3/6 Zim's WWE NXT Review: NXT Champion Adrian Neville in action, Sami Zayn vs. Corey Graves, Adam Rose debuts, Emma vs. Charlotte, and NXT Arrival follow-up
By Zack Zimmerman
Aired March 6, 2014
Taped February 28, 2014 at Full Sail University
A great video package recapped NXT Arrival. The video featured fantastic slow-mo and still shots that highlighted Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro, Paige vs. Emma, and Adrian Neville beating Bo Dallas to win the NXT Championship… The new opening video played…
The show opened with the new NXT Champion Adrian Neville making his entrance to a good reaction. Camacho was already waiting in the ring.
1. Adrian Neville vs. Camacho in a non-title match. Neville extended his hand, but Camacho cocked off and kicked Neville in the gut. Neville ran up the turnbuckle and did a backflip over Camacho before connecting with a springboard crossbody to take control. Camacho took the upper hand with chops in the corner and hit a running powerslam for two.
Neville fired back with leg kicks and running forearms before connecting with a sliding dropkick to the head and a missile dropkick. He went to the top rope and nailed the Red Arrow for the clean win.
Adrian Neville pinned Camacho in about 2:50.
The commentators talked about how confident Neville looked as he celebrated with his championship. A replay showed the finish and Renee Young joined Neville in the ring. She congratulated his title win and asked him what it was like. Neville said it was indescribable. He said he's been able to travel the world and do what he does for the last 10 years, but Arrival was a pivotal win and the best night of his life. He said the most important thing is the NXT Championship on his shoulder. He said its validation.
He said it proves anything is possible. He told everyone to take a good look at him. He said he's not the prototypical champion. He said he looks like a crazy elf man; he comes from a small town in England that nobody's ever heard of, and then mentioned the accent. He asked if Renee could even understand him. He joked that sometimes he can't even understand himself. He said you can question the way he looks and talks, but you can't question what he does in the ring. He said that the NXT Championship proves that he's the best in that ring.
He said another great thing about Arrival is that it means no more Bo. The crowd chanted "No more Bo," before Bo's music hit and he made his way to the ring in a suit. Bo said that he had one thing to say to Neville, and that was congratulations. He said he always tells his Bo-lievers to be good sports, but Neville didn't pin him at Arrival. He said Neville climbed a ladder like a dad cleaning out the gutters. He said he hopes Neville's had the chance to take plenty of pictures with his title because he's cashing in his rematch soon and taking back the championship for the Bo-lievers. He said, "It's Bo time," before leaving the ring…
A backstage interview from Arrival had Renee Young interviewing Emma following her loss in her title match against Paige. Emma said it was a little disappointing. She said Paige is tougher than anyone she's ever faced and at least she earned Paige's respect. She said they're friends after all. She said she can move on because she knows she'll be a champion someday in WWE.
Just then, Ric Flair walked onto the set and put his arm around Emma. Fair asked who she thought she was to say who's tough. He said that Paige and Emma are both going to have to realize that the next NXT Women's Champion is Charlotte. Charlotte walked on set and apologized for Emma's loss. She patronized Emma while Emma stared blankly back at her. Charlotte asked if she was listening, and Emma snapped at her with her dance before walking off set. Flair told Charlotte that she got in Emma's head… Scott Stanford hyped that they would be facing each other after the break... [C]
Zim Says: Wow that was a loaded opening segment. First off, fine squash for new champ Neville and very solid interview afterwards. Bo didn't sell the title loss as intensely nor comedic-sad as I anticipated and I'm actually a little disappointed he didn't play it up more. The Emma interview was fine and I appreciate that they use Flair's sporadic appearances logically; I just have no desire to see Charlotte in the ring until she improves a good bit.
Renee Young's interview with Paige post-Arrival aired. Paige said there was no doubt in her mind that she was going to win going into the match, but Emma put up a hell of a fight. She said that she respects Emma and even considers her a friend. She said now that it's out of the way, she would like to welcome all challengers. Again, Ric Flair walked on set. He said that Paige is awesome, but she has Charlotte to look forward to in her future. Charlotte again walked on set and congratulated Paige. Charlotte formally introduced herself as the woman who would be taking the Women's Championship from Paige…
Back in the arena, Renee Young joined Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and William Regal on commentary. Emma made her entrance as Regal and Young danced along on commentary. Emma made ring announcer Eden and referee Jason Ayers dance as well. Charlotte was out next accompanied by Sasha Banks and Summer Rae's face on a Popsicle stick. They dubbed in new music for Charlotte's entrance.
2. Emma vs. Charlotte (w/ Sasha Banks). Renee called Charlotte the "Dirtiest Diva in the game" and Regal winced. Funny. Both ladies traded armlocks and Emma appeared to be the more proficient of the two. The crowd chanted "better than Batista" and Emma got a two-count on a rollup. Charlotte went up-and-over in the corner and then went down selling her ankle. She sold it convincingly and Sasha jumped up onto the apron. Emma turned to Sasha for a moment, allowing Charlotte to jumped up and hit her rolling neck snap to score the win.
Charlotte beat Emma in about 3:00.
Renee said that Charlotte was indeed the "Dirtiest Diva in the Game" before a replay showed the feigned injury and the finish…
Another backstage interview from Arrival with Sami Zayn aired. Zayn said it was a really wide range of emotions he's feeling. He wasn't willing to divulge what Cesaro said to him when they hugged after their match, but said "I got what I wanted out of that match…"
Corey Graves was shown walking backstage and was advertised against Yoshi Tatsu next… [C]
Zim Says: Meh. The match was what it was. It covered for Charlotte's green-ness but doesn't leave me any more optimistic about her future in-ring emphasis. "Dirtiest Diva in the Game" isn't a nickname one would want. The follow-up to Zayn vs. Cesaro was what it should've been and I can only hope they revisit this program on the main roster. Man, the things I would give to know what Cesaro actually said to Zayn in the ring after that match…
Back in the arena, Yoshi Tatsu made his entrance. Corey Graves was out next with his new entrance. It sounds like NIN which is fitting. He took a mic and said he had something to get off his chest. He introduced himself to everyone watching for the first time. He said he shouldn't have to introduce himself because he should've been introduced on NXT Arrival. He said now he gets to make his first Network appearance against a guy who still thinks he has a chance of being a star.
He said that there's been something else sticking in his brain, and that is Sami Zayn. He said that all anyone can talk about is Zayn's match with Cesaro, but Zayn didn’t win. He said apparently all you need is heart to get chance after chance against guys you can't beat. Graves said he would only need one chance and he could beat Cesaro. But instead, he said, he's stuck here facing a guy who hasn’t been relevant since ever.
3. Corey Graves vs. Yoshi Tatsu. Graves rolled to ringside and said "forget this" before backing up the ramp. Tatsu went after him and Graves clotheslined him hard. Graves rammed Tatsu into the ringsteps and then slid back into the ring. The referee counted to ten and Tatsu wasn't quite able to make it back into the ring.
Corey Graves defated Yoshi Tatsu by countout in about 1:30.
Graves went to ringside and wore Tatsu down. He rolled him back in the ring before continuing his assault and locking in Lucky 13. Sami Zayn's music hit and he hit the ring in a hurry to make the save, but Graves slipped to ringside and avoided Zayn. Loud "Ole" chants for Zayn. He took a mic and said he didn’t know they had a problem, but apparently they do. He said if Graves wanted an opportunity, all he had to do was ask. He said they would do it tonight…
The commentators threw to a video exclusive of an "Adam Rose dance party." Devin Taylor ventured into a bizarre room with dance music playing and a cast of strange characters. Developmental talent wearing golden suits, body spandex, Roman armor, yellow afros, Waldo, etc. danced around the camera before Taylor made it to the VIP section where Adam Rose (the former Leo Kruger) was sitting with a girl in a show-girl outfit. Kruger promised that everything we know is about to change. Taylor tried to interview him but Rose said it's a party and she's being boring. His entrance music hit and everyone danced. Kalisto f/k/a Samuray Del Sol and Solomon Crowe f/k/a Sami Callihan had prominent cameos…
Zim Says: Good "first appearance" from Graves. He's one of the most experienced guys in developmental and I'm glad he's back in the picture. The vignette for Rose was fine, but I'm so excited to re-live his entrance. It's too fun.
A slow-mo and still shot video package recapped Alexander Rusev destroying Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze at NXT Arrival… Renee Young interviewed Woods afterwards and asked how he felt. He said he felt like he got kicked-in by a monster. He called Rusev an "Ivan Drago-looking piece of garbage" and said that makes him Creed. He said he would see Rusev in the ring… Renee Young then interviewed Rusev and Lana. Rusev spoke in Bulgarian. Lana simply said "Rusev says he accepts," regarding Woods' challenge… Scott Stanford hyped that the match would take place next week…
Back in the arena, Adam Rose's party posse danced on the stage until his music crescendo-ed and he emerged from the group as everyone yelled "Woo!" Rose danced onto the apron and with another "Woo," he performed a trust-fall onto the posse. They body-surfed him around the ring and back onto the apron where he continued to dance and prance to the music. When it finished, the crowd broke out in a loud "that was awesome" chant. His opponent was already in the ring.
4. Adam Rose vs. Wesley Blake. The crowd chanted "Adam Rose" before Rose tucked himself into a ball and rolled himself around in the ring quickly. Cool spot. One guy in the crowd yelled "We want Kruger" and a bunch of people booed that. Rose chopped Blake and then hung himself in the ropes so Blake couldn't get to him and then taunted him. Rose kicked Blake from that position and hit the ropes with a shoulder tackle before settling into an armlock.
Rose fired up and took Blake down before mauling him with knees and elbows. Kruger twisted the arm and planted Blake with a hard spinebuster. Kruger pelvic-thrusted in the corner and then yelled "choo-choo" before delivering the lariat formerly known as The Slice for the win.
Adam Rose over Wesley Blake in about 2:30.
Rose danced around the ring before the party posse came back onto the stage and danced Rose to the back…
Scott Stanford hyped Sami Zayn vs. Corey Graves up next… [C]
Zim Says: I love this Adam Rose gimmick. Don’t get me wrong, I was super high on Leo Kruger and still think he had a really good shot as the maniacal alpha-male character, but having been there in person for this entrance and debut, I must admit that it's incredibly infectious. We'll see how it holds up and if it catches on.
Corey Graves made his entrance for the main event. Sami Zayn was out next to a big pop.
5. Corey Graves vs. Sami Zayn. A loud "Sami" chant broke out at the bell but Graves hit a kick to the gut and went straight to work on Zayn. Zayn tried to fire back around the minute-mark, but Graves shut it down and worked a headlock. Zayn fought out and was able to hit his trademark series of armdrags to send Graves to ringside. Zayn appeared like he was going to dive out of the ring, but Graves moved so Zayn performed an Arabian moonsault and landed on his feet in the ring. Loud "Ole" chants. Graves regained control a short time later going into the break. [C]
Graves had Zayn grounded in a nice modified chinlock and quelled a comeback attempt as the crowd rallied with "Let's go Sami" chants. Graves went to work on the neck and knee of Zayn, which the commentators mentioned was worked over at Arrival and injured in the months prior to Arrival. Graves got a two-count with a back suplex and stayed in control until the seven-minute mark.
Zayn fired back and hit a backdrop, but Graves caught Zayn in a fireman's carry and flipped him forward into a backbreaker for a near-fall. Zayn broke free and hit a double-jump diving crossbody for a near-fall of his own. Moments later, he connected with the spinning blue-thunder bomb for another near-fall. Zayn set up in the corner and charged for the Yakuza kick, but Graves hit his chop block. Graves went for Lucky 13, but Zayn reversed into a small-package for a near-fall. Graves got Zayn on his shoulders for another backbreaker, but Zayn rolled forward and hooked an inside cradle for the win.
Sami Zayn pinned Corey Graves in about 9:45.
Graves steamed in the ring while Zayn backed up the ramp and celebrated his victory to close the show.
Zim Says: Good back-and-forth match with Graves looking strong and Zayn playing his natural underdog role. Nice main event to a nice show.
Strong show. I liked the NXT Arrival follow-up videos and they did a good job of establishing where things are headed straight out of the gate from Arrival. The addition of new characters like Adam Rose brings a fresh feel to long-time viewers and will continue to keep the show moving forward. Like I mentioned, I would've liked to see Bo play up his title loss a bit more, but it was fine and Neville was showcased strongly right away. I'm very satisfied with how this show played out and am looking forward to how things progress from here.
I'll go more in-depth this weekend on the Member-Exclusive Dot Net NXT Recap Podcast with Darren Gutteridge, so be sure to tune in!
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @DotNetZim or DotNetZim@gmail.com; always happy to discuss.
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