WWE is presenting NXT's first live special, ArRIVAL, this evening on the WWE Network starting at 8pm EST. We will have live coverage of the event as it begins. Tune in to Ring-Rap.com for results, thoughts, and commentary starting at 8pm, and be sure to follow us on Twitter @RingRap as well!
Lasers. We start the show with lasers.
Triple H stands in the ring and asks the audience if they're ready. He seems pretty pumped about this. Nice little Titantron, plus the video banners around the arena. Eat your heart out, Impact Zone. He says NXT is the Next Generation, and the Next Generation has arrived.
Nice video package for the intro music, full of names and the works. It's the first ever live special in the history of the WWE Network.
Byron Saxton, WIlliam Regal, and I missed the other guy, on commentary.
Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro
The crowd in Full Sail is stoked tonight. The bell rings and we're on!
Chants are pretty split here. Cesaro drops Zayn down and slaps the back of his head. Nice headlock takedowns here. Zayn backflips over Cesaro and goes for a hurricarana. Cesaro blocked it and teased a Swing. but Zayn counters and dives outside the ring. There’s a “this is awesome” chant, but truthfully it’s a little premature for that.
Cesaro catches Zayn and hits a backbreaker. Back outside the ring, Cesaro tosses Zayn into the stairs. The “Ole!” chants for Zayn kick in. Reminds me of his days as El Generico.
Cesaro dominates outside the ring. Back in, he goes for a pin attempt with no luck. Cesaro is working the leg, and target’s Zayn’s leg, which is recovering from injury. Zayn lines Cesaro up and tries to dive over the aprop, through the ropes, and onto Cesaro, but Cesaro catches him with an Uppercut. Impressive spot.
Back in the ring, Cesaro continues to target the knee.
Zayn takes a few wild swings from the ground, and Cesaro hits a few knees. Dragon Screw and more work on the knee. Cesaro locks in a single crab in the middle of the ring. Zayn breaks the hold by grabbing the ropes. Cesaro runs in and eats a boot to the face. Zayn tosses him over the top rope. Zayn hits an impressive springboard moonsault outside the ring, but Cesaro catches him and slams him onto the ramp. Nice stuff.
Zayn barely makes it back into the ring for the count. Cesaro rushes in and Zayn catches him with an exploder suplex into the turnbuckles. Two count. Zayn hits a Blue Thunder Bomb, gets another near fall. Zayn locks the Koji Clutch. Cesaro reverses it into a leg lock.
Zayn reaches the bottom rope to break the hold. Cesaro goes for the swing, misses once, but gets it on the second attempt. 10 Revolutions here. He goes for a cover, but Zayn reverses it. Both men go for pins. Cesaro counters with a head stomp right to the face.
Cesaro goes up top, with Zayn on the apron. Back and forth, Zayn hits a boot to the face. He’s up top now too. He goes for a Hurricarana from the top. Cesaro reverses it and teases a Ricola Bomb, but Zayn manages to get it anyhow. Running boot in the corner and Zayn gets a near fall.
Cesaro is on his feet first. European Uppercut, and Zayn is laid out. He lands another one. A third. Zayn is barely making it to his feet. Four, but this time Zayn fights back. They trade punches back and forth. Zayn gets some fire and hits a nice German suplex. He charges Cesaro, but he gets hit in the face. It’s heating up now. Zayn reverses a powerbomb into a nice flip driver. Two count.
Cesaro tosses Zayn up for the uppercut and connects, but Zayn kicks out at one. Cesaro looks shocked. Cesaro hits a turning uppercut and the Neutralizer for the finish.
A very good match between these two, but it took a bit to get there. I disagree with the fans chanting that it was awesome two minutes in. They hadn’t done anything yet. However, towards the end? Yeah. It was awesome.
After the match, Cesaro poses, then leaves the ring. Zayn looks defeated on multiple levels. Cesaro leaves the ring, then walks back in and picks Zayn up. He hugs him, whispers something in his ear, and Zayn looks like he’s fighting tears.
CJ Parker vs. Mojo Rawley
Mojo Rawley looks very excited. CJ Parker, well… yeah.
They lock up, some nice rope running. Mojo hits a sunset flip for an early cover. Parker hits some kicks in the corner. Parker is running the match so far. Rowley finally hits a pair of splashes in the corner, then a butt bump. He hits his finisher, Hyper Drive for the win.
Winner: Mojo Rawley
I wasn’t too crazy about this match. Neither man did much of anything for me, and Mojo’s finisher is not appropriate for his size.
Backstage, Emma warms up for her match. We get a video package about Emma, then a video package about the Tag Team Champs, The Ascension. Looks like they’re up next.
The Ascension (c) (Connor & Victor) vs. Too Cool (Scotty 2 Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay) for the NXT Tag Team Championships
For the record, I’m watching NXT to see new talent, not talent from the early 2000s.
Anyhow… Grandmaster Sexay is more about dancing than fighting. Connor tags in and hits a legdrop. Shoulderblocks. In the corner, Connor continues to work over GMS. Tag to Victor.
Our announcing team compares The Ascension to the Road Warriors. I don’t see it. Victor locks in a headlock. GMS finally gets some offense in. Hot tag to Scotty 2 Hotty. He clears house, but Victor cuts him off. Scotty gets a bulldog and hops up for The Worm.
Victor hits a vicious clothesline, then they hit their tandem finisher for the win.
Winners: The Ascension to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.
Not crazy about the match. Not terrible though.
Backstage, Paige gets ready for her match, and we get a video package about her.
Before the match, Stephanie McMahon heads out to the ring. The fans chant “You still got it.” She jokes that she never lost it. She puts over NXT as being the first live stream on the network. She’s proud to be here as a McMahon and a woman, because the Divas’ division is about showing the world that women can do everything men can, but better.
I feel like this isn’t fair because on the main roster, women don’t get this treatment.
Emma comes out to the ring first and there’s bubbles everywhere. Stephanie McMahon actually dances with her. Paige, our NXT Women’s Champ, comes out next.
Paige (c) vs. Emma for the NXT Women’s Championship
It’s a pushing match almost immediately, and quickly… CATFIGHT. Well, the hair pulling doesn’t last and we get an actual wrestling match. Paige is in control, nice bodyslam, and she works over the headlock. Emma starts to make it to her feet but Paige cuts her off. Emma reverses a bodyslam attempt, and finally gets some momentum. She charges at Paige, but Emma catches her feet. She rolls her through and attempts to lock in her finisher, but misses.
Paige hits half a dozen knees on the apron. I’m not sure if Paige’s mouth is bleeding, or if it’s her lipstick. Emma takes out her legs and Paige lands on the apron. In the corner, Emma locks in a rope-based submission, the “Dilemma.” Low splash in the corner and a two-count.
Emma stretches Paige out and pulls on her arms. She continues to work the arms and shoulders. She rolls into a reverse surfboard of sorts, but Emma’s shoulders do hit the mat so the ref counts. It’s the details. Paige gets her feet to the ground, but Emma continues the attack.
Paige reverses an Irish Whip in the corner, and nails Emma. They’re on the top turnbuckle. Paige goes for a superplex. Emma reverses it into a sunset flip, then walks into the middle and powerbombs Paige. Two-count.
The fans chant “Better than Batista.” Funny and clever. Emma goes for another cover. Paige gets some momentum and hits one of her finishers, the Paige Turner. Near fall here. The announcers really put the move over.
Paige goes for some variant of a Cloverleaf… Regal calls it a Scorpion Cross Lock. It’s damn impressive and Emma taps out.
That was one hell of a submission move. Great match from these ladies. I feel bad for them, in a way, because if they value what they do here, it will actually be better for them to stick it out in developmental. I haven’t seen a women’s match like this in a long time, and it fulfilled my expectations.
After the match, Paige offers a handshake, pulls Emma in close viciously, but then hugs her.
Nice video package about Adrian Neville.
NXT Alumni Xavier Woods comes out to the ring. Apparently he still owns Brodus Clay’s music. He’ll be facing Tyler Breeze.
Xavier Woods vs. Tyler Breeze
I’m not sure if this is something new they’re doing, but Breeze is Face Timing his selfie to the TitanTron. Clever.
My live stream crapped out before the match even began and I can’t get it working. It goes back to previous matches. I’m glad this is happening now, way in advance of Wrestlemania.
Adrian Neville vs. Bo Dallas (c) for the NXT Championship
Match in progress due to connectivity issues. I’ll try to clean this up tomorrow when the VOD feed is firmly established. Bo Dallas is laid out on a ladder, and Neville hits one of his ridiculous twisting spinning 450 splashes off of the top rope onto the ladder. Neville sets up the ladder in the middle of the ring. He climbs to the top, but Bo Dallas slips back into the ring. He can’t quite get to him. Neville gets the belt for the win.
Winner: Adrian Neville
I caught two moves of this match, so I cannot rate it. Those on Twitter that were able to get a working feed seemed to enjoy the match. I’ll try to go back to it tomorrow to catch up on what I missed, so keep your eyes open here for the gaps to be filled.
After the match, highlights of Neville celebrating in the ring. John Cena is in the audience cheering him on. The show comes to a close.
Aside from the technical issues towards the end - and it took over an hour and a half for there to be any technical issues at all - this was a very good show and a great test for the network. I hope WWE continues to push their network to the limit before Wrestlemania, because if this sort of thing happens then, it will be unforgivable.
Match-wise, we had some really good matches here. Paige vs. Emma did fantastic, and Cesaro vs. Zayn was really good too. Again, can’t rate our main event, but I hear that it was fantastic as well.
Keep your eyes open on Ring-Rap.com for future coverage of NXT!