The former El Generico debuts at NXT under the name Sami Zayn. How will he fare in his first foray into the WWE? Cory Graves takes on Bray Wyatt in a match that nobody wants to see Graves in.
Match 1: Curt Hawkins vs Sami Zayn
Winner: Sami Zayn via pinfall
Zayn retails the same entrance as Generico and similar tights/pads. Glad to see that. Immediate “ole” chants from the “smart” Florida crowd.
Hawkins pressures Zayn into the corner, but he quickly turns it around, leaving Hawkins to bail to the floor. Hawkins is back in with a headlock and a shoulder block to the smaller Zayn. Zayn hits a pair of arm drags and the old lucha spin arm drag for a third. Hard chops in the corner and five punches in the corner before Hawkins throws him off, then hits a boot and a pele kick to the head. Zayn kicks out at two. Hawkins stomps on the back and kicks the chest then hits a snapmare and a chinlock. Zayn armdrags his way out then dodges Hawkins in the corner. Big clotheslines off the ropes, then a belly to back from Zayn. Zayn follows with a dropkick after Hawkins elevates him for a two count. Hawkins escapes a scoop slam and then hits his silly swinging slam for two. Overhand chop from Zayn and a gut kick from Hawkins. Zayn counters a powerbomb attempt, then hits a knuckle lock, rope-run tornado DDT for the win.
Cory Graves is on video to say that because his daddy was mean to him he started getting tattoos. They smartly don’t show him from the front since he’s crosseyed as hell. Nobody buys Graves as a tough guy; he just doesn’t seem to be catching fire whatsoever.
Match 2: Antonio Cesaro vs Yoshi Tatsu
Winner: Antonio Cesaro via pinfall
Aggressive tie up and Cesaro pounds Tatsu in the corner. Tatsu dodges a run in then hits a crossbody and a dropkick, followed by kicks to the midsection. Tatsu hits the ropes and runs right into Swiss Death, then the Neutralizer for the 30 second win.
Cesaro grabs a mic and says that this competition simply will not do. At some point in this he goes into a tirade in Swiss and this draws Zayn back out, a tad miffed at the comparison to not being “competition”. Zayn says he’d be happy to provide competition to the former US Champion. Zayn jaws at Cesaro in Arabic, then French, which he answers.
Match 3: Antonio Cesaro vs Sami Zayn
Winner: Sami Zayn via pinfall
Quick exchange and Cesaro hits a fireman’s carry. Rear waistlock from Zayn, then an arm wrench and a tights pull from Cesaro to ground him. Double knuckle lock pins from Cesaro and Zayn bridges out, then hits a rope bounce arm drag. Vintage Generico as we go into a commercial.
Cesaro is in control, draping Zayn across the top rope, then a lazy cover with one foot for a one count. Zayn whipped to the corner, then the opposite one, grounding him and allowing a two count. Rear chinlock from Cesaro, which Zayn gets out of. He tries a sunset flip but Cesaro stops it with leg strength then jumps on him with a double stomp for two. A short arm clothesline gives Cesaro another two, then he settles into another chinlock on the mat. Zayn fights to his feet again and hits a dropkick. Cesaro runs into an elbow in the corner, then Zayn gets an O’Connor roll for two. Cesaro kicks him to the apron and ends up neck first on the top, allowing Zayn to head to the top rope for a crossbody, but Cesaro catches him in a tilt a whirl backbreaker for a very close two count. Cesaro hits a running European uppercut in the corner and Zayn still stays alive. Cesaro lights Zayn up in the corner then jaws at the crowd. Cesaro deadlift suplexes Zayn, but he rolls over him midair into a cradle for his second win on his debut night.
Cesaro brutalizes Zayn after the bell and hits a Neutralizer to make his point. A Zayn/Cesaro feud? Yeah, I’ll buy that PayPerView.
Emma shows up for an interview, but isn’t scheduled for one. Emma calls Audrey Marie multiple wrong names which upsets her. Emma does her dance. Audrey says she’ll take Emma out, so Emma asks to be taken for food. Audrey gets mad again. Emma dances her way out and bops Audrey Marie in the head as she leaves. See, because she’s a klutz. Get it? She’s awkward. If you hadn’t picked up on it, Emma is awkward. And a klutz. And these women can’t cut promos and sound like they’re actually conversing. Also, Audrey Marie was just let go, so this whole thing doesn’t freakin matter. Bye, Audrey Marie 🙁
Match 4: Enzo Amore vs Mason Ryan
Winner: Mason Ryan via pinfall
Enzo says he’s a G. And a stud. He sees fake tough guys (fugazi – Which is hilarious to me for reasons I won’t get into here) all over NXT. This guy has jobber written all over him – “Badaboom, realest guy in the room”. I have never been happier to see Mason Ryan.
Enzo tries to deke out Ryan, then ties up with him, only to get tossed literally half way across the ring by his head. Enzo kicks Ryan in the head then gets clotheslined in the corner, followed by a shortarm clothesline that absolutely levels him. Ryan picks Enzo up and snake eyes’ him on the ringpost, then hits a running clothesline. Ryan says he’s done – Inverted TKO (Rack into a neckbreaker) and it’s over.
Match 5: Cory Graves vs Bray Wyatt
Winner: Bray Wyatt via pinfall
Wyatt is out in the top half of a hockey mask. He’s a nut…it works. Also he has a broken nose.
Wyatt flings Graes out of the corner, then stares at him upside down. Graves moves Wyatt into the corner, who sits down to avoid a punch then laughs at Graves. Graves shows Wyatt his “Stay Down” knuckle tats and says “Stay down, stupid”. I really do not dig this guy. Wyatt explodes at him but Graves hits a drop toe hold and a front face lock. Wyatt tries to elevate Graves away, but he holds onto the front face lock. Wyatt wraps Graves for a suplex and hits it, but he still won’t release the hold, even after the slam. Wyatt finally tosses him off, only to eat a dropkick that knocks his facemask off. Wyatt bails to the floor to reseat the mask and tighten it up. Wyatt strikes his way back into the ring but eats a boot in the corner. Graves with a headscissors as he hangs over the top rope. Wyatt hits a sprinting cross body block to the gut as we head into commercial.
Back to action, Wyatt has Graves grounded, but he fights up to his feet. Wyatt sends him to the ropes, then gets low bridged after Graves stops himself. Graves misses a baseball slide and gets shoved into the steel steps. Wyatt stomps on the midsection of his opponent then rolls him into the ring. Graves kicks out at two and fights back to his feet again, only to get an avalanche in the corner from Wyatt. Wyatt dances him out for a short arm clothesline, but Graves ducks and hits a crossbody as Wyatt’s facemask falls off again. Graves punches at the face then hits a jumping knee. Graves hits a clothesline in the corner, then a chopblock. Graves gets distracted by the Family but hits another chopblock. Graves locks in the Lucky 13 submission, but Harper breaks it up behind the ref’s back. Wyatt hits Sister Abigail and takes the win.
The Family stomps on Graves and Kassius Ohno runs in to make the save. He kicks the Family aside and goes after Wyatt, only to end up taking Harper’s discus lariat. Rowan stands him up so that Wyatt can hit Sister Abigail.
Great debut for Zayn. He keeps everything we loved about Generico and there’s no question that being under a mask for years didn’t stunt his ability to emote. With the signature beard, he looks just fine as he expresses in the ring. Here’s hoping Zayn doesn’t stay stuck in developmental for too long. I can tell that at some point I will typo his name as Zany and get called on it – I had to fix that many times so far.
Another great match out of Zayn, this time with Cesaro. Apparently Zayn has been told in the back to cut down on the “highspots”. I wouldn’t say rebounding off a rope with an armdrag is a highspot, but I’m an ROH fan so what do I know. When I had heard that word in the back, I expected a half dozen flip dives. Zayn seems good to go for WWE action regardless. Glad to see he’s confident on the mic after so many years of being a mostly silent masked man with an occasional “amigo” thrown out there.
Mason Ryan is big. And strong. Enzo Amore is a jobber. This is the story you were just told visually.
Wyatt needs a better mask, apparently – thing went flying three times. Good match and Wyatt continues to have an excellent grasp of his character and the mannerisms there of. Graves continues to not interest me in the slightest and after seeing his last flurry of strikes, I’m convinced he’s never thrown a punch in his life. Wyatt vs Ohno is a feud I’m looking forward to quite a bit. I don’t expect it to last too long as word is that Wyatt will be called up to the big leagues quite soon.
I harped on the women and Graves a little more than usual on this one, but putting them next to the shine of Cesaro, Zayn and Wyatt (especially character wise) they look less like folks that are still in development and more like turds. This is an episode worth catching if only to see Generico’s double debut.
Next week is an NXT Championship number one contender’s match. I already know how this ends and what ends up happening a few weeks down the road. Feh.
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!
Tags: Bray Wyatt, Chris Hero, El Generico, Kassius Ohno, mason ryan, NXT, sami zayn, William Regal, WWE