Zim's WWE NXT Review: Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville to determine No.1 Contender, Antonio Cesaro vs. Yoshi Tatsu, Bo Dallas vs. CJ Parker, Kassius Ohno vs. Tyler Breeze, The Ascension vs. Hunico and Camacho, and a show full of impressive interviews
By Zack Zimmerman
Aired November 27, 2013 on Hulu Plus
Taped October 24 at Full Sail University
A video package recapped last week's Beat the Clock Challenge, which resulted in a tie between Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn. Tonight's show will feature the two competing for a shot at Bo Dallas and the NXT Championship on next week's show… The opening video played…
In the arena, Yoshi Tatsu made his entrance. Renee Young, Tom Phillips, and William Regal were on commentary. Antonio Cesaro was out next to a big pop; he received a great response to the "We the People" line. He bullied ring announcer Byron Saxton before the bell, so William Regal left the commentary table and pulled Saxton out of the ring to safety. Cesaro was visibly displeased with Regal.
1. Antonio Cesaro vs. Yoshi Tatsu. Tatsu shot in for a quick rollup with Cesaro distracted by Regal. Cesaro escaped and quickly turned a wheel kick attempt from Tatsu into a hard slam to take control. Regal reemerged on commentary and said that he often sat at the commentary table with Saxton, and didn't want to see his friend being bullied. Regal said he was an old villain, and he knows what Cesaro is all about. Cesaro hit the Cesaro Swing and the crowd started a loud "You are awesome" chant. Cesaro leered at Regal while hitting an uppercut, locking in a sleeper, and hitting the Neutralizer for the win.
Antonio Cesaro beat Yoshi Tatsu in about 3:30.
A replay showed Regal saving Saxton, and the super slow-mo replay showed Cesaro actually waving at Regal in the process of hitting the Neutralizer. Great shot…
Backstage, Devin Taylor welcomed NXT Champion Bo Dallas. Devin asked his thoughts on tonight's number-one contender's match. Dallas said tonight was a great chance for "two youngsters to go out there and give it their all. It's like The Voice, all that's missing is Cee Lo Green." He smiled like a tool and said that the opportunity to face him must sound like music to their ears, but neither has a chance of beating him.
Out of nowhere, CJ Parker wandered onto the interview set smelling incense. "Excuse me Captain Fantastic," Bo said, "the champ is talking here." Hilarious delivery. Parker said he didn’t realize he was harshing Bo's mellow. Dallas said he didn’t realize Parker was still employed. "When was the last time you won a match there, Pauley Shore?" He asked. Parker said tonight, when he pins Dallas in the middle of the WWE Universe. "You just landed on the dark side of the Moonchild." Dallas laughed and said he was on. "Cu Cu Cachoo," Parker closed before leaving the set…
Scott Stanford hyped Adrian Neville vs. Sami Zayn to determine the No.1 Contender as the main event… [C]
Zim Says: What a fresh and easy to watch opening segment. The story of Cesaro getting carried away in response to Saxton touching his flag, and Regal sticking up for commentary partner Saxton, is basic but so effective. It goes to show how wrestling doesn't need to be complex and convoluted to tell a good story. This will lead to a much-anticipated match on the NXT 200 episode. As for Bo, he is so fun in this role. His promos are laugh-out-loud funny while still garnering effective heel heat that (in wrestling terms) "draws" fans wanting to see him get his butt kicked and lose the title. CJ Parker continues to be a question mark with me.
Back in the arena, CJ Parker tripped balls on his way to the ring. Bo Dallas was out next. The crowd looked like they were in the waiting room at the dentist office.
2. CJ Parker vs. Bo Dallas in a non-title match. Parker got a quick two-count with a rollup but Bo kicked out his knee and took over. A small battle chant of "We want Breeze – No more Bo!" broke out. Not ideal. Parker fought out of a cravat and fired up. He hit the double-knee strike and a Booker T crescent kick, before hitting a fallout DDT for a near-fall. Parker went to the top rope, but Dallas ran into the ropes and crotched Parker. Dallas hit a springboard bulldog and scored the pinfall.
Bo Dallas beat CJ Parker in about 3:00.
A replay aired as Dallas celebrated in the ring…
Backstage, Devin Taylor welcomed Emma and asked for an update on her injury. She said she was attacked by the BFF's in the locker room and sustained some head injuries. She pepped up and said that she'd be back and continue to spread the Emmalution worldwide. Women's Champion Paige walked on set and said she hoped Emma gets all better so there are no excuses when they face each other for Paige's title.
Emma said she doesn’t need excuses. Paige once again brought up Emma hitting her in the ring last month, and Emma reminded her it was an accident just like when Paige accidentally hit her. Paige said if it wasn't an accident, Emma wouldn’t be standing there. Emma danced and tried to intimidate Paige to close the segment.
Scott Stanford hyped Kassius Ohno vs. Tyler Breeze coming up next… [C]
Zim Says: They're running out of things for the ladies to talk about to keep this eventual title match going. I mean, how long can Paige actually bicker about being accidentally hit one time? Emma's concussion threw a wrench in the timing of things, but the program really needs to get out of first gear soon. Dallas and Parker were entertaining for a three minute match. The crowd really doesn't seem to connect with either guy, but the in-ring quality seems to be there especially with Dallas.
Backstage, Paige was on her phone when Natalya approached. Nattie talked about how rude Paige had been to her, and sure enough Paige got rude. She said she's surprised Nattie has time to talk to her considering she's Mrs. Hollywood and on Total Divas. (The Total Divas thing, fine. Though I'm not sure Tyson Kidd counts as Mr. Hollywood).
Paige said Nattie found a new group of friends and shouldn't be in NXT. Paige said Nattie doesn't care about the Divas Campionship nor the Women's Championsip. Nattie said Paige was off base. She brought up her family and said Paige is coming across as having a really bad attitude. Nattie said she'd take the chip and the title off Paige's shoulder. Paige said she'd show Nattie where her roots are…
In the arena, Tyler Breeze made his entrance. Regal and Renee agreed that he was a good-looking guy and nobody objected. Renee said not many people can pull off what Breeze does, but Breeze makes it work. Regal added that Breeze told them none of his vests are real fur. Possible face-turn coming in response to the crowd's embrace? Kassius Ohno was out next to less of a reaction than Breeze. As he got to the bottom of the ramp, Alexander Rusev attacked him from behind. Resev went to the back and Ohno received attention from the ref and a trainer before it was determined that he could go.
3. Tyler Breeze vs. Kassius Ohno. Breeze ducked a clothesline and hit the Beauty Shot for the win.
Tyler Breeze pinned Kassius Ohno in about 0:09.
Breeze went right back to his iPhone before a replay showed Rusev's attack and the Beauty Shot kick…
Backstage, The BFF's were apparently playing "hot or not" on Charlotte's phone. They motioned and Charlotte scurried off camera before Bayley ran on. She wanted to know where Charlotte was and wanted to know why Charlotte slapped her. Summer Rae said Charlotte didn't want to talk to Bayley. They mentioned that Bayley's only friends, Emma and Paige, can't seem to get along.
They started to leave, but Bayley grabbed Summer and demanded to know where Charlotte was. Charlotte accused Bayley of having a hearing problem and being a loser, but Bayley said they'd see who the losers were in their tag match. Summer said Bayley didn't have any friends to tag with, but Bayley was confident that she had friends… [C]
Zim Says: It's unfortunate but unsurprising to see Ohno going out this way. I suppose it's just the thing to do when one's being phased out, and in this case Breeze and Rusev are the guys getting the final rubs. Bayley showed new fire in that segment, which is a pleasant and fitting evolution of her character. The in-ring work is there for Bayley, as well as two-thirds of the BFF's, so I'm curious to see what further character development this program leads to, and expect the matches to be a notch above usual.
Backstage, Devin Taylor was standing by with the main event competitors: Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville. Neville was smirking and said he and Sami go back a long way. Sami was smiling as well and agreed. Neville said however tonight isn't about friendship, it's about the NXT Championship. He said that’s the ticket to Raw and Smackdown. He mentioned Big E Langston and Seth Rollins and said that’s what this is about.
Sami said he couldn’t have said it better himself. Sami said they’re friends and have traveled the world together, but they're competitive and they know what's at stake. Zayn said he's held the title in his hands and he'll do whatever it takes to have it again. Neville asked if that makes Zayn think he wants it more than Neville does. Zayn didn't want to get into it, and said that he'd do whatever it took. Neville said he would too. The segment closed with a hint of tension between the two…
Zim Says: These two had great chemistry together in that segment. A fun intensity. They have put on some tremendous matches together in groups like PWG and DGUSA that I highly recommend watching if you aren't familiar.
In the arena, Hunico and Camacho made their entrance. NXT Tag Champions The Ascension were out next to answer the challenge that had been laid out by Hunico and Camacho. Regal said Hunico and Camacho were "boys in the barrio" and it made me laugh.
4. Hunico and Camacho vs. The Ascension in a non-title match. Camacho and Victor traded some awkward mis-communicated offense in the opening minute. Hunico came in and made Victor look passable. The Ascension made frequent tags and isolated Hunico. They hit a double hip toss slam and O'Brian rook Camacho out to ringside. Victor went for a pin, but Hunico scored the win with a surprise small package… [C]
Hunico and Camacho beat The Ascension in about 3:30.
Zim Says: Pretty weak match. Victor and Camacho are not good in the ring at all. O'Brian is barely passable and Hunico is decent. The Ascension miss the little things that make for a good team. They missed opportunities to work a guy over while the other distracts the ref, and don't quite seem to get the nuances of tag team wrestling. This division continues to be in a dark place.
The same video package that opened the show played again…
Adrian Neville made his entrance and Tom Phillips informed viewers that William Regal had been called to the back to deal with a situation regarding Antonio Cesaro. Finning in for Regal was the NXT Champion Bo Dallas. Sami Zayn was out next to a good reaction and a loud "Sami" chant.
5. Adrian Neville vs. Sami Zayn to determine the No.1 Contender to the NXT Title. They shook hands and it was underway. They traded athletic armbar reversals as Renee and Bo talked about Bo's world tour. Zayn caught Neville with his signature armdrag series and the crowd broke out in an "Ole" chant. A short time later, Neville flipped over a back body drop attempt, landing on his feet, and then took Zayn to the outside with a great running hurricanrana.
Neville hit the ropes for a dive, but Zayn caught Neville with an elbow and hit a big flip of his own over the top rope onto Neville at ringside. The crowd chanted for Sami as the show went to its final break. [C]
Back in the ring, Neville and Zayn traded hard chops before Zayn settled into a chinlock. Neville broke free and ran the ropes, but Zayn hit a huge tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Zayn stalked from the corner, but Neville evaded the Yakuza Kick and Zayn toppled to ringside. Neville followed up with a sky-high Asai moonsault that must've been 15 feet in the air. Neville followed up in the ring with a missile dropkick for a good near-fall.
Zayn started to halt Neville's momentum, but got caught with an enziguri moments later. Neville charged across the ring for a handspring move, but Zayn ran out and caught him mid-air to turn it into a wicked spinning Blue Thunder Bomb for a great nearfall. The crowd chanted "This is awesome" as the two fought for momentum. Neville ran the ropes again, but Zayn planted him with a Michinoku Driver for another great nearfall.
Zayn went to the corner again to stalk for his kick, but Neville got a boot up and rocked Zayn. Neville performed a handspring and leapt onto Zayn's shoulders before spinning around and flipping into a hurricanrana for a great nearfall of his own. The crowd broke out into a loud "Yes!" chant. Neville went to the apron and dropped Neville with a high kick. He went to the top rope, where he was met by Zayn. Zayn had control and the commentators said he was going for a superples, but I'd like to think he was going for a Brainbustaahhhh. Anyways, Neville fought out and knocked Zayn to the mat. He followed up with the Red Arrow and scored the clean win.
Adrian Neville beat Sami Zayn to become the No.1 Contender to the NXT Title in about 11:30.
A replay showed the finish and Neville celebrated in the ring. Dallas on commentary welcomed Neville's challenge. Zayn confronted Neville in the ring and the crowd chanted "hug it out." Neville went for a handshake, but Zayn swatted it away and pulled him in for a hug. The crowd popped big. Zayn raised Neville's arm and the show closed with Neville celebrating in the ring…
Zim Says: Tremendous main event. These two were able to work some of their hottest spot's from previous matches into a WWE "main event style" match. They told an athletic and competitive story that was totally believable and didn't lose the crowd for a second. This is what modern TV wrestling or "sports entertainment" needs to be. Bravo.
Overall, this was my favorite show in months. Aside from the main event, I really enjoyed how much emphasis was put on the NXT Women's division and how much the ladies made of their opportunities in promos segments. Bayley, Summer, Bo Dallas, Sami Zayn, and Adrian Neville all had stand-out nights with promos worth watching. Off night for Paige and CJ Parker, and the tag division is still non-existent. Neville vs. Dallas should be great next week, as Neville is clearly on the rise and worth keeping an eye on. Finally, Cesaro vs. Regal is off to an encouraging start, and their match in several weeks and (hopefully) the build is reason enough to find time to watch NXT. Start with this one, it was great.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @InVasionZim; always happy to discuss.
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