8/15 Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: The Shield vs. Corey Graves, Adrian Neville and Xavier Woods, Paige vs. Summer Rae for the NXT Women's Title, Mason Ryan vs. Scott Dawson, and Paul Heyman makes an appearance
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped July 11 in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] After titles, Paul Heyman was shown walking down the ramp. Heyman said he has decided to scout for a new "Paul Heyman guy". He said he has been blown away by everything he has seen in NXT. He acknowledged the "E-C-W" chants, but said he doesn’t intend to live in the past, but scout for the future. He said inside the locker room there are future "Paul Heyman guys", future Paul Heymans, and future Brock Lesnars.
He then brought out Curtis Axel, who was greeted by a noticeable "Sha!" chant. After complimenting him, Heyman said Axel won’t be defending his Intercontinental Title tonight because there isn’t anyone in Florida who is man enough to take it.
Big E Langston’s music played, and he received a loud pop when he walked onto the top of the stage. He welcomed Heyman to the show, and said he was man enough to take the title. Heyman started to decline the challenge, but Axel took the mic and said he accepted.
Big E started to walk to the ring, but Axel said he accepted the challenge, but not for tonight. He threw out the possibilities of having the match on the Thanksgiving or Christmas episodes. Big E said if he didn’t defend the title tonight, he would just be showing everyone that he wasn’t man enough to hang on NXT. Axel got angry and told Big E to bring it...
1. Curtis Axel vs. Big E Langston for the Intercontinental Title. Big E caught Axel with a belly to belly throw within the first minute of the match. He clotheslined Axel to the outside before we went to the first commercial... [C]
[Q2] Big E hit Axel with five big punches to the midsection as the crowd counted along. Axel grabbed the apron as Big E tried to drag him up, eventually landing a kick to Big E’s stomach and hitting him with a clothesline to the back of the head. Axel tried to keep Big E down on the mat, but Big E powered out of a headlock and began to rattle of his signature moves. Following the five knee lifts and the running body check, he took the straps down to signal for the Big Ending. As he stalked Axel, Heyman slid into the ring and hit Big E in the back to cause the DQ...
Big E Langston defeated Curtis Axel in 4:30 via Disqualification.
Heyman begged Big E off, but Langston grabbed hold of him. Axel made the save by attacking Big E from behind, but soon ended up on the receiving end of the Big Ending. Big E counted a five count on the prone Axel before playing to the crowd...
Gutt Reaction: If that match had happened on the main roster, it would have been white noise, but Big E is so over with the cult of Full Sail that they really got into his offense. The match was OK despite its short time, but the best thing about the whole segment was the pre-match promos. I’m very big on WWE authority figures (Heyman will always have the ear of the smart marks) praising NXT, regardless of face/heel tendencies, as it gives NXT a lot of legitimacy. Also, Axel has never sounded so natural on the mic. Positives all round.
William Regal and Tony Dawson, tonight’s commentary team, hyped The Shield vs. Corey Graves, Adrian Neville and Xavier Woods for later in the show...
Backstage, Renee Young introduced Sami Zayn. Young recapped both Bo Dallas’ and Antonio Cesaro’s criticisms of him over the past few weeks, and asked for his reaction. Zayn said the stuff with Bo was an afterthought at the moment, but he knows the feud with Cesaro has gone on too long now. He said Cesaro and Zeb Coulter have accused him of hiding behind different identities.
He said he isn’t ashamed of who he is, and reminded Cesaro that he was the guy who beat him when Cesaro said there was no competition on NXT. He also pointed out that he challenged Cesaro to a third match a month ago, yet one hasn’t happened yet. Zayn then challenged Cesaro to a Two out of Three falls match, saying the match would leave nothing to chance. He concluded by saying he intends to expose Cesaro for what he truly is – a coward...
Gutt Reaction: Another great, intense promo from Zayn. He has proven with his work as El Generico that he has comedy down pat, but in his recent mic work he has shown that he has the other side of the coin well covered too. Sometimes all fans want to see is a wrestler who takes what he does in the ring seriously, and conveys that passion for the sport in his promo work. Zayn could get over very easily with the die hard fans when he gets the call up, regardless of their familiarity with his Indie work.
Mason Ryan walked out, constantly doing a Hulk Hogan flexing pose. When he got in the ring, Sylvester Lefort walked onto the ramp. He said in order to make money, you have to spend money. That is why he has made an investment that makes him a lot of money – Scott Dawson. Lefort must have figured out how to monetize wrestling losses...
2. Mason Ryan vs. Scott Dawson (w/Sylvester Lefort). Ryan immediately started dominating with clotheslines to a cornered Dawson. Enzo Amore’s music hit, and he and Colin Cassady ran down to ring side. This distracted Ryan, and allowed Dawson to hit a low chop block. He tried to keep up the pressure, but Ryan hit him with a big boot to regain control. He put Dawson away with the Cobra Clutch slam...
Mason Ryan defeated Scott Dawson in 1:26.
Amore and Cassady hit the ring, but soon found themselves back on the outside. Ryan picked up Dawson and threw him on top of them before posing for the crowd... [C]
Gutt Reaction: The momentum was bound to drop out of the episode eventually. Lefort’s words about making money are getting more and more ridiculous every week. Dawson isn’t making money, unless of course Lefort has managed to take the premise of The Producers and apply it to wrestling.
[Q3] The new female ring announcer announced the next match was for the NXT Women’s Title. Paige received a loud pop, but Summer Rae was met with silence. They replayed the end of the Dance Battle between Summer and Emma last week, explaining that Emma isn’t medically cleared to compete tonight...
3. Paige vs. Summer Rae for the NXT Women’s Title. Paige started out as the aggressor, but Rae caught her kick and slammed her into the mat. Summer followed up the strangest facebuster I have ever seen. She applied a few headlocks, constantly taunting Paige while she did it.
Paige eventually got up and forced Summer into the corner. She landed a few elbows to Rae’s face before repeating the leg slam spot from earlier. Paige followed up with a series of knee lifts and a big kick to the stomach, which set up the Paige Turner and gave her the 1-2-3...
Paige defeated Summer Rae in 3.40
Paige grabbed her title and played to the crowd...
Gutt Reaction: Summer’s OTT mannerisms will make her a good heel Diva, but they don’t lend themselves well to "serious" title matches. This wasn’t a cut above any typical Divas match we’ve seen recently, hampered by the ridiculous leg slam spots both ladies did. If you want to test your suspension of disbelief, this would be a good place to start
Backstage, Renee Young introduced AJ Lee. Young said the AJ will be defending the Divas title on the show next week, but she doesn’t have a challenger yet. AJ said she likes to keep things unpredictable, so it could be anyone. AJ threw out the camera guy, the boom mic guy, and Renee herself as candidates. Renee said she didn’t think that would be a good idea.
All of a sudden Bayley appeared behind AJ and began hugging her. She explained that she had been following AJ since she arrived, and asked if she could get the title shot next week. AJ said yes, and the two seemed to be getting along until Bayley said "I don’t know why people think you’re crazy, you’re awesome!". AJ got serious and asked her to repeat herself. Bayley said she didn’t think she was crazy because she’s making her dream come true. "Hopefully after I beat you next week, we’ll still be friends." Bayley grabbed AJ for another hug while AJ looked awkward and annoyed...
The main event is up next... [C]
Gutt Reaction: Bayley is still skirting the same line of "intentionally awkward" and "just plain bad" that Emma does. Neither is my cup of tea, but there was some fun to be had between her and AJ here. My biggest problem is the logic. AJ has a title match and no challenger. Paige just continued her lengthy winning streak. So of course you would pick Bayley, she asked so politely! Had AJ acknowledged Paige but ducked out of it, that would have been some solid heel work, but no mention of her made this segment illogical.
[Q4] A teaser for Dolph Ziggler appearing next week aired. It was followed by a tease for AJ vs. Bayley...
Regal and Dawson introduced and talked over a video of Emma attacking Summer Rae after her match with Paige. When the video finished, The Shield entered through the crowd. Graves, Neville and Woods assembled at the bottom of the ramp before getting in the ring...
4. Corey Graves, Adrian Neville and Xavier Woods vs. The Shield. The babyface team isolated Rollins in the early going. Graves eventually began to target Rollins leg in order to set up the Lucky 13. He looked to applying it before Ambrose pulled Rollins out of the ring. Woods and Neville took advantage by diving over the ropes onto Ambrose and Reigns. We cut to a Summerslam promo focussing on Punk vs. Lesnar...
Dean Ambrose was in control of Graves when we returned. Reigns tagged in and kept Graves on the floor until Graves managed to land a few punches. Reigns shoved him into The Shield’s corner, but Graves hit Rollins and Ambrose with elbows before side stepping Reigns, sending him into the ringpost. This allowed him to tag in Neville as Ambrose tagged in for The Shield. Neville hit Ambrose with a few running axe handles, before landing a high roundhouse kick in the corner. Neville climbed the turnbuckle, and went for the Red Arrow, but Ambrose got his knees up to block.
Rollins tagged in, and looked to put Neville down with a German suplex, but Neville flipped out and landed on his feet, allowing Xavier Woods to tag in. Woods flew in with a crossbody, before picking up the pace and building to the Morphin’ Time headspring clothesline. Woods followed it up with the Lost in the Woods, but Reigns managed to break up the subsequent pin attempt. Neville got in and took Reigns to the outside with a head scissors. Ambrose got in and attacked Woods, but Graves ran in to make the save. Ambrose and Graves eventually ended up on outside as well, leaving Woods and Rollins alone again.
Woods put Rollins on the top rope, and looked to be going for a superplex, but Rollins stalled long enough for Reigns to tag in and punch Woods. Rollins powerbombed Woods into the corner, before Reigns nailed a big spear to give his team the victory...
The Shield defeated Corey Graves, Adrian Neville and Xavier Woods in 7:32.
The crowd chanted "That was awesome" as The Shield paraded around their titles...
Backstage, Renee Young this time introduced Antonio Cesaro. She told Cesaro about Zayn’s challenge. Cesaro said he was the greatest American who ever lived, and the "Boss of the world", and yet Zayn wanted to call him a coward. He accepted the challenged, and promised to make Zayn wish he never crawled out of the crap hole he came from.
Out of nowhere Zayn attacked him. Trainers eventually pulled Zayn off of him, and NXT closed with Cesaro shouting "ZAYN!!!!!"...
Gutt Reaction: Outside of maybe a Daniel Bryan finish with an excited crowd, there is nothing more fun to watch in wrestling today than the end of a Shield 6 man tag. I honestly can’t remember anyone perfecting the art of finishing a 6 man tag like these guys have, and they may have raised the bar higher than ever before. I’m so gutted this didn’t get to go 10 minutes plus, because on the evidence of the 7 minutes we saw here, they had a lot left to give. It wasn’t spectacular, but the quick, frenetic tempo made for a fun finish to a good show.
I think the hot crowd (which was also good last week) helped elevate the opening match to OK levels, and turn a solid (if only by Shield standards) main event into a good one. As with last week, the mid order of the show killed off some momentum, but a steady line of promo work, highlighted by Zayn, balanced things out. I have heard nothing but high praise for Zayn and Cesaro’s match next week, so I’m very excited to see what they have in store.
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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