Welcome one and all. ‘Tis the season to be enthralled by all things developmental in WWE NXT. In fact, this is a landmark episode for the show. This is the 200th time that NXT has been the best wrestling show on TV!
At the kick-off, WWE COO Triple H is making his way to the ring. Hunter says he likes hearing fans chant NXT and explains we’re here to celebrate NXT’s 200th episode. He recounts talents that have gone on from NXT to the main roster, he misses out Big E Langston but the fans remind him with a ‘5’ chant. He says that this is where the future begins and thanks the fans. Nice introduction from Trips there and fans are most definitely ready (I know because Hunter asked them twice).
Out for our first match, which is to be a tag match, is Sami Zayn. Our announce team is Tensai, Byron Saxton and Tom Phillips. Zayn’s partner is to be Canadian, Tyson Kidd. Their first opponent is Leo Kruger. His partner, representing the Real Americans, is Swiss, Antonio Cesaro.
Sami Zayn & Tyson Kidd vs. Leo Kruger & Antonio Cesaro
Tyson and Leo start. Shoulder block from Kruger and a nice arm drag from Kidd get this match going. Zayn tags in. Kruger retreats to his corner and brings in Cesaro. The fans chant ‘match of the year’ in honour of Zayn and Cesaro’s incredible 2 out of 3 falls match on a past edition of NXT.
After the two grapple, Sami attempts a ten count in the corner but Cesaro blocks. Zayn brings in Kidd.
Impressive pin attempt by Kidd. Kidd tries to leapfrog Cesaro but the Swiss powerhouse catches him and inflicts an impressive back-breaker. We go to a break.
When we come back, Kidd is stuck in his opponent’s corner and Kruger is on the attack. Kidd comes back though but is kept from making a tag by one of Kruger’s trademark spinebusters. Tag brings Cesaro in.
Cesaro manhandles Kidd before bringing Kruger back in. Only briefly though as Cesaro is straight back into the ring. The two carry out a double-team. Kidd looks to be getting to his partner but a Swiss clothesline puts a stop to that. He sends a kick to Zayn for good measure. Tag brings Kruger in.
A headlock from Kruger and then a tag to Cesaro. They go for another double team but Kidd blocks. Kruger sprints toward Kidd but the Canadian drops and pulls the ropes, sending the South African to the outside. Cesaro goes for a big splash in the corner but Kidd evades once again. Kidd is a long way from his corner. Cesaro tags Kruger in.
Kruger grabs Kidd on his way to the corner but Kidd manages to shake him off and bring in Zayn.
Sami comes in hot and takes out both of his opponents. Big cross body from the top onto Kruger. Sprints toward Leo in the corner but is met by the South African’s knee. Kruger goes for The Slice but Zayn counters impressively. Cesaro breaks up the pin.
Kidd hip tosses Cesaro from the ring to the floor before flying to the outside himself to inflict more damage on Cesaro.
Big kick to Kruger in the corner from Zayn. Zayn pins and picks up the win.
Winners: Sami Zayn & Tyson Kidd
Backstage, Natalya is watching her husband’s match whilst Emma is dancing behind her. Nattie accuses Emma of almost poking her eye out and the Australian says that Total Divas has changed her for the worse. Emma brings up Natalya’s shot at the NXT Women’s Championship against Paige. Nattie Emma’s dancing (how dare she, get her Emma!). Natalya sets up a match between the two, Emma agrees.
Back from the break, Sasha Banks and Summer Rae are making their way to the ring. Sasha’s opponent is to be NXT Women’s Champion Paige.
Sasha Banks w/ Summer Rae vs. Paige
Paige goes for Banks at the bell and after some hair tugging; Banks comes back with some dreadful looking slaps. Summer distracts the Champ and Banks capitalises.
Paige gets in an elbow but Sasha locks in a submission. Paige breaks free by driving Sasha back into the corner. Banks remains in control but Paige counters nicely. Three clotheslines from the Brit, before a dropkick to Banks.
As Paige hits the ropes, Summer Rae clutches her boots. Banks goes to attack Paige but misses and hits Summer Rae instead.
Big kick to the mid-section of Banks from Paige. Paige Tuner and a win for the Women’s Champion.
Backstage, the SAWFT brigade are interrupted by “The Artiste” Aiden English. Enzo informs English that Big Cass can sing better than English. They go through an annoying routine about the meaning of the word ‘moi’ that would not have looked out place in ‘Dude Where’s My Car?’ Thankfully it doesn’t last long though. English suggests a singing competition between the two, Cass accepts.
Up next, The Ascension’s open challenge for the NXT tag-team titles. The Champs are in the ring. Music hits and then the American Wolves, Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards enter. It seems that in WWE, should they officially sign, they will be known as the American Pitbulls. I saw Richards at FutureShock Wrestling in Stockport, Manchester recently and sincerely hope that their stint in WWE proves successful.
The Ascension (c) vs. The American Pitbulls
Richards and Victor lock up to begin the match. Richards is for some reason now named Derek Billington and Edwards is now John Cahill. Who comes up with this stuff?! Victor takes early control. Billington manages to get to the corner and bring in Billington. The Ascension also makes a tag.
Billington makes a tag as O’Brian sends Cahill into the ropes (I hope you appreciate me sticking with these awful awful names WWE). A couple of nice double-teams from the Pitbulls, the latter sends Victor to the outside.
O’Brian takes out Billington before bringing Victor back in. I heard Richards got a neck injury in this match, I can see why, ouch! Victor lifts Billington up for a belly to back; Billington goes to use the momentum to land on his feet. He doesn’t quite spin over properly and ends up landing awkwardly on his head. Like I said, ouch!
Victor goes for the same move and this time Billington lands correctly. Billington makes toward The Pitbulls’ corner to make the tag. Victor holds Billington’s leg to stop him but Billington connects with an enziguri second time lucky. Cahill comes in.
He takes down Victor and goes after O’Brian in the corner. Running high knee from Cahill on Victor. Pin broke up by O’Brian. O’Brian sent to the outside after Cahill drops the rope. Victor sent flying after him. Double suicide dive from The American Pitbulls.
Back in the ring, Billington tagged in and he goes up top. Billington lets out a howl (a bit like a wolf would do) and drops a big head-butt onto Victor. Two-count. Billington off the ropes but Victor with a big counter and a tag to O’Brian.
Victor takes out Cahill and The Ascension hit the Fall of Man to retain.
Winners: The Ascension
After the match, Hunico and Camacho are out to the ramp to stare down the Champs. In response, Ascension send a message to them with a double team on Cahill before hitting another Fall of Man. They held their belts in the direction of Hunico & Camacho.
Backstage, Kofi Kingston is at NXT. He says he is glad to be finally here at NXT for the 200th episode. Lana interrupts. Kingston doesn’t understand, neither do I. In English, she says that Rusev wants to crush him next week. Kingston accepts a match next week. Interesting to see how that one will go.
When we next go to the ring, it is surrounded by wrestlers for our main event lumberjack match for the NXT Championship match. Hall of Famer Howard Finkle handles the introductions. Out first is challenger, Adrian Neville. He’s followed by the Champion, Bo Dallas.
Adrian Neville vs. Bo Dallas (c)
The two circle and then lock up. Bo attempts to throw Neville to the outside but a handstand against the ropes keeps the Brit in. A kick from the Geordie (person from Newcastle) sends the Champ to the mat.
Dallas rolls outside but the lumberjacks sends him straight back in. Roll up gets Neville a two-count. A strike to the mid-section puts Bo in charge. The Champ tosses Neville out to the lumberjacks.
Tyler Breeze tries sending Neville back in but he blocks it and slaps Breeze across the face and gets himself back in. Deep arm drag on the Champ. We go to break.
When we come back, Dallas is in control but Neville quickly counters to reverse the momentum. Dallas on his knees and Neville lands some powerful kicks. Dallas avoids one though and sends Neville to the outside. He is tossed right back in.
After a submission break, Dallas body slams Neville. As Dallas follows up, Neville kicks Dallas. Bo does the same as Neville approaches. Dallas remains in control and is throwing elbows. He drops Neville with a big clothesline.
Bo goes for a bulldog out of the corner but Neville escapes. Neville aims kicks at Bo’s legs before hitting a flying cross body. More high-speed kick attacks from the Englishman.
Dallas comes out with a counter but Neville retains control with an enziguri. Standing shooting star press from the man that gravity forgot. Neville body slams the Champ in the corner and heads up to the top, presumably for the Red Arrow. Dallas rolls out of the way, to the outside and tries escaping up the ramp.
All the lumberjacks (except Breeze) go after him and Neville flips out onto all of them! Neville tosses Bo back in the ring. He goes up for Red Arrow again. One of the lumberjacks distracts the referee. Breeze drags Bo from the ring, off the distraction. Neville connects with the mat after attempting to hit Red Arrow.
Bo takes advantage and pins Neville. 1-2-3. Bo retains.
Winner: Bo Dallas
With that, the 200th edition of NXT draws to a close. That was my favourite episode in a long time and it had that big show feel to it. I strongly recommend checking it out, if you haven’t already.
The tag match that begun the show got things off to the perfect start and even though I expected some Regal involvement at the end, the match was impressive all the same.
I didn’t much enjoy the Divas match this week, it felt a little shoehorned into the show. Both ladies have separate storylines going on and their meeting one another felt disjointed. I’m not convinced about Banks in the ring and she gave the kick to Summer Rae away from the minute she lifted her leg, in what was described as a baseball slide.
It was great to see the debut of The American Pitbulls for two main reasons. The first is because I want these guys in WWE. The second is because The Ascension’s match dynamic completely changed and it felt fresh. I could have done without the post-match attack on the Pitbulls as it made them seem less important, nothing irreversible though. Kudos to Billington (Richards) for finishing the match after the neck injury.
The main event capped things off nicely. By no means a classic wrestling match, the story told was an enjoyable one. It sets up a feud between Neville and Breeze and allows Bo to move on to a new challenger. Bo is the most hated man in NXT and this will have gone a long way to exacerbate that.
Due to the Christmas break there isn’t going to be a report next week but don’t worry, we won’t be missing much. The NXT being shown is a rewind show, highlighting the last year in developmental.
All that is left for me to do is to wish you all a happy holidays, seasons greeting or a happy Wednesday, dependent on your persuasions. To those who celebrate; Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!
– By Richard Thompson