Sami Zayn vs Antonio Cesaro in a best 2 out of 3 falls match. That’s all you should need. Oh, that’s not enough? Well Dolph Ziggler is in the house plus AJ defends the Divas Title against Bayley. The newest incarnation of The Ascension is also in action.
Match 1: Bayley vs AJ Lee (c), Divas Championship
Winner: AJ Lee via pinfall
Bayley is, of course, beside herself with fangirlism as AJ is introduced. Bayley wants a hug and AJ is a bit tentative.
AJ tosses Bayley to the mat by her face, then follows up with a pair of neckbreakers. Bayley is out at one, but gets tossed to the corner then snapmared. AJ locks on a cravat and trash talks the challenger. Bayley fights out but runs into a back elbow for two. AJ puts the boots to Bayley in the corner then distances herself. Bayley dodges the incoming AJ and then hugs her into the corner a few times back first. Bayley hits a running clothesline into the corner and a scoop slam, but AJ kicks out at two. Bayley with a knee drop off the ropes and another two count. Bayley tries repeated lateral presses to tire AJ out. Bayley hops to the second rope and hits a diving back elbow, but AJ kicks out once again. Bayley shows concern for AJ who is holding her face and jaw. Bayley tries to apologize and AJ sneaks in a spin kick and a Shining Wizard to win it.
Tyler Breeze offers a cute girl a photo…to take a photo of him, that is. CJ Parker photobombs Breeze and he sends the girl packing. Breeze sees the result and says this is ruining his entire life. He’s friggin Zoolander. That sounded like a criticism…is is not. This is good fun.
Match 2: Michael Zaki & Ron Hicks vs The Ascension
Winners: The Ascension via pinfall
O’Brian psychs himself up in the corner and Zaki looks scared. Boot in the gut and O’Brian with his rolling headlock takeovers. O’Brian tags in Victor to strike at the midsection while Zaki is suspended in a headlock. Rick Victor beats away at Zaki in the corner then tosses him overhead. O’Brian tags back in for a double team slam out of a hiptoss. Victor right back in and it’s time for Ascension’s version of Total Elimination to win it.
Match 3: CJ Parker vs Baron Corbin
Winner: CJ Parker via pinfall
“From the Moonchild Commune”…So he’s a hippie. Well I guess Daizee Haze isn’t really active anymore, so he can do it.
Headlock by Parker who backs off Corbin in the corner. Parker escapes a slam attempt and hits a schoolboy for one, then runs right into a big clothesline. Corbin punches him in the corner, but runs into a boot, then gets hit by a clothesline. Parker hits shotgun knees into the corner and an open handed uppercut, then a face-first DDT (It’s just a DDT where he throws his legs back instead of falling backwards).
Renee Young interviews CJ in the ring and Parker literally calls himself “a hippie”. Way to be subtle about the gimmick, guy in dreads and rainbow headband who comes out with a rainbow YinYang on his TitanTron. Breeze hits the ring to levy his complaint about Parker “photo-loving” him earlier tonight. Parker says he’s just having fun and a good time. Breeze says the “Lenny Kravitz wannabe” is the only joke he sees. Parker threatens a right hand and Breeze bails out.
Match 4: Alexander Rusev vs Dolph Ziggler
Winner: Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
Rusev comes out with a piece of wood with “Ziggler” written on it and proceeds to break it over his knee.
Ziggler dodges a grapple and rolls Rusev up for an early two. Rusev wants a knuckle lock and boots Ziggler in the gut. Ziggler ducks a clothesline and struts while Rusev walks around hands in the air. They finally lock up and Rusev tosses Ziggler away. Ziggler explodes with a dropkick then tries a crossbody, but gets caught. Rusev delivers knees to the suspended Ziggler then dumps him over the top rope to the floor. Rusev rolls Ziggler into the ring and rushes him in the corner, then rolls him over for two. Rusev with a rear waistlock that Ziggler escapes with a jawbreaker. Ziggler dodges Rusev on his way into the corner and hits a Stinger Splash and a running dropkick to the face for two. Rusev reverses a whip and bodies Ziggler in the ropes for another two count. From the mat, Ziggler boots Rusev in the knee and hits a Namedropper for two. Rusev shrugs off a Zig Zag attempt and hits a spinning heel kick for a two count of his own. Rusev drags Ziggler to the middle of the ring and heads to the top rope, but whiffs on the splash. Zig Zag is good for the win.
Match 5: Sami Zayn vs Antonio Cesaro, Best 2/3 Falls
Winner: Fall 1 – Sami Zayn via pinfall. Fall 2 – Antonio Cesaro via submission. Fall 3 – Antonio Cesaro via pinfall
As Cesaro enters, Zayn kicks this off with a flip dive to the floor and some right hands. Ok, now the bell rings. Zayn with an immediate Yakuza kick in the corner and a school boy for the early first fall.
Zayn chases Cesaro the floor and whips him to the stairs while the crowd gives him the old “ole” chant. Zayn throws Cesaro’s head to the apron and breaks the ref’s count. Strikes back and forth on the floor and Cesaro ends up on the opposite apron. Cesaro gets in after jabbing Zayn in the gut with a shoulder, but runs into a calf kick for a two count. Zayn pressures Cesaro to the corner and rains down right hands. Cesaro walks him to the middle of the ring and misses a double stomp, then runs into a pair of back elbows. Zayn with a hopping cross body from the top for two. Cesaro reverses a whip and flapjacks Zayn into the top turnbuckle for a two count. Cesaro drops elbows on Zayn’s head on the mat then beats on him in the corner. Cesaro grabs a standing chin lock and Zayn backs him into the corner; Cesaro keeps his grip. Zayn repeats and breaks it this time, but Cesaro grabs the kick he throws and muscles him up for a powerbomb and a two count. Zayn breaks another chin lock with a jawbreaker, but runs into a clothesline for two again. Cesaro hits his double stomp this time but only get two. Zayn tries to fight from the floor and Cesaro begs for more. Zayn starts throwing forearms and they rock Cesaro, but he muscles Zayn up and tosses him backwards overhead. Another leaping stomp from Cesaro who proceeds to deadlift Zayn and give him a gutwrench, but Zayn counters into a sunset flip for two. Cesaro misses the running European uppercut and Zayn hits a running hurricanrana for two. Cesaro answers with a bridging fall away slam for a near fall…and a commercial.
Cesaro is stalking Zayn and locks in another chin lock then shoulders Zayn to the mat. Zayn jumps into a slam, but escapes and rolls up Cesaro for two. Zayn with jabs and a pop up dropkick to make some space. Zayn rushes Cesaro in the corner but runs into a chin lock. Cesaro spins him around by his neck and puts him on the mat. Zayn looks like he’s starting to fade and taps out to avoid being too hurt for the third fall. Cesaro hits the running corner European uppercut to start the third fall but Zayn manages to kick out. He bails to the apron which leads to Cesaro trying Michael Elgin’s deadlift superplex spot – And nailing it. Zayn is out at two but completely dazed. Cesaro grabs Zayn by the neck and he tries a small package, but Cesaro blocks. Cesaro lifts him up for a suplex and Zayn flips over for a roll up, then Cesaro locks in a seated chin lock, but Zayn rolls it back to pin, forcing the break. Zayn hits another Yakuza kick but Cesaro kicks out this time. Cesaro blocks a whip and forearms Zayn across the ring. Cesaro ducks too soon and gets caught in a roll up Code Red (Which Zayn pinned Cesaro with previously), but is out at two. Cesaro bails to the floor while Zayn works on a second wind. Zayn hits the Generico-era tornado DDT through the ropes/ringpost while Cesaro is on the other side of the floor to a huge reaction and the ref is at an eight count. Cesaro makes a Cena-dive to beat the count and Zayn covers him for a near fall. Zayn grabs a knuckle lock and tries the rope running tornado DDT to finish it, but Cesaro catches him, then throws him up into the rafters for a European uppercut and follows with the best Neutralizer EVER to win it all.
It’s astounding how competent a women’s match you can have on NXT considering the usual clustermesses you see on Raw and Smackdown. Great match, albeit short. I would sincerely like to see more of Bayley vs AJ. I really hope the decision makers paid attention to this one, because Bayley looked VERY good in the ring with the top Diva.
Another tag squash. They’re still in the establishing phase of the new version of the team, so this is fine. If anything, O’Brian seems really into the gimmick which is a good thing.
Way too much on the hippie thing. I can’t see this getting him anywhere, to be completely honest. To be fair, I thought Tyler Breeze would be a stupid gimmick until he opened his mouth and I saw his entrance, which sold me immediately. Parker, you’ve got until the next appearance.
Did not expect a guy I’ve never seen to be that competitive with Ziggler. It’s a great debut for him, because Ziggler bounces around like a super ball for his offense and between the spinning heel kick and the splash, he looked really good. Now the criticism – Tyler Breeze is using that exact spinning heel kick as a finish but weighs half of what Rusev weighs. That’s no good. Either he needs to not use it or Breeze needs to change it up. I have a feeling we’ll see more from Rusev moving forward; debuting him against Ziggler was definitely done for a reason.
…My reaction? Watch the match. Seriously. If you don’t go out of your way to watch this match, go turn in your “wrestling fan” card downtown. Excellent match – I’m so glad to see someone go down to Cesaro’s chin lock, finally. They treat it like a Sleeper Hold, so it should win him the occasional match. Some old school Generico stuff out of Zayn, sprinkled throughout the match in just the right fashion. Some people might see Cesaro almost drop Zayn on that last spot and call it out…what you should be doing is commending BOTH men for turning what was almost a wild drop into an incredibly recovery done with sheer strength. I could write for days on this match. It is beyond the shadow of a doubt better than anything you’ll see on Raw or Smackdown the rest of the year. If they are confident enough in Zayn’s mic work, they absolutely must develop a program for him to come to the main roster and have a purpose. He is so good, and you throw in an opponent the caliber of Cesaro and you really can’t avoid having such a good result.
Not much of one given, as the show goes off the air with Cesaro standing tall.
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: aj lee, Antonio Cesaro, bayley, conor o'brian, Dolph Ziggler, El Generico, NXT, sami zayn, The Ascension, WWE