The SmarK Rant for NXT – 06.27.12
Well, by popular demand I’m going to retire the 97 Monday Night Wars rants after tomorrow and stick with these and Lucha Underground and Observer rants for a while.
Taped from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Byron Saxton
Seth Rollins v. Jiro
Jiro is Taishi Takizawa from the Kaientai Dojo promotion in Japan, and this is his one and only TV appearance before getting released. Who knows what happened to that Rollins guy. Seth is doing an energetic rocker thing at this point, and he controls Jiro with dropkicks and clotheslines and basic stuff to start. Spinkick and Blackout (Curb Stomp) finish at 1:30. *
Afterwards, Seth lets us know that he’s going to pull roots out of the ground or whatever, but Jinder Mahal interrupts him for his entrance. Oh man, I bet that grudge has been building for 5 years now!
Jinder Mahal v. Jason Jordan
Jinder looks like a lot smaller and less cut at this point. Why is that, do you think? What could have caused him to suddenly gain a large amount of muscle mass over a five year period?
They do a boring developmental kick-and-punch match to start and Mahal puts him down with some knees to the head and a high knee, which sets up the DREADED CAMEL CLUTCH at 3:10. ½* Perhaps they should haul Iron Sheik out of whatever insane asylum he’s in and get him to manage Jinder today? Afterwards, Jinder lets us know that we’re going to get blown by him. In a wave of dominance. Well, that doesn’t sound like something I’d enjoy at all.
Meanwhile, Leo Kruger introduces himself and lets us know that he’s treated like a god in Africa. Yeah, I’ve heard Africans love when white guys tell them how much better they are.
Leo Kruger v. Aiden English
Aiden is merely In The Ring To My Left at this point, pre-singing gimmick, while Kruger is in his initial gimmick as African royalty as opposed to the fortune hunter he would morph into. Wait a minute, maybe he’s secretly Black Panther! English misses a dropkick and Kruger beats on him in the corner and adds a snap suplex, then finishes with a rear naked choke at 1:22. Kruger had a really good look at this point, but this gimmick was death. ½*
Richie Steamboat is here to make a name for himself. Well, that did not end up well for him, unfortunately, as he messed up his back and was forced into retirement shortly into his career.
The Usos v. The Ascension
Well now, this certainly turned out drastically different for both teams. The Usos were basically In The Ring To My Left here, in between main roster stints and doing nothing, while Ascension was already getting the big push. The Usos do some double-teaming on Kenneth Cameron in their corner, but Jey gets dumped and the Ascension takes over. They switch off with stomps in the corner, which Jim Ross describes as “The revolving door of DISASTER.” Jimmy gets the hot tag and hits Cameron with a running ass attack in the corner, but Jimmy gets double-teamed and pinned with the Downcast (basically a 3D) at 3:40. This was a whole lot of nothing, much like the Ascension on the main roster. *
Richie Steamboat v. Rick Victor
Speaking of the Ascension, Victor is Already In The Ring here. Steamboat controls with armdrags and works a wristlock. It’s kind of surprising that they let Steamboat keep his (fake) real name instead of making him Gerald Smithson or whatever. Victor fires back with forearms in the corner and a bored Jim Ross is like “Victor is from Calgary. Lots of great athletes from Calgary.” Bryon Saxton is giving him NOTHING to work with on color, which shouldn’t be a surprise. Victor with a chinlock, but Steamboat comes back with clotheslines and a sling blade to finish at 4:22. Richie looked OK here for a developmental guy, but not like a future World champion or anything. *1/2 Ricky Steamboat was at ringside cheering wildly for him, though, which is really nice.
Antonio Cesaro v. Dante Dash
Dante is a big guy with a good look, but he was released in 2013 and disappeared from the business. Cesaro completely destroys him, hits the Swiss uppercut, and finishes with the Neutralizer at 1:30. Ross feels that Cesaro could be a future World champion. Well, we’re still waiting for that one.
Meanwhile, Bray Wyatt is rambling about bullshit, and hasn’t stopped in the five years following.
Johnny Curtis v. Derrick Bateman
Bateman chases Curtis around the ring and slugs on him in the corner, but he misses a blind charge and Curtis takes him down with a legwhip and goes to work on the knee. Time for a spinning toehold, but Bateman makes the comeback with some kind of armbar takedown and a wacky bulldog DDT thing for the pin at 3:50. This was about as good as a 4 minute match between Fandango and EC3 was gonna be, or perhaps even less so. *1/2
Another “introductory” episode in a series of them to start the new show, as it took a while for things to start finding a rhythm, as I recall. Just a bunch of squashes this week, which is fine and breezy.