1/23 Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: Bo Dallas' "Banner Raising Ceremony", Antonio Cesaro vs. CJ Parker, Adrian Neville vs.Wesley Blake, Xavier Woods vs. Alexander Rusev, and Natalya vs. Summer Rae
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped January 9th in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] After titles, the commentary team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Tensai were shown stood facing the camera by their commentary table. Saxton said tonight was going to be a celebration of Bo Dallas' 224 day reign as NXT Champion. Tensai said he wasn't a Bo-liever, and bigged up Adrian Neville. Phillips threw us over to the ring, introducing new ring announcer Eden (Cody Rhodes' wife Brandi). She introduced Adrian Neville, and got the pronunciation of "Newcastle" as close to bang on as I've heard any ring announcer say it. I love her already (she must have clearly listened to "Darren Gutteridge's School of English Town and City Pronunciations" on Dot Net Weekly). Neville's opponent, Wesley Blake, was already in the ring, dressed like a bad Bob Orton Jr. impersonator. He threw away Neville's hand after he offered it to shake...
1. Adrian Neville vs. Wesley Blake. Neville settled into the formula early on of quick athletic displays followed by rest holds. He was basically showing off, and showed it in his playing to the crowd, but it didn't come off as cocky. He stalled for a little too long on a chop, and Blake kicked him in the leg. He did nothing to build on it though, and Neville was soon back on top following running forearms and dropkicks. He went top rope and finished of Blake with the Red Arrow...
Adrian Neville defeated Wesley Blake in 4:11.
The commentators reiterated several times that Neville wants another shot at Dallas... [C]
Gutt Reaction: I suppose Neville showed off a little more than usual because Blake refused the handshake, and it worked well, as this is definitely the most charismatic Neville has been in the ring. He's shown fire before, but here he showed he also has that likeable confidence that fans always connect with.
[Q2] Xavier Woods came out with Brodus Clay's music. Goodbye, Woods' cool NXT music, we hardly knew ye. Tensai said he was excited to see his "X-Man", as he had helped him "see the light" (by leaving him injured on the outside while Woods danced, I guess). He's taking on Alexander Rusev in a rematch from a few weeks ago...
2. Xavier Woods vs. Alexander Rusev. The leather skirts are gone. We're saying goodbye to a lot of NXT mainstays in this match it seems. Rusev dominated Woods with a variety of strikes, taking Woods around the ring in the process. Woods managed to get a foothold with strikes of his own, utilising a dropkick to get Rusev to a seated position before hitting him with a Shining Wizard. He kept the punches up as Rusev got back to his feet, but Rusev put him down with a back kick to the stomach. He yelled something in Bulgarian, and locked in the Accolade. Woods quickly tapped...
Alexander Rusev defeated Xavier Woods in 2:40.
After the bell, Rusev locked in the Accolade again. All of a sudden, Sin Cara's music played, and he ran out to make the save. He gave Rusev a hurricanrana to send him to the outside before picking Woods up and helping him to the back...
A "Banner Raising Ceremony" for Bo Dallas was advertised for later on, and CJ Parker vs. Antonio Cesaro is up next...
Gutt Reaction: Boy did they sour on Woods quickly. I know not all NXT debuts can be as big as Wyatt's or The Shield's, but Woods has been buried from the get go. Put in a nothing team with R-Truth, robbing Brodus Clay of his gimmick, and now jobbing out to most everyone he gets in the ring with. The guy isn't a World Champion, but he can fill a nice niche if he's given a chance to play up his "90s kid" character, instead of the Funksaurus 2.0.
CJ Parker received a few boos in amongst his quiet reaction. Cesaro, however, got a full babyface pop, and he played up to it as much as he could without outright embracing it. The commentators acknowledged that he had a strong following among the Cult of Full Sail...
3. CJ Parker vs. Antonio Cesaro. After some initial stalemates, Parker went for a running senton on a grounded Cesaro, only for Cesaro to get his knees up. He targeted the back of Parker, but Parker soon caught a break with a nice axe kick. This lead to a running double knee in the corner, followed by a flying crossbody for a two count. He then gave Cesaro an Airplane spin, but when he put him down, Parker was dizzy and Cesaro was fine. Cesaro cracked his neck, and returned the favour with the Cesaro Swing. He set up and executed the Neutraliser, and got the 1-2-3...
Antonio Cesaro defeated CJ Parker in 3:34.
Immediately after the match, Sami Zayn's music hit, and he walked onto the ramp on a crutch. He said 2014 was off to a rocky start, as he has a bit of a medical condition, but it had given him a chance to reflect on 2013. He called it the best year of his career, and a big part of that was down to his matches on NXT. He recalled his 2 out of 3 Falls match with Cesaro, and called his loss the "one blemish on an otherwise great year". He said he needed to fix that, so he challenged Cesaro to a rematch.
Cesaro got out of the ring, and walked up the ramp. Zayn didn't budge an inch. Cesaro raised Zayn's mic to his mouth, and said "No". He threw the mic down, and barged into Zayn as he walked off... [C]
Gutt Reaction: Are we going to get any competitive matches tonight? There has been nothing technically wrong with what has been put forth, but they have all been one sided, and this was the only one to end with something interesting. I'm not sure what injury Zayn has, but they must be confident of him being ready for the Live Special on February 27th. I hope it doesn't hamper him at all, as this is sure to be one hell of a rematch. I'm curious to see how a one legged Zayn manages to coax a rematch out of Cesaro.
[Q3] Bayley and Natalya made their way to the ring, and a backstage video of Natalya was played in. She ran down Summer Rae, and said she intended to put her in the Sharpshooter so her head touches her toes. Renee Young has joined commentary...
4. Natalya vs. Summer Rae. The early back and forth ended when Rae hit a spinning roundhouse kick. She took it to the mat, and tried to lock Natalya in a leg lock, but Natalya countered into a hold of her own. Rae didn't let it faze her, keeping up the assault on Natalya's leg until she ended up being launched over the top rope to the outside.
When she got back inside, Natalya took her down with a suplex. She built momentum before shooting Rae to the ropes, and she managed to catch a second spinning roundhouse kick before Summer could connect. She forced Rae to the mat and put her in the Sharpshooter, to which Rae tapped...
Natalya defeat Summer Rae in 2:52.
Backstage, Devon Taylor introduced Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady. Amore was in a motorised wheelchair. Taylor asked for an update on Amore's injury, and I'm going to quote him verbatim - "Well basically, before I broke my leg, I used to like to live life on the edge. As it turns out, with a broken leg, it's a little rough, so I decided I was going to jump off. But the difference between me and many other people is, I can fly". Yeah, I don't know what he meant either. Taylor looked equally confused, and asked when he expected to be back. "Didn't I just answer that question?" was his response. Cassady stepped in and said Enzo was going to make a quick recovery.
Aiden English walked in, and shooed away Taylor. He reminded Cassady that he beat him in a match, and declared the singing contest a draw after Cassady "tripped and fell". Cassady said English had taken "cheap shot after cheap shot after cheap shot - I'm surprised you haven't gone home with the nasty girl from the bar". Nice line, I'm stealing it. English said he was going to show both of them that he was still a great singer, but both Cassady and Amore bailed quickly once he started, with Amore running over English's foot as he left...
Gutt Reaction: That was less of a squash match than all overs tonight, but I wanted it to go longer, as both ladies can work. And I got a kick out of Cassady much more than Amore this time round. I know Amore's statement was meant to be confusing, but he played it so low key and straight that it didn't really work. That's my comedy snob side rearing it's ugly head again...
Dallas came out in a pink shirt for his Banner Raising Ceremony. He thanked the crowd for their reception, and said that when they chant "Lets go Bo", it gives him strength, and puts him to bed at night "like a warm blanket". He said NXT officials had decided to throw him a celebration for his record breaking NXT Title run, and he was there to humbly accept the honour. He thanked his friends and family in attendance – his 3rd cousin Charles ("You're always there for me"), his sister's college room-mate, and his 4th grade History teacher, Miss Ellie. He thanked his Bo-Lievers, and dedicated the banner raising to them. He then asked for a drum roll.
A banner saying "Bo Dallas – NXT Champion – 224 Days" fell from the rafters. Saxton clapped loudly from commentary. Suddenly, Neville's music played, and he walked to the ring. Dallas wondered if Neville wanted to be the first to congratulate him. Neville said he wasn't here to congratulate him, but for a different reason. He said he was here on behalf of Full Sail, and the entire WWE, to tell him to "Shut up". A small "He's a wanker" chant started, and Neville paused to let them carry on. PG BE DAMNED! Neville said Bo may feel like he has the privilege to come out and annoy everyone, but he was going to take that privilege from around his waist.
Dallas reminded him that he only got a title shot last time by beating a nobody, and it took him 4 minutes and 45 seconds. Dallas said he was champion, so he could easily beat Neville in that time, so the point Neville was trying to make was pointless.
Triple H appeared on the tron, and said the pair had quiet the problem. He said Neville had a legit reason for wanting a rematch, as his initial title match didn't have a conclusive ending, so he booked a No. 1 contenders match between the two, where if Dallas couldn't beat Neville in 4.45, Neville would get a title shot. He then said the match will start immediately... [C]
[Q4] 5. Adrian Neville vs. Bo Dallas in a No. 1 Contenders Beat the Clock match. Dallas is wrestling in his street clothes. Dallas ended up on the outside early on, but as Neville came to get him, he pulled the apron curtain to make Neville trip up. Neville only just beat the 9 count to get back in the ring, and Dallas capitalised immediately. He kept Neville grounded as the match passed the 1.30 mark. After some forearm shots, Neville managed to fight back with forearms of his own, and after a few dropkicks, Neville went top rope, only for Dallas to roll out of the ring. He sold on the outside as it dawned on Neville that all he had to do was stay in the ring. When Dallas realised, he tried to chase Neville, but Neville merely ran away until the clock struck zero...
Adrian Neville outlasted the 4:45 time limit to earn an NXT Title Shot.
As Neville celebrated, Dallas tried to sneak attack him. Neville side stepped him to cause Bo to go shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Neville went top rope, hit the Red Arrow, and then counted the three. Neville posed with the NXT Title as NXT came to a close...
Gutt Reaction: The match was kinda anti-climatic. Dallas is a chickenshit heel, so there is no danger of a loss hurting his appeal. I'd of had Neville beat him clean here, further reinforcing the prospect of the title changing hands on the live special.
I'm hopefully the following month won't be full of episodes like this one, directed solely at hyping the Feb 27 episode. Don't get me wrong, it's a HUGE event for both NXT and the Network, but they can hype it in better ways than this. Squash matches will get very old, very fast, but surely they will have a better game plan in mind for the coming weeks. The episode built a lot of things, but wasn't hugely entertaining from a standalone point of view.
Thanks for reading. If you have any thoughts on the article, add me on Twitter - @DazatheG
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