The NXT Review: 22/01/2014 – The One With JBL Bingo
Jan 23, 2014 - 10:00:00 AM
Welcome once again, NXTians, to The NXT Review! After the shabby effort put forth last week, we’re hoping for better from the show that has, officially, been crowned the best weekly wrestling television show in some corners of the internet. Whilst nothing was formally announced last week, I believe we will see Alexander Rusev continue his one man wrecking ball campaign against everyone I hate by taking on Xavier Woods again, plus an appearance from the number one contender to Bo Dallas’ NXT Championship Adrian Neville and some women’s action as Summer Rae battles Natalya. Before we get on to that, I promised a JBL bingo card last week, so here it is:
Click through for a bigger version. Just in time for the Rumble, too! If anybody can send me a completed card on Monday or Tuesday of next week, there may well be some kind of prize on offer – tweet it at me (@MrOlliB) or send me an email by clicking on my name up there with pictorial proof and we’ll see.
With that all handled, let’s get into…
The NXT Review: 22/01/2014 – The One With JBL Bingo
Tensai, Tom Phillips and - *sigh* - Byron Saxton introduce us to the show – tonight we’ve got a Bo Dallas Banner Raising Ceremony to celebrate him having the longest NXT Championship reign in history! Oh hurrah! This is going to be the tits, I can feel it, and if it’s anywhere near as good as the celebration he had when returning from his Bo Dallas vs The World tour we are in for a treat.
Brandi Rhodes (or ‘Eden’ as they seem to want to call her) is doing ring introductions tonight, and she welcomes Adrian Neville to the ring, where his opponent, the comboy Wesley Blake (he’s a rhinestone cowboy! He’s been walkin’ these streets so long singin’ the same old song! Except…er…this is his debut. He better be hoping a smile can hide all his pain tonight). The crowd are hot for Neville, and I think feuding with Dallas has really, really helped him finally connect with the crowd a bit more.
Blake dodges Neville charging in, but gets caught in a wristlock. The cowboy reverses it, but Neville flips and dips and dances his way out of it, then just slams his opponent onto his face. He keeps the larger man on the mat, and even though Blake pushes him off the ropes he knocks him back down with a shoulder block and follows up with an arm drag before locking up the arm of the Rodeo Master (I have no idea if Wesley Blake is a master of the art of rodeo or not, but whatever). Blake pulls at the hair, but Neville barely blinks and backflips over him out of the corner then takes him down with a back body drop and follows up with a missile dropkick to the sternum. Knife edge chops from Neville in the corner now, and the crowd chant for one more…which Neville goes to give them but Blake cuts him off with a kick to the midsection. The spoilsport! The cowboy connects with a shoulder to the gut and a hard European uppercut, but he’s too slow to take advantage and Neville gets back on the offense with some flying forearms and a spin kick, followed up with a low dropkick to the head. The Geordie is rolling now, and looks to go up top…Red Arrow connects! 3 count and done.
Little more than an enhancement match for Neville as he rumbles on towards his shot at Bo Dallas for the NXT Championship, which will surely happen in the not too distant future. There were, as with last week, a couple of little new things from the Jumping Geordie, like the dropkick and the backflip out of the corner, which show he is starting to make use of his large array of moves that he used to use week in week out. As for his opponent – well, there’s not a lot to go on, really. He looks a bit like JBL, I guess, in that he’s a big dude who can probably clobber people, but we didn’t see what he really had to offer here. Will we see more of him in the future? Maybe, but based on this he’s going to lose a lot more before he gets to cut loose.
The BFFs are backstage with Devin Taylor, bitching it up left right and centre. And Charlotte’s here too! Hurrah! Time for Bayley to exact her revenge soon, perhaps? Charlotte has since been limousine ridin’, jet flyin’, kiss stealin’ etc etc and says nobody cares about Bayley because life isn’t about hugs and headbands – it’s vicious and will mess you up. Actually, she’s doing this promo kind of well. Summer says that this year is the year of the BFFs and tonight she’ll kickstart it by destroying the diva Natalya…if you can even call her a diva. Standard BFF stuff, but it’s good so I’ll let it pass and Charlotte showed more personality here than she did in her previous stuff. I mean, she’s still scuppered by looking like Chyna hit a beauty salon and they didn’t really know what to do with her but hey, at least she didn’t say ‘woo’ at all.
Tensai just screams ‘X-MAAAAAAAAAN’ when Xavier Woods comes down to the ring, which is frankly a little weird but probably also fits with his ‘I’m so 90’s I had my first sex dream about Melissa Joan Hart’ gimmick. Does anybody remember M.A.S.K., while we’re on the topic of old TV shows? I think it originally aired in the 80s, but was definitely shown on some channels in the 90s because I remember watching it with my dad. That and C.O.P.S. – fighting crime in a future time! – are my two really vivid TV memories as a youngster that nobody seems to remember when I mention them. Lana introduces her charge in a cracking power suit, but Rusev is wearing some different ring gear today, just some black shorts instead of his skirt. I miss the skirt.
Rusev overpowers Woods, but he skips around his opponent and connects with some strikes. He’s using his speed here to good effect, dodging the Bulgarian Brute at every opportunity and connecting with a dropkick, but he finally gets caught and levelled with a right hand. Rusev mounts his victim and just nails him with plenty of right hands, then throws him to the corner and kicks him in the legs. A big short-arm kick (I guess that’s what you’d call it? I mean, it’s set up like a short-arm clothesline, but he connects with his foot instead. Pretty good agility, as always, from Rusev) knocks Woods groggy, and Rusev then just pulls at the arm of his opponent whilst standing on his head. Woods fights to his feet and hits multiple punches and kicks but just can’t take Rusev down…until he hits a dropkick! Rusev on his hauches now and Woods connects with a shining wizard! 1…2…no! Rusev kicks out! Woods stays on the attach, but Rusev shoves him away and then hits a jumping thrust kick as his opponent comes back in! The Accolade gets locked in and that is all she wrote.
Rusev keeps the hold locked on until Lana tells him to stop…only to tell him to start again shortly after. But who’s this? It’s Sin Cara! The smallest guy in WWE has come to save the worst guy in WWE from the biggest guy in NXT! That makes sense! He even takes him down with a headscissors before escaping with Xavier Woods up the ramp. Well, that’s intriguing. I feel like they’re just fluffing up Rusev’s record at the moment before calling him up to the main roster, because he’s now just taking out people from the main roster week after week, but it’s cool. Clearly Sin Cara is next on the list, and even though it’s Hunico (who, as discussed, I love) I’m going to mark that down as him yet again taking out someone I dislike. The Sin Cara gimmick always felt a bit cynical for me, more an attempt to sell masks than to actually create a star that could feud long term with people. Rusev showed some of that agility here, something that’s been missing from his recent matches, which was good to see, but otherwise it was fairly ordinary for him. Still, a nice little story told, and way, way better than last week.
Fuck you CJ Parker. I hope Antonio Cesaro forcibly removes all your dreadlocks by giving you the giant swing whilst holding them. The pop for Cesaro is huge, and his jacket is still the best thing in WWE, merchandise speaking. They should really start selling them, because the only Cesaro merch you can get is that (admittedly lovely) red t-shirt he had a long time ago. It’s made all the better by having ‘Toni’ embroidered on it on the front – have you noticed that Swagger’s says ‘Bigg Hoss’? I want Real Americans to win all of the things based solely on the quality of their jackets.
Amidst a big ‘we the people’ chant – which Tom Phillips desperately tries to pass off as a ‘William Regal’ chant, because he really, really wants Michael Cole’s job – the two lock up. Cesaro grabs a wristlock, but Parker flips through it and comes back with one of his own and takes Cesaro to the mat. Oh my, that’s amazing – Parker goes for a standing senton but Toni gets the knees up right at the last moment and connects in the kidneys, following up with a really hard kick too. A back body drop follows, and he then wrenches at the neck with a knee in the back. Cesaro has already started to tell a story in the match after sixty seconds, which is a freaking lesson to some guys. Parker fires back, though, telegraphing Cesaro when he comes off the ropes, and connects with a scissor kick. He hits the running double knees into the corner and goes up to the top rope, connecting with a crossbody. Aeroplane swing from Parker as the boos rain down on him, but Cesaro’s so good at rotating now courtesy of the giant swing he actually doesn’t get dizzy – unlike his opponent, who wibbles and wobbles his way into a giant swing! Nine rotations, and the Neutraliser ends this immediately after.
Thank you, Toni. Oh, here’s Sami Zayn! He’s on crutches, but that’s not going to hold him down – he wants a rematch with Antonio Cesaro! Yes! Yes! Yes! Zayn wants redemption from his loss and is determined to get it in 2014. Toni approaches him on the ramp and grabs the microphone – ‘no’. No?! You can’t say no! This is what the people want! This is what we want! Give us what we want! The match was nothing really to write home about, although Cesaro showed he’s about six billion times better than Parker just by being in the ring. One guy was fluid and knew exactly what they were doing, the other one has some spots and doesn’t know how to fill time between them unless it’s pressing up on the d-pad to taunt. This is all about Zayn/Cesaro, though, and I hope Toni changes his mind in the next couple of weeks – what a match that would be for the live NXT!
Devin Taylor is backstage with Donald Duck. Donald thinks that NXT is awwwwwwesome and wants to do a special NXT version of Miz TV, but CJ Parker interrupts because he is bummed out because he gets booed! How meta! Donald can really, really, really, really see why and thinks it’s disrespectful that the most must see WWE blah blah Miz you have a huge carbon footprint blah blah slap in the face let’s have a match. Wow, The Miz vs CJ Parker! That’s going to be a barnstormer! (What’s the html code for sarcasm?)
Renee Young has just turned up at commentary, meaning this match has a four person booth. Four people! This could get messy. Natalya is accompanied by her new best friend Bayley, and early on she had some utterly pointless words about Summer Rae being mean and saying things – the upshot is she’s going to break her in half. Charlotte isn’t accompanying Summer, only Sasha has shown up, and they do their usual act. Renee gets into talking about Summer bullying people but is interrupted by Byron Saxton, who starts to make the point that just because two women are driven to succeed doesn’t make them bullies but then sort of ruins it by not actually paying attention to what the BFFs have done.
The two trade some holds on the mat, ending up with a jackknife cover from Summer that Nattie powers out of. There’s a stalemate as both go for a backslide until Summer powers Natalya face first into the turnbuckle. The Canadian dodges her opponent running in and takes her down with a sideheadlock, then runs up her back, forcing her head into the mat, before landing a dropkick square on the mush of Summer. Bayley looks overjoyed at ringside, but Rae reverses an Irish whip attempt and lands a roundhouse kick which wins her a two count. Summer locks up a Native American deathlock, but Natalya rolls through into an odd looking Boston crab variant that causes Summer to grab the ropes in order to break the hold. Rae fires back now, connecting with an elbow and then leaping onto the leg of her rival. But as she goes to do it again, Natalya pushes her off and sends her flying out of the ring! There’s a nice bit of storytelling going on here, with Summer working the leg, but Natalya now shrugs it all off and comes back with a drop toehold and a snap suplex, followed up with a couple of clotheslines. Off the ropes, though, Summer spots her opponent ducking and kicks her in the face! She goes for the roundhouse kick again but Nattie blocks! Sharpshooter! Summer has to tap!
Bayley and Natalya celebrate in the ring as the BFFs retreat up the ramp. That sort of wasn’t any different from the other matches Natalya has done on NXT, but that doesn’t mean it was bad – it just felt a little phoned in. I swear I’ve seen these two face off three or four times now and they always seem to go through the same motions. To be honest, it wasn’t long enough (the story of most matches tonight) to really get going, and I thought they were going to tell a more interesting story with Summer working the legs of her opponent that went out of the window as soon as it started. Pretty average, truth be told.
Enzo and Cassady are backstage, Enzo in his wonderful leopard print(!) wheelchair. Before he broke his leg, Enzo used to like to live life on the edge, but it’s hard to that on a broken leg so he decided to jump off – the difference between him and normal people is that he can fly(!!). Cassady interrupts and says that what Enzo means he is recovering well and will be back better than ever. Oh, here’s Aiden English! He dimisses Devin Taylor and turns his attention to the Realest Guys in the Room, pointing out that he won a singles match with Cassady. English has taken so many cheap shots he’s surprised that Aiden hasn’t gone home with the ugly girl from the party(!!!), but Aiden decides to show off his singing talents – Enzo is pretty against that though and runs over his foot on the way out(!!!!). Oh guys, just when you’re a little concerned that this episode is not going to have anything really, really special along come these three to put a smile on your face and redeem everything. I could pretty much watch them interact for a full 50 minute episode at this stage, this was wonderful.
Here’s Bo! People have turned their backs in the crowd and…is that someone dressed as Hulk Hogan in the crowd? It is! It actually is! Unless it’s actual Hulk Hogan, that is. Bo has a mike, and it’s been way too long since I’ve done this:
Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-doo,
Thanks for the cheers, it all means so much,
Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-dee,
This is historic, let’s celebrate as such.
Bo likes your chants, it’s so very nice,
When he goes to sleep he’s is warmed by them right.
Bo’s record reign is monumental,
Thanks to his family, teachers and the like.
Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-doo,
Thanks to his Bo-lievers, he’s humbled by them,
Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-dee,
Show me the banner and Bo-lieve it then.
Bo Dallas is, of course, on form – he’s really nailing this promo malarkey now. He even thanks his fans for cheering ‘let’s go Bo’, saying it ‘gives me so much strength and it puts me to bed at night like a warm blanket’. But the best thing, the very best, is when it comes to time to thank his family and friends for coming out and supporting him – because he’s such a douche, the only people there are his third cousin, his sister’s college roommate and his fourth grade history teacher. Splendid. Anyway, he unveils a nice banner before Adrian Neville turns up to spoil the party. Dallas thinks he’s there to congratulate him, but that’s not why A-Nev is present – he’s here on behalf of himself, everybody here and at Full Sail, to say shut up. Which is a little rude. There’s a crowd chant that I can’t quite make out clearly, but it puts a grin on Neville’s face whatever it is. Anyway, Neville’s going to take the belt from Bo, which Dallas won’t allow because last time out he beat a nobody to get his shot in 4 minutes and 45 seconds. Because he’s a champion, Bo could beat him in that time, so this is all pointless – oh, here’s Triple H! He’s going to settle this dispute by putting forward a beat the clock challenge – if Neville lasts 4 minutes and 45 seconds against Bo Dallas, he gets a title shot on the live NXT episode. And that match happens right now!
Bo’s completely unprepared for this, he’s still in his shirt, trousers and dress shoes from the banner raising ceremony. Neville ducks him rushing in and Dallas plants into the turnbuckle twice, before throwing him across the ring and checking an imaginary watch. Neville now sends Dallas to the outside, but as he looks to pull the champ back in Dallas pulls him to the outside. The Man That Gravity Forgot makes his way back to the apron and kicks Bo in the head, but then Dallas makes use of the ring skirt to take Neville down to the floor. Dallas is happy to try and settle for the count out, but Neville gets back in at nine, then kicks out of the cover that follows. A suplex gets the desperate champion another two count, and he just drives knees into the head of his opponent to earn yet another two count. Dallas has ripped his shirt off now – put it back on! Please! – and hits multiple back elbows to his opponent in the corner, following up with a body slam for another two count with two minutes left on the clock. Short-arm back elbows now from Bo, who’s taking his time, but he eventually gets caught out as Neville ducks one, connecting with kicks and flying forearms. With 45 seconds left, Bo’s looking for the Red Arrow…but Dallas rolls out of the ring to avoid it! Neville’s just waiting now, and he throws Bo out of the ring with ten seconds left…and Neville has lasted the time! He…sort of wins? I guess? He gets his shot, at least.
Bo goes for a sneak attack after the bell, but Neville dodges and he hits nothing but turnbuckle! Red Arrow! Neville counts his own pinfall, then stands over his prone rival with the NXT Championship in hand. That was actually a pretty good short match, and I loved the end where Neville realised he didn’t need to risk a high flying move to the outside and could just avoid Dallas until the clock hit zero. Sensible stuff, really.
Realest Guys In The Room!
For being magical, wonderful people, and signalling the point where this show went from OK to very good.
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
11/12/2013 – Bayley
05/12/2013 – Paige
13/11/2013 – Corey Graves
This felt like it was a week where they set a lot of wheels in motion for the future – Rusev and Sin Cara, Cesaro and Zayn, and Dallas and Neville all got some hype here, as well as the backstage segments with Donald Duck and CJ Parker and the Realest Guys In The Room and Aiden English. As a result, it was high on plot points for various people, but kind of low on wrestling content – I don’t think a single match really went more than five minutes, which is an oddity for NXT where we normally see a lengthy opener and closer. That said, those last two segments possibly saved this from being bitterly average to being really good – I adored the Enzo, Big Cass and English interactions, as I always will do, and the Bo Dallas Banner Unveiling was Dallas at his very best, for me. So certainly not a bad show, although until the last 15 minutes or so it wasn’t setting the world alight. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed most of the matches really, but they just weren’t anything to right home about.
Looking forward to next week, I think we might see the return of the Hipster Barista Corey Graves to the NXT stage. How exciting! The only man in the WWE to wear skinnier jeans than Batista! Also, we’ll have the continuation of the Realest Guys In The Room vs Aiden English, and presumably some fallout from The Miz and CJ Parker interacting backstage. Let’s all hope someone’s given Alex Riley a fresh box of tissues if he’s on commentary for that one! Until next week, my friends, stay safe when crossing the road and drink more hot chocolate! Aloha!