We open up with one of our endeared WWE.com exclusives with Antonio Cesaro, who is asked what he thinks of Regal getting involved last week. Cesaro puts on what the whole world seems to think is a British accent (you’re all wrong by the way) and says that Regal should mind his own business.
Cesaro is tapped on the shoulder by South African, Leo Kruger. Kruger wants to thank Cesaro for taking him to a place he hasn’t been to for a very long time (like Rhyl?). Kruger says that he too could be a Real American and says he has a match with Sami Zayn coming up. Cesaro says he shall speak to Zeb Coulter about Kruger joining if he does him a favour. Cesaro whispers and we don’t hear the favour. It seems Sami Zayn will be involved somehow though.
We now go to Full-Sail, where our opening bout is to be for the NXT Women’s Championship. Entering first is the challenger, Natalya. Following her out is the NXT Women’s Champion, Paige. I am looking forward to this!
Paige (c) v. Natalya for the NXT Women’s Championship
The bell rings and the two ladies shake hands. Collar and elbow tie up leads to a standard but well executed series of chain wrestling. Both competitors trade both submission and pin attempts but neither comes close to picking up the win.
Natalya attempts the Sharpshooter but the Brit manages to get to the ropes before she gets turned over.
Back from the break, Paige seems to be in control in the corner. Paige gets the Canadian in an abdominal stretch in the middle of the ring. Alex Riley compliments the ladies on their technical display thus far.
The abdominal stretch is countered and the roles are reversed. The announcers talk about twerking and I long for William Regal.
After some more short spells of dominance for both ladies, the two go for a running cross body at the same time. Both of them stay down. Paige is up at 7 and attempts a leg drop on Natty but nobody is home.
Some nice offence from the Canadian culminates in Paige getting hit by a powerful discus clothesline. After a two-count, Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter again. This time it gets locked in. Paige crawls to the rope but Natty drags her back to the middle. Paige tries crawling again but can’t make it, she doesn’t tap though. Instead, she rolls forward to escape the hold, sending Natalya into the corner.
The two slowly get to their feet and Paige unexpectedly connects with the Paige Turner. 1-2-3.
After the match, Paige gets on one knee and bends to hug Natalya and the announce team discuss how big a moment this may be in Paige’s career.
Kudos to both ladies. Given the usual displays the women of WWE are told to put on, this was a technical master class in comparison and a very welcome change of pace. By no means a classic match but for this wrestling fan, it was one to be enjoyed.
We go back stage to Alexander Rusev and Lana. They are joined by Tyler Breeze. Breeze thanks Rusev for the help dispatching Kassius Ohno last week. Lana dismisses Breeze and tells Rusev to crush Ohno and something about the NXT title.
After the break, we head for an interview with Mojo Rawley. Mojo talks about his future as NXT Champion and appearing on RAW and SmackDown. At that point, he is joined by Sylvester LeFort and Scott Dawson. LeFort tells Mojo that he can take him to top and make him lots of money. Mojo says some stuff about money that cause LeFort and Dawson to bicker a little but Dawson brushes it off and challenges Mojo to a match next week. Mojo seems to accept by saying that he ‘stay hyped’. Whatever that means.
Back in the ring, we have a jobber lookalike but before he can be introduced, “The Artiste” Aiden English interrupts. English sings on his way down the ramp and into the ring.
“The Artiste” Aiden English v. ?
The bell rings and the two go through some grappling manoeuvres. Nice swinging neck breaker from English. English declares this his show and quotes Shakespeare before hitting a vertical suplex.
English then hits the Director’s Cut and picks up the win.
Winner: “The Artiste” Aiden English
A nice quick match that gets English back on track after the potentially damaging episode from a couple of weeks ago.
English gets a mic and provides an encore.
English is on the ramp and The Real Americans’ music hits. Cesaro ushers English to the back. Cesaro remains on the stage and has mic in hand.
Cesaro apologises to Byron Saxton for losing his cool last week. At the behest of Cesaro, Saxton joins him on the stage apprehensively. Cesaro offers his hand. Cesaro apologies once again, this time in five languages, as Saxton shakes his hand.
Saxton accepts the apology but Cesaro says that is not all and as a sign of his goodwill, he will let him do the WE THE PEOPLE chant. Byron is a little reluctant and accuses Saxton of making fun of him.
Cesaro is mad and once again physically intimidates Saxton. Cesaro looks around, seemingly checking for Regal but he is not forthcoming. Cesaro has had enough and slaps Saxton, who falls down the ramp emphatically.
Our second WWE.com exclusive of the show sees Sami Zayn backstage after his match with Adrian Neville last week. Zayn says the better man won and his time will come. From off camera, he is attacked by Leo Kruger.
We come back from the break and it seems the slap has had devastating effects on Byron Saxton as he has needed to be replaced by Tom Phillips.
Tyson Kidd enters the ring. Alex Riley compares Tyson to Eddie Guerrero in such a way that I can think of a number of new ways to long for Regal on commentary (have I ever mentioned my love for Regal before? I’m not sure I have). His opponent is to be Leo Kruger, who attacked Kidd on NXT whilst he was injured.
Tyson Kidd v. Leo Kruger
The bell rings and Kidd hits the South African with a flurry of offence. Kruger gets back in it briefly but the Canadian soon regains control.
Kruger goes after the injured knee of Kidd with a multitude of attacks and holds.
Adding insult to injury, Kruger attempts to lock in the Sharpshooter on Kidd and manages it. Alex Riley steals my line and then Sami Zayn appears on the ring apron. Kruger lets go of Kidd and goes toward Zayn.
Off of the distraction, Kidd steals the win.
Winner: Tyson Kidd
A nice little contest that built upon a host of different story arcs. Kidd got a little revenge on Kruger, the feud between Zayn and Kruger built a little and, dependent on the promise made by Kruger earlier, the story between Zayn and Cesaro may also have benefitted from something on which to build. Simple but effective.
Another WWE.com exclusive with Camacho and Sin Cara, sorry I meant Hunico. They respond to beating The Ascension and going after the tag belts. They said that all they have they took and they will take the titles next week.
Our main event is for the NXT Championship. Out first is challenger Adrian Neville. Following him is Champion Bo Dallas.
Bo Dallas (c) v. Adrian Neville
We are a go in the championship match and the two men circle one another before locking up. Neville gets the early advantage before Bo escapes to the entrance to break things up and then take control.
Neville comes back with quite possibly the most athletic cross body I think you will ever see. After a dropkick from Neville, Bo once again leaves the ring. Whilst the two scuffle in the corner, the padding from the middle turnbuckle falls off and it is left exposed.
Bo sends Neville into one turnbuckle and then another. He follows up with a clothesline and then a bull dog before a pin attempt but Neville kicks out.
The missing padding seems to have been attached to the turnbuckle once again.
Neville is prone near the corner. Bo is on the second rope, pulls down his knee pad and shouts, “Don’t Stop Bo-lieving”. Bo goes to drop a knee but Neville rolls from harm’s way.
Both men are down. Neville connects with some viscous kicks to Bo before connecting with some running attacks and a near fall. Bo leaves the ring once again.
Neville is less patient this time and impressively dives to the outside and connects with Bo. Back in the ring, Neville gets a two-count.
Neville gets Bo in position for the Red Arrow but Bo once again exits the ring. Neville continues his climb to the top though, undeterred by Bo’s actions. Bo is stood but staggering. Neville leaps to the outside and connects with a cross body.
Both men are down outside the ring and the ref is counting. Neville gets back in at 9 but Bo doesn’t make it back in.
Winner: Adrian Neville
Obviously winning by count out means that Neville does not win the belt and although Bo loses, he retains the title.
Neville looks annoyed and Bo remains on the outside and NXT comes to a close.
It was a show that was perhaps a little heavy on the talking but these are needed from time to time to build effective storylines. The show could have done without the Mojo Rawley segment but it didn’t take up too much time and it did set up a match for next week.
The NXT Women’s Championship match between Natalya and Paige was my match of the show and I once again echo my earlier sentiment that it was refreshing see such a non-typical and non-formulaic wrestling match between two women in WWE. Creative, for the love of god, take note.
It would have been nice to see an advance between Bayley and the BFFs but the show really didn’t need any more talking. The match with Aiden English got his character back on track after the damaging to almost all involved Beat the Clock Challenge.
The Main Event didn’t really have the time to get going and false finishes are never satisfying. That being said, I am sure we will see another match between the two and a feud clearly has potential. It will be interesting to see how Bo reacts and whether a returning Corey Graves gets involved somehow further down the line.
Overall, a solid episode of NXT that has left me wanting more, most notably in regard to the situation between Cesaro, Regal, Zayn and Kruger.
Join us here for the NXT report next week here at The Wrestling Mania, where we will totally one day possess sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their frickin’ heads! Until that day we shall have to manage with these ill-tempered, mutated sea bass!
– By Richard Thompson