Hello and welcome everyone to this week’s report on NXT here at The Wrestling Mania!
We kick off with a recap of the NXT title situation from last week. Remember that ‘Beat the Clock Challenge’ that I loved so much? Yeah, that. By the way, since I’m asking questions, did you check out the photos of Leo Kruger’s new gimmick? What’s that about?
As we go to Full-Sail, Yoshi Tatsu is making his entrance. His opponent is to be Antonio Cesaro. The crowd join the Swiss in the ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ routine.
In the ring, Cesaro has hold of Byron Saxton and it is all too much to see for William Regal, who leaves the commentary position. Regal pulls Saxton out of the ring and stares Cesaro down. Cesaro looks less than impressed. Just me that’s very excited right now?
Yoshi Tatsu v. Antonio Cesaro
The bell rings and Tatsu looks to take advantage of a distracted Cesaro and rolls him up for a two-count. Cesaro faces some early Tatsu offence but catches the man from Tokyo in mid-air and drives him into the mat.
Renee Young plays up Cesaro’s strength and asks a returning Regal what just happened. He says that he and Byron are friends and he doesn’t accept people taking liberties with his friends. Regal says he’s an old villain who has done all this stuff before but he’s changed his ways as he has got older. Regal says he can’t sleep due to all the diabolical things he’s done, that lumberjack gimmick was pretty bad, I guess.
Cesaro gets Tatsu in position and signals for the big swing, much to the delight of those in attendance. If there’s ever a time when I don’t enjoy seeing this move then you have my permission to inflict it upon me.
Ceasro looks over at Regal, as Tatsu is down, and shows him what he’s done. Cesaro locks in a rear chin lock (it was actually a sleeper hold but Regal called it a chin lock, therefore it is a chin lock).
The Swiss gets Tatsu into position for The Neutralizer and once again stares in the direction of our beloved Regal. Cesaro even manages a wave at him before dropping Tatsu.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
We go backstage to an interview with Bo Dallas. Bo says something but I’m not sure what, I’m too distracted by him being quite funny and yet insanely annoying. Turning him heel was by far the greatest move all those months ago.
A similarly annoying, yet seemingly unintended in this circumstance, CJ Parker gets in the way of Bo and interrupts the interview. Parker challenges Bo to a match tonight, Bo accepts.
As we come back from a break, CJ Parker enters the arena. Following him is NXT Champion Bo Dallas.
CJ Parker v. Bo Dallas
At the bell, the two circle one another before a collar and elbow tie-up. The crowd don’t really seem who to dislike more as Bo takes control. I know it isn’t for the belt but seems a bit odd to let CJ face Bo whilst bypassing the challenge from last week.
Parker manages to evade Bo’s onslaught and get in some offence of his own. CJ hits a high knee on Bo in the corner. Parker hits a DDT and gets a two-count on the Champ.
Parker goes to the top rope but Dallas falls backwards into the rope and CJ comes tumbling down. Dallas connects with a Tornado Bulldog (if there is such a thing) and picks up the win.
Winner: Bo Dallas
A rather pointless outing for the Champion there, the return of Bo to the ring could and should have been saved for his title defence.
Backstage, we have an interview with Australian native, Emma. Emma says that she was attacked by the BFFs in the locker room and sustained some head injuries. She says that she will be back better than ever before Paige interrupts.
The NXT Women’s Champion says that if what she says is true then there will be no excuses after their match for the title. Both question the accidents that led to each lady decking the other in previous weeks. Emma concludes thing in humorous fashion.
Back from an ad break, we see Paige once again. She is joined by Natalya. Nattie asks why Paige was so rude to her, to the bemusement of the Brit. Paige says that being involved in Total Divas has made Nattie think she’s too big for NXT and both women’s championships in WWE. Nattie refutes this, leading to Paige challenging the Canadian to a match. To quote the great George Takei, Oh My!
The gorgeous one, Tyler Breeze is making his way to ring. Following him is his opponent Kassius Ohno *sniff sniff*.
Before Ohno can reach the ring, Alexander Rusev rushes to ting and decks Ohno from behind. Rusev exits and Ohno is checked on. It looks like Ohno is headed to the back but he breaks away from the trainer and gets in the ring.
Tyler Breeze v. Kassius Ohno
The bell rings and the match is to go ahead. Breeze connects with the Beauty Shot and picks up the win.
Winner: Tyler Breeze
Backstage, the BFFs have a phone and playing ‘hot or not’. Charlotte is exited from the room before Bayley enters. Bayley is still looking for Charlotte after she turned on her two weeks ago. Summer and Banks says that Charlotte has moved up in the world now. Bayley informs the BFFs that they will have a tag match against her and her mystery partner.
After a break, we are once again backstage. This time for an interview between Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville, the two men who will face off in tonight’s main event. Neville says they’ve both known each other a long time but tonight is about the NXT championship and getting to the main roster. The two bicker about who wants it more.
We go back to ringside where Hunico and Camacho enter for their match against The Ascension.
Hunico & Camacho v. The Ascension
Rick Victor and Camcho get this match underway. Victor starts off in control but Camacho soon takes over, something we’ve not seen in any of The Ascension’s recent matches.
Camacho drops a big leg drop on Victor and tags in Hunico. Hunico manages a senton and a cross body before Victor gets on top and tags in Conor O’Brien.
O’Brien drives Hunico into the corner and inflicts punishment upon him until tagging Victor back in. O’Brien is soon tagged in again. Another tag, Victor in.
The Ascension inflicts a double team upon Hunico and then O’Brien sends Camacho to the floor. O’Brien ends up outside too.
Inside the ring, Hunico is sent into the ropes and Victor attempts a tilt a’whirl but Hunico counters with a pin. Hunico gets a surprise win.
Winner: Hunico & Camacho
A win in a non-title match over the champions should mean we get a title match between these two teams. This match had nothing to suggest that it will be anything to look forward too much but evolved The Ascension from squash matches.
Next up, we have our main event. I am looking forward to this and they have a good amount of time to put on something special. Neville comes out first. Zayn follows. NXT Champion Bo Dallas is on commentary.
Adrian Neville v. Sami Zayn – Winner becomes #1 contender to the NXT Championship
Bell rings and we get an ROH style handshake to begin the contest. The match begins with some back and forth between the two men which Neville helps to make look a million times better than it is. A really nice way to start the match.
The two run the ropes and it concludes with a couple of lovely arm drags. Things have picked up in pace. As quick as the pace picked up, it comes to a halt. Both men enjoy a breather and the crowd sound off their appreciation.
We get some more running the ropes, Zayn goes to take advantage but Neville counters and hits a lightning quick hurricanrana, sending Zayn to the outside. Not one to wait around, Neville sets up to attack to the floor but Zayn dives back in and meets Neville with an elbow. Now it is Neville outside the ring.
Zayn attempts a dive to the outside and hits Neville successfully. We go to a break.
When we come back, we are in the corner and both men exchange chops. Neville comes off the ropes and Zayn inflicts a tilt a’whirl backbreaker on the Geordie. Neville kicks out at two.
Zayn attempts the running big boot to Neville in the corner but the Englishman evades and the Canadian ends up on the outside once again. Neville is stood on the apron with his back to Zayn. He bounces off of the top rope and hits a hell of a moonsault on Zayn. WOW!
Neville gets Zayn back into the ring and hits a springboard missile dropkick. Zayn kicks out at two.
The two both get a few counters in and the sequence culminates in one hell of a spinning powerbomb by Zayn. Once again, WOW!
Zayn positions himself once again for the running boot in the corner but misses once again, thanks to a big boot from Neville. Both men struggle to their feet. Neville hits a move that only he can do, so much so that I don’t think it has a name. It culminates in a hurricanrana but that doesn’t do it any justice. Near fall.
Neville attempts to make his way to the top but is stopped on the apron by Zayn. Evidently not pleased, Neville connects with a roundhouse kick that decks Sami. Looks like Neville is going for the red arrow but Zayn clutches to Neville’s legs and clubs him with a couple of forearms.
Neville is dangling from the ropes to the outside, his leg holding him up on the turnbuckle. A few fans call for the Generico BrainBustahhhh as Zayn gets Neville in the superplex position. Neville blocks and headbutts Zayn, who goes crashing to the mat.
Neville connects with the Red Arrow and goes for the pin. 1-2-3, Neville wins.
Winner: Adrian Neville
Neville is declared as the number one contender to the NXT Championship and we shall see him face off with Bo Dallas for the title next week.
Neville and Zayn face up to one another in the ring. Neville offers Sami his hand but Zayn kicks it away. Neville looks upset but Zayn quickly follows up with a firm man hug and then raises the Geordie’s hand.
With that, the show comes to a close.
Tonight’s edition was massively back on track from the monstrosity that was last week. Whilst I felt that the Bo Dallas v. CJ Parker match was unnecessary, it was quick, painless and largely forgettable. Tyler Breeze v. Kassius Ohno is much the same way but having said that, any remaining episodes with Ohno involved are going to feel the same, given that we know how it ends.
The tease at the start of the show for the feud between Cesaro and Regal left me wanting so much more, which is never a bad thing in wrestling. I may not be crazy about a title match involving Hunico and Camacho but both can put on solid displays and it is nice to see some evolution for The Ascension.
It was also great to get the Diva’s back on show, even when they’re limited to backstage segments. We saw a match teased between Natalya and Paige and also for Emma’s eventual title match. The story of Bayley and the BFFs also left us hanging, with us yet to discover who will come to the aid of Bayley.
Match of the night was abundantly clear. The main event was every bit as enjoyable as I had hoped. It would not have looked out of place on any card in the world, WrestleMania included. When one considers the fact that this had no greater build than they matched each other’s win time last week , that is quite the compliment. Hats off to both men for a magnificent performance, bravo.
As I said, this show was a massive step up from last week and NXT was enjoyable once again. The message to the NXT creative team and that of the WWE as a whole, Beat the Clock Challenges suck!
Until we are once again in the glass case of emotion that is NXT, I bid you adieu and thank you for checking out my weekly report here at The Wrestling Mania.
– By Richard Thompson