Hey guys! Drew Koscelek here with ya, covering NXT weekly on the WWE Network. I was unable to cover this as it aired for the first time last night, but thanks to the wonders of the Network, we can watch these shows On Demand. Let’s get started, shall we?
We start out with a recap of NXT ArRIVAL, and the incredible matches we saw. Cesaro vs. Zayn. Paige vs. Emma, and Dallas vs. Neville. Adrian Neville is our new NXT Champion. Highlights of John Cena putting over Neville, and we’re on!
We are in Orlando, FL, at the Full Sail University arena.
Adrian Neville vs. Camacho
Before the Bell: Our new champ, Adrian Neville comes out to the ring, belt in hand. Camacho is already in the ring. Neville extends his hand on Camacho. Camacho is not interested.
The Match: Camacho uses that handshake as an opportunity to get a kick to the gut, but Neville quickly hits some high flying moves. Camacho uses his size advantage. He hits some nasty chops in the corner. Neville hits a dropkick, then nails the Red Arrow finisher off the top rope to get an easy win.
Winner: Adrian Neville
After the Bell: Neville celebrates in the ring. Renee Young enters the ring to interview Neville. She asks him to describe his victory last week. He says it’s indescribable. He’s been wrestling for 10 years. Last week was a pivotal moment in his career. He says the NXT Championship is validation, and a message to everyone - anything is possible. He says he’s not the biggest guy, and he looks like some crazy elf man. He talks about his accent. He says you can question his looks or the way he talks, but you can’t question what he does in the ring. He’s the very best. He leads the fans in a “No more Bo” chant.
Right on cue, Bo Dallas walks out dressed very dapper. He congratulates Neville for beating him, but he says he didn’t pin him. He climbed a ladder. He says he’ll be cashing in his rematch clause soon, and he’s bringing the title back home to his “Bo-lievers.” He says it’s Bo Time.
What Worked: Basically a squash match, and a great way to introduce new viewers to Neville’s unique offense. After the match they continued the story.
What Didn’t: Not much, really. It was brief, but necessary. His promo didn’t do him any favors though. He was fine until he started making fun of himself. Bo’s promo was disappointing.
The Summary: A short match followed up by a mix of good and bad promos. Fine for what it was, but it could’ve been better.
Backstage, a promo airs from last week, and it’s Emma talking about losing to Paige earlier in the night.. She says Paige is the toughest she’s ever faced, but one day she too will be a champion. Ric Flair approaches her and tells her she fought like a champion. He tells her that they both need to understand that the next NXT Women’s Champion will be his daughter, Charlotte. A woman comes up behind him, who I have to assume is Charlotte. She says it must be rough to lose twice, but if she needs a shoulder to cry on, she can call her anytime. Emma just stares at her. Charlotte asks if she’s even listening. Emma does a dance move, and Charlotte jumps back. Emma walks away, and Flair says Charlotte was awesome. He woos at Renee Young.
Looks like we’re gonna get a match out of this one, up next!
A promo from last week airs, with Paige talking about retaining her title against Emma. She puts Emma over, and says she actually respects her and considers her a friend. She welcomes all challengers going forward. Ric Flair steps up and says Paige has come a long way and says she’s awesome, but he says she has to look forward to his daughter, Charlotte. Charlotte says Paige has no clue who she is. She says she’s the Diva that will take the women’s championship from her.
Back at ringside, Renee Young is joining William Regal, Tom Phillips, and Byron Saxton at ringside.
Emma vs. Charlotte
Before the Bell: Emma comes out to the ring dancing. The crowd is into it. She flips into the ring awkwardly. The ref refuses to dance with her. Charlotte comes out next. She’s accompanied by Sasha Banks. Sasha holds up a picture of Summer Rae “for inspiration.” Renee Young calls Charlotte the “dirtiest Diva in the game.” Clever.
The Match: They trade wristlocks and headlocks early on. A “Better than Batista” chant breaks out. Alright then. Charlotte gets a knee to the gut and she’s got the advantage, but eats a boot to the face. Emma goes for an early roll-up. Charlotte goes for a hop over the rope, but lands awkwardly and sells a foot injury. Emma goes for a quick pin, only gets two. Sasha Banks hops up on the apron and Emma is distracted long enough for Charlotte to kippup, and then hit her finishing move from behind to get the win. She’s fine, by the way.
After the Bell: Charlotte & Sasha celebrate on the ramp as Emma sits up selling the loss.
What Worked: Classic heel tactics. She’s learning from daddy. Charlotte showed signs that she can work.
What Didn’t: Too short for my liking. I think I got spoiled by last week’s lengthy women’s match. I didn’t get to see enough from Charlotte to be a fan yet. The glimmer of hope is there.
The Summary: Short match more about Charlotte’s character than anything.
Backstage clip from last week, Renee Young is interviewing Sami Zayn. He talks about his wide range of emotions after the match against Cesaro. She asks about the private conversation they had in the ring, and he said it was personal, but he got what he wanted out of that match.
A clip of Cory Graves backstage, as he gets ready for his match against Yoshi Tatsu.
Cory Graves vs. Yoshi Tatsu
Before the Bell: I have fond memories of watching Yoshi Tatsu’s push on the relaunch of ECW. It’s a shame they didn’t keep him on the main roster. He’s pretty talented. He comes out first, then Cory Graves. He raises his fists, tattooed with the words “Stay Down.” The announcers put him over as “sauntering down to the ring” and being sinister. Good descriptions, actually. Graves takes a mic, and says he needs to get something off his chest. He introduces himself to those that are watching for the first time. His name is “Graves.” He’s upset he wasn’t invited to compete at ArRIVAL. Instead, he’s forced to compete against a guy that thinks he’s still a WWE Superstar. He talks about Sami Zayn and his “rematch of the year” against Cesaro. He asks when Zayn last won a match. He says all you need is heart to get chance after chance against a guy you can’t beat. He says he only needs one shot to beat Cesaro. Instead, he’s facing Tatsu who hasn’t been relevant ever. “Let’s get this over with.”
The Match: Graves ducks out of the ring immediately after the bell, takes the mic and says “On second thought, forget this.” He walks back up the ramp. The ref counts. Graves teases getting back in the ring, but walks away. Tatsu heads out of the ring to attack him and bring him back, but Graves hits him with a clothesline and tosses him into the steps. Graves rolls into the ring and lets the ref count. Tatsu does not make it in by the 10 count.
Winner: Cory Graves
After the Bell: Graves attacks Tatsu and rolls him into the ring. He beats him down. He locks on his finisher, Lucky 13, a nice submission. Sami Zayn runs down to the rescue. Graves ducks out. Zayn takes the mic - he didn’t know they had a problem. If he wants an opportunity, all he has to do is ask. He says they can throw down tonight. It’s unclear if that challenge has been accepted.
What Worked: Graves has an amazing amount of charisma. His promo reminded me of a cross between CM Punk and Chris Jericho. He carries himself with a great amount of confidence. I can’t judge his ring work yet.
What Didn’t: Not much to say here. Nothing really happened to judge. Poor Yoshi Tatsu.
The Summary: Another vehicle for storyline advancement. This episode is, so far, all about putting the pieces in place. Looks like Graves and Zayn will be feuding for a bit.
Highlights of a party that Adam Rose is throwing. It’s kind of strange. There’s a Gladiator, people dancing, a DJ, etc. Rose says everything is about to change when he debuts. He reminds me of Russell Brand. He tells the interviewer she’s being boring. He makes everyone get up and dance. I’m not sure what to think of that.
Highlights from ArRIVAL and Alex Rusev destroying Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze. Xavier cut a promo afterwards. Renee asks how he feels - he feels like he got kicked in by a monster. He says he’s an Ivan Drago look-alike (Rusev isn’t) so he might as well call Woods “Creed.” Clever. I wonder if there will be Consequences? Anyhow, Woods wants Rusev one on one.
Jump to Rusev and Lana backstage. Renee tells him Woods wants a match. Rusev replies in Russian. Lana translates - “Rusev says he accepts.” That match is next week.
Adam Rose vs. Wesley Blake
Before the Bell: Back in the arena, there’s a party on the stage. Adam Rose comes out and crowd dives back into the followers. They catch him, then party their way to the back. I could’ve sworn I saw Nick Dinsmore in the mix there. It’s a really creative entrance and the audience is really into it. The ring announcer never even bothers to announce his opponent.
The Match: Rose rolls out of a wristlock, then rolls about 10 more times. Rose dances around a bit. He sits on the ropes and leans out. When Blake rushes in, Rose hits him with a kick. Arm drag, followed up by a series of elbows. Spine buster to Blake. The fans are chanting for Rose. He hits a clothesline out of the corner and gets the pin.
Winner: Adam Rose
After the Bell: Rose dances in the ring. The fans are eating this up. The party comes back out to the ramp. They’re all dancing too.
What Worked: Well, that was an interesting way to introduce a new character.
What Didn’t: Another short match.
The Summary: Rose looks like he could be an interesting character, but I fear the chances they have taken with him in the closed environment of NXT will not translate to a larger stage, like Raw. See: Emma.
Looks like Zayn vs. Graves is now official.
Sami Zayn vs. Corey Graves
Before the Bell: Graves makes his entrance again. Zayn comes out second.
The Match: Graves slinks along the ropes. He gets an early advantage. They trade chops. Headlock, run the ropes, and Zayn hits a handful of arm drags. Graves bails out of the ring. Zayn runs the ropes and goes for a dive, but Graves pulls away. Zayn flips himself back in. A nice chant for El Generico breaks out. Love it.
Graves catches Zayn up on the ropes. Front suplex as we break. When we get back, Graves is still in control. He kicks Zayn repeatedly in the corner. Graves hits a back suplex and gets a near fall. Zayn gets some energy and hits a clothesline, followed up with a back drop. Graves catches Zayn and hits a back breaker for a 2-count. Zayn hits a nice splash from up top. Graves catches him with an elbow. Blue Thunder Bomb from Zayn and a near fall. Graves takes out the knee and goes for his submission, but Zayn rolls him up. Graves catches Zayn for another backbreaker, but Zayn rolls him up instead and gets the win.
Winner: Sami Zayn
After the Bell: Zayn celebrates on the ramp. Graves shakes his fist.
What Worked: These guys worked pretty well together, and it was a solid match. They’re both talented and know their strengths, and played to them, I think. Graves targeted the knee throughout the match, teasing his finisher, which I enjoy. Zayn has found a good balance of high spots and matwork.
What Didn’t: Not much. An enjoyable match. Would have liked maybe five more minutes.
The Summary: An entertaining match between two talented guys.
Overall, this first non-special NXT wasn’t terribly newsworthy, but it did set up a few feuds coming forward. It was a pretty fun hour of TV, and I recommend checking it out.
Thanks for reading folks. See you next week!