New year, new NXT Yellow Ropes Report. Tyler Breeze has entered the building. Sami Zayn takes on Leo Kruger in 2/3 falls, but not before the number one contender for the NXT Women’s Title is decided.
After we’re informed that Tyler Breeze has entered the building, Lana comes out and (probably) introduces Alexander Rusev.
Match 1: Alexander Rusev vs Kofi Kingston
Winner: Alexander Rusev via submission
Kofi has happily answered the challenge of Lana on Rusev’s behalf.
Rusev puts Kofi in the corner with boots to body. Rusev knees Kofi in the ropes then throws him up to his shoulders for a Samoan drop and a two count. Kofi fights up from the floor but gets leveled by a running body attack for another two. Rusev dives for a headbutt and Kofi rolls away and starts a come back from the corner. The usual come back routine from Kofi leads to the Boomdrop and Kofi wants Trouble in Paradise which Rusev powers away from only to take Kofi’s double jump cross body for a two. Kofi hits his flip kick in the corner and heads up top while Lana runs distraction. Rusev throws Kofi to the mat and locks in The Accolade to win it.
Sylvester Lefort talks in the back and says he wants a new client. Bull Dempsey shows up but is apparently too fat. Lefort wants “bigger than life”, so cue Mason Ryan. Ryan shoves some MONAY in Lefort’s mouth which upsets him.
Match 2: Natalya vs Emma, NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Match
Winner: Emma via submission
Not sure if one of these is supposed to be the heel here. Emma is a fan favorite and dances and is goofy, but Emma definitely broke her balls about this match and “expecting” a title shot.
Natalya with the early headlock and Emma with a headscissors to even up. Exchange of holds into a Natalya fireman’s carry and an arm wringer. Emma reverses and Natalya flips out of it into a slam for one. Emma tries an O’Connor roll and gets two. Emma poses and Natalya drives her into the corner. Emma tries a roll up again then gets the Dil-Emma (and A-Ry drops a Tajiri namedrop). Natalya dodges out of the corner and hits a discus clothesline for two. Nattie goes to an abdominal stretch mid-ring. Emma elbows out but ends up in Pin-Up Strong but she escapes. Scoop slam followed by a leg drop that Natalya whiffs on, letting Emma get to her feet. Emma counters a Sharpshooter attempt into a small package transitioned into the Emmalock which she absolutely wrenches to get the win over the main roster Diva.
Nattie congratulates Emma and dances with her, so I guess neither was the heel after all.
NXT Sing Off: Aiden English vs Colin Cassidy
Opera Italiano from English. Cass rebuts with a Danny Boy rendition mocking him and operatically delclares him SAWFT.
The crowd emphatically votes for Cass. English isn’t happy and wants another chance. Cass answers this one with a “You Suck” rendition of “My Girl”. Never thought I’d hear that. English wipes him out and goes after the knee then storms out.
Match 3: Tyler Breeze vs Mason Ryan
Winner: Tyler Breeze via pinfall
Lefort comes out and Breeze takes advantage by booting out the knee of Ryan and striking at him while kneeling. Ryan fires back with one shot that almost crumples Breeze then slams him, slides to the floor and clotheslines Lefort. He hops back in and eats the Beauty Shot and the loss.
Match 4: Sami Zayn vs Leo Kruger, Two Out of Three Falls
Fall 1: Sami Zayn via pinfall
Fall 2: Sami Zayn via submission
Kruger with a fast knock down and he tosses Zayn all over the floor. Kruger slams Zayn back first into the apron and gets a two count. Kruger with a European uppercut and Zayn spills to the floor. Kruger continues to hunt Zayn and chops then slams him on the floor. Kruger rolls him back in for another two count. More uppercuts then Zayn catches Kruger in the corner and gives him an Exploder into the turnbuckle and a Yakuza Kick for the quick first fall.
Back from a commercial, Zayn wants a superplex in round 2 but Kruger tosses him clear to the ramp from the top rope. Zayn beats the count but runs into a DDT for a near fall. Kruger chokes Zayn with a boot in the ropes followed with more strikes. Zayn resists a whip and gets booted for it. He resists again and meets a European uppercut that floors him. Kruger grabs Zayn up by his ear and gets his whip, but Zayn kicks him and hits a pair of clotheslines and a heel kick. Blue Thunder powerbomb gets a very near fall then Zayn heads to the apron and cuts of Kruger. Zayn wants a springboard but Kruger drops him with an elbow then hits a swinging neckbreaker with Zayn’s feet suspended on the ropes. It’s only good for two and Kruger wants the GC3, so Zayn scrambles to the ropes. Zayn heads up top and gets stopped by another Kruger forearm. Kruger’s turn to try a superplex but Zayn shoves him away and tries a crossbody but comes up empty. Kruger grabs the GC3 mid-ring and fights for the ropes. After the break, Kruger pounces on him and beats him. The ref drags him off instead of DQing him and Zayn tries to fight up from the mat. Zayn fires back with right hands but runs into a spinebuster. Zayn counters The Slice with a Flatliner and the Kofi Clutch to win it in two straight.
Pretty short and definitely intended to make Rusev look like a force to be reckoned with. He’s on the road beating Zack Ryder at house shows in Muay That style shorts, so he may very well be the next NXT call up. There’s loads of big dudes on the main roster at the moment AND Batista is coming back, but Rusev is definitely a different look.
Again, WWE. Your women’s matches on NXT are good matches. Not good “women’s matches”…just good matches. Stop having women on the main roster use their asses as a weapon and bop around all cutesy. Have them wrestle and people will respect the division. Oh, and hire Candace LaRae, damnit. Although it was a bit short, a win like that elevates Emma in the perfect way to be a true threat to Paige. Paige’s age has been the main issue in her going to the main roster, so we may be at the point where she drops the title and heads up. Paige vs AJ is a match that everyone should want – Both girls breathe professional wrestling, and given the chance they will go all out to impress.
Breeze is still a very much one-dimensional cheap heat gimmick. The smarty-pants NXT crowd still goes crazy for him, but until he fleshes out a bit more or something, this one is not main roster ready. Mason Ryan might be the most jacked jobber ever. Safe to assume Breeze will be the new Lefort-guy within a couple weeks; or this could lead to Ryan taking on anyone Lefort sends at him. Nothing match to forward an undefined rivalry.
I cannot believe they still use the pretty boy headshot profile pic for Kruger instead of having updated it. I also can’t believe that Kruger has been repacked as Adam Rose. This was a fun gimmick and he had a chant with his name for people to bark with him. The entrance was fun.
I was wondering how they would make fall #2 into something silly or quick to draw a third. Glad to see they went with something other than the easy booking. Zayn takes Kruger out in two straight and has to be heading toward a fair match for the NXT Title. As usual with a Sami Zayn-infused main event, I will implore you to make sure you see this match. It’s wild to me that Zayn sits in NXT while we see cookie cutter matches from Curtis Axel and company on the main roster, not to mention JTG still somehow draws a paycheck. Apparently Sami Zayn just isn’t star material, but that’s the management perspective right now (and that perspective is cross-eyed as hell). The American Wolves weren’t signed to a contract (Davey, shouldn’t have cut those ties to ROH, huh?) because HHH feels they have enough “undersized guys who can go” already. And yet of that bunch, only Daniel Bryan and CM Punk are used regularly and in a useful, functional spot. Tyson Kidd, the workhorse? Puts on a mask on the road to come back and then does nothing across FIVE hours of television weekly. You may have them, Hunter, but you don’t use them and you’re a fool for it. The day you combine the IC and US titles and re-introduce a light heavyweight title to give all the “go guys” a useful aim on the roster (since we’re supposed to believe everyone in WWE should WANT to be a champion), that’s the day I start believing all the rhetoric that’s been spat about making developmental a key part of WWE’s future, all the talk about listening to the fans and giving them what they want as entertainment and, of course, that you really do know what’s Best for Business®
Hunico and Camacho take on The Ascension in a Tornado Tag match.
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Tags: aiden english, alexander rusev, emma, Kofi Kingston, Leo Kruger, Natalya, NXT, sami zayn, William Regal, WWE