Zim’s WWE NXT Review: Number One Contender Battle Royal, The Wyatt Family in action, Big E Langston vs. Derrick Bateman, Dylan and Dawson vs. Carter and Travern, and the Emmalution steals the show
By Zack Zimmerman
May 29, 2013 WWE NXT on Hulu Plus
Taped April 21 at Full Sail University
The opening video played… The show opened with Tom Phillips welcoming viewers and the NXT Tag Team Champions, The Wyatt Family, made their entrance without Bray. Already in the ring was the team of Sawyer Fulton and Travis Tyler. The name display graphic incorrectly labeled both men as the other. Brad Maddox checked in on color commentary with Phillips.
1. NXT Tag Team Champions The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper and Erik Rowan) vs. Sawyer Fulton and Travis Tyler in a non-title match. Harper showed his great facials and went right to work on Travis Tyler, rambling “yeahyeahyeahyeah” as he did. He tagged in Rowan, who continued the beatdown while Harper could be still heared from the apron.
Rowan draped Tyler across the top turnbuckle and Harper tagged himself back in to land shots. Tyler managed to escape a bodyslam attempt and made an awkward delayed tag to Fulton. Fulton came in firing with punches, but ran right into Harper’s big boot. Harper picked up the intensity, yelling “yeahyeahyeah” before charging in with a running splash in the corner. He continued to ramble and hit the discus clothesline on Fulton, leading to the pinfall.
The Wyatt Family beat Sawyer Fulton and Travis Tyler in about 2:30.
Post match, a replay aired of the boot, splash, and clothesline. The Wyatt Family looked dementedly around the arena, satisfied with their work…
Scott Stamford hyped the main event, an 18-man battle royal to determine the number one contender to the NXT Championship. He also hyped that coming up next, Stephanie McMahon would be making an historic announcement…[C]
Zim’s Zag: Short but sweet display from the Family. Harper is so spot on with his character, and while it seems like he’s overshadowing Rowan, I think that’s the intent. Rowan’s mute character takes a back seat, but is absolutely true to the act and has a perfect role.
Stephanie McMahon appeared on-screen from the WWE studio set and continued to show that she may actually in-fact be a corporate robot programmed by WWE. She announced the creation of the NXT Women’s Championship, which was sitting on a podium next to her. She named Paige, Summer Rae, and Emma specifically, and said that they would be competing with other Divas in a tournament beginning next week to crown the first champion. She closed by wishing every Diva good luck…
Back in the arena, Emma’s music hit and a large portion of the crowd broke out in her dance. She danced her way down the ramp, but got distracted trying to pop bubbles that the fans were blowing as her “pyro.” Hilarious. She made her way to the ring, at which point virtually the entire arena was dancing along with her. She awkwardly skinned-the-cat successfully on her first attempt and the crowd popped big while continuing to dance their hearts out. Most fun entrance we’ve ever seen on NXT. Audrey Marie made her entrance next. A recap aired of Emma poking Audrey in the face while dancing last week, which led to this match.
2. Emma vs. Audrey Marie. The crowd chanted “Emma!” loudly and Emma ordered her music restarted. She broke into dance and the crowd went nuts again. Awesome. Until Audrey Marie shoved Emma to the mat, at which point Emma looked upset. Emma quickly evaded a move in the corner and attempted a rollup, but Audrey took her down with an arm wringer for a quick two-count. Emma went for a jackknife pin, but both ladies bridged out and Audrey hit a gutwrench suplex.
Emma attempted a backslide, but again both ladies impressively worked their way back up. Emma was close enough to the ropes where she was able to transition nicely into a Tarantula, which Phillips said she has named the “Dil-Emma.” She danced some more and charged in with a running crossbody to Audrey seated in the corner. Emma catapulted Audrey, but kept a hold of the leg and applied a perfect bridging Muta Lock, which Phillips called the Emma Lock, forcing Audrey to submit.
Emma beat Audrey Marie in about 2:45.
Emma danced all around the ring, back up the ramp, and took some time to pop a few more bubbles before heading backstage…
Elsewhere backstage, Renee Young was standing by with Scott Dawson and Garrett Dylan, one of whom was drinking BBQ sauce from the bottle while the other flossed his teeth. Young was promptly interrupted by an oily, hairy man in a tiger-print velour jacket with a French accent. He claimed he was their manager and he led them away from Young for their first match…
Scott Stamford hyped the main event battle royal to determine the new number one contender to the NXT Championship…[C]
Zim’s Zag: In order: When was the last time Stephanie McMahon appeared to be human rather than a corporate propaganda machine? Fun, well-paced match from the Divas. I’ve said all along that Emma was my guilty pleasure act in NXT, but I think she’s getting to the point where there doesn’t need to be guilt. She’s just a hilariously quirky and entertaining character who knows herself in the ring. Audrey was a good contrast to that, but she wasn’t defined as a performer enough prior to her release. Dawson, Dylan, and their manager made a bizarre first impression; jury’s still out.
Back from break, Jake Carter and Brandon Travern were already in the ring awaiting their opponents. Country-rock music hit and the team of Dylan and Dawson made their entrance, accompanied by their manager Sylvester Lefort. They both wore black vests and trucker caps, while one carried BBQ sauce and the other carried a flashlight. Phillips confirmed that the BBQ sauce was indeed JR’s BBQ sauce. Maddox said that Lefort is a gambler who enjoys “making strange and unusual investments.”
3. Garrett Dylan and Scott Dawson (w/ Sylvester Lefort) vs. Jake Carter and Brandon Travern. About a minute in, Carter escaped a suplex attempt from Dawson by landing on the apron, but Dylan yanked his legs out from under him to give his team control. Back in the ring, Dawson landed a leg drop, an elbow drop, and a knee drop before tagging in Dylan.
Dylan hit a bodyslam and some mounted punches, then raised his arm and mooed like a cow. He tagged Dawson back in, leading to some rest holds. Carter tried to get the crowd to get behind him, but they couldn’t seem to care less. He eventually made the tag to Travern, but Travern was quickly taken down by Dawson. Dawson tagged in Dylan and hit a sitout spinebuster, which Dylan followed up with a diving seated axe-handle to score the win.
Garrett Dylan and Scott Dawson beat Brandon Travern and Jake Carter in about 4:00.
Post-match, the ref raised the winners’ hands and Dylan mooed like a cow again. He should really stop doing that. Lefort entered the ring and raised his team’s hands two more times before a replay of the finish aired…
Scott Stamford hyped Big E Langston facing Derrick Bateman in a non-title match coming up next…[C]
Zim’s Zag: Mediocre match at best. The characters seem to be Trevor Murdoch-inspired, without the legitimacy. The BBQ sauce, mooing, trailer park, vests, and hats are all that have been defined about this act so far. I can appreciate Maddox trying to explain that this team is one of Lefort’s unique investments, but it just doesn’t work. Maybe the act will grow together and evolve, but I just can’t see how a French high-roller managing two rednecks could become compelling. On the positive side, I laughed every time Maddox said Lefort’s name.
Back from break, Derrick Bateman made his entrance with a new theme, haircut, and attitude (which unfortunately wasn’t enough to keep him employed by WWE). Out next was NXT Champion Big E Langston with his full chalk-cloud and steam-pyro entrance. Senior WWE referee Scott Armstrong was in for this match.
4. NXT Champion Big E Langston vs. Derrick Bateman in a non-title match Bateman came out hot and went right after Langston with stiff forearm shots, a dropkick, and chops. He mounted Langston in the corner and fired away with punches, but Langston countered and launched Bateman into the air and down to the mat. He hit the ropes and ran Bateman over with the E-Train before dropping the straps and delivering The Big Ending for the win.
Big E Langston pinned Derrick Bateman in under 1:00.
Post-match, Langston paced frantically and got the crowd into a frenzy. He lifted Bateman and delivered his finisher one more time, and then self-counted the five count before leaving the ring…[C]
Zim’s Zag: Bateman looked super aggressive in the opening 30 seconds, but his new attitude was short lived, as he was one of the talents released during the recent black Friday. Same old stuff from Langston.
Scott Stamford hyped next week’s main event of Kassius Ohno and Corey Graves vs. The Wyatt Family…
Back from break, Big E Langston joined Phillips and Maddox on commentary. The ring was already full of wrestlers, including Sami Zayn, Conor O’Brian, Curt Hawkins, and a plethora of others. Corey Graves, Bray Wyatt, Kassius Ohno, Adrian Neville, Bo Dallas, and Mason Ryan all got individual entrances. As soon as Ryan entered, the bell rang and the match was underway.
5. 18-man Battle Royal to determine the number one contender to the NXT Championship. Standard battle royal brawling in the opening minutes. On commentary, Maddox asked Langston if they could just put their “heated, highly-competitive rivalry in the past.” Funny. Langston played it that he wasn’t concerned with who won this match, even stating that he would face all 18 competitors if need be, because he doesn’t back down from challenges.
At about the 1:30 mark, Mason Ryan eliminated Sakamoto, Briley Pierce, Curt Hawkins, and Alexander Rusev in rapid-fire fashion. About a minute later, Ryan continued his dominance by eliminating Baron Corbin, Knuckles Madsen, Mojo Rawley, Yoshi Tatsu, Dante Dash, and Aiden English. Ryan lifted Sami Zayn into a gorilla press, and tossed him onto the competitors at ringside to eliminate Sami Zayn. By the three-minute mark, Ryan had eliminated 11 of the 18 competitors single handedly. He set Adrian Neville up for a powerbomb, but Neville reversed with a hurricanrana to eliminate Mason Ryan. Ryan paced angrily at ringside as Neville sold shock and relief…[C]
Back in the ring, Bray Wyatt and Conor O’Brian were in the midst of a stare-down before firing away at each other. Wyatt was knocked out of the ring, but he went through the ropes, therefore was not eliminated. O’Brian went to work on Dallas and Neville, but Kassius Ohno caught him with a discus high-knee and Graves and Ohno eliminated Conor O’Brian. Bray Wyatt snuck back in the ring and quickly eliminated Corey Graves and Kassius Ohno from behind at about the five-minute mark.
The final three competitors remaining were Bray Wyatt, Bo Dallas, and Adrian Neville. Wyatt wore Dallas down with shots in the corner and charged in with the running splash. He danced around the ring with Dallas before delivering Sister Abigail. He diverted his attention to Neville, but Neville caught him with a big enziguri and eliminated Bray Wyatt at about the six-minute mark, rendering the match down to tag partners Bo Dallas and Adrian Neville.
Dallas charged, but Neville dropped the top rope. Dallas did his best impression of Shawn Michaels’ 1995 Royal Rumble near-elimination, but ended up on the apron. He tried to leverage Neville out of the ring and almost succeeded, but only one of Neville’s feet hit before he made it back to the apron as well. Both men traded shots with the crowd solidly behind Neville with the “yea/boo” chant.
Neville performed his up-and-over handsprings before several near-eliminations. He caught Dallas with the high kick and went to the top rope. He attempted his Corkscrew Shooting Star, now dubbed the Red Arrow, but Dallas got his knees up and eliminated Adrian Neville to win the match.
Bo Dallas won the Battle Royal in about 8:00 to become number one contender to the NXT Championship
Bo celebrated and worked himself into a frenzy in the ring, while the crowd didn’t seem to care. Neville was shown selling at ringside and Phillips hyped the start of the Women’s Championship Tournament next week, before signing off…
Zim’s Zag: Standard battle royal with a good closing few minutes. I’m not a fan of the Dallas win, but if it brings him a step closer to his much-needed heel turn, than I can live with it. Mason Ryan dominated early by eliminating all of the jobbers, but he went our right after them, so I’m not sure what that says about him. The match progressed logically and was pretty much what one would expect. I’m looking forward to seeing how the build to Dallas vs. Langston goes in the coming weeks.
Overall, another good edition of NXT, albeit slightly down from the past few weeks. The opening tag match and the Diva’s match were short but effective and fun, with particular emphasis on the abilities of Luke Harper and Emma. Harper continues to show his uncanny handle on his character, while Emma is really coming along in a fun way and is super over with the live crowd. The Emmalution was in full effect here, worth going out of your way to see (believe it or not). The second half of the show wasn’t quite as entertaining as the first, but it introduced a team we’ll be seeing a lot more from in coming weeks, and it determined what the next NXT Championship program will be, rather than sporadic and nonsensical title defenses. An effective show all around, well worth watching.
Throw any comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @InVasionZim; always happy to discuss.
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