A glimpse is all I’ve gotten of NXT lately, readers. Busy, busy, busy. But I’m back to form and coverage will recommence – NOW. Great way to come back to NXT, with a great opening tag match with a wild amount of talent and the debut of the American Wolves in WWE.
HHH is in the house for the episode of NXT I return for. That’s interesting. This is episode 200 of NXT, so I guess we count all the funky obstacle course seasons as part of the greater continuity. Trips namedrops Sandow, Cesaro, The Shield, The Wyatts. The crowd namedrops Big E before HHH can leave him out. The COO asks the crowd to give themselves a standing ovation for making NXT a success. Triple H asks the crowd “are you ready” in classic form to get them fired up.
Match 1: Sami Zayn & Tyson Kidd vs Leo Kruger & Antonio Cesaro
Winners: Sami Zayn & Tyson Kidd via pinfall
Tom Philips, Byron Saxton and Tensai on commentary. None of you are William Regal. Kidd and Zayn team up to show Kruger that he can’t take liberties with his opponents. Look at that set of names. I could not be more excited for an NXT tag match.
Kruger and Kidd start it with Kruger going right after the midsection with a boot and a shoulder. Kidd hits a backflip arm drag and tags in Zayn. Kruger immediately bails to his corner and tags in the wildly strong Cesaro. Immediate “match of the year” chants. Lots of feeling out before a knuckle lock and Cesaro powering Zayn to the mat. Zayn bridges to avoid a pin so Cesaro just punches him. Cesaro continues lighting up Zayn in the corner, who then answers with some rights of his own. Zayn maneuvers Cesaro around by his arm and tags Kidd for his signature roll up from the apron for two. Kidd tries a leapfrog and Cesaro catches him with a tilt a whirl backbreaker. How is this man not in contention for a major title in WWE?!
Back from a break, Kidd is trying to fight out of the heel corner and rolls up Kruger for two but runs into a spinebuster for two for the other side. Cesaro back in and he deadlifts Kidd for the gutwrench. Now to the grounded chinlock. Double back elbow from Cesaro/Kruger and another chinlock. Kidd rolls out but eats a huge clothesline then Zayn gets booted to the floor before Kruger tags back in. Kidd is out at two. Kidd is back up to his feet and dodges more double team attempts but is as far away from Zayn as possible. Kruger grabs the leg but Tyson rolls to tag Zayn who drops Kruger then pays Cesaro back. Zayn with a spring-up cross body for two. Kruger stops a Yakuza kick with knees but whiffs the Slice and takes a Blue Thunder from Zayn. Cesaro breaks it up then gets tossed to the floor by Kidd who follows with a somersault suicide dive as Zayn nails a Yakuza Kick to win it.
Emma dances all around Natalya and claims that Nattie has changed since “Total Divas”. Emma takes umbridge with Natalya saying dancing is silly. Nattie offers to “tango” Emma right into the Sharpshooter to see who should be the number one contender. Boy, Natalya, you’re really shooting for the stars, huh?
Match 2: Sasha Banks vs Paige (NXT Women’s Champion), non-title
Winner: Paige via pinfall
Paige goes right after Sasha’s hair, since she’s been dealing with the BFFs for a while. Sasha cat-fights her away, which shouldn’t be real offense then Paige falls victim to early distraction from Summer Rae. Sasha stomps on Paige Paige-style and then screams Paige-style. Sasha leaps onto Paige’s back for a Sleeper which eventually grounds her. Paige rolls all over the ring trying to shake Sasha off and eventually gets to her feet and backs her into the corner. Sasha with a slap to the chest and a knuckle lock for an arm drag, but Paige just tosses her across the ring. Sasha runs into a trio of short arm clotheslines and a dropkick as Paige fires up. Summer grabs Paige’s foot at the ropes but ends up getting kicked by Sasha by mistake. Brutal kick to the gut from Paige and the Paigeturner (which she seems to modified slightly for the better, sweeping the leg with her arm instead of just grabbing it) to keep the champ standing tall as Emma and Nattie prep to fight for a chance to face her.
Enzo and Cass are in the back, with Enzo nursing his injured leg. Aiden English is warming up in the corner and the fellas aren’t happy about it. We get Cass and Aiden arguing over the use of “moi”. Now we get a singing competition. Cass is gonna drop English like an unnecessary theater elective. Ok, that got a chuckle out of me.
Match 3: The Ascension Open Challenge
Winners: The Ascension via pinfall
Who answers the Open Challenge? None other than John Cahill and Derek Billington the American
Wolves Pitbulls. Nice to see they’re still in Wolves-style gear. Tensai mentions that he’s been in the ring with these guys and they actually mention that they’re accomplished. Not brought in as jobbers, rookies, etc – That bodes well for the former ROH Tag Team and World Champions. Now for the sake of my own sanity, I’m going to stick with Richards/Edwards for this write up until I get used to their NXT names, if only because even the commentators are arguing over who’s named what.
Viktor starts with Richards and throws him to the corner. Richards ducks a lariat and arm wrenches Viktor to the mat before Edwards tags in. Viktor immediately powers him to Konnon and tags him in to lay into Edwards’ arm. Richards makes a blind tag and they hits a double japanese arm drag and toss Viktor to the floor. Konnor flapjacks Richards as Edwards heads back to his corner then tags in Viktor to beat on Richards. Richards flips out of a belly to back but kind of lands on his head – not sure if it’s an audible and he smartly sells what should have been an escape or Viktor dropped him. Quick two count and they go back to the same spot for a high flip this time – Viktor definitely dropped him the first time. Back kick from Richards to tag in Edwards to run wild on the NXT Tag Champs and he hits a shining wizard on Viktor before Konnor breaks up the pinfall. The Ascension get tossed to the floor and it’s stereo suicide dives by the Pitbulls. Edwards gets a two on Viktor then tags in Richards who howls on the top rope and hits a diving headbutt for two. Richards fires up and hits the ropes, but runs into a huge flying knee then Konnor tags in. The Fall of Man after Edwards gets dropped to the floor and The Ascension takes it.
Hunico and Camacho come out to jaw at the NXT Tag Team Champions before Edwards walks into The Ascension’s double team slam and The Fall of Man. Guess Hunico is doing double duty on NXT and as Sin Cara now.
Kofi is interviewed by Renee Young’s replacement. He’s quickly interrupted by Lana to challenge him on behalf of Rusev for next week. They’re having more and more main roster guys come to NXT for matches.
Match 4: Adrian Neville vs Bo Dallas (c), NXT Championship Lumberjack Match
Winner: Bo Dallas via pinfall
Howard Finkel makes the introductions – WWE only brings him in for the nostalgia shows and for big deals.
Bo teases stepping to the floor and quickly thinks better of it. Neville springs off the ropes and hits a calf kick, which sends Bo to the floor. He’s immediately rolled back in for a bridging pin from Neville. Bo is out at two and begins to club away at Neville. Bo throws Neville to the floor and Breeze tries to throw him in by himself. He ends up getting slapped in the face which leaves him weeping on the floor. Back from a commercial, it’s a lot of back and forth until Neville tags Dallas with a boot. Shin kicks to a kneeling Bo leaves the champion begging off. Dallas ducks another kick and schoolboys Neville through the ropes to the floor. Eight guys throw him in so they can get their faces on TV and Bo tries a quick cover. Cravat from Dallas. Breeze is still sitting on the floor and is very upset.
Neville fights up but Bo cinches the cravat tighter and grounds him again. Neville bucks like a bull to fight up again and beats Bo away before Dallas drops him with a scoop slam. Neville with a kick to the head from the floor. Bo kicks at the knee then the head of Neville from the mat himself to keep the control. Short arm back elbows from the champ before a short arm lariat turns Neville inside out. Very near fall off that one. Bo wants his corner bulldog, but Neville throws him off and kicks at the leg of the champ then hits forearms. Low dropkick for a two. Bo runs into a pair of kicks to the head from Neville who follows with a standing shooting star for two. Neville drops Bo with a scoop slam and wants Red Arrow, but Bo rolls to the floor. The lumberjacks stop him from escaping. They hold him in place and Neville takes out 15 men with a flipping senton to the floor. Red Arrow attempt number 2, but someone gets in the ref’s face and Breeze slides Dallas out of the way. Bo quickly rolls up Neville for the cheap title retention.
Now that’s good use of HHH. No ego on display, no running anyone down, no making corny dad jokes. Just a hall of fame-bound exect getting the crowd fired up.
This match is full of raw talent, some more refined than others. The WWE-style of match on the main roster makes no sense to me when you’ve got the capability to bust out a quick, run match like this. Solid work during the match and a really fun ending sequence. Glad to see Kidd seems to be back at 100% physically, but he and Zayn are a constant reminder of how ludicrous it is to not have a light heavyweight champion in WWE.
Good women’s match but Sasha’s cat fight strikes need to go. That should be offense that Paige covers her head to absorb and then levels Sasha with a lariat or something. BFFs have a miscue, so we’ll see if something develops from that. If I had to guess, they may be aiming to get Emma to go over Nattie, take the title from Paige and free Paige to head to the main roster.
So it seems like mid-match they settled on Edwards being John Cahill and Richards being Derek Billington. Excellent debut for the Pitbulls. They were talked about not as two small rookies, but an accomplished international tag team. We wait and see how things develop from here. Richards cut ties with ROH and has been signed. Edwards would, in theory, be part of this package, but he did wrestle at ROH Final Battle 2014. I haven’t heard word on his exact plans or time frame. It kind of feels like thin ice already – Triple H feels the Wolves need to prove themselves extensively due to their size and Richards is known to have a bit of an attitude problem. He’ll definitely need to keep on the straight and narrow to not run into problems early on. As far as proving themselves? How about the fact that they’re better wrestlers than and at least as good on the mic as half your main roster midcard guys?
Expected something of that sort after Breeze got slapped in the face. Solid match throughout and not too much lumberjack nonsense. The reign of Bo continues and I guess now we get a Neville/Breeze rivalry. Neville is another blatant reminder of the lack of a light heavyweight division in WWE. He’s also a reminder of why WWE has guys who are stellar performers go through developmental – The guy still can’t really cut a promo. Now if we see a renaissance of the mouth piece manager, he can get away with that for a time on the main roster, but you can only float that log for so long. For as much as I dislike Bo Dallas, he has improved quite a bit.
It’s Rewind time! The best of NXT for 2013, Alexander Rusev challenges Kofi Kingston and more importantly, William Regal takes on Antonio Cesaro.
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!