RVD on NXT? Tonight will be a one of a kind show! Leo Kruger takes on Antonio Cesaro in a fierce battle and Mojo Rawley brings the hype.
Match 1: Leo Kruger vs Antonio Cesaro
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
Kruger’s entrance is so simple, but I’m still such a huge fan of it.
At the bell, Cesaro rushes Kruger and hits a running drop kick. Cesaro stomps away at Kruger and rips his shirt off. Cesaro with rights and Kruger chops his way out of the corner. Off a whip, Cesaro puts on the brakes but gets clotheslined to the floor. Kruger gives chase with a back rake and then throws Cesaro to the apron. Another back rake as Cesaro rolls back in and Kruger takes control with stomps. Kruger puts Cesaro under the apron, but he makes some space and levels Kruger with a knee. Another chop from Kruger, but Cesaro lands a double stomp. Cesaro chokes Kruger in the ropes then drags him to mid-ring and drops an elbow. Cesaro with a running kick to the back now. Kruger counters a suplex attempt with a snap suplex of his own. Kruger fires back with jabs and stomps the European in the corner. Russian leg sweep from Kruger and a one count. Cesaro counters a whip into the corner and hits a running European uppercut for a two count. A stomp and another two. Cesaro tells Kruger to get up and gives him a hand, then drops him with a sambo suplex. Cesaro heads to the top rope but Kruger cuts him off with a jumping forearm, the heads to the top floor to meet him. Kruger hits a middle rope superplex leaving both men down and leading to a commercial.
Back to action, Kruger shoulder blocks Cesaro to the floor. Kruger hits a suicide dive and rolls Cesaro in, then follows with a spinebuster. Kruger wants The Slice but Cesaro bails to the floor. Cesaro tosses Kruger to the stairs when he gives chase. Cesaro tosses Kruger back to the floor and back drops him on the apron. Kruger back in the ring, Cesaro throws him out again and gives him a gutwrench on the ramp. Cesaro screams for Kruger to stay down. Kruger makes it back in at 9, but can’t get to his feet. Cesaro drags him up and starts to throw jabs. Cesaro with alternating European uppercuts and an Argentine slam but Kruger still kicks out at two. Cesaro readies for the Neutralizer, but Kruger back drops him then elbows out of the corner. Cesaro hits Swiss Death (The Very European Uppercut?) but Kruger still fights out. Cesaro roars and grabs a standing chin lock then hits the mat and a bodyscissors. Kruger rallies and fights to his feet, but Cesaro lands a huge short arm clothesline and the Neutralizer, finally putting Kruger away.
Cesaro heads to the top rospe after the bell and lands a diving knee drop for good measure. Kruger seems to be selling a shoulder injury. Curious to see if we see a shift from him moving forward.
Match 2: Charlotte vs Santana Garrett
Winner: Charlotte via pinfall
Renee Young is on commentary. Good booking. Bayley accompanies Charlotte to ringside.
Collar and elbow for an exchange then an arm wrench. Santana rolls and escapes, then Charlotte does the same. Charlotte reverses a whip but eats an elbow then a turnbuckle in the corner. Santana with a snapmare and a boot for one. Garrett with a russian leg sweep on Charlotte. Summer Rae and Sasha Banks come to ring side as Bayley tries to rally for Charlotte. The mean girls mockingly clap as Charlotte escapes and hits a Kofi double chop. Now into Charlotte’s Web for a two count. Santana sneaks a school girl while Charlotte is distracted, and Charlotte answers with a fireman’s carry slam and a kip up followed by her low flipping Cutter which doesn’t get sold at all. Good for a three.
Summer grabs a mic and says they’re the first lady and the boss. Now they’re BFFs – Beautiful, fierce females. Summer says with Paige “gone”, they’re in charge. Oh hey, it’s Paige. She levels Banks with a headbutt but gets overwhelmed by the two on one. Emma hits the ring to make the save and the BFFs run like hell.
After a commercial, Summer and Sasha say they’ll get even. They ask for a tag match.
Match 3: Danny Burch vs Mojo Rawley
Winner: Mojo Rawley via pinfall
Mojo comes out full of energy, which will fit with the whole “hype” thing.
Burch pressures Rawley to the corner but he resists a whip, then reverses another. Rawley eats a back elbow on his way in then blocks having his head thrown to the turnbuckle. Burch realizes his situation and lets out an audible “oh no!” as Rawley elbows him in the gut. Burch answers with a right hand and a two count. Burch with a chin lock now then repeated elbow drops and another two. Rawley fires up and hits a trio of shoulders then a three point stance splash in the corner and another. Rawley hits a running ass to the face then the Earthquake Splash for the win.
Paige and Emma are in the back having a minor disagreement. They accept the challenge and bicker a bit. Very cute.
Match 4: Scott Dawson & Alexander Rusev vs Enzo Amore & Colin Cassidy
Winners: Dawson & Rusev via submission
Excellent – The Legionnaires now have a team theme based on Lefort. Much better than coming out to Dawson’s hick intro. This is still a ludicrous trio. Cass is upset about seeing a couple of sloppy jalopies…because they’re SAWFT.
Rusev and Cass to start it. Cass sends Rusev to the corner and they exchange a few bombs. Amore tags in and tries a cross body block. Rusev lays knees into his ribs and Dawson tags himself in. Dawson hits a back elbow for two. Leg drop and knee drop from Dawson, followed by an elbow drop and only a one this time. Dawson with a snap suplex and a short arm clothesline for two. Dawson follows with a teardrop suplex but Cass breaks up the pin. Rusev dumps him to the floor and Dawson sarcastically tags him in. Rusev sends Amore to the corner and readies to rush him. Big body attack in the corner and Amore is forced to tap to Rusev’s Camel Clutch, the Accolade.
Dawson drags in Cass, who suffers the Rusev body attack and the Accolade as well. The crowd chants “sloppy jalopy” at the Legionnaires, but they are the better men tonight.
Sami Zayn joins Renee Young to discuss winning the Bo Dallas Invitational. Bo shows up and whines. Zayn says it’s not personal; he just wants to be champion. Bo offers to go after the Tag Titles and rule NXT. Zayn says it’s not a bad idea, but they’ll do it after he wins the NXT Title. Bo makes a “bo” pun. Renee is not amused.
Match 5: Aiden English vs Rob Van Dam
Winner: RVD via pinfall
English has another song for the crowd. You can’t have a guy be this entertaining and expect him to be a heel. Especially in front of a “smart” crowd…or at least one that plays the part. I love that he ends every song with the WWE line and that’s not a phrase I should be using for an obnoxious heel. I’m entertained either way.
RVD transitions to an early headlock and English casts him off. RVD doesn’t take kindly to English taking a bow. RVD insults Aiden’s singing and gets a kick to the gut for it. RVD with a body scissors roll up and a kick that sends English into the corner to beg off. English doesn’t like RVD’s showmanship. RVD delivers a kick to the face and whips him to the corner then hits a monkey flip. English gets clotheslined to the floor and RVD follows with a moonsault off the apron. RVD rolls English back in and hits a legdrop on the apron for a two count. English begs off and calls for a time out. He tries a cheap shot which RVD turns into a scoop slam. Rolling Thunder is countered by English bailing to the floor. He teases walking by saying “exit stage left” but gets chased back in. He kicks the rope into RVD as he gets back in the ring then delivers a suplex for two. English with a chin lock and Ricardo tries to rally RVD back up. English tries another suplex but RVD grabs a small package for two. RVD kicks him in the face and hits a pair of clotheslines then a side kick. Rolling Thunder connects this time and RVD follows up with the Five Star Frog Splash to end it.
Damn that was a good match. Not sure if the plan is to turn Kruger face or just solidify him as NXT’s tough man, but that was a “maker” match for Kruger. Cesaro got about 80% of the offense, but Kruger kicking out of everything he fought through is a good sign. They made no effort to show him as the developmental guy vs the main roster guy. Leo Kruger could be on the main roster next week and you wouldn’t bat an eye at it. He has a good enough grasp on his character to cut good introductory promos and when you can produce videos like they did for The Wyatts, you can have him come in with a boom.
Charlotte has the athleticism, but she’s still at that point where she’s not landing her own finish consistently. Santana seems like she could have something.
So I guess “stay hyped” is code for “use your ass as a weapon”. Not a whole hell of a lot to say on this one to be totally honest. Guy is all energy.
Quick tag match but effective. The Legionnaires might be the bad guys, but they can get the job done. Cass gets to look big and we get another quotable out of the duo.
A showcase of RVD moves for the NXT crowd wasn’t a bad idea at all. Good way to send some folks home happy. English definitely plays the heel in the ring well with the begging off, the cheap shots, etc but his gimmick just screams “babyface” in the modern wrestling landscape. We’re supposed to hate a heel, not enjoy the shit out of his entrance. Not lobbying a complaint against the guy, mind you – I’m very entertained by him. Just questionable booking by WWE. That, I lobby a complaint against.
The BFFs take on Emma and Paige and I assume we get more out of Zayn/Dallas.
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: Antonio Cesaro, Bo Dallas, charlotte, emma, enzo amore, Leo Kruger, NXT, Paige, Ric Flair, Rob Van Dam, RVD, sami zayn, sylvester lefort, WWE