From Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Tony Dawson & William Regal
Championship's roll call: WWE Champion: CM Punk… World Champion: Big Show… Intercontinental Champion: Kofi Kingston… United States Champion: Antonio Cesaro… Tag Team Champions: Team Hell No… NXT Champion: Seth Rollins… Diva's Champion: Eve Torres
We have a recap show this week hosted by Tony Dawson; he discusses some of the breakout superstars. Since I've reviewed these matches already, I'm going to cut-and-paste so some of the comments are a little dated; should be interesting to see what I thought back, four months ago. We go back to August 29, 2012 for the first match; it's the finals of the Gold Rush Tournament to crown the first NXT Champion…
Seth Rollins vs. Jinder Mahal Gold Rush Tournament finals, for vacant NXT Championship: Jim Ross, William Regal and Byron Saxton are on commentary. Clearly this is both pre-Shield and pre-3MB, respectfully, for these two. Howard Finkel does the championship announcements. The ENTIRE NXT roster is on the stage watching the match. Dusty Rhodes offers handshake; Mahal refuses to shake. They lock up and Rollins applies a waistlock; he wrestles Mahal around until he retreats to the ropes. Jinder does not give a clean break and knees him down. He tosses Rollins into the corner and Seth comes back with a pair of dropkicks and tosses him into the corners a few times. He tries the Blackout really early and fails; Mahal tosses him to the apron but misses a charge and gets low bridged to the floor. Rollins tries to pescado onto him but Mahal moves; Rollins recovers but Jinder trips him up and throws him off the apron onto the stage. Ouch! Mahal tosses him back into the ring, for two. Back from break, Mahal has a reverse surfboard; he releases and drops a knee. Rollins tries to fight back but gets kneed back down; Jinder hits a backbreaker and follows up with a hammer-toss. Mahal slams him and then follows with a vertical suplex; he applies a low abdominal stretch. Rollins tries a whip but a high knee to the face cuts off the comeback. Mahal knees him within the ropes; Rollins sneaks in an enziguri. They battle and Rollins begins a comeback with clotheslines, kicks and a one-footed dropkick. Mahal tries to counter the Stinger splash but misses a knee and tumbles to the floor. Rollins head to the top and hits a flying splash off the top. Back in the ring, Rollins heads to the top but gets crotched. Mahal hits a top-rope superplex. Back from the second commercial, Rollins and Mahal have a chop battle. Rollins wins that battle but charges into a tilt-a-whirl side slam for two. Jinder looks for a full nelson but gets armdragged. Seth winds up on the apron where he hits a pendulum kick. Rollins hits a springboard knee drop for another close nearfall. Rollins hits the Stinger splash and then adds the Flatliner into the bottom buckle and a savate kick for two more. Rollins misses the Phoenix Splash and Mahal hits a full nelson slam, which only gets two; that was Jinder's old finisher. Mahal goes for the Camel Clutch but Seth makes the ropes and draws a break. Rollins powers him with a buckle bomb and hits the Blackout and wins the NXT championship! Post-match, Dusty congratulates Rollins and the roster piles into the ring and hoists him on their shoulders. 7/10 Very good match as Rollins wins the first NXT title. Interestingly now that Mahal is a member of the 3MB and Rollins is a renegade in the Shield, should be interesting to see where they go with this since Rollins is still babyface in NXT land.
Here is your winner… Seth Rollins @ via Blackout pinfall.
After that we get highlights of the follow up rematch where Seth Rollins defeated Jinder Mahal (now a member of the 3MB); after that clips of Rollins on the WWE main roster decimating people as a member of the Shield are shown. At least we are acknowledging that now. After that we get highlights of a bunch of NXT competitors including: Richie Steamboat, Audra Marie, CJ Parker, Bo Dallas and Big E Langston. After that Bray Wyatt cuts one of his fantastic Cape Fear promos. He preaches to a bunch of people in the bayou about love and strength. Apparently, monsters are real, Wyatt suggests that you run.
We head to Wyatt's NXT debut (before his injury) from July 11, 2012…
Aiden English vs. Bray Wyatt: William Regal and Byron Saxton are on commentary. Pre-match, Wyatt says, in time, we will understand what he is. He calls himself the angel in the dark and sings the Rolling Stones' Time is on My Side and laughs. Well, I like this gimmick a lot better than Husky Harris: "The Army Tank with a Ferrari Engine". Wyatt's ring gear is very similar to Waylon Mercy as he requests the referee remove his Hawaiian shirt. Bray boots and clubbers Aiden down; he rams his face into his knee a few times. William Regal explains that once Wyatt laughed at a snake-handling preacher who got bit and died… well, what the hell are you handing poisonous snakes for anyway; I saw that once on The X-Files. Wyatt tosses English to the floor where he ragdolls him about the ringside area laughing the entire time. Back in the ring, Wyatt hits a tossing vertical suplex; he then falls down under the ropes and mugs for the camera as he rolls around on the mat. He's shown more personality here than he has in the past year as Husky Harris. Bray crushes poor English in the corner with an avalanche and then SQUARE DANCES with English's limp body before finishing him with a kiss and a swinging reverse STO. He pins him in a way that a father cuddles his baby son. 6/10 Entertaining squash match for Wyatt; I like this character and I think it could go somewhere as long as he is able to grow with it. Unfortunately for Wyatt, I heard reports that he tore his rotator cuff and will be out for a few months, bad luck for him; hopefully he can continue this gimmick upon return.
Here is your winner… Bray Wyatt via swinging reverse STO pinfall.
After that we get a Bray Wyatt promo where he discusses New Year's and second chances.
A highlight package of Kassius Ohno hurting people is shown. Also the alliance with Leo Kruger is shown as well. The specifically highlight William Regal helping out Tyson Kidd. After that Kassius has a few things to say. He has his hipster glasses on. He talks the number 13 and his opponents will not be very lucky. He discusses all of the injuries he's caused over 2012; he has his sights set on the NXT title in 2013. The one thing I find odd with Ohno is his out of ring persona and look are the EXACT OPPOSITE of his in-ring character; in a way, I like it because it's different, but I do not know if/how that will work for him. The Champ CM Punk is here to impart wisdom; he says he gave some of that wisdom to Seth Rollins and he took it to heart and formed the Shield and is making impacts. He shows off the WWE title and NXT is the breeding ground for the future stars. He of course adds that he's going to defeat The Rock at the Rumble and is the best Superstar ever.
Back to Tony Dawson who chants "five." Before everyone starts… Yes, I know who King Kong Bundy is, I have been watching pro wrestling since 1984; I have even seen Bundy wrestle live at MSG in the mid-eighties. I know he used the five count gimmick long before Big E Langston was even probably born. Bundy was a heel; Langston is a babyface (well, for now) so I think the fans like to chant simple things, especially counting, so the five count thing will work for him.
A match from November 21, 2012 is up next…
Big E Langston vs. Camacho: Jim Ross and Tony Dawson are the commentators. This was predicated by last week's attack from Camacho looking to collect Vickie Guerrero's $5,000 bounty. Camacho tries to attack but gets both arms trapped so he tries to utilize the Snowman Head-butts but Langston shrugs them off. He then tries to hiplock the big guy but is power blocked. Camacho punches a little and tries a front facelock but Langston powers him into the corner. Langston with rapid fire shoulderblocks in the corner as Jim Ross notes the purpose of the bounty is to put someone out of wrestling, not to win a match. Camacho catches the overaggressive Langston with boots in the corner and then pounds away in the center of the ring. He makes the mistake of SLAPPING Big E which just serves to piss him off. He nails a Vader Splash and plants him with the Big Ending to complete the squash. Post-match, Big E is not happy the referee did not count to five for him. He nails another Big Ending and counts his own five. He goes to leave but the fans inspire him to nail yet another Big Ending for five more. 3/10 Big time squash for Langston; I'm surprised that Camacho did not offer much of a fight at all since he is an (somewhat) established WWE wrestler. The Ryback of NXT continues to roll and get more over but the questions is: is "five" is more fun to chant than "feed me more"?
Here is your winner… Big E Langston via Big Ending pinfall.
After that prior match we get highlights of Big E Langston's debut on Raw attacking John Cena. So I guess we're acknowledging the WWE on NXT this week. It will be interesting moving forward in 2013 with NXT being a few weeks behind due to TV taping gaps. Tony Dawson talks to Langston (at a recent WWE live event) and asks him why he attacked Cena; Langston says he was just helping his friend AJ Lee and that's his business. He moves onto his New Year's resolution which is to win the NXT title.
Highlights of Kane injuring Cody Rhodes from the Main Event are shown which leads to an EXCLUSIVE match, from July 2012…
Kane vs. Cody Rhodes: Odd that we'd get the "blowoff" to this little feud on an NXT highlight show. We go back to July for this match, so the injury hadn't happened yet, actually I don't even think Team Hell No or Team Rhodes Scholars had even formed yet. Tom Phillips and Tony Dawson are the commentators. Kane goes right at Rhodes at the bell, so Cody "dashes" out of the ring... twice. Kane misses a shot in the corner and Cody peppers Kane; he comes back and beats the shit out of Rhodes in the corner and hits the basement dropkick. An Irish whip is countered by ring exit; Cody tries to leave but Kane catches up with him at the top of the stage. He drags Cody back into the ring and stalks him. Rhodes kicks his knee out and is able to take over; he charges right into a big boot, though. Kane scales the ropes but misses the diving clothesline; he recovers rather quickly and goozles Rhodes. Cody saves off a chokeslam and avoids a big boot in the corner; Kane hangs his leg on the top rope. Rhodes goes to work on the leg and drops rope-assisted knees on it. He slams it on the side of the apron a few times and then heads to the top for a diving chopblock, he gets a nearfall as we head to break. During the break, John Cena, pimps the show and calls it the foundation of the WWE. Back to the live match with Rhodes keeps on the leg and knee; Rhodes tries to remove the mask as I realize this may have been around the time Cody went through his unmaking obsession, so that may be the backbone of this match. Kane makes a comeback and hits a sideslam, for two. He lips up to the top again and this time hits the diving clothesline. Kane tries a goozle but Rhodes grabs the ropes predicating the referee break. Kane scares poor referee Rod Zapata out of the ring but that allows Cody to hit the Disaster Kick. Zapata makes it back in to ring to count two. Kane counters Cross Rhodes into a back suplex, which Rhodes flips out of, and charges right into a chokeslam, for the pinfall. 4/10 Just another match really; there was no prior storyline (when the match was taped) so there was no fire. The commentators were discussing recent events so they must have taped over the original commentators to keep the match appearing fresh.
Here is your winner… Kane via chokeslam.
Back to the NXT control center where Tony Dawson pimps next week's show but the Shield interrupts the signal. Rollins says he's the NXT Champion but it's gotten him NOTHING. He's been waiting for his "call up," which was an injustice. Ambrose speaks next, who has not had a match on NXT as of yet; he calls the WWE ill and suffering (from greed and corruption) and is too proud "to let us know she is sick." They know the difference between justice and injustice. He says that there is much injustice in the world and they are not going to let it infect the WWE anymore. Rollins turns to Corey Graves for attacking him from behind. He threatens to have Graves carried out on a stretcher. Ambrose says that they are the foundation of NXT. Reigns says NXT is the Shield's house, they come and go as they please, but ALWAYS come back to "collect rent." The Shield's New Year's resolution is to bring justice to the WWE and NXT. Back to Dawson who wishes everyone a happy New Year.
OVERALL 6.5/10 Good highlight show for the half-year that was NXT. They are finally bridging the gap between NXT and the WWE so moving forward into 2013, it should be interesting to see who heads up to the main roster next.
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