Happy Monday NXTians! Apologies this is a few days late – I forgot this aired on Thursdays now, not Wednesdays, and had a long weekend booked that meant I’ve only just got to sit down with the best wrestling program in the World to review it. But enough excuses! What’s coming up below? Doubtless you’ve already seen the results from last week so you know we have Paige taking on Sasha Banks, The Ascension in action, a desperate attempt to make Mason Ryan relevant again, Bo Dallas versus Colin Cassady and yet another Xavier Woods vs Alexander Rusev match. Enough talk! Let’s wrestle!
The NXT Review: 13/03/2014 – Forever Delayed
Mar 17, 2014 - 1:20:00 PM
The NXT Review: 13/03/2014 – Forever Delayed
Paige vs Sasha Banks
Paige gets her customary big pop and licks her lips at the top of the ramp while staring out across the crowd as ‘Jason Albert’ gets introduced on commentary. They address the fact that he used to be Tensai, so that’s nice. Anyway, they put over the ArRIVAL match and how much buzz it created on social media as Sasha, Charlotte and Summer Rae’s face on a stick make their entrance. I love Summer Rae’s face on a stick. Best prop in wrestling. Even better than Zeb Colter’s moustache.
Paige goes to throw her t-shirt into the crowd but Sasha grabs it and talks some smack, leading to Paige thrust kicking her in the gut. Paige tosses her across the ring then finally gets her t-shirt out to the people, before stomping on Banks in the corner. The Norwich Nightmare has almost held the NXT Women’s Championship for as long as AJ has had the Divas title. That’s pretty cool, no? Sasha reverses a boot in the corner and throws it between the ropes, delivering multiple slaps across the back, putting the Brit on her knees which gives The Boss the chance to run on her back. No, for real. That gets the BFF a two count, and Banks then crosses Paige’s arms across her chest and uses them to choke Paige. Or, kind of choke, I guess. She has her knees in the back of her opponent, too, and it looks pretty vicious. Paige finally gets back to her feet and rams Banks into the corner, driving elbows into her temples and then taking her down with a series of short arm clotheslines. The Brit drops her opponent with a dropkick and then Scorpion Crosslocks Banks to death, forcing her to tap. I’m going to start calling that The Final Paige because everything else she does is a bloody Paige pun.
Charlotte attacks Paige before she can celebrate, and it’s two-on-one. Paige has no chance here…no, here’s Natalya for the save! The two members of different wrestling dynasties stand tall as the BFFs retreat. This was good, for what it was – I still prefer face Sasha Banks as a wrestler, the one who would just throw out headscissors takedowns without any real psychology or anything. It was fun, much more fun than wild slapping. Still, I like Sasha. I like Paige, too. They could do great things together if given Emma/Paige sort of time and focus and this felt like a taster of that, rather than being them throwing everything at each other.
Sami Zayn has some things to say about Corey Graves. I’ll tell ya ‘bout Corey Graves, brother – Corey Graves got beaten last week, and Sami thinks this is the end of it. But if Graves wants more, he can come and find him. He knows where he is.
They air a video showing Mojo Rawley’s win at NXT:ArRIVAL and then he’s pacing backstage and cutting a promo to camera about being hyped and how good it was to kill CJ Parker with his arse. Biggest win of his career. Which says a lot about his career to date – his biggest win was against CJ Parker.
The Ascension vs Some Guys
Will somebody please just give The Ascension some proper teams to beat? This is…oh man, I don’t even really want to cover it in detail. Konnor’s looking absolutely ripped right now, though, like he’s bulked up even more. Viktor kills Tyler in an instant, Konnor comes in and runs through him with shoulder blocks again and again and again. The Scalpel of The Ascension comes in, chops Travis to buggery then back drops him with a wristlock and…y’know, the usual sort of Ascension stuff. Ooh, Tyler ducks Viktor running in and sends him to the apron, letting him tag in Cal Bishop, the man with a huge amateur background. He gets some shots in, but Viktor levels him and tags Konnor in, who gets to take on Tyler again, playing up to the ‘yah!’ chants. He hits a body avalanche in the corner, and then whips his opponent into a flying knee from Viktor – jeez that looked sick. It’s called the guillotine, apparently. Then they hit the Fall of Man and that’s murder, she wrote.
I want to see someone like the Wyatt Family turn up and give The Ascension a fifteen minute hard hitting barnstormer at the top of the card. There’s just nothing else for them to do right now, is there? Unless they’re actually going to focus on some tag teams in the other squash matches.
Mason Ryan vs Wesley Blake
Here’s a gifographical representation of my feelings on this match.
You want the highlights? A ‘better than Batista’ chant, an in depth discussion of cowboy activities on commentary including Renee Young, and Mojo Rawley’s family in the crowd sitting on their hands like they did for all of NXT:ArRIVAL. Wesley Blake might actually become a good big guy, though – he’s showing some hints.
Oh, and Mason Ryan doesn’t use the Luger Breaker, which makes me sad. This lasted for four minutes. That’s three and a half minutes too long.
Bayley is freaking out about being on the WWE Network – since becoming super friendly with Natalya she got to meet Bret Hart and is watching one of his matches right now! Oh, here come the BFFs – Charlotte points out that Bret Hart’s only claim to fame is match that he lost which is…well, wrong. She’s clearly never seen WrestleMania XIII. But whatever, they make some bitchy comments about the way Hart looks because making fun of people who’ve had strokes is perfectly OK, and then Bayley gets magical – she grabs Summer’s face on a stick and asks it why she’s not here. And then turns up the HAM with an impression of Rae right from the top draw. It ends with her going ‘HAHAHA NIGHTY NIGHT, SASHA!’. Flawless. Natalya turns up to be overprotective mother or something and is all ‘yo, Charlotte, your dad’s not as good as my dad yadayadayada’ She and Charlotte go face-to-face and it’s the BFF who walks away with Bayley losing her poops in the background. Actually kind of not bad. I can’t hate anything with Bayley in it, though, so I might not be the best person to be super rational about it.
Xavier Woods vs Rusev
It’s NXT’s very own Christian vs Sheamus, Xavier Woods vs Alexander Rusev! Woods will lose this. He is the Christian of the rivalry. Woods is all intense, but hey, here’s Tyler Breeze! And his full entrance! Amazing! The camera cuts on Breeze’s entrance are flawless, that big swooping shot onto his face when he turns around is masterful. There are people in the crowd ‘Breezing’ – taking a selfie with their arm extended. Breeze has a microphone, and he wants some of Rusev as well, and begs for his revenge, asking Woods to kindly leave the ring. And here are Lana’s legs which Holy Shit. Guys, Lana’s legs. Lana’s legs though, guys. Rusev makes his way to the ring and Breeze attacks Woods from behind, then bails – but Rusev only has his standard entrance, foot stomping and such, so just carries on as if nothing’s happened.
The Bulgarian Brute paces the ring as the ref checks on Woods, and the moment the bell rings he strikes, pounding him down and nailing that short arm superkick thing. He hits elbows across the chest of his opponent and then throws his man to the corner, connecting with knees to the midsection. Woods is completely reeling here, but manages to block a couple of kicks with his shins and gets some offense in, kicks to the hamstrings and forearm to the head. Rusev just will not fall, and as Woods comes off the ropes the Bulgarian scoops him up with one hand so high that the ensuing Samoan drop doesn’t even connect fully. Jesus, that looked interesting. Lana signals for the end, and Rusev scoops up his opponent, hits a spinning side slam and then stretches Woods in The Accolade. Lana signals for the hold to be released and Rusev stands tall.
Lana’s legs though, guys. Lana’s legs.
Oh, here’s Adrian Neville, but before he can get a word out Bo Dallas appears – he’s cashing in his rematch clause in two weeks, and is grateful for his Bo-lievers – they’ve been the wind Bo-neath his wings for the past fortnight. He’s sick of Neville, his Bo-lievers are sick of Neville, and it’s time for Bo to take back the titles. Rather than say anything, the Geordie bitch slaps his rival and they stare at each other.
Bo Dallas vs Colin Cassady
S-A-W-F-T SAAAAAAAAAWFT! Big Cass is so over it hurts. He’s so over, he doesn’t even need to touch the fence when he leaps it. He’s so over, he’s overseas. He’s squaring off tonight against the number one contender for the NXT Championship, and Bo is still the most hated man in wrestling today. Let’s do this!
Cassady completely overpowers his opponent in the opening lock up, throwing him to the mat, and even when Bo gets the upper hand Cassady just throws him to the ropes and knocks him down with a shoulder. Dallas rolls to the apron, which apparently is considered somewhere where the referee can count you out now. Is that right? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before, but the ref is genuinely counting Bo out when he’s on the apron. Odd. Dallas climbs back in at seven and finally gets some semblance of an advantage, pounding his opponent with forearms in the corner, but then he gets caught with a big slam and Cassady hits a bunch of elbow drops for a two count. Dallas takes another time out, and should pretty much be counted out because it’s so long. When he finally gets back in the ring, he locks a side headlock in on the man who is fully a foot taller than him and this goes on for nearly a minute before Cassady pushes him off – again – and sends him to the outside – again. Bo gets a bit of character going by shouting ‘I’m a former NXT Champion!’ into the ether, but so far that is literally the only highlight. Man, I want to love this as it’s two of my favourites, but it has been so hard to like so far.
Cass pulls Dallas up to the ring by his hair, but Dallas then hangs him out to dry across the top rope and drops some knees across the throat for a two count. Dallas looks furious, but then a sly smile creeps across his face and he slowly and methodically circles his opponent and stomps him occasionally, before choking him with his knee. Bo continues to strike his opponent, connecting with a hard kick to the ribs, and then connects with a flying back elbow for a two count and locking in a cravate on his larger opponent. No word of a lie, this hold stays in for two frigging days. Cass finally breaks it with a couple of fists to the ribs, but off the ropes Bo connects with a big clothesline to take his opponent down. Bo connect with short arm elbows as a big ‘boring’ chant goes up. ‘That’s right, this is Bo’s ring!’. Well, that saved that little chant for a moment. Bo finally takes Cassady down with a short arm clothesline for another two count, and Cass is kicking out of everything here. The crowd is on his side, cheering him on, but Bo is still grinding him down – until now! Bo gets whipped hard into the turnbuckle and Cassady has chance to get his breath back. Fists and clotheslines from Cassady now and a big high knee. He chants S-A-W-F-T before hitting a forearm across the back for a two count and looks for the Pearl River Plunge but Dallas wriggles out of it and comes off the ropes – straight into a big boot! Bo kicks out at two and rolls to the apron, which allows him to struggle against Big Cass and pull him into the ropes. Cass reels back into the ring and gets hit with a knee to the temple, and Bo connects with his 59th finisher ever – a double armed DDT puts Big Cass to bed.
That…that was boring. So boring. I’m all for a heel stalling on starting the match or any other variation, but they have to have the face go after him and get him back in the ring or similar. There was just so much dull crap in there – Bo’s ‘slow and methodical’ (not my words) offense isn’t really conducive to working well, and when you’ve got Big Cass on the other side of the ring who isn’t exactly a flyer himself it made it a very slow match. Not fun. Not fun at all.
NXT MVP: Paige!
Honestly, Paige has been killing it recently. From ArRIVAL until now, she has been on her A-game, and there is not a woman in the WWE better than her when she turns it on. She’s over with the crowd again after a shaky period where it looked like she was struggling a bit and pulling performances out of the bag that shame pretty much everyone else on the roster. Great stuff.
13/03/2014 – Paige
19/02/2014 – Tyler Breeze
12/02/2014 – BFFs
05/02/2014 – Aiden English
29/01/2014 – Renee Young
22/01/2014 – Realest Guys In The Room
15/01/2014 – Adrian Neville
Umm…oosh. What to say. What to say what to say. I mean, it’s hard but I think I’m going to have to say this. Not good, NXT. Really, really not good. There was nothing wrong with the structure or anything, but the matches were just so uninteresting outside of Paige vs Sasha. Just dull, really, especially the interminable cravate in the main event. That thing might still be going on now for all I know, somewhere in the world. I suppose there are always these outlying episodes every now and again, but I can’t really rememberany episode of NXT I’ve felt this flat after watching. Dear oh dear.
Little was announced for next week – in fact, only one point I remember and that’s the return to NXT of Sheamus. Last time he and Luke Harper bludgeoned the heck out of each other and it was a blast. Hopefully he gets to go against someone who he can do similar with this time around. Otherwise – who knows? Maybe some Bayley vs Sasha Bankls action. Perhaps some Zayn vs Graves. And maybe a touch of Adam Rose. Until next Friday, NXTians, stay safe when crossing the road and drink more hot chocolate! Goodbye!