11/28 Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: A world class match between Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville, Antonio Cesaro vs. Yoshi Tatsu, Bo Dallas vs. CJ Parker, and Hunico and Camacho vs. The Ascension
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped October 24 in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] Before titles, a video recapping last week Beat the Clock Challenge aired...
After titles, Yoshi Tatsu entered the arena as Tom Phillips hyped the main event between Adrian Neville vs. Sami Zayn. Antonio Cesaro got a big pop for his entrance, and as he ran to the ring and threw his "Don’t Tread On Me" flag in the ring, Renee Young said he was "all man". When Cesaro got in the ring, Byron Saxton (on ring announcing duties) went to pick the flag up. Cesaro stopped him, and backed him into the corner while shouting at him. William Regal took exception to this, and ran down to ringside to pull Saxton out of the ring. The ref rang the bell as Cesaro shouted at Regal...
1. Antonio Cesaro vs. Yoshi Tatsu. Tatsu tried to catch Cesaro with a quick roll up, and when that failed, he hit Cesaro with kicks and chops to wear him down. He charged Cesaro, but got caught in mid air and slammed down with a spinebuster. As Regal rejoined his commentary, he explained that he and Saxton are friends, and he doesn’t want anything bad to happen to his friends. He said he used to be a "villain", and has done all the bad things that Cesaro does, but he doesn’t want Cesaro to end up like him, with a lot of bad memories.
Cesaro stared at Regal as he began the Cesaro Swing, building up 20 plus revolutions before throwing Tatsu aside. This was greeted by a "You are awesome" chant. He continued to glare at Regal as he set up the Neutraliser, waving to the commentary table before putting Tatsu down...
Antonio Cesaro defeated Yoshi Tatsu in 3:30.
Cesaro continued to look at Regal, who tried his best to divert attention to other things as Young and Phillips voiced their concern. Phillips brought the segment to close by sending things backstage to Devon Taylor...
Taylor introduced her guest Bo Dallas. She asked who he thought would win tonight’s No. 1 Contenders match. He said that it didn’t matter, as tonight we were all winners because we get to watch two "youngsters" give it their all. "It’s just like The Voice – all we’re missing is Cee-Lo Green!". Dallas said the winner gets a big opportunity, but even though they won’t beat him, he will take them under his wing and teach them things.
CJ Parker glided into shot, and Dallas reminded him that the champ was talking. Parker said he didn’t realise he was harshing Bo’s mellow, to which Dallas replied he didn’t realise Parker was still employed. He asked when was the last time he won a match, and Parker proclaimed it would be tonight when he beats Dallas in the middle of the ring. Dallas accepted, and Parker told him he was now on "the dark side of the moon child". He asked Dallas not to start shaking in his cowboy boots before leaving. Dallas laughed off the remark, but looked a little worried... [C]
Gutt Reaction: A strange way to initiate a Cesaro/Regal feud, but I’m all for it in any way it arrives. What it adds to either act is questionable, as Cesaro is firmly established and Regal is considered semi-retired now, but a good yet pointless feud is miles better than a bad AND pointless feud, and there are vast quantities of those on the main roster already.
[Q2] Parker received hardly any reaction for his entrance, but neither did Dallas. Phillips pointed out that Dallas’ 188 day reign as NXT Champion is the longest in history...
CJ Parker vs. Bo Dallas. The match is none-title. I thought some big guy on the front row was chanting "We want weed" at Parker, but I think it was "We want Breeze". That was nearly awkward. Dallas spent the first few minutes grounding Parker. When Parker escaped a cravat, he managed to create momentum off of a clothesline. He built to a running double knee attack in the corner, before taking Dallas down with what I can best describe as a kickout headlock drop.
Dallas kicked out of the follow up pin, and Parker went top rope. Dallas managed to fall onto the top rope before Parker could jump, causing Parker to land on the turnbuckle. Dallas capitalised once Parker had fell back down into the ring with his turnbuckle bulldog, which got him the 1-2-3...
Bo Dallas defeated CJ Parker in 3:02.
Regal praised Dallas on his return to action, but also said Parker was one to watch for the future...
A TLC commercial aired. It will be shown on Sky Sports 4 for free in the UK. The tag line may as well be "It may be terrible, but at least it’s free!"...
Tyler Breeze was making his entrance when we cut back to the arena. My obsession with his entrance music has now led it to being my alarm tone in the morning. You are right to judge me. Kassius Ohno then made his entrance ahead of a rematch of last week’s Beat the Clock challenge match, but before he got in the ring, he was taken out by a mean looking running body check from Alexander Rusev.
Rusev almost immediately walked back up the ramp as the ref and a medic checked on Ohno. The doctor seemed to be helping Ohno to the back, but he rolled into the ring, and the ref started the match...
3. Kassius Ohno vs. Tyler Breeze. Kassius ran at Breeze, but Breeze ducked the attack and hit Ohno with the Beauty Shot for the quick win...
Tyler Breeze defeated Kassius Ohno in 0:08.
Breeze admired himself on his phone as Young questioned how the match would have gone had it not been for Rusev... [C]
Gutt Reaction: The attack was explained away by Regal reminding us that Ohno beat Rusev’s initial time last week in the BTC Challenge. In one way, it is odd that Ohno was quite involved with things fairly close to his release date, perhaps sparking ideas that something unexpected went down that forced the "on good terms" termination, but in another way, he just got beaten down by two guys who only used one move each. Mystery is never far away recently when Ohno/Chris Hero is involved.
[Q3] Backstage, Devon Taylor was stood with both Zayn and Neville. She first asked how Neville felt about the main event. He said that he and Zayn have known each other for a long time, but tonight wasn’t about friendship. He said winning the NXT Title was a ticket to Raw, Smackdown, and Wrestlemania. He pointed out that both previous champions, Seth Rollins and Big E Langston, both appeared at Wrestlemania 29, and that was all tonight was about.
Taylor asked for Zayn’s reply. He pointed out that they had wrestled each other around the world, and although they are friends, they have always been competitive. He said he would do whatever it takes to get another shot, as he had already held the title in his hand. Neville questioned if that was meant to imply Zayn wanted it more than him. Zayn said maybe it did. The pair began to awkwardly bicker, but Zayn asked that they not "go there" right now. Taylor thanked them both and threw it back to the arena...
Gutt Reaction: I could have done without the awkward semi-argument at the end, as there is nothing wrong with building a match around two guy’s shared history and mutual respect. Obviously, unlike most cases, WWE doesn’t have the footage of both guys wrestling each other in the past (regular fans may have also became confused, having never known that Zayn used to be Mexican before turning traitor for the North), but the pair could simply have discussed their travels together and wished each other luck. No one is hoping for animosity here, as it’s obvious that Dallas is the target.
As Hunico and Camacho entered the arena, Regal recapped their challenge to the Ascension last week. Looks like the Ascension quickly accepted...
4. The Ascension vs. Hunico and Camacho. Again, this is a non-title match. Rick Victor became isolated first, with Camacho putting him down with a back suplex before Hunico tagged in and hit a slingshot splash. It wasn’t long however before Hunico became isolated by the Ascension. They utilised quick tags to wear him down, building to a double team sky high slam. Conor O’Brian took out Camacho so Victor could try for the pin, but Hunico kicked out. Victor shot him to the ropes, but Hunico managed to roll him up on the rebound to get the surprise pinfall...
Hunico and Camacho defeated The Ascension in 3:31.
The crowd went mild for the outcome, just as everyone watching at home did I’m sure... [C]
Gutt Reaction: My pet peeve with today’s product is the WWE’s inability to turn people babyface properly. So often these days, you’re only barometer of a character’s alignment is who they are feuding against. Take this example – it seems Hunico and Camacho are being positioned as the good guys simply because the Ascension are more firmly established as heels. As far as we know, the pair still hates everybody, but we should still cheer them because... we’re being told to. I get that sometimes you want a heel to maintain his character because he had a "love to hate" thing going on, and that’s why he got over, but at least these past few years, that has hardly ever been the case, and it’s infuriating considering this is one of the simplest things in the industry.
[Q4] The crowd at this taping must have been very tired for some reason, as neither Neville nor Zayn got big reactions. Dallas has replaced Regal on commentary, as he had been called to the back to deal with the situation with Antonio Cesaro...
5. Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville in a No. 1 Contenders match for the NXT Title. The two shook hands to begin with. Phillips said the pair first wrestled each other in England in 2006. Lots of very slick chain wrestling early on, which twice ended in a standoff. The third sequence featured some stunning athleticism from both men, culminating in Neville landing on his feet from a back body drop and sending Zayn to the outside with a headscissors. He looked to dive over the ropes, but Zayn ran back inside the ring and met him with a running back elbow. This forced Neville to the outside, and Zayn successfully dived over the ropes onto him...
After a quick TLC advert, the two men were back in the ring. Zayn was measuring Neville for the running big boot in the corner, but Neville ducked it, and Zayn carried his momentum through and crashed over the turnbuckle to the outside. Neville took advantage and hit a huge springboard moonsault onto Zayn. Back in the ring, Neville put Zayn down with a springboard dropkick and got a two count.
Neville forced Zayn into the corner following an enziguri, and went for a running handspring elbow, but Zayn caught him in mid air and put him down with a sitout spinebuster in an unbelievable spot. Zayn got a close two count, and got a second one off of another high quality sitout move, this time a powerslam. Zayn measured Neville for the big boot again, but Neville scouted him and managed to kick him as he charged. Both men sold the cumulated damaged, until Neville went into handstand and landed on Zayn’s shoulder. Zayn looked in control momentarily, but Neville turned it into a mean looking headscissors for another two count.
Neville went top rope after clocking Zayn with a roundhouse from the apron. Zayn came to, and punched Neville, allowing him to climb up to the top rope as well. He went for a supersplex, but Neville fought out, nailing Zayn with a headbutt to send him back to the mat. Neville set up and executed the Red Arrow, and got the win to become the No. 1 Contender...
Adrian Neville defeated Sami Zayn in 9:56 to become the No. 1 Contender for the NXT Title.
Dallas said he was ready for the challenge next week. Zayn sold for a while before getting to his feet, and the two men had a staredown. Neville offered his hand to shake, but Zayn kicked it away, instead giving Neville a hug. The crowd cheered as Zayn raised Neville’s hand, and NXT came to a close...
Gutt Reaction: I don’t like to use such language unless it is necessary, but holy shit that match was insane. The athleticism on display was off the charts from both men. This is a match I would encourage not just any wrestling fan to see, but also those who aren’t all that interested, because some spots where on par with something you would see in Cirque Du Soleil. The fact that some reports dubbed this "good by NXT standards" is insulting; this was world class. I didn’t think anything could contend for NXT Match of the Year with Zayn/Cesaro, but this has to be in anyone’s thinking on the matter now.
The one negative was whether the right man won. The crowd didn’t react huge when Neville got the win, even though they were super into the match. They like Neville a lot, but Zayn has captured their imagination, and has succeeded Big E as the Cult of Full Sail’s "guy". It’s all about follow-up though – if they have a great feud for Zayn to transition into, the crowd will be right behind him, and Neville, all the same. Speaking of follow-up, I have no idea how Dallas and Neville follow that next week. It was a phenomenal end to a fairly OK show. Everything was short and energetic, but it will all be washed away tomorrow morning by the thoughts of the main event. Watch this match by any means necessary.
Thanks for reading. If you have any thoughts on the article, add me on Twitter - @DazatheG
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