A three way dance to determine the number one contender to Bo Dallas’ NXT Championship – Leo Kruger, Antonio Cesaro and Sami Zayn face off! Also, the daughter of The Nature Boy debuts against Bayley.
Match 1: Leo Kruger vs Antonio Cesaro vs Sami Zayn
Winner: Leo Kruger via pinfall
First chance for Zayn to become the number one contender to the NXT Championship.
Cesaro goes after Zayn immediately and throws Kruger out of the way as he tries to help. Zayn with a pair of arm drags and a heel kick to show he won’t be overwhelmed. Cesaro takes control of him in the corner with knee strikes. Cesaro chokes Zayn with his foot, then Kruger tosses him over the top and hits his hammerlock suplex. European uppercut from Kruger and elbows to the head before Zayn reverses a whip, which lets Cesaro drag Kruger to the floor. Zayn hits a flip dive onto both men to stand tall going into a commercial.
Zayn is in control of Cesaro as we’re back to action and the crowd is firmly behind him. Forearms to Cesaro, who powers out of a snapmare and uppercuts him. Zayn rushes Cesaro in the corner and gets elevated to the apron, then he climbs to the top and tries a crossbody. Cesaro catches him and hits a tilt a whirl back breaker, with the pin broken up by Kruger. Kruger offers a double team then hits Cesaro who strikes back. Zayn tries to roll up Kruger, but Cesaro stomps him away and wants the running European uppercut in the corner, but Zayn boots him away. Kruger grabs Zayn’s next boot and readies for a capture suplex; Cesaro grabs him in a rear waist lock and hits a German suplex, launching Zayn from Kruger in the process. Cesaro deadlifts Kruger and throws him over the top rope and calls for a finish on Zayn. He locks in the standing chin lock and swings Zayn around, but Kruger breaks up the Neutralizer attempt with The Slice and pins Zayn who kicks out at two. Kruger rolls Cesaro over and gets another two. Kruger wants a northern lights suplex, but Zayn resists and hits a simultaneous DDT/Flatliner on both men. All three men are down, but Zayn rises first to throw right hands at both of the bigger opponents, then throws Kruger into Cesaro. Zayn rolls up Kruger who kicks out at two, launching him into a pop up powerbomb attempt from Cesaro, reversed into a hurricanrana pin for another two for Zayn. Zayn throws Kruger over the top rope and Cesaro hits a European haymaker uppercut and the Neutralizer, but Kruger tosses Cesaro to the floor and steals the pin.
Match 2: Scott Dawson vs Bo Dallas
Winner: Bo Dallas via pinfall
Sylvester Lefort, in a ludicrously yellow suit, comes out to hush the crowd and introduce his ill-matched ward, Scott Dawson. Then Bo Dallas comes out. If it wasn’t for The French Stallion, I would have ZERO investment in this match. Why does Scott Dawson get a match against the Champion? Why do we have to sit through a Bo Dallas match? Even Regal, as amazing as he is at commentary, can’t keep wrestler Scott and commentator Tony Dawson straight, because nobody gives a crap.
Long tie up to start and Dawson doesn’t make a clean break. Boots to the Champ and a forearm drops him to his knees. Bo reverses a whip and hits a pair of dropkicks and a cross body block for one. Dawson answers with a big clothesline and a short leg drop, then a knee drop and an elbow drop for two. Dawson grabs Bo by the nose and elbows his face for a one count. Dawson grabs Bo’s ears then straps on a grounded hold which Bo fights out of in three seconds. Bo tries to fight back and hits running forearms, then the gut punch/boot combo (kind of). Bo hits a running corner clothesline and a bulldog, then whips Dawson to the ropes and hits the Hug from Hell to win.
Bo gets his spotlight and smoke as he celebrates, then gets tackled by Kruger who drops forearms on his face and hits the Kruger End (Who is naming these friggin moves?). Kruger nuzzles the NXT Title Belt like a cat and the crowd thanks him for beating up their face champion.
Match 3: Bayley vs Charlotte
Winner: Charlotte via pinfall
Charlotte is preempted to the ring by her pops, Ric Flair. Flair is, of course, welcomed by a chorus of WOOs and chats up the crowd. Flair talks up NXT as a stellar place to learn the wrestling craft and introduces his daughter, who does a bunch of gymnastics as she gets in the ring.
Bayley can’t keep her eyes off of Ric Flair because she’s a total fangirl and it’s great. Charlotte grabs an arm bar out of the tie up and Bayley rolls out to reverse it. Charlotte cartwheels and trips Bayley for a quick one count. Bayley is all smiles as she gets to her feet and looks at Flair, saying “Nature Girl!”. Another tie up and a rear waistlock from Charlotte this time. She does a split to duck Bayley’s clothesline attempt and then trips Bayley and bridges for another two count. Apparently that’s Charlotte’s Web, which doesn’t need a name, because it’s a convoluted, situational pinfall reversal. Bayley pounces and wants a back slide, which Charlotte kicks out of. Now an Oklahoma Roll from Bayley for another two. Bayley looks toward Flair, seeking a bit of approval, and he whips his jacket off angrily to cheer on his daughter. Bayley boots Charlotte in the gut and hits a scoop suplex for a one count. Charlotte is whipped to the corner and flips her way out to the apron, then drops Bayley as she approaches. Charlotte hops back in and hits Bayley with a Velvet Sky clothesline, then a flipping cutter to a kneeling Bayley. It’s good for the win.
Flair comes in to celebrate with his daughter and struts around. Charlotte tries to strut with her dad and does a terrible job of it.
Tony Dawson asks Sheamus if he’s excited to be on NXT next week, and as Sheamus responds, he gets jumped by the Wyatt Family.
Apparently Tyler Breeze is a model and debuts next week. “NXT will witness gorgeous”. That’s not even a sentence. This is Mike Dalton, trained by Lance Storm. This seems like another stupid gimmick, but if he backs it up Storm-style in the ring, we can let that go.
Match 4: Adrian Neville & Corey Graves vs The Wyatt Family (c), NXT Tag Team Championship
Winners: Adrian Neville & Corey Graves, new NXT Tag Team Champions
Harper puts Rowan on the apron and starts against Graves who strikes away at him in the corner. Graves does his hanging headscissors, then drags Harper to the floor to continue striking at him. Back into the ring, Harper is sent to the corner and Neville is tagged in for a poetry in motion style drop kick. Neville boots away at Harper, who stands up and grabs him by the face, ramming him into a corner and taking him to Rowan for a tag. Rowan with a headbutt and a blind tag by Graves. Rowan catches Neville and Graves dropkicks him down then gets a one count. Graves grounds Rowan with a hold, but he powers out, leading to Rowan putting himself into his corner’s ringpost. Harper tags in, only to take a pair of dragon screws. Rowan tries to run interference, so Neville dropkicks him to the floor as Graves runs face first into Harper’s boot for a two count. Harper drags Graves to his corner and tags Rowan back in.
Back from a commercial, Harper is back in the ring and he exchanges with Graves. Harper holds Graves down and tags Rowan once again for a bearhug. Graves tries to escape but runs into an elbow for a two count. Rowan drops Graves’ head on his knee and Harper tags in to drop multiple elbows, getting another two count. Harper puts on a hammerlock/chinlock mid-ring which Graves fights up and out of, then hits a sunset flip with no pin (Don’t see that too often), which Harper answers with a dropkick. Rowan tags back in, dropping a leg on the back of Graves’ head, but it’s only good for another two count. Rowan applies an abdominal stretch and claws at the ribs of Graves. Rowan tries to slam Graves, who slips out and wants a tag, but Rowan holds onto his pants and clotheslines him in the back. A headbutt from Rowan puts Graves on the mat and lets Harper tag back in. Graves fights off both men but runs into a Bossman Slam from Harper for a very near fall, which seems to make Bray Wyatt nervous. Harper charges Graves in the corner, who ducks a boot, sending Harper tumbling to the floor. Regal begs Graves to make the tag and Harper looks like he might stop him, but elects to tag in Rowan instead, leading to Neville getting the hot tag. Neville hits forearms on Rowan and takes both men out with kicks, then a hurricanrana to Harper on the floor. Neville low bridges Rowan to the floor and hits a top rope Asai moonsault onto both Wyatt Family members. He rolls Rowan in and hops on the second rope for a Phoenix splash, but Harper breaks it up. Wyatt now looks completely distraught. Neville hops up to the top and Wyatt shoves him down; Rowan covers for only two. Sheamus’ music hits and he hits ringside to take out Wyatt and even things up. Graves clips the knee of Rowan and Neville heads to the top rope, hitting the Corkscrew Shooting Star for the win and the Tag Team Champsionship.
Surprise surprise – A match with Cesaro, Kruger and Zayn is the most entertaining piece of wrestling you’ll see out of the “big two” feds over the course of the week. Stellar work from all three men, no sloppiness and Zayn was damn near in the rafters on the pop up powerbomb/rana spot. Kruger is ideal as the NXT Title number one contender – Cesaro is a main roster guy and Zayn is technically the newcomer. I want to see more Kruger matches and I want more Zayn on my TV. Hell, I want ANY Kruger/Zayn on my TV, considering the way NXT works here in the States. It’s an easy formula: Take good wrestlers, let them have an unfettered match, get good results. More of this, please.
I really do try to keep things pretty unbiased, but I just have no interest in my body or soul for Bo Dallas and only a shred more for Scott Dawson. Bo could not have placed Dawson down more gently with his finish in this match if he tried. Not to mention coming off the opener, that was painful to watch. At least it further sets up Kruger to face the Champion. As a sidenote, they really need to stop having guys in NXT and WWE use the same finisher. Kruger is using the same facebuster as Curtis Axel, which means he’ll either need a new slam or to stick to the GC3 when he hits the main roster. Bo Dallas can absolutely only work out to a modicum of success if he really is playing up the clueless “babyface” who thinks he’s a beloved champ and will eventually turn heel. Problem is, nobody will care when he does turn heel, so it won’t have much of an impact.
Ok debut from Charlotte. That clothesline needs a load of work, but her finish is cool. Bayley looked heart broken when Flair whipped his jacket off, poor thing. Charlotte should never EVER strut again.
I’ll admit, the first half of that match dragged a bit. Given, it was incredibly average “tiny babyface in peril” until the hot tag. Neville is obviously the star here, but huge credit to the talented Luke Harper. The dropkick surprised me and his ability to whiff a boot and tumble to the floor smoothly and without hurting himself, while keeping it looking painful, is top notch. Corey Graves will do fine as the smaller guy who makes comebacks, but I’m still not completely sold on the guy. Rowan continues to be an effective big man, but there’s a reason Harper does a lot of the work and all the cool stuff. This makes Neville the first multi-time champion at NXT, something I’m sure they’ll make mention of in the coming episodes. Curious to see the rate at which guys will move to the main roster – We’re seeing a ton of stellar wrestling from Kruger, Neville, Zayn, etc but they don’t all get much (if any) promo time and that’s KEY to success in the modern WWE.
Paige and Emma, the darlings of NXT, go one on one to determine the first NXT Women’s Champion. Also, Sheamus will be in action.
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: adrian neville, Antonio Cesaro, bayley, Bo Dallas, Bray Wyatt, Corey Graves, El Generico, Leo Kruger, NXT, PAC, Ric Flair, sami zayn, sheamus, William Regal, WWE