Zim’s WWE NXT Review: Tag Title Tournament semifinals, Wyatt Family vs. Dallas and McGillicutty, Kruger and Ohno vs. British Ambition, in-ring return of “The Ascension” Conor O’Brian, Bray Wyatt shines
WWE NXT on Hulu Plus aired February 6
Taped January 10 at Full Sail University
The tag team title tournament bracket showed and Scott Stamford narrated a brief intro for tonight's matchups... The opening theme played… Kassius Ohno and Leo Kruger made their entrance together, out next came the team of Adrian Neville and Oliver Grey.
1. Kassius Ohno and Leo Kruger vs. British Ambition (Adrian Neville and Oliver Grey) in a Tag Team Title Tournament semifinal match. Gray was in control of Kruger for the opening few minutes. The babyfaces made frequent tags but worked a slow, methodical style. Gray hit the ropes and went for a sunset flip over Ohno without realizing that Kruger had tagged back in. Kruger took momentum by hitting a sliding elbow to the back of Gray and the show went to break... [C]
Back from break, Ohno had Gray grounded and then made the tag. Kruger hit a backbreaker that got a two count before locking in an abdominal stretch. He tagged Kassius who stepped in for his partner and kept the stretch applied. They repeated the spot until Gray broke free with a hip toss. He couldn't reach his corner however, and Ohno hit a big splash and then a back senton for a near fall.
Grey came close to making the tag several times, but the heels kept him isolated. Kruger dropped him with a back suplex and got another near fall. Grey finally reversed a suplex attempt into a small package and got a two count. Kruger charged at him in the corner, but Grey ducked and made the tag at the same time as Kruger. Neville came running in with forearms and a back elbow in the corner.
Ohno reversed a whip in the corner, but Neville did his up-and-over handspring and followed up with a running dropkick that knocked Kruger off the apron. Ohno came right back and dropped Neville with a running boot that sent him to ringside. Ohno followed him to the outside and then began yelling at Willian Regal "Do you see this!? This is your fault!"
He was distracted long enough for Neville to slip back into the ring and launch himself over the ropes with a Space Flying Tiger that took Ohno out. Neville put Ohno back in the ring then followed up with his rope-hang kick. He ascended the top rope, but Kruger distracted him from the apron. Grey took Kruger out allowing Neville to hit the corkscrew Shooting Star on Ohno for the win...
British Ambition defeated Kassius Ohno and Leo Kruger in 14:00 to advance to the Tag Team Title Tournament Finals.
Zim’s Zag: Boring match until the end, where action picked up and got good. Neville owns that finish every time and it never gets less impressive. I like the slow build to whatever Ohno and Regal are working their way to, it's intriguing.
A recap showed ring announcer Summer Rae attacking Paige from behind last week... Backstage, Rene Young asked Summer why she attacked Paige. She answered that she stood in the ring and forced a smile while announcing Paige week after week. She called Paige ghastly and called herself the hottest "thing" in the WWE. She closed by saying that Paige is going to learn "Summer school's always in session."...[C]
Zim’s Zag: Way to objectify yourself Summer. Other than that though, she showed good poise and came across as a bitter yet seemingly confident heel. Oh, and the catchphrase has to go.
Mike Dalton was already in the ring when the show came back. He's virtually a blend of Dolph Ziggler and Kurt Cobain. The lights cut out and maniacal laughing opened into Conor O'Brian's new theme. He was announced as "The Ascension" Conor O'Brian and made the cool gimmicked entrance.
2. Conor O'Brian vs. Mike Dalton. Dalton tried to capitalize with speed as the crowd chanted "Let’s go Ziggler." He hit the ropes, but got dropped by a phantom right-hand from O'Brian. O'Brian charged with a clothesline in the corner and bieled Dalton across the ring. He whipped Dalton into the ropes and dropped him down with a high flapjack. O'Brian ran the ropes and hit a leg drop to the back of Dalton's head for the pinfall. Dalton's shoulder was up while the ref was counting one and two, but that didn't stop him.
Conor O'Brian defeated Mike Dalton in 1:30.
Zim’s Zag: Unimpressive re-debut. O'Brian is big and looks the part to play this act, but this definitely left something to be desired.
After the match, O'Brian began screaming "Five!" and demanded that the referee make the five count. The ref didn't comply, so an enraged O'Brian made the count himself. When he mocked Big E Langston's chest beating, that brought the NXT Champion out to the ring.
Langston slowly got into the ring, threw Dalton over his shoulder, and drove him down the the Big Ending. With his mission seemingly accomplished, he put his championship back over his shoulder and made his way to the back yelling "Five!" His eyes were locked on O'Brian the entire time...
Backstage, Paige was up in Dusty Rhodes' face demanding a match with Summer Rae next week. She guaranteed that if the match wasn't made, there wouldn't be an NXT next week. As she was backing out of the room, she stumbled into Sasha Banks the same way she did to Summer and snapped "Get out of my way!"
Exit Paige, enter Sasha, who asked Dusty if everything was okay. Dusty said he was dealing with a lot of drama, but he had a card for her from the secret admirer. "Next week is Valentine's Day, and I can't think of a better way, to show my affection, than with P.D.A. -Your Secret Admirer" She took off, even giddier than last week... [C]
Zim’s Zag: A stage hand is one thing, but why the hell did Dusty have the card this week? Maybe I shouldn't admit it, but I'm curious where this leads. And wow, did Paige ever come across like a badass b*tch in her segment!
A Scott Stamford-narrated video showed an in-depth breakdown of each match from the Royal Rumble Fanfest Tournament. Ultimately, Bo Dallas won a spot in the Rumble over Leo Kruger, Corey Graves, Adrian Neville, Luke Harper, Conor O'Brian, Oliver Grey, and Xavier Woods...
Backstage, Bo Dallas was approached by (his brother) Bray Wyatt. Wyatt congratulated Dallas on his Rumble Tournament win. "Oooh, that must've been very exciting for you." He carried on playing his character to perfection, but warned Bo that his 15 minutes were up. Dallas wasn't bothered by the words or attitude of Wyatt. He replied that "it was cool beating your boy, Harper. And it's cooler that I get to do it again tonight." He warned Wyatt that their time may be up, not his. Wyatt laughed confidently as Dallas walked away...
Zim’s Zag: Cool segment featuring the real life brothers. Wyatt showed that he got the charisma in the family. His character is amazing, while Dallas is still struggling to find his personality and confidence, but he's not floundering.
The team of Bo Dallas and Michael McGillicutty made their entrance. They were followed by Bray Wyatt who led his family onto the stage. Rowan placed the rocking chair in the middle of the ramp for Wyatt, then he and Harper embarked to the ring for the last semifinal match.
Bo Dallas and Michael McGillicutty vs. The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper and Erik Rowan) in a Tag Team Title Tournament semifinal match. Harper playfully forced Rowan onto the apron so he could start the match. Little things like that give these characters layers. The babyface team took turns working over Harper, though he was able to get in a great looking headbutt to the chest that took Dallas off his feet. Eventually, Harper reversed a springboard bulldog from Dallas and and tagged in Rowan. The Family was in control as the show went to its final break... [C]
Rowan had Dallas locked in a swinging bear hug as Wyatt looked on eerily from his chair. Harper jerked and contorted, much like Dean Ambrose used to. He whipped Dallas into a big scoop slam and elbow drop from Rowan. Dallas broke free a short time later and made the tag. McGillicutty came in hot with right forearms and clotheslines. He knocked Harper off the apron and hit a snap Saito suplex on Rowan.
Unbeknownst, Bray Wyatt had made his way to the ring and hooked McGillicutty's leg when he went to run the ropes. The referee slid to ringside and sent to Wyatt to the back. While the ref was distracted, Harper came into the ring and hit a big discus lariat to lay McGillicutty out. Rowan made the cover and got the win for his team.
The Wyatt Family defeated Bo Dallas and Michael McGillicutty in 5:00 to advance to the Tag Team Title Tournament finals.
After the match, Wyatt entered the ring in approached Bo. He extended his hand with wide eyes and offered "Please, come with me." Dallas slapped his hand away and Wyatt quickly left the ring. As he approached the ramp, Wyatt pointed behind himself with both arms. Accepting their mission, Harper and Rowan split up around the ring and surrounded Dallas.
With Dallas distracted, Bray Wyatt crushed him in the corner. Wyatt took his limp victim and danced around the ring with him, before kissing Dallas on the forehead and driving him down with a swinging reverse STO. He reached down and shook the hand of Dallas, placed his hat back on his head, and coolly made his way back up the ramp. Tony Dawson reminded viewers that The Family would face British Ambition in the finals, next week...
Zim’s Zag: Another boring match. Unfortunately, this one didn't have the action pick up quite like the first one did. Disappointing. Great, great stuff from Wyatt however. He continues to be the best character in NXT and I’m excited that he appears to be cleared for a return to competition.
Overall, this is a very lackluster show. The opening match featured a few minutes of good action, but the rest of the card seriously lacked. The only other real positives I can point out about this show were Paige's entertaining interaction with Dusty, and the ever impressive Wyatt family characters. Conor O’Brian’s return didn’t catch my attention, nor was I impressed by his interaction with Big E. Both tag matches lagged for the most part and weren’t up to par with previous weeks. Here's hoping that next week title match makes up for a disappointing semifinal round.
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