5/23 Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: Sami Zayn vs. Curt Hawkins, Antonio Cesaro wrestles twice, Corey Graves vs. Bray Wyatt, Enzo Amore vs. Mason Ryan
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped May 2 in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] After titles, Curt Hawkins music played, and William Regal and Tony Dawson checked in on commentary. Sami Zayn came out to some very generic music...
1. Sami Zayn vs. Curt Hawkins. An “Ole” chant started immediately. It was back and forth until Hawkins hit a Pele kick for a two count. Although Zayn tried to pick up the pace to fight back, including a nice flapjack dropkick, Hawkins put him back down with a powerslam. Hawkins looked for a powerbomb, but Zayn escaped, grabbed Hawkins arm, and ran up the turnbuckle. He jumped off the ropes into a tornado DDT, and Hawkins stayed down for the pin...
Sami Zayn defeated Curt Hawkins in 4:08.
As Zayn walked up the ramp, he said “We’re gonna get to know each other pretty well”. The announcers hyped Corey Graves vs. Bray Wyatt for later in the show... [C]
Gutt Reaction: Not the barn burner I was hoping for, but for what it was, it was clean, crisp, and gave me hope that a longer match between the two might be quite something.
[Q2] A Wrestlemania 30 promo aired...
Antonio Cesaro, in his new aviators and beret get up, made his way out. Dawson compared him to a Swiss army knife, and Regal pointed out that Cesaro has served in the Swiss army. Yoshi Tatsu is his opponent tonight...
2. Yoshi Tatsu vs. Antonio Cesaro. Tatsu started off quickly, with a crossbody, a dropkick and a few kicks to a kneeling Cesaro. As Tatsu bounced off the ropes however, Cesaro caught him with the Very European uppercut, and quickly put Tatsu away with the Neutraliser...
Antonio Cesaro defeated Yoshi Tatsu in 0:48.
Cesaro grabbed the mic, and asked if this was the best competition they could find for him. He said there was no one worthy of facing him from any show.
Sami Zayn walked out, and said Cesaro need look no further. Zayn asked him a question in Arabic, and then said it must be the only language Cesaro can’t speak. They spoke a little French, before Zayn said in English that he’s all the competition Cesaro will need. He slid in the ring, and the ref rang the bell...
3. Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro. The two engaged in some nice chain wrestling before a UK tour promo aired. After the promo, Cesaro took control with his strength. He threw Zayn into the turnbuckles, and hit a double stomp before applying a headlock. Zayn escaped and hit a heel kick, before going to the top rope. Zayn tried for a crossbody, but Cesaro caught him and hit a backbreaker for a two count, before following it up with a running European uppercut to Zayn in the corner. Zayn tried to catch a break with a small package, but Cesaro impressively lifted Zayn from around his legs and into a suplex position. Zayn escaped again, and rolled up Cesaro for the surprise 1-2-3...
Sami Zayn defeated Antonio Cesaro in 4:49.
The commentators put over how huge the victory was, before Cesaro attacked Zayn from behind. He threw a few punches before putting Zayn down with the Neutraliser. Cesaro celebrated as he walked back up the ramp...
Gutt Reaction: I was not expecting this match this week, but what a way to start off Zayn’s NXT (and to a small minority, his WWE) career with two wins over two established guys. This match was very good for the relatively short amount of time they were given. Cesaro looked powerful, Zayn looked quick, and they worked that into the story of the match, and ultimately the finish. The post match attack leads me to believe this will now become a feud, and I have a feeling that will go down well with the internet wrestling fans that I presume make up the bulk of this shows audience.
Backstage, Renee Young was about to introduce her guest, when Emma barged in. Renee said she wasn’t going to interview Emma, and Audrey Marie walked in instead. Emma called her “Amy” and Audrey corrected her. Emma told her not to shout, and told her to de-stress by doing the Emma dance. Audrey called it stupid, and Emma said that must be the new hipster word for cool. Audrey told her to get out, and Emma left doing her dance...[C]
Gutt Reaction: I wouldn’t hold out hope for a feud (would you want anyway after that?), as Audrey Marie has been released. If TNA ever wanted to do a weird storyline where Dixie Carter announced she had herself cloned, Audrey Marie could be the Boba Fett to Dixie’s Jango.
[Q3] Enzo Amore came out for his NXT debut, wearing a snake skin jacket and matching trousers. He had a mic, and said everyone on the roster was a fake tough guy. “Everybody’s a G, until a real G steps in the room”. That’s a direct quote ladies and gentlemen. He closed by saying “Bad-a-bing bad-a-boom, realist guy in the room”. WHAT?!? Mason Ryan came out for his second NXT appearance, looking even more jacked than before...
4. Mason Ryan vs. Enzo Amore. Ryan threw Amore to the corner, and took him out with a huge clothesline. He followed this up with a snake eyes to the opposite turnbuckle and a running clothesline. This squash match came to an end when Ryan put Amore into the torture rack, and spun it out into a neckbreaker...
Mason Ryan defeated Enzo Amore in 1:24.
Ryan posed at the top of the ramp before Dawson hyped Graves vs. Wyatt... [C]
Gutt Reaction: Thanks for coming Enzo Amore. J.R. praised Amore in a recent blog, so my guess is he either had a better match at this set of tapings, or in the following one, because while delivered confidently, that promo was garbage. He talks about fake tough guys, and then gets put away in less than a minute and a half?
[Q4] The Raw Rebound aired, focussing on Ryback’s opening promo and attack on Zack Ryder...
Dawson hyped the No. 1 Contender Battle Royale for next week, and announced that Stephanie McMahon will also make a major announcement on the show...
Corey Graves came out first for the main event, followed by Wyatt. Wyatt was still wearing the facial mask, but had lost the leather apron. As he and The Family made their way down, the camera showed people swaying their arms to Wyatt’s music. Odd choice, considering they are trying to make the gimmick super intense...
5. Bray Wyatt vs. Corey Graves. Dawson said Wyatt had a broken nose, so that explains the mask. Graves took Wyatt to the mat with a drop toe hold, and clamped on a headlock. Wyatt tried to escape with a suplex, but Graves maintained the hold. Following a dropkick, Wyatt rolled to the outside as the mask fell off. Wyatt put the mask back on, and when he got in the ring, he hit hard with punches. He tried for a splash in the corner, but Graves turned it into a hanging figure four neck lock. After breaking the hold, Graves hit the ropes, only to be caught by a crossbody from Wyatt.
Following a Payback promo, Wyatt got sent over the top rope by Graves. Graves tried for a baseball slide, but Wyatt sidestepped him, and sent him into the steps. Back in the ring, Wyatt hit a splash in the corner, and looked for the Sister Abigail, but Graves managed to escape and hit a running crossbody of his own. The mask fell off again, and Graves started throwing punches and knees at Wyatt’s face. He dropped Wyatt with a dropkick to the leg, and looked for the 13th Step.
The Family tried to interfere, but Graves took both Luke Harper and Erick Rowan off the apron, before applying the 13th Step to Wyatt. Rowan got back in the ring, and while he distracted the ref, Harper hit an elbow drop on Graves to break the hold. Wyatt quickly hit the Sister Abigail and got the pin...
Bray Wyatt defeated Corey Graves in 7:38.
After the bell, Rowan and Harper started attacking Graves on the mat, until Kassius Ohno ran out to make the save. He initially got the jump on all three men, but while he was attacking Wyatt in the corner, Rowan grabbed him and held him while Harper hit him with the discus clothesline. Wyatt got up and hit Ohno with the Sister Abigail, before kneeling over Ohno and saying “This is what happens when you attack the monster” (or something along those lines, it was hard to make out) to the camera as NXT went off the air...
Gutt Reaction: The crowd didn’t really pick a side, so they were quite quiet (and have been for most of the night), but that was a solid main event. It echoed Cesaro and Zayn’s match in that Wyatt was all about out-powering Graves, and Graves was looking to be quick and opportunistic. I think the post match attack cements the presumed Ohno face turn. He has been tagging with Sami Zayn on a few NXT shows, so maybe they plan to put the two former ROH wrestlers together to take on the Wyatt Family. I don’t think they are turning Graves face, as it doesn’t suit his look, gimmick or style, so I’m not sure where they go from here in the short term.
A busy episode, so it never got dull, but 5 matches in one hour is too much. Sami Zayn was the story of the show, and he had a great start, but the same can’t be said for Amore or Ryan, who got lost in the shuffle. The main event’s post match attack, coupled with the No. 1 Contender Battle Royale and Stephanie’s announcement, sets up next week very nicely.
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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