Zim’s WWE NXT Review: The Shield vs. Neville, Graves, and Woods, Paul Heyman opens the show, excellent hype for Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro, Curtis Axel vs. Big E Langston for the Intercontinental Title, Paige defends vs. Summer Rae
By Zack Zimmerman
Aired August 14, 2013 on Hulu Plus
Taped July 12 at Full Sail University
The opening video played… The show opened with Paul Heyman introducing himself and walking to the ring. He said it was time to start scouting a new ‘Paul Heyman Guy.’ He said that it’s slightly out of character, but he has to admit that he’s blown away by everything he’s seen so far at NXT. He said that somewhere backstage is not only the next ‘Payl Heyman Guy,’ but the next Paul Heyman, and the next Brrrrrock Lllllesnar. He said also backstage was someone who can live up to the hype, Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel.
Axel made his entrance and gave Heyman a hug once in the ring. The crowd went back to Axel’s time in NXT as McGuillicutty and began chanting "shah." Heyman said Axel was better than perfect, but would not be defending the IC Championship there. He said that they realized that there wasn’t a human being in Florida was man enough to challenge Axel for his title. Cue Big E Langston’s music.
Langston got a big pop and made his way to the stage as the crowd chanted "five." He thanked Paul for joining them and said that he was pretty sure he’s man enough to take the title off Axel. Heyman stuttered and stammered nervously until Axel took the mic. He scoffed at the idea that Langston was man enough, and then said if he wants a title shot, he’s got it.
Heyman was thrown off, until Axel clarified that he didn’t say Langston could have a shot on this show. He suggested perhaps the Thanksgiving edition of the show, or maybe the Christmas show. Langston told him to shut up. He said if he doesn’t get his shot tonight, Axel is just proving that he isn’t man enough to hang with Langston. Langston finished his entrance and referee Jason Ayers held the title up in the middle of the ring.
1. Big E Langston vs. Curtis Axel for the Intercontinental Championship. Langston went for his knee strikes early, but Axel caught him with a back elbow to take brief control. A short time later, Langston caught a running Axel with a hard belly-to-belly suplex and then clotheslined him to ringside. [C]
Back from break, Langston had Axel grounded in a chinlock. Axel worked back to his feet, but Langston took him down with a stiff shoulder block. Langston hit five shots to the mid-section, but when he went to capitalize, Axel caught him with a kick from the ground and followed up with a clothesline to the back of the neck to take control. Heyman must’ve done something funny at ringside, because the crowd popped big suddenly and a "thank you, Paul" chant broke out. Axel caught Langston with a nice dropkick and settled into a chinlock for a short time.
Back on their feet, Axel hit several knee strikes to Langston’s head and then used the running neck snap with Langston sitting down. Axel followed up with a low dropkick and went for the pin, but Langston kicked out at one. Axel settled into a front chancery until Langston stood with Axel on his back and tossed him across the ring. Langston fired up with clotheslines and hit five knee strikes to the gut before hitting the ropes and running over Axel with the E Train. As he dropped his straps to signal the finish, Payl Heyman entered the ring and hit Langston from behind. Langston barely budged, but the ref called for the bell and the DQ anyway.
Big E Langston beat Curtis Axel by disqualification in about 4:00.
Langston turned around and Heyman begged off. As Langston had Heyman goozled, Axel attacked Langston from behind and put the boots to him. As Langston stood up, Axel tried to hit him with the IC belt. Langston ducked and hoisted Axel over his shoulder before dropping down with the Big Ending. The crowd popped big and chanted "five" as Langston made the cover and self-counted the five-count. He paced like an animal as the crowd continued their rabid response…
Scott Stanford hyped the main event six-man, pitting Corey Graves, Adrian Neville, and Xavier Woods against the Shield… [C]
Zim’s Zag: Solid opening segment. The match was passable and was made better by the intense crowd reactions. Heyman’s promo was brilliant as usual and it’s cool to see him find a way to put over NXT whilst in the middle of a heel promo.
Backstage, Renee Young introduced Sami Zayn. Renee said that Zayn must be going through a lot between the comments that Bo Dallas made about him and the things that Antonio Cesaro and Zeb Coulter have been saying about who they think he "really" is. Zayn said that Bo was an afterthought for him right now because he’s been embroiled in this thing with Cesaro for too long. He questioned Cesaro and Coulter for "exposing" him as a Canadian, or an Arab, or someone who hid his identity.
He said he wasn’t ashamed of anything. He said he’s Sami Zayn, and he’s the guy that beat Cesaro when he was running his mouth about not having competition. He said he’s also the guy who challenged Cesaro to a third match over a month ago, and still hasn’t heard anything. He said that if Cesaro wants to make it personal, it’s time to up the ante. He said that Cesaro claimed Zayn’s win was by chance, but he doesn’t want to leave anything to chance. He challenged Cesaro to a two-out-of-three falls match and said Cesaro would be exposed for what he really is, a coward…
Back in the arena, Mason Ryan made his entrance. After he was in the ring, Sylvester Lefort made his way out onto the stage. He said that if you want to make money, you have to spend money. He introduced his investment, Scott Dawson, who made his entrance for singles action.
2. Mason Ryan vs. Scott Dawson (w/ Sylvester Lefort). Dawson cocked off to Ryan, who caught him with a hard clothesline, and several more in the corner. Enzo Amore’s music hit as he and Colin Cassidy made their way to ringside. Scott Dawson took advantage of the distraction, but it didn’t last long. Ryan caught Dawson with a big boot and followed up with a cobra clutch slam for the win.
Mason Ryan beat Scott Dawson in about 1:30.
Amore and Cassidy jumped up onto the apron, but Ryan knocked them both to ringside. He hoisted Dawson up in a gorilla press and tossed him onto Amore and Cassidy at ringside…
Scott Stanford hyped the NXT Women’s Championship match coming up next… [C]
Zim’s Zag: Ryan sure didn’t take care of Dawson on that drop to ringside, he fell short and came down hard on his legs. Yikes. Otherwise, there wasn’t much to analyze about that match. It happened, and the feud with Amore and Cassidy carries on. As for Sami Zayn’s interview, he continues to show great poise, confidence, and likability. His tone was spot on without getting too intense or losing touch with his down-to-earth personality. Their 2/3 falls match has the potential to be the best match ever seen on NXT.
Back from break, ring announcer Kendall Skye said the following match was for the NXT Women’s Championship. Champion Paige made her entrance to a good reaction, followed by Summer Rae who came out to crickets. A replay showed Summer attacking Emma after last week’s dance battle, rendering Emma incapable of facing Paige for the title on this show. Full championship intros for both ladies.
3. Summer Rae vs. Paige for the NXT Women’s Championship. Both ladies locked up aggressively and worked some quick back-and-forth offense until Paige got the upper hand. She whipped Summer across the ring by her hair and stomped away at Summer in the corner. A short time later, Summer reversed a kick from Paige and took control.
Summer hit a unique reverse Pedigree for a two-count and followed up with a jumping DDT with legscissors. Summer floated over into a mount and pounded Paige’s head into the mat, but Paige kicked out at one on the follow-up pin attempt. Summer taunted Paige and quelled a Paige comeback attempt by nicely reversing a hip toss into a headlock.
Paige drove Summer into the corner and fired away with rapid back-elbows. Paige took one of Summer’s legs and whipped her down the same way Summer did to her earlier in the match. Paige hit repeated knee strikes while Summer was in the ropes and followed up with a side kick to the gut. Paige connected with the Paige Turner and scored the pinfall.
Paige beat Summer Rae to retain in about 3:40.
Post-match, Paige celebrated with the crowd as the commentators put her over…
Backstage, Renee Young introduced WWE Diva’s Champion AJ Lee. AJ rubbed her title belt and asked how pretty her baby was. Renee asked if AJ had found a challenger for her title yet, and AJ said she likes things to be unpredictable. She said it could be the camera guy, the boom guy, her mother, or even Renee. Renee said that wasn’t a good idea at all, when all of a sudden, Bayley came out of nowhere and hugged AJ from behind.
Renee awkwardly shuffled off the set as Bayley gushed over AJ and introduced herself. Bayley apologized for squeezing AJ so tight and apologized for interrupting. She said that she followed AJ from her car, and from the locker room, and she had been watching so she could hear AJ’s voice. AJ was surprisingly cool with all of this. Bayley said that she head AJ mention she would be defending her title next week, and she asked if AJ would wrestler her for the championship.
AJ responded "Sure, why not?" Bayley gushed that it would be Bayley and AJ, while AJ gushed back that it would be AJ and Bayley. Funny. "I don’t get why people think you’re crazy, you’re awesome." Bayley said. AJ’s demeanor changed and she had Bayley repeat herself. Bayley said AJ wasn’t crazy because she’s allowing Bayley to live out her dream of challenging for the title. She said that after she beats AJ, she feels like they could still be friends. She gave AJ another big hug as AJ made her crazy face into the camera…
Scott Stanford hyped the main event six-man tag coming up next… [C]
Zim’s Zag: Good but short match from the ladies. Summer broke out some great offense that I don’t think we’ve seen before, and Paige is always solid. The backstage segment was fun. Bayley is an enjoyable quirky character and the chemistry with spunky-but-crazy AJ was really there.
Scott Stanford hyped AJ Lee vs. Bayley for the Diva’s Championship on next week’s show… Back in the arena, the camera went to the commentators, William Regal and Tony Dawson, who threw to a replay of what occurred during the break. The replay showed Emma running down to the ring and attacking Summer as payback for last week. The commentators said that a message had been sent loud and clear.
The Shield made their entrance through the crowd for the main event. One-half of the NXT tag champions Corey Graves was out next, followed by the other half Adrian Neville. Xavier Woods was the final competitor out. He danced a little bit, but he was much more serious and focused than usual.
4. The Shield vs. Corey Graves, Adrian Neville, and Xavier Woods. Seth Rollins and Corey Graves and Seth Rollins started out; cool callback to their NXT Championship feud that kicked off 2013. Graves got the better of Rollins twice before Rollins briefly took control. Graves used a great armdrag reversal and caught Rollins with a dropkick before tagging in Adrian Neville.
Neville hit a kick in the corner and Rollins gave him a chop in retaliation. Neville connected with a running dropkick to the knee and another to the face. Xavier Woods tagged into the match and took Rollins down with a big running hurricanrana for a quick one-count before tagging Graves back in. Graves worked the arm a bit before Rollins took control with boots in the corner.
Rollins went to the second rope, but Graves popped up and caught him with a super dragon screw legwhip. He did some more damage to the leg before Reigns and Ambrose pulled Rollins to ringside to recoup. Xavier Woods and Adrian Neville hit simultaneous dives over the top rope to drop all three members of the Shield. The babyfaces stood strong in the ring headed into the first break. [C]
Back in the ring, Roman Reigns was in control of Xavier Woods and the commentators explained that Reigns had taken control with a clothesline; a replay would’ve been good. Reigns tagged in Ambrose and they split Woods like a wishbone. Ambrose dropped a twisting elbow for a quick two-count and settled into a chinlock. Woods fought to his feet, flipped over a back suplex attempt, and managed to make the tag to Corey Graves.
Graves fired away at Ambrose and finished with a high knee strike. He hit a gourdbuster and charged in with a chop block before hooking in Lucky 13. Ambrose was in trouble, but Rollins and Reigns entered the ring and broke it up. Ambrose sold the leg but tagged in Roman Reigns. Reigns hit a hard bodyslam and followed with a jumping elbow for a two-count. Seth Rollins tagged back in and taunted Graves before delivering a hard knee strike to the head for a two-count. Rollins settled into a top wristlock, and when it looked like Graves was about to make his comeback, Reigns tagged in to keep momentum for the Shield; sound ring-psychology and teamwork.
A short time later, Dean Ambrose tagged in and continued to work over Graves. He hit a suplex before Roman Reigns re-entered the match. Graves began to fire back. When Reigns shoved him back into the Shield corner, Graves knocked Ambrose and Rollins off the apron with a double back elbow. Reigns charged in, but Graves evaded and Reigns went shoulder-first into the ringpost. Adrian Neville made the hot tag and knocked Rollins off the apron before wiping out Ambrose with running forearms.
He caught Ambrose with a high roundkick to the head in the corner and went up to the top rope. He leapt off with the Red Arrow, but Ambrose got his knees up and Neville sold it hard. Ambrose made the tag to Rollins who went for a German suplex on Neville, but Neville landed on his feet. Xavier Woods made the blind tag fresh without Rollins knowing.
Woods came off the top rope with a crossbody for a two-count and stayed in control with a spinning elbow/enziguri combination. Woods hit the ropes and connected with a sliding reverse STO for a good near-fall. Woods backed into a corner and yelled "It’s morphin’ time!" before hitting his front-handspring clothesline. He picked Rollins up and connected with Lost in the Woods. He made the cover for what surely would’ve been the finish, but Roman Reigns broke it up at the last instant.
Woods hit a running dropkick on Reigns before Adrian Neville took himself and Reigns over the top rope with a hurricanrana. Ambrose went after Woods and then took Graves out with a suplex to the outside. Rollins charged at Woods in the corner, but missed a stinger splash. Woods lifted him to the top rope and went for a superplex, but Rollins reversed and had Woods in powerbomb position while Reigns made the blind tag. Rollins connected with a bucklebomb across the ring and Reigns charged in with the spear for the win.
The Shield beat Xavier Woods, Corey Graves, and Adrian Neville in about 12:45.
William Regal put over the Shield’s teamwork and Dawson called it one of the best main events NXT has seen. The crowd chanted "that was awesome" as the Shield stood tall with their championships…
Backstage, Renee Young introduced Antonio Cesaro and asked for thoughts on what Sami Zayn had said earlier. Cesaro was very intense and reiterated that Zayn had called him a coward. He said that he was the greatest American to ever walk this land, and he was the boss of the world. He called Zayn a stupid, arrogant punk. He accepted Zayn’s challenge for a two-out-of-three falls match and said that he was going to beat Sami so bad that he’s going to crawl back into the crap-hole he came from. Sami Zayn blindsided Cesaro and beat up Cesaro until the scuffle was broken up. Cesaro yelled "ZAYYYYYYN!" angrily as the show closed.
Zim’s Zag: Cesaro’s final promo wasn’t great, but I love the hype that they put into next week’s main event throughout the show. The six-man tag was absolutely great. All of the babyfaces had time to shine and are memorable after the match. Great work from Corey Graves, especially. The Shield proved that their one of the most cohesive units we’ve ever seen with little things that really made this match. William Regal put that over big-time. Excellent match that is worth going out of your way to see.
Overall, this was a good show with a stand-out main event. The other matches were too short to be memorable, but things like Paul Heyman’s involvement, Emma’s attack, Bayley challenging AJ, and the Zayn/Cesaro hype were all well done. They do really a good job of logically, simply, and effectively building up to matches and programs. It just makes NXT a generally enjoyable hour of wrestling.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @InVasionZim; always happy to discuss.
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