Adrian Neville wants some revenge on Prince Pretty tonight, after costing him a huge lumberjack match. Kofi is looking for his own revenge on Alexander Rusev and won’t be taking him lightly again. And a big announcement from Triple H!
HHH, WWE’s COO (That’s a lot of caps to start off a recap) opens NXT this week. February 24th, the WWE Network goes live. The interesting part? On February 27th, NXT goes live on the WWE Network. In this move, WWE begins to completely validate NXT as a brand, as a breeding ground. Altogether good call.
Match 1: Adrian Neville vs Tyler Breeze
Winner: Adrian Neville via pinfall
This freaking ring announcer is killing me. Not an ounce of interest or emotion behind what she says. Neville wants revenge on Breeze for costing him a huge match against the NXT Champion.
Breeze goes right to the gut with a boot but gets shouldered to the mat then takes a hurricanrana. Breeze bails to the floor and Neville feints a dive to show off. Neville outspeeds Breeze when he gets back in the ring but Breeze strikes at him to take early control. Neville throws Breeze face first to the turnbuckle and the gorgeous one covers up in the corner. Neville treats him to a bicycle kick which Breeze answers with a straight right to the face. Neville ducks the next one and chops Breeze, which almost reduces him to tears. Knee to the gut sends Neville to the apron, so Breeze gives him a Jericho-style triangle jump dropkick which leads to a commercial.
Back from break, Breeze has the flyer grounded. Another knee to the gut cuts off Neville trying to get up then he gets a mudhole stomped in him. Breeze covers for two then stops for a selfie. Breeze notices Neville getting ready and bumrushes him, so he gets a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for his trouble. Neville with a sole butt and a low drop kick for two. Breeze throws Neville to the apron and gets cracked in the mouth, but when Neville springboards at him, Breeze drops him with a huge drop kick for another two. Breeze goes to a corner and wants the Beauty Shot but Neville ducks. Corner exchange ends in a huge standing round kick to Breeze’s head and Neville whiffs a second rope phoenix splash. Breeze cradles him for two. Breeze tries a standing Beauty Shot and Neville catches it into a sitout powerbomb for a very nearfall. Neville is thinking Red Arrow, but Breeze grabs his leg to prevent the dive. Neville boots him in the face and stands again but Breeze crotches him. Breeze heads up top himself for a Frankensteiner, but Neville holds the ropes to cause Breeze to crash down. Third time is the charm for the Red Arrow and the win.
Match 2: CJ Parker vs Jason Jordan
Winner: CJ Parker via pinfall
Jordan with quick power and a mat slam rolled over for a one count. Jordan keeps the waist lock and rolls Parker over again for one. Parker escapes and hits a Harlem side kick then the Third Eye to win.
Match 3: Mojo Rawley vs Bo Dallas, NXT Champion
Winner: Bo Dallas via pinfall
Talking about Bo giving opportunities to young talent. Mojo’s young career. Problem is Mojo looks like he could be Bo’s father.
Mojo tosses Bo off a lockup to establish that he’s the bigger man. Bo apparently isn’t “hype enough”. Another lock up, another toss. Mojo shoulder blocks Bo all the way to the floor and the NXT Champion is reeling. Mojo throws himself at the floor for a three point stance to psyche out Bo, who bails to the apron for safety. Bo finagles Mojo into the corner and lays into him with a back elbow. Mojo powers up for a few jabs and a trio of big shoulders. Stinger splash in the corner, no make that two and Bo bails to the apron again. Mojo biels Bo back into the ring and whiffs a third splash then gets rolled up to lose to the NXT Champion…who grabbed a handful of tights.
Match 4: Kofi Kingston vs Alexander Rusev
Winner: Kofi Kingston via pinfall
Kofi wants a salty runback on Rusev, I guess – This time he won’t underestimate the Bulgarian brute. Lana introduces Rusev.
Kofi tries a waistlock and a headlock, but Rusev casts him off. Kofi throws kicks to the midsection until Rusev catches one and throws him again, followed by a shoulder. Kofi with leapfrogs and a back elbow, which he follows by throwing himself at Rusev in the corner. Rusev catches him and throws him across the ring. Rusev resists a whip and drops Kofi with a knee. Rusev works the midsection then applies a nerve hold. Kofi tries to fight out but gets stopped in his tracks again. Rusev gets thrown to the floor and Kofi wants a baseball slide, but Rusev moves and kicks him. Rusev throws Kofi at the stairs and he hops over then hits his jumping clothesline.
Back from a commercial, Kofi is trying to keep Rusev grounded, but the power is too much. Rusev misses a rush into the corner and Kofi springs up for his 10 punches. Rusev is having no part of it and walks Kofi to mid-ring for a powerbomb. Kofi kicks out at two. Rusev jaws at Kofi in the corner and boots him down to the mat. Rusev pulls Kofi back to mid-ring and drops an elbow. Kofi tries to fight up and Rusev puts a stop to it then clubs him in the ropes. Rusev drops an axe handle, a headbutt and an elbow for another nearfall. Another nerve hold as the crowd entertains themselves with The Wave. Kofi rolls out and grabs a headscissors from the mat then tries to fight back with his back chops and dropkick. Rusev intercepts the Boomdrop but Kofi counters a Samoan drop into a crucifix for two. Kofi hits his corner flip kick and springboards but gets caught again, then Rusev throws him up for a Samoan drop. Another two count so that the commentators can say “resilience” again. Kofi hits a surprise SOS but Rusev kicks out. Kofi hits a pair of running kicks to the chest but Rusev dodges the third and bodies him against the ropes. Kofi is out at two again and Rusev is going ballistic, but Lana seems to be talking him down. Kingston avoids the Accolade and hits his clothesline and the Boomdrop then retires to the corner for Trouble in Paradise. Lana tries to run interference, but Kofi sees through it and hits TiP anyway to win it.
That’s the kind of match I’ve been wanting from Breeze. If he wants to go any further in WWE, he’ll need to be able to have matches like this with guys of Neville’s caliber. Breeze’s dropkick is, dare I say, gorgeous. That second rope phoenix splash looked amazing out of Neville, and makes me want to see Seth Rollins have his “moment” by hitting his own on the main roster. Neville ends a short rivalry by quickly getting his revenge, so I don’t expect this to continue as a program. The most important thing is for them not to have Breeze go back to silly, quick matches. He can do his goofy Zoolander gimmick and entrance, but the matches have to be viable – And now we know Breeze is more than capable of them.
CJ Parker is doing squash matches? No. No, no, no. This gimmick, that finish – every last bit of it annoys me. And he’s not a heel, he’s not supposed to annoy me. I’m not supposed to want him to get the hell off my screen. Yet here we are.
I expect a lot of these Bo matches against mid-to-undercard guys in NXT and him winning through nefarious means. Mojo Rawley does nothing for me. This gimmick is infantile and somebody needs to teach him to sell. Everytime he took a shot in the corner his legs flailed like a ragdoll. Lots of work needed. Bo continues to get people to hate him in the best possible way.
Big guy/little guy is usually a fun dynamic. I kind of expected another Rusev win on this one, to be honest. I imagine we’ll see a third match between these guys, unless WWE is sticking to “NXT is developmental, so the main roster guy has to get his win back and run”. Rusev has been making the dark match travel runs with WWE and beating up Zack Ryder for a while, so we’ll see how much more development he gets in NXT before heading up to the main roster to squash some guys on TV.
Who knows, because they neglected to tell us.
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