Gutteridge's WWE NXT Report: Sami Zayn vs. Leo Kruger in a best of three falls match, Natalya vs. Emma in a No. 1 contender's match, Kofi Kingston vs. Alexander Rusev, sing off between Aiden English and Colin Cassady
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped November 21 in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] After titles, Byron Saxon (on ring announcing duties tonight) announced that Tyler Breeze had entered the arena. This was followed by Lana walking onto the stage, and introducing Alexander Rusev in Russian. His opponent, Kofi Kingston, received an OK pop for his entrance...
1. Kofi Kingston vs. Alexander Rusev. Tom Phillips asked William Regal about his match with Antonio Cesaro last week. He praised Cesaro, saying he was beaten by someone who was ten times the man he was. Rusev dominated from the bell, squashing any Kingston fightback swiftly. Kofi did catch a break by rolling out of the way of a splash attack, and took it to Rusev with chops and a dropkick. He hit the Boom Drop, and signalled for the Trouble in Paradise, but Rusev managed to shove him away before he could execute it.
Kofi didn't miss a step, hitting a springboard crossbody for a two count. He went to the top rope again, but Lana distracted him by walking up the steps behind him. This allowed Rusev to recover, throw Kofi back into the ring, and apply the Accolade. Kofi held on for a while, but eventually taped...
Alexander Rusev defeated Kofi Kingston in 3:50.
Regal and Alex Riley put over Rusev huge after the match...
Backstage, Devon Taylor introduced Sylvester Lefort. Taylor asked Lefort about the auditions he's holding tonight to find his new client. Lefort first wished Scott Dawson a speedy recovery from his broken leg, which he blamed on Mojo Rawley, before asking the first in line to come forward. Bull Dempsey walked into shot, and Lefort dismissed him for being too fat. Mason Ryan then walked by, and Lefort seemed excited. He asked Ryan if was here to audition, and Ryan replied by asking “What auditions?” before shoving a dollar bill in Lefort's mouth. Lefort cursed him in French...[C]
Gutt Reaction: Wow. That response isn't for match quality, which was OK, but for the way they let Rusev utterly dominate Kofi. I know Kofi isn't exactly an upper echelon guy right now, but Rusev effectively no-sold everything except for the crossbody. Rusev has started to appear on house shows, so I imagine he's going to be main roster bound soon. Can't say I'm overly thrilled, but if this is evidence of any future push, he may make a big splash.
[Q2] Natalya made her entrance ahead of a No. 1 Contenders match for the NXT Women's title. She's taking on Emma, who is returning from injury tonight...
2. Natalya vs. Emma in a No. 1 Contenders Match for the NXT Women's Title. They engaged in chain wrestling for the first few minutes, until Emma angered Natalya by taunting her following a two count. Emma weathered the brief storm, and locked Natalya in the Dil-Emma. Natalya landed in the corner, and Emma charged her for the low crossbody, only for Natalya to roll out of the way and retaliate with a discus clothesline. Natalya took to submission moves, including a beautiful hold I can only describe as a vertically bridging Indian deathlock. I am aware that makes little sense.
Natalya missed a legdrop, but appeared to be playing possum a little bit, as when Emma grabbed her, she recovered instantly and tried for the Sharpshooter. Emma countered with a small package, and when Natalya kicked out, Emma immediately applied the Emma Lock. Natalya tapped...
Emma defeated Natalya in 4:31.
Natalya raised Emma's hand after the match, and joined her in doing the Emma dance...
Gutt Reaction: Another upset! Is everyone jealous of Cesaro winning the “I Walk Among You” award in the 2nd Annual NXT Awards? I imagine that's what it is. As much as the gimmick makes my skin crawl, Emma is a cut above most Divas in the ring. She's still a little rough around the edges, but she more than held her own against the best female wrestler in the company.
Renee Young welcomed us to the first ever NXT sing off. Aiden English entered first, and said he was going to save his singing for the “main stage” tonight. Colin Cassady entered second, wearing a suit and without Enzo Amore. Young explained that they would each have a chance to sing, and the audience would choose the winner.
English went first, singing opera. Cassady stuttered a little bit when he took the mic, but then launched into a surprisingly well sung remixed version of “Danny Boy”, which poked fun at English. He concluded by singing, along with the crowd, “S-A-W-F-T, Sawft”. Young asked for the crowd's winner, and Cassady won in a landslide.
English said the audience was wrong, and asked for another opportunity. He sang a song about the audiences and Cassady's stupidity. Cassady responded with a version of “My Girl”, changing the lyrics to “I. Think. You. Suck. All these people think you suck. You suck (you suck), we all think you suck (YOU SUCK!).” As he finished, English attack him from behind and quickly retreated up the ramp...
Tyler Breeze was shown checking himself in the mirror backstage. He's in action next...[C]
Gutt Reaction: Damn that was funny. Zim pointed out that we had missed Cassady off of our Most Improved shortlist this year. Had this segment happened last week, he definitely wouldn't have been forgotten.
[Q3] Tyler Breeze has now added purple fur to his phone. His opponent is Mason Ryan...
3. Mason Ryan vs. Tyler Breeze. Sylvester Lefort walked down to ringside, which momentarily distracted Ryan. Breeze took it to him with a flurry of kicks. Ryan eventually countered by picking up Breeze and dropping him across the top rope. Ryan immediately slid out of the ring and clotheslined Lefort, but as he slid back in the ring, Breeze hit him with the Beauty Shot to pick up the unexpected win...
Tyler Breeze defeated Mason Ryan in 1:16.
Breeze backed up ramp taking selfies...
Gutt Reaction: This is getting weird. We just saw Tyler Breeze put down Mason Ryan with essentially one move. That was unfathomable just a few months ago. I'm all for Breeze getting the push ahead of Ryan though, although I hope this wasn't an allusion to a future association between Lefort and Breeze. Lefort brings the stink of “lower card heel manager” with him.
Leo Kruger came out first. He's been showing up under a different gimmick on NXT house shows recently, so I'm not sure how much longer we'll get to see this current character. Sami Zayn received a nice pop for his entrance...
4. Sami Zayn vs. Leo Kruger in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match. The two brawled around the ring in the early going, with Kruger taking control for the most part. He dominated as they returned to the ring, until Zayn caught him with an exploder suplex into the turnbuckles. He followed up with the running big boot in the corner to win the first fall... [C]
Sami Zayn scored the first fall via pinfall at 2:52.
[Q4] Zayn had Kruger on the top rope when we returned, but Kruger threw him off, sending Zayn crashing to the outside. Zayn only just beat the ten count getting back in the ring, only to be met by a vicious DDT from Kruger. Kruger tried to Irish whip Zayn, but he kept grabbing the rope and shouting defiantly. Zayn fired up with clotheslines and a heel kick, building to his Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Zayn climbed to the apron, and looked to be going for a springboard move, but Kruger cut him off. He followed up with a rope hung neckbreaker, and Zayn only just kicked out.
Zayn once again went to the apron, and this time managed to fight off Kruger long enough to get to the top turnbuckle. Kruger climbed up too, and Zayn once again fought him off. He went for a crossbody, but Kruger ducked. Zayn hit the mat hard, and Kruger applied the GC3. Surprisingly, Zayn held on and managed to crawl to the ropes. Soon afterwards however, he found himself on the receiving end of a Double A Spinebuster. Kruger ripped his shirt off, and motioned for the Slice clothesline, but Zayn countered it with a Complete Shock. As they hit the mat, Zayn maintained the hold, and transitioned into a submission hold where he wrapped his legs around Kruger's neck. Kruger tapped...
Sami Zayn scored the second and final fall via submission in 9:58.
Zayn celebrated in a big way as NXT came to a close...
Gutt Reaction: Solid action from two of NXT's MVPs. A comparison to a certain other 2 out of the 3 falls match is inevitable (as it will be for years to come), but taken on it's own merits, it told a good story, and the action never really slowed over it's 10 minute run time (although I suspect we once again had a big chunk cut for time on the UK edit). But the two fall straight loss piles on the paranoia I feel over Kruger scrapping his current gimmick and transitioning to his new, Russell Brand-esque character of Adam Rose. WWE is not in need of another campy gimmick right now (although I'd be wrong to completely dismiss it off-hand, as is Kruger's talents), and I could really envisage Kruger making an impact if he got called up right now.
I can say one thing for NXT tonight – it was far from predictable. If you had told me tonight's card, I would not have called any of the outcomes. While two of the matches were essentially squash matches, both were unexpected, and were complimented by two good matches and an entertaining sing-off. I'd highly recommend giving all of NXT a watch this week.
Thanks for reading. If you have any thoughts on the article, add me on Twitter - @DazatheG
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