Zim's WWE NXT Review: Triple H announces Feb. 27 live NXT, Kofi Kingston vs. Alexander Rusev, Adrian Neville vs. Tyler Breeze, Bo Dallas vs. Mojo Rawley, and CJ Parker vs. Jason Jordan
By Zack Zimmerman
Aired January 15, 2014 on Hulu Plus
Taped November 21 at Full Sail University
Before the opening video, Triple H made his entrance into the Full Sail Arena. Once in the ring, he said that it was an exciting time to be a part of the WWE Universe. He said the WWE Network is coming, and then made the announcement that on February 27, NXT will go live on the WWE Network. The crowd broke out in a "Yes!" chant before Triple H said that he expects them all to be there and be loud, "Because NXT is the future, and the future is now…"
The opening video played… The camera panned the crowd chanting "NXT" as an obviously-dubbed Tom Phillips recapped Triple H's announcement. Adrian Neville made his entrance, followed by Tyler Breeze. A replay showed Neville slapping Breeze four weeks ago in Neville's title shot lumberjack match, and Breeze subsequently costing Neville the match.
1. Adrian Neville vs. Tyler Breeze. Neville out-maneuvered Breeze in the opening minute and sent him to ringside with a hurricanrana, before faking him out with a false dive. Back in the ring, Breeze took momentum and then knocked Neville to ringside with a Jericho-esque triangle dropkick. [C]
Back from break, Breeze was in control in the ring. He checked himself in his phone, which allowed Neville to connect with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Neville followed up with a sliding dropkick for two, but ate a high dropkick from Breeze when he attempted a springboard move. Breeze missed the Beauty Shot and Neville hit an enziguri. Neville went to the top rope and dove off with the Red Arrow, but Breeze moved and Neville crashed and burned.
Breeze made the cover, but Neville was able to kick out (unlike in the title match; good callback near-fall). Breeze went for the Beauty Shot again, but Neville caught him and dropped into a hard sitout powerbomb for a good near-fall. Neville went back to the top rope and was met there by Breeze, who hit the ropes and crotched Neville on the top turnbuckle. Breeze attemped a Frankensteiner, but Neville hung on and Breeze crashed. Neville finally connected with the Red Arrow and scored the clean pinfall.
Adrian Neville beat Tyler Breese in about 9:00.
A replay ran through the finishing sequence. The Red Arrow looks so damn cool in the super slow-mo shot. The commentators said that Neville had his revenge and was back in the title picture…
Scott Stanford hyped Bo Dallas vs. Mojo Rawley in a non-title match for later in the show. He also said that CJ Parker would be making his return to action next… [C]
Zim Says: Very nice match; Breeze's best in-ring display and another impressive outing from Adrian Neville. That one is definitely worth seeking out.
CJ Parker made his psychedelic entrance and didn’t get much of a response from the crowd. Jason Jordan got his first entrance on NXT TV, with a varsity letter as his tron. I'm not sure if that'll be the gimmick going forward or if it's just what they have for him to use now.
2. CJ Parker vs. Jason Jordan. Jordan used a nice amateur takedown and got several two-counts with amateur rollups. Parker worked back to his feet and hit a Booker T-like jumping crescent kick. He hit the Third Eye palm strike and scored the win… [C]
CJ Parker defeated Jason Jordan in about 1:05.
Zim Says: Well CJ Parker is back, doing the exact same schtick and getting the exact same non-reaction. I'm not as down on him as the Full Sail crowd seems to be, but it really seems like something needs to be done with Parker's character or he's just not going to get over with the audience. Jordan showed some solid mat wrestling in the few moments of offense he had. Time will tell if we see more from him or not.
Mojo Rawley made his over-the-top entrance. The commentators called his charisma infectious, but it really comes across grating. NXT Champion Bo Dallas was out next to his usual chorus of boo's.
3. Mojo Rawley vs. Bo Dallas in a non-title match. Mojo overpowered Bo and yelled that Bo "wasn’t hyped enough." The crowd chanted "Pocahontas" at Bo as Mojo knocked Bo to ringside with a hard shoulder block. Back in the ring, Mojo cornered Bo with a three-point stance so Bo took another powder.
Bo hit a kick to the gut a short time later and took control. Mojo fought back with shoulder tackles and two stinger splashes, but Bo rolled to ringside once again. Mojo brought Bo back in the hard way, but Mojo missed another stinger splash and Bo rolled him up with a handful of tights…
Bo Dallas pinned Mojo Rawley in about 3:45.
Scott Stanford hyped Kofi Kingston's rematch with Alexander Rusev coming up next… [C]
Zim Says: Mojo is super green, but they did a decent job of working around it in this match to put the heat on Bo. It was a good way for Bo to eek out the cheap win, keep Mojo from losing anything, and avoid exposing Mojo's weaknesses. I can't deny that the guy has charisma, but his charisma is really off-putting to me. I'm not sure if that’s a personal distaste or if others would agree.
Back in the arena, Lana did her usual introduction and Alexander Rusev made his entrance. A recap showed Lana challenging Kofi on behalf of Rusev on NXT200, and Rusev winning with Lana's aid in their first match two weeks ago. Kofi Kingston was out next to a decent ovation. Byron Saxton was playing heel on commentary, claiming that Kofi had been whining and complaining ever since the loss to Rusev. Good on Tensai for saying "that’s a complete fabrication" and proceeding to advocate for the babyface Kingston.
4. Alexander Rusev (w/ Lana) vs. Kofi Kingston. Rusev used his strength and Kofi used his athleticism to set the tone in the opening minute. Rusev established himself as the aggressor and worked Kofi over methodically. A short time later, Rusev missed his body block against the ropes and toppled to ringside. He appeared to regain control, but Kofi jumped over the ring steps and then flew back at Rusev to take momentum going into the final break. [C]
Back from break, Kofi went for his crotch-face punches in the corner, but Rusev planted him with a hard folding powerbomb and took control. Rusev (unintentionally, I believe) pumped his arms ala Ryback, which caused the crowd to break out in "Feed me more" and "Goldberg" chants. Rusev settled into an armlock and the crowd started doing the wave.
Kofi broke free and hit a dropkick, but Rusev caught a crossbody attempt and hit his knee thrusts against the ropes. Rusev tossed Kofi overhead for the fallaway Samoan drop, but Kofi reversed into a crucifix for a near-fall. Rusev charged right into the fulcrum kick in the corner, but then caught a springboard crossbody attempt from Kofi and planted him with the fallaway Samoan drop.
Kofi managed to kick out at two, and connected with the SOS out of nowhere for a good near-fall. Kofi hit two hard running penalty kicks to the chest of Rusev, but Rusev avoided a third and hit his body block against the ropes. Rusev took his time in setting up the Accolade, allowing Kofi to trip him up and connect with the Boom Drop. Kofi set up in the corner, but appeared to get briefly distracted by Lana. Rusev charged, but Kofi evaded and hit Trouble in Paradise for the win.
Kofi Kingston beat Alexander Rusev in about 12:10.
Zim Says: Very good match. Rusev is impressive and Kofi took a convincing ass-kicking while maintaining his moments of fire. The loss doesn’t kill Rusev, but I don’t think I would’ve booked these two even-steven. Rusev has been getting time on live events and dark matches, so I wouldn't have minded seeing him get the win to keep rolling, though this was a nonchalant way to avoid the "streak" thing for another monster heel.
Overall, this was a very in-ring heavy show with little-to-no storyline advancement. That said, there were two matches worth seeking out, so I have to call it a good show. The middle of the show was just okay, nothing worth praising or harping on. I'm looking forward to what next week's new set of tapings have to offer, and I'm looking even more forward to the February 27 live NXT and beyond.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @InVasionZim; always happy to discuss.
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