2/6 Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: Adrian Neville vs. Corey Graves, Alexander Rusev vs. Sin Cara, Emma vs. Alicia Fox, and Aiden English vs. Tyson Kidd
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped January 9 in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] After titles, we joined Sin Cara mid-entrance. They replayed Sin Cara saving Xavier Woods from Alexander Rusev two weeks ago, an event that has lead to tonight's match. The commentators - Tensai, Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton – spoke about Rusev's debut in the Royal Rumble as he made his way to the ring...
1. Sin Cara vs. Alexander Rusev. It seems even NXT isn't safe from the Sin Cara mood lighting, as the ring immediately became lit in yellow. Sin Cara went for a moonsault to a standing Rusev in the opening minute, but he seemed to come up a little short. Sin Cara tried to follow up with a springboard move, but Rusev sprung up with a dropkick in a nice spot. Rusev started wearing Sin Cara down with kicks before eventually locking in an armbar.
Sin Cara wasn't in the hold long, escaping to the corner and hitting a sloppy looking tornado DDT. A followup springboard crossbody brought him a two count, as did a handspring elbow. He went for a head scissors, only for Rusev to turn it into a wheelbarrow slam. Rusev motioned for, and then applied, the Accolade, and Sin Cara tapped quickly...
Alexander Rusev defeated Sin Cara in 4:43.
Rusev released the Accolade, only for Lana to snap her fingers so he would reapply it. He broke the hold after a while before posing... [C]
Gutt Reaction: I honestly thought we'd get a longer match from these two, considering the angle that set it up. It's the right move for Rusev to go over, but this fairly big victory didn't stand out from any other squash matches he has had recently, when it really could have. Also, just as NXT wasn't immune to mood lighting, Hunico doesn't seem immune to the “botched move” voodoo that lurks in the Sin Cara mask.
[Q2] Alicia Fox wasn't greeted with much gusto from the Full Sail cult, but Emma received a nice pop. Renee Young joined commentary, and as the camera showed her sat at the commentary table, Tensai started doing the Emma dance...
2. Emma vs. Alicia Fox. Emma kept dancing after the bell rang, and it annoyed Fox. She attacked viciously, building to a nice one legged dropkick. She threw Emma to the corner, but as she approached, Emma caught her off guard with the Dil-Emma. She couldn't get it applied properly though, so Fox managed to escape, bring the action back to the middle of the ring, and put Emma down with a Northern lights suplex.
Another corner attack from Fox went awry, as this time Emma ducked her charge to cause her to run into the turnbuckle. Emma capitalised quickly with her running crossbody, and applied the Emma Lock shortly after to pick up the submission victory...
Emma defeated Alicia Fox in 3:12.
After the match, Emma grabbed a mic. She wished Paige a speedy recovery from her injury, as when she is fully fit, she wants to cash in her rematch for the NXT Women's title.
She started to dance, but was interrupted by a run-in from Sasha Banks. Emma side stepped her, but was soon took down by the combined efforts of Summer Rae, Charlotte and Alicia Fox. Backup arrived in the form of Natalya and Bayley, and they quickly cleared the ring (although Charlotte jumped out of the ring before either of them slid in). Rae was left alone in the ring, and Emma threw her to the mat before she rolled out of the ring...
Gutt Reaction: Another big win for Emma, who has now knocked off two former Divas champions (a fact the commentators were quick to point out). The after match attack made little sense, considering Emma has kind of been on the outskirts of the BFFs/Bayley and Natalya feud, but if this is a sign that the programme is finally coming to a conclusion, I'm all for it.
Sylvester Lefort came out in wrestling gear for the first time on NXT, and had a fairly impressive physique. Nothing compared to Mason Ryan's, but 90% of the roster can't be held to his standards...
3. Mason Ryan vs. Sylvester Lefort. The commentators relayed the stipulation that if Lefort wins, Ryan must join his “Fighting Legionnaires” stable. Despite a brief opening flurry, Lefort soon found himself on the mat following a running big boot from Ryan. He quickly put Lefort away with a Cobra Clutch slam...
Mason Ryan defeated Sylvester Lefort in 0:50.
Gutt Reaction: I guess I got my wish for a Mason Ryan squash match. I will say Lefort looked surprisingly good body wise.
Backstage, Aiden English was shown sat in a chair. He asked for a spotlight. He said last week, he threatened a man in a wheelchair, but Enzo Amore had forced him to take things to that level after running over his foot the week prior. He said the curtain had now fell on that event, and he now looks forward to his next challenge – taking on Tyson Kidd tonight. He started singing the Canadian national anthem as he walked off set... [C]
[Q3] Backstage, Sylvester Lefort told a roving reporter that he would get revenge on Mason Ryan...
English made his usual singing entrance ahead of his match with Kidd, who received very little reaction as he made his way to the ring...
4. Tyson Kidd vs. Aiden English. After some back and forth, Kidd took the first real strong foothold in the match when he launched English into the turnbuckle with a head scissors. Kidd picked up the pace, culminating his flurry with a running dropkick. He ended up on the apron, which is where English made his attempt to regain control by hitting him with a running knee while Kidd was attempting a shoulder block.
After English put Kidd down with a suplex, Colin Cassady appeared at ringside, and he proceeded to put English's beret and scarf on. This distracted English long enough for Kidd to climb to the top rope behind him, and catch him with an Over Castle neckbreaker when he turned back round. This got Kidd the 1-2-3...
Tyson Kidd defeated Aiden English in 2:41.
Kidd toyed with the beret and scarf as Cassady backed up the ramp, smiling... [C]
Gutt Reaction: Logical follow up to last week, but good Lord am I bored of short matches now. This is like the 15th straight one over these past 3 weeks, and I'm at critical mass. The main event better for 10+ or I'm going to overload.
Adrian Neville received a warm welcome for his entrance, but the same could not be said for Corey Graves...
5. Adrian Neville vs. Corey Graves. Neville ran rings around Graves early on, using his speed to outwit him. Graves ended up on the outside after a few minutes, and Neville took him out with a beautiful dive over the top rope. He threw Graves back in the ring, but as he got to the apron, Graves met him with a low dropkick to send him tumbling to the floor. This sent us to the last commercial break... [C]
[Q4] Graves had Neville in a leg lock when we returned. Even after he forced Graves to break the hold, Neville sold the damage, which lead to Graves zeroing in on the injury even more. After several minutes of working the leg over, Graves switched gears by dropping Neville with a vicious backbreaker for a two count. Neville rolled to the outside to recuperate, but Graves followed him out. He seemed to be going for a piledriver, but Neville reversed with a backdrop.
Back in the ring, Neville desperately hit Graves with kicks, trying to create some separation. He managed to put Graves down with a missile dropkick, but when both men returned to their feet, it was Graves who was quicker off the mark with a low chop block. Neville once again rolled to the apron, and suckered Graves in close so he could deliver a roundhouse kick. He hauled himself to the top rope, and managed to launch the Red Arrow...
Adrian Neville defeated Corey Graves in 11:19.
Bo Dallas' music played shortly after the bell rang, and he slowly made his way to the ring with a serious expression on his face. Tensai pointed out that Neville wouldn't retreat usually, but right now he couldn't if he wanted to.
As Dallas got in the ring, Triple H's music played. He walked to the ring, and said he wanted to talk to both of them. He picked up the NXT Title, and said the pair would go to war on February 27th for it. He said he wanted the night to be special, so he decided to book something that had never happened on NXT before. He announced that the title match would now be a ladder match, and the crowd popped huge. Dallas looked worried, while Neville seemed overjoyed. The two posed with the title as Triple H looked on ...
Gutt Reaction: Well it took three tries, but we finally got an interesting show closing segment from the Dallas/Neville feud. The match (which, at 10 minutes in length, prevented a minor meltdown here at Gutteridge towers) was well done, with Graves managing to look vicious in defeat, while giving Neville a ton of sympathy. The post match stuff was also executed well. The crowd popped big for the stipulation announcement, and rightly so – it should be a landmark match in NXT history.
However, the ending was not enough to salvage YET ANOTHER short match heavy show. I'm sick to the back teeth of episodes from this tapping now, and I sincerely hope the last episode shows some improvements in match time. Quality hasn't necessarily been bad, but all good things accomplished have been swept away by the breakneck speed at which they arrived and left. I mean, what is this, IMPACT or something?!?
Thanks for reading. If you have any thoughts on the article, add me on Twitter - @DazatheG
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