Zim's WWE NXT Review: Antonio Cesaro vs. Bo Dallas for the NXT Title, Paige vs. Alicia Fox semi-final match, epic six-man tag announced, Xavier Woods, Mason Ryan, Leo Kruger, Sami Zayn, and more
By Zack Zimmerman
July 3, 2013 WWE NXT on Hulu Plus
Taped June 20 at Full Sail University
Backstage, Renee Young welcomed viewers and introduced NXT Champion Bo Dallas. She asked him about the challenge Leo Kruger has posed to his title. Dallas said his Bo-lievers know he will defend his title anywhere, anytime. He said he’s “the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be, just like my good friend and mentor Bret Hart.” He boasted about being at Wrestlemania and having a match, but Renee reminded him it was at Axxess. Dallas said he would gladly defend against Kruger if Kruger earned a shot.
Dallas was interrupted by Antonio Cesaro, who said it was typical American to claim to have earned something that was handed to you. He called himself a real American and called punk kids like Bo Dallas the downfall of the nation. Cesaro said that “We the people” are going to take the NXT Championship because in “our America, there are no handouts, there is no mediocrity, and there is going to be no more Bo.” Dallas apologized on behalf of Cesaro and vowed that after tonight, Cesaro will never forget the name Bo Dallas…
The opening video played… In the arena, the camera panned the crowd and Tony Dawson introduced himself and William Regal on commentary. Alicia Fox made her entrance, followed by Paige. Great reaction as usual for Paige.
1. Alicia Fox vs. Paige in an NXT Women’s Championship Tournament semi-final match. Paige went for a rollup out of the gate and was the aggressor in the opening minute. Fox finally was able to escape the ring to regain composure and stall.
Back in the ring, Paige got Fox in the corner and hit rapid back-elbow strikes. She charged at Fox, but Fox used her flexibility to evade and hit a side kick. Fox hit a bridging northern suplex for a two-count and remained in control. She worked heel, stomping Paige’s fingers and choking her on the ropes before settling into a rear chinlock.
The crowd got behind Page and she worked her way up and hit a jawbreaker. She fired up and whipped Fox into the ropes where she hit five stiff knee strikes. Paige played to the crowd, which allowed Fox to hit a great looking high dropkick for a two-count. The crowd chanted “Paige” and Paige reversed momentum with a side kick to the gut. She followed up with the Paige Turner and scored the pinfall.
Paige beat Alicia Fox in about 4:45 to advance to the finals of the NXT Women’s Championship Tournament.
Paige celebrated and a replay of the finish aired. The tournament bracket display showed that Paige would face the winner of Summer Rae vs. Emma to determine the first NXT Women’s Champion… Scott Stanford hyped that Bo Dallas would defend the NXT Championship against Antonio Cesaro in the main event…[C]
Zim’s Zag: Very good match from the Divas here. Both ladies had time to show impressive offense and Paige worked just like a babyface should. My only complaint would be that the finish seemed to come out of nowhere, but nothing major. I wrote it two weeks ago, Jim Ross wrote it last week, and I’ll say it again, all the credit in the world to Sara Del Rey for what she is doing for the future of the Divas.
A Rob Van Dam return video aired… Back from break, rookie Andy Baker was introduced and was already in the ring. The lights cut out and the old Ascension music hit as Conor O’Brian and Rick Victor made their cool underworld entrance. Conor O’Brian was introduced, Rick Victor was not, but he was acknowledged by name for the first time by the commentators. O’Brian had new black ring gear that is much more fitting with the gimmick.
2. Andy Baker vs. Conor O’Brian (w/ Rick Victor). The bell rang and O’Brian came out on fire. He ran Baker over with quick shoulder blocks, hit rolling headlock takeovers, and then settled into a snug looking side headlock. Baker worked his way up and tried to fight back, but O’Brian shot him into the roped and dropped him with a flapjack. O’Brian hit the ropes and dropped a leg across the back of Baker’s head for the pinfall.
Conor O’Brian beat Andy Baker in about one minute.
O’Brian continued to hold the pinfall after the bell and Rick Victor stood behind him with eyes that looked completely black as the commentators put the duo over…
Backstage, Renee Young was standing by with Adrian Neville and Corey Graves. Renee revealed that Kassius Ohno was unable to compete due to the attack by The Wyatt Family last week. Graves said that was unfortunate, but he thinks there’s one person who can fill Ohno’s role. Neville showed improved poise and recalled Regal giving them advice on how to face the Wyatt Family. He asked Regal to stand with them and put an end to The Wyatt Family. Graves gave a parting message for The Wyatt Family in the form of his “stay down” tattoo…[C]
Zim’s Zag: Simple squash match, but O’Brian was all go from the start. I like the O’Brian and Victor pairing at first glance. Time will tell if they will grow together or not, but I’m optimistic. Adrian Neville didn’t say too much, but what he delivered was the most confident and comprehensive mic work I’ve heard from him. There is hope.
Back from break, Sylvester Lefort walked onto the stage. He spoke but his accent along with the crowd’s “what?” chants made him impossible to understand. He introduced Scott Dawson (who must’ve sent Garrett Dylan back to the trailer park) and they made their way to the ring. Xavier Woods made his charismatic entrance to a good reaction from the crowd.
3. Scott Dawson (w/ Sylvester Lefort) vs. Xavier Woods. The crowd chanted “Woods” but Dawson took control early. Woods made a comeback with a rollup attempt and went to work with chops to the chest. Woods went for a back suplex but Dawson raked the eyes. He shot Woods into the ropes, but Woods used a rana to take Dawson down.
Woods ended up on the apron where Sylvester Lefort was able to briefly distract him and allowed Dawson to drop Woods to ringside. Dawson pulled Woods back across the top rope and dropped him face first in the ring. Dawson kept in control with a back elbow and a running leg drop before settling into a rear chinlock.
The crowd rallied behind Woods and he fought back. He hit a standing missile dropkick that knocked Dawson into the corner and followed up with the Honor Roll lariat. He quickly picked Dawson up and hit Lost in the Woods (Eat Defeat) for the win.
Xavier Woods beat Scott Dawson in about 4:15.
Woods danced in celebration and the crowd was fully behind him. A replay showed the Honor Roll and Lost in the Woods. Woods continued to dance his way all the way to the back… A new Bray Wyatt promo aired. He finished it with the tagline “Follow the buzzards.”…[C]
Zim’s Zag: Pretty standard match, a notch below the Divas match, but Woods oozes charisma in front of the relatively-small NXT arena crowd. I’m not sure how it’d translate on the big stage, but he’s fun here. I like Dawson more as a singles act than in the redneck team, but I’d still rather see what Sylvester Lefort can do on his own. Oh, and I am so stoked to see The Wyatt Family on Raw. I’ve been calling them a TV-ready act for months now, and it’s so exciting to see them getting their chance on the big stage.
Back from break, Tony Dawson asked if William Regal would join the six-man tag that Adrian Neville and Corey Graves has proposed earlier, and Regal answered “Of course.” Regal reminded viewers that he was attacked by The Wyatts as well, and said someone was going to suffer.
Mason Ryan made his entrance and Dawson noted that Mason Ryan was down 15 pounds. [Insert cycling-off joke here]. Enzo Amore made his way to the stage next and got a really good crowd response. He introduced himself as “a certified G and bona fide stud, and you can’t teach that.” He introduced Colin Cassidy as “Big Cas: he’s 7 feet tall, and you can’t teach that.” He said that there’s one word to describe Mason Ryan, “S-A-W-F-T: sawwwft” and continued to mock Ryan.
4. Mason Ryan vs. Enzo Amore (w/ Colin Cassidy). Amore sparred with Cassidy in the corner, but turned into a big right hand from Mason Ryan. Ryan made the cover and got the pinfall.
Mason Ryan beat Enzo Amore in about 10 seconds.
Amore grabbed the mic and said that was crap. “I wasn’t even ready.” He said Ryan couldn’t get that lucky twice, and sent Colin Cassidy in to face him.
5. Mason Ryan vs. Colin Cassidy (w/ Enzo Amore). Ryan crushed Cassidy in the corner with a splash and hit a clothesline. Ryan waited for Cassidy to get up and then put him right back down with a Cobra Clutch slam for the pinfall.
Mason Ryan beat Colin Cassidy in about 30 seconds.
Amore and Cassidy bickered at ringside and up the ramp as a replay aired of both finishes. Ryan stood dominant in the ring with a smile on his face… Scott Stanford hyped that the main event title match was coming up next…[C]
Zim’s Zag: Well, they’re still set on getting Mason Ryan over as an unstoppable babyface. Unfortunately for him, the crowd seemed to be more behind Amore’s act from the start; His loud-mouth jobber shtick really works. I’m not sold yet on the Amore and Cassidy pairing, but I’m high on each guy individually. I’m curious to see if it ends here or if they try to build something with this.
Scott Stanford hyped that next week would see Emma facing Summer Rae in the NXT Women’s Championship Tournament semi-finals. Winner faces Paige to determine the first NXT Women’s Champion. He also officially announced that The Wyatt Family would face Adrian Neville, Corey Graves, and William Regal in a six-man tag team match next week…
Antonio Cesaro made his entrance with a Gadsden flag, but no Zeb Coulter. Bo Dallas made his entrance to massive boos. Tony Dawson finally acknowledged the negative reaction called him the most polarizing man in NXT. Both men got full championship intros to huge crowd reactions, with 95 percent of the arena in favor of Cesaro.
6. Antonio Cesaro vs. NXT Champion Bo Dallas for the NXT Championship. The crowd opened up with heavy “We the people” chants as both men jockeyed for control. A “No more Bo” vs. “Let’s go Bo” battle chant broke out, with the detractors largely outweighing the supporters.
Cesaro had the upper-hand until Dallas caught him with a dropkick. A short time later, Cesaro used a schoolboy-style rollup that actually sent Dallas through the ropes and dropped him hard at ringside. Very innovative. The crowd picked up the “We the people” chant again as the show went into its final break…[C]
Leo Kruger slowly wandered down to ringside as Cesaro continued to work Dallas over. Cesaro hit a stiff kick to the back of Dallas and the crowd wanted it “one more time.” So Cesaro set Dallas up and charged again, but dropped into a rear chinlock instead. The crowd popped anyway.
Dallas fought back to his feet and fired up with running forearms and his signature combination. Dallas hit a clothesline in the corner and followed up with a running bulldog for a two-count. Cesaro slowed Dallas down for a short time, but Dallas reversed with an inverted DDT.
Dallas went for the Acid Drop bulldog, but Cesaro overpowered him and crotched him on the top rope. Cesaro followed up with a gutwrench superplex from the middle ropes for a near-fall. He connected with a diving knee drop to the head for another two-count. When Dallas made it back to his feet, Cesaro locked him in a sleeper hold. Dallas got a good near-fall on a rollup, but Cesaro came right back with a great bridging fallaway suplex for another close call.
Cesaro landed rapid forearm shots to a grounded Dallas and then uncharacteristically went up to the top rope. Dallas ran up the ropes and hit a quick underhook superplex that had both men down. They slowly worked their way up and Cesaro charged at Dallas just as Leo Kruger jumped up onto the apron. The two collided and Dallas hit his snap belly-to-belly to score the win.
Bo Dallas beat Antonio Cesaro in about 10:15
Post-match, Dallas’ mood lighting took effect and steam shot down from the rig above the ring as Dallas celebrated with his championship. When the lights came back up, Kruger jumped Dallas from behind and the crowd popped big. Kruger wore Dallas down and finished him with Kruger’s End. Antonio Cesaro re-entered the ring and threw Kruger to ringside. Cesaro picked up the NXT Championship, but then dropped it and continued the beatdown on Dallas.
Dallas tried to battle back, but Kruger came back and looked at Cesaro, before both men put the boots to Dallas. Music hit and Sami Zayn ran down to make the save. He cleared the ring of the heels as the crowd smarked out with “ole” chants. The show ended with Zayn and Dallas standing tall in the ring.
Zim’s Zag: Very good main event match. Despite occurring in the bizarro-world that is the NXT Title picture at the moment, the action was great especially after the break. Cesaro proved he isn’t the bore he has been on TV at times and Dallas hung with him the whole time. The post-match angle was really good, but slightly off due to the crowd’s reactions. The Dallas turn desperately needs to happen because things like this lose effect when the crowd is cheering everyone except the babyface champion. That said, it’s really good to see Sami Zayn being elevated while logically continuing his feud with Cesaro. Well-done.
Overall, this was a good show up from the flat past couple of weeks. They squeezed a whole lot into the hour, but that kept it from dragging at any point. The Divas match and the title match are definitely worth going out of your way to watch. Everything else that happened played into things that have been and will be happening on the program, so nothing felt out of place and everything progressed relatively logically. Next week’s matchups have been built, hyped, and are fully expected to deliver.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @InVasionZim; always happy to discuss.
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