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The SmarK Rant for NXT ArRIVAL

The SmarK Rant for NXT ARRIVAL

LIVE from Orlando, FL! Well, I’m watching it on a two hour delay, but I COULD have watched it live. Also, figuring out how to actually watch the on-demand version was a bit of a challenge, too.  And as it would turn out, not the last challenge I would face tonight with the show.

Your hosts are Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton & William Regal

Cesaro v. Sami Zayn

Cesaro takes Sami down and they trade headlocks to start, but Sami tries a rana, which Cesaro turns into a swing attempt, and Sami dumps him. Whew. Sami follows with a dive, and back in gets caught with a backbreaker for two as the fans are READY for this match to rule. Cesaro tosses Sami around the ring multiple times and pounds the back into the apron, but Sami fights him off and tries his dive through the ringpost…and runs into a forearm. Holy balls. Cesaro starts pounding on the injured knee, and double-stomps it for two. And then the goddamned Twitter plugs start. Zayn fights back with a leg lariat, but Cesaro viciously grinds his boot into the knee and takes him down with a legwhip. Half-crab, but Sami makes the ropes. Finally he backdrops Cesaro to the floor and follows with a dive, but Cesaro catches him in a backbreaker and plants him on the ramp. OUCH. Back in, Cesaro charges right into a exploder suplex that gets two. Blue Thunder Bomb gets two. Cesaro goes back to the knee, but Sami wraps him up with a Koji Klutch, which Cesaro reverses into a horse collar (aka The Brock Lock). Sami fights to the ropes again, but now it’s time for the Swing, which Sami reverses for two. A second try works, however, and Cesaro gets 10 and follows with a forearm for two. Sami reverses for two. Cesaro kicks him in the head for two. Or rather, stomps on his face like a grape. That’s what I meant to type. They fight to the top and Sami tries the rana, getting it after a false start thanks to the freakish strength of Cesaro. The running boot gets two for Sami, but now Cesaro has had enough of these shenanigans. Forearm puts Sami down and Cesaro advises him to remain there, and adds another forearm to emphasize his position. Sami keeps fighting, however, and they slug it out like MEN. Sami fires off a german suplex, but walks into a big boot. Flip powerbomb gets two and now the crowd gives them a standing ovation. Cesaro drops him with SWISS DEATH, but Sami kicks out at one and makes the comeback. Cesaro LEVELS him with another forearm, and the Neutralizer ends it at 23:00. No shame in losing to the best, Sami. ****1/4 And Cesaro hugs it out to put Sami over as well, because he’s awesome.

Mojo Rawley v. CJ Parker

CJ tries to get cute and gets backdropped, but comes back with a clothesline out of the corner. He pounds away in the corner, but Mojo hits him with a pair of avalanches and finishes with the butt splash at 3:21. Just keep staying the course, Mojo. ½*

Meanwhile, the EmmaLution could culminate tonight.

NXT tag titles: The Ascension v. Too Cool

The Ascension has a new generic cock rock theme and FINALLY matching gear, so maybe they’re getting ready to move up? Victor pounds on Sexay and Conor puts him down with shoulderblocks and wallops him in the corner. Viktor with a suplex for two. Sexay fights out of a chinlock and makes the hot tag to Scotty, who evades a blind charge and gives us an NXT Worm. Viktor cuts him off at the payoff, however, and they finish with the Fall of Man at 6:40. They really need a huge payoff for this Ascension thing because there’s literally no one left for them to beat. This match wasn’t so good, but the idea was just for the legends to put them over anyway. This probably would have been the right time to find someone new to beat them, though. Maybe once Enzo is back in business again? *

NXT Divas title: Paige v. Emma

And of course Stephanie has to get the spotlight before the match, because we needed more McMahons on this show. And of course she has to play babyface here. Hopefully Paige is over her mysterious ailment. They fight for a backslide right away and Paige gets two. She dropkicks the knee for two. Slam gets two as the fans start dueling chants. Paige with the headlock, but Emma works to the corner, so Paige chokes her out there. Emma comes back with the slingshot, but Paige fights her off and throws knees from the apron. Emma comes back with the Sandwich and Dilemma, which sets up a surfboard hold. Paige fights out and makes the comeback, and they fight on top until Emma powerbombs her out of there for two. Paige fights back with clotheslines and hits the Paige Turner for two. Paige gets frustrated and uses a submission hold instead, which Regal notes is a Scorpion Cross Lock, and holy hell does it look like it hurts, forcing Emma to tap at 13:10. This was really weird because the entire storyline was building up to Emma winning here, but then they called her up and couldn’t put her over. This was like, a real match and everything, and they do the sportsman hug afterwards too. ***1/4

Tyler Breeze v. Xavier Woods

Glad to see Tyler making the big show. Too bad they couldn’t fit the Aiden English/Colin Cassady circus sideshow into this as well. And then just to piss me off, the STREAM DIES at the 80 minute mark of the show and I can’t get past it on the PS3, as it thinks that the show is only 80 minutes long. So it’s over to the iPad, which at least gives me the full two hours on the time count. So close to everything working smoothly tonight. So it’s back to the live stream for the replay, which puts me back into the Paige-Emma match again. And 10 minutes later, we’re back here again, which ends up as no match because Rusev comes out and destroys both guys. By the way, I know I commented earlier on the blog that I really enjoy Breeze’s entrance, but I didn’t need to see it 8 or 9 times in a loop. I really hope they get this shit worked out by Wrestlemania.

NXT Title, ladder match: Bo Dallas v. Adrian Neville

Shawn Michaels is out to hang the belt and plug his DVD in a funny bit, and the replay stream threatens to cack on me as well but pulls through like Sami Zayn making the babyface comeback. Bo tries to run away and gets cut off by Neville, who quickly goes for the Red Arrow and forces Bo to run away again. Bo takes over with a cheapshot and throws elbows to put Neville down. Bo wraps him up in the ropes and gets the first ladder, but Neville cuts him off with a pescado. They fight on the floor and Neville backdrops out of a piledriver attempt and makes the first climb in the ring. Bo brings him down with another ladder and makes his own climb attempt, but Neville pushes him over from underneath the ladder. Neville climbs and Bo returns the favor. Bo works on the ribs and throws short clotheslines in the corner, but Neville escapes a Bo-Dog and sends him into the ladder. They slug it out on the ladder and Bo goes down, but Neville tries to go up and again and gets shoved to the floor. Bo climbs, but Neville leapfrogs over him and nearly gets the belt. That was cool. Bo powerbombs him into a ladder in the corner, but Neville slams him onto a ladder and finally gets his Red Arrow this time. Yeah, that would suck for both guys. Bo is dead on the floor and Neville climbs to claim the NXT title at 15:50. No other finish was possible. Solid match, but not a show-stealing classic like the opener. ***1/4

The Pulse

I can’t imagine a better first impression for people watching NXT for the first time. Well, aside from the issues with the stream, that is. But the show was awesome, easily the best WWE PPV since Summerslam. No nonsense, clean finishes, and video packages that actually explain the characters for new viewers. Big thumbs up!

Comments

  1. ****1/4? Interesting. I thought it was even better than the Cesaro/Cena match.

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  2. I thought Cesaro/Zayn was slightly better than that (4.5 stars, probably nitpicking), but otherwise agree 100% with everything here.

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  3. Yeah, I got that one too. Small consolation.

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  4. Me too. I'd personally have my top 3 matches so far this year (have not seen Shield VS Wyatt's yet, so no clue where that will place) as Cesaro/Cena at 4 stars, Wyatt/Bryan at 4 and 1/4, and Cesaro/Zayn at 4.5, but that's me.

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  5. Could be worse. Had this happened on an ROH show the company would have said jack shit, or even blamed you for messing up the stream.

    Yes that actually happened.

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  6. I thought the finish was lacking a climax, because Sami never really got his big run of offense in the comeback, and Cesaro just kind of finished him off. Maybe I'm just becoming a sucker for the big finisher trading stuff in my old age, but I thought this was a case where they really needed to hit the big near-falls at the end to get it past the level it was at. Still fantastic, though.

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  7. I was lucky in that the stream only crashed a bit during the Rusev stuff and the main event worked without a single flaw. It's not a universal problem so it could be solved. Tonight was a glorified test run and it could have been far worse.

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  8. This show was pretty amazing. Solid in ring work, good video packages, helpful match enhancing commentary, especially in the women's match, and basically made me wonder how this could be the same company that creates Raw every week.

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  9. Yeah, but the Ask WWE Network twitter monkeys are now suggesting things like plugging your PS3 into an ethernet cable in place of Wi-Fi if you're having trouble, as though that was a real fix. So it's not THAT much better.

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  10. As an ROH fan that is just now starting to care about them again do the Adam Cole as champ, Hero and Styles coming back, and the May NJPW shows, it was a very trying time back in 2012.

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  11. Weird that some of you guys had issues with the live stream because the stream worked without a hitch on my Roku. And up until yesterday, I had nothing but issues with the Network, live feed notwithstanding.

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  12. Does anyone else think Sami Zayn could become a big enough star that they could actually do an eventual Cena turn?

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  13. Your_Favourite_LoserFebruary 27, 2014 at 11:33 PM

    it's weird b/c while some people had problems here and there, in the live thread everybody's stream went down during breeze's entrance

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  14. The nxt live thread has 990 posts while the impact one has 41. That makes me chortle.

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  15. Punk wasn't enough to turn Cena heel. Bryan wasn't enough to turn Cena heel. Good luck to Sami but he's got his work cut out for him on that front.

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  16. I feel Sami has more of the "look" they like... but you make a good point

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  17. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryFebruary 28, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    No. He's not turning.

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  18. Faarooq after Ahmed stiffed him and cracked his ribs:

    OWWWW
    ......
    .....
    .....
    ....DAMN!!

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  19. I really don't think it's a case of him having what they are looking for as their belief(true or not)that no one can supplant Cena and the role he plays.

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  20. A question for you NXT aficionados out there: Will this type of live "supercard" become the norm for NXT or was this just a one off test for their live streaming?

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  21. Triple H said in his twitter QnA that he wants to do them around big WWE PPVs like SummerSlam, Royal Rumble, and Mania.

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  22. Elvy's not even trolling on TNA's behalf anymore. That should tell you how popular they are now. They managed to run off their biggest supporter!

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  23. That'd be pretty cool. Good thing about the network. They can do these live specials for NXT and give the younger stars a big stage. I'd be interested to see how many people watched the special tonight.

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  24. By the way, for those of you out there who have a Roku:
    If you go to Settings>System Update>Check Now, you'll discover there's a new update for the WWE Network. Hope that helps you guys.
    Now if only they'll get that login issue on the 360 fixed. Why do I have a feeling that still won't be fixed by the time WrestleMania 30 rolls around?

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  25. Testing the new Roku update with WrestleWar '91.
    Great job showing all of those empty seats, WCW.

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  26. Curtis Hughes of Jericho bodyguard fame?

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  27. Yeah, the same dude.

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  28. This match needed one thing...and I think everyone's rating would've went up at least a full star if Sami had busted out the BRAINBUSTAHHHH. That place would've went absolutely apeshit.

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  29. Wow, I had no idea he was around for so long.

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  30. Ahmed's a very fascinating figure to think about, because he went from a HUGE star to basically vanishing overnight. The general consensus is/was that he was injury-prone AND hurt other guys. Him not getting along with both Austin AND The Rock was a death sentence to his career anyways.
    But to go from ALL THAT, to basically being an eyeblink on the business who NEVER showed up again? With THAT scary physique? It's crazy.

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  31. He spoke about that in a RAW magazine when he was still with the company- it was so evocative to me that I STILL remember parts of it (especially the "Make the kids line up while he whips them" bit).

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  32. Got the crash the same time Scott did and couldn't get it fixed. Got frustrated and threw in the towel, never got to see the main event. This keeps up and I'm canceling the service for a while until they figure this shit out.

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  33. His issue is that he's just another Standard Bland Cookie-Cutter Wrestler. He's a total blank slate so far, and a minor-leaguer. Plenty of guys his age could improve. So we'll see on him.

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  34. I still have Wyatt/Bryan as MOTY; the construction of that match, particularly the finishing sequence, still leaves me breathless in how perfect it was. That having been said, Zayn/Cesaro from tonight has to be in the discussion. I'm kind of with Scott - I would have liked to see a more protracted babyface comeback at the end. I felt like the hope spots were cut off quicker than I would have liked before Cesaro finally ended it. Right result, great match, nitpicky at best; but once you pass the **** mark, it's really not much more than that.


    Oh, and while I agree with the attitude of 'what more could Zayn possibly learn down in NXT', but I'd rather they wait until they have a Shield-level gimmick for him as opposed to something like how they've tossed Xavier Woods out there. Zayn is something special, I'm willing to wait until the right storyline is there to get him over from the start as a big deal.

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  35. Also disappointing that the story involved simply shitting in a toilet, as opposed to on someone's food or in their gym bag.

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  36. I think you'd be better off looking towards reigns for that slight possibility.

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  37. Admittedly, if the show's stream *was* going to get stuck in a loop, I can't imagine a more apropos place for it to loop than Breeze' entrance.

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  38. IIRC, Hughes was debuting in AWA around 1988 and the marketed him based on his time playing line at K-State.

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  39. From the looks of his Wikipedia page, he had slimmed down quite a bit when he was wrestling back in '09.

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  40. I concur with this sentiment on calling up Zayn. I feel like if he were to come up Monday, he'd just be the next Evan Bourne.

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  41. Not all racists lynch people, or even hate people. Racism can be fear, suspicion and preconceived notions about their behavior.

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  42. It's a really dangerous move.

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  43. very unlikely. but if nothing goes terribly wrong, I am sure he will replace Rey Mysterio as their resident "small guy".

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  44. that's pretty much a throwback to the "big four". I wonder if that will make those NXT "ppvs" even more meaningful than the regular WWE ppvs (of course, only in relation to the brand).

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  45. At this point they might as well wait to bring him up until after Wrestlemania.

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  46. Oh yeah. The stuff with Jericho was the tail end of his career.

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  47. Not true...mine worked through the entire pre show and NXT Arrival...no hiccups or buffering...I was watching on my tablet...

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  48. Is Dusty Rhodes still a part of the NXT booking team or has he been replaced?

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  49. I never watched an NXT show before but kept hearing about how good it was from Scott and some other folks. I checked out last night's show and really enjoyed it.

    The show just felt like pro wrestling. The announcers analyzed the match like it was a shoot. There was no buddy-buddy fake bar scene chemistry setting like you're stuck with on Monday nights. Regal was tremendous. The commentators focused on each match as it was happening and it helped make every match seem important.

    Like Scott mentioned, the video packages were great and simple at presenting the characters and feuds in a way that made me excited to see them.

    The crowd was hot all night, if a little chant happy. Just a really enjoyable show. Now I'm gonna be checking this show out every week.

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  50. From the rumors I've heard Byron Saxton has been doing most of the booking as of late.

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  51. Biff or Beef WellingtonFebruary 28, 2014 at 6:56 AM

    I'm a fan from the 80's and 90's who's not watched a non-Royal Rumble / Wrestlemania PPV in years... (The summerslam i think it was that had Booker T vs the Rock was the last) I've followed Scott's stuff from site to site, and kept up on the industry this way... I've started watching NXT on Hulu, but this show blew me away.


    I signed up for the Network for nostalgia. Now (close to) middle aged - I can go back and have old Survivor Series or WCW PPV's on that I remember renting from the video store as a kid on the 2nd monitor while I surf the web or play poker. Between the hours of old stuff and NXT I am so happy (and I probably still wont watch any current product).


    Now if they could only add Stampede Archives and Clash of the Champions - I'd be estatic.

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  52. I may have liked this Zayn/Cesaro match better than the last one. Just a fantastic, simple yet well told story in both action and the emotion behind it. It really makes me sad to think they get to perform and operate like this on NXT and then get it all brainwashed out of them once they get called up to the "big leagues". Cesaro/Cena was great, but THIS is the wrestling I really wanna see.

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  53. "The crowd was hot all night, if a little chant happy."

    isn't almost every "wrestling crowd" like that nowadays?

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  54. Some of the entrances definitely stuck out to me, especially The Ascension's - I'm not a fan of that angry German metal stuff, but it fit them perfectly.

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  55. Just a quick FYI for everyone: I had the same issue with the stream dying during Breeze's entrance, but once I rewound it about five minutes, the rest of the show worked perfectly. Seemed to be more of a buffering issue than anything.

    Not sure how many people that may help, but I figured I'd throw that out there.

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  56. Calling Austin a racist when he's not certainly qualifies as bullshit.

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  57. first saw him in early WCW as the Big Cat along with the Motor City Madman. An epic and well put together team if there ever was one.

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