Zim's WWE NXT Review: Adrian Neville challenges Bo Dallas for the NXT Title, Paige vs. Natalya, Tyson Kidd vs. Leo Kruger, Aiden English in action, Antonio Cesaro, Sami Zayn, and more
By Zack Zimmerman
Aired December 4, 2013 on Hulu Plus
Taped October 24 at Full Sail University
The show opened with a "WWE.com (not so) Exclusive" video where the roving reporter asked Antonio Cesaro to discuss William Regal's involvement in last week's incident involving Byron Saxton. Cesaro did a funny impression of Regal and said "don't stick your nose into my business sunshine." He said he it's not going to end well for Regal.
Leo Kruger approached Cesaro and thanked him for taking him to a place he's never been before, referring to the post-match attack Cesaro put on Kruger after beating him. Cesaro quipped that the place clearly wasn’t the shower. Kruger proposed that he could be a Real American. He said that he has an upcoming match against Sami Zayn and knows that Cesaro has interest there. Cesaro said that he would talk to Zeb Colter about becoming a Real American if he *whispers into Kruger's ear*. The segment closed with those two having come to an apparent agreement.
The opening video played… In the arena, a new ring announcer announced that the following match was for the NXT Women's Championship. Natalya made her entrance and a large gentleman at ringside appeared to cop a feel when she got close. Champion Paige was out next and the commentators did a good job of talking this up as a clash of two of the best female wrestlers in WWE.
1. Paige (c) vs. Natalya for the NXT Women's Championship. Both ladies shook hands before the match. They spent the opening minutes trading some really solid technical wrestling. The first real break from the action came when Paige took a powder to ringside at about 3:30. [C]
Back in the ring, Paige was on a rampage beating Paige down in the corner. Riley explained that Nattie had used a handshake to lure Paige in during the break, and Paige was reacting to that. Riley went right back down the tubes when he didn't know that the B.F.F.'s were the heel Diva faction in NXT. Paige settled into an abdominal stretch around the 4:30 mark.
Nattie reversed the hold into one of her own at 5:00. Paige escaped and rammed Nattie's head into the bottom turnbuckle before stomping away. Nattie reversed Paige's knee strikes with a dragon screw, but the two collided mid-ring around 7:00 and were both down. Paige made it up first, but Nattie took control with a snap suplex and a Michinoku Driver for a near-fall.
Paige created distance and hit the ropes, but Nattie caught her with a discus clothesline for another good near-fall. Nattie applied the Sharpshooter and dragged Paige to the middle of the ring, but Paige held out and rolled forward, sending Nattie crashing into the turnbuckles. Both ladies made it back up to their feet at the nine-count, when Paige hit a great looking Paige Turner out of nowhere and scored the pinfall.
Paige defeated Natalya to retain the NXT Women's Championship in about 9:45.
The crowd was hot and a replay showed the finish. Afterwards, Paige helped Nattie to her feet and the two hugged and shook hands in the ring before Nattie left Paige to celebrate…
Backstage, Lana was speaking to Alexander Rusev in either Bulgarian or Russian when Tyler Breeze approached. He thanked Rusev for taking out the "uggo" Kassius Ohno last week. He called Ohno a fatty and gross before Lana cut him off. She said Rusev appreciates it and tried to send him on his way. Breeze wanted them to go to a fashion show with him, but they wanted no part. He said he'd send them the e-vite before he left. Lana went back to talking to Rused and said "Crush Ohno. Crush Ohno… NXT Title: Win…"
Scott Stamford hyped the main event title match pitting Bo Dallas against challenger Adrian Neville…[C]
Zim Says: Now that was the women's match I've been clamoring for in recent months. The ladies of NXT are on a level above the majority of current Divas on TV, but they'd fallen into a stagnant place in terms of match layout and quality. This was the best thing from that division in recent memory, and well worth tuning in to see. Great stuff.
Backstage, Temporary Announcer of the Month introduced Mojo Rawley. He asked Mojo if he was still as hyped as when he first got there. Mojo predictably said that he doesn’t get hyped, he stays hyped. He said that he's working harder than he ever has to become NXT Champion because that leads to Raw and SmackDown where the sky is the limit.
Sylvester Lefort and Scott Dawson interrupted and said something about making a lot of money. Mojo said Lefort stifed Dawson on his paychecks every week. Mojo said he dealt with agents like Lefort when he played football and they're not there to help careers. This appeared to get through to Dawson, and Lefort said that they're all in the mail. Dawson was reassured that they were probable waiting in his mailbox. He challenged Mojo for next week, and Mojo responded "I stay hyped" before walking away…
Back in the arena, the announcer was preparing to introduce the competitor in the ring when Aiden English interrupted and demanded his spotlight. He sang himself to the ring wearing some new gear that is an improvement for his act.
2. Aiden English vs. an enhancement talent. A few guys in the crowd chanted "Let's go this guy" for the jobber, but that instigated a large "Aiden English" chant to break out. Riley said the crowd was chanting "You can't sing." What on Earth is he talking about? English hit a running neckbreaker around 1:00. He asked "To be, or not to be?" before delivering a suplex, and yelled "Take a bow" before hitting the Director's Cut for the win.
Aiden English defeated the jobber in about 1:30.
The crowd applauded and broke out in a rabid "encore" chant. English obliged and ordered his spotlight before delivering the closing line once again. Plants threw roses into the ring as he bowed (see what I did there?) English was at the top of the ramp when the Real Americans' music hit.
Antonio Cesaro entered with a microphone and allowed English to get backstage before speaking. He said he had come out to personally apologize to Byron Saxton for losing his temper last week. He asked Saxton to leave the commentary table and join him on the stage to apologize "in person." A replay showed last week's incident where Regal made the save. Cesaro encouraged the crowd to chant for Byron before he finally, cautiously made his way to the stage.
Cesaro extended his hand and Saxton slowly reciprocated. Cesaro apologized, and then did it in five languages. The crowd applauded, before Cesaro told Saxton to put his hand over his heart and say "We the People." Byron was hesitant and delivered the line unenthusiastically. Cesaro asked if this was funny to Saxton, and proceeded to fly off the handle similarly to last week. He held Saxton by his lapels and demanded to know where Regal was, before delivering a hard slap and tossing Saxton to the ground. Cesaro adjusted his suit before coolly making his way backstage…
A "WWE.com (not so) Exclusive" showed the roving reporter approaching Zayn following his number-one contendership loss to Adrian Neville last week. Zayn said that for tonight, the better man won. He said it's so hard to be so close so many times and not reach it. He said that if not him, he's glad it's Neville, but he assured everyone that his chase wasn't over and said his time would come. Out of nowhere, Leo Kruger blindsided him before saying "Ta-ta, Sami…" [C]
Zim Says: Well, the English squash didn’t show anything more than he has previously, so this act is growing old more quickly than it should. The Cesaro bit was logical progression to the upcoming match, where he was attempting to bait Regal. So far, so good. Nice brief clip of Zayn, and I like that he'll now have Kruger to focus on while Neville gets his run with Bo, before Zayn likely finds himself back on track for a title shot.
Back in the arena, Tom Phillips joined Renee Young and A-Ry on commentary, filling in for Byron Saxton. In another moment of A-Ry's non-existent wrestling logic, he questioned where Phillips was 10 minutes ago when Saxton was getting attacked. More to that very point, why didn’t active roster member Alex Riley do anything, when he was about 10 steps away from the incident?
Tyson Kidd made his return to NXT and got a nice ovation for his entrance. A video clip from the 2/20/13 episode of NXT showed Tyson Kidd's injury announcement being interrupted and belittled by Leo Kruger. In an impressive instance of consistent booking and relatively long-term memory, this match is as a result of that.
3. Tyson Kidd vs. Leo Kruger. Kidd went to work with a flurry of kicks and showed good intensity, before Kruger briefly got the upper hand. Kidd came back with a snap suplex and a neckbreaker for a two-count. Kruger regained control about 2:00 in and began to target Kidd's surgically repaired knee. [C]
Back in the ring, Kruger continued to work over the knee. Kidd got several near-falls on various rollups, but Kruger got a near-fall of his own and went right back to the leg. A short time later, Kruger applied the Sharpshooter on Kidd, but Sami Zayn made his way down to ringside. Riley questioned why Zayn was there, but viewers know it's because Kruger attacked him backstage last week. With Kruger distracted, Kidd used an O'Connor roll and scored the win.
Tyson Kidd beat Leo Kruger in about 5:10.
Zayn made his way back up the ramp and Kruger seethed in the ring. Kidd limped back up the ramp and took a bow to close the segment… Scott Stanford hyped the main event title match, coming up next… [C]
Zim Says: Competent but forgettable match with a strangely unsatisfying finish. Sure, it's nice to see Zayn get some comeuppance following the attack shown from last week, but Kidd looked weak needing the distraction to get the return win. Is this leading to a three-way or a just a transition to Kruger vs. Zayn? I'm curious to see.
Scott Stanford announced Sami Zayn vs. Leo Kruger for next week. There's my answer... A "WWE.com (not so) Exclusive" showed the roving reporter asking for comments from Hunico and Camacho following their non-title win over The Ascension. Hunico said they come from the barrio. They said nothings been given to them, that everything they've got they took. Hunico said next week the gold is theirs…
Back in the arena, Adrian Neville made his entrance and A-Ry tried to debunk the "Man that Gravity Forgot" nickname. Even Renee Young and Tom Phillips sound like they're getting tired of this guy. NXT champ Bo Dallas was out next, and Phillips informed viewers that Dallas is the third NXT Champion in history and his current reign stands at 195 days. Both guys got full in-ring intros.
4. Bo Dallas (c) vs. Adrian Neville for the NXT Championship. Neville went for the first pin attempt about a minute in and the crowd broke out in a loud "Let's go Neville" chant as Bo rolled to ringside. Back in the ring, Neville used his up-and-over handspring across the ring and connected with a springboard crossbody followed by a dropkick, both of which were only good for counts of one.
Bo took another powder to ringside as Renee began to get fed up with A-Ry hinting at a relationship between herself and Dallas. This guy is not only uninformed, but he's unprofessional as well. Please get this guy off commentary. A short time later, there was scuffle in the corner which resulted in the middle turnbuckle pad coming off and Bo Dallas taking control. The crowd broke out in a loud "Bo's a cheater" chant.
Bo hit a hard clothesline in the corner and followed up with a running bulldog as the crowd berated him with "You are Bo-ring" and "No more Bo" chants. He pulled down his kneepad and went up to the second rope, where he yelled "Don’t stop Bo-lieving" before leaping off and missing a knee drop attempt. Neville came back with a flurry of kicks that rocked Dallas.
Dallas rolled to ringside but Neville followed up with a running backflip clear over the top rope, which was only good for a near-fall back in the ring. Neville slammed Dallas in front of the turnbuckle and went up top, but Bo rolled out of the ring. Neville adjusted accordingly and hit an incredible diving crossbody onto Bo at ringside and both guys were down. Neville made it back into the ring an instant before the 10-count, but Bo did not.
Adrian Neville defeated Bo Dallas by count-out in about 7:30. Bo Dallas retains the title.
Neville sold disappointment in the ring as Dallas sold relief and made his way up the ramp to close the show…
Zim Says: Decent main event with a good finish to continuing the program. It went shorter than I would’ve liked to see, and it doesn't compare to last week's gem, but it served its purpose and was entertaining in the process.
Overall, this was another good edition of NXT. The match quality is up from where it's generally been in recent months. I really like the inclusion of more WWE.com clips, as they're a great way to give the wrestlers quick shots of screentime and the chance to get themselves over in improvised promo segments. I wouldn't consider much-if-anything on this show a real miss, and I would, of course, recommend checking it out just as I would recommend keeping a close eye on NXT every week.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @InVasionZim or ZZimmerman22@yahoo.com; always happy to discuss.
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