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NXT Takeover May 29, 2014
by Scrooge McSuck
- COURTESY OF THE WWE NETWORK! From Full Sail University in Orlando, FL on May 29th, 2014, with Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and William Regal calling all the action. Only Regal really stands out, and sadly he'll never make it to Raw or Smackdown on color commentary because he treats everything like a real sport, noting psychology and tendencies and all the jazz about what makes WRESTLING great. Saxton and Phillips aren't bad, but sound exactly alike as the mediocre Trooper clones of Jango Fett. Did I just compare Michael Cole to the predecessor of Boba Fett? I'm slipping in my old age.
Opening Match: Adam Rose vs. Camacho:
Something I notice about Rose and why it's going to fail at the "big stage": In NXT, you're usually working in front of a small, dedicated crowd, who eat up everything. WWE's crowds for Raw are more casual and probably wouldn't know what to make of the gimmick. I know that's the point, but I enjoyed the HELL out of his whole entrance and entourage with a crowd that actually wants to respond to it, and I caught myself humming his theme music at work, VERY LOUDLY, I might add. Crowd chants "Party Pooper" at Camacho, who apparently cares very little for Rose's care-free attitude. Rose stalls and plays around, earning a boot to the face. Camacho dominates the majority of the match, hitting a handful of high impact moves in between a sleeper hold and a chinlock. Rose eventually makes the comeback with jabs and a roundhouse right. He plants Camacho with a spinebuster, works in a Bronco Buster, and finishes with the Party Foul (think Dean Ambrose's facebuster finisher) at 5:09. Rose and the Exotic Express celebrate like only they can. *1/2 Not a quality match to open with, but the right gimmick to fill the spot. I wonder what poor sap gets to be under the rabbit suit, or if they have a rotating lineup of people to fill in for the role.
- Hype video for Sami Zayn and the upcoming #1 Contender's Match with Tyler Breeze.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match:
The Ascension vs. Kalisto & El Local:
I don't know what to make out of the Ascension (Konnor and Viktor), but they come across as a couple of rough housing beasts. Kalisto and El Local are nothing more than "cannon fodder of the month" for the Ascension, reigning Champs for 239 days and counting. According to Wikipedia, El Local is Ricardo Rodriguez (a gimmick he uses to add depth to house show lineups), and Kalisto is Samuray del Sol. The Ascension bum-rush at the bell and pound away. The challengers surprise them with a pair of head scissors, sending them to the floor. They try to do suicide dives, but the Champs counter with well placed forearms. Viktor and Konnor take turns beating the piss out of Kalisto in their corner, but not in a "they're dangerous in the ring" kind of the way. Kalisto surprises Viktor with a boot to the face and a head scissors. El Local with the hot tag and almost misses a springboard forearm. Second rope moonsault only gets a one count. Kalisto and Konnor get involved again. El Local misses something from the top, and Viktor wipes him out with a deep clothesline. Fall of Man (fancy version of the Double Goozle) finishes El Local at 6:19. That was the very definition of total destruction. ** Higher rating than usual because of the Ascension's impressive win, showing good skills of cutting off the ring, and their opponents being nothing more than a pair of bodies to make them look unbeatable.
- Hype video for Tyler Breeze. Something as simple as this two minute video is enough for a novice viewer like me to get to know and understand the character and his gimmick. I already want to punch him in the face for being a smug, arrogant, fuckhead.
#1 Contender's Match: Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze:
If you'll recall, Sami Zayn appeared to the previous (and first) NXT Special, Arrival, and had a ****+ match with Cesaro. Breeze's boot tassels look like Kerry Von Erich's on steroids. Zayn controls the early moments by working the left arm, including a pretty hot arm drag sequence. He gets a few shots to the face, only to get flung off the top rope, to the arena floor. Breeze puts the boots to Zayn and bulldogs him into the middle turnbuckle for a near fall. Zayn muscles his way out of a front facelock, sends Breeze to the floor, and follows with a spectacular springboard Asai Moonsault! He rolls Breeze back inside and comes off the top with a flying body press for a near fall! Breeze counters an atomic drop with elbows across the head. Zayn holds onto the tights and plants him with a Liger-Bomb for another two count! Zayn to the top again, but this time Breezer is on his feet, surprises Zayn with a boot to the midsection, and plants him with an Impaler DDT for a two count! Breezer pulls Zayn out of the corner by his legs, and right into the sit-out Powerbomb for another two count! I don't recall ever seeing anyone ever doing that in WWE. Breezer unloads with rights in the corner, breaking at the referee's count, and going back for me. Zayn surprises Breeze with a T-Bone Suplex, and now both men are down. Both men are back on their feet, and it's time for SLUGFEST! Zayn stops short of a ref' bump, and gets rolled up for two! Hot sequence of counters until Breeze lays Zayn out with a Super-Kick for a two count! Breeze with rights, Zayn slaps him in the face, and Breezer pounds away some more. Zayn blocks an irish whip, and they do an awkward series of counters until Zayn plants him with a suplex turned into a Powerbomb. What the FUCK was that, and how the hell did they pull that off?! Breeze rolls to the floor to escape danger, only to get wiped out with a somersault plancha! Zayn goes for a running boot, but Breeze gets the arms up, "accidentally" hitting him with a low blow. The spinning heel kick connects, and Breeze is the #1 Contender at 15:56. **** Fantastic match with both men working incredibly hard to steal the show. Started off slowly and then kicked into over-drive for the final 5-minutes, with some impressive and innovative spots, and plenty of near falls.
- "The Ravishing Russian" Lana brings out Rusev for some cheap heat. Mojo Rawley comes out to defend the honor of America and gets wiped out for his efforts. I'm sorry, Rusev looks impressive and probably can get over just by his appearance, but I CAN'T STAND "EVIL FOREIGNER" GIMMICKS. He does to Mojo what the Iron Sheik would like to do to B. Brian Blair: Make him humble (with the Camel Clutch).
NXT Women's Championship Match (Vacant):
Natalya (w/ Bret Hart) vs. Charlotte (w/ Ric Flair):
Former NXT Women's Champion, Paige, cuts a long winded promo trying to put over the match. Paige must be following in the foot-steps of Shawn Michaels, having lost the title without actually doing a job. I kid, I like Paige. This is my first time watching Charlotte, but don't expect much from her, but Natalya is a proven worker, so you never know. They spend the first 5-minutes or so with some solid chain wrestling, mostly with Natalya in control. Nattie gives a "Woo" to draw some cheap heat. Nattie with a victory roll for the first near fall. Charlotte fights out of a body scissors and gets cat-fighty, and almost gets caught in an arm scissors for getting too sloppy. They trade blitch slaps and Nattie with a roll up for two. Charlotte gives Nattie a weak Woo, but Flair goes fuckin' nuts on the floor, and almost gets a laugh out of Stick in the Mud Hitman. Charlotte fights out of a waistlock, then counters a sleeper with a jaw breaker. Charlotte grabs a head scissors and pounds the face of Nattie into the canvas. They fight over an abdominal stretch, with Nattie's looking rougher. She goes for a back slide, but Charlotte counters with a basement dropkick. Natalya avoids a charge, takes Charlotte over with a butterfly suplex, and hits a basement dropkick of her own for a near fall. Whip to the corner, Charlotte flips to the apron, only to get knocked off... that spot seems awfully familiar. Nattie follows, but Charlotte hooks the ankle and jerks her down to the arena floor.
Back in the ring, Charlotte comes off the top rope, meeting nothing but canvas on a moonsault attempt. Nattie with a tornado clothesline for two. She slaps on the Sharpshooter, but Charlotte rolls through to counter and quickly slaps on the Figure-Four, almost effortlessly. Someone tell Miz he sucks. Nattie tries to reverse the pressure, but Charlotte rolls with it and bitch slaps Natalya. Name calling follows. They trade slaps until they roll into the ropes. Charlotte keeps it on and leans off the apron, hanging Natalya under the bottom rope in the process! You're ripping off Bret's ring-post figure-four! Both women get to their feet, only for Charlotte to dropkick the leg of Natalya into the ring steps. Back in the ring, Charlotte decides to go for the Sharpshooter, but Natalya rolls through with a counter. Charlotte kicks off the Sharpshooter attempt, and hits Natalya from out of nowhere with her snapmare facebuster for the three count at 16:51! Everyone makes nice afterwards, with RIC Flair more emotional than anyone. **** I wasn't sure of if I could give the match such a high rating, so I watched it a second time (obviously, with the detailed PBP), and I have to say... why the fuck is WWE not using their Women wrestlers, the ones who know how to wrestle, in a more prominent role than piss break match?! This was nothing short of a fantastic effort, with some excellent chain wrestling, submission wrestling, and well paced high spots and minimal playing the crowd to compensate a lack of ability. I don't know who deserves the credit for putting the match together, but kudos to all involved. Match of the Night and worth checking out for all wrestling fans.
NXT Championship Match:
Adrian Neville © vs. Tyson Kidd:
A lot of hype is put into the fact that both men work a similar style and share the same tendencies. Long stare down and a lockup into the corner with a clean break. Kidd offers a handshake, but not so friendly. Kidd gets the best of a sequence and shows up Neville quite arrogantly. Neville gets the best of their next exchange and works the arm. Hot criss-cross sequence ends with a pair of arm drags, both men missing a dropkick, and nipping up for some more trash talking. Kidd BRAINS Neville with a forearm and controls with hard-nose offense. Kidd sends him to the floor with a dropkick, and follows with a suicide dive. Neville gets a boot up on a charge, but both men get the air knocked out of them attempting a body press. Neville traps Kidd in a tree of woe, and unloads with some kicks to the kidney area. Springboard forearm gets two. Kidd gets knocked to the floor again, but this time a suicide dive is countered with a kick to the face. Kidd takes too long on the top rope, and HOLY CRAP, NEVILLE LANDS ON HIS FEET TO COUNTER THE SUNSET-POWERBOMB. Kidd goes for a head scissors, but Neville counters into a Powerbomb for two. Neville tries something off the ropes, but Kidd counters with a Russian leg sweep for two. Neville counters a Boston Crab with a victory roll for two. They fight over a suplex, taking them both over the top rope, to the floor. Kidd gets the Sharpshooter applied, then decides to turn it into a modified cross armbreaker. He repeatedly kicks Neville in the face for added effect, but he refuses to lose and grabs the ropes! Kidd with a somersault guillotine leg drop for two! Kidd goes high risk again, only to get wiped out with a super-sized hurricanrana! Neville to the top, and the Red Arrow (corkscrew splash) finishes at 20:56! Post-match, Kidd snubs a handshake. That's just rude. ***3/4 Another match with some great wrestling and a handful of fantastic high spots. Kidd worked a match like his career depended on it, only to come up short. It's just SLIGHTLY down from the previous two matches, but still a great showing from both men. My main complaint is that the result never seemed in question: I just didn't see Kidd winning the NXT Title from an NXT mainstay.
Final Thoughts: I got my $10 worth for the monthly fee that the WWE Network subscription cost me. Not one, not two, but THREE matches in the neighborhood of four-stars territory. The undercard, all two matches worth and a non-match beat down, included an incredibly hot crowd for a fun gimmick, the complete destruction of a couple of masked jobbers at the hands of the Tag Team of the Future™, and Rusev being more impressive through his NXT appearance than anything he's done on WWE TV. I don't know, just felt more fun. While I didn't see the result in doubt for the two singles Title matches (Natalya and Tyson Kidd aren't winning the belts instead of people they're building up to be the future of the company), it didn't prevent my enjoyment. I could easily say Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze is a must-see match, but if you want something different, give Natalya vs. Charlotte a look. It just goes to show you women CAN be treated as equals and wrestle just as good, if not better, than most of the men. Highly Recommended.
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