What a week we’ve had, NXTians. From the exhilaration of Sunday night, the dawning of the NXT takeover on Monday and then the sad news that came through on Wednesday morning regarding Warrior, I don’t think I’ve run a gamut of emotions quite like it since I first became a wrestling fan. All that remains to be said is RIP Warrior.
The NXT Review: 10/04/2014 – Bizarre Love Triangle
Apr 11, 2014 - 8:30:00 AM
On to the show, though, and boy have we got some things to put that smile back on your face. Adam Rose will make his return, and we can but hope for his original theme song. Elsewhere, Bayley battles Sasha Banks, Bo Dallas will occupy NXT, and there’s sure to be plenty of other stuff going on. All that, in…
The NXT Review: 10/04/2014 – Bizarre Love Triangle
Adam Rose vs Danny Burch
Adam Rose’s theme tonight starts with a sitar before taking off into full drumming nonsense – man, this is still so much fun. I hope his entrance gets even bigger when he comes to Raw, just tens and tens of people dancing their way to the ring. They’re dressed differently tonight, some people in fat suits with suits on top of them – possibly meant to be Oompa Loompas? They look like fun guys, at least.
Rose’s entrance gets the customary ‘that was awesome’ chant from the crowd, who sing his theme while the two circle each other. Rose encourages them to sing it louder and they oblige, but Burch catches him with a boot to the midsection that sends him to the ropes, and the bicycle kick between the ropes takes him down. The Rocker connects with a couple of shoulder blocks for a one count each and then takes his opponent down with an armdrag into an armbar, but Burch breaks it with a knee to the gut and then a chop to the chest…but Rose absorbs it and turns it into rage! He strikes with a series of rights and some big chops to the chest before charging into his man with an elbow and a kick to the gut. A bronco buster follows, and then he nails a beautiful spinebuster and a diving elbow drop from the second rope after ripping his elbow pad off, and that’s enough to give him the win!
You know, I was surprised to see the Adam Rose promo on Raw – he still doesn’t quite feel like the finished article, and that’s sort of evidenced by him hitting a different finisher this week. It’s good, and a bit better than him hitting The Slice, but it still feels like there needs to be some fleshing out done on him or something. I’m going to love it when he comes to Raw just for how potentially ridiculous his entrance could get, I just hope they get it right before he debuts. It’s just one thing, I think, that I can’t quite put my finger on that needs to be improved on. I’m sure it will happen.
Devin Taylor is backstage talking to the referee of Graves vs Zayn last week – he ended the match last week because Zayn wasn’t responsive…and that’s it. Odd little bit. Oh, here’s Graves too, and he calls Devin cute and asks where they found her. Woah there Corey, I’m pretty sure that’s harassment or something. Anyway, Graves is all ‘whatever’ because he got a win – but this as only just started, and he wants Sami to rest his little head until they meet again.
Bayley vs Sasha Banks
Oh Bayley. You are so wonderful. She’s just happy, permanently smiling and cheerful. If there was a double header that could put a smile on my face right now it’s Adam Rose followed by Bayley. They are my wrestling happy places, where ridiculous meets terrific. I think sometimes wrestling is afraid to accept that it’s ridiculous, too obsessed with running serious stories with Real Men or whatever – which is fine, but you can be ridiculous and still be damned good and serious. Meanwhile, Sasha Banks, fresh from being one of Triple H’s slave girls or whatever at WrestleMania, swaggers down to the ring in all her garb accompanied, as usual, by Charlotte and Summer Rae’s head on a stick. Actually, as an extension of what I said about Bayley, the BFFs are also a little bit ridiculous. You know, it’s all about caricatures – I guess that’s what I’m saying. The whole ‘you turned up to 11’ thing that gets trotted out so much. That’s when wrestling becomes really, really fun.
They’re talking about Jason Albert creeping in the women’s locker room or something before the match starts. Sigh. Sasha goes for a couple of quick covers early on, trying to put Bayley away quickly as retribution for the defeat she suffered a couple of weeks ago as well as trying to break her losing streak, but when that doesn’t work she tries for a back body drop off of an Irish whip but Bayley flips it into a cover attempt, only for Sasha to jackknife down across her shoulder. Lots of flash pins early on, and now Bayley gets a roll-up for a one count. Sasha now slows the pace, stomping on Bayley and throwing her across the ring to the corner before running on her back. She locks Bayley up using her own arms to straight jacket her, and that keeps the fangirl on the backfoot for a bit. Banks breaks it to try for another pinfall which only garners a one count, and then trys for a body slam but Bayley slips behind her and goes for a roll-up off the ropes…no, Sasha blocks it by grabbing the ropes but Bayley fires back with a flying double axehandle! And another! And a flying clothesine into the corner, followed up by a rolling back elbow, and one off the second rope for good measure! Bayley charges into the corner…but eats a boot! And Sasha is going for Bankrupt off the second rope…but Bayley pulls her off and flips out of it! Magnificent wrestling…Hugplex! And Bayley wins another one!
Man, where did this Bayley come from? I swear, until about a month ago she’d not one a match on NXT and now she’s just becoming a straight up mother****er, blocking finishers by ducking out and reversing them with a flip through and just being a straight up wrestling machine. I said before – I think the subtle storyline they did with her and Natalya, where being around Nattie rubbed off on her and gave her more confidence in her own abilities as a wrestler worked really well, and now here she is squaring off against Sasha Banks and doing all this great stuff to avoid being hit with moves and trying to get flash pins and such. I also like the fact that, now Summer has gone, Sasha has gone on a bit of a losing streak – it’s like they’re trying to get over the fact that without Summer the BFFs are a bit weaker. Maybe that’ll play into storylines later on – either way, it’s great stuff.
Sylvester LeFort vs Mojo Rawley
The most notable thing about this match is that Sylvester LeFort now has some proper ring gear and a lovely golden jacket on his way to the ring. Honestly, I’ve lost the will to talk about Rawley now, he’s now just an annoyance. Inevitably, he wins with his butt – the best thing was that when he went for his football style cut offs in the corner LeFort wasn’t even moving, so Mojo just looked like he was rolling around for no reason at all.
Oh, to add insult to injury, Brodus Clay turns up and powerbombs LeFort after the bell has rung, and then hits him with a splash. Poor Sylvester – first he loses his Fighting Legionairres, now he’s getting straight up murdered by everyone. Brodus grabs a mike and says ‘wah wah main event play wah wah come on out Adrian Neville’ Or, at least, that’s what I got. Neville turns up, dressed in shirt and slacks, to tell him to stop being such a winger – Neville takes opportunities, while Clay wastes his and then makes some jibes about height before going nose to nose with him. Clay retreats, saying it’s his time as he backs up the ring. Well, how fun for you both. I get what they’re doing, and why Brodus is going to be Neville’s first opponent as champion, but it doesn’t really make much sense to me when Clay only turned up a week ago. Like, there are plenty of other guys on the NXT roster who could do the job of being the big, intimidating monster that Neville has to overcome, right? Although, now I think about it, with Kruger gone I wonder if there is anybody else who’s an intimidating big guy. Possibly the one thing NXT is short on, so Brodus plugging the gap isn’t all that bad.
Oh hey, Devin Taylor is backstage with Oliver Grey! Hi Oliver, it’s been a long time – I see while you were away you went to Rob Van Dam’s barber and got yourself the worst haircut imaginable. Before Grey can say anything, Camacho turns up to cut a promo on Adam Rose, curiously. Oh, Grey is running an English aristocrat gimmick, all ‘excuse me good sir’ and stuff. Quick, pair him with Regal, make them a team or something, it will be awesome. Anyway, Grey’s all like ‘might one suggest that you hold your horses young chap, I think it will be a wonderful way to make my return if I were to put some fists to your face’. Looks like that might happen in the future then.
What the heck? The Great Khali? What the hell are you stumbling around for? Oh, Bayley’s here! She give Khali a hug and is impressed by his height. Oh, and CJ Parker, who is really hoping that Khali recycles, because he’s so big he probably produces a lot of waste. Khali is all like ‘Punjabi’, and Bayley translates it into a challenge for Parker next week. How fun for them all. Does Bayley know Khali because he knows Natalya? Is that how this happened? Bayley was supe adorable as ever, and I still like this new Parker thing because he’s going to be the most logical guy on the show pretty soon. Khali’s cool, you know – I accept that he can’t move for crap and his best wrestling move is ‘being very big’, but he’s still an imposing as heck guy and wrestling needs them from time to time. I hope Natalya gets all mad at Bayley or something and we get a bizarre love triangle between those two and Khali.
It’s Bo time! Bo’s promo video on Raw was perfect – it encapsulated the character in 60 seconds and perfectly defined everything he has become on NXT. I have no idea how it’s going to work on the grander stage, but if they don’t change anything too drastic then it’ll work. It just needs time. All new gimmicks need time, like Wyatt – he came in with a splash, but he needed time to really gain traction. He got it about three months after debuting, and anybody that can look at his body of work since the start of the year and find a single fault in it is wrong. He’s been a part of two MOTY contenders, had a very good match with Cena at the weekend that might even become better in time, and his promos have now become far more impactful and message laden. Anyway, Bo is all smiles – he says that while he might not be the next in line for a title shot, the voices of the Bo-lievers cannot be silenced. If the B+ player Daniel Bryan can occupy Raw and get a title shot, he’s going to occupy NXT and get himself a title shot because he deserves one. He calls on the members of the Bo movement (Bo-vement?) to let their voices be heard…but the crowd just turns their backs on him! Amazing! There’s a huge ‘no’ chant that goes up, and Bo gets furious – he gave them cookies! He was there champion for 280 days! This stinks! He drops the mike and remonstrates with the fans at ringside, genuinely looking upset that nobody loves him with the exception of the one woman who is constantly screaming.
Bo finally climbs back in the ring, but when he’s there he sinks to his knees in tears saying that it doesn’t make any sense. Oh man, I feel for Bo – his Bo-lievers are turning their back on him even after he gave them cookies. This is amazing. This is the most perfect thing Bo Dallas has ever done, right up there with that time he returned from his ‘vs The World’ tour. Oh, here’s JBL! The NXT GM! He says this is the worst attempt at occupy he’s ever seen, and that Bo doesn’t have enough people to occupy a see-saw. Anyway, he’s booked a match for Bo…against Justin Gabriel! And that’s right now!
Bo Dallas vs Justin Gabriel
Bo is still super sad, staring down his opponent and motioning that he wants his title back. He finally makes a move, but Gabriel ducks hit and hits a couple of running crossbodys, following up with a roll-up which causes Bo to bail on the ring. Dallas won’t re-enter until the ref holds Gabriel back, and slowly climbs the steps amidst a ‘we want cookies’ chant. Bo extends his hand for a test of strength, but he ends up just striking Gabriel and locking in a side headlock which he uses to take Gabriel down to the mat. The South African Werewolf finally breaks it with a headscissors and then comes back with a headlock of his own, before taking Dallas down with a shoulder block off the ropes. Gabriel gets a one count, and then sweeps his opponents legs out for another one before Bo again leaves the ring, the ref holding Gabriel back as he takes a breather. Dallas comes back in, but when Gabriel advances he again bails – but this time Gabriel follows him out and throws him back in! He looks to go up top…but Bo cuts him off and hangs the arm across the top rope. On the outside, Bo strikes with an elbow before rolling Gabriel back in and dropping a knee across his head.
Dallas has taken control now, and connects with a suplex for a two count before locking in a cravate. Gabriel gets some power going by nodding his head a bit and whips Dallas out, but the man in white fires back with a flying forearm to take him down again, locking up another cravate which Gabriel has to fight out of. He gets whipped into the turnbuckle for his trouble, and Bo then connects with those splendid short-arm elbows that he does, before levelling him with a clothesline for a two count. Gabriel manages to block an Irish whip out of the corner, having rolled there to escape the onslaught, but Bo comes back in with another elbow…but Gabriel reverses the Irish whip, sending Bo flying into the opposite turnbuckle! He blocks a punch and then hits a combination of kicks to take Dallas down, before rolling over his back and connecting with a roundhouse kick! Gabriel charges into Dallas in the corner, slipping to the outside off of a crossbody and then hitting a springboard variation of the same to get a two count! The two are going toe to toe now, and Gabriel comes off the ropes with a tilt-a-whirl into an inverted DDT…no, Bo reverses into one of his own and connects for a two count! Dallas goes to follow up, but Gabriel spins out of it and hits a bridging fishermans suplex for 1…2….no, Bo just kick out but ends up struck by a stiff kick and Gabriel goes for a top rope lionsault…misses! Bo rolled out of the way! Small package from Gabriel though! Bo kicks out! And he kicks the knee of Gabriel to knock him off his game. Bo connects with the double underhook DDT…and that’s enough to give him the win!
Honestly, this was a bit of a struggle in the middle part, until Gabriel got into his comeback. There wasn’t a problem with pace, it was just a little off in terms of the moves working and included a couple of little botches which dampened it a little bit. That said, the closing third of the match was terrific and the two worked really well together through that portion of the match, with Bo just getting the timing right on his cutting off of Gabriel and the South Africans speed and highflying proving the perfect foil for the more ground and pound style of Bo. Not bad, necessarily, but it had peaks and troughs in terms of quality.
NXT MVP: Bayley!
Forever the best, and with no real competition this week.
10/04/2014 – Bayley
03/04/2014 – The Ascension
27/03/2014 – Bo Dallas
20/03/2014 – Adam Rose
13/03/2014 – Paige
19/02/2014 – Tyler Breeze
12/02/2014 – BFFs
One of those episodes that falls bang in the middle of what NXT is capable of being – there’s so much to love about Adam Rose, Bayley and Bo Dallas, and with them all on th show you know you’re going to get something that is at least really enjoyable. The trouble was, though, that you still had a lot of fluff around them. I liked the opener, and think Burch is completely underrated on NXT right now for what it’s worth, and the women’s match was very good, with Banks continuing her slow descent in singles completion but continuing to be a great, great heel. And then the Dallas promo stuff was gold, as ever, even if his match with Gabriel was a little lacking. So there was a lot of good in there, but it was pulled down by having some average backstage segments, which were on the whole really poor. Sometimes, NXT gets those backstage bits just right, but on this show they were all a little too short for my liking.
NXT seem to keep confirming only tiny things for the next week - we’ve got Great Khali vs CJ Parker next week, and I assume Camacho vs Oliver Grey too. Hopefully there will be plenty more added to that between now and then, so as ever stay safe when crossing the road and drink more hot chocolate! See ya!