Zim's WWE NXT Review: Sami Zayn vs. Leo Kruger, Hunico and Camacho vs. The Ascension for the tag titles, Natalya and Bayley vs. Summer Rae and Sasha Banks, Mojo Rawley vs. Scott Dawson, and Alexander Rusev puts Kassius Ohno on the shelf
By Zack Zimmerman
Aired December 11, 2013 on Hulu Plus
Taped October 24 at Full Sail University
The opening video played… The show opened right into Hunico and Camacho's entrance. They were acting like babyfaces, slapping fans' hands on the way to the ring. Hunico must be a big fan of Sin Cara, as he went out and got the same tattoo on his shoulder. NXT Tag Champions The Ascension were out next to defend their titles, following their non-title loss last week.
1. The Ascension (c) vs. Hunico and Camacho for the NXT Tag Team Championships. Victor and Camacho traded offense early, with Victor tearing off Camacho's tank top and wearing him down with chops and uppercuts. Camacho regained control and Hunico tagged in, hitting a nice slingshot dropkick and keeping the upper hand. After some decent action, Victor took control with a jumping knee. [C]
Back from break, O'Brian was in control of Hunico and The Ascension kept him isolated. Around the 6:30 mark, Hunico shot in for a schoolboy on Victor, but rather than going for a pin, he hoisted Victor up and planted him with a one-arm powerbomb. Great strength from Hunico, awesome looking spot.
Both guys made the hot tag and Camacho went to work on O'Brian with some basic but good-looking offense. After some tag partner scuffle, O'Brian hit a full nelson slam on Camacho and Victor pulled Hunico off the apron. O'Brian hit a one-man flapjack, and then The Ascension hit a mistimed Fall of Man high/low for the win…
The Ascension defeated Hunico and Camacho in about 8:30 to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.
Scott Stanford hyped that Sami Zayn would be going one-on-one with Leo Kruger following Zayn interfering in Kruger's match last week. (There was no mention of Kruger attacking Zayn backstage.)… [C]
Zim Says: That was probably the best display we've seen from either team in terms of in-ring quality (minus the finish), but now that it's over, where does the tag division go from here? The Ascension have a great act, but they just haven’t clicked and aren't really showing significant signs of progression. Tag teams in NXT seem to be where tag teams in WWE were for the past 5 years.
Back in the arena, Lana made her way onto the stage and spoke in either Russian or Bulgarian to introduce Alexander Rusev. Kassius Ohno was out next for his final appearance. He was wearing tape on his back to sell Rusev's attack from Beat the Clock.
2. Alexander Rusev (w/ Lana) vs. Kassius Ohno. Rusev baited Ohno in and took control. He held Ohno against the ropes and delivered repeated knee strikes before tossing Ohno over his head and catching him with a Samoan drop. Rusev removed the tape before settling into a bearhug. A short time later, Ohno connected with an elbow and got a two count on a small package, but Rusev crushed Ohno against the ropes and applied The Accolade, forcing Ohno to submit.
Alexander Rusev beat Kassius Ohno in about 3:00.
Rusev held the camel clutch for a while after the match, apparently at the instruction of Lana. Referees tended to Ohno as Rusev stood tall in the ring with his manager…
Backstage, Natalya was walking and found Bayley sitting on a bench. Bayley admitted she was a bit nervous for their tag match. She said she still hadn’t talked to Charlotte and with this match coming up, there's a lot on her mind. Nattie tried to comfort her and said she was Bayley's friend and had her back. Bayley was stoked that Nattie said they were friends and hugged her for an awkward amount of time. They finally headed off, presumably for their match… [C]
Zim Says: The backstage piece was a bit awkward, but not as bad as it easily could've been. It's unfortunate to see Ohno written off like this, but the independent scene truly is the place for him right now. On the bright side, he put Rusev over strong on his way out the door and each week, I get a little bit higher on Rusev.
The camera settled onto the commentators: Tom Phillips, Alex Riley, and William Regal. Phillips threw to a clip of Antonio Cesaro assaulting Byron Saxton last week, in an attempt to bait William Regal. Back live, Regal addressed Cesaro and told him simply but sternly that if Cesaro had a problem with him, there was no need to take it out on Byron Saxton…
Bayley and Natalya made their entrance together to Bayley's theme. A little thing I like that makes Bayley stand out, rather than just being announced as "Bayley," the announcer always says "It's Bayley." It’s a nice touch that fits her character right now. The B.F.F's were out next, full of confidence.
3. Natalya and Bayley vs. Summer Rae and Sasha Banks. Bayley lost her temper and went after Sasha aggressively before making the tag to Natalya and the duo hitting a double suplex. Summer tagged in and the babyface duo had a double suplex for her too. Hard to express in writing, but it was a clever sequence. Not long afterwards, the heels took control of Bayley. They worked her over until Sasha went for a lucha move, but Bayley reversed into a spinning facebuster and made the hot tag to Nattie.
Nattie came in with a snap suplex and Michinoku driver on Sasha before connecting with a spinning clothesline and locking in the Sharpshooter. Summer broke it up and Nattie hit the turnbuckles hard, inadvertently tagging in Bayley. Bayley ran and knocked Summer off the apron, but turned into a cross-arm neckbreaker from Banks (Phillips called it Bankrupt) which was good for the pin.
Sasha Banks and Summer Rae pinned Bayley and Natalya in about 3:30.
The heels gloated all the way to the back as Nattie consoled Bayley in the ring… Scott Stanford hyped Mojo Rawley vs. Scott Dawson coming up next…
Somewhere dark, Leo Kruger said that he was on a quest to become a Real American. He said that fate had chosen him and Sami to travel this path together, and promised to hurt Sami. He said he was going to hurt Sami worse than he's ever been hurt before. "Everything you know is about to change. Ta-ta…" [C]
Zim Says: Why isn't Kruger on the main roster? Anyways, good tag match from the ladies. It was the second match in two weeks that was a noticeable step up in quality from the usual (which was already better than anything on Raw or Smackdown). The common denominator is Natalya, but not all credit can go to her. Paige last week and Bayley, Summer Rae, and Sasha Banks this week have all really been impressive as well. The finish of the match will seemingly lead to Bayley coming back with more fire than ever, so good stuff all around from the women's division.
Back in the arena, Sylvester Lefort made his way onto the stage and introduced himself, before introducing Scott Dawson. Mojo Rawley was out next with his over-the-top entrance.
4. Scott Dawson (w/ Sylvester Lefort) vs. Mojo Rawley. The crowd was solidly behind Mojo and the commentators talked him up as a "five tier talent." They also compared Scott Dawson to Arn Anderson, which is the first time I've heard the comparison but it's pretty spot-on. Dawson was in control with simple-but-effective offense through most of the match, until Mojo hit the butt-butt and the Earthquake splash for the win.
Mojo Rawley beat Scott Dawson in about 2:50.
Post match, Sylvester Lefort confronted Mojo long enough for Dawson to recover and attack Mojo from behind. He put a quick beatdown on Mojo before he and Lefort left… [C]
Zim Says: Mojo's charisma is there for WWE's PG era, but he still has a long way to go in the ring. If I'm not mistaken, Scott Dawson has since been sidelined with a torn ACL, so here's wishing him a smooth and speedy recovery.
Scott Stanford went into hype mode for next week's 200th episode of NXT. He announced that The Ascension had issued an open challenge to any team in the world (which will be answered by The American Pitbulls a/k/a American Wolves). He also announced that Bo Dallas would defend his NXT Championship against Adrian Neville in a lumberjack match to ensure he doesn’t retain on a countout loss again. He also announced that Triple H would be there to address the NXT Universe…
Back in the arena, Leo Kruger made his entrance for the main event. Sami Zayn was out next. A-Ry questioned why Zayn "wouldn’t just go away," with no sense of logic or reasoning behind the things he was saying. A-Ry is Mike Adamle bad.
5. Leo Kruger vs. Sami Zayn. Zayn went right after Kruger and the two brawled until Kruger planted Zayn with a spinebuster out of nowhere for a surprise near-fall. Kruger went to work on Zayn at a more controlled pace; taking the attack to ringside where he slammed Zayn on the thinly padded floor. A short time later, Zayn connected with a flapjack dropkick and chopped Kruger all around ringside.
Back in the ring, Zayn connected with a beautiful high crossbody for a two-count. Zayn took control of Kruger's arm and ran up the turnbuckle for his tornado DDT, but Kruger pulled out Zayn's leg and crotched him on the top rope. Kruger stalked Zayn from the corner and connected with the Slice for the win.
Leo Kruger pinned Sami Zayn in about 4:00.
A replay showed Kruger tripping up Sami and scoring the win. Kruger started to leave the ring, but changed his mind and re-entered the ring, waiting for Sami to get to his feet. However, as Leo charged at Zayn, Zayn dodged and sent Kruger crashing to ringside. He followed up with a flip dive over the ropes and the two continued to brawl until referees broke up the scuffle to close the show… [C]
Zim Says: Disappointingly short match, but a good finish that covers for it. Zayn doesn't lose anything here as long as he comes back composed about how Kruger took advantage of a mistake and capitalized, but Zayn is confident that he could win in a rematch. Much in the same vein as Sami not losing anything however, I also fear that Kruger won't gain much aside from short-lived bragging rights. Time will tell I suppose. Overall, this was another week and another good show. The in-ring action wasn’t remarkable, but it was perfectly competent and the storyline progression was good. This taping was really a nice turn-around from the previous one and everything appears to be back on track and headed towards good things.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @InVasionZim; always happy to discuss.
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