Zim’s WWE NXT Review: Bray Wyatt returns to action and his Family steals the show, Big E Langston vs. Conor O’Brian, Xavier Woods vs. El Local, Sasha Banks vs. Audrey Marie, Graves steals NXT Title
By Zack Zimmerman
2/20 WWE NXT on Hulu Plus
Taped January 31 at Full Sail University
A good video package showed highlights of last week’s NXT Tag Team Title victory by Adrian Neville and Oliver Grey… The opening video played…
Yoshi Tatsu made his ring entrance to open the show. Tom Phillips introduced himself and William Regal. Regal said he can’t keep track of who’s with him week to week, a sentiment I share wholly. Bray Wyatt made his entrance, accompanied by The Family. He has switched out his Hawaiian shirt for a long black shop apron, his white pants for salmon-colored pants, and has expanded his tattoos. As the ref called for the bell, Wyatt grabbed the top rope and arched backwards like The Last Exorcism movies. Great touch.
1. Yoshi Tatsu vs. Bray Wyatt (w/ Harper and Rowan). Tatsu went after Wyatt with chops and kicks, but Wyatt just smiled and shoved Tatsu away. He caught Tatsu with a huge uranage and asked the fans “Isn’t this what you’ve wanted!?” Wyatt clobbered away at Tatsu in the corner and charged in hard with a running splash that Tim Phillips called the Runaway Train. Wyatt dragged Tatsu to the center of the ring and kissed him on the forehead before delivering his snap reverse STO for the three-count.
Bray Wyatt defeated Yoshi Tatsu in 1:30.
Zim’s Zag: Short and sweet squash match the way it should be. Wyatt’s style fits his character and his character fits his look. It all just works really well.
After the match, Wyatt took a mic and ordered The Family into the ring. He had them stand right where he wanted and threw to a clip of them losing in the finals of the NXT Tag Team Title Tournament last week. When it ended, his look had changed. “You really let me down boys. HOW COULD YOU!?” He asked. “AFTER EVERYTHING I DID FOR YOU!” He chuckled and told Rowan that his brother, Harper, was the reason they lost last week. Wyatt ordered Rowan to hit Harper and so he did. Wyatt laughed gleefully and then embraced Harper.
“You are my General, Harper. I lean on you.” Wyatt confessed. “Doesn’t your back hurt from carrying him through this whole life!? …Hit him.” Harper hit Rowan once clean, then both men grabbed each other and began firing away with fists as Wyatt egged them on. Wyatt finally said enough, and they stopped. “I’m proud of you, boys.” Wyatt concluded, as the three beamed with demented smiles. They left the ring together and Tom Phillips put over that they were as united and dangerous as ever…
Zim’s Zag: That may have been my favorite segment from any episode of NXT yet. The characters are getting bizarre but act-appropriate layers that will take them to the next level. Harper’s facials brought this segment from an A to an A+. Just awesome, something worth going out of your way to see.
Backstage, Rene White introduced Sasha Banks, who was excited for her secret admirer to be revealed after the last few weeks of teases. A stage hand passed a note that Sasha began to read aloud, but she was attacked from behind by Audrey Marie. “I’ve been out injured, and this is what they replace me with? Sasha, get out of NXT. Love, your Secret Admirer.” Audrey smiled and left Sasha lying on the floor… Scott Stamford hyped the main event of Big E Langston vs. Conor O’Brian in a non-title match….[C]
Back from break, El Local was making his entrance. He was followed by Xavier Woods, who came out to a Vanilla Ice song. Seriously.
2. El Local vs. Xavier Woods. Phillips said Woods looks like Urkel and Regal said that even under Local’s mask, you can see he’s dreadfully ugly. The fans began chanting “Power Ranger”, and Zim quickly realized that this match had no chance of getting either man over. Some quick paced armdrags led to Woods gaining the brief upper hand, but Local took control with a double stomp to Woods who was caught in the ropes.
Local worked some basic offence and then hit a nice sliding enziguri for two. Woods pushed Local towards the turnbuckle, but Local dropped down like a baseball slide into the corner and caught the charging Woods with an overhead kick. Cool spot. Woods came back with a hurricanrana and a standing missile dropkick for a two-count. They traded offense briefly before Woods hit a tornado DDT off the second rope for the win...
Xavier Woods defeated El Local.
Zim’s Zag: Decent match, but I was more impressed with Ricardo Rodriguez than I was with Woods. I don’t expect the El Local character to be anything more than a jobber, but it’s worth noting that Rodriguez is definitely a talented worker.
Backstage, Rene White introduced Dr. Michael Sampson. He said that they’ve been working with Paige on her injured shoulder daily. He claimed she’s suffering from bicep tendonitis and a possible A.C. separation, and said that they don’t have a return timeframe just yet… Scott Stamford hyped Sasha Banks vs. Audrey Marie up next…[c]
Back from break, Audrey Marie made her entrance, followed by Sasha Banks.
3. Audrey Marie vs. Sasha Banks. Sasha went after Audrey, but Audrey caught her with a knee to the gut to take the upper hand. Audrey locked in a surfboard before releasing it and attempting a backbreaker. Banks reversed into a spinning headscissors and fought back with clotheslines and a dropkick. She ran at Audrey, who caught her with a wheelbarrow facebuster that Phillips called the Photo Finish and scored the win.
Audrey Marie defeated Sasha Banks in 2:30.
Zim’s Zag: Mediocre match, even by Divas standards. Marie looks athletic, but didn’t show much here. Banks is talented, but did impress either. This was the payoff to a month’s worth of backstage hype segments? So disappointing.
Backstage, Rene White told Summer Rae that Paige has no range of motion in her arm. “Paige has no range of emotion in her life.” Rae rebutted. She said that Paige asked for the match and got exactly what she deserved. Summer said her only regret was breaking a nail while slapping Paige around. She said that from now on, she will be refered to as “The First Lady of NXT”. “Kisses” she said smugly before walking off…[C]
Zim’s Zag: Meh. I thought it was doomed after Summer’s first line, but the promo got a little better as it progressed.
Scott Dawson stood mid-rig and introduced Tyson Kidd, who made his way to the ring wearing a bulky knee brace with the aid of crutches. Kidd said that the injury occurred on a live event, and that he competed the following night which furthered the injury, but he promised that he would be back. Dawson mentioned that C.M. Punk dropped Tyson’s name in a promo on Raw, calling him an underrated workhorse. Kidd said he was flattered, but workhorse isn’t his catchphrase, it’s his lifestyle and mentality. The crowd was getting into the promo when Leo Kruger’s music interrupted.
“Look at you, like a wounded animal, so weak and vulnerable. You should have stayed away, Mr. Kidd, you should have stayed away.” Kruger said maliciously as he made his way into the ring. He kicked away one of Kidd’s crutches and grabbed the other. But before he could do anything, Kidd’s partner Justin Gabriel hit the ring and made the save. Kruger made his way back up the ramp, looking unfulfilled… Scott Stamford hyped the main event, up next…[C]
Conor O’Brian’s laugh rang out and transitioned into his theme and he made his entrance. Big E Langston was out next and got scattered “Five” chants that picked up when Langston psyched himself up.
4. Conor O’Brian vs. NXT Champion Big E Langston in a non-title match. The two men charged at each other and locked up, neither having the advantage. O’Brian caught Langston with a back elbow that shook him. O’Brian landed shots and counted with each one, but Langston stopped him short of “five”. Big E turned the tables and with his fifth strike, he sent O’Brian over the top rope to the outside with a clothesline…[C]
Back from the break, O’Brian sent Langston shoulder first into the ringpost and wore him down with right hands. He settled into a modified cobra clutch rest hold before executing a full nelson slam on Big E for a near-fall. Big E came back with two stiff clotheslines and repeatedly drilled his knee into O’Brian’s gut. The two repeatedly locked up and threw fists, with the referee unable to separate them. After getting tossed aside, the ref called for the bell and the two men continued to trade shots.
Big E Langston and Conor O’Brian fought to a double DQ in 6:00.
After a few more exchanges, Langston sent O’Brian out of the ring. He raised his title over his head, appearing dominant. As his music hit, Corey Graves quickly struck from behind. Graves took the NXT Championship belt and ran to the back. Big E left the ring, following in hot pursuit as the show closed out.
Zim’s Zag: Ugh, dreadful match. Both men had moments where they looked like powerhouses, but they’re so incredibly green the match came across sloppy and boring. Langston has his spots, and can’t do much else yet. O’Brian hasn’t seemed to improve at all, and just can’t seem to find moves to plug into his matches to give them flow. On the bright side, I get off on stolen title belt storylines, so the very ending has me excited.
Overall, this was not a good edition of NXT. There were moments of good action in the Local vs. Woods match, but it felt completely irrelevant before and after the bell rang. Weak stuff from the Divas this week, and a main event that went too long, and at six minutes, that’s saying something. The single massive exception was the opening segment with the Wyatt Family. I say it every week and I’ll continue here, that is the best act on this brand bar-none. My recommendation; watch their opening segment and pass on the rest of this one.
Throw any Comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @zzimm22. Always happy to discuss. Thanks for reading along!
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