The SmarK Rant for NXT–08.01.12

The SmarK Rant for NXT – 08.01.12

Hey, why not. I left off in July 2012, so let’s pick these up again for fun with the NXT title tournament about to begin. For those keeping track, this is unsurprisingly the point where the show actually gets a direction.

Taped in Orlando, FL

Your hosts are Bryon Saxton, William Regal & Good Ol’ JR.

Dusty Rhodes introduces the Gold Rush Tournament, with the winner getting the first ever NXT title, starting RIGHT NOW.

Well, I mean, after the intro, but you know what he means.

NXT title quarterfinals: Richie Steamboat v. Leo Kruger

Kruger pounds on the back and tries the sleeper, but Richie fights back with chops and sends Kruger to the floor. So weird to see wacky Adam Rose playing this character now. Back in, Steamboat whips him around the ring, but Leo claims a knee injury and then sucker-punches Richie. Byron: “Clearly that was part of Leo’s mindgames.” DUUUUUH, YOU THINK? Sadly he’s no better today as an announcer. Kruger gets a cravat that impresses Mr. Regal, and we know how Regal loves his cravats. Steamboat fights back out of the corner and uses the patented NXT Clothesline Comeback, then goes up with a missile dropkick for two. Kruger catches him with the patented sleeper and JR is worried for Steamboat’s hopes and dreams, but he makes the ropes and comes back with a sling blade to finish at 7:53. Super generic developmental match. **1/4

Meanwhile, we meet BIG E LANGSTON.

Big E Langston v. Adam Mercer

So funny to hear them building up the football and weightlifting cred of Big E, and now he’s the dude who shoves pancakes down his pants and is a much bigger star as a result. Adam Mercer apparently was 19 at this point, worked for NXT until November, and then quit the business and never returned. Big E manhandles him, bowls him over with a shoulderblock, and then finishes with the BIG ENDING at 1:58, apparently not doing the five-count gimmick yet. Impressive squash.

Raquel Diaz v. Audrey Marie

DAAAAAAAMN, how did Audrey Marie not end up on the main roster? Diaz gets a stungun and chokes away on the mat, then trips up Audrey and they do a bad bridging sequence and Diaz escapes a backslide while the crowd chants “You Can’t Wrestle” at them. Who cares, have you SEEN Audrey? Diaz finishes with the Gory Bomb at 2:40. Anyway, yeah, this was as clumsy and horrid as you’d expect. DUD

Hunico & Camacho v. Jason Jordan & Mike Dalton

Dig the afro on Jordan! Dalton is Tyler Breeze as a plucky babyface, which is weird. Dalton gets a bodyscissor takedown on Hunico for two, but Camacho runs interference and the Barrio Boys take over in their corner. Is Hunico still playing Sin Cara, by the way? I know Kalisto has been a single forever now but I forget if he’s still around or got injured or what. Camacho with a butterfly suplex on Dalton for two, and a double team slam gets two. Regal calmly explaining the mechanics of cutting off the ring for new fans is great stuff and again it makes me wonder why he never got that gig on the main roster. The Barrios try an alley-oop powerbomb on Dalton, but he reverses Camacho into a rana for the pin at 3:44. WHOA! That one caught me totally off-guard. Good for them. **

Bo Dallas does a goofy smiling babyface promo about how he won’t ever quit and you’ll have to break your knuckles punching him in the face. What a geek.

NXT title quarterfinals: Drew McIntyre v. Seth Rollins

Drew pounds on him to start, but Seth dropkicks the knee and takes him down with a headscissors and Drew bails and hides under the ring. Seth chases him and gets hit in the arm with something as a result, allowing Drew to take over in the ring. Hammerlock slam gets two. We take a break and return with McIntyre working the arm for a while, but Rollins reverses a suplex into a DDT and makes the comeback. Enzuigiri puts Drew on the floor and Rollins follows with a suicide dive. Back in, he goes up with a bodypress, but McIntrye catches him in a backbreaker on the way down and that gets two. Drew tries the double-arm DDT, but Seth hooks the ropes to block and they fight to the top. Rollins misses the Phoenix Splash, but Drew misses the big kick and the Blackout (curb stomp) finishes at 9:34. Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling here. **

This remains a very easy and fun show to watch.