9/19 Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: Neville, Graves, Woods and Parker vs. The Ascension, Kruger and Breeze, Sami Zayn vs. Curt Hawkins, and Aiden English vs. Michael Q Laurie (a/k/a ROH's Q.T. Marshall)
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped August 22nd in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] Immediately after titles, Sami Zayn walked onto the stage for a good pop. Tom Phillips and Alex Riley introduced themselves on commentary before Curt Hawkins came out to no reaction...
1. Sami Zayn vs. Curt Hawkins. Alex Riley suggested calling Zayn "The Natural". That’s original Alex. Hawkins weathered some early offense from Zayn to take control with a big body slam. He couldn’t capitalise though, and soon got caught by a dropkick. Hawkins grabbed the ropes to force a break, and then threw Zayn through the ropes and onto the apron when he walked over. Zayn looked to get back inside the ring, but Hawkins hit him with a knee and then ran him into the ringpost... [C]
[Q2] Hawkins landed a suplex when we returned. He slowed the pace to a crawl, taking a lot of time between attacks, before locking Zayn in a headlock. Zayn quickly escaped the hold, and both men took each other out with clotheslines. When they got up, they both traded punches before Zayn took the edge with a clothesline. He picked up the pace to land a flapjack dropkick, and went for a big boot in the corner. Hawkins ducked it, only for Zayn to quickly climb the turnbuckle and hit a crossbody instead.
Hawkins kicked out of the subsequent pin at two, and managed to hit a Pele kick when Zayn picked him up to get a two count of his own. He followed this up with an Impaler DDT for another two count. Zayn backed into the corner to catch a breather, and although he caught Hawkins with big boot, he wound up on the receiving end of a move I can only describe as a spin out back suplex. Whatever it was, it was impressive. Hawkins got frustrated at Zayn kicking out again, and threw his gloves at him before slapping him in the face. When Zayn got up, the two started throwing punches. Hawkins seem to win the exchange, but as he went to run the ropes, he got hit by a big boot from Zayn, who then set up and hit his springboard DDT for the 1-2-3...
Sami Zayn defeated Curt Hawkins in 10:49.
The commentators plugged Neville, Graves, Woods and Parker vs. The Ascension, Kruger and Breeze as the main event as Zayn celebrated...
Gutt Reaction: Yet another great showing from Zayn. The Bryan comparisons are bound to continue as long as he is working at such a consistently high level. He also brought out the best of Hawkins, leading him to what was more than likely the best WWE match Hawkins has ever had. Awesome start to the show.
Byron Saxton introduced Aiden English, who came out with a microphone with no music, and asked for a spotlight. He said he was the only artist ever to walk into the industry. He began singing a song about how he intends to put the "E" back into "WWE". I would say he was booed for being a lousy singer, but these fans would probably cheer R-Truth, so I can’t say that’s the reason. He bowed in the ring before the lights went up and his opponent, QT Marshall from Ring of Honor, got into the ring from ringside...
2. Aiden English vs. Michael Q Laurie. The announcers gave Marshall the jobber name of Michael Q Laurie. English slapped Laurie in the corner before shouting "This is my stage!". He threw in a lot of trash talk in between moves. Once Laurie was on the mat, English stooped for a deep bow before popping up and landing a leg drop. He picked Laurie up, grabbed him from behind, said "Take a bow", and then put him down with a modified Side Effect...
Aiden English defeated Michael Q Laurie in 1:17.
English asked for the spotlight again, and announced he was going to perform an encore, which elicited cheers from the crowd. He sang "Because I am the very model of a modern, major su-per-star." He received a mixed reaction as he headed to the back...
Bo Dallas was shown talking on his cell phone backstage. He told whoever was on the line to not stop "Bo-Lieving" before hanging up. Renee Young entered to ask if she could ask Dallas a question. He said it was fine, and explained he had just been leaving a message for all his "Bo-Lievers" on his new Bo Dallas hotline, which was being tested in "Bo-Livia".
Young asked if Sami Zayn had now earned an NXT title shot after his impressive win over Curt Hawkins. Dallas described the win as "nifty", but pointed out that Hawkins hadn’t won in a long time. He said he did have an idea that would make it fair for everyone who wanted a title shot, and would announce it next week... [C]
Gutt Reaction: More good stuff from Dallas. I’m happy that he has found a way to fully utilise his "go away" heat, and hasn’t been told to simply carry on pretending it doesn’t exist, as was the case during his feud with Kruger. With English, it’s a novel gimmick that channels a few things from Damien Sandow’s playbook, but as I said in my One Shot this week, I worry the Full Sail crowd is becoming it’s own beast. They began by booing the self-absorbed "artist", but then cheered him after the match. I suspect this down to English’s corny delivery, because as shown by Enzo Amore, this crowd likes to cheer OTT characters. The "smarks" may be taking over, and that’s never a good thing long term.
[Q3] An announcement from Triple H was advertised for next week, as was a Tag Team Turmoil match to determine the No. 1 contenders for the NXT Tag Titles...
A few fans in the crowd were shown mimicking Breeze’s selfie taking as Tyler made his way to the ring. Kruger followed him out to a noticeable "Kru" chant, before The Ascension followed him out to zero reaction. Woods was first out for the babyfaces, followed by Parker, Graves and Neville...
3. Adrian Neville, Corey Graves, Xavier Woods and CJ Parker vs. The Ascension, Leo Kruger and Tyler Breeze. The faces utilised quick tags to first wear down Victor, before doing the same thing to Kruger. Kruger eventually managed to tag in O’Brian, who turned the tide in favour of the heels for a while, before Kruger tagged back in and ran into the turnbuckle after Graves ducked him. Graves tagged in Woods, who utilised some hit and run offence before nailing the Honour Roll headspring clothesline. Kruger rolled to the outside, and as the heels grouped around him, Graves and Parker took out Victor and Breeze with baseball slides. Kruger and O’Brian had to stand still like goofs before Woods and Neville dived over the ropes onto them. The faces rallied the crowd as we went into the commercial...[C]
[Q4] Victor had regained the control for his team, holding Woods in a double arm stretch when we returned. The heels isolated Woods as the fans chanted "We want Breeze". He tagged in to a big cheer, but when Woods looked to be coming to, he immediately tagged back out, which drew big laughs. A sarcastic "That was awesome" chant started. See what I mean about the smarks taking over? He repeated the trick again on Woods, and got a similar reaction. When he tried a third time, Woods managed to block a suplex attempt and deliver one of his own.
Breeze tagged in O’Brian as Parker tagged Woods. Parker reeled off some signatures, culminating in an axe kick. Victor was forced into the ring to break up the pin attempt, and was taken out of the ring by Graves. O’Brian took advantage of the distraction to hit Parker with a half nelson slam. This time Neville got in the ring to break the count up, only to be taken out by Kruger. O’Brian landed a flapjack on Parker, but as he got back up, Breeze tagged himself in. Parker kicked out of Breeze’s pin, and as Breeze went to tag back out again, Kruger and the Ascension jumped off the apron and walked up the ramp.
Breeze shouted at his team, before turning around into a palm strike from Parker. Woods tagged in and hit the Lost in the Woods, before Graves got in and nailed Breeze with a running chop block. This set up Neville to hit the Red Arrow and get the win for his team...
Adrian Neville, Corey Graves, Xavier Woods and CJ Parker defeated The Ascension, Leo Kruger and Tyler Breeze in 12:52.
The faces all posed for a picture over Breeze as NXT went off the air...
Gutt Reaction: I’m glad to see the return of quality multi-person tag matches on NXT. A few months ago this was the shows signature, and this one was a return to form. While not particularly meaningful, the Breeze antics were fun, and the pace was keep lively throughout, even when The Ascension were on the assault.
A highly entertaining episode of NXT. There was no loss of momentum at all during the show, which complimented good character work from Dallas and English with strong bookend matches. A ringing endorsement from me this week.
Thanks for reading. If you have any thoughts on the article, add me on Twitter - @DazatheG
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