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NXT - January 1, 2014

Date: January 1, 2014
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: William Regal, Tom Phillips, Alex Riley

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

Happy New Year everyone. I'm not sure if it's a new year in NXT or not because this show was probably taped back in November or so. We have a main event already set for tonight with Leo Kruger vs. Sami Zayn in a 2/3 falls match which is becoming the signature main event of the promotion. Let's get to it.

Welcome Home.

Byron Saxton is in the middle of the ring to let us know that Tyler Breeze is in the building.

Lana introduces Alexander Rusev and is given the WHAT treatment.

Alexander Rusev vs. Kofi Kingston

Rusev pounds Kofi into the corner as Regal chides Phillips about not being able to talk to Rusev. “If he could talk to you, he wouldn't need a translator. Fine money spent on your college education.” Kofi is lifted into the air so Rusev can drive knees into his ribs. A Samoan drop gets two on Kofi and a hard shoulder block gets the same.

Alexander misses a running splash and gets dropkicked down. The Boom Drop connects but Rusev heads to the corner so Kofi can't try Trouble in Paradise. Instead he hits a cross body off the top (good one too despite Kofi slipping on the ropes) for two but a Lana distraction lets Rusev slam Kofi off the top. The Accolade gets the big upset submission from Kofi at 3:52.

Rating: C. Rusev didn't look great in there but he got a win over a legitimate main roster guy. There's definitely a future for this guy in the big leagues and he could be something special in the vein of Umaga. Kingston continues to be the same guy he's been for years and there's nothing wrong with that.

Sylvester LeFort is holding open auditions to replace the injured Scott Dawson. Bull Dempsey comes up but is told he's too fat. LeFort says he needs someone bigger than life when Mason Ryan pops up behind him. Ryan hasn't heard about an audition but LeFort promises him lots of money and holds up a one dollar bill. Mason grabs him by the beard and shoves it in LeFort's mouth.

Natalya vs. Emma

#1 contenders match. Emma takes her down with a headscissors but Natalya reverses into a headlock. Off to an armbar by Nattie and a fireman's carry slam gets two. Emma gets two on a rollup and strikes a pose, only to be rammed into the corner. She counters into a quick Dilemma (Tarantula) but after the break Natalya takes her head off with a discus lariat for two. Emma gets caught in an abdominal stretch complete with her leg being lifted off the mat.

In an awesome hold, Natalya gets Emma face down on the mat, ties their legs together and grabs her arms. They turn over and Natalya lays on her back while raising her legs up to put Emma in something like a Tree of Woe on the mat. That looks awesome but Emma gets her arms free. Emma counters the Sharpshooter into a small package for two before putting on the Emma Lock (Indian Deathlock with a bridge into a crossface) for the win at 4:35.

Rating: C+. Again, it saddens me that Emma is stuck down here while we have to watch Divas like Aksana, the Bellas, Eva Marie and Rosa Mendes on Raw for the simple reason of they were either there first or some attempted cross promotion with a reality show. This was solid wrestling with good looking women which could work if actually presented on Raw.

Natalya raises Emma's hand because she got beat fairly.

It's time for a sing off between Aiden English and Colin Cassidy. Apparently Regal and English had a cup of tea together with a dwarf named Peter who loves baking flatbread, and it's so adorable listening to the pitter patter of tiny Pete. Thankfully Big Cass comes out before anything else can be said. Aiden starts by singing some Italian opera and is good as always. Colin sings about Aiden's voice: “You sound like you coughed, but you're just S-A-W-F-T”. Audience: “SAWFT!”

Colin has a surprisingly nice voice and wins in a landslide but Aiden wants another round. Aiden sings about how he can't stand Cassidy and Colin sings about how much English sucks to the tune of My Girl, complete with the BEST AUDIENCE EVER doing the backing vocals. English of course snaps and takes out Colin's knee. This was very entertaining and didn't beat you over the head with the joke like they do on Raw. That's such a huge difference and it makes these segments so much easier to sit through.

Tyler Breeze vs. Mason Ryan

The fans go nuts for Breeze's entrance. Tyler is now the Prince of Pretty because he's just that awesome. LeFort comes to ringside to distract Ryan, allowing Tyler to get an early advantage. Mason slides to the floor and blasts LeFort, only to go back in for the Beauty Shot and the pin at 1:18.

Hunico/Camacho vs. Ascension in a tornado match next week.

Tyler Breeze has left the building.

Sami Zayn vs. Leo Kruger

2/3 falls. Sami signs an autograph on the way to the ring which is a really easy way to get over with a crowd but no one does it. Kruger throws him to the floor to start and pounds on Zayn's back before throwing him back inside. A European uppercut sends Zayn right back to the floor and Kruger rams him back first into the apron. Back in and some more European uppercuts have Sami on shaky knees. That's fine with Zayn though as he hits a quick exploder suplex into the corner before connecting with the running boot in the corner for the pin at 2:53.

We take a break and come back with Leo breaking up a superplex attempt and shoving Sami out to the floor for a nine count. Zayn is just so good at building sympathy by holding his ribs and looking like he's fighting for every step. Back in and Kruger snaps off a DDT for a close two. Leo fires off right hands but Sami gets all fired up, only to be uppercutted right back down. Sami comes back with a clothesline and leg lariat to set up the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Zayn goes to the apron but gets draped over the top ropes to injure the ribs again. Somehow that's only good for two so Kruger loads up a superplex.

Sami shoves him off and tries a cross body but lands on the ribs again. With Zayn in agony and holding his ribs, Kruger grabs his arm for the GC3. Since his arm is fine, Sami fights to the ropes and doesn't tap out. Sami tries to beat some psychology into him but walks into a big spinebuster for no cover. Instead he tries the Slice but gets caught in a downward spiral followed by a Koji Clutch of all things to give Sami the second fall and the win at 10:28 shown of 13:58.

Rating: C+. If you want an example of something that ticks me off in wrestling, this is it. Kruger's finishing moves may be the clothesline and the arm lock but they make no sense here. Sami spent over twelve minutes setting up that rib injury and Leo just ignores it because that's not what his offense focuses on. Leo looked fine other than that and the moves he used were all done well, but that lack of common sense hurt him. This was also a pretty resounding defeat and makes it clear why he was repackaged. It's also nice to see Sami get a big win and look dominant in the process.

Overall Rating: B. This was the fun show that I've grown accustomed to. The matches were all at least good, the singing bit was funny and we have a big match next week. This show is a very tightly run ship and you never have to ask what they're thinking with their booking. I'm so used to being surprised when WWE or TNA gets something right and it's the complete opposite here. Another fun show with a great crowd.

Alexander Rusev b. Kofi Kingston – Accolade
Emma b. Natalya – Emma Lock
Tyler Breeze b. Mason Ryan – Beauty Shot
Sami Zayn b. Leo Kruger – Koji Clutch

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  1. Again, why should I buy the show if Eric and Hogan are just going to laugh and act like the losses mean nothing? Would it be too much for them to be ticked off one time?

    Jesus Christ. The whole point to their characters is that they are delusional liars.

  2. I always wondered why Horace didn't mean a lot more to the business, not that I think he could of made it, but I figured being related to Hulk would've opened a lot of doors for the guy, especially since Hogan normally gets Bischoff/Nasties/Beefcake signed, he never helped out Horace.

  3. That's true but if a villain never suffers from defeat, what's the point of engaging in the confrontation as a viewer? If the result of a match isn't sold, isn't the match meaningless in the end?

  4. But he did lose.

  5. Yes, but if he loses nothing from the loss and no-sells it, what has he lost? Nothing. And so what's the point of engaging in his feuds if you know that he'll never get comeuppance because his losses don't matter to him as he always shrugs them off?

  6. talk about a star powered card for a nitro! bret vs lex, nash n sting v hall n giant, jericho winning the tv title, goldberg defending and sick boy vs steve mcmichael (ok that last one is a joke), but holy shit this card was better than the road wild card.

  7. You just don't get it.

  8. That's the reason he got hired in the first place.

  9. I bet they would've won the night if they had used capital letters.

  10. No, he does get it. I agree that it would have been nice to have Hogan and Bischoff sell the loss to DDP and Leno. Yes, they are delusional liars BUT they should also show some ass and put over how upset they are at the loss. Otherwise, why should anyone ever care if they lose? Why pay money to see them lose?

    On a related note, I recently bought the Goldberg blu-ray and I've been going through his WCW matches. It's obvious that Goldberg -- while he is the World Champion during this time -- is not treated on the same level as Hogan.

    He was in a minor feud with Jericho of all people (who really wasn't anywhere close to main event level at this time) and didn't even have a match at Fall Brawl. I was a fan of WCW but the company some (many?) horrible decisions during this time.

  11. They won the night with it.

  12. Indeed they are. They're also the characters that were on top of the company as it went spiraling down from the top of the mountain and was dead in the water two years after this.

  13. Hogan and bischoff hadn't been seen on wcw in quite some time when they ceased operation and had been vastly different characters when they had last appeared. Nice try though.

  14. It's called being a heel. Jericho was doing the same fucking thing and people loved it.

  15. You really don't get it.

    Who was on top when WWF started crushing them? Hogan and Bischoff. Who was on top for the disaster that was Starrcade 1997? Hogan and Bischoff. Who was the focal point of the January 4, 1999 show? Hogan.

    But no, we can't blame Hogan and Bischoff for ANYTHING, right?

  16. Yes he was. In the midcard, which is a very different thing. That's like saying Santino is over as a comedy guy so we should have him in there with Cena and Orton.

  17. He lost. Is he supposed to come out and have a breakdown? He covers it up because he's a fucking heel.

    Who was on top and in charge when they were winning 80 or whatever weeks in a row? Who was on raw at that time and ratings reversed as soon as he left? Hogan and bischoff made that company a competitor. As soon as hart showed up, plummet.

  18. Holy crap. He is a heel that lost a tag match to a talk show host. Do you want him to take a year off and sulk about it? Do you get that he's the bad guy? He got his comeuppance. He fucking lost!

  19. I will grant you that Hogan & Bischoff were the big players when WCW was on top, but they were also prominent on the ride to the bottom.

    And it certainly wouldn't have hurt Hogan to act like he was embarrassed instead of no selling the loss from Road Wild.

    On the Goldberg blu-ray I mentioned above, there is a match between Goldberg and Flair from March '99. Nash & Hogan are on commentary and spend the whole match being too cool for the room and burying the two of them. Let's not pretend that stuff like that benefits anybody. The "cool" heel bullshit resulted in most of WCW looking like losers compared to Hall, Nash, etc.

  20. Have you people ever watched wrestling before? When the heel says the babyface sucks, it doesn't fucking mean anything! He's the fucking heel! They don't say golly gee this guy is pretty good but I'm going to work really hard and be a little better. The heel fucking lies!

  21. I really hope that last sentence is sarcasm.

  22. Then acted like it was no big deal at all, just like he always did. That's what was wrong. Be ticked off, go on a rampage, beat up some jobbers, do SOMETHING that suggests you care that you lost and that the match was more than a joke.

  23. I seem to remember heels like HHH and Flair losing titles and getting livid about it, not going off to fight Jay Leno.

  24. Did raw ratings go down when Bret left? Did nitro go up? No? It's almost like he wasn't a draw. At all. But that's unpossible!

  25. It's also like he was hardly ever on Nitro and hasn't been a focus in the nine months since he debuted. Even Hogan wrestles more than Bret does around this time.

  26. Bret was done. Fucking useless. And was always highly overvalued by himself. Him going to wcw was one of the best things that ever happened to wwf.

  27. The Ghost of Faffner HallJanuary 2, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    Regarding Jericho and the Giant: if I remember right, in Jericho's book he says that when he first joined the company they were going to have Giant save him a bunch of times, which would lead to him joining the nWo. Jericho shot this down, because he didn't want to get lost in Hogan's shadow, so the WCW braintrust said they'd have Giant save him a few times anyway and then come up with a reason for it later... and of course they never did.

  28. The Ghost of Faffner HallJanuary 2, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    Or to put it another way: would the Star Wars movies have been so popular and profitable if Vader was an indestructible machine who kept getting beaten by Luke Skywalker five or six times in every movie, only to come back and say "Eh, whatever" and shrug it off every single time?

  29. He wanted to form a tag team. It took 12 years but Jericho finally went along with it.

  30. Done as the top guy? Yeah he was. Useless? Nonsense.

  31. Wasn't he coming off arguably a career-best year, character-wise? And he was the unbeaten World Champ? And yet from my days of watching WCW in the late 90s, I didn't even know Bret wrestled for the company - he was never around. Hard to be in a position to draw when you're relegated to the midcard and/or not even being on the show.

  32. If the goal of the character was to be seen by fewer and fewer people, it was a great year for that character.

  33. If he wasn't going to be top guy, he was thoroughly unmotivated. He should've been putting people over, not the focus of a promotion. He was basically flair by the time he got to wcw. His time was up.

  34. What do ratings have to do with an individual wrestler's work? Does that mean Shawn vs. Undertaker Hell In A Cell was a bad match because fewer people watched it than were watching WCW at the time?

  35. I agree with what Tommy says below about selling a loss.

    And Sir Dougie, I've been watching wrestling since 1987 so yes I have "watched wrestling before." I would say that I've seen my fair share of matches over the years so the sanctimonious stuff isn't really necessary.

    Despite what you claim, there is a right way and a wrong way for a heel to put over a babyface. Look at Bobby Heenan on commentary during his WWF days. He was a heel but he knew how to make the faces look good. Jesse Ventura was the same way. Ric Flair was the same way in WCW and the WWF.

    Hogan & Nash burying faces with "too cool, insider" commentary doesn't do anything for anyone. Let's be clear here: If you act like your opponent sucks and is beneath you, there can only be two results: you win and you have beaten a "nobody." You lose and you just lost to someone who supposedly sucks.

    I'm rambling a bit here but I think the point stands. Heel or face... if something is repeated often enough, people will begin to believe it.

    If the NWO says that WCW sucks over and over, people eventually begin to believe it (as clearly happened). Especially when the WCW guys rarely ever were put in a position to look dominant...

  36. He was only done as a top guy because WCW fucking ruined him.

    I do have to say, though: Defending Hogan and Bischoff's management of WCW from Starrcade 1997 on is an impressive attempt at trolling, even for Dougie.

  37. Just look at the way he was booked for his first four pay-per-views:

    Starrcade: Refs the ridiculous Bischoff/Zbyzsko match, does a nonsensical run-in for the main event.

    Souled Out: Puts on a great match with Flair...that isn't allowed to close the show because Hogan.

    Superbrawl: Not on the card.

    Uncensored: Meaningless midcard match with Curt Hennig.

  38. Also too, Dougie was just crowing about how Hogan/Leno drew "one of the best buyrates in the company's history" at 0.91...which is basically the same buyrate that Survivor Series 1997 drew at 0.89.

  39. I remember HATING Horace at the time, and thinking he was just the absolute worst. It's weird to read reviews talking about him being decent. Of course, I haven't seen a Horace match since 1999.

  40. The weird Stop & Start Pushes with Meng were insane in this time period. He would job and be "just some guy" for MONTHS, and then all of a sudden he'd snap and choke some guys out, and they'd act like he was absolute top-tier.
    It reminds me of how the WWF treats Big Show nowadays- just some guy, until they randomly decide he's now a World Title contender.

  41. Even a liar should be pissed if he loses. If the character doesn't act like his loss means anything, then no fan will either. Thus the entire thing is just a big waste of time.


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