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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

Ye NXT Chronicle 2.24.14: YEAH! I HAVE ARRIVED!
Posted by Allenby OBrien on 02.24.2014

And we're back! Insomnia, a faceplant in my main hallway and one tweaked calf later, I bring you a slightly-belated 2nd edition of Ye NXT Chronicle! But enough about my assorted pratfalls. I wanna get right down to business because there's a lot to cover this week (and to be honest, this is one of the last sections that I'm writing so I'm just about D-O-N-E) but before that: I simply must thank all of YOU for your gracious praise on my debut column. I won't pretend that I wasn't a little nervous about it…especially since there were considerable bumps along the way of FINALLY getting it online.

But you guys keep enjoying reading it and I'll keep enjoying writing it.

Let's Rock.


Nice intro to NXT for people who havent seen it before, or only catch it at a glimpse. A good article on here would be to do feature on certain members on the NXT roster, get more fans invested into them, in the format of the Bo Dallas one done on here

Why thank you! One of the inspirations for this column-and honestly, my NXT viewership as a whole-was an article I saw online that graded the NXT wrestlers as prospects. I'll be sure to dig it up after I find it using the obscure line from it that I remember.

As for doing multiple profiles as a separate article: a capital idea that I will most definitely look in to sometime in the near future.

Great article Mr.Dagger.CJ Parker while incredibly horrendous as a face actually has potential as a heel. His in ring abilities need a lot of work. The only heel turns that reflect that of Parker's would be that of the Honky Tonk Man and perhaps Bo Dallas. Bo Dallas as a heel has potential to become a decent midcard champion, at this point I can't see him challenging the main event roster members for their status. At his age there is a wide time limit for him to improve as a character and as a wrestler. His next callup should be far more intriguing than his last, especially if he keeps his current character. I look forward to reading more of your articles.

And gratitude to you too!

I most definitely agree that CJP has far more potential as a heel than as a babyface that the crowd doesn't like. As for his in-ring I dump on it quite a bit, but a few weeks back he had a match with Cesaro where he showed some skills and some interesting, unorthodox moves. His gimmick could be very interesting as a heel and definitely capture the zeitgeist of a contemporary social group. You know the one: the preachy, sanctimonious greenie who's got an environmentally-friendly soapbox and they'll let everyone know it. Definitely worth keeping an eye on.

As for Bo: time is definitely on his side. He's improved by leaps-&-bounds over the past year, especially since his heel turn. All of the potential is there and WWE will give him every opportunity to succeed, so it's all up to him to deliver the goods. I especially like his recent promo work, where the façade of SMILES FOR MILES is cracking and he's showing a whole new, sinister side to him. Again, it has my interest, so Dallas could make a BO-liever out of me yet.

Ryan McDonald
The Riley hate needs to stop. It's ridiculous. Yes, the guy gets distracted and goofs off way too much, but unlike Miz he can go one match without bringing everything back to himself or simply listing the championships a guy has won, and he has more natural enthusiasm than any other commentator in the company. With time, I think he and Byron Saxton (Tensai possibly) could probably be the next gen of WWE commentators (Regal gets flustered way too much). Give A-Ry a break, he is NOT Mike Adamle.
I see why you go by Ice Dagger instead of your real name, by the way. Just kidding. ;)

You got a problem with Irish there, Fella?

As for A-Ry: I thought that being a poor substitute for The Miz was his entire role in the company?

I kid. While in some situations, he'd probably shine more, compared to everybody else in the NXT booth he very much comes off as unnecessary. His idiotic, self-indulgent comments don't exactly endear him to me, either.

But then again I genuinely enjoy Booker T as a commentator, so what do I know?

NXT is wonderful. I'll disagree with you on one aspect: the crowd is the friggen worst.

Let me guess: you're from Corpus Christi?

Jack Squat
it is a strange crowd... and it may be the same ilk as the Raw after wm crowd, but they do have different reactions to stars from the main roster... they really pop for anyone that makes that random appearance... like the miz a few weeks ago... and they tend to push guys that are just fashionable to push like Aiden English and hate on those that are fashionable to hate on... but they do get some things right like refusing to mark for Dallas and kind of forcing him to play the character they want him to play...

Something of a chicken-and-egg argument here: as the Full Sail crowd are [usually] the first people to ever SEE these performers, wouldn't they be the ones who make it fashionable to hate on certain folks?

RE: The Miz, you can't really see it on the broadcast, but according to live reports from the tapings he tried to high-five several of the fans after his match and they all declined his offer. HA!

And as for Aiden English: I said last week that alluding to Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog makes him my all-time fave and I stand by it!

(In all seriousness my current favourite of the NXT roster probably won't be appearing for some time. But you can rest assured that when he does, you'll know.)

Jack Squat
I recommend the cj parker promo from Feb 12...at 34:41, after his incredible "third eye" finisher that gets NO response
Excellent delivery, I feel like the fans have been taking Parker the wrong way, there's something to this, and by playing his character this way he will further highlight the jabs at the pretentious new age/better than you new ager that he's actually poking fun at, and it seems it was meant to be heelish, because a snobby enviro person is really not a face prototype. I think they were hoping the fans would think it was funny, but maybe they took it as that was the connection the character was trying to make and was put off, but in reality he's on the same wavelength, poking fun at the character, has been all along, he just needed to be in a more exaggerated heel role for that to show, and as such, the audience was laughing and clapping at times.

The first-ever commenter to get multiple responses!

I definitely agree: Parker will excel far more as a heel than he ever could've as a face, especially in a gimmick that was DOA. Any gimmick that the person behind it gets to have fun with has a far better chance of getting over than one that they don't really enjoy. And I admit that his mannerisms are definitely amusing at times. If he can harness the Go-Away Heat from the NXT crowd like Bo Dallas has, we might be looking at a star in the making.

Steve Ward
Needed more Italics.

Don't you remember the old dirtsheet formula: Italics = Truth?

And it's all that my 411 budget currently caters for! We're only given Dogecoins!


Episodes of NXT are broadcast:

Wednesday, Hulu+ ~ Jack Squat

Thursday, 8PM, Sportsnet ~ El Generibro

Thursday, Midnight, SkySports3 ~ marcx666


NXT @ Full Sail University (Episode #208-: February 20, 2014)

Your announce team for this week is Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton & Tensai.

Byron Saxton was a competitor on NXT Season #4 & NXT: Redemption as well as a commentator for ECW on Sci-Fi in its final months.
> It seems that getting bullied by Antonio Cesaro while he was feuding with William Regal has caused Byron to develop Stockholm Syndrome: as he's playing the role of the pro-heel colour commentator but…not being all-that-convincing with his portrayal.
> Apparently Saxton is also a member of the NXT creative team. I'm now picturing him & Dusty Rhodes having movie marathons together in search of inspiration for gimmicks.

Tensai is, of course, one-half of the former Tons of Funk and now the main roster superstar is trying his hand at being a babyface colour commentator.
> Apparently being a native speaker of Japanese doesn't hinder his ability to be somewhat reminiscent of Gorilla Monsoon. He even seems to be perusing the same textbooks on anatomy!

We start off the show in pitch-black darkness as we LET BATTLE COMMENCE:

The Ascension vs. Ham & Egger

The Ascension are the current NXT Tag Team Champions. Starting out in FCW, The Ascension was originally a stable led by Ricardo Rodriguez (yes, THAT Ricardo) that also included Kenneth Cameron, Epico & Raquel Diaz along with Conor O'Brian. However, the stable would quickly get repackaged without Ricardo into a supernatural gimmick, but it was quickly pared down to the tag team of O'Brian & Cameron.
> The tag team would make it to the relaunched NXT but Kenneth Cameron would be released due to legal problems.

Conor spent almost half-a-year working The Ascension gimmick as a solo act before being paired up with the returning Rick Victor. The new incarnation of The Ascension would quickly rise through the ranks and eventually beat Adrian Neville & Corey Graves for the Tag Team Championships. A month or so into their reign, O'Brian & Victor would have their names re-tooled to Konnor & Viktor.
Konnor you may recognise from NXT Season #4 and NXT: Redemption as a Rookie named Conor O'Brian. He spent the early years of his career wrestling in Florida independents before signing with WWE in 2005 and working in Deep South Wrestling for a couple of years before temporarily going on hiatus from wrestling due to familial issues. He returned to the industry in 2009 and spent over a year working on the independent circuit before re-signing with WWE and working in their developmental program. Since his stint as an NXT Rookie his persona has become considerably darker.
Viktor is Canadian wrestler and Hart Dungeon graduate APOC. A veteran of almost 15 years, he's worked all over the world in promotions such as Stampede Wrestling, NJPW and a post-WWE developmental OVW before signing with WWE in February 2011. Viktor would make a handful of appearances in the emergent days of the relaunched NXT before disappearing for about a year and returning as Conor's new tag team partner.

Ham & Egger are jobbers of no current importance. Their names are Casey Marion & Mike Laboska but a quick search for those names only turned up the latter's ModelMayhem profile. Err…yay?

The announcers discuss how The Ascension have been Tag Team Champions for 140 days.
> Crowd is already doing the "YAH-YAH-YAH!" chant before The Ascension even appear on-camera.
Announcers also mention that NXT Arrival is actually getting a Kickoff show, with a panel consisting of Kevin Nash, Bret Hart & Paul Heyman.
> Wow. Nash hasn't looked this out of his depth since the last time he tried to talk about what it takes for a world champion to draw money.

Ham & Egger don't get an entrance. Of course.
> Ham (Marion) starts off and has a face kinda like Edge but otherwise resembles an Anderson. Or one of their lesser cousins, anyway.

We've got a "LET'S GO KON-NOR!/YAH-YAH-YAH!" chant right from the bell, but it's actually Viktor who starts off for The Ascension.
Viktor sends Ham into the ropes and just kills him with a Lariat for TWO.
Tensai: "The Ascension needs to be careful of not becoming too complacent. Because truthfully, they're just running through their opponents left-and-right."
> Well, being that their most noteworthy opponents since winning the belts have been Hunico & Camacho or The American Pitbulls…

Viktor LAUNCHES Ham into Egger like a javelin and causes him to have a great fall…off the apron.
> All the King's horses and all the King's men…
Byron: "Does that look complacent to you?"
Viktor drops Ham with a Northern Lights Suplex and starts working Ham's arm.
The "WE WANT YAH!" chants inspire Viktor to tag in Konnor, which gets a considerable pop.

Viktor whips Ham into the ropes and The Ascension transition a stereo hiptoss into a kind-of assisted release Powerbomb.
Byron: "Konnor & Viktor describe their style as: Telepathic Carnage."
> Dibs on that as a band name.

Konnor tags in Viktor and that gets BOOED.
> How did Konnor get so over?

The Ascension just MURDER Ham with the Fall of Man.
> It's a modified Total Elimination with Viktor hitting a Flying European Uppercut instead of a Spinning Heel Kick.
> Crowd chants "YAH-YAH-YAH!" along with the referee's count.

RESULT: Viktor via pinfall (Fall of Man) in 1:34.
More of the usual from The Ascension. They've more-or-less been stuck in a holding pattern since winning the belts due to the division collapsing from assorted bad luck. But now that the crowd has decided that they enjoy chanting YAH! they're at least some kind of over. These guys really need some challengers to show that they can actually wrestle outside of squashes.

TONIGHT: Adrian Neville/Tyler Breeze main event.

UP NEXT: Emma/Summer Rae.

An NXT Arrival hype vignette.

Ring announcer Eden informs us that: "Tyler Breeze has now entered the building.".

Eden is a former developmental Diva of no renown and is now Mrs. Cody Rhodes.
> Nice pull, Son of The Son of a Plumber.

Summer Rae vs. Emma

A[nother] rematch of the semi-finals in the tournament for the Women's Championship!

Summer Rae is flanked by her BFFs Sasha Banks & Charlotte.
> Charlotte is actually wearing her ring gear: and looking pretty well-built in it, too.

A brief cut to the announce table as the trio hype up Arrival for next week, in particular, the Women's Championship match between Emma & Paige.
> What, no Renée Young guesting for this match? BOO.

Emma makes her entrance (in a SPECTACULAR rainbow attire that makes me crave Hundreds & Thousands biscuits) and the crowd joins her in doing the EMMA-lution…as does Tensai! Tremendous!
> Well, he's better at it than Cole is.
Bryon: "Tensai, sit down!"

Bayley is accompanying Emma with an #EMMAlution sign, but Emma waves that one off and sends her running to the back to get the other sign.
> These two are like living cartoon characters. And I mean that in the best possible way.
Bayley returns with a new sign that reads SUMMER TEETH: Sum'er Yellow/Sum'er Green.
> I guess it's been an appropriate amount of time for somebody to start doing the Sign Guy gimmick again. Whatever happened to Lodi anyway?

Tensai asks Byron how he can be "such a curmudgeon?" when we've got Bubbles & Hugs.
> Bubbles & Hugs? That's your tag team name right there.

Bell rings to start off a match that would get crickets from a RAW or SmackDown! crowd at any arena in the world. And that's a shame.

Summer takes Bayley's sign, attempts to tear it up but just opts to throw it outside instead. Emma schoolgirls her for 1, goes for an Oklahoma Roll and gets another 1-count.
Summer Rae takes over with a kick to the mid-section as the crowd fires up the "RATCHET!" chant at Sasha Banks. Rae whips Emma into the corner, but she evades a charge with a corner slingshot and rolls Summer up for 2.
Emma Armdrags Summer to the mat and keeps a hold of her to smoothly transition into an ARMbar while driving a knee to Summer's head.
> What number was Australian Armbar on the list of 1,004 Holds?

Back on their feet, Emma transitions into an Arm Wringer before Irish Whipping Summer and going for a BAAACK Body Drop but puts her head down too early and Summer goes for a Sunset Flip…but Emma sits down on it for a pinfall WHILE DOING THE EMMA-LUTION!
> I will always enjoy that spot, even if it never wins a match.
Emma-lution pin gets TWO but Summer kicks her legs up and reverses to get a 2-count on Emma.

Irish Whip reversal has Summer again try to charge Emma in the corner, but this time Emma ducks through the ropes and gets on the apron. She tries for a Shoulder Thrust, but Summer counters with a Knee Lift and casually pushes Emma off the apron. SPLAT.
> Sasha & Charlotte go to trash-talk Emma while she's down on the outside, but ref catches sight of them before they get to do anything more nefarious.

Emma rolls back in but Summer takes her right back down with an Arm Wringer and covers for a 1.5 count. Summer slaps the Armbar back on, then goes for another cover to get another nearfall before re-applying the Armbar. Emma counters with an Armdrag but her rally gets cutoff by a Shoulderblock.
> Summer actually screeches at the crowd for daring to rally behind Emma. Masterful.

After another nearfall for Summer, she smashes Emma's face into the top turnbuckle and starts a Foot Choke that she only breaks after 4…then starts ANOTHER Foot Choke on Emma as she's sitting in the corner.
> Summer is so great at being a tremendous bitch. That's meant to be a compliment.

Summer manages to catch herself on the ropes after an Irish Whip reversal, which leads to Emma Dropkicking nothing.
> Someone in the crowd tries to start up a "BO-RING!" chant. Summer Rae screeches at him AND THE REST OF THE CROWD POPS FOR IT! Eat shit, contrarian dickhead.
Nearfall for Summer Rae. She cinches in a Bodyscissors as we cut to commercial.

And we're back, as Emma counters Summer's Full Nelson + Bodyscissors by rolling back and getting 2 before Summer pushes forward and rolls HER down for 2.
> Ladies. Mat. Wrestling. Lift your game, everybody [else] on Total Divas that isn't Nattie!
Emma pulls herself up on the ropes, but Summer gets on the apron and drives Emma's neck into the middle rope with her ballerina pose. She breaks before the ref gets to 5 and hot-shots Emma's neck on the middle rope.

Tensai: "And to think that Emma's self-taught. Like myself, we are both self-taught in the art of dance."

Summer attacks Emma by throwing a tantrum and still gets a nearfall off it, before clinching in a Headlock.
Summer: "I'm the better dancer!"

Big "LET'S GO EM-MA!" chant inspires her to escape the hold with an Armdrag.
Summer whips Emma into the corner, but she evades a running splash attempt and bounces Summer's head off the turnbuckle.
Emma slaps on the DIL-EMMA and breaks in at 3. Summer faceplants onto the mat and rolls into the corner. Emma starts STAMPIN' HER BOOTS and splashes into Summer with the EMMA SANDWICH!
> Delicious.

Emma drags Summer into the middle of the ring, but gets kicked off and falls next to the apron so that Sasha can SLAP her right in the face. Summer cradles for a nearfall and tries a running charge, but Emma hurls her towards the apron for a collision with Sasha (who apparently climbed up on the apron when the camera wasn't on her?) that sends her flying off the apron and into Charlotte.
> It looks like Charlotte was supposed to catch her but almost missed entirely. Ouch.

Emma takes down Summer with a double-leg and silky-smoothly transitions into the Emma Lock. Summer can only hang on for a few seconds before tapping.

RESULT: Emma via tapout (Emma Lock) in 7:15.
These two always work well together. And it's a good thing, too: Summer is most likely Emma's first program after she wins the Women's Title and they're presently feuding on the main roster, too. If these two aren't feuding for the WWE Divas Championship by the end of this year I'll eat my hat.

Bayley helps Emma to her feet and they BOTH do the Emma-lution in celebration.
> Somebody in the crowd has a VEGEMITE VIXEN sign. Tip Top!

Mic stand Devin Taylor is backstage with Tyler Breeze.

Tyler Breeze is Storm Wrestling Academy graduate Mike Dalton. He was both an FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion and an FCW Florida Tag Team Champion with Leakee who is now better known as Roman Reigns.
> There's a duo I'd love to see re-unite with their present gimmicks.
Mike Dalton was a good technical wrestler, but kind of bland in the personality shakes. He would appear on the relaunched NXT as a tag team jobber before disappearing and getting repackaged as the vain, narcissistic, effeminate supermodel Tyler Breeze. Think along the lines of Gorgeous George & Shawn Michaels mixed together in a Zoolander package.
> Despite being a total heel, his character's sheer hilarity has made him a favourite of the Full Sail crowd.

Taylor recaps to Breeze that tonight he'll face Adrian Neville and asks for his thoughts on the match.
Breeze: "Uh, Devin, please don't use ‘Adrian Neville' and the ‘F' word in the same sentence. I don't like that.".
Breeze note that since Neville is #1 Contender that, if he were to win and become NXT Champion…and then it dawns on him "That…that would mean if he wins, he'll be the f…he'll be the fay…HE'LL BE THE FACE OF NXT! I can't have Adrian Neville representing ME!"
> Breeze's disgust, horror & outrage, mixed with his whiny tone & horrified facial expressions make this promo far too hilarious for a text recap to do it justice.
Breeze closes out with a pun about his finisher.

UP NEXT: Renée Young hosts a Sami Zayn/Antonio Cesaro sit-down interview.

Hype for the Elimination Chamber event.

A Road to WrestleMania hype vignette.

The sit-down interview begins with a nice close-up of Renée Young.
> We're off to a good start!

Renée, rightly, starts off by talking about how their 2/3 Falls Match from 2013 was labelled by a lot of people as the Match of the Year.

Zayn politely interrupts Renée to congratulate Cesaro on qualifying for the Elimination Chamber Match but Cesaro ignores him and rudely interrupts to talk directly to Renée about how so many people congratulated him on qualifying for the Elimination Chamber Match.
> That, right there, perfectly encapsulates both of their characters right now. Brilliant.
Cesaro: "And, when I come back here next time, you could be talking to the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion."
> I almost want to see this just for how mind-blowing it would be.

Renée mentions that this interview is being conducted under 2 conditions:
1: If Sami puts his hands on Cesaro he loses any future opportunities at the NXT Championship.
2: If Cesaro puts his hands on Sami he will lose his spot in the Elimination Chamber Match.
> Of course, before Renée can even finish talking about Condition #1, Cesaro interrupts and declares that Sami will never get another shot at the NXT Championship anyway.
Cesaro: "Not that I would put my hands on Sami in front of a beautiful, yet Canadian, woman anyway."
What. A. Dick.

Renée asks Sami if he'll be medically cleared by February 27th and before he even gets half-a-dozen words out Cesaro cuts him off.
Cesaro: "Let me answer that for you: he will never be 100% cleared. I mean, you saw the footage. He clearly has an Achilles heel. Or an Achilles knee, if-you-will."
Sami: "Well uh, what I was going to say, Renée, is that, ah, my knee is actually fine, the WWE doctors have, just have cleared me and I'm gonna be ready. There's nothing wrong with my knee."
Sami's not even 5 words into his answer before Cesaro pulls out his phone and checks his wristwatch: classic heel arrogance with a modern touch!
> At this point, both Sami & Renée are visibly annoyed with Cesaro's interruptions.

Cesaro [rightly] brings up that there's a big difference between being medically cleared and being physically prepared for a match.

Renée brings up the equally-valid counterpoint that the Elimination Chamber Match is physically taxing and asks Sami if it will give him an edge over Antonio.
> Clearly, this was recorded before Cranky Vince decided that Antonio wasn't a Tough Enough name.

And AGAIN Sami doesn't even get more than 4 words in before Cesaro interrupts!
> Zayn immediately groans.

Sami: "Do you not think I see what you're doing here? That I don't see what you're trying to do?"
Zayn brings up that Cesaro kicked his leg out.
> Of his leg?

Zayn stands and gets all up in Cesaro's face.
Sami: "You're trying to make this personal. Let me explain to you, Antonio, that this is-we're PAST personal. Okay? We DID personal. With, with the attacks last time, the matches and the hatred and the name-calling, that's-that's behind us. We are past personal. The only thing that's personal, about this situation right now, is that it's professional. And I take this profession, VERY personally. And right now you and this match, is the only thing standing in the way of me advancing my career. So that's, THAT'S where we're at. Okay?"

Cesaro stands up and angrily begins explaining to Sami what he doesn't understand is-and Zayn cuts HIM off!
Sami: "What? No, No. No, No. What YOU don't seem to understand, is that you've got NOTHING that I wanna hear. And after February 27th, you're gonna have nothing left to say at all."

Sami exits and the interview concludes.

Perhaps not quite as excellent as their in-ring segment last week, but still a good segment that easily encapsulates this feud. Zayn clearly specifying that this match is in no way personal is an interesting twist and something that the WWE really doesn't do very often, if at all: that this match is purely in the spirit of competition and that Zayn needs the win to prove himself as a competitor.

It also seemingly gives Cesaro an "out" for losing, since he'll only be a few days removed from the Elimination Chamber but I don't think that makes Zayn look weak at all as he's just coming off a knee injury.
> Expect to see Cesaro hurt a body part in the Elimination Chamber to give Zayn something to build an exploitative gameplan around.

UP NEXT: Time for our main event! We even get a split screen showing Neville & Breeze as they're WALKING! to the ring.

Ad for the Shawn Michaels: Mr. WrestleMania DVD.

Hype vignette for Ladder Matches to hype up the NXT Championship Match with…ugh…dubstep? What year is this?
> Hey, an Evan Bourne clip!
> I love how Bo's clip in the highlight reel is a weak looking Belly-to-Belly Suplex while Neville's is the breathtaking Red Arrow.

We go to a BACKSTAGE EXCLUSIVE with Emma.

Mystery off-camera backstage interviewer asks Emma about her match earlier tonight.
Emma: "What? Did you say something about my sign? It's awesome, isn't it?"
> And then Emma casually throws it aside to talk about her upcoming title match.

Emma: "Look, more importantly, NXT Arrivalis just around the corner and I finally have my rematch for the NXT Women's Championship. But before then…there's a few things I need to say to Paige. And I'm gonna say them…face…to face…next week. Yeah!"
> So uh…is this a time paradox? Next week is NXT Arrival where said match will be taking place…backstage segment I guess? Maybe?

Emma sets off, but realises she's walking in the same direction that she came from and turns back around. Tremendous!

Tyler Breeze vs. Adrian Neville

Adrian Neville is PWG & Dragon Gate standout PAC. The Newcastle, England native has been nicknamed ‘The Man That Gravity Forgot'. He was one-half of the first-ever NXT Tag Team Champions and the only person to have won that title twice.
> He also wears a mouthguard while he wrestles. Anybody else think that could be a unique merchandising opportunity for him?
> My Dad says that Neville has huge, flappy ears.

Breeze's entrance attire of a furry vest (with matching phonecase) is just awesome. What kind of fur it is has never been specified.
> …BUT it's certainly not "ostrich fur" like A-Ry suggested.
> Crowd is very loudly chanting for "C-M PUNK!" as Breeze enters and then suddenly go very quiet. HMMM.

Recap of the previous Neville/Breeze feud where Breeze cost Neville the NXT Championship during a Lumberjack Match against Bo Dallas.
> Unfortunately, it doesn't replay the backstage segment where Tyler Breeze hilariously tried to mock Neville's "The Man That Gravity Forgot" moniker with: "More like Man That…MOTHER NATURE…Forgot…to make…good-looking…".

Phillips: "Adrian Neville got a match against Breeze 5 weeks ago and won, but this match has been requested by Tyler Breeze, guys."
Saxton claims that Breeze has promised to re-arrange Neville's face.

Collar-&-Elbow tie-up has Neville back Breeze into a corner and then lightly poke at his face to mess it up. Hee.
Breeze takes advantage with a few strikes and starts stomping Neville down into the corner.
> Stone Cold Breeze?
Referee starts reprimanding Breeze who responds by shouting: "I KNOW! DON'T TOUCH ME!"
> Awesome.

Breeze whips Neville into a corner, but he does the corner slingshot counter to sail over Breeze and begins backflipping back into the previous corner BUT BREEZE FOLLOWS HIM BACK AND CATCHES HIM WITH A DROPKICK!
> That was incredible!

Breeze drags Neville back to his own corner and…grabs his phone to admire his reflection and take a selfie. Tremendous!
Breeze: "PHOTO OP!"

Breeze pops Neville with a right hand and covers for ALMOST 2. Neville crawls towards the adjacent corner and Breeze leans in with a Knee Choke which he breaks after 3. And again Breeze screams "DO NOT TOUCH ME!" at the referee.
Neville catches an attempted kick to the midsection and starts kicking Breeze's other leg in.

Phillips brings up that the careers have been made…and ended…because of Ladder Matches.
Tensai: "Careers that have been made, I mean, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, WrestleMania X; Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, 1992 for the Intercontinental Championship; Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy. I don't know if you guys watch the WWE commercials, but you ALWAYS see Jeff Hardy diving off that ladder onto The Dudley Boyz. I mean, this MAKES careers, these type of matches!"
> What's more surprising: that the original WWE Ladder Match featuring Bret was acknowledged or that Jeff Hardy & The Dudley Boyz were mentioned?
Throughout all of this Neville has just been kicking Breeze into the mat. Neville grabs Breeze by the head and smashes his face into a turnbuckle. Irish Whip leads into a BAACK Body Drop where Breeze is elevated to almost 8 feet in the air! Neville covers and Breeze kicks out at 2.

Neville hits a few Bryan Kicks before Irish Whipping Breeze into the corner and hitting him with a VERY European Uppercut!
> Breeze just crumbles.
Neville takes his time dragging Breeze to his feet, which allows Breeze to counter and throw Neville through the ropes, but Neville catches them and remains on the apron. Breeze goes for the Y2J Corner Dropkick but Neville DUCKS, gets back in the ring and leapfrogs over a charge, before Dropkicking Breeze off the apron. Gravity must be losing its memory, ‘cause Neville flies over the top rope for a Twisting Crossbody that he ALMOST lands on his feet, but smoothly covers for it by rolling up the ramp as we go to commercial.

Yet ANOTHER hype vignette for Elimination Chamber.
> I can't help but feel that this is wasted effort since odds are, anybody watching the developmental show is not going to feel compelled to watch a B-PPV.

We're back and see almost a first-person view of Neville hitting a middle-rope Missile Dropkick on Breeze which he sells like it's a shot from a bazooka. Cover but Breeze kicks out at 2. Neville attempts to drag Breeze to his feet, but he counters with a Franchiser.

Breeze ducks a Clothesline and tries a ‘rana but Neville CATCHES him in mid-air and spins around before PLANTING him with a textbook Sit-Out Powerbomb. Holy crap!
> A cruiserweight just gave a display of power that was far more impressive than anything Batista has done in his comeback.
Breeze just BARELY kicks out at 2-and-3/4.

Neville gets on the apron, teases a springboard and counters an attempted rush by Breeze. Neville hoists himself up for that springboard but cuts his speed on the way up, so Breeze's attempted Dropkick counter hits NOTHING.
> Tensai really enjoyed that one. So did I.
Neville runs the ropes but Breeze catches him flush with a Superkick.
> Shades of HBK!
Neville just barely kicks out at 2-and-3/4 as well. Breeze pounds the mat in frustration. AND now we have duelling "LET'S GO, NE-VILLE!"/"LET'S GO BREEZE!" chants.
> Wow. Maybe there was more to Cena's praise of Neville than we thought…but actually, it's because Full Sail loves them some Breeze.

Neville goes for The Beauty Shot (Spinning Heel Kick) but Neville ducks it and CRACKS Breeze with an Enzuigiri. Breeze stumbles into the corner and Neville hits him with ANOTHER Enzuigiri! Breeze, again, just CRUMBLES to the mat…which leads to Neville setting him up for the RED ARROW!
> Neville flawlessly hits his Corkscrew SSP, bounces up and floats over into hooking the leg. Amazing.

RESULT: Neville via pinfall (Red Arrow) in 8:26 [shown].
Great little rollercoaster of a match: Breeze always seems to turn it up a notch whenever he's in the ring with Neville. As a character, Breeze has been great since his repackaging, but now he's able to harness that character in his matches and has been getting it DONE in the ring as well. The gimmick is-of course-incredibly hammy, but once Breeze starts rolling in the ring he turns into a really vicious competitor. An always-entertaining dichotomy that I want him to show more often.

As for Neville: well, he's always great. He's always been great at selling AND dazzling with his high-flying, but this time around he showed that he's got strikes & power in his arsenal as well.

Neville grabs the mic and barely gets half-a-sentence out before the music of Bo Dallas interrupts.

Bo Dallas has now spent over 5 years in WWE developmental and is the son of Mike "IRS" Rotundo. He is the current NXT Champion and has now set the record for the longest-reign in the 20-month history of the title.

As alluded to earlier, these two have had an on-again, off-again feud for the NXT Championship. You could say that this feud actually started when Neville picked Bo to help him defend the NXT Tag Team Championships as a substitute for his injured partner Oliver Grey. And during the first defence with Bo the titles were lost to Harper & Rowan of The Wyatt Family. This happened after Rowan threw Dallas into Neville, sending him flying off the apron and crash-landing on the barricades. Harper then tagged in and knocked out Dallas with that Discus Lariat, pinning him clean. A few shows afterwards, there was a Battle Royal for a shot at Big E Langston's NXT Championship which Bo won after eliminating Adrian Neville.
After this the two moved on to other programs for a while before a Beat-the-Clock challenge took place, with the winner getting a match for the NXT Championship. Neville won a tiebreaker against Sami Zayn in a match made after they both defeated their opponents in the same time. Adrian Neville won his title match by Count Out after Bo accidentally-on-purpose didn't make it back into the ring in time. Their rematch was a Lumberjack Match that Neville lost after blatant interference from one of the lumberjacks, as Tyler Breeze clearly didn't respect that sacred duty. But the underlying message was clear: Bo Dallas cannot beat Adrian Neville.

Bo's wearing a suit, but his top 2-3 buttons are undone and he's not wearing a tie.
> You'd think that his being a relative of a Horseman would mean that he'd know how to SUIT UP! properly.

Bo hasn't even begun cutting his promo and the "NO MORE BO!" chants have already fired up.
Bo: "I really do think it's impressive, how far you've come since joining NXT. I mean, heck, you're going to be facing ME…for the NXT Championship! Now that…that is HUGE!"
> Bo barely made it through the first sentence before the "BO-RING" chants started.

Bo: "You've really been climbing the ladder of success. Look what I did there! I didn't even mean…Ladder?"
> Bo's goofy fake laugh sounds like a dog panting…except not nearly as endearing.
> Still less annoying than Cole's.
And we have "C-M PUNK!" & "DAN-IEL BRYAN!" chants.

Bo calls Neville "Sport" while claiming that Neville's risen as far as he can…because Bo has no intention of losing next Thorsday.

Neville: "You know Bo? For the longest time, I couldn't figure out…what your problem was with me. You know at first-at first I thought you hated me."
Bo: "N-No Neville, I don't hate you. I think you're a good kid!"
> Bo's condescending pat-on-the-shoulder is masterful. Crowd appropriately "Ooohs" in reaction.

Neville: "Bo, you don't hate me. You're scared of me, Bo. You're scared, because on February 27: I'm gonna beat you up, I'm gonna beat you, I'm gonna climb the ladder and I'm gonna leave this place…the NXT Champion. You see Bo, you smile, I can see you smilin', but your eyes…they don't smile."
> Throughout this promo, we're treated to close-ups of Bo's face where indeed, his eyes don't smile. In fact, it appears that he's internally arguing with his nasty side that we've only seen glimpses of recently.

Neville: "I can see in your eyes, Bo. You wanna hit me, don't you? You wanna hit me, right now, don't you Bo? Well guess what, Bo? I'll let you hit me. I'll give you one shot, right now, open season. Bo, the choice is yours, Bo. Open season. One shot. Right now!"

Neville eggs on Bo as he drops the mic, takes off his jacket and throws the belt away.
> Crowd starts a "HUR-RY UP!" chant. They throw in SAWFT a couple of times as well.

BUT…Bo grabs the apron, steps through and stares down Neville with an expression of barely-repressed rage.

And Bo walks away, with a clearly-forced smile.

Kind of a tepid ending considering how their previous stand-offs have played out. Bo's promo was mostly just his usual, which is a disappointment considering how surprisingly good his promo was the last time they interacted. I was expecting more of that, where Bo abandoned the faux-babyface attitude to show that underneath it all, he's a truly nasty S.O.B. (Sorry Mrs. IRS) with a thick mean streak.

But with that said: it still did show cracks in Bo's façade of smiles and that he genuinely fears Neville, with Bo knowing that he is almost assuredly going to get beat in this match. Which puts Neville over huge. And I could never complain about that.


A really good go-home episode. You had a nice little match with Emma & Summer along with a killer main event between Neville & Breeze. Besides all the PPV hype, nothing felt like a waste of time and everything moved along at a great pace. The sitdown interview between Zayn & Cesaro was unusual and I hope that they do more segments along those lines in the future.

Neville vs. Breeze.
> Summer/Emma was a good time as well.

Uh…can I count the excessive Elimination Chamber shilling?
> Otherwise, the tag match was nothing that we haven't seen before.


- NXT Arrival
Obviously, the biggest news is that NEXT WEEK is the big one: the NXT Arrival supercard gets broadcasted LIVE! on The WWE Network. There'll be a full feature on it further on in the column, so I'll just touch on the basics here: we've got Adrian Neville finally getting his shot at Bo Dallas's NXT Championship in NXT's first-ever Ladder Match, the long-awaited NXT Women's Championship rematch between Emma & reigning inaugural champion Paige AND perhaps most importantly, Sami Zayn gets a chance at redemption in a showdown with Antonio Cesaro in a rematch following their instant classic 2/3 Falls Match. And it's a 2-hour show, so expect to see even more than what's advertised. Get Ready.

- NXT exclusive to The WWE Network
WWE have been negotiating the broadcast rights for their programming recently and the most directly important development is that…apparently nobody wanted NXT which is disappointing, but not really surprising given that it's the developmental show and that even the B-show has struggled to find a place on major networks in recent years.

So after last September, when there was no interest in it from traditional networks, it's now going to be exclusive to The WWE Network. Well, in the USA at least. So far this isn't going have any effect on its international broadcasting.

- Rusev "debuts"
It definitely got lost in the shuffle of that week's news, but NXT talent Alexander Rusev actually made his main roster debut in the Royal Rumble match.

Rusev is a Bulgarian rower & powerlifter who has been working the gimmick of an unstoppable monster heel that crushes his opponents…with a dash of evil foreigner thrown in, too. He's just had a mini-feud with Kofi Kingston where he actually managed to make Kofi tap out clean in a matter of minutes, as well as humbling Xavier Woods at the behest of The Authority.

Obviously, he's built like a tank and incredibly powerful, but he also has a considerable amount of agility & striking skill as well. He wouldn't have necessarily been my first pick to get called up, but nobody else really fit at that time and it appears that he's grown about as much as he can in developmental. As his gimmick hasn't really lent itself to competitive matches. Which means that when it comes time to have them on the main roster it'll be sink-or-swim for him.

(Just don't book him in another long match against Kofi again anytime soon, please. Those two did not mesh well at all.)

Also, for some reason, since Rusev debuted in the Royal Rumble he's done nothing but work dark matches and appear in hype vignettes. Way to capitalise on that momentum, WWE: was JTG busy or something?


Special one-off section for this week on next week's LIVE! NXT: Arrival show.

NXT Championship – Ladder Match: Adrian Neville vs. Bo Dallas (c)
The first-ever Ladder Match in the relaunched NXT is, logically, for the richest prize in it. Its gimmick also befits Bo's recent gimmick of taking cheap losses to retain his title: now there's no Count Outs, no Disqualifications, no excuses.

If any interference does transpire Corey Graves is the most likely instigator, with Tyler Breeze following behind. And if that's the case, we could see Sami Zayn running counter-interference. Which may not end so well for Neville…

The craziest part about this match is that, even though all signs point to Neville winning, there's still some lingering doubt in the back of my mind that Bo might actually retain though the most nefarious means possible. But…I'll stick with what should happen and that's Neville walking out the NEW NXT Champion.

NXT Women's Championship: Emma vs. Paige (c)
No two ways about it: this is Emma's match to win. This is actually a rematch of the tournament finals that crowned an NXT Women's Champion in the first place, but the build has since been muddled due to each woman coming down with injuries and Emma having to defend her rematch clause for…umm…reasons.

This match-unfortunately-probably isn't as hot as it could've been, since the simmering tension from the interactions between Emma & Paige has considerably cooled due to them not appearing on the same show for seemingly months. It almost seemed like Paige was teasing a heel turn, but unless it happens during the match it's far too late for that now. But it's finally happening and what a match it's going to be!

The only possible way that Emma isn't getting booked to win this match is if her main roster presence makes somebody think that she shouldn't hold the gold. But no matter who gets their hand raised, the real winner of this one will be the audience: without any hyperbole, this is easily going to be the best women's match contested in WWE ring of this year so far and will most likely be a contender for Women's Match of the Year at the end of 2014.

The NXT Women's Championship is about to experience an EMMA-lution!

Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro
And now, the match that is indisputably the most anticipated one on the card. Sami & Cesaro have been feuding since the former debuted in NXT and-despite briefly separating while Sami pursued the NXT Championship-their paths have crossed once again. Their 2/3 Falls Match seemingly came out-of-nowhere and completely raised the bar for what people could expect out of WWE ringwork as a whole.

The core of this rematch is simple. Sami needs to prove to himself that he can beat Cesaro or accept that he can't: but either way, he needs to have this match. Sami thinks he can beat Cesaro and to be honest, it appears that Cesaro just might think that Sami can do it, too. Seemingly, this is a straight-up singles match with no gimmick, but there's an always chance that on the night it could be announced as another 2/3 Falls Match. Or perhaps even something more: could you even imagine how much Full Sail would pop for the announcement of a 30-minute Iron Man Match?

Of course, the result is the simple, logical choice: Sami Wins. He needs this win, bad, while Cesaro stands to gain nothing from doing so. I expect to see a hard-fought, close contest that could've gone either way but has Zayn decisively get the win. There's been a vibe of him hinting at using a new finisher to beat Cesaro so we just might see the Brainbustaaaaahhhhh!!!!! in a WWE ring after all.

Even though his match will be absolutely astonishing, the best part of it all is: when Cesaro loses, you know he'll be wanting a rematch.

Unless we get some marathon matches, it's very likely that more will be on the card, even if they're only formally announced on the night itself. This week the commentators made sure to note that The Ascension will be at Arrival so expect to see them defend their belts: though who against, I've got no idea. Perhaps they'll do another open challenge. And hopefully it goes better for whoever accepts it than it did for The American Pitbulls.

I also wouldn't be surprised to see a few cameos from NXT alumni who've since made it to the main roster: Rusev, since he's still basically an NXT guy anyway, is sure to show up. The Wyatts will most likely make their presence known as well. And I wouldn't be surprised if Big E appears too and FIVES the crap outta some poor jobber. Depending on how The Shield fares at Elimination Chamber there's an outside chance of them appearing, too.

However, no matter what, the most important part of Arrival is simply this: it's the biggest opportunity that any developmental program in WWE history has ever gotten, with an unprecedented number of eyes going to be watching it. Especially if the free trial of The WWE Network is successful. Everybody who appears will be doing their best to steal the show, make an impact and get noticed by both the higher-ups and the viewers at home.


Adrian Neville

FROM: Newcastle upon Tyne, England
WEIGHT: 194lbs
HEIGHT: 5'10"
BORN: August 22, 1986 (27 years old)
> Red Arrow (Corkscrew Shooting Star Press)
> 2-time NXT Tag Team Champion

> 1-time PWG Tag Team Champion
> 1-time PWG DDT4 Tournament Winner

> 1-time DG Open the Brave Gate Champion
> 1-time DG Open the Twin Gate Champion
> 3-time DG Open the Triangle Gate Champion
> 1-time DGUSA Open the United Gate Champion

+ Incredible athleticism, a phenomenal high-flier
+ Outstanding seller: a natural at gaining babyface sympathy
+ Already a worldly veteran with a decade's worth of experience

− Not always the strongest promo
− Accent can be difficult to understand at times
− Short

Adrian Neville is, perhaps, a quintessential example of what the typical WWE Superstar is NOT: he's short, he's a high-flier, he's a cruiserweight, he's a long-time veteran of the independent circuit and the mic is about the lowest priority in his skillset. In other words…EXACTLY the sort of guy that wouldn't have been hired during the Laurinaitis days. Or if he was, he wouldn't have been promoted well. Neville debuted as Pac at the age of 17 and toured all over the independent circuit for the entirety of his career before signing with WWE in mid-2012, so even at his young age he's a seasoned professional.

Pac began his career in Newcastle promotion Independent Wrestling Federation and wrestled primarily for them at the beginning of his career. After a few years as a pro, he began touring all over the world, regularly competing for the Italian promotion Nu-Wrestling Evolution (which is booked by none other than WWE alumnus Rikishi). Oddly, in NWE his gimmick was tweaked to Jungle Pac. This meant that he acted like a jungle native, including wearing a loincloth: which-despite what Vampiro may claim-did not really help any in making him huge. But he still made an impact there nonetheless, spending several years in the promotion and wrestling international stars & WWE alumni such as Rob Van Dam, Último Dragón & Juventud Guerrera.

In addition to this, he also made his American debut in November 2006 for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla in a match against TNA Legend AJ Styles and then wrestled the following night against another independent mainstay El Generico in the first of many matches against each other throughout their career. In fact, another rematch between those two will most likely be happening sometime soon…but more on that another time. PAC would, by chance, end up competing in tag matches with ROH mainstay Roderick Strong as a substitute for his absent partner and the makeshift pairing would end up winning the DDT4 Tournament which made them PWG Tag Team Champions. Eventually, the unlikely duo would lose the titles to Kevin Steen and El Generico (there's that name again…) who were, in an amusing twist of fate, the substitutes for their original opponents of The Briscoe Brothers. PAC also participated in the 2007 Battle of LA Tournament, which lead to him being a part of the 2007 tour for Japanese promotion Dragon Gate.

PAC would end up spending several years as a part of Dragon Gate. Shortly after his debut, the WWE-bound Matt Sydal (who would go on to become Evan Bourne) would name PAC as his replacement in the Typhoon faction. PAC would go on to become a 3-time Open the Triangle Gate Champion, winning the accolade with a different set of partners each time, along with the "cruiserweight" title of the Open the Brave Gate Championship and the tag team title Open the Twin Gate Championship. In addition to this, its sister promotion Dragon Gate USA would have PAC team with his long-time ally Masato Yoshino to become the first-ever DGUSA Open the United Gate Champions. Which would not be the last instance of Neville becoming a first-ever Tag Team Champion…

PAC would also wrestle in the 2012 Best of the Super Juniors Tournament for New Japan Pro Wrestling. Shortly after this, however, he would sign with WWE and spend a few months working live events, before making his televised NXT debut in early January 2013 under the name Adrian Neville. He would quickly form a tag team with Oliver Grey, a fellow Englishman, named British Ambition. They managed to make it to the finals of a tournament to crown the inaugural NXT Tag Team Champions and ended up winning, defeating The Wyatt Family in an awesome match. However, their reign would be short lived, as Grey would tear his ACL and be out for almost a year. This lead to Neville choosing one Bo Dallas as his new partner to defend the titles with him which…didn't go so well. Since then, he's had his eye on the NXT Championship but also kept his feud with the Wyatts ongoing, in the process winning the Tag Team Titles for a second time with Corey Graves. This also…didn't end that well, with losing the championships to The Ascension leading to a blood feud between the former partners that still hasn't quite been settled. However, since then, Neville's been in the hunt for the NXT Championship, with it being made quite clear that he has the NXT Champion's number.

There's a lot to like about Adrian Neville: obviously, his high-flying is second-to-none and absolutely breath-taking to watch. Not only do his acrobatics in-ring look great, but they also look so flawless that they almost seem to come to him with the greatest of ease. But he's far more than just highspots: he can sell with the best of them, making all his opponents' offense look absolutely lethal and only rallying right at the end to just barely achieve victory. He's a natural babyface, as even though his promo skills are the weakest part of his game, he manages to deliver them in a fashion that has both conviction and a genuine sense of valour about him. For instance, in his feud with Corey Graves, he managed to sincerely express how disappointed he was in him without coming off like a condescending, self-righteous dickface. While he was already great before he even set foot in a WWE ring, his time in NXT has made him improve the finer mechanics of his in-ring work as he makes his acrobatics matter and not just seem like they're used just out of obligation. Being able to fit his high-flying in with the WWE style would've been the biggest obstacle to him succeeding in the ring and now that he's adjusted, he's even more truly special than he already was.

Ready for WWE? YES! YES! YES!

Well, in case it wasn't already apparent: he was arguably ready once he got signed, but now that he's spent over a year working within the WWE system he's even better. Really, the only reason to keep him in NXT is so that he can have a lengthy run as NXT Champion since he's got so many prospective feuds…but as soon as he drops the title to a successor, expect to see him on the main roster. Debuting him on the England RAW on either the post-WrestleMania tour or the pre-Survivor Series tour would be the smart call: either as a "surprise" or after a few weeks of highlight reels that show just how incredible he is when he takes flight.

As for his status in WWE: if you'll pardon the expression, the sky could be the limit. Despite what outdated beliefs some of the higher-ups might have, now, more than any time in WWE's history, has it been made apparent that size is not a barrier to success…especially when it comes to getting over with the crowd. At the very least, he'll be a constant midcard player or the centrepiece of a revived Cruiserweight division. At best? He could potentially be a multi-time world champion and a WrestleMania main eventer.


Emma vs. Paige – Tournament Finals for the NXT Women's Championship (July 24, 2013)
Paige & Emma absolutely tearing it up in a match of such quality that most men would count themselves lucky to have wrestled it.


Obi is the Ring Architect.
Wilcox is on the Top Rope.
Hammerlock sinks the 8-Ball.
Sforcina answers you in Ask411.
Dino is the Smart Mark.
Chin leads the Magnificent 7.

Even though the rumoured sequel never eventuated, that didn't stop Tyler Breeze from method acting in the hopes of an audition.

Until NXT time…


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