7/4 Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: Bo Dallas vs. Antonio Cesaro for the NXT Title, Paige vs. Alicia Fox in the Women's Title Tournament Semi Final, Xavier Woods vs. Scott Dawson, Mason Ryan vs. Enzo Amore
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped June 20 in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] Before titles, Renee Young welcomed us to NXT, and introduced Bo Dallas. Young asked about Leo Kruger’s apparent title challenge last week. Dallas said it didn’t matter who challenged him, because his Bo-Lievers know he will defend his title whenever and wherever he can. He said he will be the best there is, was and ever will be, just like his friend Bret Hart. Dallas said if Kruger wants a title shot, he will have to earn it like he did.
Antonio Cesaro walked in to shot and said Dallas didn’t earn anything - everything was handed to him. Cesaro said he has worked hard and earned everything in his life, and punks like Dallas will be the downfall of America, so in the name of "We the People", he plans to take the title off Dallas tonight. Dallas apologised to Renee for not introducing Cesaro, and said Cesaro may go down as one of the most insignificant US Champions of all time. He said after tonight, Cesaro will also be the man who will never forget the name Bo Dallas...
Gutt Reaction: The strangest heel turn in a long while continues. Dallas is turning, make no mistake, but putting him against heels won’t exactly crystallise the turn in the average fans mind. The smarks will boo him regardless, but if he is facing well established heels like Cesaro and Kruger, he’ll more than like still get cheered by some sections. Maybe creative feels that Dallas’ grating face mannerisms will be enough to clue people in that they should be booing him.
After titles, Tony Dawson introduced himself and William Regal as Alicia Fox and Paige made their way out for the first Semi Final of the NXT Women’s Title Tournament...
1. Paige vs. Alicia Fox in the Semi Final of NXT Women’s Title Tournament. After some sustained pressure from Paige, Fox rolled out of the ring. Fox got back in the ring, and after Paige initially attacked again, Fox suckered her in to running into the turnbuckle. Following a big kick to the mid section, Fox hit a Northern Lights suplex for the first two count of the match.
Fox went for a headlock, but Paige escaped with a jawbreaker, and started to fire up. She threw Fox to the ropes, and then kneed her in the face from the apron. Fox hit a dropkick when Paige got back in the ring for another two count, but Paige quickly recovered, kicked Fox in the stomach, and hit her with the Paige Turner for the 1-2-3...
Paige defeated Alicia Fox in 4:44 to advance to the Final of the NXT Women’s Title Tournament.
Regal told Dawson how proud the UK was of Paige... [C]
Gutt Reaction: It was quicker than I would have liked a Semi Final match to be, but the match was fine. In the same way that Seth Rollins was the clear choice to be the first NXT Champion, Paige is surely nailed on to win this whole tournament.
[Q2] Back from commercial, NXT debutant Andy Baker stood in the ring. Another English wrestler, the man from Liverpool waited for the arrival of Conor O’Brian, who came out with Rick Victor...
2. Conor O’Brian vs. Andy Baker. O’Brian immediately hit Baker with shoulder tackles, and took him down to the mat for O’Brian’s rolling headlock. Baker got up and threw a few punches, but O’Brian threw him off the ropes and flapjacked him. O’Brian finished Baker off with a legdrop to the back of the head...
Conor O’Brian defeated Andy Baker in 0:58.
Victor got in the ring, and started growling with O’Brian...
Backstage, Young was stood with Adrian Neville and Corey Graves, and asked how the two plan to fill the role of Kassius Ohno, who is out of action after last weeks attack by the Wyatt Family. Graves said it was unfortunate what happened to Ohno, but in this business, you need to always be prepared for unexpected things. He said he knew who could fill Ohno’s shoes. Neville said William Regal told them a few weeks ago how to stop the Wyatt Family, and now they are asking him to join them so they can stop the Family for good. Graves concluded by saying the Family knows how this all ends, before putting his fists up to the camera so they read "Stay Down"...
Gutt Reaction: Utterly pointless squash match. The boring cycle of building up O’Brien only to have him fall to the NXT champion is now getting very tedious. The backstage segment was much more productive, setting up a marquee match for somewhere down the line, and it also represented Neville’s best promo delivery yet. He looked intense, and for once didn’t seem intimidated by the microphone.
Sylvester Lefort walked onto the stage and introduced Scott Dawson. He is facing Xavier Woods, who got a good reaction for his entrance...
3. Xavier Woods vs. Scott Dawson. Woods took control with knife edge chops and an Atomic drop. Following a head scissors, Woods went for an armbar. Dawson escaped and threw Woods to the apron. Lefort distracted Woods long enough for Dawson to trip him and make Woods hit the apron face first.
Back in the ring, Dawson zeroed in on Woods face, running it along the ropes before hitting him with a high elbow and locking in a headlock. Woods escaped with a jawbreaker, and built momentum with a running forearm and a front dropkick. He went to the corner and shouted "It’s Morphin Time!", before putting Dawson down with the Honour Roll headstand clothesline. Woods followed it up with the Lost in the Woods before getting the pinfall...
Xavier Woods defeated Scott Dawson in 4:08.
Woods danced his way up the ramp after the match...
Bray Wyatt was shown sat in a chair in the woods. He said people like him are judged for the way they look, act and feel, but they don’t understand that he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. If people could see the monster behind his eyes, they would understand why they have urine running down their legs. He described Luke Harper and Erick Rowan as beasts that walk upright, and said everybody had been warned that the end is coming. All that will be left of "them" will be chunks of meat stuck to the teeth of the Eater of Worlds. He finished by saying "Follow the Buzzards"... [C]
Gutt Reaction: Good showing from Woods, who seems to have captured the imagination of the Full Sail crowd. Wyatt’s promo, while visually striking, was a little rambling for my taste. It was cobbled together from many things he has said in his Raw videos, and I would have preferred a more deliberate, directed verbal warning to Neville and Graves. The Raw packages are meant to be mysterious, so they work well there, but Wyatt is established on NXT, so this promo essentially built nothing. Wyatt will have to walk this tightrope for the foreseeable future – if he starts making no sense at all, people will become confused and lose interest. He works much better when the metaphors he uses are more transparent about who they’re aimed at.
[Q3] Enzo Amore walked onto the stage, flanked by Colin Cassady, and said he was a certified G, and a bona-fide stud, "and you can’t teach that". He said he had one word to describe Mason Ryan (who was stood in the ring) – Sawft. That’s not a typo...
4. Enzo Amore vs. Mason Ryan. Amore started shadow boxing with Cassady in the corner, before turning around and running into a right hand from Mason. This, somehow, put Amore down...
Mason Ryan defeated Enzo Amore in 0:10.
Amore got on the mic and said he wasn’t ready. He told Cassady to get in the ring...
5. Colin Cassady vs. Mason Ryan. Ryan threw Cassady to the corner and hit him with a clothesline. Following a second running clothesline, Ryan put Cassady away with a new finisher, where he trapped Cassady’s arm from behind before falling with him to the mat...
Mason Ryan defeated Colin Cassady in 0:32.
Ryan played to the crowd as Amore and Cassady left...
Gutt Reaction: Can’t believe there was a move I couldn’t give a name to. I feel ashamed. I’m sure Zim will know. I’m on the fence about Amore. I think his delusional attitude could be funny, but unlike Santino when he had a similar heel gimmick a few years ago, he is less "loveable loser", and more "annoying idiot". That could all change if he essentially hides behind Cassady, and then takes credit for his wins, but the man just lost in a similarly embarrassing manner to Amore, so I wouldn’t hold out hope for that gimmick taking shape either.
Antonio Cesaro walked to the ring with the "Don’t Tread on Me" flag, and said "We the People" when he stood in the ring. Bo Dallas got big heat when he made his entrance, so my pessimism of this heel turn being confusing for the average fan might have been for nothing. Byron Saxton handled the intros in the ring...
6. Bo Dallas vs. Antonio Cesaro for the NXT Title. Cesaro got all of the early action, wearing Dallas down with a variety of holds. Before commercial, Cesaro sat next to the ropes, suckering Dallas in, before bundling him out of the ring between the first and second ropes... [C]
[Q4] Leo Kruger was shown at ringside when he returned. Cesaro kept up his hold based offense, until Bo caught a break off of a running forearm. Dallas threw a few more forearms before landing a bulldog out of the corner and getting a two count. Cesaro tried to stem the tide with a headlock, but Dallas slipped out to hit and reverse DDT for another two count. Dallas looked for a springboard bulldog, but Cesaro cut him off, so Bo landed crotch first on the ropes. Cesaro capitalised by climbing the turnbuckle and throwing Dallas back to the mat with a gutwrench. Dallas kicked out of the following pin, and kicked out again following a flying knee drop from Cesaro.
Cesaro stalked Dallas, and applied another headlock, this time swinging Dallas around, but Dallas managed to find a way to roll Cesaro up for a close two count. When both men got up, Cesaro threw Dallas with fall away slam, landing it in a pin. Dallas once again kicked out, and Cesaro went top rope. Before he could jump, Dallas ran up to meet him, and threw him back into the ring with a belly to belly throw. Both men sold the move, before struggling back to their feet. Kruger climbed onto the apron behind Dallas, as Cesaro charged at him. Dallas ducked Cesaro, sending him into Kruger, and Dallas hit a belly to belly suplex on the rebound. He quickly covered Cesaro...
Bo Dallas defeated Antonio Cesaro to retain the NXT Title.
After Dallas posed with the title, Kruger attacked him. After dropping him with the Kruger’s End, Cesaro attacked Kruger and threw him out of the ring. Cesaro then attacked Dallas, and eventually Kruger got in the ring and joined in. Sami Zayn ran out to make the save, and eventually he and Dallas cleared the ring. Dallas shook Zayn’s hand before NXT went off the air...
Gutt Reaction: Cesaro did work a lot of holds in the opening 5 minutes, but unlike almost anybody else, he manages to find ways to keep it interesting. He is constantly changing what he is doing, while always keeping the opponent under his control. It doesn’t make for a thrill-a-minute match, but it’s a nice change of pace. It meant that whenever Dallas hit a hot streak, it stood out, even if they crowd didn’t respond in the usual way. The finish gives Dallas a good win, and didn’t really cost Cesaro anything. Dallas turning on Zayn in a follow up tag match could be the hard turn Dallas will need at some point to establish himself as the heel on NXT.
While six matches is still two many, and the three squash matches were pointless, the other three matches on tonight’s show were solid. Two tag matches were set up for the coming weeks, and the Women’s Title Tournament is ramping up, so all major feuds were advanced, but hopefully next week we see a few new faces, and get some new storylines going, if only since it seems a while since we’ve had a major new debut.
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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