4/18 Gutteridge's NXT Review: Seth Rollins vs. Corey Graves in a lumberjack match, Justin Gabriel vs. Leo Kruger, Bray Wyatt vs. Yoshi Tatsu, highlights of NXT Superstars at Wrestlemania 29
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped on 3/21 in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] Before titles, a video highlight package aired of The Shield’s match last week, and Corey Graves challenge to Seth Rollins...
After titles, Tony Dawson and William Regal were shown on commentary, with Regal looking particularly happy. He told Dawson he intends to hang his boots up for a while after his “war” with Kassius Ohno last week. Justin Gabriel made his way to the ring, followed shortly by Leo Kruger...
1. Justin Gabriel vs. Leo Kruger. Gabriel targeted Kruger’s left arm from the get go. Kruger’s first breather was when he caught a running Gabriel with a spinebuster. As Kruger looked to ground Gabriel, Gabriel got back on top with a monkey flip. He picked up the pace with some clotheslines, and looked for a springboard move, but Kruger shoved him off the ropes and nailed a big clothesline for a two count.
Kruger looked to keep the pressure up, but Gabriel applied a Fujiwara armbar. Kruger got to the ropes to break the hold, but soon found himself on the end of a back kick from Gabriel out of the corner, allowing Gabriel to climb the turnbuckle. Kruger sprang up before Gabriel could launch the 450 splash, cutting him off on the top rope and looking for a superplex. Gabriel countered with a sunset flip, but Kruger was wise to it, punching Gabriel to the mat and hitting a two footed stomp. Kruger locked in his mounted key lock finisher, dubbed the GC3 by Dawson, and Gabriel tapped...
Leo Kruger defeated Justin Gabriel in 7:10.
Regal put Kruger’s win over as a big deal. Dawson hyped the lumberjack main event between Graves and Rollins, and a video package featuring NXT superstars during Wrestlemania weekend... [C]
Gutt Reaction: I like the chemistry between these two. It’s clear they have worked together before, and their matches flow incredibly well. I think their previous encounter may have been better, but this was still a solid opener. I will endeavour to find out what GC3 stands for.
[Q2] A teaser for next weeks Clash of the Champions aired, featuring NXT, Intercontinental, US and Divas title matches. It’s still advertising Antonio Cesaro vs. Adrian Neville for the US title. This is always the danger when you pre-tape months in advance, but it’s the first time NXT has been caught out with a title change...
Dawson introduced the NXT superstars at Mania video package. It followed the Shield backstage for a while, as well as showing Paige and Summer at the same autograph table. They took a light hearted turn with their rivalry, which seems odd in the context of the show. It featured highlights of matches including Kruger and Neville, as well as Emma dancing, where a man said he watches NXT only because of her. Sigh. A big part of the video followed Big E Langston around, but looked to be snippets from a larger video...
Backstage, Renee Young was stood with Paige, and asked what was going on between her and Summer Rae. Paige said she was sick of the excuses, and challenged Summer Rae to a match. She said Summer is scared of her, and hasn’t got a tough bone in her body. Paige was then attacked from behind by Summer, who said ‘who’s running now?’. She accepted the challenge before leaving...
Gutt Reaction: This is what I mean about the highlight package being jarring. This has been portrayed as a bitter feud, yet at Mania they shared a table and seem to be engaging in playful banter at most.
Emma danced her way to the ring, and got a pop when she semi-successfully flipped into the ring where Bailey was waiting...
2. Emma vs. Bailey. After a dropkick from Bailey, Emma tried to escape the ring. Bailey dragged her back, and started a pinning sequence. Bailey kicked out last, hit a facebuster when both girls stood back up, and applied a headlock. Emma eventually stood up, and suckered Bailey into the corner, applying a Tajiri style Tarantula. When she broke the hold, she hit a seated Bailey with a crossbody, before applying a bridging Indian deathlock, to which Bailey tapped...
Emma defeated Bailey in 3:12.
Guess what Emma did to celebrate? . . [C]
Gutt Reaction: The fans at Full Sail seem to be into the Emma act at the moment. You may want to stop drinking the water if you live in Winter Park, Florida, because something has gone wrong. And since when did it become the norm for Divas to only have first names? Stacy Keibler, Trish Stratus and Torrie Wilson seemed just fine with two names.
[Q3] Yoshi Tatsu came out, as Dawson said he has 250,000 Twitter followers. Imagine how many he would have if he appeared on TV more than twice a year. Remember when he was challenging Christian for the ECW title? If you can, I don’t blame you, as you may have tried to suppress WWECW from your memory after Ezekiel Jackson became the last man to hold the ECW title. Bray Wyatt came down to the ring, accompanied by Erick Rowan and Luke Harper...
3. Yoshi Tatsu vs. Bray Wyatt. Wyatt quickly took Tatsu out with a running crossbody. He kept the high impact offense up with a running splash to a cornered Tatsu, before grabbing him for a waltz. He kissed Tatsu on the forehead, and put him away with the swinging reverse STO...
Bray Wyatt defeated Yoshi Tatsu in 1:21.
Wyatt hit his finisher again, which Dawson dubbed the Sister Abigail (?), before grabbing a mic. He said NXT was nothing but a playground of puppets. He said this match was a warning, as there is no man who walks on two feet who is greater than him. He said it was time for the beast to start opening up eyes, and proclaimed himself the eater of worlds...
Gutt Reaction: Man do I love this act. It’s so unique and powerful, it’s a real disservice that he had to lose to Bo Dallas a few weeks ago. Yes, this was effectively a new start, as he’s simply ignoring his loss and going on the rampage again, but if he hadn’t lost still, it would mean just that little more. Not that it will matter when he gets to TV and he can go on the rampage where it matters.
The World Tour report aired. This should be the last with the tour this week. Hopefully, I’ll see some of you at the Birmingham house show on Saturday. I will accept any drinks, food or presents thrown my way. I will settle for a compliment on my hair... [C]
[Q4] Corey Graves was already shown in the ring when we came back. Rollins entered the arena through the crowd without Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose...
4. Seth Rollins vs. Corey Graves. The ring was surrounded by NXT jobbers, officially the lowest position in the entire company. The crowd didn’t really pick a side, remaining quiet even when Rollins sent Graves flying off the top rope with a rope assisted kick. The lumberjacks threw Graves back in before we cut to a quick tour advert...
Rollins locked in a body scissors shortly after the break, followed by a chin lock. Graves got to his feet, and the two traded punches, which seemed to end with Graves as the winner, but when he went to attack Rollins in the corner, Rollins dropped him face first into the turnbuckle. Rollins looked to fly, but Graves sidestepped Rollins in the air, and started to hit clotheslines. When Rollins hit the mat, Graves wrenched his knee, and Rollins rolled to the outside. The lumberjacks threw Rollins back in, and Graves hit a dragon screw on him off of the top rope.
All of a sudden, Reigns and Ambrose appeared, and started to attack the lumberjacks. Reigns took on the bulk as Ambrose climbed on the apron and clotheslined Graves while the ref was distracted. Rollins capitalised with the Skywalker for the 1-2-3...
Seth Rollins defeated Corey Graves in 7:20.
Regal stated that The Shield had just taken out 13 men, as the group posed in the ring and NXT went off the air...
Gutt Reaction: I was hoping for something more. I would have picked either a Graves face turn (some how), or a clean win for Rollins, as The Shield will only look stronger if they are shown to be capable of winning singles matches. However, they chose the easy route. I have never been a fan of a small team taking on 10+ guys, as it makes the guys taking the beating look ridiculously weak.
The main event wasn’t bad, it was just predictable. I think if they had dropped the Divas match and gave Rollins/Graves more time and effort, this would have been a very good show. That being said, it was still a good show, with a nice package of NXT guys at Mania, solid bookend matches, and a good restart for Wyatt’s campaign of terror. Hopefully next weeks Champions special can deliver similar, or better, results.
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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