Zim’s WWE NXT Review: Sami Zayn vs. Curt Hawkins, huge 8-man tag featuring Neville, Graves, Parker, and Woods vs. Ascension, Kruger, and Breeze, plus Aiden English re-debuts against Michael Cuellari (ROH’s Q.T. Marshall)
By Zack Zimmerman
Aired September 18, 2013 on Hulu Plus
Taped August 22 at Full Sail University
The opening video played… Sami Zayn made his entrance to a good reaction. Tom Phillips and Alex Riley checked in on commentary and hyped the eight-man tag main event before Curt Hawkins made his entrance.
1.Sami Zayn vs. Curt Hawkins. About a minute in, Phillips called a hammerlock a “rare submission hold.” Ok. Zayn hit his signature lucha armdrags and began to go to work on Hawkins. Zayn stayed in control until Hawkins caught him with a big upside-down frown bodyslam. Hawkins took the upper hand and hit a stiff soccer kick to the back for a two count. A short time later, Zayn caught Hawkins with a jumping heel kick, but Hawkins hit a knee to the gut and rammed Zayn into the ringpost. Zayn was down at ringside as the show went to its first break. [C]
Back in the ring, Hawkins connected with a suplex for a two count as the crowd tried to rally behind Sami. Zayn fought out of a chinlock, but Hawkins tripped him up and went back to the chinlock. Hawkins eventually released the hold, and both men connected with clotheslines. They struggled to their feet, after which Zayn took control with a flapjack dropkick. Hawkins avoided the yakuza kick in the corner, but got caught with a diving crossbody for a near-fall.
As Zayn went to pick him up, Hawkins connected with a Pele kick that absolutely rocked Zayn. Hawkins hit an impaler DDT seconds later for a good near-fall. He charged at Zayn in the corner and took a boot for his troubles, but avoided the tornado DDT and connected with a flipping release leg-hook belly to back suplex for a great near-fall. A-Ry said he’s never seen Hawkins use the move before, though I’d bet Riley’s been pinned by the move on Superstars or Main Event at some point.
Hawkins de-gloved and slapped Zayn with them, which caused Zayn to fire up. A short time later, Zayn caught Hawkins with the yakuza kick before scoring the win off the turnbuckle-run tornado DDT.
Sami Zayn beat Curt Hawkins in about 11:15.
The crowd popped big on the finish and the commentators put Zayn over as being worthy of a NXT title shot. A replay showed the kick and the finish. The segment closed with Zayn celebrating in the ring… [C]
Zim’s Zag: Excellent match. Eleven minutes of solid action and not much down-time. Oh, and false things I learned from Alex Riley’s commentary: Sami Zayn’s nickname should be “the Natural,” he weighs in at 225lbs, and his opponents call him “Insane” Sami Zayn. Riley is really not getting any better.
Back in the arena, ring announcer Byron Saxton introduced Aiden English. English requested a spotlight, introduced himself, and said he was the first legitimate “artiist” to cross over into wrestling. He then went on to serenade himself to the ring, singing about how he is “the very model of a modern major superstar.”He took a bow in the ring before the referee and English’s opponent entered the ring. His opponent is Q.T. Marshall of ROH fame (though he worked this match under his legit name).
2. Aiden English vs. Michael Cuellari. English took control about 30 seconds in with a hard knee to the gut. He hit a short-arm clothesline before taking a deep bow into a big jumping legdrop. He picked Cuellari and yelled “take a bow” before putting him down with a Russian legsweep/side effect combination for the win.
Aiden English pinned Michael Cuellari in about 1:30.
Post-match, A-Ry channeled JBL by putting over the heel English like a babyface. Ugh. English took a mic and his spotlight hit again. He said he was going to give an encore, and sang the opening line to his entrance song, before exiting the arena to a melodic piano tune…
Backstage, Bo Dallas patronized someone on the phone before Renee Young approached. Dallas said he was leaving messages on the Bo Dallas hotline to his Bo-lievers, in places like Bo-livia. Renee asked if he felt Sami Zayn deserved a title shot after his win tonight. Dallas said it was a nifty win, but he questioned when the last time Hawkins won a match was.
He said Zayn needed to beat somebody with some credibility. He said he had an idea of how to determine his next challenger, but when Renee asked him to elaborate, he said he had a ribbon-cutting ceremony to attend. He said that he would make the announcement next week, before reminding everyone “don’t stop Bo-lieving” and walking off…
Scott Stanford hyped the main event of Corey Graves, Adrian Neville, Xavier Woods, and CJ Parker vs. The Ascension, Leo Kruger, and Tyler Breeze, coming up next... [C]
Zim’s Zag: English’s character is fun, but in its first appearance, it’s already eliciting ironic heel cheers. It’s a bit frustrating, but I’m looking forward to seeing how the character evolves moving forward. Cuellari didn’t have much time to get anything in, but he looked fine and sold well for English. Bo Dallas’ interview was good, but he needs to avoid doing that little chuckle because it sounds way too similar to Bray Wyatt’s.
Scott Stanford hyped that next week, Triple H will be appearing to make a big announcement regarding the future of NXT. He also hyped a tag team turmoil match to determine the no.1 contender to Neville and Graves’ tag titles…
Tyler Breeze made his catwalk entrance and the camera panned to a few guys in the crowd mimicking Breeze’s iPhone gimmick. For a fashion model, you’d think he would change up his attire a bit more frequently, but that may be nitpicking. Leo Kruger was out next, followed by The Ascension. Xavier Woods danced his way to ringside, where he waited for his teammates. CJ Parker was out next, trippin’ balls, also dancing to ringside. Corey Graves followed, and Adrian Neville rounded out the main event entrances… [C]
3. The Ascension, Leo Kruger, and Tyler Breeze vs. Xavier Woods, CJ Parker, Corey Graves, and Adrian Neville. Neville and Victor started out, but the babyfaces made four quick tags in succession, all working over the arm of Victor. Victor was able to make the tag to Kruger, but Neville used his athleticism to take the upper hand. The babyfaces made eight more quick tags, again targeting the arm.
Graves reversed a hip toss attempt from Kruger and stayed in control, as the crowd chanted “one more tag.” As Graves went to give the crowd what they wanted, the heels took control. O’Brian was in control of Graves as the crowd chanted “We want Breeze!” The heels continued to work over Graves, and Breeze could be seen hanging back in the corner, standing behind the ringpost.
Graves avoided a charging Kruger and made the tag to Xavier Woods, who went to work. He connected with the Honor Roll, but Kruger escaped to ringside where he regrouped with his team. Graves and Parker took two out with tandem baseball slides, followed by Neville and Woods taking to the air to wipe out the heels at ringside. [C]
Back in the ring, Rick Victor had settled into a rest hold on Woods as a replay showed the heels taking control during the break. They continued to work over Woods, who was in trouble. Suddenly, Tyler Breeze tagged himself into the match for the first time and landed a shot on Woods, but as soon as Woods fired back, Breeze scrambled and tagged himself back out. Funny. The crowd responded with a “that was awesome” chant.
A-Ry compared Tyler Breeze to Oscar de la Hoya, and I don’t even care what line he was trying to draw, he needs to stop. Kruger settled into a sleeper hold on Woods, until Breeze tagged back in. He hit a kick to the gut, a punch to the face, two knee drops, and went for a pinfall. Woods kicked out, and then landed a punch on Breeze, who again hurried back to his corner to tag out.
O’Brian did further damage to Woods, before Breeze again tagged in. He looked to hit a suplex, but Woods managed to reverse into a suplex of his own. Parker and O’Brian tagged in, and Parker came in hot. He hit his double knee in the corner and followed up with a jumping crescent kick, but Rick Victor broke up the pinfall attempt. Graves took Victor to the outside (which Victor botched), but the distraction allowed O’Brian to hit a full nelson slam on Parker. Neville made the save and was subsequently tossed to ringside by Kruger.
In the ring, O’Brian connected with his flapjack on Parker, but Breeze made the blind tag and went to steal the pinfall. Parker kicked out and then slapped the hell out of Breeze. As Breeze went to tag out once again, his partners hopped off the apron and backed up the ramp. Breeze turned right into Parker’s palm thrust, Woods’ Lost in the Woods, Graves’ running chopblock, and the Red Arrow from Neville, which was good for the win.
Neville, Graves, Woods, and Parker beat Breeze, Kruger, and The Ascension in about 13:00.
The babyfaces celebrated in the ring as a replay showed the highlights and finishes of the match. Steam shot down from the rig above the ring and the babyfaces stood tall in the ring as the commentators signed off…
Zim’s Zag: These big multi-person tags are generally hit or miss, and this was a very entertaining hit. I like the story that was told, I like Breeze’s antics, and I like the logic of the heels to abandon the one guy who’s being a douchebag. The Ascension and Kruger were competitive throughout, and don’t lose anything by taking the recordbook ‘loss’ in this one. The babyfaces looked strong and it was a good way to close the show on a feel-good note.
This show was worth seeking out. The opening match and main event were both high-quality, action-packed, ten-plus minute matches. The re-debut of Aiden English was interesting, and it also deepens a roster that is constantly in need of fresh talent and new acts. I’m not sold on him, but after a year of doing jobs, it’s about time he got a shot. It’s always cool to see familiar indie faces show up in WWE, so here’s hoping Cuellari made a good impression. Overall, there isn’t much of anything to complain about this week, be sure to check it out.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @InVasionZim; always happy to discuss.
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