Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: Thoughts on the NXT call ups, Bo Dallas vs. Jinder Mahal, Corey Graves vs. Oliver Gray, Roman Reigns vs. Chase Donovan, The Ascension vs. Yoshi Tatsu and Percy Watson
By Darren Gutteridge
11/15 WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped on 11/10 in Winter Park, Florida
My apologies for the delayed coverage this week. My DVR had an off day on Thursday and decided not to record NXT.
[Q1] Pre-titles, Mr. Excitement Tony Luftman was backstage, interviewing Jinder Mahal. He asked Mahal what being #1 contender to Seth Rollins' NXT title meant to him. He said he wouldn't brag about it, as he only beat a no body to become #1 contender. Bo Dallas walked in, and said he wasn't a nobody. He asked for a rematch tonight, and Mahal accepted. Dallas then goaded Mahal into putting his title shot on the line by saying Mahal was scared he might lose. Mahal said it was on, and we went to titles...
After titles, The Ascension were mid entrance, and got interrupted by Yoshi Tatsu and Percy Watson...
1. Yoshi Tatsu and Percy Watson vs. The Ascension. O'Brian has shaved his head into a mohawk. When I wanted a turning down of the gimmick, I did not mean of O'Brian's hair. O'Brian wore down Watson with a long headlock on the mat. Watson landed a back suplex to escape and get the hot tag to Tatsu, as Cameron tagged in. Tatsu landed a dropkick while O'Brian blind tagged in. He attacked Tatsu from behind and threw Watson out of the ring. He and O'Brian then started doing their stupid growls before hitting a high low combo which Saxton dubbed the Fall of Man for the 1-2-3...
The Ascension defeated Yoshi Tatsu and Percy Watson in 2:54.
More growling ensued as Luftman said he has an interview with Big E Langston coming up, and JR will be joining commentary with Saxton...
Backstage, Layla was doing her hair when Aksana walked in and said she didn't like it. This lead to Layla saying she wasn't about to take abuse off of 'Eastern Euro-trash', and promised to take out the trash in the ring later on tonight... [C]
Gutt Check: I could not have cared less about that match. The Ascension have still yet to impress me in any way, and the quicker they move away from the high-end gimmicky stuff (ESPECIALLY the growling), the better off we'll be. And the acting in the backstage segment with the Divas was wooden. Unspeakably wooden. Michelle McCool wooden (she counts as a 00s wrestler doesn't she? Yes. The streak lives).
[Q2] Corey Graves made his redebut as it was revealed that it wasn't Saxton on commentary, but Tom Hannifan. They all sound the same! He was joined by JR as Oliver Gray, from Exeter, England, was shown in the ring...
2. Corey Graves vs. Oliver Gray. JR put over Graves as a heel by calling him confident and polarising. Hannifan called him the 'saviour of misbehaviour'. After some chain wrestling, Graves took control with strikes, taking Gray down and working over his left leg. Gray tried for a roll up, but Graves escaped quickly and went back to attacking Gray on the mat.
Graves locked in an Indian Deathlock, which sparked some life into Gray. He escaped the hold, but when he stood up his leg gave way. Graves capitalised with a strange version of the Figure Four Leglock, as he hooked it around Gray's left leg only. Gray tapped out...
Corey Graves defeated Oliver Gray in 4:19.
JR put over Graves before Hannifan threw us to a Big E Langston promo video...
Gutt Check: A solid, if unspectacular reintroduction to Graves. He has a unique look, but didn't tailor his offence to it. Although sometimes that doesn't work (see: Bronson), here it did as he showed technical skills and smart submission wrestling. My worry now is the NXT undercard is lacking babyfaces with credibility at the moment, so no immediate feud springs to mind.
After the hype video, Luftman introduced us to 'your favourite' Big E. He came out, chanting 'five' along with the crowd. Luftman brought up the bounty Vickie Guerrero put on his head, and asked if he was worried. He said he was worried for anyone dumb enough to try and claim it. He said the 'E' stood for End - an end to anyone who he faces. He said he would give everyone 'five' reasons to believe him. As he started chanting 'five' again, Camacho attacked him from behind before running off... [C]
Gutt Check: Big E is still green as hell on the mic, but he's finding his feet. He's facing an uphill battle though, as he is still the serious man he was when he was a heel, he's just added the 'five' chant to get the crowd on-side. But there is no doubting he's over big with the Florida crowd.
[Q3] Layla was already in the ring as Aksana made her entrance. Byron Saxton is on ring announcing duties this week...
3. Layla vs. Aksana. Aksana has abandoned that stupid netting outfit she usually wears. Because nothing says 'Sexy' like fishing nets. Aksana started walking like a cat along the apron at one point, which JR called a 'seductive waste of time'. Layla dropkicked her off and did the cat crawl in the ring to taunt her. Thrilling. Aksana dominated the match until Layla hit her springboard crossbody, followed by a roundhouse kick...
Layla defeated Aksana in 5:23.
JR said he didn't think the rivalry was over before Hannifan introduced a Bray Wyatt vignette...
Gutt Check: For all the time wasting and shenanigans, the tragic thing is that was one of the more solid outing from the Divas division in recent months. No botches, a story was told, and it held my attention. If that’s not a statement on how bad the division has become, I don’t know what is.
Wyatt was shown shouting outside, while Luke Harper watched. He said people have been denouncing his name, and calling him a liar. He said 'lets play pretend', and asked how, if he is truly a monster, how can he be stopped? He asked how you can destroy something that can not be stopped. He told 'them' to come and find him; 'all you have to do is follow the buzzards'...
Gutt Check: Fantastic again from Wyatt. He's walking the line between crazy person and cult leader, and walking it very well. I hope there isn't another lull in his build up, as I want to see more and more of this character every week.
Roman Reigns made his entrance back in the arena, writing his signature in the air as he walked down the ramp. His opponent, Chase Donovan, was already in the ring...
4. Roman Reigns vs. Chase Donovan. JR called Reigns the 'bluest of blue chippers', and Hannifan dubbed him the 'Lebron James of wrestling'. I wish I could give analysis and insight, but believe it or not I don't know who Lebron James is. Basketball guy?
Reigns was in charge of the match from the get go, keeping the pace slow and methodical. Two powerslams lead to a nerve hold, which Donovan escaped from, only to be quickly hit with a big clothesline and Reign's modified back suplex finisher for the pinfall...
Roman Reigns defeated Chase Donovan in 2:57.
After the match, Donovan shouted at Saxton to announce him as the 'Thoroughbred' Roman Reigns. Saxton obliged at the second time of asking, and JR and Hannifan put Reigns over huge. The main event is up next... [C]
Gutt Check: A slight improvement on his first match, but I think the commentators are doing Reigns a disservice by putting him over so heavily. He's beat two nobodies, and they are making him sound like the chosen one. Why is he a better prospect than Big E, Rollins, Ohno or Kruger? It's too much pressure.
[Q4] Jinder was already in the ring before Bo Dallas made his way down...
5. Bo Dallas vs. Jinder Mahal. Things were fairly even until Dallas hit a hot streak with hit and run offence. Mahal was forced to the outside as we went to a break.
They didn't air a commercial, they just cut to later in the match. Odd. Dallas was still on the front foot until Mahal hit him with a running knee for a two count. Dallas escaped a long double arm stretch and tried a few roll up pins, but Mahal regained the upper hand with a kick to the head. Dallas fought back from the apron, delivering a head kick of his own and hitting a scoop slam for two. He charged Mahal in the corner, but Mahal sidestepped him, making Dallas run face first into the second turnbuckle. Mahal locked in the Camel Clutch, and Dallas held on for a while before tapping...
Jinder Mahal defeated Bo Dallas in 9:01.
Mahal continued to beat up Dallas after the match, before Rollins ran to the ring to make the save. They had another stare down before NXT went off the air...
Gutt Check: That was on par with last weeks effort, almost feeling like a copy at some points, especially with the after match beating and stare down. I can't help but feel that building up Mahal again is a waste of time, as no one sees him as a threat to Rollins. McIntyre may have been the better bet, owing to his previous win over Rollins, and it feeling fresher.
Not a stellar week again from NXT. Nothing stood out in the hour, with the majority fitting under the banner of 'OK'. Graves and Reigns were both OK, Langston’s promo was OK, and the main event was OK. Bray Wyatt stole the show with a 2 minute promo.
I didn't catch Survivor Series. There was nothing interesting to me outside of the main event. The reshuffling robbed every match of meaning outside of Punk/Cena/Ryback. But I woke up to the news that three developmental wrestlers debuted. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose jumped Ryback and put him through the Spanish table. And I am equal parts excited, intrigued and skeptical.
Rollins was the big no-brainer. Some people would argue he was ready the day he signed from ROH, but his extended stay in FCW/NXT has given him time to really nail down his character, and figure out the WWE style. He has previous with Punk, with the two interacting on NXT a month or so ago, so the call up makes sense on that level too. I'm excited to see how he does on the main stage (and if he drops the NXT title ASAP)
Dean Ambrose is a complete mystery to me. I have yet to see him wrestle, as he hasn't appeared on NXT yet, but he has already been involved with, and praised, by both William Regal and Mick Foley (in FCW and on the internet respectively). Praise doesn't come much higher than that. They obviously have big plans for him if they have kept him off TV, so I can't wait to see what they have in store for him.
Roman Reigns however is the question mark for me. He's only been on the last few episodes of NXT, and although he's looked solid in the ring, he's yet to impress with his (brief) promo time. It's not like NXT is light with talent - Big E Langston springs to mind as the guy who may be a better fit for the feud with Ryback they seen to be angling for. Kassius Ohno also could have worked, as his character is fond of sneak attacks, but he too is yet to truly find his feet character wise.
I can say, though, without a shadow of a doubt, I am now excited for the three hour Raw for the first time in a while. With these three, and Brad Maddox, leading a charge from developmental, hopefully a lot more fans can enjoy these fresh, exciting guys first hand, as I have for the past several months.
Just wait until Bray Wyatt gets there...
Thanks for reading. If you had any comments or thoughts on the show or this review, add me on Twitter via @Dazatheg
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