12/12 Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: Sami Zayn vs. Leo Kruger, The Ascension vs. Hunico and Camacho for the NXT Tag Team Titles, Kassius Ohno's last match for WWE, and Natalya and Bayley vs. Summer Rae and Sasha Banks
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped October 24 in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] After titles, Hunico and Camacho came down to the ring. Guess it’s time for the "highly anticipated" NXT Tag Team Title match. Tom Phillips, Alex Riley and William Regal checked in on commentary as the Ascension entered the arena...
1. The Ascension vs. Hunico and Camacho for the NXT Tag Team Titles. A weird sequence happened early on, where Camacho pulled the same comically over the top face for each of the 10 knife edge chops Rick Victor gave him. Victor found himself isolated, but managed to stem the tide with a running knee to Hunico after taking a few minutes of abuse. This sent us to the first commercial... [C]
[Q2] Conor O’Brian had Hunico in a headlock when we returned. The Ascension started to take it in turns to wear down Hunico, both settling on the strategy of hitting a power move and then applying a headlock. When Victor had him in the corner, Camacho managed to distract Victor for a second, allowing Hunico to roll him up initially before turning it into a spinebuster.
Both men tagged out, and Camacho came in hot on O’Brian. Following a corner tackle and a back suplex, he looked to get the win with a leg drop. Victor broke the following pinfall up, so Hunico threw him to the outside. O’Brian took advantage of the break in action to recover and hit a full nelson slam. Camacho went to tag Hunico, but Victor swept Hunico’s legs so he fell to the outside. O’Brian capitalised by hitting a flapjack, before tagging in Victor and putting Camacho away with the Fall of Man...
The Ascension defeated Hunico and Camacho in 8:45.
Gutt Reaction: A better match than I expected, but considering I thought it would be dreadful that’s not saying much. It qualifies for "Meh". It wasn’t exactly a clean win, but it was clean enough for me to begin hoping this is a "one and done" feud, but I’m at a loss as to who creative should position as the next challengers.
Lana walked onto the stage, and introduced Alexander Rusev in Russian. Wait a minute. Blonde Eastern European woman? A usually mute gigantic European guy? Are they trying to create WWE’s version of Ivan Drago? Because I am totally OK with that! Kassius Ohno, in what I’m 100% sure now will be his last appearance (I’ve only been saying it for a month), is his opponent...
2. Kassius Ohno vs. Alexander Rusev. Ohno had sports tape on his lower back. Rusev immediately targeted the injury, hitting Ohno with knees to the side before a Samoan drop. He applied a bearhug, but Ohno managed to escape. He eventually hit an elbow, which Phillips called as if it was his finishing rolling elbow, but Rusev didn’t sell it very hard. Following an attempted roll-up, Ohno ran the ropes, only for Rusev to sneak up on him with a body check. Ohno hit the mat, and Rusev locked him in the Accolade. Ohno quickly tapped...
Alexander Rusev defeated Kassius Ohno in 3:03.
Rusev kept the hold applied as referees tried to prise him off of Ohno. Lana eventually told him to break the hold, and got in the ring to raise his hand...
Backstage, Natalya was walking down a hall when she came across Bayley. She said the two had a match. Bayley said she was nervous, and Natalya told her not to be. Bayley relayed her fears over Charlotte, but Natalya said she shouldn’t worry because she has her in her corner. The two hugged, which made Natalya a little uncomfortable after a while. They left for the ring together... [C]
Gutt Reaction: Ohno does the job on the way out of the door. It’s smart to do it for Rusev considering that every monster heel needs to "put somebody on the shelf" early in their career to be taken seriously, but since Ohno is leaving and not just injured, they may not play on that fact going forward, which is a waste. Ohno was a big deal in the early days of NXT, and it would be quite the feather in the cap of Rusev to say he "ended his WWE career".
[Q3] Phillips threw us into a replay of last week’s incident between Antonio Cesaro and Byron Saxton. Phillips asked if Regal has any comments. Regal stared down the camera and said if Cesaro has a problem with him, he should take it up with him personally, not Saxton"...
Bayley and Natalya walked to the ring, with Bayley still hugging Natalya. Saxton seemed perfectly fine whilst doing his ring announcing duties. Summer Rae and Sasha Banks came out without Charlotte...
3. Natalya and Bayley vs. Summer Rae and Sasha Banks. Bayley started off aggressively, but the moment was ruined when she smashed Banks’ head into the mat, and Banks could clearly be seen slamming her hand into the mat with her head nowhere near the canvas. Sigh.
After the heels kept Bayley in their corner for the opening few minutes, she managed to throw Banks to the mat from an Irish whip reversal. Natalya tagged in, and hit Banks hard. She went for the Sharpshooter, but Rae jumped in the ring to break up the hold. Bayley tagged in, and kicked Rae off of the apron, but ran straight into Banks’ finishing move, a cross arm neckbreaker dubbed "Bankrupt"...
Summer Rae and Sasha Banks defeated Natalya and Bayley in 3:27.
Mojo Rawley vs. the returning Scott Dawson was advertised as the next match...
Gutt Reaction: Lots of awkward spots ruined what could have been a solid Diva tag match. Even Natalya seemed out of position at one point while applying the Sharpshooter, having to awkwardly turn around to face the turnbuckle so Rae’s attack could send her flying into it. A shame following Natalya’s good match with Paige.
Leo Kruger was shown talking to the camera backstage. He said he was on a task to become a real American, and fate had chosen Sami Zayn to come with him on his journey. He said he would hurt Zayn more than anybody has ever hurt him, and that everything Zayn thought he knew was about to change. He closed by saying "Ta-ta"...
Sylvester Lefort walked onto the stage and introduced Scott Dawson. The crowd joined in with Mojo Rawley’s "I don’t get hyped, I stay hyped" line from his entrance theme before he ran down to the ring...
4. Mojo Rawley vs. Scott Dawson. It was actually Dawson who got control early on, dominating Rawley right up until Rawley sidestepped a tackle in the corner. Rawley charged Dawson with the flying asshole, before dropping on Dawson with a seated senton, which I think Phillips dubbed the "Hyperdrive"...
Mojo Rawley defeated Scott Dawson in 2:51.
After the match, Lefort got in the ring and started to talk to Rawley, until Dawson hit Mojo with a dropkick from behind. He beat him down in the corner before leaving... [C]
Gutt Reaction: I despise squash matches like this. All Dawson from the get go, and then Rawley hits two moves (not even very impactful moves) and wins. It doesn’t make either man look good, but if this becomes a feud following that attack, they will hopefully go on to have matches that benefit both men.
[Q4] NXT’s 200th episode was advertised for next week. It will include an open challenge from the Ascension, a Lumberjack match between Bo Dallas and Adrian Neville for the NXT Title, and an appearance from Triple H...
Kruger was out first for the main event, followed by Zayn...
5. Sami Zayn vs. Leo Kruger. After Zayn came out of the blocks aggressively, Kruger gained control off of a huge rolling spinebuster. The fight spilled to the outside, and Kruger kept up his pressure with a body slam onto the floor. Back in the ring, Zayn caught a break with a dropkick, and rode his momentum all the way to a flying crossbody, which got him a two count.
Zayn seemed to be setting up for his tornado DDT, but Kruger swiped his leg, causing Zayn to crash into the top rope. Kruger motioned for, and executed, the Slice clothesline, and surprisingly got the pin...
Leo Kruger defeated Sami Zayn in 4:07.
Kruger went to leave, but got back in the ring and went for a second Slice clothesline. Zayn ducked it and clotheslined Kruger to the outside. Zayn then dived over the ropes onto him, starting to beat him up before referees ran down to pull them apart. Phillips said the war had just begun between the two as NXT went off the air...
Gutt Reaction: Wars rarely start with a clean victory for the heel, especially in four minutes. A lot confused me here. Zayn and Kruger are both upper echelon guys on NXT, and yet one can beat the other in four minutes? And with a clothesline of all things? With the rep both have built, this should have been longer and had a more open ended finish. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the feud, but this was a lousy way to start it off.
I think this was just an off week all round. Nothing excited me tonight. Everything felt a little drab and lacklustre. Even the evergreen Zayn only put on an OK match in the main event. But if ever there was an episode where you have an opportunity to turn things immediately back round, it’s a stacked 200th episode next week. I look forward to it immensely, especially considering that it won’t have to be all that good to be better than this week.
Thanks for reading. If you have any thoughts on the article, add me on Twitter - @DazatheG
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