NXTians! Good day! Sorry this one is a bit late - you, like I, may have noticed that the most recent episode of NXT is now back to requiring a Hulu Plus subscription, and it took me a bit of time to get my subscription sorted out again. No matter – it’s only $7.99 and as well as the best wrestling show produced under the WWE banner you get to watch, like, The Mindy Project or Arrow. Which is pretty tidy, let’s be honest. And soon you can cancel it and just be all ‘yeah bruh, got the WWE Network like, it’s dead cool, I can watch all the mainstream wrestling I ever want without leaving ma couch’. I doubt any of you talk like that. Anyway, tonight! Sin Cara getting the shit kicked out of him by the most recent main roster call up Alexander Rusev! WWE’s best kept women’s wrestling secret Alicia Fox getting the shit submitted out of her by Emma! Adrian Neville vs Corey Graves again! All of that, plus Sylvester LeFort’s trousers, in…
The NXT Review: 05/02/2014 – The One With Jason Derulo’s Trumpets
Feb 7, 2014 - 3:13:42 AM
The NXT Review: 05/02/2014 – The One With Jason Derulo’s Trumpets
Rusev vs Sin Cara
Who’s that jumping out the sky? S-I-N Cara, here he goes. He runs and slides his way into the NXT ring and they recap what happened a while ago when Cara stopped Rusev from doing all of us a favour and stopping Xavier Woods from wrestling ever again. Lana introduces her charge who has his new trumpety music, which I’m sure sends Jason Derulo nuts because those trumpets should be going ba-ba-badabada not bum-didde-bum-dide-bum-bumbuuuum. Actually, Rusev’s music really reminds me of the Imperial March from Star Wars. Just with trumpets, not strings.
Rusev completely overpowers his opponent in the opening stages, but Cara just stops trying to wrestle him and kicks him in the legs. His flurry lasts mere moments, as he foolishly goes for a side headlock and gets thrown through the air. He dodges Rusev in the corner and then nearly nails a moonsault on his opponent which, courtesy of some good camera angles, looked better than it actually was. It’s worth a two count, but that’s pretty much all he’s going to get out of this match – as he looks to follow up by illogically springboarding all of the way across the ring, Rusev superkicks him clean out of midair. The Bulgarian Brute isn’t fazed by the blue and yellow lighting, and just starts to kick his opponent down to the mat, before sort of stomping him to the ground in the corner. He kicks him in the chest off a short-arm set up, but doesn’t take advantage and Sin Cara has a little flurry of offense. That does nothing to the big Bulgarian though, who drops multiple headbutts on his opponent before locking in an armbar which seems frankly a little pointless at this stage. He flings Sin Cara to a corner, but bites a back elbow coming in! Sin Cara with the messiest tornado DDT you’ll ever see and he follows up with a springboard crossbody for two. A headscissors knocks the big guy off his feet, and the follow up springboard back elbow gets him anoter two count. As he runs in, though, the Eastern European throws him up in the air, and then stacks him on his shoulders and drops him on his face. The Accolade gets locked in and Sin Cara has to tap out.
Lana instructs her charge to stop from ringside, then to start again just as Sin Cara is catching his breath. I love how she seems to have ultimate control over Rusev, it’s really an interesting dynamic. I sort of would like to see more of it during matches, though, rather than just at the end. Rusev crushes yet another main roster midcarder and adds to his record, which is getting quite lengthy now. You know, I’m sort of sad that we will, presumably, never see him have a run at the NXT Championship now – I think that could have been a killer story to tell. It’s going to be interesting to see where he slots in on the main roster, as there are a lot of newly turned guys all competing for a big heel space – can Rusev thrive up there? Time will tell.
Alicia Fox vs Emma
Alicia Fox, who has woken up as a heel today I think, spins her jacket around a lot and is dressed in what I imagine is the ‘sexy army girl Halloween costume’ from Amazon. Emma, of course shrouded in bubbles and strutting her stuff, makes her way to the ring – if you haven’t seen it yet, her main roster entrance on Main Event this week has GIANT bubbles. Guys, it is The Best Thing. Trust me.
Fox looks completely confused by Emma’s dancing – basically doing the whole ‘er mah gawd she’s dancing like what’ thing which is probably what most of the WWE Universe did on Monday night. You know, like – this is going to work, I can feel it, just as long as they let her show how good she is at wrestling as well as dancing. Developing the character with kid gloves is going to be the order of the day. Anyway, Alicia slaps away one of Emma’s hands, which Emma takes objection to, and they lock up. A wristlock from Fox transitions to a hammer lock, but Emma works her way out of it, forcing Cameron’s favourite wrestler to grab the hair. Fox gets taken down with a shouder block, but cuts off her running opponent with a dropkick, sending Emma to the corner. The Aussie dodges her running in though, and goes for the Tarantula…but Fox blocks it! And she takes advantage with a beautiful bridging Northern Lights suplex for a two count. Fox now locks in a chinlock, but Emma fires up and breaks out of it, only to bite a knee from her opponent. But now she leapfrogs Fox in the corner, and a roll up gets 1…2…no, Alicia kicks out, but then charges into the turnbuckle. Low cross body from Emma! And a wheelbarrow into the Emma Lock! Emma is wrenching back…and Alicia has to tap out!
Emma wins again! Hurrah! The crowd dance in celebration as Emma grabs a microphone – she wants to send her best wishes to the injured Paige, and when she is fully recovered she’s going to have her rematch for the NXT Women’s Championship! Emma starts to stomp…but Sasha Banks attacks! And Summer Rae! Emma manages to trick them both though, landing a Thesz Press on Summer, but Alicia Fox and Charlotte sneak attack and Emma is outnumbered…but not for long! Here’s Natalya and Bayley! The ring clears, and Summer is left stuck between the three of them, until she gets dispatched out of the ring by Emma! A six women tag against the BFFs! Surely this is finally time? Emma, Natalya and Bayley dance together – although Bayley is super adorable so doesn’t get it quite right – as the BFFs retreat back up the ramp. Now that was quite a good little match, all told. Short, but it did everything it had to in that little bit of time, and the post-match antics hint at something fabulous happening very soon. I’m super invested in Bayley, Natalya and Emma taking on the BFFs in the ring finally, and can only hope that Bayley finally gets her hands on Charlotte – the Nature Girl has got it coming.
Mason Ryan vs Sylvester LeFort
Do…do I have to? Like, really? It’s 2014, have I got to comment on a Mason Ryan match? Look, he wins, alright, beating someone who has not been portrayed as a wrestling entity at all in NXT. LeFort actually gets a couple of blows in, but Ryan takes him out with a big boot and Dream Street. Bring back the Luger Breaker! Let’s all move on.
Oooh, Aiden English is backstage and demands his spotlight! He’s not ashamed of threatening a man in a wheelchair last week after Enzo ran over his foot previously, and now that the curtain has fallen on that act he can look forward to taking on Tyson Kidd with a chorus of ‘Oh Canada’ – although he hopes to make all the Canadians cry. Oh hey, that match is next! Splendid!
Oh, before that, here’s Sylvester LeFort, vowing revenge on Mason Ryan some way, some how. Cool story, bro.
Aiden English vs Tyson Kidd
Aiden English today is singing his own version of Mr. Sandman, and he sounds like a dream. English is actually getting some boos now, so this whole story against the Realest Guys in the Room is clearly having the desired effect. Here comes Tyson Kidd, his own brand of questionable hairstyles continuing as ever.
Woah, this one starts quickly – Kidd flips through a hip toss attempt, flips over English’s head then connects with a monkey flip. He ends up diving headfirst into the ropes, though, and that allows the Artiste to hit multiple elbow drops to his opponent, following those up with a side suplex for a two count. He links his arms around Kidd’s head now, grinding his knuckles into his face, and before Kidd can break free he slams his forearm across his back to keep the upperhand. But not for long! Kidd flips through a second side suplex attempt and connects with a back elbow, following up with a headscissors that sends Aiden into the turnbuckle. The Canuck hits multiple kicks now, finishing with a low dropkick for a two count, but when he finds himself coming in from the apron English nails a knee to the temple and a suplex to get him a two count. Oh, here’s Big Cass! He’s grabbed Aiden English’s accessories, and looks good in a beret and scarf…and the distraction allows Kidd to hit a Blockbuster! Kidd wins, with a big assist from Colin Cassady!
Cassady getting one back on English for last week makes sense, so I’m pretty happy about that. I assume they’re going to come face to face in the ring soon, and really that one could go either way in my book. The match here was really enjoyable, every move was super crisp and on the button, but it did sort of feel like they were just filling time until the Cassady interference. Sometimes, WWE has these matches where the action is secondary to a story they’re telling, and this was just like that. Still, a good match that I’d like to see 15 minutes of some time.
Adrian Neville vs Corey Graves
This feud with Bo Dallas has really, really helped Adrian Neville – he’s more over now than he ever had been. On the other side of the ring is the Saviour Of Misbehaviour or whatever Corey Graves, who still looks like the worst possible coffee shop barista ever. I bet he can’t even draw a good leaf on the top of a soy latte.
Graves looks unimpressed with his opponent, and slips between the ropes when Neville tries to approach him. Seriously though, why is he wrestling in skinny jeans? That can’t be practical for wrestling. Neville takes him down with a shoulder block and a hip toss, causing Graves to bail on the ring, and he stalls for time, forcing Neville to take a risk and come and get him, which gives Graves the advantage – as he slips into the ring, he strikes Neville, and they eventually end up exchanging chops in the corner. Graves knocks The Man That Gravity Forgot with a right hand, though, and manages to take advantage off of that, keeping his opponent in the corner, although Neville eventually dodges an elbow drop and locks in a side headlock to keep his opponent down. Graves eventually breaks the hold in the corner, and then gets a cheap shot in – but when he tries to throw Neville to the ropes he front flips off of them and then connects with another hip toss to send his rival to the outside. Over the top rope twisting moonsault by Neville! But it backfires on him – while he connects with Graves, when he goes to get back in the ring he’s met with a boot to the knee! Graves now has a target to work over and build towards the 13th Step, which is what he immediately starts to do.
Neville is fighting with a damaged limb, and Graves drops a knee across the bad leg when it’s suspended across the ropes. With his opponent struggling, he keeps his focus and drives the leg into the canvas, but as he goes to follow up gets met with a stiff kick to the head. This seems to anger Graves into losing his target, dropping elbows and fists to the head for a two count instead of focussing on the leg momentarily. He again parks his whole weight on Neville’s leg, but as he goes for a repeat the Geordie gets a roll up for a one count only to immediately be cut off with a low dropkick to the knee. The Jumping Geordie can hardly stand, and a dragon screw leg whip won’t help, nor knees to the injured joint. A DDT to the leg follows some momentary ground and pound stuff from Corey, while one person in the crowd shouts that Corey is a loser. Well done, that one person. Man, watching Corey Graves work a limb makes him a completely different wrestler than when he was a face. I mean, he’s kind of only got two or three ways of really attacking it, but it’s good to see him build up to his submission finisher. A back breaker gets him a two count, and he ends up throwing Neville to the outside and going for…a piledriver? Really? Neville powers out, though, flipping Graves over his head and allowing him some time to recuperate. The Man That Gravity Forgot finds his way back into the ring, but can’t reach his feet without the help of the ropes…he gets to the corner, and gets a boot up to stop Corey! Flying forearms but with hardly any elevation! He hits a back elbow and follows up with a second rope missile dropkick which gets him a good two count…and Graves aims a kick at the knee when he getsa chance, and hits a chop block. Neville doesn’t allow him to lock in the 13th Step, though, rolling to the outside…and he kicks Corey in the head! He makes his way to the top rope gingerly…Red Arrow! Neville picks up the win!
That ending kind of came out of nowhere, but I guess they’re trying to get Neville over as a fighter for the title match with Bo Dallas in a couple of weeks…speaking of which, here comes Bo himself! He’s got his serious face on, and takes off his suit jacket and cufflinks on his way down the ramp. He enters the ring and…oh, here’s Triple H! He’s not going to allow a nefarious action from Bo Dallas, as he’s got an announcement to make. The title match on the live NXT special is going to be…a ladder match! Oh me! Oh my! Imagine what Adrian Neville will do in a ladder match! As for this one…I don’t know, I kind of enjoyed slow, methodical Corey Graves – he basically came over like more of second rate Randy Orton than CM Punk during this match which, I mean, it’s character progression, I guess? I love the way that Neville sells the leg, he’s done it in a few matches now and it’s super believable. My only wish is that he didn’t then shake everything off and hit Red Arrow to end a match with it – I’d really like it if instead he got a roll up or something to win, given the injury. Still, a pretty good match.
NXT MVP: Aiden English!
Always the best. Seriously though, English is possibly one of the top three or four guys on the show in terms of in ring ability, and given that he has a character to match he should really be being considered for a call up in the near future.
05/02/2014 – Aiden English
29/01/2014 – Renee Young
22/01/2014 – Realest Guys In The Room
15/01/2014 – Adrian Neville
08/01/2014 – Hunico
01/01/2014 – Emma
18/12/2013 – Leo Kruger
I feel like NXT is kind of treading water at the moment. The thing is, unlike when something like Raw treads water the quality is still really high. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve had a really amazing show, but in the intervening period we’ve had a lot of good shows – this was another one to add to that list, as outside of Mason Ryan there wasn’t a bad thing about the show. It drove storylines forward and we had some really good in ring action alongside it all, so I can’t complain.
We’ll hopefully be on time next week and this will be out on Thursday and not Friday – and we can look forward to that trios match with the BFFs and the Best Friends Forever, Aiden English and Colin Cassady finally coming to proper in ring blows and I believe a sneaky appearance from the Wyatt Family! They’re back! Until next week, NXTians, stay safe when crossing the road and drink more hot chocolate! Ciao!