Hello there NXTians! Hope you’re well on a dour and grey Thursday morning. We’re just a week away from NXT:arRIVAL, where NXT arrives and we see rivals go at it. Do you see what they’ve done there? Clever, isn’t it? Before we get to that grand event though, there are still two episodes of the best damned 45 minute-ish weekly wrestling show on the internet today in which we will not only get hype but stay hype for the bumper show next Thursday. I’m hoping to take this little ol’ thing live for the show, assuming I can get the Network working despite being in the UK and wake myself up in the middle of the night to do it.
The NXT Review: 19/02/2014 – Sum-er Yellow, Sum-er Green
Feb 20, 2014 - 11:10:00 AM
But on to tonight – and in the words Frankie Valli oh, what a night! We’ve got The Ascension turning up, presumably to plead with someone to give them an actual feud for the tag titles instead of constant jobber squashes. We’ve got Emma and Summer Rae proving just how well they could do if they weren’t being booked as other peoples girlfriends on Raw. And in our main event we have the renewal of the rivalry between Tyler Breeze and Adrian Neville. A three match card, so I imagine we’ll be seeing some interviews backstage with the wonderful Renee Young to push the other feuds for the live show. But that’s enough chatter from me – let’s get on with…
The NXT Review: 19/02/2014 – Sum-er Yellow, Sum-er Green
The Ascension vs Some Guys
Yah! Yah! Yah! Yah! The Ascension come down the ramps, and Konnor has dropped the giant coat for a chainmail vest. 140 days, these two have been tag champs, and still they’ve done nothing with the belts outside of the HuniMacho stuff. They hold the belts above their heads in the corner, and Viktor is starting off with the jobber in green trunks. Names seem pointless at this stage. The Scalpel of The Ascension flings his opponent into his tag partner and then locks in a wristlock before tagging in Konnor to appease the ‘we want Yah!’ chants from the crowd. They hit the flippy double powerbomb, follow up with the Fall of Man and that’s murder she wrote.
Tum-te-tum. I hope when Enzo Amore recovers from his broken leg we get a feud between the Realest Guys In The Room and The Ascension because there is pretty much nothing else for them to do in the tag division now. I mean, there isn’t even another tag team for them to face – with all the random guys backstage not doing anything, I feel certain they could put together a fair few teams and actually build this division up again.
Ladies and gentlemen, Tyler Breeze has now entered the building!
Summer Rae vs Emma
Summer comes down with Sasha and Charlotte, doing their whole finger clicking routine at the top of the ramp and queening it up. I think I’ve probably exhausted all the praise I have for this, but man if they put it on the main roster this thing would work so well. Trouble is, they’d have to be the top heel because there is no other division for them to operate in – that’s probably why it works so well on NXT. Emma dances her way down to the ring on her own…no, she’s not alone! Here’s Bayley with an #EMMAlution sign! Tensai is dancing away at the announce desk as Bayley gets another sign that reads ‘Summer teeth, sum-er yellow, sum-er green’. Sick burn, guys. I’d probably say Summer’s teeth weren’t that bad, to be honest. Anyway, these two dance their way to the ring and Emma flips her way in. There’s a ‘ratings without CM Punk’ sign in the crowd which also has a nice example graph showing a decline in people watching. Good sign work from all involved tonight.
Summer pitches Bayley’s sign into the crowd and then starts to remonstrate with the Doctor of Huganomics, which allows a couple of quick roll up attempts from Emma. Summer gets a kick in, but Emma leapfrogs her in the corner and gets another roll up, before following up with an armdrag into Jericho armBAR #978. Summer gets back to her feet, but Emma keeps the arm locked in a wristlock and whips Rae across the ring. Summer tries for a sunset flip but Emma sits down on it and pins her whilst dancing, which Summer reverses and Emma kicks out of the roll up. The Australian then misses an armdrag, or gets kicked down or something, and ends up getting thrown out of the ring by Summer, who knees Emma in the head to send her on her way. Sasha and Charlotte taunt Emma on the outside, and their distraction lets Summer gain the advantage when she re-enters the ring, whipping Emma down to the mat and locking in Jericho ARMbar #237. Even though the bubblemaster struggles up to her feet, she gets thrown to the mat again and gets locked in Jericho armbar #7. Emma does finally fight out, but then gets knocked down with a shoulder block and a pin gets Rae a two count. Summer is in the ascendency now, and she slams Emma into the turnbuckle headfirst and chokes her with her long, long legs. The First Lady of NXT is looking good here, and jaw jacks with the crowd after dodging and Emma dropkick. This has been pretty good so far, although slightly reliant on the armbar for my liking. Still, it’s definitely building into something that could be really, really good.
Summer as Emma in a fullnelson with her legs wrapped around, and whilst our dancing hero bridges out of it Summer kicks it back around and transitions into a pin of her own. Emma kicks out, but ends up being choked on the ropes by her opponent. Summer dances her way around her fallen prey, but gets caught with a kick in the head that sends her crazy, slapping at the back of Emma and locking in a chinlock as the crowd start to get behind her opponent. Emma powers up to her feet and armdrags Summer off – and she avoids Summer in the corner! Tarantula! DilEmma! Whatever you want to call it! Emma follows up with the ‘Emma Sandwich’ low crossbody and goes for the Emma Lock but Rae kicks her off, right into a slap from Sasha! Summer with a roll up…1…2…Emma kicks out! Summer comes off the ropes – but Emma ducks and Rae hits Sasha on the apron! Emma Lock! She leans back and wrenches it in deep and Summer has to tap!
Emma and Bayley celebrate as the BFFs slink away and there is a ‘Vegemite Vixen’ sign in the crowd, so we’ve got a new nickname now. This was really, really good and showed that these two can go when given the opportunity which…well, we already knew that, we’ve seen them do it enough. There were a couple of little things in there that I liked, the sort of storytelling progression that should happen when one person faces another multiple times – Summer knowing what Emma was doing when she stuck her head through the ropes, for example – that added a new layer to the match, which is good seeing as otherwise it would be a copy of what we’ve seen before. Good stuff.
Tyler Breeze is backstage with Devin Taylor, checking himself out on his phone – he begs Devin not to use the words ‘Adrian Neville’ and ‘face’ in the same sentence, and then realises that if Adrian Neville wins next week he’ll be the face of NXT, and Breeze just can’t have himself being represented by that. Wonderful promo work from Breeze here, as ever – he’s deeply entertaining on the mike and really gets his gimmick. He’s not just ‘rar, I’mma gonna beat this guy’ but is instead giving a promo that hits on the major points of his character whilst saying he’s going to beat this guy. Seriously, I don’t think there is anybody better at showing who their character is in a single minute than Breeze right now.
Renee Young is sat down with Sami Zayn and Cesaro and they talk about their history for a bit. Zayn congratulates Cesaro on qualifying for the Elimination Chamber match, and he says he hopes to be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion when he comes back to NXT. Young reveals that Sami cannot touch Cesaro or he forfeits any future shots at the NXT Championship, and Cesaro cannot touch Cesaro or he loses his chamber spot. Toni keeps interrupting Zayn as he tries to respond to Renee and he flatters Young a little at one point. While Zayn talks, Cesaro takes his phone out and checks his watch, clearly overconfident and not bothered about what Zayn says because he’s super arrogant…but he keeps interrupting Sami, trying to rile him to react, which he eventually does. Sami says that they are past personal and this is professional – professionally, he needs to beat Cesaro to further his career and that after February 27th Cesaro will have nothing to say at all. This was really effective, and I loved Cesaro being super arrogant and making it all about him – he looked super smarmy with it all and it worked effectively. If I was in Sami’s shoes I’d have got pretty pissed off as well, and their face to face gave them a good reason for going at it next week as well as building some good heat for the match. Both men were passionate in it and the stipulations worked well, with neither man being able to hit the other despite wanting to, based solely on words alone.
Emma is dancing down a corridor backstage and talks to someone about her sign. She’s super hyped about her women’s title shot on NXT:arRIVAL and has some things to say to Paige but she’ll do it next week, face to face. Magnificent. Emma also forgets which way she was going at the end of this interview and has to double back because she’s super goofy.
Adrian Neville vs Tyler Breeze
Neville is rocking a black eye here and points to the sky as he gets in the ring, clearly bigging up the ladder match. There’s a small CM Punk chant while he does it, but Tyler Breeze’s entrance soon cuts that off because everybody loves him. He’s looking irresistible in white and pink tonight, and rests across the top ropes before the referee rings the bell. Inevitably, he does some preening in his phone before kicking off the match, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best. Nothing at all.
Breeze dodges Neville running in, but he skids on his knee and they tie up, the Geordie forcing Breeze back into the corner. The commentary sounds oddly piped in here, as Breeze takes control and pounds Neville down in the corner, but off an Irish whip Neville leapfrogs him and flips across the ring…but Breeze is amazing and knows this is pointless flipping, so runs after him and connects with a dropkick, jaw jacking with Neville all the while. He punches Neville down to the mat and takes advantage of the opportunity to check himself in his phone, before dropping a couple of fists on his face and taking a pin attempt for a two count. Breeze chokes his opponent in the corner with a knee and connects with a right hand to the face or two before Neville blocks a kick and takes the opportunity to strike! Kick after kick, and a spin kick, and he drives Breeze into the turnbuckle before throwing him in the air and letting him hit the mat in something super impressive. Breeze on his knees now and gets kicked in the chest, before being sent to the corner where Neville charges him and takes Breeze’s head off with a European uppercut. He pulls Breeze up but the gorgeous one sends him to the apron and looks for a springboard dropkick only for Neville to duck. Breeze now gets sent to the outside, dropkicked off of the apron, and Neville hits a big over the top rope twisting moonsault! The pace is slowly picking up now with Neville on top, which should work really well into the second half.
The Man That Gravity Forgot comes flying off the top rope with a missile dropkick that wins him a two count, and Breeze is crawling on the mat now, unable to get to his feet unaided…but he takes advantage of Neville pulling him up to connect with a jawbreaker. Breeze goes for a hurricanrana…but it’s blocked! Neville just stops him from doing it and holds him on his shoulders, before hauling him up into a powerbomb for 1…2…Breeze just kicks out! Wow, amazing scenes, Breeze looked like he’d been legit broken in half there. Neville connects with an elbow from the apron and goes for a springboard, but Breeze telegraphs it and tries for a dropkick…only for Neville to stop short and Breeze eats nothing but mat! But as Neville runs off the ropes Breeze connects with the sweetest superkick to the chin! He crawls into the cover, but takes too long and only gets a two count amidst duelling ‘let’s go Neville’ and ‘let’s go Breeze’ chants. The Geordie Jumper has been rocked here, though, and Breeze needs to take advantage, pulling him to his feet…but the Beauty Shot misses! Neville with a big enziguiri! And another! He gets up to the top rope…Red Arrow! 1…2…3! And it’s over! Neville with a big win going into the ladder match next week.
Neville and Breeze both look pretty hurt after this one, taking their time to get up. That superkick from Breeze was a thing of beauty, by the way, and he should totally use it as a finisher if he can hit it that damned well every time. Oh, Neville’s got the microphone…but he’s immediately interrupted by a band of Oompa Loompas!
Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-doo,
He just wants to say how impressive you been,
Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-dee,
Bo is impressed that you’re going to face him.
Ladder of success you’ve climbed so quick,
Now as high as you can you have reached,
Intention of losing Bo does not have,
Breathe you must, savour every last gasp.
Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-doo,
Bo doesn’t hate Neville, he’s a good kid,
Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-dee,
He isn’t scared, he’s gonna win this.
Neville says Bo’s scared and offers him a free shot, which leads to Bo removing his jacket and looking very, very serious indeed. Dallas just slowly but surely gets ready to hit him as Adrian encourages him…but he chooses to leave the ring instead, almost regretfully. Bo backs away, staring Neville down, as the show fades to black. That was some great hype for the ladder match, with a pretty intense stare down at the end too. I kind of like that they didn’t come to blows here, really – Bo’s clearly a bit scared of Neville, so doesn’t want to strike for fear of what he might do to him, whereas Neville is confident enough to offer up his chin for a free punch, knowing he can win the ensuing fight.
NXT MVP: Tyler Breeze!
An excellent promo and a terrific match, even in a losing effort. Take a bow, Tyler Breeze. Take a bow. I don’t think I need to tell you how much I love this gimmick any more.
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
08/01/2014 – Hunico
What a great week of television that was. I think I might have been a little too harsh on the show last week in the immediate aftermath – rewatching it a day later, I really enjoyed it – but this was another step up and I think NXT has really upped its game in the past three or four weeks going toward the live show. The only thing that was technically poor about this show was The Ascension squashing two nobodies to start the show off, but that sort of thing has become so standard now I’m starting to become immune to how bad it actually is. They’re certainly building up The Ascension so that when they lose the belts it will mean something, I just wish they were doing it by having them feud for the titles more. Outside of that, Emma vs Summer was really good and the main event was terrific action. The real highlights, for me, were the two promo bits to hype the big matches for next week – Cesaro and Zayn really, really built some heat behind their match during the sit down interview, and the stare down at the end of the night got me absolutely buzzing for Dallas vs Neville. Excellent work on those.
Now, I believe (based on the taping dates that were on the spoilers) that we still have one show to go before NXT:arRIVAL which will air next Wednesday evening again. If so, we have Bayley vs Sasha Banks, CJ Parker vs Colin Cassady and Mason Ryan vs Bo Dallas set for the final taped show before the live special. If not, then next Thursday night please come and join me as I desperately try and fight sleep at midnight UK time to bring you guys live coverage of the first ever live episode of NXT. If you don’t see this turn up about an hour before the start time at 8pm EST, 1am GMT, assume I’m asleep and haven’t made it, and this will go up after the event some time on Friday. Get excited for next week NXTians, but stay safe when crossing the road and drink more hot chocolate! Goodbye!