The NXT Review: 01/05/2014 – Shoplifters Of The World Unite
May 2, 2014 - 9:20:00 AM
Happy Friday NXTians! Hope you’re all doing wonderfully today. What does the hour of NXT hold for us this week? Well, the NXT Women’s Championship tournament will kick off with two matches confirmed – Bayley vs Sasha Banks for the 1,215,357th time and (sigh) Natalya vs (sigh) Layla. On top of that, we should have an appearance from sexually unsatisfying Tyson Kidd and not one but two people that lost their jobs this week as Oliver Grey and Danny Burch turn up to continue their losing streaks. And in our main event of the evening, Adrian Neville will defend his NXT Championship against Brodus Clay in a no disqualification match! How exciting! So, without further ado, let’s dive feet first into…
The NXT Review: 01/05/2014 – Shoplifters Of The World Unite
Oh, Triple H is kicking us off, in desperate need of a Halls Soother for his throat, and he does his usual job of putting over the quality of NXT talent – both those that have been called up and those in the locker room – before declaring that on May 29th there will be another two hour live NXT special on the WWE Network called NXT:Takeover. How exciting! You’ve all read the reports about that, I’m sure – should be a good night, and only four weeks away!
Tyson’s had a haircut! He might have had that last week, but he finally looks reasonably sensible as he makes his way to the ring. Oh God Bo Dallas has new theme music and it is pretty amazing. It’s the string based sweeping music from his Raw promos and is oddly perfect for him. Tied to a tron video which is just sweeping views of natural sights with the word ‘BOLIEVE’ printed over it in large letters and I guess we’ve pretty much got our main roster version of Bo right here. Seriously, I say this with all sincerity, I hope this succeeds on Raw and Smackdown because it’s been so good. Regal says that he was a heathen before he met Bo Dallas but now that he has someone to Bolieve in he’s changed his ways.
The two tie-up with duelling chants for both guys echoing around the NXT arena. Bo gives a clean break in the corner and then gives Kidd a thumbs up. Off the ropes out of a second lock-up Dallas knocks Kidd on his backside with a shoulder block and gives his opponent another thumbs up as he looks rocked in the corner. Kidd finally gets his head in the game with a rear waistlock, but Bo turns it around into a side headlock. Tyson pushes Bo off his head using the ropes, but instead of letting him run free he stops him and pulls him back into an elbow and follows up with a hard kick to the back. Kidd is finally exploding now, throwing Dallas into the corner and pounding him down to the mat before mimicking his celebration. The Calgary Kid connects with a suplex and that gives him a chance to go for the blockbuster but Bo spots him and rolls out of the ring. Kidd slingshots out to the apron, Bo again ducking him before he can hit a move, but his attempt at a kick gets blocked and Dallas sends him face first into the hardest part of the ring. Back into the middle of the ring, Bo tries a bunch of quick covers that all only get a one count before hitting a succession of short-arm elbows and a clothesline for a one count. The crowd are breaking out a rendition of ‘He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands’ because of course they are. If there was any arena in the world that would do that, it’s the NXT arena.
Dallas locks in his trusty cravate, keeping Kidd down and completely dulling his momentum after his brief earlier flurry. Kidd gets to his feet and breaks the hold with fists and a chop, but Bo stops himself mid-run off an Irish whip and Tyson misses a dropkick. Bo nearly takes advantage with a quick cover, but Kidd kicks out so he goes back to the cravate. Kidd again breaks it reasonably easily with elbows, and then spins out of a back suplex attempt and blocks Bo charging into the corner with an elbow to the face. He blocks a second one and then headscissors him into the turnbuckles, and that gives him a much needed breather. Bo comes out of the corner but gets met with a series of kicks that take Dallas down. Bo telegraphs an Irish whip and gets caught with a kick to the face for his troubles, but then he hits that hip toss belly to belly thing he used to use as a finisher and gets 1…2…no, Kidd just gets a shoulder up! The duel chants come up from the crowd again, and it’s Bo who uses them to gee himself up, this time hitting the springboard bulldog that he used to use as a finisher for a two count. How many finishers does Bo have? Not enough, apparently – Tyson catches him ducking his head on an Irish whip and kicks him in the head again, then looks to go to the top rope. Bo knocks him back down, but then gets caught with a hard kick to the temple! Kidd climbs the ropes…blockbuster! There it is, and that is enough to give Tyson a big win against an ex-NXT champion.
Bo looks flabbergasted in the ring as Tyson rolls out and remonstrates with the referee, but it was a clear three count. He screams at the crowd that his shoulder was up, having yet another hissy fit about being the longest reigning NXT Champion in history as the fans sing him a goodbye. He’s not gone yet guys! This was pretty good, to be honest – the opening character bits with Bo giving the thumbs were good and suggest that he’s going back to his original super white bread face thing that originally got him so much hate for the main roster. Hopefully it works. The pace was good throughout, and although it was a pretty basic match in terms of execution there were enough little things in there. They’re clearly building Kidd up to be a contender right now, and him kicking out of two of Bo’s many finishers helps show him to be resilient, I guess. I just hope we never have to watch a Tyson Kidd and Adrian Neville contract signing or face to face promo. The thought makes me shudder.
Backstage, Devin Taylor is asking Camacho all the important questions. He says he’s not a party pooper and in fact throws the best parties in NXT, especially compared to Adam Rose’s. Oh, here’s Rose himself, saying that it doesn’t matter where it is – NXT, NYC, WWE, Hawaii, Tralalalee – it’s always part time! Cue the party descending on the interview, with even Devin Taylor getting her groove on. Some kind of luchador superhero bumps into Camacho and he strops off. Kinda fun, to be honest, Camacho was a bit humorous and I’m down with Rose just rolling with his party team everywhere.
Oh, hi Bayley! She’s here to talk about her match with Sasha and the NXT Women’s Championship, which is more important than ten hugs from John Cena, five high fives from Big E and a combination of both from Paige. She wants to follow in the footsteps of her heroes, and Sasha is the only one standing in her way. She finishes the promo by blowing the dust off her fists. Banks, meanwhile, is all ‘the Princess of Pale has vacated and the Boss is going to charge’. Man, Sasha gets her character so well – this is short and to the point but right on the button. Bayley’s promo stuff is always kind of weird for me because she doesn’t seem stereotypically good at promos but they work so well with her character that it doesn’t matter.
This is the fifth singles match these two have had in 2014, with Bayley having come out on the winning side all four times before now. Oh. My. God. Bayley has some of those…I don’t know what you call them, to be honest. They’re the things that get air blown through them and they become big tubes that wave about. Look, here’s a picture:
As you can imagine, Bayley is extremely happy with this addition to her entrance – at first, a little shocked by their appearance but then trying to catch them both for a hug while Tom Phillips scream ‘wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man’ on commentary. That sort of is the best way to describe them, isn’t it? Sasha bitches her way to the ring with Charlotte who I still think is the worst possible member of this hot, diverse NXT Women’s division. She’s just…there. She does nothing, she’s not really selling the character in as perfect a way as Sasha, and it just doesn’t look like her heart’s in it. Summer Rae’s face on a stick has been retired, it seems, and that makes me sad. Anyway, on with the show.
Sasha charges in and drives Bayley into the corner, then whips her to the mat for a quick one count. She…I don’t know, walks into her opponent in the corner, I suppose, then tries for a body slam but Bayley slips out and goes for a roll up for a two count, then a backslide for another two, and a La Magistral cradle for a third two count. Sasha retaliates with a knee to the gut and whips her rival to the corner, but Bayley springs onto the ropes and jumps out into an armdrag! Sasha gets leapfrogged running in and caught in a big hug from Bayley, who drives her opponent into the corner before stealing a bit of Sasha’s offense, grabbing a boot and tying her into the ropes before slapping away at her back. A suplex gets the Doctor of Huganomics a two count, but when she tries to get Bank up she gets slapped in the chops and then kicked into the corner, allowing Banks to give her some back slaps. But Bayley hits a big back drop to stop that momentum dead, and fires back with some double axehandles and a body avalanche in the corner. Hugplex! But Sasha rolls out to the apron and then hangs her opponent out to dry on the top rope which gives her an opening to connect with Bankrupt…for two? Bayley kicked out at two!! Another hugplex! No, reversed to a backstabber! And rolled through into a crossface for the submission victory for Sasha Banks!
Now then, this was easily the best match these two have had together. They really went for each other, looking for quick wins at the opening to put over the importance of winning, and even carrying that through to avoiding each other’s finishers or kicking out of them – it’s funny, my first reaction to a finisher kick out is almost always ‘why?’ and here the why is so easily explained. Bayley wanted this, she wants the title, so she absolutely had to show the resilience and kick out of the finisher. Sasha then had to find another way to win, which she did, so it’s a development on both sides of the ring. I sort of hope this is the last we see of these two facing each other, seeing as it feels a little overdone right now and both could do with moving on to other things (Sasha breaking out on her own, Bayley just a different opponent), but their matches have rarely been less than enjoyable. This show has started pretty well so far, it has to be said.
I still think Danny Burch has been given the short end of the stick on NXT, to be honest – he was theoretically easy to book as a brawler who just punches the crap out of people, but they didn’t really go for it. Never mind, he’ll be back on the UK scene in a matter of weeks I’m sure. The fans are waving along with the tremendous Adam Rose entrance right now, and he gets them to cheer on each side of the arena individually as they chant ‘we are Rosebuds’. Inevitably, the match doesn’t last long, and even with Burch getting a little bit of offense on it’s all about Rose – his rolling around the ring is still pretty fun, as are his bicycle kicks in the ropes. He shows some aggression after Burch does open up on him with right hands, which is a little bit more than he’s done in the past. Most notable is the debut of his third (I think?) finisher with this gimmick, a snapmare driver known as ‘Party Foul’ which is an advance on both the previous ones.
As Rose’s entourage come down to celebrate with their leader, Camacho appears from out of nowhere to take out the one dressed as a superhero luchadore and then stares down the leader of the Exotic Express when he comes to help. Well, that will be a fun feud to end at NXT:Takeover, I guess.
Backstage, a surprisingly orange Brodus Clay is all ‘Adrian Neville ain’t gonna smile anymore’ and says he’s going to take the NXT Championship now that he’s taken his smile. That’ll be nice for him.
So, Paige got stripped of the NXT Women’s Championship because she is too busy to be the champion, what with being on the main roster. Meanwhile, here’s two main roster Divas competing for the title. If they win, do they get immediately stripped? Apparently Natalya is really happy to compete in the NXT Women’s Championship tournament because it’s ‘like coming home’ and would be a ‘dream come true’ to win. Nice. Shame that main roster stuff never worked out for you, hey Nattie? I can’t even remember her Divas title reign, so…yeah, the most notable thing she’s ever done, theoretically, is completely unmemorable. Oh look, speaking of completely irrelevant people on the main roster, here’s Layla who hasn’t had an ounce of relevancy since LayCool split up. LayCool were the best, and since then Layla has gotten worse and worse. There are probably more Rosa Mendes matches from the last two years that I would rather watch than Layla matches. Still, needs must, and I will put myself through this for you, dear NXTians. Layla struts her way to the ring, dancing around and has a little PIP interview where she says that she always gets what she wants. Cool.
Layla armdrags Natalya to the mat and dances around in celebration, then kicks her opponent in the gut and locks in a wristlock, but Nattie spins out of it and takes her down for a two count. A body slam from Natalya gets reversed as Layla takes her down for a two count of her own, and follows up with another one off of a clothesline. She flounces into a stretch, but Natalya powers out with some elbows only to eat the canvas again. Layla’s finally showing some shades of her 2010 self, guys, so I might have to take it all back. A soft back elbow leads to her going back to stretch Nattie, but the Pink and Black Attack burst out of it and levels her opponent with a clothesline! And another one off the ropes! Layla reverses a sharpshooter attempt, but Natalya works her way back to it and even though she fights it Layla has to tap.
Nattie continues the running theme of stealing stuff from other people by celebrating with a little jig and a bow to the audience. How lovely. This was slow and steady for the most part, and even though Layla showed little sparks of being her old self she still seemed pretty unmotivated, if I’m being honest. I sort of think that’s been the problem for me with her since she returned from injury – I just don’t find anything she does has a lot of heart behind. Natalya’s clotheslines actually looked like clotheslines instead of ‘spinning around and then pushing someone with an arm’, so that’s nice. Confusingly, the match between Bayley and Sasha earlier looked like it was wrestled by veterans in comparison with this. Can anybody explain that?
Adrian Neville gets caught up with backstage and has some nice false teeth in. He’s going to beat Brodus Clay in the middle of the ring, 1,2,3, because he doesn’t want a count out victory like last time. Bit of fire from Neville, but nothing spectacular really.
Poor old Oliver Grey. His last moment on NXT was getting sat on by a bland, flabby guy. At least Aiden English appeared to beat up the hype man afterwards and attempt to save us all, even if he did wind up being clotheslined out of the ring. Trouble is, I already know what this will lead to – defeats for someone who deserves better.
‘Monstrous’ BC, as I think Tom Phillips is contractually obliged to call him, makes his entrance as the commentary team put over him knocking Neville’s teeth out the other week. The Jumping Geordie races out from backstage in his new t-shirt, available on WWEshop.com right now, and apparently this is no DQ because Neville’s all grumpy about not winning in an ‘honourable’ way or whatever when they last faced. Brodus Clay’s hair is hilarious, like a limp attempt at a copy of ex-Nottingham Forest footballer Jason Lee’s wonderful mid-90s pineapple do – just five or six tiny dreadlocks coming out of the crown of his head, all the rest shaved. Eden gives us our big match entrances, and this one is on!
Neville flies in to attack Clay, before the match even starts apparently, and sends his opponent to the outside – despite being no DQ, the bell doesn’t ring and Neville soars of the top rope with a twisting moonsault to knock Brodus down. The two get in the ring and the bell finally sounds, with Neville kicking the poop out of his opponent before roundhouse kicking him in the face, and then following up with a kneeling superkick. He goes up top for Red Arrow early on, but Brodus rolls out of the way, leaving Neville with no choice but to abort the attempt and instead strike with a dropkick in the corner, followed with a shot to the midsection to put Clay on all fours. He tries some top rope offense again, but Clay just shoves him out of mid-air, sending him into the turnbuckles, and that gives him an opening to take over. He drives into Neville in the corner, then suplexes him across the ring and drops an elbow but only gets a one count. The former bodyguard chokes Neville on the mat, then lifts him up and strikes with an elbow, before connecting with a Banzai drop off the second rope for a two count. Clay is targeting the ribs here, scooping Neville up onto his shoulder and crushing his torso with his big arms…but Neville is rallying!
Neville slips out and hits a chop block to the right knee, and then follows up with one on the left too! He connects with a dropkick, but Brodus pushes him off the ropes and connects with a headbutt before leaving him lying with a powerbomb. He looks for the second rope splash…and lands it. But Neville kicks out! He kicked out at two, emphatically to boot! Finally, weapons get into the match, Clay grabbing the title belt and looking to hit his rival with it…but Neville kicks the title back into Clay! He climbs to the top rope…and lands Red Arrow on the championship and Brodus! Neville wins!
Christ, what even was this? Outside of the opening moments, this was entirely flat – too short, too one-dimensional, and far too boring. Probably one of the worst main events I’ve ever seen since the NXT reboot at Full Sail, and I plan on finding something to block the memory of it from my head immediately. Anybody know any good surgeons? I…yeah. If anybody can explain to me a) the point of this being no DQ b) why this was so short and c) why Brodus Clay exists, please let me know.
Sasha was on this week, and her match with Bayley was probably the show highlight. Those two seemed to get the important of the tournament over better than in the other match, and Banks’ offense seemed a touch more meatier this week too.
01/05/2014 – Sasha Banks
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
At least the first 15 minutes were good, I guess? Why on Earth somebody thought it was a good idea to squeeze six matches onto this card, I have no idea. This seems to be a recurring thing on NXT now, trying to fit more in than they actually have time for – there was nothing in the two squash matches which couldn’t have been handled in short backstage promos but instead took up too much time once you factored in entrances and post-match antics, and generally the quality of both was pretty poor, although Rose vs Burch wasn’t as bad as Rawley vs Grey. The opening two matches were, I though, very good, but the main event was an utter shambles and completely pointless in the way it was executed.
Next week, on NXT – will Charlotte overcome Emma and progress in the NXT Women’s Championship tournament? Will new tag teams be born and compete? And who will emerge as the new number one contender for the NXT Championship? Until next week, NXTians, stay safe when crossing the road and drink more hot chocolate! TTFN!