by Shanna Harris (@AbsoluteSmark)
Wrestling friends! Here we are again. Another NXT is in the books, and I’m back to recap what I considered to be a strong show. One week removed from arRIVAL and NXT kept the new, crisp look they adopted at the PPV. And the show only got better from here.
I’ll skip the snarky intro and get straight into the action.
(photos below: credit NXT’s official Facebook page)
NXT opens with a recap of Adrian Neville’s NXT championship win over Bo, which also includes John Cena giving Adrian props on his win and calling him the future of the biz. Awesome stuff.
Match 1: Camacho vs Adrian Neville
In a surprisingly short match, Adrian gave a quick demonstration of the thing that makes him so amazing. He is an A+ wrestler. He has tons of energy, a great look (he defines the word cut) and can make any match exciting. With crossbodies and takedowns all over the place, our new NXT champion was given time to shine right at the beginning of the show. A smart move. Neville in the ring is the best thing on NXT. It’s when he goes outside of that is where the problems pop up. I’ll explain that in a minute.
Move of the match: The Red Arrow. Because.
Winner: Adrian Neville.
Meanwhile, in-ring: Adrian is joined in the ring by Renee Young, and he proceeds to cut a promo designed to make him look like the everyman who just happens to be carrying around a championship. He referenced everything negative about himself that you’ve ever read on a message board. He’s short, he has a terrible accent that nobody understands, and looks like an elf man. But he also says that he’s the very best in the ring and his beating Bo Dallas and winning the NXT championship was the best moment of his life. He also gets a “no more Bo” chant going. Which, naturally, brings out Bo Dallas himself (who looked cleeeeaaaannn in that suit!). Bo says he’s been thinking about his loss all week, but he can only congratulate Adrian for beating him. But, Bo will be cashing in his rematch clause (SOON, he says) and will bring the title back home to be BOlievers. Bo closes the segment by saying that it’s BO TIME.
Shanna says: Adrian has some work to do as far as being a better speaker, but his wrestling ability negates his lack of smooth speech for the time being. But this won’t be the case forever, and I’d hate for him to remain a weak promo and have that be his downfall. I’m behind you, Neville! Just keep working hard!
Meanwhile, backstage: Renee Young is joined backstage by Emma. She cuts a post arRIVAL promo giving props to Paige for beating her, and even goes so far as to call herself and Paige friends who respect each other. Good stuff, but it was only improved by non other than Ric Flair coming in and smashing Emma’s optimism. Flair says that he’s hoping that Emma isn’t thinking about a rematch, because the only person going after the title will be his beautiful daughter, Charlotte. Char comes into the frame and sarcastically offers to be the shoulder that Emma can cry on after her 2 losses to Paige. Emma leaves, and I’m astonished at just how awesome thing whole thing was.
Meanwhile, backstage (part 2): Renee is joined by Paige, and shows respect to Emma and calls her a friend. Just like the last promo, Ric Flair and Charlotte interrupt the proceedings, but this time Charlotte promises to be the Diva that takes the NXT women’s championship from Paige. Paige doesn’t like take kindly to that, and immediately gets into Charlotte’s face. LOVED this promo more than I can express in words. Ric Flair being added as Char’s manager and shit talker is positively dreamy. I can’t wait to see more from Charlotte. And it looks like I won’t have to wait very long!
Match 2: Emma vs Charlotte w/Sasha Banks
Charlotte is joined by Sasha Banks and a cutout of Summer Rae’s head in this little jaunt, and as usual, the women of NXT deliver strong wrestling performances. It seems more likely than ever that NXT is going to move forward as it’s own wrestling show that just so happens to feature main event wrestlers from Raw. That is way okay by me. I’ve long said that women’s wrestling in NXT is something that I can be proud of, and I’m glad that NXT is now a thing that people can easily follow so these women can get their due. Charlotte, in my opinion, is already miles ahead of other women as far as awareness of movement and her wrestling is concerned, and combine that with her newly improved “dirtiest diva in the game” moniker and I think I’m in love. Almost as much as I love the “Better than Batista” chant that randomly broke out during this match. Because the NXT audience is correct. Everything about this match is better than Batista.
The end of the match saw Charlotte fake an ankle injury and hit a leaping cutter from behind that planted Emma straight on her head. Again, LOVE. More of this and less of everything else I see on Raw each week. I would love to see AJ make a return to NXT and grapple with the ladies for a few weeks because one time of her on this show was a cherished memory for me.
In any event, more NXT women’s wrestling, plz.
Move of the match: Charlotte’s cutter finisher.
Meanwhile, backstage: Renee Young interviews Sami Zayn, but it isn’t really an interview. Sami briefly states that his post match hug and ear whispering session with Cesaro is “private” and that he got everything he wanted out of last week’s match. Okay then.
Match 3: Yoshi Tatsu vs Corey Graves
Those who’ve read my NXT reports pre arRIVAL are already aware of my thoughts on Corey Graves, but in a condensed version of a rant, I will say that he brings absolutely nothing to the table for me as far as excitement or intrigue. Since I’ve started watching this show, there hasn’t been one time that I can remember where Graves did anything remotely interesting in the ring or outside of it. Just about everything he does makes me roll my eyes, including a shot of him backstage running a hand against a wall in a clear I’M SO MISUNDERSTOOD kind of way. Atrocious.
Had CM Punk been a part of WWE, Graves would probably be better received. Punk is a complicated character, but he is his gimmick and I believe him when he says that he’s the best in the world. And yes, CM Punk and Corey Graves are two totally different TV characters and they shouldn’t be compared. But, I’m just saying.
So. This match. Corey comes out and shows off some of that A+ promo ability I’ve become so familiar with by calling Tatsu not worth his time. He then wonders what he’s doing in the ring. Believe me, I’m wondering too. Graves acts like he’s too good to wrestle Tatsu (a debatable point for sure), and walks off and pretends to be okay with being coutned out. But before we hit 10, Graves clotheslines Tatsu and throws him into the steel steps. Tatsu gets the count out, and Graves stands tall.
Move of the match: n/a
Winner: Corey Graves
Post match shenanigan’s saw Graves continue to beat the prone Tatsu until Sami Zayn answers Graves challenge in his promo before the match. Sami Zayn vs Corey Graves will happen later tonight!
Match 4: Adam Rose vs Wesley Blake
Going into NXT tonight, I was informed that Adam Rose (formerly Leo Kruger) would be making his debut on this show. After doing a quick glance at his Twitter account, I immediately dismissed him. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Leo, but in my mind, I pictured Adam Rose being something like another Tyler Breeze. Which is definitely not needed. As it turns out, like most things, I was completely wrong about Adam Rose. But allow me to set the scene for you.
I was sitting in my house alone with my laptop on my lap writing up this recap when his music hit. From the time his party people started dancing at ringside, to the point where he was crowd surfed into the ring, I stared at my TV with my jaw on the floor. And in that moment, I was made a fan. Just like with Tyler Breeze, my love for Adam Rose was almost instantaneous. Adam Rose, in my opinion, is $$$. Time will tell if he can stay interesting and build a following. But Adam’s character has a fan in me for the long term. His entrance and newly improved character is too fun to ignore. I’ve been saying forever that wrestling has too much chest thumping and ego, and this is another step in the direction of making wrestling fun again.
So. The match. Adam Rose was all over the place with the “haha” spots, but in the end, Rose clotheslines Blake and gets the 1-2-3.
And I’m officially a Rosebud. Who’s with me?
Move of the Match: Rose with elbows to the head of Blake.
Winner: Adam Rose
Match 5: Sami Zayn vs Corey Graves
This was a decent main event considering who one of the participants is. Graves doesn’t do it for me in-ring, but Zayn and Graves together make for a fairly decent wrestling match. I don’t have much to say about the main event except to hope that Zayn and Graves are going to be working together after this show, because I think Zayn could help give Graves some much needed polish. And if Graves could stop mournfully touching walls and start stepping up the wrestling, I might just start to like him.
Move of the match: Sami Zayn’s Blue Thunderbomb!
Winner: Sami Zayn
And THAT is NXT. When I was watching this last night, the time positively flew by. Which is a good thing. At an easy 45 minute viewing time, NXT is sure to become your weekly wrestling guilty pleasure, if it wasn’t already. You can’t beat the format, and you certainly can’t beat the changes in production and overall feel of the show. I’m predicting that the debut of Enzo Amore and Aiden English might just take NXT one more step up.
But, no matter what happens, I will be here to recap it all for you. Thanks for reading my report this week, and feel free to drop me a line on Twitter so we can talk Corey Graves.
Until next week, wrestling friends.