After NXT ArRival, Adrian Neville is the new NXT Champion. Sami Zayn is the obvious number one contender, but Corey Graves seems to have something else in mind.
Match 1: Adrian Neville (NXT Champion) vs Camacho
Winner: Adrian Neville via pinfall
What better way to celebrate your title victory by doing a curtain jerker against someone nobody sees as a contender?! Neville offers a handshake and Camacho wants no part of it, disrespecting the new champ.
Camacho opts for a kick to the gut but Neville quickly strikes back with speedy offense and an arm bar. Camacho forearms his way out and lays in on the NXT Champion in the corner. Running powerslam for a two count. Neville strikes away at Camacho and begins to lay in his running forearms > sole butt > dropkick to head. Missile dropkick out of one corner leads to Neville on the top rope in the opposite one for Red Arrow and the quick win.
Renee Young appears in the ring to discuss ArRival’s ladder match. Neville describes it as “indescribable”. Neville sees the NXT Championship as a validation. He runs down that he’s small, looks like an elfman and has an awful accent. One thing you can’t question, in his eyes, is his in-ring ability. Neville gets the crowd going on a “No more Bo” chant. Surprisingly, this draws out the former champ. Dallas says Neville never pinned him and wants his rematch “soon”.
Charlotte and Ric Flair talk down Emma who is being interviewed last week at ArRival. They’re pushing real hard that Charlotte will be the number one contender for the NXT Women’s title, but she’s nowhere near ready.
Match 2: Emma vs Charlotte
Winner: Charlotte via pinfall
Charlotte is flanked by Sasha Banks and Summer Rae’s face on a stick.
Arms wrenched back and forth before Charlotte grabs a front facelock. Scratch that, back to arm wrenches. Charlotte tries to arm drag Emma and she slides through, holds on and ends up hammerlocking the daughter of the Nature Boy. Emma with a quick roll up for two but Charlotte answers with a knee to the gut. Charlotte runs into a boot in the corner and kicks out of a school girl at two. Charlotte goes up and over in the corner and sells her ankle being hurt. Emma tries a pinfall and gets two. Sasha yells to her friend from the apron, distracting everyone and Charlotte sneaks in her flipping finisher to pick up the cheap win.
Match 3: Yoshi Tatsu vs Corey Graves
Winner: Corey Graves via countout
Poor Yoshi Tatsu. Oh hey, I guess Graves got new music too. Graves introduces himself for new fans because he’s salty about not being on ArRival. He picks at Tatsu “thinking he can still be a WWE Superstar” (Which has got to suck to hear). Graves says he’s tired of hearing about Zayn and asks when’s the last time he won a match? He continues that he only needs one chance to beat Cesaro and will go ahead and tear through Tatsu to get there.
Graves starts the match and immediately bails to the floor and says “Forget this”. The crowd laments by chanting “YES YES YES” to the concept of not having to see Graves wrestle. Tatsu gives chase to the floor and eats a clothesline, then gets tossed to the stairs. Graves slides in and tells the ref to start counting. Tatsu gets counted out but still crawls into the ring.
Graves lays boots into Tatsu and locks in Lucky 13. Zayn makes the save (music playing, of course) and Graves bails. Zayn says he’s all about opportunity and offers a challenge for tonight.
Devin Taylor attends Adam Rose’s party, which has all of 15 human being attending. The former Leo Kruger points to a luchador rotating a light stick (Spoilers: It’s the former Samuray del Sol, now known as Kalisto). Rose wants the party to continue.
Match 4: Adam Rose vs Wesley Blake
Winner: Adam Rose via pinfall
Rose’s entrance is literally a party train to the ring. He stage dives off the apron and is carried around the ring by his gaggle of groupies.
Rose rolls out of an arm wringer and proceeds to roll all the way around his opponent. Bit of comedy where Rose sits on the middle rope and uses his legs to push away his opponent then boots him one in the face. Blake hits a straight right in the corner and Rose tackles him to lay in elbows and knees to the head and body after screaming “You want to see a fight?!”. Rose hits a spinebuster and then heads to the corner and warms up for Kruger’s Slice which I’ve got to guess will end up with a “train” themed name. It’s good for the win.
Kruger’s party greets him at the top of the ramp and the rock star heads off.
Match 5: Corey Graves vs Sami Zayn
Winner: Sami Zayn via pinfall
Graves goes right to the gut at the bell and pressures Zayn in the corner. Graves chops Zayn, which draws a much louder chop from the Canadian. Graves takes over with more strikes and gets a one count. He chops Zayn again which once again draws a retaliatory one. Another gut kick after it and a headlock (Gut kicks and headlocks – He really is like NXT’s answer to Orton). Zayn throws Grave to the ropes but gets shouldered down. Trio of arm drags sends Graves to the floor. Zayn feints a dive when Graves runs away and the crowd gets strongly behind him. Graves tries to bait Zayn out of the ring and settles for hanging him neck first on the top rope. Graves pounces and lays in the exact same elbows and knees that we just saw Adam Rose throw (that’s poor form and makes them less “Special”). Graves throws a gourdbuster and gets a two count, which sends us to a commercial (For something on the WWE Network, which I’m already paying for and watching to watch this commercial…oh sorry, it’s for a magazine about stuff on the WWE Network, which I’m already paying for and watching to watch this commercial).
Back to action, Graves has Zayn locked up on the mat. Regal says Graves has a “Sterling reputation” for submissions; a reference to his real name that I have to go ahead and assume goes right over the heads of his broadcast colleagues. More strikes in the corner until the ref pulls Graves off. Graves whips the bad leg of Zayn and he kicks out at two. Zayn tries to fight out of another hold but takes a belly to back for two. Zayn fights out yet again and tags Graves with clotheslines and a back body drop. Zayn is thinking Yakuza Kick but gets caught in a fireman’s carry and flipped forward for a back breaker and a two count. Zayn elbows out of the corner and hits the springboard crossbody for two. Yakuza Kick take two and Graves meets him with a stiff elbow. Zayn avoids Lucky 13 and hits a Blue Thunder Powerbomb for two. Both men rush mid ring and Graves nails a chop block. Zayn turns Lucky 13 into a small package and Graves kicks out. Zayn grabs the knuckle lock and chops Graves, wanting the rope-run Tornado DDT but Graves catches him on his shoulders. Graves wants the same fireman’s carry back breaker, but Zayn turns that into a small package and picks up the win.
Quick match after his title win for Neville. This match was just an excuse to have Neville out there to interview and draw out Bo. Could have done with just an interview/talking segment, but there’s really nothing wrong with having your champion come out and run through his offense. Bo will be looking for his rematch and I’d be he doesn’t win it.
So I guess Charlotte’s shtick will be she’s like daddy – The dirtiest player in her particular game. This works with a heel faction, but training NXT wrestlers for the typical WWE distraction finish nonsense is foreboding.
So we’re setting up Graves to be a viable contender to the NXT title. I guess if that’s going to be the guy they want to see then fine. What we’ll end up seeing is a match or two with Zayn and Graves, likely an appearance from Cesaro and then ultimately a number one contender’s match between some combination of those three men. I still don’t buy Graves as a “the guy”, but he’s at least improved a bit from his early NXT days.
Rose had a great grasp on a great gimmick in Leo Kruger. Everyone had to see that. I have to assume that the huge shift, with no storyline reason for it, is akin to a test of his ability to adopt a gimmick. I was a huge fan of Kruger, so I hope to see Adam Rose be a success. I’m not going to lie, when I heard of this change a while back, I was immediately down on it because of how much I enjoyed the Kruger gimmick, but this seems like the type of thing that people will enjoy getting behind. It’s executed really well, so I think I’m pasty my trepidation.
Now given, Sami Zayn makes anyone look good when they’re across the ring from him, but a match like this makes me take another look at Graves. I’ve been admittedly down on him for a long time and I still don’t dig his finisher hold, but this could be the start of a new view of Graves. A rivalry with Sami Zayn can only help to elevate him, as will any matches with Neville or Cesaro that result from it. This was a very good match, and the build will be that Zayn “only won with a roll up” instead of in “decisive” fashion, so bet on a Graves cheap win within a couple weeks, or perhaps some good old fashioned WWE distraction nonsense to lead to Zayn losing to someone else.
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: Adam Rose, adrian neville, alexander rusev, Corey Graves, Leo Kruger, NXT, sami zayn, WWE, WWE Network