Zim’s NXT Review: Big E Langston vs. Damien Sandow for the NXT Championship, Sami Zayn’s first promo, Conor O’Brian vs. Sakamoto and Pierce, Natalya vs. Summer Rae, Bray Wyatt shines again
By Zack Zimmerman
May 15, 2013 NXT on Hulu Plus
Taped April 21 at Full Sail University
A video package recapped Damien Sandow’s challenge to NXT Champion Big E Langston. It was announced that the main event will be Sandow vs. Langston for the NXT Championship… The opening video played…
Natalya made her entrance as Tom Phillips and Brad Maddox checked in on commentary. Summer Rae was out next for the singles match set up backstage last week.
1. Natalya vs. Summer Rae. Both ladies traded some solid technical work in the opening minutes. Natalya went for the first Sharpshooter at about the two-minute mark and hit a discus clothesline for a near-fall a short time later. Summer begged off and apologized, but dumped Nattie out of the ring and took control. [C]
Back from break, Natalya kicked out of multiple pin attempts as Summer talked smack. Nattie tried a schoolgirl, but Summer kicked out and hit a rolling DDT. Summer zoned in on the left arm, but Paige made her way to the ring and jumped up on the apron. Summer shoved Natalya into Paige and scored the win with a rollup.
Summer beat Natalya in about 5:30.
Post-match, Paige was in hot pursuit of Summer to they both ran backstage…
Elsewhere backstage, Renee Young introduced Sami Zayn who is set to make his in-ring debut next week. Renee said that Zayn “already has a reputation internationally,” and would be facing former Tag Team Champion Curt Hawkins. Zayn complimented Renee’s blouse before getting a bit more serious. He said that Hawkins is formidable, but he’s not letting it get to him because it’s not his first rodeo. He said he’s feeling confident and excited that this will be the start of a beautiful relationship between himself and the WWE Universe. As far as he’s concerned, “Next week can’t get here soon enough…”
Scott Stamford hyped the main event title match for later tonight… An awesome new Bray Wyatt vignette aired. It ended with him asking “What are you going to do? Run.”…[C]
Zim’s Zag: Fair match from the Divas. Summer’s trash-talk and Nattie’s wrestling ability made it alright in the opening minutes, but nothing special overall. Nice and simple introduction for Sami Zayn. He looked and spoke like a composed, experienced, self-confident, and likable babyface in his first appearance. Next week will certainly be an episode to look out for.
Back from break, Bray Wyatt made his entrance, now donning a white mask and being accompanied by The Wyatt Family. He said that he sees something different when he looks at his reflection. He admitted that Chris Jericho shook him last week. He said he was going back to his roots. He said he was the face of fear, no longer the face of a man, but the face of a monster; the Eater of Worlds. He said that no matter what anyone thinks, they can’t hurt him because he’s already dead.
London, England’s Danny Burch made his entrance next for a one-on-one match.
2. Bray Wyatt vs. Danny Burch. Wyatt started out with his possessed-like back arch and then went right after Burch. Burch quickly fought back but not for long. Wyatt hit a crossface strike and wiped Burch out with a wicked running crossbody. He dragged Burch into the corner and wore him down with shots, then charged in with a big running splash. Wyatt danced around the ring with Burch before delivering Sister Abigail for the win.
Bray Wyatt beat Danny Burch in about 2:00.
Post-match, Wyatt cradled Burch’s head and then stood with The Family while a few rows of fans waved their arms melodically to Wyatt’s music. #Wyatting…
Backstage, Bo Dallas addressed Adrian Neville and asked if he was still upset about losing the Tag Team Titles. Neville said he’d been better, but Dallas cut him off when he mentioned Oliver Grey. Dallas said time heals all wounds, then put over John Cena and his “Never Give Up!” motto. Neville seemed perplexed. Dallas said he signed up for the number-one contender’s battle royal in two weeks, but he doesn’t think there are any spots left for Neville. Neville said he’s already entered himself, and then shook Dallas’s hand while Dallas was stuck on smile. After Neville left, the smile faded for the first time…
Scott Stamford again hyped the main event title match… [C]
Zim’s Zag: Standard squash but its good to reestablish the dominance of Wyatt after a hard-fought loss to Jericho last week. The addition of the mask to Wyatt’s act seems unnecessary but he played off it well in his pre-match promo. It looks like a store-bought or protective mask rather than a wrestling mask, so it’ll be interesting to see if it evolves, stays, or disappears. I think creative is taking Dallas in a new direction where his unlikability as a babyface will translate to heel heat and a much needed heel turn. Neville is still clearly uncomfortable in segments like that, something he’ll need to get more confident in before he makes it to the big show.
Back from break, Conor O’Brian made his elaborate entrance. Already in the ring were (the recently released) Briley Pierce and Sakamoto.
3. Conor O’Brian vs. Briley Pierce and Sakamoto in a two-on-one handicap match. O’Brian used a big double chickenwing on Sakamoto before going to work on Pierce. He used rolling grounded headlocks and hit a vertical suplex. Sakamoto and Pierce both attacked O’Brian, but he took control quickly and crushed them both in the corner with a running splash. He finished them off with a double flapjack and a pin on both men.
Conor O’Brian beat Briley Pierce and Sakamoto in about 2:30.
Post-match, O’Brian posed on the turnbuckles before noticing a man watching him from the stage. The man had longer black hair, a goatee, wore metal goggles around his neck, and had deep black eyes. Phillips wasn’t able to identify the man…
Scott Stamford hyped the main event title match coming up next…[C]
Zim’s Zag: O’Brian looked better here than he has in the past, but this wasn’t much more than a mediocre squash. It’s unfortunate for Pierce and Sakamoto that their talent wasn’t properly showcased and this will be their last appearance on WWE programming for now. The mysterious man was an intriguing start to a storyline. O’Brian hasn’t been in a good program yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes. SPOILER: I believe the man is Rick Victor.
Backstage, Tony Dawson spoke with Corey Graves. Graves said he’s been up and down, but it takes failure to succeed. He announced that he was entered into the number one contender’s battle royal in two weeks. Bray Wyatt entered and asked how Graves can play it so cool when there is a war at his doorstep. He said that just like Kassius Ohno, Graves’s time will come. He said that NXT belongs to the Eater of Worlds and The Wyatt Family. Graves said it looked like he’d been eating something, alright. He admitted that Wyatt creeped him out, but promised that if Wyatt and his swamp people don’t leave him alone, they’ll “stay down.” Wyatt cracked up. “Well I guess we shall see then. Huh?” He said before leaving…
Damien Sandow made his entrance, followed by NXT Champ Big E Langston. Langston did his chalk and steam-pyro schtick. Full championship intros for both guys. Solid “five” chant in support of Langston.
4. NXT Champion Big E Langston vs. Damien Sandow for the NXT Championship. Langston repeatedly overpowered Sandow in the opening minutes. He hit five body blows at about the two-minute mark, but Sandow briefly fought back. Langston caught Sandow with a hip toss back into the ring, but Sandow avoided The Big Ending and rolled to ringside. [C]
Back from break, Langston dropped Sandow with a stalling vertical suplex. Sandow dodged a corner splash and hit a clothesline to the back of Langston’s head to take control. Sandow wore the champion down and grounded him with a chinlock. Langston stood up and drove Sandow in the corner, but ate a high dropkick. Sandow locked in a leg scissor headlock to slow the pace again, but Langston shoved him out of the ring. Sandow quickly climbed to the top rope and hit Langston with an axe handle, then went back to the chinlock.
Sandow hit a dropkick to the knee and hit repeated knee strikes on Langston before settling into a front necklock. Langston was able to stand up and toss Sandow across the ring with a belly-to-belly. Langston fired up with clotheslines and drove his knee into Sandow’s abdomen five times, before running him over with the E Train. Langston lowered the straps and hoisted Sandow up for his finisher, but Sandow slipped out and hit a sitout rear mat slam for a near-fall.
Sandow hit more knee strikes and the side legsweep. He missed the Elbow of Disdain on his first attempt, but connected a short time later. Sandow lifted Langston and set up Terminus, but Langston avoided it and hit The Big Ending for the victory.
Big E Langston beat Damien Sandow to retain the NXT Championship in about 11:00.
Post match, Langston hit his finisher one more time and made the five count along with the crowd. He raised his championship over his head and fog shot down from the rig above the ring Tom Phillips hyped the Bray Wyatt vs. Corey Graves main event for next week, and gave the sign-off…
Zim’s Zag: Sandow got a good match out of Langston. I don’t know that we’ve seen more than five minutes or so of Langston at once, so it was nice to see he’s capable of breaking ten. Nothing memorable, but definitely a serviceable defense for the champion.
Good show this week. The matches were just passable but the promos, interviews, and vignettes were worth seeking out. Sami Zayn was simple but effective, Bray Wyatt was better than ever, Corey Graves was better than usual, even Bo Dallas manages to get me optimistic about where his character may be going. Intriguing feuds were started and continued, and the multiple ‘upper-card’ NXT guys vying for spots in the number-one contender’s battle royal is a good story that brings a legitimate new buzz to the title picture. NXT is consistently the best show WWE puts out weekly. With the direction it appears to be headed, I’d suggest getting on board as a viewer now if you haven’t yet.
Throw any comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @InVasionZim; always happy to discuss.
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