Good evening NXTians new and old, and welcome to the NXT:arRIVAL super special LIVE review! I’ll be coming back here through the night to give my thoughts on the developments of the two hour spectacular from Full Sail from 19:30 pm EST assuming that a) the Network feed stays functional throughout and b) I stay awake for the duration. I trust tea and crumpets will get me through, though! Tonight is probably the second big test of the Networks capabilities to handle a number of users on the livestream, so if that goes down we’ll forget this ever happened and a review will pop up tomorrow. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen – I’ve found the stream to be quite good if I run a bit behind, so it’s possible I’ll be five or so minutes back in time to you all with getting things up here. Anyway, enough about all this – we’ve got a new twist on an old banner and a card that promises to showcase the best of the past 18 months of NXT. As well as appearances from Alexander Rusev and Lana, maybe the New Age Outlaws, and Enzo Amore (I mean, I think Enzo will turn up, they did a big feature on him getting a new haircut on the NXT subsite on WWE.com in preparation for the show), we’ve got the three announced matches to look forward to.
The NXT:arRIVAL Review: 27/02/2014 - The LIVE One
Feb 27, 2014 - 10:00:00 PM
I posted these question in the Lords of Pain live TV forum and I thought they might be interesting here too, so let me know your thoughts:
- Paige and Dallas - do both, one or neither leave with their titles?
- Who do you want to see that isn't in the three announced matches?
- Who's your favourite person on the NXT roster?
- If Bray Wyatt turns up tonight we all cheer, right?
So, without further ado, and with images already dropped in so I don’t have to add them later, let’s get into…
The NXT Review: 27/02/2014 – The Live One
Not sure who's sat down with it, but the pre-show has been surprisingly OK to me - hyping the matches for the night nicely, and Heyman, Nash and Hart have been quite a good panel. Heyman's doing a fantastic job getting the NXT women's division over just by saying they all could challenge Emma or Paige after their match tonight. Nice little backstage interview between Natalya and Emma that put over the importance of the title, too, and one with Tensai talking to Paige too. Man, even the pre-shows for NXT are better than the main roster ones!
Yah! Yah! Yah! The Ascension will be defending their titles tonight against an unknown opponent. God, I wish it was Realest Guys In The Room but I think Enzo is still injured.
Cesaro vs Sami Zayn
Right, we are kicking off our night with Zayn vs Cesaro! My stream is a little laggy on the Network, but I'm coping - just. Let's hope I don't end up an hour behind and going to bed at evenstupider o'clock on a school night. The set up they've got tonight is incredible, by the way - lasers, steam, the works. Triple H turned up to get the crowd going before the match started, and there's some new credits as well. Zayn flies down to the ring, slapping hands on his way and sporting some rather colourful new trunks, while Cesaro is in his Toni jacket but sadly without Zeb Colter. I love Zeb. I miss his signs on NXT.
The two lock up and trade the advantage in the opening mat work which is, as ever, exemplary. Zayn flips out of a back body drop attempt, but nearly gets caught in a swing for his troubles whilst going for a head scissors! He avoids and sends Cesaro to the outside with an arm drag before diving onto him with an over the top rope senton! He rolls his opponent back in, but as he looks for something big he gets plucked out of midair by the Real American and Cesaro turns it into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker! Man, this is so damn good already. Cesaro takes the advantage now, throwing Zayn about and driving him into the barricades at ringside before hurling back into the ring via the apron for a two count before returning to the ringside area and dropping a knee across the back of his head.
Toni is completely on top here, just ragdolling Zayn around really, and now starts to look to work the knee of Zayn by wrapping it around the turnbuckle, but Zayn fights out of it and goes for the tornado DDT through the ropes - but Cesaro has it scouted! He catches him with a European uppercut in midflight, and now gets his chance to work over the knee injury that Zayn has been struggling with in recent weeks. The Swiss Sensation is merciless, stomping on the limb and then stretching it in a sickening way in the middle of the ring. Zayn tries to fight out, but Cesaro comes back with a double stomp on the knee which earns him a two count. It seems like our friendly Canuck can hardly walk, but there's no way he'll let the referee stop this, even with Cesaro driving knee after knee into his leg, before dragon screing him across the ring and again going back to stretching the joint out. Toni stays on it, with more dragon screws and a single leg crab that Zayn really struggles to fight out of. He scratches and crawls...crawls and scratches...and finally reaches the ropes. And then he sends Cesaro outside with a big back body drop on one leg! Cesaro reeling on the outside, and Sami looks to hit an Asai moonsault...but he gets caught in midair again! And slammed onto the ramp back first! Sami is selling so damn well here, I legit wonder whether his leg is hurting seriously.
With Sami struggling back to the ring, Cesaro looks for a count out but Zayn just makes his way back to the ring - and catches Cesaro in the middle of a running European uppercut before Exploder suplexing him into the turnbuckle! Blue Thunder Bomb! Yes yes 1...2...No! Cesaro kicks out! And he goes right for that knee again...but he gets caught in a Koji clutch...reversed into a Brock Lock! Zayn just gets to the ropes...and counters a swing into a roll up! Two count only...and a Cesaro swing on Zayn! Sami is flailing around like a salmon and seems to be a little busted open. He makes his way up to the top rope, driving multiple elbows into Cesaro's skull (I think my stream skipped here) Ricola bomb from Cesaro...reversed into a hurricanrana! Yakuza kick! 1..2...2.999! Cesaro just rolls a shoulder up! **** me this is good shit!
I'm sorry, I just stopped writing after that. I wanted to soak it all up. Cesaro wins. I'll come back and fill this in tomorrow because this was so damned good.
Mojo Rawley vs CJ Parker
**** you CJ Parker. Mojo won with his butt. Thank ****.
The Ascension vs ???
Yah! Yah! Yah! The Ascensions surprise opponents are...TOO COOL! Awesome! Konnor and Viktor take it to Grandmaster Sexay in the opening stages, trucking through him, notably the Bludgeon Of The Ascension hitting multiple running shoulder blocks, and they cut off the ring as usual. Sexay cannot get a breath in as Viktor comes in and starts to take him apart, and with the crowd begging for Konnor to come in he refuses to tag out...which costs him! Sexay knocks him back with a jawbreaker, but gets cut off from making a tag by Viktor...but not for long! Scotty 2 Hotty comes in like a house that has overheated! He knocks Konnor off the ropes and sends Viktor to the mat, chopping him in the chest, but Viktor eventually blocks an Irish whip and slaps The Worm Master away, only to be met by a boot to the face in the corner. And he dodges a second one and Viktor is down! S-A-W...no, that's not right...W-O-R-M WOR...not quite! Viktor denies him with boot and takes him down! Sexay gets knocked off the apron and Konnor comes in. Fall Of Man and this one is all over. Still, at least The Ascension had some nice new music, really threatening - even though this was pretty typical for them, it was aided by them not being opposite two complete unknowns.
Paige vs Emma
Stephanie McMahon does a thing before this match, putting over how great the NXT women are. Man, I am looking forward to this, and Regal is dancing along at the commentary booth as Emma makes her entrance. Do you think Emma could get this reaction on the main roster? She even gets Stephanie doing the dance. Paige has a new video and theme tune and has her own merch now too! Awesome! I believe it's on WWE shop. Stephanie shakes their hands and holds the belt aloft before the bell rings.
The two talk some smack to each other as they get involved in a game of push and shove and this immediately becomes a brawl as the two grab each others hair and throw each other around. The ref breaks it up in the end but Paige hits a sneaky hard kick to the gut and goes for the Paige Turner! Reversed, and Emma gets a bridge that Paige powers out of...but she's almost caught in an Emma Lock until she sits down in it and changes it to a pin! Paige now takes the upper hand with a body slam and a tight chinlock as duelling chants go up in the crowd. She has Emma down, and this is a nice lull after the frantic pace that the match started with. Emma find her feet again and slips out of a body slam attempt but gets caught in a corner with multiple elbows from the Norwich Nightmare, who then chokes her fallen opponent with a boot...but Emma pushes up with the foot in her hand and throws Paige to the corner. Emma Sandwich...no, Paige blocks it with a boot and reverses another Emma Lock attempt, before hitting multiple knees to her opponent in the ropes, but she eventually gets her feet taken out from under her by Emma. This has been hard hitting and technical so far, which is exactly what I expected before the match started.
Emma dodges Paige charging into the corner and catches her in the DilEmma! Emma Sandwich gets her a two count, and she looks to take advantage of Paige's injured back, after her fall to the apron, with a stretch and a knee to the back. Paige works her way up only to be taken down again and Emma wrenches back even harder, even putting a boot against the back of her opponents head which causes Paige to hit the mat. This hold has been locked in for a long time now, and Paige finally works it back, I think, into...actually, this is kind of a surfboard variant by Emma, with both feet in the small of the back, and Emma having to keep her shoulders off the mat. The Vegemite Vixen throws Paige to the corner and stomps on her, and has taken full control now of the Brit...until she gets caught with an elbow to the temple! Come on Paige! She lets out a scream and goes to drive Emma into the turnbuckle, but Emma blocks it and they fight to the top rope...Emma blocks a superplex attempt, but Paige stops her in a sunset flip powerbomb, so Emma just walks out of the corner and powerbombs her anyway! Amazing! Emma gets a pair of two counts after that, and talks some trash to her opponent, urging her to bring it...which she does with a big slap to the face! Flying clothesline! Knee to the gut! Paige Turner! It's over, completely over...1...2...NO! NO! EMMA KICKED OUT! SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT! Paige goes for a inverted cloverleaf now and the crowd are split, half urging her to tap and half not, but Paige chickenwings her and pulls back...Emma has to tap! Paige wins!
By gawd. By frigging gawd. You want to change the way people feel about WWE women's wrestling? Here's your example. By gawd.
Tyler Breeze vs Xavier Woods
Turns out we hadn't gotten rid of Xavier Woods. But at least Breeze will destroy him, right! He preens himself in his phone, looking gorgeous - but before the match starts Alexander Rusev appears and destroys them both! This is, in fairness, what Rusev should have been doing to main roster guys since the Rumble. Lana says a few words and that's it. Simple, effective, but why Breeze? Does this turn Breeze face? Oh well. Main event time!
Bo Dallas vs Adrian Neville
There is a wonderful Bo Dallas promo before this match. Absolutely perfect, including Bo not drinking out of bottles, believing his own hype, and all the usual excellent Bo Dallas things. Oh, OK, there were some stream issues here. We've come back to HBK talking about, presumably, the NXT Championship and just shilling stuff. Waste of time...oh, Adrian Neville has some new theme music, and everyone hates Bo. What's new? I sometimes worry that Bo is just being too awesome to stay over as a heel, so this sort of response is always a little pleasing. The two go face to face as Eden Stiles gives us the big match introductions and the belt ascends to the ceiling amidst a giant 'no more Bo' chant, and this thing is on!
Bo immediately tries to reach a ladder, but Neville cuts him off and kicks him about a bit. Bo reverses an Irish whip but Neville leapfrogs over him and flips across the ring, catching the champ with a boot to the face and he goes up top looking for Red Arrow! Bo rolls away, though, and sweeps out the legs of Neville, taking control and slowing the pace, hitting multiple short arm elbows to the head on the Man That Gravity Forgot, keeping him under control. He finally takes him out with a short arm clothesline, and with Neville down he looks to get a ladder...but instead ties Neville up in the ropes by his leg! Genius! Dallas has the time to get a ladder now, and slides one into the ring...but Neville has freed himself and dropkicks it back into Bo! Crossbody over the top rope! Dallas is down and winded, and it's the Jumping Geordie who gets a ladder in the ring first, but before he can use it he gets driven into the steel steps at ringside. Now Dallas tries to get in the ring, but Neville grabs his leg to stop him. Dallas doesn't like that and ties him up in the ring skirt, connecting with multiple elbows and then charging a ladder into him...no, Neville ducked at the last minute, and he reverses a double underhook suplex into a back body drop on the outside. Finally, we get a man and a ladder in the ring, as Neville takes advantage of his downed opponent...only to be taken out by a ladder that Bo through when he's nearly at the top of the steps! This is a curious one so far, with both guys cutting each other off when they can after the opening exchanges.
Bo positions a ladder over the neck of Neville and starts to climb, but the Geordie powers the ladder over and Bo eats the canvas! Now it's Neville who has the chance, and he again goes for the ladder - they're really trying to get this done quickly, neither man willing to hang around - but he gets knocked across the top rope by Dallas. The two fight over a ladder, and Neville ends up pinned in the corner by it as Dallas charges him with it. Dallas props a ladder across the corner and looks to slingshot Neville into it, but the Brit jumps out of it and then uses the ladder as a prop for a tornado DDT! Neville goes to climb the ladder, but Bo pulls him off and then hits him into the standing ladder which sickeningly falls across Neville's head. That looked nasty. Bo takes control after this, and drives forearms into A-Nev in the corner and looks to bulldog him onto a ladder, but Neville reverses and throws him headfirst into the ladder propped in the corner! Neville now is fighting to get a ladder upright that he can climb, but as he starts the ascent Dallas stirs as well and the two fight at the top of the steps, Dallas driving Neville into the ladder and then throwing him to the apron...but he gets caught by a kick to the head! Neville climbs the turnbuckles...but Bo pushes him off! He's taking too long to get climbing, surely...the crowd are chanting 'no'...WHERE THE HELL DID HE COME FROM? Neville jumped onto the ladder above where Dallas was climbing! Bo desperately tries to get him off, trying first a German suplex but failing and settling for a powerbomb into a ladder in the corner. He tries to sandwich Neville between two ladders but the Geordie blcoks and body slams him onto another ladder! Red Arrow! Onto Dallas who was on a ladder! Come on Neville! Make history son! Dallas has gone to the outside! The crowd are chanting 'yes!'! Yes! YES! NEVILLE WINS! BO IS DETHRONED! HIS REIGN OF TERROR IS OVER! I'M MARKING OUT BRO! THIS IS A MARK OUT MOMENT!
What a moment it is, as well - Neville sits atop the ladder bathed in jets of steam coming down from the roof. Honestly, the match was OK - relative to what came before it didn't quite hit the heights it needed to - but the moment Neville took that title down - the crowd reaction renders the actual nature of the match pointless. That pop was huge, and John Cena is looking on from the crowd in front of two incredibly pissed off looking girls in their new 'Bo-Lieve' t-shirts.
And so ends NXT:ArRIVAL. A wonderful night all round, and a show that I think I will happily watch again and again in the next couple of days. I'm checking out, but will update this a little after a rewatch tomorrow. Thanks for joining me, guys, and as always stay safe when crossing the road and drink more hot chocolate! Goodbye!