For a couple of hours earlier this week, NXTians, I thought this was going to be a wake for the recently departed Emma. Fortunately, WWE saw sense and rehired her so this won’t be the most miserable review column that there ever was. Instead, let’s have a party! We’ve got the return of the returning Enzo Amore this week, as Big Cass goes into action against that French Fugazi Sylvester LeFort! We’ve got women’s action as Bayley and Becky Lynch team up to take on the disintegrating BFFs! And we’ve got something that looks bloody promising in our main event as Sami Zayn takes on Justin Gabriel! Come on, this is a fantastic week on paper – let’s see how it all works out in practice, shall we?
The NXT Review: 03/07/2014 – Rise Like A Phoenix
Jul 4, 2014 - 7:15:00 AM
The NXT Review: 03/07/2014 – Rise Like A Phoenix
Colin Cassady vs Sylvester LeFort
BADABOOM REALEST GUYS IN THE ROOM! Oh man, this is the most joyous thing, watching the NXT Universe react to Enzo is glorious. You can’t teach that! Pepé Le Pew is about to get dissed, disrespected, disfigured and dismissed. HOW YOU DOIN? Because The Legionnaires can only be described by one word…do we have to spell it out for you? S-A-W-F-T SAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWFT! Guys, seriously, stick these two on the main roster and let them run wild. They would get so over. LeFort comes out and is all ‘take a good look at two French elites, Marcus Louis and my good self’. Anyway, he calls New Jersey a sea of human garbage and that makes some people angry. Mostly Big Cass and Amore, I guess.
Big ‘USA’ chants to kick things off, but it’s LeFort who comes out of the gate with a few hard forearms and a knee to the gut…nope, an Irish whip gets cut off and he’s pulled into an East River Crossing! Sawft Elbow Drop (now called the ‘Empire Elbow’, apparently) and this is done.
Well, that was quick wasn’t it? The commentators put both guys over as wanting a shot at The Ascension and say that the Realest Guys In The Room must be sending a message to the tag team champions now. Quick and to the point – it’s a shame, almost, because I like a good competitive match but Cass does look impressive. Feel like the elbow drop could do with improving, either by coming off the ropes with it or by using it as a transition into something bigger. East River Crossing looks a little more impressive as a finisher. Ah well, as long as he keeps making other guys look like sloppy jalopies I’m fine with it.
Backstage now, and Devin Taylor is talking to Adrian Neville. The Jumping Geordie is all ‘I like Rob Van Dam and it was cool to beat him’ but then Tyler Breeze turns up! He’s surprised that Neville managed to stay focussed with him only 20 feet away. Anyway, it has to be killing Neville that he doesn’t know when Breeze will cash in – there’s that odd terminology again ‘cash in’. They’re starting to make me think Breeze will just use this like a Money in the Bank briefcase and hit a wounded Neville with a sudden title match. Being the fightiest fighter in NXT, Neville’s all ‘let’s do it now!’ but Breeze has suffered a career threatening injury in a tragic hand modelling accident so can’t go tonight. Tragic. Hand modelling. Accident. Amazing. Thankyou for being a precious and wonderful thing, Tyler Breeze. This was pretty decent, really – Neville seems to be working far better now they’ve actually given some semblance of a character, even if he is just ‘yeah, cool, I’ll fight you, I’m down with that, I’ll probably win too’. It works for him, it really does. Breeze is gold, although I’m starting to wonder if his promo game is slipping just a little bit now. The hand modelling stuff was pretty choice, though – every now and then he’ll just produce a line like that and it will remind me of how much fun he can be when he talks. Hopefully he heals soon and we can get a great Neville/Breeze match.
Oh, a promo video for Bull Dempsey, basically just reiterating the promo from last week. I guess they’re running with this push, then?
Becky Lynch and Bayley vs Sasha Banks and Charlotte
Sasha and Charlotte, of course, have probably been the least fractious pairing in the BFFs – most of the friction is between Summer and Charlotte, so without her at ringside tonight I imagine they’ll get along just fine. Meanwhile, Bayley comes out with her inflatable arm guys and Becky Lynch! The arm guys are called Lala, Bruno, Ezra and Sydney now, by the way. Anyway, Bayley gets a PIP to put over Lynch as a BFF – a Bayley Friend Forever – and in charges the Irish one to give her a massive hug. Hurrah! Best friends!
Sasha swaggers her way into the contest, lining up against Bayley to start things off. Prior to locking up, Charlotte covers her ears to avoid her hearing the huge ‘Sasha’s ratchet’ chant – best friends! I’m just going to go out there and say, one heel tag team member covering the others ears to block out a chant is probably my favourite thing a heel tag team can do. Forget all that wrestling, cutting off the ring stuff – show us your friendships, guys. I can’t hate either of them after that. Anyway, Banks charges into a collar and elbow, but Bayley wriggles out into a hammerlock, ducks a fist and connects with an armdrag into Jericho Armbar #78. Banks gets to her feet and just forearms her way out of it, but Bayley reverses an Irish whip into a judo armdrag! She ties up Banks and brings in Lynch from the apron for a double team axehandle to the shoulder. She armdrags into Jericho Armbar #78 too, but Banks forces her back to the BFF corner by pulling the hair then brings in Charlotte. The Nature Girl takes Lynch down for a cover, but she slips out and bridges right into running! Lynch blocks and armdrag and spins over Charlotte’s head, taking her down with an armdrag into Jericho Armbar #92, bringing in Bayley out of the wristlock for another double team in the corner. Charlotte is getting isolated here, and it’s not often you get to see the BFFs one-upped like this in tag team action – Bayley and Lynch tag in and out quickly, working on the left arm of the NXCT Women’s Champion and then connecting with a double team suplex. And when Sasha comes in they wipe her out with a double clothesline! What a pairing these two are, and Lynch has already toned down the Riverdance stuff by the looks of things – she’s looking like a proper wrestler out there this week, and it’s doing her the world of good.
Back on the outside now, as Bayley gives chase to Charlotte, but she gets distracted with Sasha and then taken out with a baseball slide from the Nature Girl. Banks gets her back in the ring and stands on her hair, pulling her up by the arms, before bringing her partner in to hit a pair of penalty kicks to her, back and front, before slamming her face first into the mat. Things are looking bad for Bayley here, she’s suddenly been isolated and is now locked in a figure four headlock. The crowd are getting behind her, but she can’t break the hold and gets slammed to the mat via a roll through by Charlotte. Banks gets back in the ring, taunting Bayley with her partner while splitting the ring in two…but it nearly backfires as Bayley starts to come back! Banks cuts her off and then strikes Lynch for good measure, allowing for a cheeky double team in the corner as Charlotte comes in. She gets a long two count on her opponent before throwing a pair of knee drops for another close pinfall. Banks gets a tag and they double team, and we’re now seeing a reverse of the tactics the two faces showed in the first half – Bayley’s being kept in the BFF corner and just can’t get any space…until now! The BFFs try a double team but Bayley pulls them into each other! Banks tries to stop her desperate crawling but she pushes her off into her partner and makes the tag! Lynch comes in like a house on fire, throwing a European uppercut and then a hard clothesline on Sasha! A calf kick takes her down and she hits a trio of leg drops for 1…2…Charlotte just breaks up the pin! The Nature Girl throws Bayley out of the ring when she comes in, and that gives Banks an opening…she tags in Charlotte who hits a low dropkick and then Bow Down To The Queen for the win.
Charlotte looks to start walking away, much to the disdain of Banks in the ring and now we see some friction between those two. Banks gets up in Lynch’s face as Charlotte walks away and this could get messy…but Bayley makes the save! She dispatches Sasha out of the ring and consoles her partner. This was, it has to be said, pretty bloody terrific. Lots of good double teaming and they built terrifically to Bayley getting the hot tag to Lynch. She looked a lot better than she did last week, cutting a lot of the superfluous dancing stuff and showing she can deliver when it comes to actual wrestling. Both team, actually, looked pretty great, and it’s interesting to ponder where they go now – it looks like we’re heading to a full BFF split, which will leave Charlotte on her own as champion. Could we see Charlotte vs Sasha for the title in the not too distant future? Or will Bayley get the shot she deserves to continue (and finally put to bed) her rivalry with the BFFs? There’s certainly some potential there, especially when you throw in Summer Rae and Alexa Bliss, all who will surely have something to say about the title in the not too distant future.
WWE have signed Eurovision 2014 winner Conchita Wurst, and she is backstage having a discussion with Devin Taylor. She says she has a match with Sami Zayn tonight and that there are a lot of similarities between the two of them – they’re hungry, motivated and talented. ‘And a loser’ says Tyson Kidd, who has some FACTS for us – Conchita is a main roster star FACT and lost to Adrian Neville FACT. Basically, Kidd is here to light a fire under Wurst’s bottom and get her into the mood to beat Sami Zayn tonight – just saying that she’s slipping down the ranks and she should put her boot on top of everyone trying to rise up. Hang on, is Kidd running some kind of jaded veteran gimmick here? Are we going to get a Millionaires Club vs New Blood feud on NXT?
Oh, wait, that’s Justin Gabriel? My bad.
Charlotte and Sasha look sad. They’re not tagging anymore, Charlotte doesn’t want to, so they’ll be friends and say hi in the hallway but that’s it. Sasha’s upset about it because she’s given up a lot for the BFFs and Charlotte, but Charlottes’ all ‘DTA, Sasha. DTA’ and…there’s some more grumbling. Blah blah…ooh, Summer Rae vs Bayley next week for the number one contendership! Sasha’s all ‘ha, good luck, you’ll need it’ and Charlotte’s all ‘whatever girl’. Cool, so the BFFs are done – let’s get competitive in the women’s division again! Give me ten minutes of Sasha vs Bayley or whatever. Actually, Summer vs Bayley might be pretty darned good next week.
CJ Parker vs Steve Cutler
You know what’s more fun than CJ Parker squash matches? Watching him get decapitated by Cesaro. Parker dominates, wins with a scissor kick, blames everyone else for the world dying. He grabs a microphone and, much to the chagrin of the NXT Universe, starts cutting a promo about how Xavier Woods has done nothing since leaving NXT - Parker would have won titles and made a name for himself and changed the world if he had that opportunity. How lovely for him. The promo’s actually pretty decent and I like the gimmick (he’s, er…OK, I’ll confess, he’s kind of me made wrestler) – I just hate him the moment he starts wrestling.
Oh great, a sit down interview with Tyson Kidd. This should be a zzzzzzz….sorry, I drifted off there. Um…Oh, hey Renee Young, you’re looking lovely today. Kidd didn’t have his mind in the right place at Takeover because of his wife losing. Basically, he blames Natalya for everything. Absolutely everything. That’s the upshot of it all. He constantly calls her ‘my wife’ which…y’know, she’s got a name dude. Use it. This is, I don’t know, four or five minutes, and it is dull as heck, basically just Kidd orally fellating Natalya but with enough secret blame in there to suggest some tension. He squeezes in some facts, says he’s not in Nattie’s shadow and…oh, Renee asks about their supposed marital problems and Kidd walks out! I tell you, Nattie’s shacking up with either Neville or Zayn. Or both! At the same time! Because they’re nice to her and Kidd isn’t! I guess the purpose of this interview was the last bit, really, playing up the friction in the Natalya/Tyson relationship on TV, but boy did it drag. It’s not that it was bad, just…Kidd’s was asked three different questions and the answer to each one was just ‘my wife did something, it made me sad’ or words to that effect.
Justin Gabriel vs Sami Zayn
Zayn skanks his way down to the ring, high fiving all the way, as Regal talks about how loved he is in Dubai. He’s a WorldWide Superstar! He is properly loved, though, is Sami – and he’s nice too, shaking hands with Eden in the ring before settling into his corner. Conchita is accompanied by Tyson Kidd for some reason – I always forgot these two were a good tag team not so long ago, until Kidd (or Gabriel? One of them) busted their elbow (knee?) up at WrestleMania, but Regal knows and discusses it on commentary.
Some slick wrestling to start off, trading wristlocks and flipping out of them, but Zayn gets stopped halfway through and kept down by Gabriel. Zayn works up to his feet and eventually spins out, dropping his opponent with a sharp wristlock and going for a quick pin. The two lock up again, the Canuck with a tight wristlock that Gabriel comes out of with an armdrag…ooh, no, Zayn holds on and transitions it into a hammerlock! But Gabriel comes up to his feet – only to be met with an armdrag! A pin attempt, Gabriel kicks out and slips against the ropes to put the brakes on the match and try and regain control. Gabriel comes out and wins a knuckle lock, transitioning to Jericho Armbar #892. Zayn pushes him off the ropes, goes to avoid him on the mat but the Cape Town Werewolf cartwheels over him and armdrags him down into another armbar. Zayn with the armdrag out of it off the ropes, and another, and a third…no, Gabriel sort of ducks out of the way so Sami reverts to a hammerlock. Justin manages to pop a leg on the ropes, forcing the break, and so far this has been a pretty even contest between two similar guys. Gabriel comes in with a headlock now, Zayn shoves him off the ropes and goes to leapfrog but the South African stops himself against the ropes and levels him with a clothesline! That’s swung the momentum his way, and Gabriel slows the pace with some ground and pound punches to the head, keeping Zayn on his heels and not allowing him to get an advantage.
The two end up in the middle of the ring, trading forearms, but it’s Gabriel who cuts off a flurry from Zayn with a spinning thrust kick to the face, knocking him groggy enough for a two count but nothing more. The 450 Man suplexes his opponent and floats over into a butterfly, transitioning to a slight variation. This keeps him in control, and he manages to take Zayn down with a side headlock to prevent him from firing up and getting a head of steam. But he breaks the hold with a back suplex! Some separation now for Zayn, and he tries to get his wits back about him…but gets lamped with a clothesline by a recovered Gabriel. Zayn fires back, but Gabriel takes him down with a leg sweep, landing him right on his face to maintain the focus on his head…but Zayn isn’t falling any time soon, supporting himself on the ropes against the barrage of assault from Gabriel. The ref keeps breaking it up, holding Gabriel back…and Sami fires back! Out of an Irish whip he lands a clothesline, a calf kick, and then a dropkick to his opponent…BLUE THUNDER BOMB! 1…2…no! Gabriel rises like a phoenix, despite the double leg nelson from Zayn! And he goes to pull Justin up but gets cracked with a jawbreaker…but still has his wits about him! He blocks his opponent running into the corner and hits an exploder suplex into the corner for a two count! Helluva Kick…no, Gabriel dodges it and hits a springboard thrust kick! Two count only! He hauls Sami up by the waist but the Canadian fires back with elbows…no, Gabriel cuts him off…OKADA STYLE REVERSE NECKBREAKER! Holy hell! 1…2…Zayn just kicks out! Okada stuff on my NXT! I am a pig in shit right now! Springboard moonsault from Gabriel! Only two again! Zayn pops out of the cover nearly onto his feet but is too groggy to maintain his balance! Side slam from Gabriel, and he goes to the top rope…450…no, Zayn crotches him on the top rope. Forearms from Zayn now, and he and Gabriel go to battle, trading strikes on the top rope…Gabriel blocks a superplex and mongol chops him to the mat…misses a body slam attempt! STO by Zayn, rolled through into a Koji Clutch! Gabriel has to tap out, he’s right in the middle of the ring!
Oh man. Oh man oh man oh man. This was terrific, it has to be said – I knew it would be, but I didn’t expect half of the stuff in this, from the Reverse Neckbreaker to the Koji Clutch. Zayn finally gets a win to rectify his current losing streak and looks darned impressive doing it too. As Kidd consoles his buddy in the corner, Zayn turns to leave…but Kidd strikes! Frustration boils over and he pounds on his former opponent. Gabriel remonstrates…but joins in when Kidd holds him up for a strike! And here comes Adrian Neville with the save! His appearances forces Kidd and Gabriel to back up the ramp and away! Well, ain’t that something? Arguably the two natural successors to Kidd and Gabriel, in terms of ring style but hopefully with more success, teaming up to take their bitter elders on? Yeah, I’m down with that.
NXT MVP: Enzo Amore!
You are a treasure and I’m so glad you are back.
03/07/2014 – Enzo Amore
26/06/2014 – Adrian Neville
19/06/2014 – The Vaudevillains
12/06/2014 – Colin Cassady
05/06/2014 - Charlotte
22/05/2014 - Paige
15/05/2014 – Tyson Kidd
A pretty flipping great week of NXT, it has to be said – NXT really fires when it only has four matches. Enzo and Cass are Cottonelle Tissue-ing their way to a title shot, surely, the women’s tag was great and had so much for me to enjoy within it, and the main event was flipping fantastic. Only mark against this is the Parker match, because CJ Parker was in it, and the Kidd sit down interview which was unnecessarily long. But still, this continues NXT’s roll post-Takeover – we’ve had some great weeks of TV since then, and long may it continue.
Next time, on NXT – when Bayley and Summer Rae do battle, who will emerge as the next challenger for Charlotte’s NXT Women’s Championship? Can the new Millionaires Club defeat the New New Blood in tag team action? And is Bull Dempsey really a throwback, or should he be thrown back to the changing rooms? Until next week, NXTians, stay safe when crossing the road and drink more hot chocolate! TTFN!