Zim's WWE NXT Review: Antonio Cesaro and Leo Kruger vs. Sami Zayn and Bo Dallas, exit Wyatt Family - enter Shield, Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks, Corey Graves in action, and Tyler Breeze gets photobombed
By Zack Zimmerman
Aired July 31, 2013 on Hulu Plus
Taped July 12 at Full Sail University
The opening video played… Enzo Amore and Colin Cassidy made their way onto the stage. Amore once again called them the “bada-boom, realest guys in the room.” Big Cass spoke for the first time and said that since showing up as a team in NXT, they were undefeated. Funny. He said that the one thing they are not, and then paused several times to let the crowd fill in. Amore said he would spell it out “S-A-W-F-T: sawft.” He said that when they look around NXT, what they see is a dance floor, so they’re going to dance. Cass sang in the middle of the ring while Amore did his silly backwards run around the ring.
Tons of Funk’s music hit and they danced their way to the ring. Amore and Big Cass quietly escaped to the ramp and back out, calling Tons of Funk “sawft” on their way backstage. About halfway up the ramp, Mason Ryan’s music hit and he forced Amore and Cassidy back into the ring. Tons of Funk crushed both men in the corner and hit their couble splash on Cassidy. Mason Ryan made his way into the ring, picked up Amore, and slammed him down with his Cobra Clutch slam. Amore took a great bump and made the move look much better than it is. Tons of Funk invited Ryan to dance with them and they danced until the cameras cut away…
Backstage, Dusty Rhodes was talking to NXT Women’s Champion Paige and Emma. He put over their title match last week before Summer Rae interrupted. Paige said she’s beaten Paige before, so Paige should hand over that “pretty little title.” Paige suggested she break Summer’s face. Summer then turned her attention to Emma and said she stole the win in their semi-final match. Emma called Summer a loser and said her dancing sucks too. Summer got hot and made the challenge of a dance contest between herself and Emma. Dusty said it was ridiculous, but he likes it. Emma quickly accepted and Paige said that whoever wins is still going to lose to her…
Scott Stamford hyped the main event tag match, Bo Dallas and Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro and Leo Kruger…[C]
Zim’s Zag: An entire opening segment dedicated to dancing? Slight overkill. Amore and Cassidy are still funny in that act together, but this wasn’t one of their stronger segments as I’m not sure what the point was nor what it will lead to. The backstage segment showed how all three ladies have progressed on the microphone. Summer has always been strong, Paige is good in her tough girl role, and Emma’s character is still evolving and visibly gaining confidence compared to where she began.
Back from break, Tony Dawson and William Regal checked in on commentary and recapped next week’s dance-off between Summer and Emma. Charlotte made her gymnastic-filled entrance and a replay showed her debut victory from two weeks ago. Boston’s Sasha Banks was out next for singles action.
1. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks. Sasha quickly grounded Charlotte with a headlock takeover and worked it for the opening minute. Back on their feet, Sasha took Charlotte down with a tilt-a-whirl armdrag and followed up with a dropkick for a quick two-count. Sasha once again grounded Charlotte, but Charlotte worked back up and used her athleticism to get a two-count of her own with the Charlotte’s Web rollup. Charlotte hit a Flair signature chop, but that just angered Sasha who attacker her with slaps.
Sasha took control of the arm and ran up the turnbuckles into a nice armdrag takedown for another two-count. Sasha transitioned nicely into a Camel Clutch and then rolled forward into the Gedo Clutch for another two-count. Sasha whipped Charlotte into the corner and followed with a running double high knee strike. She shot her across to the other corner, but Charlotte flipped over the ropes and drove Sasha into the turnbuckle. She hopped back in the ring, hit a clothesline, and finished with her flipping cutter to score the pinfall.
Charlotte pinned Sasha Banks in about 3:15.
Post-match, Charlotte let out a small “Wooo” while standing over Sasha. Charlotte was all smiles and ran around the ring high-fiving fans before heading back up the ramp…
Backstage, Tyler Breeze was checking himself out in his phone. Renee Young approached. She asked him about his grandiose debut last week, and Breeze replied “It really was, wasn’t it?” His eyes never diverted from his phone as he went on. He said it was amazing, magnificent, and breathtaking, but wasn’t happy with any of his word choices. He finally settled on gorgeous, just like himself.
He carried on about himself, when CJ Parker (Carlito with dreadlocks) popped up behind him and started making faces. CJ walked away, but then popped back up with a dreadlock mustache. Breeze continued on about how good he looked until Renee mentioned that she wanted to know about his debut. “Can you feel that, Renee? I think we’re done here.” He said. “So you just keep being you, and I’ll stay being me: Tyler Breeze.” Before he left, he made Renee announce to everyone that “Tyler Breeze has left the building.”
A new Wyatt Family vignette aired with a scratchy record playing Mary Had a Little Lamb as scary images aired and Bray sang along. Great stuff…[C]
Zim’s Zag: Decent display from the divas. Nothing to praise heavily, but Sasha is a very strong worker and Charlotte continues to show good athletic potential. Charlotte needs a character that isn’t a smiley babyface though. I think they need to transition her into the over-confident heel that uses her family name to look down on everyone. Tyler Breeze continues to cement himself as Zigglander, with his tone being a complete derivative of Derek Zoolander. CJ Parker has been in developmental for a long time, so it’s cool to see him getting a chance with a real character. How that character plays itself out remains to be seen.
Back from break, Mickey Keegan and Aiden English were introduced and were already in the ring. The lights cut out for the Wyatt Family intro, and the crowd popped huge! They made their lantern-lit entrance and Wyatt took his place in the rocking chair. When the lights came back up, Rowan and Harper were in their corner and the crowd exploded once again.
2.The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper and Erik Rowan w/ Bray Wyatt) vs. Aiden English and Mickey Keegan. Rowan and Harper went right after both men as the arena loudly chanted “Wyatt!” Rowan cleared Keegan from the ring as Harper crushed English in the corner and followed up with his discus clothesline. Harper tagged in Rowan who connected with his running splash for the win.
The Wyatt Family beat Aiden English and Mickey Keegan in about 0:25.
Post-match, virtually the whole arena were swaying their arms back and forth to Wyatt’s music as Bray made his way into the ring. A replay aired and when it ended, Wyatt lifted English and delivered Sister Abigail. The crowd broke out into a heavy “One more time!” chant, until Wyatt told them to calm down because he had something to say. He put his cap back on and continued. He said there were several different types of people in this world. There are people who dream, but never get off their couch. There are people who dream, and fail. And he said there are people who dream, and change the landscape of this world, people like Bray Wyatt.
He asked if everyone was tired of being outcasts, and said that today was the day Bray Wyatt decided to change everything. He said today is the day hell froze, today is the day pigs fly, and today is the day that Wyatt and his people look at fear and call it a liar. Wyatt sent warning to the world’s leaders that today is the day he decides to bring down the machine. Loud “bring it down” chants broke out and Wyatt said that today is the day they say goodbye to NXT.
He promised everyone that if they ever needed him, he wouldn’t be hard to find. Just look up at the sky and “follow the buzzards.” He closed by singing the song he used to sing on his way to the ring, “Time is on my side.” He dropped the mic and struck his pose as the crowd popped huge one more time and chanted “Thank you, Bray…”
Backstage, Corey Graves was gearing up and Adrian Neville approached. He said that even though tonight is just Graves vs. Scott Dawson, he was going to be at ringside for Graves. Graves didn’t think it was necessary, but Neville questioned if the Wyatt Family would be seeking revenge, and said better safe than sorry. Graves said that if the Wyatt’s want a war, they’ll show them what hell is really like. Neville said that the NXT Tag Team Champions run from no one…
Scott Stamford hyped the main event tag match, Dallas and Zayn vs. Cesaro and Kruger…[C]
Zim’s Zag: Very cool send off for the Wyatt Family. That act absolutely has to be a heel act for a long time, but the way the crowd responded and the slightly altered, almost uplifting Wyatt promo showed a really interesting babyface twist from what we’ve seen. Wyatt confirming that their run on NXT has ended made it all the more bizarre when Neville and Graves talked about protecting themselves against the Wyatts. It just seemed very out of place.
Back in the arena, Sylvester Lefort made his way onto the stage. He said that money is the only thing that matters. Big time “what?” treatment from the crowd. He said that when he thinks of money, only one man comes to mind: Scott Dawson. Dawson made his entrance, still carrying a flashlight to the ring (why? Who knows?). Corey Graves made his entrance next to a good reaction from the crowd. He was accompanied by his Tag Team Championship partner, Adrian Neville.
3. Scott Dawson (w/ Sylvester Lefort) vs. NXT Tag Team Champion Corey Graves (w/ Adrian Neville). The crowd was solidly behind Graves but Dawson took the upper hand when he caught Graves between the turnbuckles and hit a kick to the gut. He followed up with a leg drop and a back elbow to keep momentum. Dawson continued to work Graves over until Graves hit a chop block coming off the ropes. Graves hooked in Lucky 13 and Dawson tapped out quickly.
Corey Graves defeated Scott Dawson in about 2:00
Post-match, Graves and Neville held their titles up proudly until The Shield’s music hit. Wait, what? The trio made their way to the stage and Rollins had a mic. He said that The Shield is back in NXT, but knew Graves remembered them because the last time they were there, they left Graves in a heap in the middle of the ring. He congratulated Graves on winning the Tag Team Titles, but said they still weren’t as good as him and Reigns.
Dean Ambrose took the mic and said that Neville didn’t earn that title, he just slid into Kassius Ohno’s place and stole it. “You’re a thief, a crook, and that’s an injustice.” He said that the injustice was punishable by The Shield, and challenged Neville to a match one on one. Neville took a mic and said that he was in, but he wanted to make it a little bit more interesting. He said Ambrose should put the title on the line, and he would face him right now.
Ambrose said Neville wasn’t talking to some NXT chump, he said he was the “US champion, the best singles champion in the industry.” He accepted Neville’s challenge for next week. Neville said he was going to break down The Shield piece by piece, starting by taking Ambrose’s title. “Believe in that.” Neville closed…
Scott Stamford hyped that the main event tag match was coming up next…[C]
Zim’s Zag: Relatively ho-hum match. Graves sold really well and Dawson showed good aggressiveness, but it was a two minute match with no back and forth momentum, so there wasn’t much to judge on. The post-match angle seemed to come out of nowhere, as The champs were concerned about the Wyatt Family, only to be confronted by The Shield. Regardless, it’ll be great to see them working with some of the NXT regulars in the coming weeks. Next week’s matchup should be a really good one.
Scott Stamford hyped next week’s show, which will feature the dance-off between Summer Rae and Emma, Adrian Neville vs. Dean Ambrose for the US Title, and “Controvercial NXT Champion” Bo Dallas defending against Leo Kruger…
Back in the arena, Leo Kruger was the first to make his entrance. A recap video showed how Kruger won the number-one contender three-way match two weeks ago over Sami Zayn and Antonio Cesaro. Antonio Cesaro made his entrance next, as usual accompanied by his Gadsden flag. Sami Zayn was the next competitor to make his way to the ring, followed by Bo Dallas who once again got an overwhelmingly negative response from the crowd.
4. NXT Champion Bo Dallas and Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro and Leo Kruger. The crowd immediately broke out into the “no more Bo” chant as Kruger and Zayn kicked things off. They locked up and Sami got the first takedown with an armdrag. Kruger quickly took control with a knee to the gut, but Sami went up-and-over Kruger in the corner and hit his armdrag trifecta. Zayn pulled Kruger towards his corner and teased the tag to Dallas, and the crowd begged him not to make the tag.
Dallas tagged himself in, enabling Kruger to make it back to his corner and bring in Cesaro. As Cesaro and Dallas went at it, loud “we the people” chants broke out in support of Cesaro. Dallas grounded Cesaro with several armdrags of his own and teased the tag to Zayn, but spend so much time milking it that Cesaro was able to counter and take control. Cesaro hit a hard back elbow in the corner and then knocked Zayn off the apron with a big boot.
Dallas fought back with a dropkick and both men tagged in their partners. Zayn slid out of the ring and went in pursuit of Cesaro, but got ambushed by Kruger when the chase re-entered the ring. Kruger then tagged in Cesaro, who over-confidently went to work on Zayn leading into the show’s final break. [C]
Back from break, Kruger was in the ring and he hit a snap suplex on Zan for a quick two-count before tagging Cesaro back in. Cesaro connected with a hard European uppercut for a two-count of his own, before looking to lock in his sleeper hold which William Regal called the Crank. Zayn backed into the corner to break the hold, but Cesaro was able to tag Kruger back into the match with the heels in firm control.
Kruger dropped Zayn with a headbutt and followed with a jumping knee for another two-count. Zayn managed to reverse a back body drop into a sunset flip rollup for a two-count, but Kruger prevented him from making the tag and dragged him across the ring where Cesaro re-entered the match. Cesaro wore Zayn down with shots in the corner and hit a really sloppy slingshot powerbomb before making the tag to Leo Kruger.
Kruger hit several standing double-stomps before settling into a front chancery and tagging Cesaro back in. Cesaro ate a boot from Zayn and quickly tagged Kruger back in. Kruger tried to prevent Zayn from making the tag, but Zayn reversed into a rollup and finally made the hot tag when Kruger kicked out. (Well, it would’ve been hot if he was tagging anyone other than Bo Dallas). Dallas fired up with running forearms and his punching combination before hitting an Acid Drop bulldog for a near-fall.
Sami Zayn ran in and knocked Cesaro off the apron. The two fought all the way up the ramp and out of the arena. In the ring, Dallas connected with his snap belly-to-belly, but Kruger rolled to ringside and tried to escape up the ramp. Dallas got him back into the ring, but Kruger caught him with a high knee strike in the corner and followed up with the Slice for the win.
Leo Kruger and Antonio Cesaro beat Bo Dallas and Sami Zayn in about 10:00.
The crowd popped big for Kruger’s win and a replay aired of the finish. Kruger pumped himself up on the ramp and the show closed with Kruger waving “Ta-ta, Bo.”
Zim’s Zag: A middle of the road match to close a middle of the road show. At points, the action was solid, but overall it was just a difficult match to get into. Disappointing considering the talent involved. I liked the hints at Bo going heel, but it felt like it was a lap behind the fact that Bo has already been solidified as the most unlikable worker in NXT. The fan response didn’t work, as they were big into three of the four guys in the match, and the one guy they weren’t behind was the guy who is in the position of top babyface. A bit of a mess.
Overall, this show is virtually skipable. The Wyatt Family’s sendoff and Bray’s promo were very well done and worth watching for anyone who enjoys his work, but that was about it as far as good things on this show. The other two matches matches were short and forgettable, the backstage segments weren’t anything special (though Zigglander continued to establish himself), and the main event was a letdown from what was expected. This is the most “meh” I’ve felt about an episode of NXT in a while, hopefully it picks right back up with the reemergence of The Shield and some promising matches coming next week.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @InVasionZim; always happy to discuss.
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