The SmarK Rant for NXT – 07.25.12
Taped from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Byron Saxton & William Regal
Bo Dallas & Derrick Bateman v. Johnny Curtis & Michael McGillicutty
Wow, it’s like the midcard death preview here. William Regal having to call Curtis & McGillicutty the “future greatest tag team in WWE” is kind of hilarious. Yes, Fandango and Curtis Axel, future tag champions! Dallas and Bateman double-team Michael, but Dallas gets laid out in the heel corner and Curtis works him over. McGillicutty with the chinlock on Dallas, but he fights out until Curtis cuts him off again and gets a forearm for two. Regal has now moved onto comparing the heels to the Andersons. Because, sure, why not? Unless he means CW Anderson & Brad Anderson. Bateman gets a half-assed hot tag and cleans house for an indifferent crowd, and a neckbreaker gets two. McGillicutty distracts him from the floor, however, and Curtis finishes Bateman with a Falcon Arrow at 4:10. Bo Dallas questions Bateman a bit after the loss, which I guess was sowing the seeds of his future heel turn. *1/2
Antonio Cesaro v. Alex Riley
Sadly, this is PRE-RAGE for Riley, so he’s just the boring former lackey of the Miz at this point. Oksana is still with Cesaro here, which is a period I always forget about. Riley gets a dropkick and slugs away in the corner, then turns it into a faceplant for two. Cesaro drops him on the top rope to take over and goes to an abdominal stretch, but Riley gets a backslide for two. Cesaro wraps him up on the mat and throws him around with suplexes while Riley seems unsure as to how to sell any of this. Back to the abdominal stretch, but Riley backdrops out and makes the comeback. He uses the generic clotheslines and spinebuster developmental comeback, but he gets distracted by Oksana and Cesaro finishes him with the Neutralizer at 5:10. Hey, two distraction finishes in a row, how about that. Cesaro was way above A-Ry’s pay grade here and Alex couldn’t keep up. **
Meanwhile, Kassius Ohno is tired of hearing about all the new talent in NXT.
Meanwhile, Drew McIntyre is tired of talking. That’s good, because it wasn’t really his strong suit.
Natalya v. Sofia Cortez
Ivelisse as a blonde, with the Colons’ music, gives you Sofia Cortez. Natalya throws her around the ring a bit and gets a discus lariat for two, then goes to a surfboard. Cortez makes the comeback out of the corner, but Nattie rolls her up for two in the corner. Cortez with her own rollup for two, but Nattie gets another rollup for two. They head outside and Nattie takes her time and lets herself get counted out at 3:15. OK then. ½* And then Natalya suddenly beats on Cortez and puts her in the Sharpshooter afterwards.
Meanwhile, RAW 1000 gives us bullshit like General Manager AJ Lee and DX reuniting to beat up Damien Sandow.
The Ascension v. Dante Dash & Garrett Dylan
I don’t think either of the enhancement guys went onto anything. Regal feels like they should just “bugger off” and avoid the Ascension. Connor gets rid of Dash right away and the Ascension beats on Dylan in the corner with double elbows. I’m still not clear on what the gimmick was supposed to be exactly at this point, but the entrance this week was immediately better than their debut, with better ominous chanting music and a good light show. Fall of Man finishes at 1:40. ½*
Seth Rollins v. Drew McIntyre
Thankfully Drew still has his amazing theme and entrance video at this point, before getting repackaged into a joke midcarder. Beating the dead horse here, but Drew really was a guy who they pushed too fast and then gave up on too soon, as he had the look and presence to be a top guy for years to come. Still does, but he might be damaged goods now. Drew puts Rollins down with a big boot, but Rollins spinkicks him for two. They collide and we take a break. Back with Drew in control with a gutbuster for two and he pounds away in the corner and follows with a clothesline for two. McIntyre wraps him up with a neck vice, but Rollins fights out and makes the comeback with a clothesline. Rollins with the enzuigiri and the Flatliner into the turnbuckle and both guys are down again. Rollins with a rollup for two and a superkick for two, but the Phoenix Splash misses and McIntyre hits him with the Claymore Kick and finishes with the DDT at 7:00. Decent little TV match. **1/2
This show continues to flounder in search of a direction, but things turn around starting next week!