Welcome once again, NXTians, to The NXT Review! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful past seven days full of fun and happiness, and let’s hope that this week’s hour of wrestling and talking only adds to that. What do we have tonight? Well, Hunimacho will continue their feud with The Ascension in a tornado tag match which I believe is non-title for some reason. Elsewhere, Bayley will try and conquer Summer Rae in her ongoing battle with the Beautiful Fierce Females, and Aiden English faces Colin Cassady after their sing off last week. Fun! Lots of fun! So, without further ado let’s see what happens in…
The NXT Review: 08/01/2014 – The One With The Wardrobe Talk
Jan 9, 2014 - 12:00:00 PM
The NXT Review: 08/01/2014 – The One With The Wardrobe Talk
Bayley vs Summer Rae
We kick things off with Summer and Sasha entering, sassing it up as they produce some headbands similar to those that Bayley sports – presumably they picked up the ones they threw heartlessly on the floor the other week? Sasha will surely help her friend in this match…but Bayley’s got some back up too! Her new friend Natalya is in her corner! The crowd go wild for Bayley as she enters the ring, and she looks thrilled to have the assistance of the pink and black attack tonight. Well, wouldn’t you be? I mean, come on, it’s Natalya. Natalya! A former Divas Champion!
Summer offers a hug to Bayley because they both have headbands, but she looks pretty reticent and…I’ve just noticed Bayley has a dinosaur on her tights. A dinosaur! I love dinosaurs! Man, as if I couldn’t love Bayley anymore. It’s…possibly a diplodocus, if you’re interested in that sort of thing. Anyway, Bayley just can’t resist a hug and moves to accept – but grabs the headband off Summer Rae and throws it to the mat instead! Shit just got real! As Summer bends to collect it, the Dinosaur Diva sunset flips her into a pin for a two count. Rae looks for the assistance of Banks on the outside but Bayley throws her to the mat on her face, and the BFF begs off in the corner. Oh no – with the ref holding Bayley back, Summer gets in a cheap shot and takes control, driving Bayley head first into the turnbuckle and tearing off her headband! The meanie! She chokes her opponent in the corner but takes too long to jaw jack with the crowd and Bayley returns the favour. Her advantage only lasts a second, though, as she ducks into a kick from Summer, who then heel kicks her in the stomach and then connects with a…um…discus facebuster? She comes off the ropes, spins around for no apparent reason and then throws Bayley face first to the mat. That looked kind of awkward, but it’s the only misstep so far in this match
Whatever it is, it gets her a two count, and she then chokes Bayley against the ropes with her legs, stretching at the same time. A buttbutt (like a headbutt, but where Summer uses her, well, butt) gets her a two count and she follows up with a cross-armed surfboard, keeping Bayley down on the mat. Our heroine scraps and fights her way to her feet, and then breaks the hold by stamping on Summer’s foot! She rallies now, taking Rae down with a pair of forearms and then hitting a big splash in the corner – but her neck is clearly hurting from that hold, and she might well be struggling for breath. She comes off the ropes and hits a flying spinning back elbow which garners her a two count, and then she repeats the act from the second rope only to get the same result. Summer is reeling, and she pushes her opponent weakly to the ropes and misses a heel kick as she hangs on. Hugplex from Bayley! 1…2…3! Bayley wins! Bayley wins one! The crowd go wild and the Doctor of Huganomics looks delighted, embracing her new found friend in the ring.
Bayley won! She actually won! Her first singles win in NXT against her long-time rival Summer Rae – what a monumental victory. And what a lovely little match – not quite on a par with the effort we saw from Emma and Natalya last week, but there was a whole lot of character in there on both sides of the ring which made it super enjoyable to watch. Bayley deserved this win, it’s been a long time coming and hopefully is a sign of her moving up the card a little bit in 2014, and she did it in style with the hugplex. All in all, a cracking start to the show.
Devin Taylor is backstage, and her guest at this time is Xavier Woods who is cutting a promo, unfortunately. He’s in the doghouse with The Authority and Kane basically wants to mess him up tonight – but Woods isn’t worried because he’s over 9,000. Not his power, just his irritation level. Woods makes me feel like I’m coming out in a rash every time I see him, he’s that irritating.
Aiden English vs Colin Cassady
Big Cass makes his entrance and has got his serious face on following Aiden English’s assault last week. Little Test/Quiz is pacing the ring furiously, but English is going to make him wait while performing a song – because he’s the greatest thing in DOUBLE YOU DOUBLE YOOOOOOOU…EEEEEEEEEEEE. Oh Aiden. You are fantastic. I think it’s the subtle things with English that really get me – he’s gone from saying ‘spotlight, please’ to ‘spotlight, now’, for example, which comes off a lot more heelish and arrogant. Plus, he’s wearing a nice scarf so there are some sartorial plus points to give out there.
Cass overwhelms his opponent in the opening stages, and it’s interesting to note that while he is a ‘big man’ and English I would have considered as an average one, there’s not a whole lot of size difference between the two. The Certified G connects with furious knees and back elbows, spelling out S-A-W-F-T SAWWWWWFT as he strikes – a masterstroke – and the final blow to the back of the head earns him a two count. He goes for a big splash in the corner, but English avoids it and gains the upper hand, striking his opponent across the back of the head and dropping multiple elbows on his cranium. He hooks in an arm trap chinlock and jaw jacks with the crowd, screaming that nobody steals his spotlight while Cass struggles up and breaks the hold. He throws the Artiste off the ropes and hits a big back body drop, following up with what I believe J.R. was contractually obliged to call a ‘Harley Race like knee’ and a standing elbow drop whilst shouting SAWWWFT. There’s lots of shouting in this match. English manages to tie himself up in the ropes, stopping Quiz from hitting any move, and he takes advantage of the referee breaking the hold to kick his rival in the knee. That’s rocks Cassady enough for the Broadway Brawler to hit the Take a Bow and win the match with ease.
Roses soar through the air as English retreats up the ramp, smugly grinning at his felled opponent in the ring. I quite enjoyed that, mostly for seeing Big Cass show off some real offense on his own – I feel like we hadn’t really seen what he could do, but he showed a lot of promise in that one and can really move for a bigger man. That high knee was very nice to look at, as was the elbow drop, and I hope we get to see a lot more of him on his own while Enzo recovers from his broken leg. English winning makes sense, and he was shown to be a real opportunist here, taking advantage of the ropes and sneaking in a blow on Cass to swing the momentum. I kind of want to see them face off again in the future, but I’m not sure whether they will or not – either way, I liked the match.
Backstage, Adrian Neville is talking with Devin Taylor. The Man That Gravity Forgot is sporting a claret Fred Perry polo shirt but he’s done both buttons up around the neck – does anybody actually do that? It looks a little tight and uncomfortable. Not sure about your wardrobe choices, Adrian. Taylor is mid-question when Neville answers his phone – how rude. How dare you have your phone on right now, sir, somebody is trying to talk to you. Reject the call and then ring them back, don’t answer it. It turns out the call is from Tyler Breeze who is stood right there. Then the whole promo takes a turn for the better, as Neville asks ‘Breezey’ (his words, not mine) why he’s calling him from the ‘same bloody room’. You know why? Because that way Breeze doesn’t have to look at his ugly face, which would make his eyeballs melt out of his face. The model wants to say he’s sorry for Neville’s loss to Dallas the other week, but Neville started it and he didn’t deserve to be slapped. They go back and forth, and Breeze ends up saying that the NXT Universe deserves a champion who’s gorgeous. That little line is perfect – I love when people make it seem like the championship is the most important thing on a show, regardless of where they are on the card, and it doesn’t happen enough. I mean, look at it – you don’t get into the WWE just to become a midcard hand and turn up whenever there’s a thanksgiving feast backstage. You’re there to win titles. So make it your stated aim, even if you might not be going after the belt. The guys on NXT do that really well – the other week, Sami Zayn was just like ‘yeah, I want the NXT Championship and I’ll get it back but I’ve got to deal with Leo Kruger first’. Terrific – overcome this thing, then get back to chasing the gold. Anyway, the next bit of conversation made me actually laugh out loud:
Neville: You like to play games, eh?
Breeze: No, I hate them.
Neville: Well, I like them, and I’m going to play one right now – it’s called the waiting game.
Breeze: Aw, the worst one.
Neville: It’s a good one!
Lovely. Well done everyone. Anyway, the waiting game means that Neville isn’t going to rearrange Breeze’s facial features right now, but he’s actually going to wait until next week. The Geordie makes the slightest movement towards Breeze and the model flinches and sharply takes breath in. As Neville walks off, Tyler says ‘the Man That Gravity Forgot? More like the Man That Mother Nature Forgot To Make Good Looking’ as he admires himself in his iPhone. Kind of clumsy, but also kind of funny. You know, when I saw Neville my heart dropped a little bit because his promos have not normally been that good, but he pulled it out of the bag in this one – he was entertaining, funny and his timing was spot on. Breeze’s line about the NXT Championship was exactly what I like to hear, and he too was very, very good here. An unexpectedly good interaction, all told.
Xavier Woods vs Alexander Rusev
Woods enters, and they tease his opponent being Kane but he actually comes out in a suit to announce that, because he ran that petition to get Big Show rehired last November, he gets to be destroyed by Alexander Rusev tonight! Man, is Rusev just taking out anybody I don’t really like now? Curtis Axel next week, please. The Bulgarian Brute slowly and deliberately approaches the ring with his ‘social ambassador’ Lana at his side.
As Rusev hands over his skirt to Lana in the corner with his back turned, Woods runs in and quickly strikes his opponent. Although he ducks a pair of clotheslines, the Angel Grove native winds up being caught by a big Samoan drop. Using his giant hands, the Bulgarian Brute pinches at the collar bone of his opponent and then drops multiple elbows and headbutts. Kane looks on impressed at ringside as Rusev goes back to that nerve hold, but Woods starts to fire back with left hands and headbutts, putting his opponent on the back foot but failing to knock him down, even with a dropkick. He connects with the Honour Roll, but as he goes for Lost in the Woods Rusev just throws him off and flattens him with a body block. With Woods down, the Eastern European locks in the Accolade and Woods has to tap out.
Rusev keeps the hold locked in and in the end Lana has to call him off. An easy win for Rusev, very similar to his match with Kingston last week really – I’d kind of like to see him having some more competition in his matches than just squashing his opponent. He’s arguably never been better than in his debut against Dolph Ziggler, where he was tested a little more. I don’t know, he just showed a bit more of an impressive moveset in that match, I feel. Oh, speaking of Kofi Kingston, he’s a sucker for punishment – in a WWE.com ‘exclusive’, he says that his match last week was tough and he underestimated Rusev. But he’s not going to make the same mistake and get distracted again, and lays down a challenge for a rematch next week. Tear his dreadlocks out, Rusev! Do it!
Tyson Kidd vs Baron Corbin
Tyson’s long tights confuse me – the half blue, half red legs are really odd to look at. What’s more, I don’t think they really suit him – he looked better in the old short style trunks. I know this has been about wardrobe choices a lot this week, but Kidd’s is possibly the worst of the lot. Corbin, and his odd committal to being almost a mini-CM Punk – he’s certainly a lot closer to it than Corey Graves, who’s more like a mini-Randy Orton – has some sort of football background, and he absolutely levels Kidd with a shoulder block in the opening ten seconds to show those skills off. He doesn’t follow up, however, and Mr. Natalya dodges him off the ropes and hits a kick to the gut. Again, though, Kidd gets levelled, and this time Corbin follows up, knocking his opponent down with a fist to the skull and throwing him to the corner where he hits multiple rights to the gut. The Baron (can I call him The Baron? Please?) charges through his opponent again and then locks in a weak looking chinlock that Kidd almost breaks out off until he locks it in tighter. The Canadian finally breaks free, and then drop toe holds his opponent into the turnbuckle. A series of kicks winds Corbin and a dropkick to the head gets Kidd a two count. With The Baron reeling on the bottom rope, Kidd slingshots out and connects with a legdrop across the back of his neck, choking him against the ropes, and he leaps up to the top rope and connects with a blockbuster! That’s enough to give Kidd the three count and the win.
That was a nice little match, with Corbin showing of his strength but Kidd besting him with his speed and agility. A simple story, for sure, but one that worked really well in this short match and produced the goods. I always like Kidd when he’s fighting someone who’s a bit more technical, or essentially anyone that doesn’t leave him as the high flyer in the ring – his series with Trent Baretta on Superstars and NXT a while ago remain some of my favourite matches for precisely that reason. When he’s left to do more technical, mat-based stuff, I think he puts on better matches. I don’t know whether he’s changed his style because of his recent injury, as he certainly seems to be wrestling in a different way now, but I sorta miss the old Tyson Kidd.
The Ascension vs Hunico and Camacho
Hunico and Camacho both have bikes now! No more stunt peg riding for them! Their bikes also have wing mirrors, which I’m not sure I fully understand but hey, I’ll accept it. Safety first and all that. Camacho’s ‘shirt with only the top button done up’ look is ridiculous, though. Man, just commit to a cape. At least there’s none of this halfway stuff with The Ascension – they accept that they are wearing stupid clothes and go all in – Konnor’s coat is a thing of rare beauty. This is a tornado match, so everyone gets to mess up everyone else at the same time – let’s do it…shortly after the crowd have chanted for the American Pitbulls!
Hunico and Camacho immediately take it to Viktor and Konnor, respectively, and force them back into the corner. Neither team seems to grasp the upper hand in the opening stages, with the momentum constantly switching in opposite corners – the only constant is that the big men and the small men have paired up to brawl. Camacho hits the first actual wrestling move with a belly to back suplex. While Hunico is throwing Viktor into the turnbuckles headfirst whilst his buddy gets the belly to back suplex favour returned on him by Konnor, and suddenly both Ascension members have the upper hand – until Camacho and Hunico both, suddenly, turn it around, Hunico with a roll up on Viktor, and he lifts it up into a one armed powerbomb! Leg drop from Camacho! 1…2…no! Not quite! Konnor breaks up the pin, and then gets dropkicked to the outside by Hunico. So far this has pretty much been a straight up brawl with some little wrestling content – it’s a little difficult to follow, which is always my issue with tornado matches, but they seem to be hitting a little bit of a rhythm now.
Hunimacho are pounding down their opponents on the outside – with no DQs or count outs, they use the bikes to gain the advantage and both mount their opponents in the corner for a series of punches…but both the bludgeon and scalpel of The Ascension power out with powerbombs! Stereo covers get each man a two count, but the balance has tipped in the favour of The Ascension now, keeping their opponents on the mat with elbows and boots. The crowd suddenly start up a ‘that was awesome’ chant for something that Konnor did off screen – I’ve watched a few times now, and I can’t tell what it was – but he eventually hits a flapjack while Hunico is tied up with Viktor, leaving him free to get a two count. Finally, The Ascension get to work together and whip Camacho into Hunico in the corner. They look to repeat the act, with the roles reversed, but Camacho back body drops Hunico to the outside and he hits a crossbody on both members of The Ascension! Camacho with a double clothesline! The champs are reeling here, and Hunimacho connect with a pair of dropkicks before Hunico hits a springboard moonsault on them both off of the second rope! Double cover…1…2…both Ascension members just kick out! Viktor gets rolled to the outside, and now Hunimacho have Konnor on his own. Samoan drop from Camacho, and a Swanton from Hunico! 1…2…No! Viktor breaks the pin up! Hunico sends him to the outside, and then assists Camacho in hitting a suicide dive…no, Viktor cuts him off with a sick European uppercut! Hunico gets hit with a full nelson slam from Konnor! Fall of Man! This one is over!
Man, this was an oddity – I really enjoyed it but it was a completely unstructured mess as a match, really. I suppose that is to be expected given the tornado stipulation, and while a lot of aspects of it weren’t made use of, such as the no DQ and no count out ones, the actual aspect of having two teams fighting against each other worked. The only thing was that it sort of lacked logic, and I especially thought we might see some of that from The Ascension given how methodical they usually are. It would have made sense for them to take one of Hunimacho out and focus on the other, seeing as they cut the ring off so well in their normal matches, but instead both teams just brawled with each other. I guess The Ascension took advantage at the end of the day, Hunico being distracted by his stricken partner, but it seemed an oddly set up match. Still, like I said, enjoyable – just not really one with any storyline within the match. Hunico absolutely shone, though – love me some Hunico.
NXT MVP: Hunico!
Hunico absolutely stuck out like a sore thumb in that main event – everything he did was crisp, on point and just looked terrific. He’s long been a favourite of mine and I think he could find a better platform than that particular match to shine, but certainly this week he was the best performer on the show.
08/01/2014 – Hunico
01/01/2014 – Emma
18/12/2013 – Leo Kruger
11/12/2013 – Bayley
05/12/2013 – Paige
13/11/2013 – Corey Graves
06/11/2013 – Kassius Ohno
30/10/2013 – Aiden English
23/10/2013 – Sami Zayn
This was a really fun week of NXT, to be honest – I wouldn’t say I loved any match on the show, but there wasn’t a single low point on it at all – even Woods vs Rusev was enjoyable, if it was a little simplistic in its presentation. A slight upwards shift in quality from last week, and hopefully it continues as time rolls on.
Next week – Rusev vs Kingston II! Neville vs Breeze I! And…er…that’s it, actually. That’s all that’s confirmed, so who knows what type of show we’re in for. I’m quite looking forward to seeing Neville and Breeze go at it, though – hopefully it will be the competitive match I’ve been longing to see out of Breeze and not just a quick squash. Until then, chaps and chapettes, stay safe when crossing the road and drink more hot chocolate! Sayonara!