Zim's WWE NXT Review: Story-heavy episode features promos from Sami Zayn and Bo Dallas, Adrian Neville vs. Conor O’Brian, CJ Parker vs. Tyler Breeze, Emma vs. Summer Rae, and Enzo Amore vs. Scott Dawson
By Zack Zimmerman
Aired August 28, 2013 on Hulu Plus
Taped August 22 at Full Sail University
The show opened backstage with Renee Young standing by with Corey Graves. They were approached by Rick Victor, who told Graves that it was The Ascension’s time. Before Graves could rebut, Conor O’Brian attacked him from behind. They put the boots to Graves and then O’Brian dropped a piece of metal trussing across Graves’ ribs. Graves gasped for air as O’Brian laughed and Victor held up Graves’ tag title belt… The opening video played…
CJ Parker made his entrance and danced to the ring like he was at a Grateful Dead concert. He was wearing half-trunks/half-tights and had a new video wall that’s less cool than the tye-dye one from last week (different tapings). Tyler Breeze made his catwalk across the stage and headed to the ring with iPhone in hand displaying his face on the tron. He got a better reaction than Parker did; the crowd eats the entrance up.
1. CJ Parker vs. Tyler Breeze. Several fans in the crowd chanted for CJ to "break his phone," which caused a loud vocal percentage of the crowd to chant "no" and a slightly louder percentage to chant "yes!" A short time later, a loud "Breeze is gorgeous" chant broke out. Parker ran towards the corner and went for Breeze’s phone, but Breeze intercepted and screamed at Parker. Breeze avoided a jumping crescent kick and rolled to ringside, then took the upper hand in the ring when Parker followed him out and back in.
Breeze checked himself in his phone, but turned and got caught in an airplane spin from Parker, who followed up with a jumping senton. Parker danced in the corner and charged across the ring, nailing Breeze with the double high knee. Parker went for his palm thrust, but Breeze dropped and the commentators put over Breeze protecting his face. Parker tried to pull him out of the corner, but Breeze struck with his phone without the referee seeing. He made the cover and scored the cheap win.
Tyler Breeze beat CJ Parker in about 3:30.
Breeze slid out of the ring and made his face on the ramp, with slightly more smugness and self-satisfaction. A replay of the finish aired before Breeze headed to the back…
Backstage, Renee Young introduced Emma. Emma danced into the frame and Renee asked about Emma’s thoughts on tonight’s match with Summer Rae, which seems to have gotten personal. Emma said that she has a title shot at any time of her choosing, but that’s going to have to wait. She said Paige is going to have to wait and her destiny is going to have to wait. She said that Summer, however, only has to wait a few minutes before Emma kicks her rear-end. She said afterwards, she’s going to blow bubbles and play Dance Dance Emmalution. Emma asked if Renee wanted to join, and was stoked when Renee accepted. She danced off the set, as (intentionally) awkwardly as ever. Young’s reaction was spot-on as always…
Scott Stamford hyped the main event: Adrian Neville vs. Conor O’Brian… [C]
Zim’s Zag: Mixed thoughts on the opening match. The crowd is reacting like Breeze is the babyface and Parker is the heel, which isn’t a good thing. The match was also short and didn’t consist of very much. That said, the cheap finish virtually guarantees that these two will get to show more down the road. Here’s hoping the characters begin to settle in and the crowd follows suit. I love how Emma’s character is gaining confidence, yet is as unaware and awkward as she was on day-one. She continues to be a guilty pleasure of mine, but her act certainly isn’t going to appeal to everyone.
Ring announcer Kendall Skye informed everyone that Tyler Breeze had left the building… Bubbles filled the stage area as Emma made her entrance. She brought out a bottle of bubbles and blew her own on the ramp. Slightly overkill considering she already has bubble pyro. A video showed Summer’s attack on Emma after their dance battle. Summer Rae was out next as a video showed Emma attacking Summer after Summer’s match with Paige two weeks ago.
2. Emma vs. Summer Rae. Emma went for her submission right out of the gate, but Summer kicked her off and hit her legscissors DDT. Emma came right back and went on offense for the next minute or two. Emma went for the Dilemma in the ropes, but Summer reversed it and hooked in a hammerlock in the ropes. Summer continued to go after Emma’s arm and a short time later, Summer locked in a grounded full nelson using her legs.
She eventually rolled it into a Gedo clutch, but Emma kicked out and applied the Dilemma in the ropes. After breaking, she charged at Summer seated in the corner and connected with her low running crossbody. Emma used a catapult, but kept a hold of the legs and floated over into the Emma Lock, forcing Summer to tap out.
Emma beat Summer Rae in about 4:30.
After the match, Emma danced around the ring and in Summer’s face. When Emma turned her back, Summer attacked and knocked her to ringside. Summer took the bottle of bubbles from the timekeeper and poured it in Emma’s face. Emma sold her eyes burning as Summer garnered pretty heavy heat…
"Earlier tonight," Enzo Amore and Colin Cassidy were backstage talking to Scott Dawson and Sylvester Lefort. Lefort apologized for their plan to take out mason Ryan didn’t work out. He invited them to join his legion and said they’d be unstoppable and make lots of money. He boasted "look what I’ve done with Scott." Big Cass pointed out that all Scott has done is lose. Lefort admitted that Cassidy has a point. Since they were speaking about money, Dawson questioned when he would be getting paid. Lefort answered "when you win a match." Amore said they wouldn’t join the legion for all the money in the world, so hit the bricks. Dawson called Amore and Cassidy Jersey Shore wannabes, which sent the two over the top yelling like stereotypical New Jersyans…
Scott Stanford hyped that coming up next, Enzo Amore would face Colin Cassidy… [C]
Zim’s Zag: Pretty decent showing from the ladies of NXT. It wasn’t memorable, but it was entertaining and logical while it was happening. I like the storytelling in the women’s division, with multiple feuds and matchups being built at the same time. The backstage segment was good. About time someone calls Lefort out about "making money" when he always comes out on the losing end. Cassidy continues to improve in his role and Amore is just flat-out entertaining.
Backstage, Summer Rae walked through a door and yelled at a kid "get lost, carrot-top." Sasha Banks approached her and couldn’t believe what Summer had done to Emma. Summer justified that that’s why she is where she is, and Sasha is where Sasha is. Summer boasted that she is on Raw and Smackdown every week, while Sasha is being irrelevant and rarely even appearing on NXT. She said Paige and Emma are "big, ugly fish in a small little pond, while I’m up there." Summer said she does what it takes to get to the top. She said Sasha has a match in two weeks with Paige, and she suggested that Sasha not play nice. "Get it together, Sasha." Summer closed…
Sylvester Lefort interrupted the ring announcer and introduced Scott Dawson, who made his entrance with more intensity than usual. Enzo Amore’s music hit and the crowd popped big. Kendall Skye began to introduce him, but he power-talked over her (rough segment for Kendall) and introduced himself and Big Cass. "Bada boom, realest guys in the room. How you doin’?" He asked. He said that if he and Cass had a dime for every time they got beat up as kids, they’d have zero dimes. Funny. He said they weren’t "S-A-W-F-T: sawft" which got a great reaction from the crowd.
3. Scott Dawson (w/ Sylvester Lefort) vs. Enzo Amore (w/ Colin Cassidy). The crowd chanted for Enzo as the bell rang, but Dawson took control a short time later. He went for a hip toss, but Amore managed to land on his feet. Dawson stayed in control, however, by dropping Amore across the top rope and then slamming him face-first into the mat. Dawson dragged Amore’s face across the top rope and continued to work him over.
Amore tried to fight back, and began to fire up with a running hurricanrana. The camera panned to ringside, where Cassidy got laid out from behind by Alexander Rusev. Dawson took advantage of the distraction and hit Amore with a teardrop suplex for the pinfall.
Scott Dawson beat Enzo Amore in about 3:00.
Post-match, Dawson celebrated his first victory as Rusev stood at the top of the ramp. Eventually, Lefort and Dawson made their way to Rusev and the trio raised their hands together, with Rusev apparently joining Lefort’s Legion…
Scott Stanford hyped that we would be hearing from Sami Zayn after the break… [C]
Zim’s Zag: First, that was a great backstage promo from Summer. She was logical, convincing, and heelish in the best way. Moving along, for a three-minute match, it wasn’t bad. Dawson hasn’t ever really held my attention in the ring, but he was good here. I’m not sure how this will shape up, with Rusev joining the fold. I don’t want to see him tagging with Dawson, and I don’t feel any connection with them through Lefort. If Lefort is going to be building a legion, I’m actually higher on the idea of casting Dawson out on his own and making it a foreign legion of international wrestlers.
A video package highlighted last week’s great two-out-of-three falls match between Sami Zayn and Antonio Cesaro. There were plenty of great spots and moments to work with… Renee Young stood mid-ring and Sami Zayn made his entrance. The crowd chanted "match of the year" and Renee remarked how everyone was still buzzing a week later and asked how Zayn felt. Zayn continued his classy flirting routine with Renee and thanked the crowd for the chants. He said he felt conflicted about that match, however.
He said as much positive feedback as he’s gotten, the only thing he remembers is the end result, and Cesaro was the better man that night. The crowd chanted "one more match" as Renee asked what comes next. He said that he’d see Cesaro again, whether it be in a a week, a month, or a year, but for now he’s looking forward. He said his focus is the same as everyone else in NXT, except Renee, whose job was to be a ray of sunshine. Renee blushed a bit as Zayn said that he wanted to be the next NXT Champion.
Right on cue, champion Bo Dallas’ music hit and he made his entrance in a suit. Mega-heat for Dallas with a side of "no more Bo." He said that just because a few people on the internet said Sami had a good match, that doesn’t make him championship caliber. "I mean, you lost, friend." Dallas said that the losers don’t usually get interviewed because it’s depressing to listen to. Zayn politely thanked Renee and dismissed her from the ring before turning his attention to Bo. He asked if Bo was there for any reason other than to start something. The crowd popped for his delivery.
Dallas said that he would love to give Zayn a title shot, but unfortunately Zayn injured him at Summerslam Axxess. "I thought you were better than that," Dallas said in a disgusting condescending tone. Dallas said Zayn was a good kid, but he’s still green and has a long way to go until he’s like Bo. Zayn asked whether that meant being NXT Champion, or being a delusional person with no perception of what people think about him. "What are you talking about!?" Bo replied. "Everyone loves me! Everyone loves Bo!" The crowd booed his face off and chanted "no," but Bo said they were all just saying "Bo(oooo)."
Zayn said they weren’t there to debate annunciation. He said he thinks Dallas saw what he went through in his match with Cesaro and is scared to face him. He asked if Bo would face him, or if he was scared. Before Bo could respond, Zeb Coulter’s music hit and he made his way out. He told Bo that as a real American, Bo doesn’t have to give into Zayn. Zeb said that before Zayn gets a title shot, he had better cough up legal documentation that he’s in this country legally. He called Zayn a border-jumper who was there to steal from hard working Americans.
Zayn said this was getting ridiculous and warned Zeb that when he gets through with Bo and becoming the NXT Champion, he’s turning his attention to Cesaro and Coulter and will have them deported back to hell where they belong. Zeb said that he gave Sami an easy way, but now he’s getting the hard way. Jack Swagger was suddenly in the ring and attacked Zayn from behind. Zayn began to fire back, but Swagger planted him with the gutwrench powerbomb. Swagger buried Zayn under the Gadsden flag and The Real Americans delivered their "we the people" line…
Scott Stanford hyped the main event, coming up next… [C]
Zim’s Zag: Excellent promo segment. We don’t usually see lengthy in-ring verbal exchanges like Raw and Smackdown have, but this was very well laid-out and executed. Sami is really endearing on the mic and I’m turning the corner with Bo; really liking how he’s been embracing this character in recent weeks. Zeb is funny but effective in his role and targeting Zayn opens the door for matches with Swagger as well as a potential rematch down the line with Cesaro. And I’d be remiss not to point out that Renee Young played her part perfectly as well. Thumbs-up all around.
A video package recapped NXT at Summerslam Axxess, including highlights of several matches and a soundbyte of John Cena saying that Adrian Neville would be something big one day…
Adrian Neville made his entrance to new generic music; slight step down. The Ascension came out next with a new video wall. Rick Victor was still carrying Corey Graves’ title belt from the opening segment.
4. Adrian Neville vs. Conor O’Brian (w/ Rick Victor). The two locked up and O’Brian easily overpowered Neville. Neville used his speed to take brief control with his up-and-over handspring into a springboard crossbody, but O’Brian gained the upper hand by hanging Neville up on the top rope and following up with a running kick that earned him a quick two-count. [C]
…Scott Stanford hyped that next week’s episode would feature Sami Zayn vs. Jack Swagger in the main event…
Back in the ring, Neville avoided a splash in the corner and both men were slow to get back to their feet. Neville fired up with kicks and running forearms, and finally took O’Brian off his feet with a low dropkick and a running dropkick. He hung O’Brian up on the top rope and went for a springboard maneuver, but O’Brian reversed it into a flapjack for a two-count. O’Brian missed another splash in the corner and Neville followed up with a back suplex for a near-fall. Neville went up to the top rope and connected with a 450 splash for the win.
Adrian Neville beat Conor O’Brian in about 3:15.
After the match, Rick Victor entered the ring and ambushed Neville. The Ascension beat him down until Corey Graves limped to the ring with his ribs taped up. He tried to make the save, but the babyface duo was easily dismembered by The Ascension. They hit their finisher on Graves and stood tall in the ring as their lighting took effect and Tony Dawson questioned whether we were looking at the next NXT Tag Champions as the show went off air.
Zim’s Zag: I’m assuming that they cut that match up a little bit and more took place during the commercial break and leading up to the finish than we were led to believe. There wasn’t much to what we saw, but it was a competent three minutes. Neville is always entertaining and O’Brian played a good big-man counterpart to that here. I’m glad to see The Ascension actually being worked into a storyline after a year of squash wins, and am curious to see if they go with them as tag champs.
Overall, this was a very progressive but ultimately forgettable episode. The events won’t necessarily stand out, but the effects will be felt in the weeks to come. The women’s division has several interesting stories being told simultaneously with Emma, Summer, Sasha, and Paige that should result in intriguing matchups. Breeze and Parker put more heat on their feud, Amore and Cassidy now have a program with Lefort’s Legion, and Sami Zayn had a really good night on the mic and also has several concurrent storylines between The Real Americans and Bo Dallas. This wasn’t a great night of in-ring action, but it was a good night of storytelling worth checking out if you plan on following along with NXT from this point.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @InVasionZim; always happy to discuss.
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