Zim's WWE NXT Review: 200th Episode opens with Triple H, Bo Dallas vs. Adrian Neville NXT Title Lumberjack match, Zayn & Kidd vs. Cesaro & Kruger, Paige vs. Sasha Banks, and The American Pitbulls (a/k/a Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards) debut
By Zack Zimmerman
Aired December 18, 2013 on Hulu Plus
Taped November 21 at Full Sail University
The show opened with Triple H entering the Full Sail Arena and a loud "Triple H" chant broke out. He said he appreciates that, but he'd rather them chant something else, and right on cue they switched to an "NXT" chant. Triple H said they were there to celebrate the 200th episode of NXT. He said we've seen guys like Damien Sandow, Antonio Cesaro, The Shield, The Wyatt's, all come from NXT. The crowd broke out in a loud "Five!" chant and Triple H acknowledged that the Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston is also a product of NXT.
He mentioned that the Performance Center is right down the road, and with that promised that NXT will only get better and better. He gave his word that these shows will be something to remember each and every time. He said this is where the future begins. He the thanked Full Sail, thanked the production crew, and thanked the fans. He had the fans stand and told them that this was their show and their arena. He said the fans didn't pay to hear him talk, before doing the "Are you ready?" routine to close…
The opening video played… Sami Zayn made his entrance to a loud ovation and an "Ole" chant. At the commentary table, Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Tensai checked in. Tyson Kidd was out next to another good pop, and he shook hands with Zayn in the ring. Leo Kruger was out next and the commentators ran down the history between Kruger and both Zayn and Kidd. Antonio Cesaro was out next to round things out. The Full Sail crowd loves Cesaro.
1. Sami Zayn and Tyson Kidd vs. Leo Kruger and Antonio Cesaro. Kidd opened up with some speedy offense on Kruger before making the tag to Zayn, while Kruger scrambled and made the tag to Cesaro. The two squared off and fans chanted "match of the year" loudly in reference to their classic two-out-of-three-falls match earlier this year. They traded some good offense before Kidd entered and got a two-count with a slingshot rollup. A short time later, Cesaro hit a great tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to take control going into break. [C]
Back from break, Kidd tried to break free, but Kruger caught him and planted him with a hard spinebuster. Cesaro tagged in and tossed Kidd with his trademark gutwrench throw, and the heels continued to isolate Kidd. The crowd chanted "We want Sami" and rallied behind Kidd to make the tag, but Cesaro knocked Zayn off the apron with Zayn's signature Yakuza kick and stayed in control.
A short time later, Kidd broke free and Zayn came in hot on Kruger. He knocked Cesaro off the apron and hit his double-jump crossbody on Kruger for a two-count. Zayn lined up for the Yakuza kick, but Kruger reversed. Kruger went for the Slice, but Zayn reversed into a huge blue-thunder bomb for a great near-fall. Kidd took Cesaro out at ringside with a flip through the ropes, and Zayn connected with the Yakuza kick on Kruger in the ring for the win.
Sami Zayn and Tyson Kidd beat Leo Kruger and Antonio Cesaro in about 8:40.
A replay ran through the finishing sequence and the babyfaces celebrated up the ramp as the fans chanted "Ole"… Backstage, the camera settled onto Natalya as Emma danced her way on set. Emma tried to get Nattie's attention, but Nattie yelled at Emma for almost "poking her eye out" and bothering her while she's watching Tyson's match. Emma took offense and said that Nattie had changed since she got famous and had no time for the little people at NXT anymore.
Nattie said something about Emma's dancing and Emma said dancing was in her blood. Nattie said much like wrestling was in her blood. Emma said "Wrestling is what brought me to the dance, Natalya." Nattie said she wanted to tango. She challenged Emma to a number-one contender's match to Paige's NXT Women's title and Emma accepted. They did some silly banter before the segment ended… Scott Stanford hyped the main event Lumberjack title match between Bo Dallas and Adrian Neville… [C]
Zim Says: Not a very good backstage segment, but I'm looking forward to the matches that are to come from it. As for the match; great opening tag. On a show without a title match, I'd love to have seen this get another five or ten minutes in the main event slot. That said, the action was really enjoyable. These four are so familiar with each other and work together really well in the ring. On top of that, this crowd is white hot with this being the first episode of the taping set.
An "NXT Moment" clip recapped Daniel Bryan's role in the inaugural episode of NXT from 2/23/10, main evented by "rookie" Daniel Bryan vs. "pro" Chris Jericho…A video package recapped an autograph signing that Kofi Kingston, Natalya, Eva Marie, and Jojo did to hype NXT 200…
Back in the arena, "The Boss" Sasha Banks made her entrance accompanied by Summer Rae. NXT Women's Champion Paige was out next to a great pop for a non-title match. The commentators mentioned that she is approaching 150 days as champion; the dreaded day count, is the end near?
2. Paige vs. Sasha Banks. Paige went after Sasha, but Sasha fired right back and took control with the aid of a Summer Rae distraction. She stayed in control until Paige reversed a lucha armdrag attempt with a facebuster takedown. Paige followed up with hard repeating short-arm clotheslines, but Summer grabbed her from ringside. Sasha tried to take control, but ended up accidentally taking out Summer at ringside and walking right into a hard kick to the gut from Paige. Paige used a nice over-rotated backslide transition into the Paige Turner, which she hit for the win…
Paige beat Sasha Banks in about 3:35.
Backstage, Enzo Amore was in a leopard print wheelchair with his leg up in a boot, shooting the breeze with Big Cass. They were interrupted by Aiden English singing on the other side of the room, so they approached him and he berated them. Amore said belching into a microphone makes English as much a singer as standing in a garage makes him a car. Amore mentioned that "speaking of singing, my man Big Cass has pipes that blow exhaust." Amore and Cassidy had a funny back and forth before the two agreed to a singing contest to be judged by the NXT Universe next week. "S-S-S-Sawft" Amore closed…
Scott Stanford hyped that The Ascension's open challenge had been answered and questioned who would step up to take on the tag team champions… [C]
Zim Says: A week or two ago, I hoped to see Amore back in a talking role while he heals from his injury; this week he turns up. I can't complain. I love Amore's schtick. My new gimmick might become complaining for more time for matches, but I would've liked to see the Paige/Sasha match go over five minutes. Especially on the 200th episode, make it feel special and highlight the very talented Ladies' division. For the time they got however, it was another good match in line with what they've been presenting in recent weeks. If you want some easy-to-find, quality women's wrestling on a weekly basis, NXT is the place to go.
An "NXT Moment" clip recapped the first episode of the new NXT, episode #122 from 6/20/12. Bo Dallas was featured and Tyson Kidd was shown beating Curtis Axel (then Michael McGillicutty) in the first main event…
Back in the arena, NXT Tag Champions The Ascension (now simply Konnor and Viktor) were finishing up their entrance, posing in the ring. Music hit and the crowd popped as The American Pitbulls made their way to the ring in matching gear. The duo looked absolutely major league, and the commentators hyped them as a "highly-talented, highly-touted" team that has competed all over the world. Tensai mentioned working with them in the orient and said they can flat go in the ring.
3. The Ascension vs. The American Pitbulls. The crowd chanted "Let's go Pitbulls" to open things up and Davey Richards was identified as Derrick Billington by the commentators. Billington used his quickness to take control and made the tag to John Cahill (a/k/a Eddie Edwards) who came in with a diving shot to the arm. A short time later, the Pitbulls used a nice double arm drag and then sent Viktor to ringside.
Konnor connected with a high flapjack on Billington and The Ascension kept him isolated. Viktor tagged in and appeared to miscommunicate with Billington, who attempted to go over on a back suplex with a backflip and land on his feet, but he dropped and came down awkwardly on his head and neck. Viktor went for a cover immediately, but Billington kicked out and appeared to shake it off.
Not long afterwards, Billington successfully went over backwards on a suplex attempt and hit a reverse enziguri to create the separation for a hot tag. Cahill came in firing on Viktor and hit a hard running kick, but O'Brian was in to break up the pinfall attempt. Cahill sent both members of The Ascension to ringside and The Pitbulls hit tandem dives through the ropes. Back in the ring, Cahill got a two-count before making the tag to Billington.
Billington went to the top rope and let out a howl before diving off with a Dynamite Kid headbutt, but Viktor kicked out at two. A short time later, Viktor hit Daniel Bryan's running knee and then The Ascension hit the Fall of Man on Billington for the win.
The Ascension beat The American Pitbulls in about 4:15.
The commentators gave credit to The Pitbulls but also put over how dominant the NXT Tag Champions have been as well. A replay aired before Hunico and Camacho made their way onto the stage and had a stare-down with The Ascension. In the ring, The Ascension hit a double slam on Cahill before wiping him out with the Fall of Man as well. Hunico and Camacho continued to verbally jab at The Ascension as they posed in the ring with their tag titles…
Backstage, the interviewer welcomed Kofi Kingston. Kofi was so excited to be at NXT, and to be at the new facility for the first time, and especially to be at NXT 200. He was interrupted by Lana who spoke in Russian or Bulgarian. Kofi apologized for not understanding her, and she responded that Alexander Rusev wants to crush him in the ring next week. Kofi said he doesn't back down from a challenge, and accepted…
Scott Stanford hyped the main event Lumberjack NXT Title match coming up next… [C]
Zim Says: Nice first showing from The Pitbulls aside from the one miscommunication. It appeared as though Viktor was supposed to connect with the move the first time and Billington would reverse the second one, and that simply got misconstrued. The Pitbulls came across as a world-class tag team and got a better match out of The Ascension than we've seen from them. Here's hoping they show back up to get revenge for the post-match attack and get into the NXT tag title hunt.
Scott Stanford hyped that next week's episode would be an "NXT Rewind" edition with top Superstars and Hall of Famers, as well as a review of the top matches of the year. The show will also be headlined by Antonio Cesaro vs. William Regal…
Back in the arena, Howard Finkle was in the ring to handle intros; always good to see The Fink. He announced that the upcoming match was a Lumberjack match for the NXT Championship. Surrounding the ring were Tye Dillinger (a/k/a Shawn Spears), Slate Randall (a/k/a The Hero's Shaun Ricker), various wrestlers in bad singlets, various others with bad tattoos, and a who's who of other NXT nobodies. Challenger Adrian Neville was out first, followed by Champion Bo Dallas who received tremendous heat. Full in-ring intros from Fink for both guys.
4. Bo Dallas (c) vs. Adrian Neville in a lumberjack match for the NXT Championship. Within the opening minute, Bo attempted to whip Neville into the ropes, but Neville reversed with a back-handspring and caught Bo with a jumping enziguri. Bo tried to roll to ringside, but the lumberjacks got him back in the ring quickly. A short time later, Dallas tossed Neville to ringside where Tyler Breeze attempted to get Neville back in the ring. Neville had none of it and slapped Breeze in the face, which elicited a fair amount of boos from the crowd who adores Breeze. [C]
…An "NXT Moment" clip reflected on Seth Rollins becoming the first NXT Champion on episode #132 on 8/29/12. Pre-Shield babyface Rollins spoke before clips showed his win over Jinder Mahal in the finals of the Gold Rush Tournament to crown the first Champion. Jim Ross was on commentary and hearing those soundbytes makes me miss hearing him on NXT…
Back in the ring, Neville was still in control of Bo and wore him out with stiff kicks to the chest. Bo had great facials, looking like he was going to cry. Bo reversed another kick attempt with a schoolboy roll that dumped Neville hard to ringside, but of course the trusty lumberjacks were right there to get him back in the ring. Tyler Breeze was shown still sulking at ringside while Dallas settled into a cravat on Neville in the ring.
The crowd got on Bo with loud "Bo-ring" chants, which seems counter-productive when they should be putting their effort towards rooting on a Neville comeback. Neville caught Bo with a kick to the head from the ground that rocked Bo, and the crowd broke out in loud chants of "Bo, you suck" and "drop the title." Bo stayed in control and the crowd continued to let him have it. Bo went for the bulldog out of the corner, but Neville created separation and fired up.
He caught Dallas with a sliding dropkick for a quick two-count and then a jumping enziguri and a standing shooting star for a good near-fall. Neville slammed Bo to the mat and went up to the top rope, but Bo rolled to ringside where he tried to run up the ramp but was stopped by "all 15 of the lumberjacks." Neville changed plans and hit a big Swanton off the top, wiping out everyone out at ringside.
Neville got Bo back in the ring and went to the top rope. He leapt off with the Red Arrow, but Tyler Breeze pulled Dallas out of the way and Neville crashed and burned, allowing Bo to make the cover and retain the title.
Bo Dallas beat Adrian Neville to retain the NXT Championship in about 8:40.
The commentators debated whether or not Breeze was justified after being slapped. There wasn’t a clear babyface commentator to play the straight man and vilify Breeze, which is part of the reason there are no strong heels in wrestling anymore. A replay showed Neville's big dive as well as the finishing sequence. Bo backed up the ramp with his title as the NXT jabronis were still down at ringside to close the show.
Zim Says: Good quality main event with a finish that will frustrate some fans as it clearly did the Full Sail crowd. Dallas has retained his title over Sami Zayn with the exposed turnbuckle, Adrian Neville by countout, and now with Tyler Breeze's help. I get that cheap wins "strengthen" Bo's character, but they devalue the title and leave people wondering if, not when, the babyfaces will take their comeuppance; much like is being seen on the main roster with Daniel Bryan.
Overall, NXT 200 delivered on in-ring action and the "NXT Moment" segments that were included were a nice touch. It didn't feel like the biggest of shows, but the marquee value and work rates of the matches were a step up from previous tapings. I'm not sure if that's attributed to NXT 200 or to this being the first show of the taping. Being the first show also played into the heat of the crowd, which only added to the quality of the show. Every match was worth tuning in to see, and this a great point to get on board with NXT if you're not already; I expect things are going to get fun in 2014.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @InVasionZim; always happy to discuss.
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