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NXT - August 21, 2013

Date: August 21, 2013
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Alex Riley

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

Tonight is a show I've been looking forward to for a long time. The main event tonight is a 2/3 falls match between Antonio Cesaro and Sami Zayn to settle their score. This match has gotten rave reviews since it aired and I've been wondering if it lives up to its reputation. Other than that we might find out who is Dallas' next challenger for the title. Let's get to it.

We open with a recap of Zayn vs. Cesaro. They're making this feel like a huge match.

Divas Title: Bayley vs. AJ Lee

Bayley wants a hug to start but AJ slams her head first into the mat instead. AJ sends her into the corner and puts on a cravate to control Bayley. A hard elbow to the jaw gets two for the champ and AJ does the crazy eyes. Bayley comes back with a big hug to ram AJ into the corner a few times for two each. A knee drop gets two on AJ and the fans are split here. Bayley drops a top rope elbow for two more but she's concerned about how how much she's hurt AJ. The champion takes advantage with a shot to the ribs and a Shining Wizard to retain the belt at 4:25.

Rating: D+. This didn't work too well for me. It felt like both girls were just doing their schtick instead of having a good match. We don't know too much about Bayley other than she gets really star struck so it's hard to care about her. Actually Bayley reminded me of Joseph Park here: someone who was just so excited to be here and didn't care about winning.

Tyler Breeze is in the back with some good looking blonde and asks if she'd like a picture. She gets in the picture with him and he glares at her before having her take a solo picture. That same guy (CJ Parker I believe) photo bombs Breeze again but Breeze sees the picture this time and freaks out.

Ron Hicks/Michael Zacki vs. Ascension

O'Brian starts with Zacki and hits a string of headlock takeovers. Victor comes in for shots to the ribs and European uppercuts in the corner. The double hiptoss into the double powerbomb crushes Zacki and a modified High/Low (with a jumping back elbow instead of a spinwheel kick) gives Victor the pin at 1:38. Total squash.

Baron Corbin vs. CJ Parker

Parker's Titantron is a tye dye ying yang and he's from a commune. He takes Corbin into the corner and kind of dances out, only to be taken down by a hard shoulder block. Parker comes back with a running clothesline and two knees to the chest followed by a falling DDT (think Christian's reverse DDT but from the front) for the pin on Corbin at 1:42.

Post match Parker says he's found what he's looking for. You might call him a hippie but he's just living. He calls the photo bombing “video loving”, bringing out Tyler Breeze. Breeze yells at Parker but CJ says it's just having a good time. Parker rubs Breeze's face to send him running. I'm not really feeling Parker.

Alexander Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler

Rusev is a very big man from Bulgaria who breaks a piece of wood with Ziggler's name on it over his knee. Ziggler is WAY over with the crowd. Both guys are slow to start with Rusev trying basic power stuff and Ziggler easily countering everything thrown at him so he can strut a bit. Alexander throws him into the corner and Ziggler gets serious. He staggers Rusev with a dropkick but his cross body is caught in mid air. Alexander rams knees into Ziggler's back and drops him on the floor for a breather.

Back in and a running shoulder to the ribs gets two on Dolph. Rusev puts on a quick body vice but misses a second running charge into the corner. Dolph hits a good looking dropkick for two but walks into a running knee to the ribs for the same result. Back up and Ziggler hits a quick Fameasser for two but Rusev comes back with a nice spinwheel kick (for a guy weighing over 300lbs) for another near fall. He misses a top rope splash though, allowing Ziggler to hit the Zig Zag for the pin at 6:14.

Rating: C+. I liked this more than I thought I would. Rusev has potential to him as he's got a good look and moved very well for a guy his size. Ziggler did his job perfectly out there by making Rusev look far better than he would have otherwise. This was a very nice surprise as you would have expected a squash but got a solid match instead.

Next week we'll get a special look at the NXT stars at Summerslam Axxess.

Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro

They have a lot of time to work with here and it's 2/3 falls. Zayn debuted a few months ago and beat Cesaro in Sami's second match of the night. Cesaro won the rematch so tonight's the rubber match. Zayn dives over the top to take out Cesaro during his entrance before the bell. Back inside and Sami hits a spinwheel kick for the first fall six seconds after the bell. Cesaro is clotheslined to the floor and sent into the steps as we're not even a minute into the match.

They slug it out on the floor before Zayn gets two off another spinwheel kick. Zayn pounds away in the corner but can't get a sunset flip. Cesaro can't hit a double stomp so Sami goes to the middle rope and jumps from there to the top for a high cross body for two. Cesaro throws him into the air to drop Sami face first on the buckle for two before pounding away at Sami's head. We hit the standing chinlock for a bit before Cesaro blocks a kick to the ribs and pulls Sami up into a powerbomb for two.

Back to the chinlock but Zayn jawbreaks his way out. A hard clothesline and the running stomp to the chest gets two for Cesaro. Back up and Zayn fires off forearms to the chest but gets caught in a backdrop, allowing Cesaro to rain down right hands. Another double stomp sets up the gutwrench suplex but Sami counters into a sunset flip for two. A running hurricanrana gets the same but Cesaro comes back with a bridging capture suplex for two.

Back from a break with with Cesaro putting on the standing chinlock for the third time. Zayn gets two off a rollup and hits a quick dropkick to put Antonio down. He charges right back into the chinlock though and Cesaro spins him around before taking it to the mat. Zayn actually taps out at about 9:00 shown, making it one fall apiece.

Sami rolls to the apron but Antonio pulls him back in with a superplex from the apron. That's SCARY strength but it's only good for two. Zayn grabs a quick rollup for two but gets caught in the chinlock again. That's rolled up for two followed by Cesaro charging into a boot in the corner. The fans think this is awesome and I can't say I disagree. Sami gets a VERY close two off a sunset flip after crawling up Cesaro's body.

Cesaro bails to the floor so Sami heads outside as well before getting a running charge and diving between the ropes into a tornado DDT on the floor. Cesaro dives back in at nine and Sami gets two. Zayn tries to climb the corner for another tornado DDT but Cesaro catches him in midair, lifts him into a gorilla press and drops him down into Swiss Death. Antonio immediately picks up Sami and puts him down with the Neutralizer for the pin and the third fall at 15:38 shown of 18:38.

Rating: A-. Yeah it's great. The third fall picked WAY up after a solid second fall. I'm not sure I get the idea of having Zayn win the first fall in a few seconds but it was definitely a face way to start the match. Either way, both guys looked great here and the match worked incredibly well with Cesaro looking like a beast at the end. Why he's in a jobber tag team and not being pushed as a top heel in WWE is beyond me. Check this match out if you have the chance.

Overall Rating: A-. Great show here with a solid match in Ziggler vs. Rusev and a great main event. The other matches were good enough and we got some solid storyline advancement here. It continues to amaze me how much better NXT works than Raw or Smackdown. Imagine that: wrestlers running a wrestling show makes it better than a show run by low rent Hollywood writers.

AJ Lee b. Bayley – Shining Wizard
Ascension b. Ron Hicks/Michael Zacki – High/Low to Zacki
CJ Parker b. Baron Corbin – Falling DDT
Dolph Ziggler b. Alexander Rusev – Zig Zag
Antonio Cesaro b. Sami Zayn – Neutralizer

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  1. Zayn vs Cesaro was really good. Best part is that it was that good while being dramatically different than their indy matches.

  2. Just watched it. So good. How Cesaro isn't being pushed to the moon right now, I'll never know.

  3. Damn, that last fall was money.

  4. Zayn/Cesaro was freaking awesome. The powerbomb-into-sunset-flip-bomb was phenomenally smooth and had me popping, and the Swiss Death was awesome too. Just a great match. I hope Zayn finds a groove with his character and gets brought up to the main roster soon, but until then I'm perfectly fine with him busting out ***+ matches on NXT.

    This show was meh otherwise - CJ Parker doesn't come off as likable, entertaining or at all believable. Tyler Breeze comes off well as a whiny douchebag, but his character is very one-note and has no staying power in it's current incarnation. Dude plays it well though. The Rusev guy was put over huge tonight but I didn't see anything that made me want to watch him again.

  5. Finally got to see the match on tv tonight after getting back to the tapings and it lived up to seeing it live. Sure commercial break did cut out some of it, but it was an amazing match.

    Got to see another great Zayn match at the tapings tonight . . .

  6. One interesting thing, at the tapings the Ziggler/Rusev match was last and went on right after the Zayn/Cesaro match, and that was a very hard match to follow. The crowd was also very burnt out from the night of tapings.

  7. Awesome main event. That tornado DDT counter...I've never seen anything like it.

  8. They were pushing him hard in 2012 but for whatever reason the dumbass crowds sat on their hands during his matches. Probably was a reason he cooled off in 2013.


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