole program, and I really enjoyed Paige vs Sasha Banks as a match. Nothing quite reached the heights it has recently (giving Zayn a week off might do that from here on), but it lacked a little at the start and end. A shame, but there it is.
Sami’s back next week! Or, at least, so the spoilers inform me. He’ll be battling Curt Hawkins in a replica of his first NXT match. Plus, a multi-feud, multi-man main event, as Fly Down, Woods and Parker square off with The Ascension, Kruger and Breeze in an eight-man tag match. Crikey! And some other things, I’m sure! Until then NXTians, stay safe when crossing the road and drink more hot chocolate! Beannacht!