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WWE NXT - October 23, 2013

by Samoa Rowe

-From Orlando, FL. Our hosts are Tom Phillips, Alex Riley, and TENSAI! This is going to be a fun show.

-The show opens with Corey Graves, in a new suit for his heel turn, talking on the stage. He barely has a chance to recite what was scripted for him when Adrian Neville ambushes him from behind. They brawl into the ring and officials try to separate them. Neville scores a dive over the ropes and clearly wins the exchange as referees finally restore order.

Emma vs. Sasha Banks (with Summer Rae)

I’m always happy to see Emma, and apparently so is Alex Riley, who gushes over her on commentary. Sasha delivers some trash talk, sparking an aggression flurry by Emma. The crowd chants “Let’s go, Emma” as she delivers some quick cover attempts. Sasha turns it around, as Tensai admires his fellow Bostonian. Sasha applies a chinlock as they head to commercial. After the break, they’re smack in the middle of the same rest hold. Emma finally escapes, but Sasha delivers an elbow shot. Emma desperately slaps, prompting Sasha to lose her temper and reapply the chinlock. Emma escapes and delivers some clotheslines and the Dil-Emma. The Emma Sandwich only gets a 2 count. Summer distracts, but Paige runs in for the save. Sadly, Sasha gets the small package for the win at 10:11! A good chunk of the match took place during commercial, and there was a lot of resting, but these two deliver credible offense and actually appear to be fighting, not just going through the motions, **.
Winner: Sasha Banks

-Sasha is gloating in victory when Paige runs in. Paige charges and accidentally knocks Emma down! There could be dissension among the baby faces.

-NXT Champion Bo Dallas is approached by a floating camera for an interview. Dallas dismisses the notion that there was anything controversial about his victory over Sami Zayn. Bo announces that he’s going on vacation, traveling the world, giving squirt guns to starving children, etc. DON’T STOP BO-LIEVING! I hate to say it, but I’m really starting to like Bo. He is absolutely owning his oblivious heel persona.

Casey Maron and Tommy Taylor vs. NXT Tag Team Champions The Ascension (Rick Victor and Conor O’Brian)

The fans chant “Let’s go, these guys” in support of the job squad. O’Brian easily tosses Maron into the corner for an avalanche. Victor tags and throws some chops and a delayed back drop. O’Brian tags and nails a series of shoulder blocks. Victor tags and delivers some more calculated, methodical offense, finding time to drop-kick Taylor off the apron. The Ascension nail a double power slam and TOTAL ELIMINATION to end the slaughter at 2:30. Fantastic squash match that made The Ascension look unstoppable.
Winners: The Ascension

-Footage from last week airs, with the floating camera asking Sami Zayn about his loss to Bo Dallas. Sami says he understands why JBL restarted the match when Dallas had his foot on the ropes, but is confused why the match ended when Dallas used the exposed steel. Zayn feels like Daniel Bryan and ponders the possibility that there is a conspiracy at work.

-Renee Young happily interviews JBL about the Sami Zayn situation, but JBL gives her a hard time about her wardrobe. JBL says the world doesn’t revolve around Zayn and will not bring him back to NXT until he apologizes.

CJ Parker vs. Alexander Rusev

Parker still has the phone he stole from Tyler Breeze and records his entrance. Rusev enters alone, minus Sylvester Lefort and Scott Dawson, which I hope signals the end of that dumb group. Rusev absolutely dominates Parker in the early going with his power moves. An unfamiliar blond diva shows up at ringside as Rusev wins with the Cobra Clutch at 1:15. The woman looks impressed by Rusev’s performance, but leaves without saying anything. This was a good showing for Rusev, but buried Parker in the process.
Winner: Alexander Rusev

-During the break, Tyler Breeze attacked a down and out Parker. Breeze took back his phone and cut off one of Parker’s dreadlocks to even the score.

Corey Graves vs. Adrian Neville

Neville explodes with a running drop-kick, following with hard strikes. Neville drop-kicks Graves off the apron and scores with a running dive. Back to the ring, Graves absorbs some kicks to the chest. Graves rebounds by targeting Neville’s recently injured knee. The crowd chants “Corey sucks” as he dissects the knee. On commentary, Tensai gladly admits that he’s considered turning on Brodus Clay the way Graves turned on Neville, which leads to a round of chuckling. Graves twists Neville’s legs into a pretzel, but Neville escapes and limps through a comeback. Neville unwisely goes to the top rope and misses, landing badly on his hurt leg. Graves applies his Lucky 13 leg submission and Neville taps at 7:06. Solid match here, with Graves wrestling an intelligent match that hurt Neville and giving him something to come back from, **½.
Winner: Corey Graves

-Graves isn’t finished and reapplies Lucky 13 on the floor. The crowd chants “Alex Riley,” which does not seem to signal that they’re all that invested in this feud.

Final Thoughts: After last week’s big show, this episode was back in the normal NXT routine, meaning that we got enjoyable matches and logical booking building up to a future big episode. I’m both interested and worried about what they’re doing with JBL and Sami Zayn, as JBL is gearing up to be a great villain, but it’s yet another round of “Evil GM vs. peoples’ champion.” NXT has built up enough goodwill with me that I’m optimistic that the story will unfold satisfyingly. Thumbs in the middle for a necessary maintenance episode.

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