NXT Yellow Ropes Report 04.25.2013 (Clash of the Champions)

The Glimpse:

Four titles will be defended tonight!  AJ Lee gets a shot at the Divas title, Wade Barrett defends against Bo Dallas, and Brad Maddox “battles” Big E Langston for the NXT Championship.  Plus, Antonio Cesaro time travels to defend the US title against Adrian Neville.

The Action:

Match 1: Adrian Neville vs Antonio Cesaro (c), United States Championship

Winner:  Antonio Cesaro via pinfall

Well this is one of those rare times that NXT is significantly behind the main shows in that Kofi has already taken this title from Cesaro.  WWE took the smart route however – They run a banner on the bottom of the screen to let you know this was in fact taped a few weeks ago.  Ironically, Cesaro opens his promo by saying he is (was) the longest reigning champion in WWE.  Neville’s music interrupts and one half of the NXT Champions makes his way to the ring.

Lock up and a roll up by Neville to keep Cesaro on his toes.  Cesaro grabs a chancery  and a mat slam, then spins on Neville’s back and slaps his head.  Cesaro settles into a headlock then runs Neville over with a shoulder block for one.  Rear chinlock on the mat now, which Cesaro makes look like far more than a rest hold.  Off the ropes, Cesaro blocks a hip toss, then gets taken over with a headscissors.  Cesaro rolls to the floor and throws a tantrum.  Neville gives chase and ultimately flips over Cesaro back into the ring and hits a victory roll for two, then a dropkick.  Neville follows into the corner for a monkey flip but Cesaro dumps him face first onto the top rope, leading to commercial.

Back to action, Cesaro has Neville grounded with a chinlock.  Neville is back to his feet and hits the ropes for a sunset flip, but Cesaro drags him up by the neck, only to be taken over in a backslide for two.  Cesaro rushes Neville in the corner but he gets the boot up, then dives for a cross body, only to get caught and turned into a tilt a whirl back breaker.  Cesaro rains right hands down and goes back to the chinlock.  Neville is back to his feet again but Cesaro shakes him back and forth and puts him back down.  Neville once again gets up and then low bridges Cesaro to the floor.  Neville lands a kick to the side of the head from the apron then a top rope Asai moonsault and lands on his feet.  Neville rolls Cesaro back in and springboards for a dropkick, getting a two count.  Low dropkick and a standing shooting star for another two.  Neville runs the ropes and Cesaro elevates him, but Neville hits a hurricanrana into a pin for yet another two.  Cesaro hits a big knee to the chest as he gets to his feet and rushes Neville in the corner to be countered for the third time in this match.  Neville jumps from the apron to the middle rope and hits a moonsault tornado DDT for the closest nearfall of the match.  Neville heads to the top to finish it but Cesaro hits the top rope to drop him to a seated position (drawing my favorite recurring Regal line for the top rope split spot – “That’s ruptured his custard”).  Cesaro finally lands a corner attack by running at the seated Neville and hitting a European uppercut.  Cesaro effortlessly grabs Neville off the top rope into Neutralizer position and wins it.

Match 2: AJ Lee vs Kaitlyn (c), Divas Championship

Winner:  Kaitlyn via pinfall

AJ is already in the ring, which boggles the mind.  How do you not have the entrance of the most popular female talent on the roster?  Can’t say if this is “supposed to be” the title shot AJ earned in the recent Divas Battle Royal, or if it’s a coincidental overlap.

Kaitlyn extends a hand and AJ agrees.  Then she slaps her.  Kaitlyn throws her to the corner and hits a back elbow, then whips her into another corner.  Now to a third and AJ dodges the incoming Kaitlyn, sending her into the ringpost.  AJ pounces and kicks the Divas champ twice, then wraps her arm in the ropes.  Snapmare out of the corner and an armbar from AJ who bridges up for some extra torque.  Now into a hammerlock and a Ziggler-esque bridge.  AJ settles back into position and Kaitlyn fights up to her feet.  Kaitlyn wants a suplex but AJ spins out into a single arm DDT.  AJ with an overhand chop in the corner.  Kaitlyn punches her way out and lands a clothesline and back elbow.  Kaitlyn with forearms in the corner and AJ kicks her way out.  AJ heads to the top for a crossbody and Kaitlyn rolls through, picking AJ up in a half nelson then dropping her with a reverse DDT for two.  Kaitlyn wants a spear and AJ yanks the middle rope down, sending her for a tumble to the floor.  AJ sits in the middle of the ring mocking the Divas champ as she gets back in the ring then jumps on her back for a Sleeper.  Kaitlyn throws her off and AJ answers with a spinning back kick and a Shining Wizard for two.  AJ pounces back on and unleashes on Kaitlyn with forearms – Kaitlyn bounces her off the ropes and cuts her in half with a Spear for the win.

Match 3: Brad Maddox vs Big E Langson (c), NXT Championship

Winner:  Big E Langston via pinfall

E comes out to his (now old) theme, which has been changed for the main roster which is a shame.  Maddox comes out, mic in hand to introduce himself.  Maddox announces himself at 295 lbs and as the new NXT Champion.  He also says his name twice ala Mr. Anderson.

Maddox tries a sucker punch and takes a back body drop.  Maddox hits a left hand and tries to whip E who reverses and hits a body shot and a running avalanche.  E drops the straps and hits the Big Ending for the win.  Maddox gets another Big Ending and a five count then tries to escape, but Langston throws him back in for a third.

Bo Dallas is brought in and starts listing off guys who were also “underestimated”.  Barrett is coming into his house (even though he’s not the champion and never has been) and will face the Bo Barrage.  What a mush mouth.

Match 4: Bo Dallas vs Wade Barrett (c), Intercontinental Championship

Winner: Wade Barrett via pinfall

Barrett pressures Bo into the corner and lands a forearm, then walks into one from Dallas.  Barrett lands strikes to the body and Bo answers with a cross body for one.  Now a school boy from the challenger and a roll into a bridge.  Bo lands a dropkick and the IC champ rolls to the floor for an early commercial break.  Bo is on the offense as they return but Barrett quickly turns it around with an arm wrench that flips Dallas completely over onto his head.  Barrett follows with a boot to the head for two.  Barrett lays Bo across the top turnbuckle and hammers on his back then punts him to the floor.  Barrett rolls him back in for two.  The IC Champion locks in a surfboard on the mat until Bo fights up to his feet, only to run into a mule kick, followed by a pumphandle slam for two.  Bo gets hung in the ropes for signature knee strikes and a boot to the floor from Barrett.  Barrett drags Bo up to the apron by his hair and suplexes him back in for a nearfall.  Dallas fights up to his feet again and gets his feet up in the corner, then drop toe holds Barrett to the top turnbuckle.  Bo fires up with a series of forearms for two.  Back elbow from Barrett who goes back to the pumphandle, which Dallas flips out of into a reverse DDT for another two.  Bo wants the corner bulldog, but Barrett flings him across the ring then hits Winds of Change for two.  Barrett readies for the Bullhammer but Bo ducks and hits his bulldog for a close two.  Barrett blocks a whip and wants Wasteland, which Bo fights out of, ending up sitting on the top turnbuckle.  Bo flies at Barrett who swats him out of midair with the Bullhammer for the win.

The Reaction:

There could not be a better combination of two men to show off one another’s specific styles and both come away looking better for it.  I watched that moonsault about a half a dozen times, as well as the hurricanrana spot – Cesaro felt it landing awkward and actually managed to delay the impact, which looked great AND actually made it look like it hurt more.  This match was significantly better than the one Cesaro had with Kofi to lose the title, and quite frankly better than damn near everything on the two main shows for months.  Go out of your way to catch this one – It was excellent.  Also…no yodeling.

I’ll start off with a criticism – Kaitlyn and AJ were both wrestlers who had respectable wrestling gear and would wear it when they wrestled.  Now AJ wrestles in a shredded T-shirt and jean shorts while Kaitlyn wears what is basically a vest and jeans.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate seeing this (at all…don’t tell the wife!) but if you want to build a women’s wrestling division, they should dress like wrestlers, no?  Now onto the match.  This should be every divas match.  Well thought out, well executed.  When you have two women than can wrestle like this and Sara del Rey training the next set of Divas, there’s no reason for the division to be in the sorry state it is.  AJ being relegated to a valet right now is a crying shame and the same goes for Natalya.  I’m still not a fan of people that aren’t Rhino using the Spear as a finisher, especially when Kaitlyn has the reverse DDT and Lotus Lock in her arsenal, but that’s just a personal nit pick.  Another match you should make sure you see.

A squash world title match.  I still say “Big Finish” would be a way better name for that move, but it’s not my call and Ending starts with E, so fine.  Would have been nice to see another fight with O’Brian or something.  This is the NXT Clash of the Champions and the NXT title match was a joke.  A good joke, mind you, but still a joke.  Pretty sure E is a face on NXT, but he’s apparently a mean face.  Curious at what point E drops the NXT title so he can be full time on the main roster…Cory Graves and Conor O’Brian seem to be primed to take it from him.

If they’re not ready to bring Bo to the main roster, they’ve done a great job of making it seem like their IC Champion can barely beat a developmental talent.  If they are, they’ve shown he can hang with one of their current champions.  There are talks that a handful of NXT guys will be heading up to the main roster soon.  Dallas is a mush mouthed promo, but if they keep his talking to a minimum or give him a mouth piece, he could do ok in the mid card.  There are definitely talents I’d rather see come up before him in Kassius Ohno and Adian Neville, however.  Crisp action, without a doubt but Dallas just doesn’t scream “star” the way some of the other NXT superstars do.

The Preview:

No idea!

The Shill:

As always, if you like what you read here, let me know in the comments or on twitter @sbfantom.  I sincerely would like to hear what people think and strike up some conversation!

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