Zim's WWE NXT Review: Adrian Neville vs. Corey Graves, Alexander Rusev vs. Sin Cara, Emma vs. Alicia Fox, Tyson Kidd vs. Aiden English, and Triple H announces the main event for the live NXT Arrival "PPV"
By Zack Zimmerman
Aired February 5, 2014 on Hulu Plus
Taped January 8, 2014 at Full Sail University
The opening video played…The show opened right into Sin Cara's entrance; zero reaction from the crowd. A replay recapped Sin Cara saving Xavier Woods from a post-match attack by Alexander Rusev two weeks ago, which is what led to this match. Lana introduced Alexander Rusev, who made his entrance to the music he came out to at the Royal Rumble.
1. Sin Cara vs. Alexander Rusev (w/ Lana). Mood lighting in effect for Sin Cara. He used his quickness to keep Rusev off his game in the opening minute. Cara botched a moonsault attempt onto a standing Rusev. Cara attempted a springboard maneuver, but Rusev caught him mid-air with a flying side kick to take control. Rusev used a variety of body, leg, and chest kicks to wear Cara down. The pace slowed and Rusev stayed in control with falling headbutts.
Shortly after the three-minute mark, Sin Cara managed to hit a tornado DDT out of the corner and began his comeback. He hit a springboard crossbody, running headscissors, and a handspring back-elbow for a two-count. Cara attempted a victory roll, but Rusev reversed it and planted him chest-first into the mat. Rusev then applied the Accolade and forced Sin Cara to tap out quickly.
Alexander Rusev defeated Sin Cara in about 4:45.
Once again, Rusev held the clutch until Lana instructed him to break it. Seconds later, she had him re-apply the hold. Two referees tried to pull him off, but he wouldn’t release it until Lana gave the signal…
Scott Stanford hyped Emma vs. Alicia Fox coming up next… [C]
Zim Says: Ok showing from Rusev that keeps his momentum rolling. Sin Cara came up short on the moonsault attempt and was pretty mediocre throughout the match. I think that gimmick has a tainted aura at this point and they certainly don't have the right guy under the mask.
Alicia Fox made her entrance as Renee Young joined Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Tensai on commentary. Emma was out next to a pretty good reaction. The camera panned to the commentary table where Tensai was doing the Emmalution dance. Before the bell, a replay showed Emma beating Natalya clean five weeks ago to become No. 1 Contender to Paige's NXT Women's Championship.
2. Alicia Fox vs. Emma. Emma just wanted to dance, but Fox wasn't having it. The two traded wristlocks while the four-person commentary booth talked over each other to assert points. Make it stop. Fox caught Emma with a single-leg dropkick and then reversed the Dil-Emma to maintain control. Fox hit a nice bridging northern lights suplex for two.
The crowd rallied and Emma reversed from the corner into a rollup attempt. Fox kicked out, but Emma hit a drop toe hold and connected with the Emma Sandwich in the corner. Emma used a catapult towards the middle of the ring and transitioned directly into the Emma Lock for the submission win.
Emma beat Alicia Fox in about 3:15.
Post-match, Emma took a microphone and addressed the crowd. She said she wanted to send her best wishes to Paige on a speedy recovery because when Paige is fully recovered, Emma is officially cashing in her rematch for the NXT Women's Championship.
Emma's music hit and she started to dance, but Sasha Banks hit the ring and went after Emma. Emma quickly tossed her to ringside, and then caught a charging Summer Rae with a Thesz Press. Alicia Fox re-entered the ring and pulled Emma off Summer. Charlotte finally made it to the ring with a trail of toilet paper stuck to her boot (okay, maybe not, but where the hell was she?).
The four heel women put the boots to Emma until Natalya's music hit and she hit the ring along with Bayley. The babyfaces cleaned house until it was the three babyfaces in the ring surrounding Summer Rae. Emma whipped her out of the ring by her hair and Emma's music hit. They all danced and it became pretty evident that Bayley and Emma have spent more time practicing their Emmalution than Nattie has…
Scott Stanford hyped Adrian Neville vs. Corey Graves for later in the show… [C]
Zim Says: Good stuff from the women here. My only complaint is that the heels looked really dumb for hitting the ring one at a time. What was up with that? Otherwise, that was one of the three longest segments on the show, and it was dedicated entirely to the ladies of NXT. That's pretty cool. This program has built well and I'm really hoping the big tag match lives up to its potential.
Back in the arena, Sylvester Lefort made his entrance. The commentators recapped that he had been searching for a new client, and last week a challenge presented itself that if Lefort wins this week, the man he beats will be his new client. Mason Ryan was out next.
3. Sylvester Lefort vs. Mason Ryan. Ryan backed Lefort into the corner, but Lefort managed to get in some shots and knee strikes. Seconds later, Ryan hoisted him up and dropped him across the top rope before hitting the ropes and nailing Lefort with a running boot. Ryan hit the Cobra Clutch slam and scored the pinfall…
Mason Ryan pinned Sylvester Lefort in about 0:50.
Backstage, Aiden English was at the interview set and requested a spotlight. The lights cut out and sure enough, he got a spotlight. He said that last week, he threatened a man in a wheelchair. He said he wasn't ashamed, he was celebrating it. He said when "that little greaseball, Goodfella-wannabe" ran over his foot, he took it to the next level. He said, however, that the curtain had dropped on that and tonight he was looking forward to his match with Tyson Kidd. He closed by singing, "Oh Canada, I hope I make you cry…" [C]
Zim Says: Filler segment. Not sure what they're planning on doing with Sylvester Lefort or Mason Ryan, and I can't say I care. As for English's interview, he came across composed and delivered it well.
Backstage, the roving reporter asked a sore Sylvester Lefort about Mason Ryan. Lefort said he didn't want to work with that guy anymore. He said he would get revenge; it doesn’t matter how, but he will get revenge…
Back in the arena, Aiden English sang himself to the ring to a more heelish and egotistical song than usual. Rather than closing with "WWE," he closed with "Aiden English, you sound like a dream." Tyson Kidd was out next. His music is terrible.
4. Aiden English vs. Tyson Kidd. Kidd used his agility and connected with a monkey flip. He went for a running crossbody, but English avoided it and Kidd crashed into the ropes, allowing English to take control. English hit a nice back suplex for two and then grounded Kidd in a facelock. English went for another back suplex, but Kidd flipped over and sent English face-first into the turnbuckles with a rana whip.
Kidd connected with a flurry of kicks, finished with a sliding dropkick for two. Kidd mocked English, but English took control and hit a vertical suplex for two. The crowd started yelling "Sawft" and the camera revealed that Colin Cassady had made his way to ringside. Cassady put on English's beret and scarf, distracting English and allowing Kidd to hit a diving blockbuster (that Tensai called No Kidding) for the win.
Tyson Kidd beat Aiden English in about 2:45.
Kidd celebrated as Cassady and English glared at each other from the ring to the ramp…
Scott Stanford hyped Adrian Neville vs. Corey Graves coming up next… [C]
Zim Says: Good action considering the match didn’t hit the three-minute mark. It had the right finish too. Cassady needs to get his comeuppance on English; I just hope they're able to find a way to do it where both guys benefit because they both need wins. That’s a concern I have going into the main event also. Neville can't lose going into his title match, and Graves is fresh off injury and shouldn’t take a loss in his first real match back.
Adrian Neville made his entrance for the main event. Corey Graves was out next. The commentators talked about the pent-up rage inside of Graves due to missing ring time with a concussion.
5. Adrian Neville vs. Corey Graves. Neville got the better of Graves so Graves took a powder. When Neville went in pursuit, Graves took control and went to work on Neville in the ring. Around the three-minute mark, Neville reversed a whip towards the ropes with an impressive flip and hit a hip toss that sent Graves ringside to take another powder. Neville hit the ropes and took Graves out at ringside with a flying tiger sault. Neville tossed Graves back in the ring, but Graves hit a dropkick to Neville's knee and Neville went down hard at ringside. [C]
Back from break, Graves had Neville grounded with a kneebar and continued to target the legs with his offense. Graves was springing off the ropes and delivering stomps to Neville when Neville caught him out of the air with a schoolboy for a quick two-count. Good spot. Graves went right back to the knee with a dropkick however, and continued to break down the legs of Neville with a dragon screw, a leg DDT, and another kneebar.
Neville used his free leg to land kicks to the back, but Graves hoisted Neville up in a fireman's carry and flipped him down into a single-knee backbreaker for three separate near-falls. Around the nine-minute mark, Graves had Neville at ringside and feigned a piledriver, but Neville reversed with a back body drop that bought him some time. Back in the ring, Neville began to fire up with running forearms, but he was selling the leg heavily.
Neville went to the top rope and connected with a missile dropkick for a two-count, but Graves came right back with his running front chop block and Neville went down hard clutching the leg. Graves was slow to react however, and Neville managed to roll out to the apron. He used the rope to connect with his high kick and Graves dropped. Neville struggled and dragged himself to the top rope before connecting with the Red Arrow and scoring the pinfall.
Adrian Neville beat Corey Graves in about 11:15.
The commentators put Neville over before Bo Dallas' music hit and he made his way to the ring in a suit, but removed his jacket at the top of the ramp. Neville was barely able to pull himself to his feet as Dallas got in the ring. Before anything could happen, Triple H's music hit and he walked to the ring.
Hunter took the NXT Title belt and said that the two men would go to war over it in a few weeks. He said with that in mind, he's doing what's best for business. He announced that on February 27, live on the WWE Network, they're going to hang the championship above the ring and Bo Dallas and Adrian Neville are going to compete in NXT's first ever ladder match. The crowd broke out in a loud "Yes!" chant and Triple H wished both men luck as they stared each other down to close the show.
Zim Says: The main event was fine, as expected from these two. That said, Corey Graves really shouldn’t have been taking the loss here and neither should Neville. This was a poor matchup to squeeze in before the live NXT. Creative should've capitalized on Graves' freshness coming off an injury break, but instead he's just back to being an upper-middle guy taking losses to the top guys. We had the news that Dallas vs. Neville would be a ladder match when the announcement was made, but it played out fine on this show; nothing much more to say other than I'm looking forward to it.
Overall, this was a fair show. I have some complaints which I feel like I've made clear, but the show held my attention throughout. With Alexander Rusev and Emma heading to the main roster, this show is worth checking out for a taste of what both have to offer. The main event was a solid match aside from the unnecessary Graves loss, but Neville looks as good as ever and is really being highlighted heading into his big title match at NXT Arrival. This show also did a decent job of setting up upcoming matches, but they don’t feel entirely important considering everything is living under the Arrival PPV's shadow until it happens. I'm hoping that the slightly lackluster shows we've been getting will ramp up in intensity and quality on the PPV and when the WWE Network run begins.
Be sure to check out Darren Gutteridge and myself on the Member-Exclusive Dot Net NXT Recap Podcasts each and every weekend!
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @InVasionZim or DotNetZim@gmail.com; always happy to discuss.
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