Zim’s NXT Review: Seth Rollins vs. Corey Graves in a Lumberjack match, the Emmalution is spreading, Bray Wyatt is ascending, Justin Gabriel vs. Leo Kruger, and Sami Zayne makes a brief cameo
By Zack Zimmerman
April 17, 2013 NXT on Hulu Plus
Taped March 21 at Full Sail University
A Shield-themed video aired and recapped their match last week, culminating in Corey Graves’ challenge being accepted by Seth Rollins. It was hyped as a Lumberjack match… The opening video played…
Tony Dawson and William Regal checked in on commentary. Regal was positively beaming following his hard fought victory over Kassius Ohno last week. Justin Gabriel made his entrance and Dawson said that Gabriel can "juggle fire balls." Okay. Leo Kruger made his entrance next for the first matchup of the show.
1. Justin Gabriel vs. Leo Kruger. Both men willingly traded stiff chops early on, until Gabriel hit a deep arm-drag to ground Kruger. Gabriel worked a hammerlock and a top wristlock, keeping firm control of the arm. Kruger eventually hit a big A.A. spinebuster to take control and followed up with vicious strikes before attempting a pin. Gabriel kicked out and fought back with a monkey-flip. He fired up with clotheslines, a kick, and a Stinger Splash, but Kruger reversed a springboard attempt for a near-fall.
Kruger let out a yell before delivering the cricket bowler lariat which Regal named the "Slice." Kruger made the pin, but Gabriel again kicked out at two. Kruger looked to hook in his submission, but Gabriel reversed it into a Fujiwara armbar for another convincing near-finish. Gabriel hit a big back kick and went up top, but Kruger was able to meet him on the top turnbuckle. After some back-and-forth action, Gabriel went for a sunset-flip but Kruger dropped him with a straight right hand and followed up with a brutal double-stomp. Kruger locked in his mounted top-wristlock which Dawson called the "GC3," and Gabriel finally tapped out.
Leo Kruger defeated Justin Gabriel in about 7:00.
A replay aired, the announcers put over Kruger’s viciousness, and Gabriel continued to sell the submission on the mat… Scott Stamford hyped the main event lumberjack match and hyped the NXT Superstars involvement from WrestleMania 29 Axxess…[C]
Zim’s Zag: Good match from these two, but not as quite as good as we’ve seen in the past. It started slow but really picked up in the final few minutes. They work well together as they should with their history, I just wish NXT would give them more of a story as to why they face each other so frequently. I think it’s called a wrestling feud, if promoted properly as such.
Scott Stamford hyped next week’s "Clash of Champions" edition of NXT, with the IC, US, NXT, and Divas Championships to be defended…
A video package followed Xavier Woods, Paige, Adrian Neville, Mason Ryan, Summer Rae, Shield and Corey Graves during their Wrestlemania weekend activities. Sami Zayne (f/k/a El Generico) made his first brief on-camera appearance during a segment of the video featuring Adrian Neville, though he wasn’t acknowledged. Big E Langston spoke about how he is going from NXT Champion to his WrestleMania debut, while wearing an Antonio Cesaro shirt. Seth Rollins spoke about how he paid for his ticket to WrestleMania 26 in AZ because he knew it would be his last opportunity to watch a WrestleMania as a fan…
Backstage, Renee Young asked Paige about what’s going on between her and Summer Rae. Paige said that Summer has done nothing but run; whether its running her mouth or running from matches. Paige challenged Summer to a one-on-one match if she had the guts. Summer attacked from behind and simply said "Who’s running now? I accept," before walking away, leaving Paige laying…[C]
Zim’s Zag: Good video package that summed up the weekend’s happenings and had cool parts and cameos for the most-insider fans. It was odd to feature Paige and Summer signing autographs together right before their hot feud segment. That said, Paige cuts a hell of a promo, something that’s been missing from the Divas division for a long time. This has me looking forward to Paige getting her revenge, and that’s the sign of a story well-told.
The same Corey Graves vignette from last week aired. The standout line is "I’m not here to make a mark; I’m here to leave a scar…"
Back from break, new NXT Diva Bayley (f/k/a Davina Rose) made her entrance. She was followed by the unmistakable music of the Emmalution as Emma made, er, danced her way to the ring. She successfully skinned-the-cat on her first attempt, which got herself and Regal to pop big with surprise. Funny.
2. Bayley vs. Emma. Emma danced around the ring and the crowd started chanting her name, appearing to embrace the endearing klutz character. Bayley hit a nice dropkick and Emma tried to escape the ring, but was unsuccessful. After a quick back and forth, Bayley hit a kneeling facebuster for a quick two-count before settling into a chinlock.
Bayley kept control for a length of time with a handful of hair and kept Emma grounded. Emma evaded a Stinger splash and locked in a Tarantula in the ropes, which Regal attributed to Tajiri. Emma somersaulted and danced a bit before hitting a running crossbody on a seated Bayley. She followed up with a slingshot, but held the leg and transitioned beautifully into a Muta Lock for the submission victory.
Emma defeated Bayley in about 3:00.
Emma danced on out of the arena while Dawson described her as "Emmataining" and "Emmalicious." A replay aired of the Muta Lock and rather than acknowledging it, Regal claimed that he was part of the first rave scene. Okay…
Scott Stamford hyped the lumberjack main event for later in the show…[C]
Zim’s Zag: Bayley worked the chinlock for far too long in that match, but the athletics that were featured certainly impressed. Emma is my guilty pleasure character and she can work to boot; I’m a big fan of that finish. Not a bad match, just not much to say.
Yoshi Tatsu made his entrance and Dawson touted that almost 250,000 Twitter followers comprise the Yoshi Army. Nice transition when he said "…Speaking of followers…" as the opening strums of Bray Wyatt’s music played. He made his entrance accompanied by Harper and Rowan.
3. Yoshi Tatsu vs. Bray Wyatt (w/ The Wyatt Family). Wyatt did the awesome Last Exorcist back arch as the bell rang. Love it. Tatsu tried to use his speed to evade Wyatt, but Wyatt leveled him with a running crossbody. He got Tatsu in the corner and worked him over with quick strikes, and then ran across the ring with a high-impact body splash. He danced out of the corner with his victim and kissed him on the forehead before delivering his swinging reverse STO, the "Sister Abigail" for the squash win.
Bray Wyatt defeated Yoshi Tatsu in just over 1:00.
Wyatt calmly looked over the crowd as Harper and Rowan smiled and nodded along. Wyatt picked Tatsu back up to hit Sister Abigail one more time, and then took a microphone. He sat down and cradled Tatsu’s head on his lap. He called NXT his playground and asked if Tatsu agreed. Wyatt warned the rest of the locker room that there is no man on Earth greater than himself. He called himself the Eater of Worlds and kissed Tatsu again before rising to his feet and leading The Family out of the arena. The commentators questioned who could stop Wyatt… Scott Stamford hyped the main event lumberjack match coming up next…[C]
Zim’s Zag: I’m super high on Wyatt and hope this leads to him ascending to the top of NXT. If booked properly, The Wyatt Family led by Bray could be a thoroughly compelling, seemingly-unstoppable force that people tune in to watch out of intrigue and hope that a babyface can finally dethrone the maniacal patriarch character.
Back from break, NXT nobodies: Sawyer Fulton, Knuckles Madsen, Travis Tyler, Troy McClain, Enzo Amore, Axl Keegan, Aiden English, Danny Burch, Colin Cassidy, Mojo Rawley, Angelo Dawkins, and Judas Devlin were surrounding the ring to play the role of lumberjacks. Corey Graves made his entrance, followed by Seth Rollins who made a solo entrance through the crowd.
Zim’s Zag: If I weren’t an indie fan and I didn’t know that I was seeing Tyler Black vs. Sterling James Keenan, why would I be compelled to watch this match? Both guys are heels who fight dirty against top babyfaces. Fans need someone to cheer and a reason to do so. Booking 101.
4. Corey Graves vs. Seth Rollins in a Lumberjack match. Rollins beat down Graves early with forearms and shots in the corner, until Graves fought back and Rollins tried to leave the ring. The lumberjacks said no, and Graves flipped Rollins back into the ring and took control. Graves kicked the rope into Rollins’ leg and followed up with a kneebreaker. Rollins fought back and regained control but continued to favor the leg. A big kick knocked Graves off the top turnbuckle to the outside, and the lumberjacks did their job and got him right back in the ring…[C]
Back from the break, Rollins hit a gutbuster for two before settling briefly into a stretch plumb. He hit a big running single-leg kick on Graves for another near-fall. He followed up with the ever-deadly bodyscissors, and then went to work stomping away at Graves. Graves eventually escaped a camel clutch, but Rollins hit a reverse STO into the middle turnbuckle. Graves avoided Rollins’ flying knee, and hit a big jumping knee strike of his own.
Graves fired up and whipped the leg of Rollins once, and again with a dragon screw off the second tope. Rollins rolled to the outside to collect himself, but again the lumberjacks did their job and got him back into the ring promptly. Graves hit a gourdbuster, but just then, Reigns and Ambrose ambushed the lumberjacks and dropped them all. Ambrose took Graves down with a clothesline from the apron while Reigns continued to dominate on the outside. Rollins connected with the Skywalker and got the pinfall victory.
Seth Rollins beat Corey Graves in about 8:00.
Regal continued to stress that 3 Shield members took out 13 other NXT Superstars and stood tall. He called them the most destructive force ever seen in the WWE. Dawson said justice had been brought to NXT, and the show closed…
Zim’s Zag: Disappointing match for what I was expecting. Both guys worked hard, but they appeared to be calling a lot of it on the fly and there were awkward, mistimed exchanges. Regal became my hero when he stated that people despise both men; It’s hard to sit through a match that you can’t fully invest in. On a positive note, Shield looked absolutely dominant as they should; poor NXT jabronis. Another positive, it’s very refreshing to have a lumberjack match where the lumberjacks simply do the job they’re there to do and aren’t bickering or arguing amongst each other.
Overall, this was an enjoyable show. Nothing special, but nothing particularly bad comes to mind. The opening match and main event were solid (albeit lacking some booking simplicities). Emma looked better than she has and continues to grow into her character, Bray Wyatt appears to have found a higher path, and even the WrestleMania Axxess recap had tidbits that made it worth watching. No complaints this week; check out the show if you have the time.
Throw any comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @InVasionZim; always happy to discuss.
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