Ola NXTians! Sorry, we skipped a week there – the UK Bank Holidays got in the way, as I was busy all last weekend. Anyway, if you missed the show too, here’s a quick overview:
The NXT Review: 24/04/2014 – Freud Links The Teeth And The Heart
Apr 25, 2014 - 10:45:00 AM
• Aiden English beat Colin Cassady in a competitive short match. English eventually reversed the East River Crossing into a roll up and got the three with a handful of tights, which made William Regal really, really happy. Still no Enzo, but he’s apparently training now so maybe he’ll be back soon?
• Oliver Grey and his terrible Rob Van Dam haircut lost to Camacho via Samoan Drop. Nope, for real, that’s what Camacho used to win. The Tongan Dude did no sell some stuff, but they’re still not mentioning that he’s son of for real tough bastard Haku so whatever.
• Bo Dallas cut a great promo, which is a given I guess. Apparently his ‘occupy NXT’ thing didn’t work because his bo-lievers are law-abiding citizens so didn’t want to break the law. How good is that? (clue: it’s really good)
• The Ascension won a squash etc etc. They’re still pushing the ‘The Ascension have an open challenge out for any tag team in the world, so the hope is that next month Time Splitters turn up and take the titles.
• Sasha and Charlotte did some challenging for next week, and they’re taking on Emma and a mystery partner. The BFFs weren’t getting on for the whole promo, so there’s your tension.
• CJ Parker cut the promo of his life about how the NXT Universe are responsible for everything bad about the world – litter, animals in zoos, SUVs – and he still can’t believe he’s getting booed. Khali then destroyed him because LOL global warming or whatever.
• (God there were a lot of matches on this show) NXTs brand new second tag team (!!!) Jason Jordan and Tye Dillinger turned up in matching ring gear and with an arsenal of tag team moves to defeat Baron Corbin and Sawyer Fulton. It was actually pretty great, a nicely competitive tag team match that established the new team well. J.J. Dillon won with MNMs Snapshot.
• Finally, in the main event Broduc Clay stomped around the ring a bit and eventually lost to Adrian Neville by countout after trying to deliver a splash from the ring steps. It was OK, I think?
• Other news - they had a four person booth for the whole show, which was frankly a little messy. Paige cut a great promo about being a double champion and having everyone after her. Oh, and Sami Zayn confirmed that this week we’ve got trios action, Zayn and The Usos vs Graves and The Ascension.
I think that’s all the key points hit, so without further ado, let’s get into …
The NXT Review: 24/04/2014 – Freud Links The Teeth And The Heart
Paige is walking backstage and meets JBL, who’s all ‘nope, can’t have two titles’ while putting over her achievements. His reasoning’s pretty sound, that Paige won’t be there to defend it much, but I still think this is stupid. Why strip her of the title, why not just have her drop the belt? Paige is pretty resistant to the idea but eventually relents and JBL confirms there will be a tournament to crown a new champion, which is cool even if the winner is pretty well set to be Charlotte. Anyway, on with the show!
Travis Tyler vs Rusev
Oh Lana. Lana is by far the best. The match here isn’t much to talk about, Tyler comes out of the gate with a dropkick that slightly rocks Rusev but the Bulgarian then just destroys him. The crowd actually get behind Travis Tyler during the match (after singing Adam Rose’s theme), but in no time Lana is giving the order and The Accolade gets locked in, Tyler tapping out quickly, and Lana stops him with a hand on the shoulder. Pretty short and to the point, but that’s the way Rusev always has been. I love the control Lana exerts over him, it’s fascinating and a very different sort of dynamic to most mangers and their charges, making the whole shtick stand out.
Devin Taylor is backstage with the Adam Rose party, and they’re waiting for the rock star to appear – which he does by crowdsurfing in. Taylor wants some input on Camacho from Rose, who calls him a party pooper and boring before threatening to make him a victim of the Rose experience. Don’t be a lemon, be a Rosebud! The party start to chant with him, and Taylor herself awkwardly joins in with the dancing. Well, that’s fun. Camacho vs Rose is interesting, and not really a feud I expected to see, but it’ll be OK for establishing Rose. Still want to see him crowdsurf around a venue at some point.
BFFS vs Paige and Emma
You know, I can’t help but feel that Charlotte isn’t really getting into the BFF thing. She doesn’t really strut very well, especially not compared to Summer (who is still here as a face on a stick) and Sasha, hasn’t really glammed up her ring gear or her entrance gear, and doesn’t seem to really be as OTT as she needs to be. Emma, on the other hand, is as OTT as it’s possible to be – it’s great to see her come back to NXT and get to be the wrestler that we all know she is, instead of ****ing about with Santino on the main roster. I talked a bit about the recent NXT call-ups on The Right Side Of The Pond last week (listen here if you missed it) and the way they’ve handled Emma, and Paige to a different extent, since calling them up, creating this whole thing where they’re only slightly similar to their NXT character is the most disheartening thing I’ve seen WWE do for a while. You know how I feel – this crop of NXT call-ups have the potential to remould the Divas division – and yet they’re doing weird things with them, like making Emma the worst possible version of herself and making Paige this shy rookie when she should be killing people with Scorpion Crosslocks and stuff. It’s frustrating to watch, as a fan. Anyway, apparently there’s some mystery about Emma’s partner, but it’s her new friend Paige, who gets to enter during the break and we come back with Sasha and Emma about to face off. Let’s get it on!
Emma dances and Sasha looks unamused, grabbing her by the back of the head and slamming her into the turnbuckle, but Emma reverse an Irish Whip and Charlotte makes a blind tag. Emma spots it, though, and sends Sasha flying into her in the corner before nailing a monkey flip on the larger BFF for a one count. Emma controls Charlotte into her corner and makes the tag to Paige, the two hitting a double suplex for a one count as the announcers get super terrible in a clearly overdubbed bit, talking abouit Paige being stripped of the title. Seriously, it sounds like video game commentary or something. Anyway, Paige gets taken down by Charlotte and the Nature Girl locks in a toehold that Paige spins through and sends her into the corner where she connects with multiple elbows, causing her opponent to do a shockingly poor impression of a Flair flop. Paige is well on top here, and sends Charlotte to her corner, tagging in Emma – but before the Vegemite Vixen can get any offense in she gets struck with an elbow. Charlotte now pulls Emma up and hits a knee to the midsection, before copying Paige’s taunt to rile the Raven Haired One. That bit of taunting, however, allows Emma to refocus and connect with a monkey flip…no, Charlotte spins all the way through it and tags Sasha, but Emma doesn’t see it! Banks strikes with a Thesz Press when Emma is distracted, and that allows the BFFs to take control, working Emma over in their corner.
Charlotte chokes Emma against the bottom rope before locking in a headscissors style hold amidst an ‘Emma Emma Emma, Oi Oi Oi’ chant. The Aussie nearly turns it over and does manage to flip over but Charlotte actually manages to keep the hold locked in, smashing Emma’s head into the mat with her legs. The crossed legs make it look like a figure four around the head, and Emma finally forces a break by bridging up and turning it into a pin. Emma nearly makes the tag only to be pulled back by Charlotte, but then the Nature Girl misses an elbow drop…come on, make the tag, make the tag…Emma makes it to Paige! Short-arm clotheslines to Sasha, taking her down to the mat, and a single leg dropkick to follow up before she goes for the Crosslock, but Charlotte breaks it up. Emma comes in to cut off the Nature Girl, but she gets dispatched to the outside and Sasha then tags her partner. Charlotte hits her brutal looking front flip cutter which has arguably never looked worse than it did here, and that’s enough for her to take a big win over the WWE Divas Champion.
Eh, that was OK. It wasn’t great, and certainly needed a longer closing sequence after Paige got the hot tag, but it was good for what it was. They didn’t really play up the dissension between the BFFs which was hinted at last week, and I think that’s a bit of a missed opportunity really, but it was a solid tag match. I think part of the problem is neither team really played to their strengths here – the BFFs should be so good as a team that they cut the ring in half when they’re on top and they only briefly hinted at doing that, whereas Paige and Emma are both good for the hot tags as their offense pops the crowd yet they didn’t really get the time to do that side of things. Kind of a shame, really – a match of wasted opportunities.
Tyson Kidd vs Mason Ryan
Tyson Kidd and his complete lack of sex drive that doesn’t satisfy his wife Natalya turn up on NXT and get a tidy little pop, but the crowd don’t really seem super into him. Then again, they’re more into him than Mason Ryan, who comes out to wall to wall crickets except for two people who seem to be screaming at a really high pitch. Apparently Jason Alberts is responsible for getting Ryan in the shape he’s in. Oh, there’s the ‘Better than Batista’ chant for Mason, too – kind of not true, because if there’s one person in the WWE who isn’t better than Batista it’s almost definitely Mason Ryan. But whatever, chant what you like NXT Universe.
Kidd is skirting around his bigger opponent, looking to strike quickly, but Ryan blocks an attempted monkey flip because his body won’t bend to let him flip over, before he catches him in mid-air and runs him into the corner. A body slam from the Welshman puts Kidd down, and Ryan follows up with a running leg drop – hey, I know where I’ve seen a body slam/leg drop combo before! That’s familiar! – for a two count. Kidd telegraphs Ryan on an Irish whip, nailing a kick to the head and following up with an enziguiri that takes Ryan down, and now he’s working on keeping him down with kicks and a slingshot legdrop for a one count, before locking in a front facelock to stall his opponent. Ryan powers up and blocks a kick, pushing Kidd into the ropes where he stops himself, using them for leverage to hit a dropkick and spin to the apron, but when he tries to slingshot in he lands right on top of Mason Ryan’s arms and gets dropped on his face for his efforts. Ryan nearly decapitates him with a clothesline in the corner that gets him a two count, and Kidd is now laid out on the mat and not going anywhere. Or is he – he gets whipped into the corner but Ryan takes too long to follow up and he gets met with the Canucks feet. Kidd gets to the top rope…and nails the blockbuster! 1…2…3! This one is over!
Kidd celebrates, and Renee Young (oh Renee, where have you been? I miss you on NXT so much) asks Kidd a question. Tyson’s all like ‘this is my rebirth’ and says that he’s going to get noticed on NXT as it’s a platform for the ultimate opportunity. Poor old Tyson – it’s come to the point where he’s desperately trying to position himself as a serious contender on NXT because none of his main roster pushes have worked out. Seriously, I never understood why Kidd can’t get a push on the main roster. He’s got in ring ability, he’s not appalling when it comes to promos even if he did look completely passionless in his eyes during this one, and his moveset is interesting enough to keep the crowd invested. I’d have thought he had enough to at least challenge for the US Title and hold it with some decent defences. Of course, that relies on WWE remembering the US Titles exists…
Tyler Breeze vs Angelo Dawkins
So Angelo Dawkins now seems to be working some kind of hip kid/dancer/DJ gimmick or something? He comes to the ring dancing (because, hell, dude’s black and in the WWE – find me someone else black and in the WWE who hasn’t, at some point in time, danced to the ring) in a plaid shirt, backpack on (both straps, for the record), glasses, Beats headphones and a cap. He friggin’ moonwalks on the apron and…oh God, this is the most annoying thing. It’s like Xavier Woods meets DJ Zema. Breeze is still incredible, rocking the matching iPhone cover and ring attire. He is The Best, capitalised for emphasis, and I wish it was him and not Adam Rose that was getting the call up. They’re putting over his new found aggressive streak on commentary, and I imagine this won’t last very long.
Dawkins goes for a quick roll-up, before taking Breeze down with a waistlock and Breeze hits the ropes, screaming for the ref to get him off. He fires back with a right to the face and taking Dawkins down, hitting a soccer kick to the back for a two count, and then locks in a tight chinlock. Oh, something I think I forgot to mention – last week Breeze turned up on NXT to cut a promo, literally just because he thought NXT needed someone gorgeous on it for the week. How great is that? Dawkins whips him out of the chinlock, but Breeze stays on him, taking him down to the mat before pulling him up to his feet and landing the Beauty Shot to take the win.
I really think Breeze should be positioned as the next NXT Champion. It’s kind of hard to see where they could take him, especially as he’s done feuding with his polar opposite in CJ Parker. That and the fact that he undoubtedly had his best matches with Adrian Neville in the past (or was it just the one match? I don’t remember, but I felt sure there were a couple there) which would mean we get a good feud for the title. They’re clearly determined to keep giving him the wins, and there’s not a lot else he can do with them except go after the one singles title on NXT. Maybe a quick feud with someone like Graves after he’s done with Zayn is an option, or vice versa and he feuds with Zayn, but there’s little challenge for him in the middle of the pack on NXT right now. Or just have him fight big ol’ flabby Mojo Rawley. The match here was fine, little more than an easy Breeze win as expected but he did it well and continues to nail the character side of himself in his in ring performances.
Oh, apparently Brodus Clay knocked some of Adrian Neville’s teeth out backstage last week. Front ones, too. That’s going to cost a fair bit at the dentist for the Jumping Geordie. For some reason, I find this hilarious, but I guess Neville coming back from it will make him the fightiest fighter on NXT which is kind of his gimmick as champion. Presumably they’re going to keep feuding for a bit, and I expect them to go No DQ or something next time out.
Zayn and The Usos vs Graves and The Ascension
Graves, still rocking the acid wash, is becoming such a fabulous douche. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I so desperately want to punch him in the face and that’s pretty much exactly the reaction he should want to be getting. He’s so perfect in that role, it’s no surprise he was bloody terrible as a face. Meanwhile, The Ascension still have a presence that is unmatched, and their strobe assisted entrance is excellent too. This is, essentially, three guys I like when they’re at their best against three guys I almost always like, and I’m looking forward to seeing The Usos and Zayn team up. I still struggle to tell The Usos apart, even though I worked it out the other day – I think Jey is the one with a more complete sleeve on his right arm, and Jimmy doesn’t have that. Man, I hope that works for the rest of this match.
By that explanation, Jimmy starts off up against Viktor, with ‘Ole’ chants reigning down. The Ascension member takes Jimmy down, but the Uso pops up and levels him, causing him to retreat and tag Graves. Sami begs to come in and Jimmy grants his wish, but the Pittsburgh Punk flees back to his own corner and tags in Konnor to face the Canadian. The bigger man connects with a knee to the midsection, and with Zayn reeling Graves tags himself in – but Sami flies at him and takes him down. He’s running wild on Graves, pounding on him, and Corey finally escapes to get Viktor back into the ring. He kicks out Zayn’s knee, but then bites a back elbow in the corner and gets hit with a calf kick for a one count. Sami traps the arm and tags in Jey, he comes off the top rope with a double axehandle and stays on Viktor, cutting the ring in half and tagging to his brother. The pair drop double elbows and keep Viktor under control – but when he gets his brother back in the ring Viktor telegraphs them off an Irish whip and bashes their heads together. But it has no effect! The Usos heads are too hard, and they body pop back round into a double thrust to the throat! The crowd love it, and Jey comes off the ropes with a soaring shoulder block to take Viktor down for a two. He keeps him on the mat by grapevining the leg, tagging his brother who hits a running headbutt for another two count before locking in an armbar. Zayn tags himself in and comes off the top rope with an elbow, and the face team really have isolated Viktor now – this feels like an odd dynamic, and that it should be flipped the other way round, but there’s no denying that it is perfect strategy and working really well.
Jey comes back in and puts Viktor into the corner, before looking for a body avalanche…but he takes too long playing to the crowd and gets levelled with a clothesline! Viktor switches the momentum just like that, charging the WWE Tag Team Champion into the corner and tagging in the Bludgeon of The Ascension. Konnor throws his opponent off the ropes and plants him with a flapjack before tossing him to the outside. Viktor and Konnor switch it up, keeping Jey in the ring all the while, but Graves isn’t really getting a look in as the established team do most of the work. And it nearly backfires on them – Jey rocks Konnor with a big right hand and sends Konnor reeling, but when he goes for a tag he just gets cut off. Konnor takes Jey down and gets a two count before locking in a chinlock. Jimmy gees up the crowd on the apron, but it’s not enough and Jey ends up in the rival corner. Now Graves comes in, keeping the Uso down with a gourdbuster and a fist drop to the head for a one count before tying him up with an arm trap chinlock, transitioning to a facelock. Hey, at least it’s not a chinlock! Jey struggles towards his corner but Graves just pulls him back to The Ascension, tagging in Viktor who has a chop trade off with his opponent, eventually beating him down in the corner. There is possibly no team as good at cutting the ring in half as The Ascension in WWE right now – I’d put them right up there with The Shield in that respect, although they do it in a different manner, using their power rather than finesse.
Viktor continues that now, doing a great job of keeping his body between Jey and his corner in a chinlock, but Jey finally makes it to his feet and hits a back suplex! Come on Jey, make the tag, make the tag…so close! Konnor just cuts him off…but Jey reverses a back body drop into a sunset flip and then hits another thrusting right hand to create some separation! He’s a way away from his corner and Konnor gets to his feet first…but Jey sends him to the outside! Konnor manages to grab a foot and delay his progress, but Jey pushes him off…he’s crawling, edging his way across the ring…Viktor comes in and takes Zayn off the apron, but Jimmy ducks a right and gets the tag! He takes out the opposition and lands a kick to the midsection on Viktor, followed by a pair of running Samoan drops to each Ascension member! And a running ass…thingy to Viktor in the corner! But Graves gets a tag that Jimmy doesn’t see and takes him out with a chop block! 13th Step is locked in…no, the Uso reversed it into a roll up for a one count and then makes a tag to a recovered Zayn on the apron! An enziguiri rocks Graves and Zayn hits a huge crossbody off the top rope for a two count! The Pittsburgh Punk is in the corner and Zayn looks for the Helluva kick, but Graves scoops him up into that back breaker…no, Zayn wriggles out BLUE THUNDER BOMB! 1…2…The Ascension just break up the pin before three! Zayn ducks them attempting a double clothesline and he and Jimmy send them to the outside…Helluva kick on Graves! Jey gets a tag, and Jimmy and Zayn go airborn to wipe out The Ascension on the outside with stereo dives! Meanwhile, Jey connects with the splash off the top rope on Graves…this one is done!
Woah, what a closing sequence that was – it was exactly what the women’s tag lacked earlier, a truly hot closing sequence with moves to make the crowd go nuts in their seats. Zayn got a bit of revenge on Graves, The Ascension remain strong by not taking the loss and looking easily the equal of the WWE Tag Team Champions for long periods of the match. This was excellent, completely breezing the match of the night and probably the best NXT match post-ArRIVAL.
NXT MVP: Tyler Breeze!
I think I like this evolution of Breeze way more than I originally liked Breeze, if that was even possible. The ‘please don’t hit my face’ stuff was going to get tired after a while but they’ve changed it up before it did and him being newly aggressive as a result of not caring is great. Sure, he keeps his smarmy stuff as well and the character is only slightly tweaked, but he’s becoming a real handful and someone who should be at the top of the card.
24/04/2014 – Tyler Breeze
17/04/2014 – Aiden English
10/04/2014 – Bayley
03/04/2014 – The Ascension
27/03/2014 – Bo Dallas
20/03/2014 – Adam Rose
13/03/2014 – Paige
An excellent main event this week which made up for a slightly lacklustre start. I think they nailed pretty much everything after the women’s tag, though – Kidd vs Ryan wasn’t a whole lot to write home about, but they worked a little bit of storytelling in there to keep it going which was good, and as noted above Breeze is a real highlight. Overall, an above average show but one with great highlights.
Next week, the NXT women’s division gets serious again as they run a tournament to crown a new champion. I’m putting money on Charlotte running out the winner, and wouldn’t be too surprised to see her collide with her BFF Sasha Banks on route. My real hope is they bring it full circle and have a Bayley vs Charlotte final, and that is where I think it should go. Otherwise, not much is confirmed – I know they’re on some new tapings, and I guess we’ll get the follow up on Neville and Clay fairly soon. Until next week, NXTians, stay safe when crossing the road and drink more hot chocolate! Au revoir!