Date: February 27, 2014
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, William Regal
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It's the biggest night in the history of NXT as we are LIVE, I believe for the first time in modern NXT. This is the first live wrestling airing on the WWE Network so it should be a good test of the technology. The main events are Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro in a rematch of the match of the year and Bo Dallas defending his NXT Championship against Adrian Neville in a ladder match. Also of note: this will be partially going head to head with Impact Wrestling tonight and going forward. Let's get to it.
HHH opens us up to what sounds like the Natural Disasters' old music.
We get a new intro with shots of a lot of the wrestlers, including helpful name graphics for new fans.
Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro
One fall to a finish in a rematch from the NXT match of the year in 2013. Sami has been fighting a knee injury lately. The video is holding up perfectly well so far and they've fancied the arena up a bit for the special show. Cesaro shoves Sami down a few times to start as the fans aren't sure who they like better. Sami takes him down in a front facelock but Cesaro counters his hurricanrana attempt into the Swing, only to have Sami kick him away. Cesaro bails to the floor and gets caught by a nice flip dive. The fans think this is awesome.
Back in and Sami tries a high cross body but dives into a tilt-a-whirl slam for a close two count. They head outside again with Cesaro in full control and choking across the barricade. Cesaro takes him back inside so he can throw Sami outside again and ram him into the barricade. Into the ring again for a two count but Cesaro throws him outside one more time. Cesaro goes after the leg but gets pulled face first into the post for his troubles.
Sami goes outside and tries to dive through the ropes around the post (as in he starts on the floor, dives over two ropes in the corner and lands on the floor) like he did in the first match but dives into an uppercut instead. Now the leg is wrapped around the post and Cesaro stomps away in the corner before cranking on the knee even more. A knee drop to Sami's bad knee gets two and Cesaro stalks Zayn to mess with his head.
Cesaro takes him down with a dragon screw leg whip and it's off to another leg lock. We get a WE THE PEOPLE from Cesaro but the fans counter with an OLE chant. Another leg whip puts Sami down and he misses an enziguri, setting up a half crab from Cesaro. Sami finally gets the ropes and sends Cesaro outside, only to have his slingshot dive caught in another tilt-a-whirl slam on the ramp. Sami BARELY beats the count in at nine and grabs an exploder suplex to send Cesaro into the corner.
Sami grabs a Blue Thunder Bomb out of nowhere for two followed followed by a Koji Clutch of all things. Cesaro powers out of it and rolls around into an old Brock Lock (Cesaro bends the knee around his neck) but Zayn dives for the bottom rope. The Swing is countered into a rollup for two but Cesaro gets it on the second try. Only ten revolutions this time though and a running uppercut gets two but Sami reverses into a crucifix for two of his own.
A HARD double stomp gets two on Sami but he's still able to block the suplex from the apron. He kicks Cesaro in the head with the good leg and sits him on the top rope, but Cesaro tries to counter the hurricanrana into a Riccola Bomb, only to have Sami counter THAT into the hurricanrana. The running kick in the corner gets a VERY close two on Cesaro and both guys are spent.
It's Cesaro up first and he drops Sami with a stiff uppercut. A second one has Cesaro telling Sami to stay down as even Regal is calling this uncomfortable. There's a THIRD uppercut and Sami looks dead. Sami somehow gets up and it turns into a slugout until Zayn grabs a suplex out of nowhere. He tries to get a running start but Cesaro stops him with a boot to the face.
The Neutralizer is countered into a hurricanrana for two and a sunset bomb gets the same. Swiss Death only gets one with Sami shooting up to scare Cesaro half to death. Cesaro goes BEAST MODE and takes Sami's head off with a discus uppercut before a jumping Neutralizer is good for the pin at 23:38.
Rating: A. Good grief I'm exhausted already. This was a heck of a wrestling match with two guys beating the tar out of each other for the better part of half an hour. Cesaro winning makes the most sense due to how hard he's been pushed on WWE recently, but it's clear that Zayn is ready for the WWE. Granted he has been for about six months now. Great match and worth checking out if you want to see a fight that makes the people care.
Cesaro celebrates as Zayn remembers what planet he's on. Sami looks up at him and Cesaro pulls him up for a hug and a big cheer from the crowd.
Video on Mojo Rawley. He doesn't get hyped. He STAYS hyped.
CJ Parker vs. Mojo Rawley
Parker has recently turned heel, blaming everyone for not cheering him when he's just trying to make the world a better place to live. Parker tries to use his speed against the much stronger Rawley but gets caught in a big backdrop for two. Mojo gets caught with some shots to the ribs and Parker puts on his mean face to stomp away in the corner. It's amazing how the place just dies when Parker is out there. Rawley shrugs off a bunch of left hands in the corner and hits a splash, followed by a seated senton (Hyperdrive) for the pin at 3:27.
Rating: D+. This was a glorified squash and they couldn't have picked a better person to take the loss. This was treated as a huge win for Rawley who has a lot of potential bu spends too much of his matches on defense. Parker just isn't working but the heel turn is far beter for him. He'll be better when he gets to cut some eco-friendly promos.
Video on Emma, who is very bubbly.
Video on Ascension, who have dominated the tag division for months now. They're kind of like a goth Demolition.
NXT Tag Titles: Ascension vs. ???
There's an open challenge from Ascension tonight and their opponents are.......TOO COOL??? That's a rather bizarre choice to put it mildly. Viktor slaps Sexay down to start and doesn't approve of the dancing. Off to Konor for a hard legdrop and even harder shoulder blocks. Viktor slams Sexay down and puts on a chinlock before driving in elbows. I think the fans say they want water and then gum. Sexay finally fights up and makes the hot tag to Scotty whose offense has very little effect. He gets the bulldog and loads up the Worm, only to have Viktor pop up and run him over. Fall of Man ends Scotty at 6:40.
Rating: D. This was WAY too long and Too Cool was the totally wrong choice for the challengers here. They're a fun team who had a month long title reign FOURTEEN YEARS AGO. This is the problem with nostalgia: it's fun to push every now and then, but when it's pushed over teams that deserve the shots more, you've got a problem.
Video on Paige, who won the first NXT Womens Title last year but hasn't been around in a long time. The idea is she's the anti-Diva, meaning she dresses in black and is more about attitude than looks, even though she's rather pretty.
Womens Title: Emma vs. Paige
Before the match though, here's Stephanie McMahon because what would we do without her? The fans tell her that she's still got it but she says she never lost it. I can't argue that actually. She says this is the future and adds nothing at all for the most part. Emma has been #1 contender for SIX MONTHS but is just now getting her shot. That's even worse when you consider Paige has been champion for about seven and a half months. Both girls are popular but they don't like each other.
Paige gets right in her face but Emma takes her down and its a fight early. Emma gets kicked in the ribs but she reverses the Paige Turner into a backslide for two. They fight over a backslide but Paige counters a slingshot into a cradle for two. Paige slams her down and puts on a hard chinlock. Back up and Emma tries a rollup but gets taken into the corner for some hard elbows to the face.
Emma counters a kick and hooks the slingshot but Paige breaks up the Emma Lock. Paige heads to the apron and fires off knees to the chest, only to miss a charge in the corner. The Dilemma sets up the Emma Sandwich (running crossbody to a seated Paige in the corner) for two. Emma cranks on Paige's arms with her feet in the champ's back and Paige is in big trouble. Paige gets flipped down onto her face but avoids a charge in the corner.
Emma sends her face first into the buckle but has to fight out of a superplex. A sunset flip into a sitout bomb (fans: “BETTER THAN BATISTA!”) gets two on the champion and both girls are spent. Emma tells her to give up but gets slapped in the face, setting up the Paige Turner for a VERY close two. Paige is stunned but puts on something like an Edgecator (Scorpion Deathlock without stepping over) before grabbing a double chickenwing AT THE SAME TIME and lifting Emma up. There's no way Emma is getting out of that so she taps at 12:55. SICK looking hold.
Rating: B-. I can't get over that hold at the end. I also can't get over Paige actually keeping the title here as she's been the only champion and you would think they would give the belt to the new sweetheart on Raw. That being said, Paige looked AWESOME out there and will likely in WWE very soon.
They hug it out as well, even though Emma looks mad.
Video on Adrian Neville, talking about his love of adrenaline rushes.
Video on NXT.
Xavier Woods vs. Tyler Breeze
No match as Alexander Rusev runs in to massacre both guys. The video crashed but through refreshing I see Rusev holding Woods in the Accolade while Lana talks trash for him.
Video on Bo Dallas.
We recap Neville vs. Dallas. Bo has been champion for about seven months and only held the title from Neville through interference. Tonight it's a ladder match for the big blowoff.
NXT Title: Bo Dallas vs. Adrian Neville
Remember it's a ladder match so here's Shawn Michaels to introduce the festivities. The fans chant ONE MORE MATCH and he says he hears that a lot. He's happy being fat and out of shape though so it's not likely. The fans chant H-B-Shizzle and Shawn wants that on a shirt. Fans: “YES! YES! YES!” Shawn says they're throwing him off because he doesn't have to do this that often. He has insight on ladder matches, and if you'd like to know it, you can go out and buy his Mr. Wrestlemania DVD because he's got two kids to put through college. He says this is about stepping into greatness and we're ready to go.
Bo immediately goes for the ladder but Neville makes a save and kicks him into the corner. A quick missile dropkick looks to set up the Red Arrow (corkscrew shooting star) but Bo rolls away before Adrian can jump. Bo grabs the arm and the girls scream before he ties Neville's leg into the ropes. The champion goes for a ladder but Adrian hits a baseball slide to send the ladder into him. A nice plancha puts Dallas down and the ladder goes into the ring.
Bo keeps Adrian from getting inside and sends him spine first into the steps to take over. He loads up a ladder but Adrian ducks the shot and backdrops Dallas onto the ramp. Neville goes up the ladder but Bo throws another ladder at him to take Adrian down. Bo sets up the ladder over Neville but Adrian is able to push it up and kick Dallas down in a nice power display. Now it's Bo shoving a ladder down to send Adrian crashing and both guys are in trouble.
They both try to pick up the same ladder but Bo drives it into Adrian's ribs in the corner. Bo tries to catapult Neville into the ladder but Adrian escapes and takes him down with a tornado DDT. They ram heads and go down, but a ladder falls and hits Adrian square in the head in a SICK looking collision. Dallas hammers away in the corner but can't bulldog Adrian down onto a ladder.
The champ gets sent into a ladder wedged in the corner and Neville kicks him in the face. He goes up for the Red Arrow but Dallas pops up and shoves Adrian down to the floor. Bo goes for the belt but Neville springboards over him in a Shelton Benjamin style move. The ladder goes down but they land on their feet with Bo buckle bombing him into a ladder. Adrian kicks a ladder back into Bo and slams him onto the same ladder, setting up the Red Arrow to crush Bo against the steel. Dallas rolls to the floor and Neville goes up to grab the title at 15:46.
Rating: B. It wasn't a classic and there have been better ladder matches but my goodness this rocked. There was almost no doubt that the title was changing and Dallas' way too long reign was ending at this show but it was hardly a bad way to get there. Neville doesn't come off like a long term solution on top but he's a good choice to win the belt on this huge show.
A long celebration ends the show with John Cena applauding from the crowd.
Overall Rating: A-. This is exaclty what this show needed to be with every big match delivering more than well enough. Apparently there were some stream issues for the main event but mine was working perfectly fine so maybe I was just lucky. The opener is an instant classic and the title win made it something historic so this worked all around. The crowd was having a blast and it was the fun kind of show that NXT can pull off like no other. Hopefully they don't have WWE invading it every week and we can get back to normal. Great show either way and well worth checking out.
Cesaro b. Sami Zayn – Neutralizer
Mojo Rawley b. CJ Parker – Hyperdrive
Ascension b. Too Cool – Fall of Man to Hotty
Paige b. Emma – Scorpion Cross Lock
Adrian Neville b. Bo Dallas – Neville pulled down the title
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