THE SPECIALISTS CHIVERTON'S NXT SCOUTING REPORT: Latest Network Rankings, plus Evaluation of the Neville vs. Zayn booking, more!
Nov 20, 2014 - 10:10:40 AM
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NXT Rankings & Evaluation
By George Chiverton, PWTorch NXT specialist
NXT Network Era Rankings
(1a) Sami Zayn
(1b) Charlotte (NXT Women’s champion)
(3) Adrian Neville (NXT champion)
(4) The Ascension
(5) Tyler Breeze
(7) Tyson Kidd
(8) Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady
(9) The Vaudevillians
(10) Lucha Dragons (NXT Tag champions)
(11) Sasha Banks
(12) Becky Lynch
(13) The Legionnaires
(14) Alexa Bliss
(15) Bull Dempsey
(16) C.J. Parker
(17) Mojo Rawley
11/13 NXT Episode Analysis
Hey, hey, hey, it’s the ‘end’ of Sam Zayni’s road to redemption on NXT as he faces off against Adrian Neville for the big one: The NXT Title. Sounds dreamy. Also look out for the likes of the Lucha Dragons and Alexa Bliss, who have been anonymous as of late.......
- The show kicked off with a refreshed Full Sail lapping up a full ring entrance for newbie Finn Balor. He made a theatrical entrance which centred on cool poses and flashy lighting effects. It was all very Japanese in essence and although not for everyone, I give this a general thumbs up just for being different. I also reckon 10-year-old me would have ruddy loved this. We’ll see how it gets over.
Balor got on the mic to ‘Finn’ chants. He announced his name and that he is the future. Tyson Kidd came out with Natalya, who was looking ravishing. Kidd did the standard running down of Finn while a ‘Natty’s husband’ chant drew his ire. Kidd said as a Hart he was taught respect, something Finn has not got. After an awkward pause, Justin Gabriel came down to ringside and said he was angry with all these ‘international Superstars’ (his quotes not mine) coming in when he and Kidd were clearly the best. This is terrible. The pair got into the ring and began to get close to Finn before, eventually, Hideo Itami’s music hit.
Hideo very slowly made his way to the ring as the heels patiently waited for him to get there. How kind of them. When Hideo reached the ring, the heels seemed to bail and were about to go to the back when the ref appeared to be trying to communicate something. He then went to the announcer and then a load of time passed and then it turned out that GM William Regal had made a match which started immediately. What a horrible segment lets never do that again. It was just over-booked non-sense to try to avoid a "Teddy Long" accusation. Just get out there, Regal, make the bloody match, and be done with it.
- All four men swapped tags to start out as Alex Riley pointed out that Kidd and Gabriel wrestled as a team at Mania 28. Nice touch, even if it was seemingly a tad forced given how far below Mania these two now seem. Kidd seemed to be about to lock up with Finn, but cowardly bailed at the last moment, forcing a tag. Gabriel tepidly got into the ring, foolishly paying attention to Kidd. When he turned around BOOOM Finn absolutely wrecked him with a running dropkick that sent him flying across the ring into the turnbuckle. Brutal. Balor was on the top rope in a flash, but Kidd pulled Gabriel out of the ring and harm’s way. Well, no, as Finn came flying over the top to splash the heels. What a first minute of WWE in ring competition for Finn Balor!
Back from the break, Justin Gabriel and Hideo had slowed down the pace. Finn tagged in and chopped the South African out of poor Gabriel. Gabriel reversed a whip into the corner sending Finn into the turnbuckle. When Gabriel came in for a kick, Finn simply hopped the rope to get out of the way and big booted Kidd on the apron. Gabriel kicked him off the apron though, which allowed Kidd to take a tag and hit a neckbreaker on the floor. This set up a bit of heat building time with Finn being worked over by both members of the heel team. Byron Saxton on commentary talked about Kidd’s recent opportunities on Raw stemming from great performances at NXT. I really ruddy like Byron Saxton.
Finn got to his feet out of a unique bow & arrow hold from Gabriel, but a miscommunication meant for a second or two both sort of stood next to each other excitedly shaking. Gabriel pulled his socks up and kneed Finn in the stomach delaying the hot tag just that little bit longer. Kidd kept Balor pegged for a second until a ducked clothesline led to a Pele kick right on the top of Kidd’s head and the opening he needed to make the tag.
In came Hideo kicking up a storm. There is stiff and then there is Itami, who I swear hits the most consistently painful-looking shots in the WWE. Kidd got a boot up when Hideo charged him in the corner which allowed Gabriel to tag in. Unfortunately for him though, Gabriel spring-boarded right into a big knee from Hitami. Kidd decided to throw caution to the wind and tried to get involved again, only to have a kick dragon screwed away by Hideo. Itami then tagged in Finn, who ran along the apron to enziguiri Kidd, who was trying to recover in the corner, right in the back of the head. Gabriel had fallen in the opposite corner and soon we had stereo hesitation dropkicks from both Hideo and Finn in a call back to Finn’s debut last week. Finn went to the top and BOOOM diving double foot stop from hell to win the match.
Man, I am ruddy knackered. When you take this much innovation and athleticism, and combine it with a hard hitting attitude and you’ve got a hell of a team. Gosh darn it Finn came out with a purpose tonight and absolutely wowed. I’ve seen him live before and his intensity is incredible, but what really impressed me here was the way he moved about the ring. Jumping the top rope before nonchalantly booting Tyson Kidd in the face is something very few could pull off, let alone with the finesse that Finn displayed here. Great stuff.
- Sasha Banks was out next with Becky Lynch. Hey! What did I say? She would be facing Alexa Bliss. Nice to see her again. She had new, less ‘princess-orientated’ music that worked well enough.
Banks was the aggressor from the outset setting up Bliss on the second turnbuckle before dropping her trademark double knee drop. Banks then came off the ropes for a slap before a nasty looking bow stretch (I think I just made that up) was the final straw for Bliss who began a comeback with a head-scissor take down. She then bounced around in the corner before hooking up for a Yoshi Tonic, slamming Banks head hard on the mat. Only a two count, and Banks was up almost immediately to hit a dropkick and stop her aggressor. Are you going to sell at any point, Sasha? No? Okay. Well, great. Banks hit her backstabber/Cobra Clutch finisher for a submission win. Good match, although you gotta feel for poor Alexa Bliss hitting such a sweet move only for Banks to pop up like it was nothing.
Banks got the mic and said she would win the title. You know the drill.
- Backstage, Adrian Neville said Sami was a good friend and a great competitor, but he can’t win the big one. Standard stuff again, but well-delivered.
- Heeeey! The Lucha Dragons. Was I too harsh on them in the recent rankings shake up? We’ll see. They had the trampoline set up at the bottom of the ramp for their entrance which, unlike what we’ve seen in the past, worked well. They would be facing Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy who got a full entrance and made the most of it. There is something about Buddy Murphy I really like. I’m gunna keep an eye on him here…
Blake started with Kalisto who was lucha-ing his way out of all of Blake's strength based offence. That was until Murphy blind tagged in and caught Kalisto off a springboard DDT attempt. He deadlifted the lil man up for a suplex and slammed him hard. Nice stuff. Blake was in again, with Byron talking about how Murphy and Blake wanted to be the most functional team of NXT. They’re certainly playing up to that well so far with lots of tags to keep both members fresh. Murphy was in dropping a knee on Kalisto. Then in came Blake who hit a double foot stomp onto Kalisto’s arm. Blake hooked up Kalisto in a surfboard style submission and tagged in Murphy who came off the second rope to slam Kalisto's head. Kalisto then got monkey flipped by Muprhy, but went over Blake to hit a sunset flip into a kick from the floor. Well, that was something.
Kalisto managed to get the tag and Sin Cara started to fly around the ring. Buddy Murphy used one hand to scoop up the luchador, allowing for one of the prettiest head scissor take downs you’re ever likely to see. Sin Cara (#Drink4Drake) hit a rebound elbow and got a two count. Kalisto then did a mental flipping press over the top rope which took out Buddy Murphy on the outside. This allowed Sin Cara to deadlift Blake up from a schoolboy position for a huge powerbomb. He followed up with a Swanton and we had a winner.
A great match which was carried, in the large part, by Blake and Murphy, before Sin Cara’s run at the end wrapped things up. The Luchas are very talented, but not yet all that over. Give these men a mic and some character please or NXT may have their very own Usos in the making.
- Oh man. It’s main event time: Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville for the NXT Title. Zayn was super-hyped on the way to the ring with Full Sail feeding him some raucous Ole's. Neville looked calm and cocky and received a fair few boos. After formal introductions (which re-affirmed the crowd was solidly behind Zayn) it was on.
They traded some chain wrestling to start, stalling out while also teasing Sami perhaps having a slight edge over his opponent. The announcers touched on their past in the indies as Full Sail remained utterly captured which every lock and throw. Sami danced about a wristlock and bounced about to avoid all of Neville’s offence before hitting a big dropkick to send the Geordie to the outside. Sami threatened to come over the top but when Neville moved, Zayn re-adjusted into his trademark Arabian press fake out. Neville paused on the outside, looking frustrated at Zayn’s showboating. In response, Zayn sat on the middle rope to sarcastically offer Neville a way in. Neville, looking cross, flipped over the top rope to show he didn’t need Zayn’s help. SO GOOD. Once in Zayn was whipped into the ropes only hit a shoulder block and ground the champ. Neville got up, noticeably angered as if he’d had enough, and began kicking Zayn all over the shop including a big kick to a grounded Zayn off the ropes. Zayn laid out NXT went to break.
Back from that, Neville had a chinlock on the mat. Sami couldn’t get to his feet at the first attempt, and on the second he was quickly kicked to his knees. Neville kept firing some nasty shots before hitting the ropes. When he came back he was met with a big punch from Zayn, who then hit the ropes himself, but ran into a punch from Neville. Zayn managed a clothesline at the next attempt though, which, following some offence, sent Neville to the outside. Air Zayn came flying over the top and NXT went crazy.
Zayn rolled Neville into the ring and went to the top rope, pulling all of Full Sail with him. When Zayn eventually went for a cross-body though, Neville fell backwards in order to get his knees up, which allowed the Brit to transition into a standing shooting star press. Zayn kicked out just before three, but Neville was seemingly now in control. Neville went for a powerbomb but got reversed and then a load of crazy stuff happened which I can’t explain so I won’t try, but it concluded with Sami hitting a beastly sit out powerbomb for a really close two. Sami’s selling to the ref after the two was fantastic and one of those little touches which sets him head and shoulders above the rest.
Neville got to his feet and began whipping some kicks before Zayn caught him and hit a german suplex, and another, before a final, brutal, half nelson German... I think. It was great whatever it was and led to a really close two count for Sami once again. Byron heeled it up on commentary saying how great the champion was for showing resiliency, while Zayn went to the corner to size up a helluva. Zayn then came charging in only to go face first into a huge kick from Neville which silenced Full Sail. Sami sold like he was out on his feet as Neville lined him up for a corner attack of his own. As Neville came in though he was caught, but managed to avoid being suplexed into the turnbuckle by rolling through into a pin and a really close two count again. All these falls have been believable, what a fantastic match.
When they got to their feet, Sami was punted in the head once again, allowing Neville to set up for the Red Arrow. The crowd chanted ‘No! No! No!’ but when Neville eventually went for it, Sami rolled, causing Neville to slam to the mat. He immediately looked hurt selling his left knee. On the replay it looked as though the right hit really hard so I really think he should have improvised here or at least read the situation better. Zayn was psyching up in the corner ready for the helluva kick before the ref started properly attending to Neville. The ref threw up an X, and signaled over to Zayn to stay back. Zayn’s passion slowly turned to concern as he approached to see what sort of state Neville was in. It turned out to be Florida. While selling affliction and annoyance at his title chances being effectively over on this occasion, Zayn took a knee to check on Neville. Neville, the ruddy heel that is, sprung up and small packaged Zayn. 1, 2, 3. Wow, that is brutal.
That is great booking and what a set-up for the blow-off match. Zayn sat in the ring looking utterly dejected. Man, that is so sad. Neville was attended to by medics in the background still selling the knee injury. A super slow-mo shot made his landing look absolutely brutal on his knees. Talk about impact. Back in the ring, Sami hadn’t moved, still looking absolutely gutted. That’s a way to close a show.
Wow. Well I am exhausted. You look at Raw and a rabbit committed sexual assault on his employer/manager/party guide? Meanwhile, NXT is delivering a show of this quality with a couple more weeks of build up to the big special. I AM HYPED.
Anyhow, lovely chaps, I will see you next week and you will hopefully like my article even more then. In the meantime if you want to contact me, tweet @GeorgeChiverton or tweet with the hashtag #Drink4Drake and I’ll be all yours. If the bosses don’t mind I will also mention that I have also joined a new podcast called ‘The Hero is Wrestling Podcast.' It’s no PWTorch Livecast and if I were you I would obviously recommend you listen to that first. If you fancy something slightly more puerile which also features a Brit and a Canadian then maybe give us a go.
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