Cena vs. NXT?

Hey Scott,

I'm kind of tired of all the Roman Reigns shit, so let's talk about NXT, and more importantly, NXT being name-dropped on Raw in a Cena promo. And it wasn't Cena being a corporate shill either, he said lines to the effect of "NXT is Triple H's vision of the future, and so every guy in NXT is being trained to replace me." It's a line that was super tacked-on and basically completely irrelevant to the rest of the promo, so do you think that there's something deeper going on?

Maybe it's Cena's earnest attempt to get over the NXT guys as threats to Cena's position and future stars? 

Do you think this is Cena trying to patch together WWE's freaky continuity and explain why Triple H is babyface-ish on NXT and an ultra-heel on Raw and maybe establish that Rollins was the chosen one from the beginning or something like that? 

Is he being a puppet for Vince or Dunn in the bizarre WWE civil war by attempting to turn every NXT guy heel?

Or is attempting to analyze John Cena promos a waste of everybody's time and effort?

I just thought we could get some good conspiracy theories going on, and maybe get people's hopes up about The Nexus 5.0 or something.

​Analyzing a Cena promo is a waste of everyone's time. Often literally, as they're just thrown out there to use up part of the three hours.  That being said, the civil war angle is far more interesting as a story than anything else they've dreamed up in the past few years.  Crazy out of touch old man Vince and his chosen one Roman Reigns opposed by HHH and the NXT guys and forced to team up with hated enemy Daniel Bryan, fighting for the soul of the WWE?  That's compelling TV.  The fact that they don't ​even see the storyline they're creating with their own stupidity makes them even more stupid.

NXT: Takeover

NXT:
Takeover
Date: May 29,
2014
Location:
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators:
Tom Phillips, William Regal, Byron Saxton
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s the
second two hour live NXT special tonight and the card looks solid.
The main event is Adrian Neville defending the NXT Title against
Tyson Kidd after Kidd won a triple threat a few weeks ago. Other
than that we’ve got the other two titles on the line as well, with
Ascension defending against Kalisto/El Local and Charlotte vs.
Natalya for the vacant Women’s Title. Let’s get to it.

The opening
video is about change, with NXT taking over the world. A Takeover
you might say.
Adam Rose
leads his party from outside, all the way into the arena for his
match. Awesome entrance.
Adam Rose
vs. Camacho
Rose is
feeling rather playful as he jumps into Camacho’s arms, only to be
slammed down to the mat in a hard landing. A nice butterfly suplex
gets two on Adam and we hit the chinlock. The fans sing the song to
get Rose back to his feet because this is the most awesome crowd in
wrestling. Rose escapes and starts Hulking Up but a hard boot to the
face puts him down for two. Another chinlock slows things down as
the fans chant PARTY TIME. Camacho drops a leg for two but Rose
fights back with left hands and a big spinebuster. A Bronco Buster
sets up the Party Foul to pin Camacho at 5:10.
Rating: C.
This wasn’t a great match but it was the perfect way to open up a big
show. Rose is very similar to Godfather, as the matches aren’t all
that impressive but he’s going to get a crowd over no matter what
he’s doing. That’s a very valuable thing to have and something that
should keep Rose on the main roster for a long time.
Video
on Zayn vs. Camacho from Arrival.
Tyler Breeze
has entered the building. Regal: “My night is made!”
Tag Team
Titles: Kalisto/El Local vs. Ascension
Ascension is
defending and their challengers have only wrestled together a few
times. The champions go after the masked men to start but stereo
headscissors put them on the floor. Local and Kalisto load up stereo
suicide dives but charge into uppercuts to knock them back into the
ring. Viktor starts by throwing Kalisto around before it’s quickly
off to Konnor for a big elbow drop. A double chicken wing has
Kalisto in even more trouble.
Back to
Viktor who rips at Kalisto’s mask before putting him in the Tree of
Woe for kicks from Konnor. They head outside to keep up the
destruction but Kalisto kicks Konnor in the face and rams Viktor face
first into the apron. It’s not enough for a hot tag though as
Ascension takes him into the corner. Kalisto FINALLY dives over to
make the tag and Local speeds things up. A middle rope moonsault
gets two as everything breaks down. Viktor just ENDS Local with a
running clothesline though, setting up Fall of Man for the pin at
6:20.
Rating:
D+. The hot tag was a bit of an
improvement but this was more of the same from Ascension. At the end
of the day, they’re desperately in need of competition unless they’re
brought up to the main roster to take the belts from the Usos soon.
Either that or the new pretty boy team will knock them off, which
isn’t the worst idea in the world.
Video on
Tyler Breeze.
Sami Zayn
vs. Tyler Breeze
#1 contenders
match. Breeze has new music, completely with paparazzi sounds.
Tyler cranks on the wrist to start but gets taken down by a top
wristlock. Zayn snaps off three very fast armdrags to take over and
hooks an armbar. Back up and Sami goes to the corner, only for Tyler
to grab his leg and whip Zayn all the way down to the floor. Breeze
stomps away in the corner before hitting a nice bulldog into the
middle buckle. Tyler’s hair is down, I believe for the first time
ever in NXT.
We hit a
front facelock on Sami but he finally fights up and throws Breeze
off. I love the subtle things Sami does like have to try three times
before shoving Tyler away. It’s a great way to build up sympathy and
get the crowd behind you. Breeze heads outside so Zayn hits a huge
slingshot moonsault to take him down. Back in and a high cross body
gets two on Tyler followed by a wicked Blue Thunder Bomb for the
same.
A frustrated
Sami goes up top but has to roll through a cross body, only to charge
into a kick to the ribs and a DDT for two. Tyler comes back by
pulling Sami from the mat out of the corner into a sitout powerbomb
for another near fall. Breeze goes nuts in the corner with right
hands but Sami comes back with an exploder suplex to send him into
the buckles. They slug it out with some very intense BOO/YAY chants.

Sami stops
himself before running into the referee and gets rolled up for two.
The Blue Thunder Bomb is countered into a series of standing switches
before Tyler superkicks Sami’s head off but Zayn kicks out AGAIN.
The fans are literally standing and cheering for this. Both guys are
spent but it’s Breeze in control. Sami blocks an Irish whip and
tries an arm trap powerbomb but the fall down in a sloppy looking
sequence. That’s fine with Zayn though as he loads up a fisherman’s
buster but flips Breeze forward into a powerbomb for two.
Breeze bails
to the floor, allowing Sami to hit a gorgeous flip dive. The landing
looked very rough though as Sami’s leg smacked Breeze in the head and
knocked it into the steel ramp. Back in and Sami tries the Helluva
Kick but Breeze’s head goes down, causing a low blow to Sami. Zayn
falls backwards and the Beauty Shot gives Breeze the pin at 15:55.
Rating:
A-. That botched sequence near
the end is one of the only things holding this back. Sami is more
than ready for WWE by this point but at some point he needs to get a
major win in NXT. I’m fine with them not making him champion, but
there’s a good chance this gets a rematch due to the ending.
Breeze’s best match ever by about 10,000 miles as well.
Here are Lana
and Rusev with something to say. Lana says Rusev has spread his
power to Raw and Smackdown but now he’s back here receive adulation.
This brings out Mojo Rawley with an American flag to stand up to this
horrid villain. Rawley says in America, we don’t get hyped. WE STAY
HYPED! Mojo hits the ring….and gets his head kicked into the
fourth row. Rusev hammers away and Accolades Rawley in about 20
seconds. Rusev still isn’t done though as he puts on the Accolade on
the ramp.
Video on
Charlotte vs. Natalya, which will see both famous relatives in the
corners.
Kris
Kristofferson is here.
Before the
match, here’s Paige to say how good it is to be home. She thanks the
fans for their help in making her Divas Champion because she couldn’t
do it without them. Paige is also proud to be the first NXT Women’s
Champion but tonight is about a new champion. Whoever that is has to
have strength, character and grace because she’s the key to the
future. Holding the Women’s Title is the key to the Divas Title, so
enjoy the rest of the show.
Women’s
Title: Charlotte vs. Natalya
This is a
tournament final for the vacant championship. Charlotte has a
remixed Ric Flair theme song and it’s really not working. After some
big match intros, we’re ready to go. Feeling out process to start as
the legends play cheerleaders. Natalya takes her down by the arm but
gets caught in a headscissors. Back up and Natalya grabs the
headlock as well. That goes nowhere either so they fight over
wristlocks until Charlotte grabs an armbar.
Natalya does
the Owen Hart roll out and grabs a leg lock to take over. Back up
again and Natalya takes her right back down with another leg tie.
Charlotte reaches around to grab a chinlock which goes into a front
facelock. They hit the ropes for a bit with Natalya countering a
wheelbarrow slam into a cradle for two. Natalya grabs a body
scissors but Charlotte rolls to the ropes to avoid a cross
armbreaker.
Charlotte
gets tired of submission stuff and slaps Natalya in the face. A BIG
chop puts Natalya down and Ric loses his mind going WOO. Natalya
tries a sleeper but gets caught in an over the shoulder Stunner for
two. Charlotte slams the Canadian’s face into the mat over and over
before choking in the corner a bit. Off to a figure four headlock
complete with Madison Rayne’s face ram into the mat.
Back up and
it’s off to an abdominal stretch on Natalya, albeit not a very good
one. Natalya reverses into a much better one and even grabs
Charlotte’s leg for good measure. Charlotte rolls out and hits a low
dropkick for two. Natalya fights back with power and a low dropkick
of her own, followed by a whip into the corner for a Flair Flip.
They head outside with Charlotte whipping Natalya off the apron by
the leg. Back in and Charlotte goes up, only to miss a moonsault.
A discus
lariat gets two for Natalya and the Sharpshooter goes on, but
Charlotte rolls out and puts on the Figure Four. Natalya somehow
reverses the pressure without turning the hold over and Charlotte
crawls to the apron. She falls to the floor with the hold still on
and both girls are in trouble. Natalya is sent knee first into the
steps and it’s back inside for a bad Sharpshooter (complete with a
glare at Bret) but Natalya rolls through, only to be kicked away from
the Sharpshooter. Charlotte hits Bow Down To The Queen out of
nowhere for the pin and the title at 16:55.
Rating:
B+. Who would have thought THIS
would be awesome? Charlotte has somehow become awesome in like two
months and more than held her own out there. It was hard to imagine
Natalya winning here but it was still an absolutely awesome match
between two wrestlers who happen to be girls.
They
shake hands post match, as do Ric and Bret for a nice moment.
Video on
Neville’s rise to the top of NXT.
Cesaro and
Christian are here.
Kidd and
Natalya are ready.
NXT Title:
Tyson Kidd vs. Adrian Neville
Neville is
defending. Big match intros are done and we’re ready to go. They
shake hands and talk trash to each other until Tyson takes him down
with a headlock. Adrian spins up and Tyson shoves him down to annoy
the champion. Back up and this time it’s Adrian taking Kidd down and
into the ropes for another staredown. The champion grabs an armbar
(Fans: “ARMBAR! ARMBAR!”) but Kidd is quickly up and things get
faster. Neville flips over to escape a backdrop but Kidd does the
same, leading to another staredown. This time though Kidd blasts him
in the face and kicks away, giving us a mid match heel turn.
Kidd puts him
into the Tree of Woe before lifting him up for a kick to the back. A
running dropkick has Adrian in trouble and we hit the chinlock.
Neville fights up but Kidd sends him to the floor and hits a big flip
dive for two back inside. Adrian is back up again and they hit cross
bodies at the same time to put both guys down. Now they trade kicks
to the ribs but Adrian hits a sliding kick to the head to take over.
Now it’s Kidd put in the Tree of Woe for the same kind of kicks that
he threw earlier.
A running
delayed dropkick knocks Kidd senseless but it’s only good for two and
the champion is getting frustrated. Kidd comes back with a pair of
kicks to the head but Adrian kicks out at two. Tyson goes up but
Neville blocks the Blockbuster with a forearm to the jaw. Adrian’s
superplex is countered into a powerbomb but Adrian flips out and hits
a sitout powerbomb for two.
Adrian loads
up what looked to be a Lionsault press but Kidd runs at the ropes for
a middle rope Russian legsweep for a close two. Kidd dives into
knees but gets rolled up for another near fall. The champion tries a
suplex but they both fall over the top rope and crash to the floor.
Both guys slide in to beat the count and they’re spent.
Kidd loads up
the Sharpshooter but leans forward to put on the Dungeon Lock
(instead of turning over he grabs Adrian’s arm and leans back for a
choke with a leg lock). Adrian is in the ropes, so Kidd ties him up
in those ropes for a top rope flip legdrop and two. Kidd loads up
the Blockbuster but Adrian counters into a gorgeous top rope
hurricanrana. Kidd is almost out cold and the Red Arrow is enough to
keep the title in England at 20:00.
Rating:
A-. Take two guys and let them
fly around the ring for a long time. Again, Kidd winning wasn’t
likely at all but that doesn’t mean he can’t go out there and tear
the house down like he just did. Neville is getting a huge star rub,
even though he doesn’t seem to be the longest term solution as
champion.
Kidd very
slowly gets up but won’t shake hands.
Overall
Rating:
A. This was an AWESOME
show with three incredible matches out of five with the other two not
being bad at all. NXT continues to be the most outstanding wrestling
promotion going right now with nothing but great matches and shows
almost every week. It’s amazing how this doesn’t translate all that
well up to WWE though, as the scripting of everything stops so much
of the momentum that NXT has due to people just going out there and
tearing the house down. Excellent show, just like Arrival.
Results
Adam Rose b.
Camacho – Party Foul
Ascension b.
El Local/Kalisto – Fall of Man to Local
Tyler Breeze
b. Sami Zayn – Beauty Shot
Charlotte b.
Natalya – Bow Down to the Queen
Adrian
Neville b. Tyson Kidd – Red Arrow
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

NXT: Vengeance – March 27, 2014

NXT Vengeance
Date: March 27, 2014
Location: Full Sail
University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Jason
Albert, Tom Phillips, Alex Riley
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Tonight is another of
those big shows for NXT called Vengeance. The idea here is a bunch
of long standing feuds or rematches, such as Neville vs. Dallas II in
the main event. Other than that we have Parker vs. Rawley, Natayla
vs. Charlotte and Breeze vs. Woods. NXT knows how to put on the big
shows like this so hopefully they continue the trend here. Let’s get
to it.

We open with a recap of
Arrival where Neville won the NXT Title in a ladder match and Bo
Dallas challenging for a rematch.
Opening sequence.
CJ Parker vs. Mojo
Rawley
Parker is angry at
Rawley for polluting the planet, even though there’s no evidence of
him doing so. A kick to the head puts Mojo down and Parker hammers
away in the corner before shouting a lot. Rawley comes back with
right hands but misses a splash, giving CJ a two count. More left
hands in the corner have Rawley in trouble but Parker stops to show a
peace sign. Mojo chases him across the ring and nails a splash in
the other corner and Hyperdrive is good for the pin at 3:22.
Rating: D+.
Not much to this one but at least Rawley made a quick comeback and
destroyed Parker in relatively short order. Parker isn’t the kind of
guy who can be a physical threat to Rawley and thankfully he was
treated like nothing in the match here. The heel character is a good
idea but Parker just isn’t that good.
Parker
freaks out post match.
We
look back at Corey Graves attacking Sami Zayn last week and see Sami
getting a concussion test.
Tyler Breeze vs.
Xavier Woods
Woods looks ticked off
coming to the ring. Feeling out process to start until Woods grabs a
headlock and takes Breeze down with a headscissors. A catapult sends
Breeze into the corner for two but he nails Woods with a forearm for
two of his own. Woods gets all fired up but Tyler avoids the Honor
Roll. He tries snake eyes on Tyler but Breeze escapes and hits the
Beauty Shot for the pin at 3:53.
Rating: D+.
This didn’t work for me either as Breeze isn’t much to see in the
ring. Woods isn’t much better though as he just doesn’t work all
that well in the ring. Yeah he’s a smart guy but that doesn’t make
him anything special in the ring. I don’t see much of a future on
the main roster for either of these guys but Breeze is entertaining.
Bo
Dallas says he’ll get the title back tonight because it’s a wrestling
match instead of climbing monkey bars.
Yoshi
Tatsu vs. Corey Graves
This
is a rematch from a few weeks ago when Graves attacked Tatsu before
the bell and got an easy pin. Yoshi hammers away in the corner to
start and nails a LOUD chop. A quick cross body gets two on Corey
but he goes after Tatsu’s knee to take over. He cranks on a hold
before kicking the knee out one more time. Lucky 13 makes Yoshi tap
at 3:10.
Rating: D+.
This was barely long enough to rate as it was nothing more than a
squash. I’m not sure what happened to Tatsu as he wasn’t great but
he’s better than being a barely seen jobber on NXT. Graves still
doesn’t blow my skirt up. I know he’s very popular but I just don’t
get the huge appeal.
Corey
tells Sami to stay down.
Natalya
vs. Charlotte
Charlotte
has Sasha Banks with her but Natalya one ups her with Bret Hart.
They hit the mat to start
but neither girl can gain control. Natalya grabs an armbar but gets
countered into a headscissors. Rene Young isn’t sure how to describe
her meeting Bret Hart but Natalya destroys Charlotte with a dropkick
to bail her out.
Charlotte
is flipped into the corner but clotheslines Natalya down to take
over. She goes after Natalya’s knee by kicking it in the corner and
crushing it against the mat. Natayla escapes a leg lock and goes for
the Sharpshooter but Charlotte is in the ropes. Another attempt
works but Sasha comes in for the DQ at 5:04.
Rating: C-.
Charlotte is getting better in the ring but this didn’t have the time
to go anywhere. That’s been a running trend tonight and I’m not
really caring for it. Charlotte isn’t her dad out there but she’s
very athletic and can do her gymnastics stuff well enough. That
makes me wonder why she’s going for the mat work instead. Hopefully
they’re not just going to try and make her like her dad.
Neville
says it’s not a ladder match tonight but he has the momentum and the
title, so nothing changes tonight.
NXT
Title: Bo Dallas vs. Adrian Neville
Neville
is defending. Bo tries some fast pins but Neville gets out, sending
Dallas running to the corner. Dallas whips Neville across the ring
but the champion flips forward and hits a middle rope dropkick. Bo
heads outside but Neville takes him down with a BIG dive. Neville
loads up another dive but gets shoved to the floor to give Bo an
opening. A hard clothesline drops Neville again and Bo takes him
inside for some knee drops.
We
take a break and come back with Dallas nailing another clothesline
for two. Frustration sets in off the kickouts but he’s able to sit
down to block a sunset flip. The referee catches Bo holding the
ropes though and Neville pulls him down for two. Neville escapes an
Impaler DDT and hits a HUGE springboard forearm for two. They trade
hard shots to the face and the referee is nearly bumped.
Bo
gets two off a rollup but an enziguri from the apron sets up the Red
Arrow. The splash hits knees though and both guys are down. Dallas
is up first and tries his DDT but has to avoid a hard charge into the
corner. The champ gets a kick to Dallas’ head though and a reverse
450 (as in his back was to the ring and he threw his feet into the
air before flipping over and landing on Dallas) retains at 12:50.
Rating: C+.
Good but not great match here with both guys looking more above
average than good. Dallas
just doesn’t have the spark anymore after losing the title, but that
was bound to happen when his magic was broken. It’s a good match and
by far the best of the night but that didn’t save the rest of the
show.
Overall Rating: C-.
The show wasn’t terrible overall but it really didn’t do much for me.
This felt like a show without much effort put into the creative
process and they even admitted that it was comprised of mostly
rematches. Neville vs. Dallas didn’t feel exciting at all here and
while it was ok, it really didn’t make me care to see much more of
Adrian. This was one of their worst shows in awhile, but hopefully
things pick up next week. Unlike other promotions though, I fully
believe NXT can do it.
Results
Mojo Rawley b. CJ
Parker – Hyperdrive
Tyler Breeze b. Xavier
Woods – Beauty Shot
Corey Graves b. Yoshi
Tatsu – Lucky 13
Natalya b. Charlotte
via DQ when Sasha Banks interfered
Adrian Neville b. Bo
Dallas – Reverse 450
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The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT–02.12.14

The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT – 02.12.14 Happy Valentine’s Day! Or as most wrestling fans know it, Friday. I have to say, I’m starting to get a real bad feeling about the direction of this show ever since the main WWE monkeys noticed that it’s a thing that exists and is airing on their new network. Nothing good ever comes from that, but hopefully it’s an aberration that ends once they get it out their system with the live show next week. Taped from Orlando, FL. Your hosts are Tom Phillips, Alex Riley & William Regal Natalya, Bayley & Emma v. Alicia Fox, Summer Rae & Sasha Banks Emma gets a sunset flip on Summer for two, and she runs away from Nat and brings in Sasha. Sasha gets a kick out of the corner, but Nattie takes her down with a suplex for two and follows with a dropkick. The announcers have a wonderfully wacky conversation about how Alex would marry Emma and take her last name, and Tom incredulously notes “She doesn’t have a last name!” That was pretty funny. Even better is Renee Young’s disgust with the whole deal, and then fawning over Regal immediately after. The characterization on the announce team is even better than most of the characters on RAW right now. The heels take over on Bayley and we go to a break. Back with Summer working Bayley over and Fox coming in with a lengthy facelock to build the heat, and Summer chokes her out while doing stretches on the ropes. Summer boots her down for two, but Summer fights back with a suplex and it’s hot tag Emma. Alicia wants no part of this action, but the BFFs walk out on her and the EmmaLock finishes at 12:05. Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling. **1/2 Aiden English v. Colin Cassady Cassady slams English out of the corner while Regal now fawns over Aiden with a man-crush. “Look at his body…it’s like he’s carved out of ONYX!” And yet we still get JBL on two of the main shows. English misses a legdrop and Cass makes the comeback with the SAWFT forearm smash, but English takes out the knee and finishes with the Director’s Cut at 2:21. Cass should really do a running forearm and call it the SAWFT Touch. So English wins this feud, and it was fine for a time-filling deal. * Sami Zayn joins us, and the Antonio Cesaro loss is EATING HIM ALIVE. So Mr. Cesaro comes out for his reply, and notes that Zayn can look forward to a great career…down here. (Crowd: “Oooooooooh!” What is this, a Chuck Lorre sitcom?) Sami reiterates how far back they go and how cool it is that Cesaro spends time in NXT when he doesn’t have to…but he’s kind of a coward for not fighting him. Cesaro is curious about the state of Sami’s knee, because he doesn’t want there to be any excuses this time. The crowd wants a pinky promise, so Sami obliges…and then Cesaro kicks him in the knee anyway and still refuses. And then HHH comes out and ruins all the fun by being deus ex machina and forcing Cesaro into the match. What a buzzkill. I watch this show to AVOID omnipotent authority figures coming out and making matches. See, this kind of thing is exactly what I mean by a bad feeling about the direction of the show, as they were having a great back-and-forth segment and then HHH came down from the mountain to just settle things for them like they were children or something. And isn’t JBL supposed to be the GM on the show? It’s bad enough we have to wade through the layers of fake authority figures on RAW as it is, now we have to add NXT to the giant convoluted flow chart that is the WWE chain of command, too. Tye Dillinger v. CJ Parker CJ gets a quick senton and airplane spin, and finishes with the Third Eye at 1:19. Just pull the plug on this guy already. Parker cuts an angry promo afterwards about how he recycles and loves the environment in his fuel-efficient car and the crowd is incapable of love. That’s a start. The angry pretentious environmentalist hipster douchebag is actually a surprisingly untapped resource for wrestling heels. I feel like a better direction would be if he started acting all passive-aggressive as well, but this is a start and at least it’s a real character. The Wyatt Family v. I Dunno, Some Guys. Harper finishes one of the geeks with a lariat at 0:50, as you’d expect. Oddly enough, the new episode of New Girl featured Jess’s sister…Abigail! COINCIDENCE? Probably. Or maybe THAT’S WHAT THE MACHINE WOULD HAVE YOU BELIEVE. The Pulse Man, HHH really harshed my buzz, as CJ Parker would say. OK show otherwise, although obviously they’re just going all in with the live special and basically cruising through the buildup to it.

The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT–02.05.14

The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT – 02.05.14 Christ, even Microsoft Word is nagging me about the “no double spaces after a period” thing. Why is this suddenly the cause celebre among internet nerds and grammar nazis? Where were all these people when I learned to type that way TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO? Trust me, there’s literally no way I’m going to be able to retrain my fingers not to do it now, so everyone can please leave me alone about it forever. DOUBLE SPACE. Taped from Orlando, FL Your hosts are Bryon Saxton, Tensai & Tom Phillips Sin Cara v. Alexander Rusev So with Rusev on his way to the main roster, along with Summer Rae going to Total Divas, and Emma doing whatever the fuck she’s doing now, the roster is getting a bit gutted and hopefully some quick elevations will be in order. Kind of weird that Hunico just kind of switches gimmicks now after weeks of being himself. Rusev overpowers him, but a bit of high-flying turns the tide, until Rusev dropkicks him right out of the air for one. He stomps Cara down in the corner and puts him down with a high kick for two. Sin Cara comes back with a crossbody for two and springboard elbow for two. He tries a victory roll and Rusev drops him on his face and finishes with the Accolade at 4:44, however. Usual Rusev squash, although Hunico shows more personality in the role than Mistico ever did. *1/2 Emma v. Alicia Fox This Emma title chase has been stalled for a while now with Paige injured with a mysterious ailment for months. Alicia Fox is not into the Emma Dance, and dropkicks her off a wristlock. Emma comes back with the Dilemma hold, but Alicia gets a northern lights suplex for two. Emma gets a clumsy rollup for two and splashes Alicia in the corner, then rolls into the EmmaLock to finish at 3:15. *1/2 Now logically they should put the belt on her when Paige returns, but now she’s on the big roster and thus it’s pointless. And then as Emma is celebrating, the BFFs storm in for a beatdown, until Natalya and Bayley save and then dance. Sylvester Lefort v. Mason Ryan Lefort looks like a guy who would get pushed in the system, so he must be pretty terrible if they’re keeping him as a manager. Unshockingly, Ryan destroys him and pins him with a cobra slam at 0:50. Well that was a tad pointless. DUD Meanwhile, Aiden English gives us a monologue and salutes Canada in song. *Sniff* Meanwhile, Lefort swears revenge on Mason Ryan. Now, if they’re going with the old Robert Parker angle from WCW, it’ll lead to him finding a Sid Vicious-level surprise monster and getting his payback. And given that Dusty Rhodes was booking WCW at the time, it might not be far off. Aiden English v. Tyson Kidd Thankfully English is getting over more as a heel now that the fans know how to react to him. Kidd charges and misses quickly, and English pounds him down for two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Kidd comes back with a headscissors into the corner and a dropkick for two. English catches him coming in with a suplex for two, but Big Cass joins us at ringside for the distraction, allowing Kidd to hit the Blockbuster for the pin at 2:40. Really fast-paced for the time given. **1/4 They really need to do something with Kidd; even a high flying tag team with someone to feud with the Ascension would be a good dynamic for him. Adrian Neville v. Corey Graves The skinny jeans and hair product are really killing the bad boy image that Graves is trying for. Neville gets a hiptoss and Graves bails right away, but catches him with a cheapshot coming in. Neville takes him down with a headlock and tosses him, following with a dive as we take a break. Back with Graves working the leg in the corner and dropping elbows for two. Neville gets a rollup for two, but Graves dropkicks the knee for two and dragon whips him for two. Back to the knee and he grinds on that for a while, and a backbreaker gets two. To the floor, where Neville escapes a piledriver and makes the comeback. Missile dropkick gets two, but the leg is still hurting and Graves clips him again. Neville fights him off and goes up, and the Red Arrow finishes at 16:10. Kind of a flat finish, but a really solid match. *** Neville is still hurting, so Bo Dallas comes out to finish the job, until HHH cuts them off by announcing that their match at the “PPV” is going to be a ladder match. DUN DUN DUN! The Pulse Basic, fun show, although it’s the end of the cycle so there wasn’t much going on this week. Next week, however, should be the senses-shattering debut of rock god ADAM ROSE, which is apparently 10 shades of awesome.

The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT– 11.18.13

The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT – 11.20.13 Actually up at the stroke of midnight tonight! Taped from Orlando, FL Your hosts are Byron Saxton, Alex Riley & William Regal Bo Dallas RETURNS to let us know that everywhere he goes, everybody loves Bo. And he’s got a slideshow to prove it! He sports-entertained in front of a crowd of 300,000 in Cambodia! Against Justin Gabriel. (He won.) Justin’s a good kid, though. He’s in such a good mood, it’s COOKIES FOR EVERYONE! Perhaps lured out by the promise of cookies, JBL joins us to add his kudos, but Sami Zayn interrupts to resume the most awesome feud that no one is watching. He wants another shot at the title now that he’s off suspension, although JBL points out that you can’t just say “With all due respect” and then insult someone. But because he’s about what’s best for business, JBL reinstates him. Sami’s got no problem starting from the bottom again, so JBL makes a Beat the Clock challenge tonight for the #1 contendership. Beat the Clock Challenge: Colin Cassady v. Alexander Rusev Lana makes her official debut here as Rusev’s manager, and the Beat the Clock stips seem to play well to Rusev’s talents for destroying geeks like Colin in record time. Really, with Enzo on the shelf for the long haul, Cassady is gonna be an enhancement guy for a long while. Rusev calmly pounds away for two and puts him down with a shoulder tackle for two. Headbutt gets two. More headbutts get two. I like that he’s constantly trying for pins. Rusev goes up and misses a dive, allowing Cassday to make his Edge Jr. comeback. High knee gets two. Elbowdrop gets two. Blind charge hits the post, and Rusev sends him into another one for good measure before putting him out of his misery with the camel clutch…but Cassady makes the ropes! Rusev pounds him in the corner and throws him around for two, and another try at the Accolade finishes at 5:33. Thankfully the on-screen clock means that I don’t need to use the iPad stopwatch tonight. Nice effort from Cassady. ** Meanwhile, Adrian Neville discusses his match with Corey Graves last week. Meanwhile, Bayley laments the loss of her robot partner Charlotte. Beat the Clock Challenge: Tyler Breeze v. Kassius Ohno I guess we can figure out who’s winning this one. So 5:33 is the goal. Breeze gets a cheapshot and slugs him down for two, but Ohno gets a rollup for two. Backslide gets two. Breeze puts him on the floor with an enzuigiri and uses up lots of time trying to haul him back in, which finally gets two. That was a lot of 10-counts missed there by not taking the countout win. William Regal is FLUSTERED by the whole thing. Breeze pounds away and stomps him down for two, but the leg lariat misses and Ohno gets two. Sunset flip gets two. Breeze rolls him up for two, reversed for two. They do another pinfall reversal and Ohno gets the pin with 0:45 left to set the new pace time of 4:48. Geez, jobbing to a guy who’s about to be fired, ouch. Breeze is improving rapidly and this was a lot of fun. **1/2 Hunico & Camacho v. John J. Hornigan & Chris Rothwell Hunico literally finishes one of the jobbers at 10 seconds with a swanton. And their post-match promo indicates that they’re the next challenge for The Ascension. Meanwhile, Kassius celebrates his win, but Lana is upset that her man is eliminated, which sets up a program we won’t get the payoff to. Beat the Clock Challenge: Adrian Neville v. Aiden English They are fucking insane if this is anything but a draw. Neville throws uppercuts, but English takes him down with a snapmare for two. Neville with a dropkick for two, but English gets a suplex for two. Legdrop gets two. Neville fights back with chops, but English slugs him on the mat and gets two. Neville gets the jawbreaker and Mr. Regal is getting flustered by wanting to get back into the action again. Neville goes up and English escapes and gets a neckbreaker for two. They fight to the top and Neville hits the Red Arrow for the pin at 4:45. Damn, they shouldn’t be beating English yet, let him keep squashing guys and singing for a while. Another fun, fast-paced match. **1/2 Beat the Clock Challenge: Sami Zayn v. Leo Kruger Sami gets a pair of rollups for two, but Kruger puts him down for two. Snap suplex gets two. Sami comes out of the corner with a crossbody for two, but Kruger forearms him for two. Elbow gets two. Kruger keeps working the count, which I love to see, and goes to the cravat. Sami makes the comeback with a dropkick for two, but the running boot misses and Kruger rolls him up for two. Kruger with a spinebuster for two. Lariat gets two. Kruger gets sloppy, however, and Sami rolls him up with a crucifix for the pin at…4:45? This would seem to indicate controversy given the pin came at exactly the expiration of time, so JBL comes out and declares that we do NOT have controversy in his show, so next week it’s Sami v. Neville for the title shot to settle it. **1/4 I have no idea why no one on the RAW team ever thought of that finish to a Beat the Clock deal before, because it’s pretty great. And you’ll note that instead of belittling him and killing his momentum like some OTHER bearded indy darlings, Sami gets more and more over as a babyface the more he gets screwed over. Because, see, NXT isn’t booked by chimps. The Pulse This show FLEW by. I didn’t even realize it was back to an hour again, because it was fast-paced, fun, and set up a fuck-ton of new programs while advancing a couple of others in an hour. SIXTY MINUTES! RAW hasn’t even been able to announce more than 5 matches for the shitty PPV in four three-hour shows!

The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT– 11.13.13

The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT – 11.13.13 Taped from Orlando, FL Your hosts are Byron Saxton & William Regal & Tensai As a reminder, tonight I will be a guest on The Place To Be podcast, discussing the first part of 2001 and hopefully sounding less Canadian tonight. However, god help anyone who asks me to rebook the Invasion. GOD HELP THEM. Bayley & Charlotte v. Summer Rae & Sasha Banks Charlotte overpowers Sasha to start and applies a unique hammerlock while Regal bemoans the loss of Renee Young on commentary. Bayley comes in and slugs away on Summer, but walks into a good clothesline that gets two. And with that, we take a break. Back with Sasha holding a chinlock as Bayley is your mark-in-peril. Summer controls with a bodyscissors while Regal struggles through a joke but eventually pulls it off. Why is he not on Smackdown every week? The mean girls continue cutting off the ring, but a belly to belly allows the hot tag…and Charlotte turns on her. Sasha gets the pin at 9:09. Man, you’d think a student of the sport like Bayley would have seen that one coming. So Charlotte is your newest BFF. Is Bayley secretly Sting’s daughter? NEVER TRUST RIC FLAIR! Or his offspring. *1/2 Sadly, Hulu’s screenshot already spoiled this one, because otherwise it was a totally unexpected heel turn. Meanwhile, Aiden English prepares his vocal cords. Camacho v. Aiden English Where the hell is Hunico, anyway? English pounds away in the corner, but walks into a slam from Camacho that gets two. English charges and gets backdropped , allowing Camacho to stomp away on him. English hits the Director’s Cut out of nowhere to finish at 2:13, and the crowd wants an encore. The rose throwing is an awesome touch, although English wrestles like a heel while getting himself over as a huge babyface, so the dynamic is a bit weird. * They could literally bring this act to RAW tomorrow and it would get over HUGE. Meanwhile, Lana speaks some Russian to Alexander Rusev. He appears to enjoy it. Mason Ryan v. Danny Burch Regal goes above and beyond here in trying to come up with a Wales v. England backstory for this squash. Ryan overpowers Burch, but loses a slugfest. Ryan suddenly hulks up, however, and puts him down with a big boot before finishing with a cobra slam at 2:35. Ryan doing the coked up 80s babyface act isn’t fooling anyone. Meanwhile, it’s EMMALUTION time. 2/3 Falls: Adrian Neville v. Corey Graves Neville comes in fast but Graves hits him with a cheapshot and gets a suplex for two. Fistdrop gets two. Neville comes back with a dropkick and rolling cradle for two, then goes up and finishes the first fall with the Red Arrow at 2:10. Graves wisely runs away for a bit, and they brawl on the floor. Back in, Neville goes up and Graves runs away again. This time he dodges a flying Neville and takes over as we take a break. Back with Graves going after the knee and applying a half-crab. Neville powers out and gets a sunset flip for two, but Graves keeps on the knee and clips him to set up the Lucky 13 at 11:22. Neville was pretty dumb to fight it as long as he did: If tapping out was inevitable, might as well just tap and start over again. Third fall and Neville’s knee is shot, but he fights back with a head kick, and Graves bails a third time. Back in, Neville gets frustrated and slugs away in the corner, finally putting Graves down before heading to the top. And that goes badly for him, as he falls off and Graves hooks Lucky 13. Neville powers out after a nice dramatic sequence, and Graves stays on the knee until he tries a figure-four and Neville reverses into a cradle for the pin at 16:40. Good simple stuff. **1/2 The Pulse Next week is the return of BO DALLAS and hopefully Sami Zayn as well. Other than that, who knows? As for this show, we got a good main event and a heel turn, plus Aiden English, so I literally would not want anything more out of my 40 minutes.

The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT: 09.04.13

The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT – 09.04.13 Taped from Orlando, FL Your hosts are Tom Phillips & Alex Riley Bayley & Charlotte v. Alicia Fox & Aksana Yes, it’s FOXANA. Aksana offers a hug to superfan Bayley to start, and of course gives her a sucker punch. Backbreaker gets two. Aksana drops elbows for two. Fox in with a dropkick for two as A-Ry regales us with tales of his early days in the WWE locker room and his advice for new wrestlers. Frankly, taking career advice from Alex Riley doesn’t seem like a good idea unless you want to be a C-show commentator. Aksana with a chinlock and a Nash choke in the corner, but Bayley hugs her into a belly to belly to escape. Hot tag Charlotte, who does a Flair Flip and goes up, only to get slammed off just like dad. Bayley tags herself back in and they argue over it, which lets Alicia whip Bayley into the corner, but Bayley gets an ugly rollup for the pin at 4:32. Well that was ugly, but Charlotte’s literally had something like 3 matches in her career so I can give it a pass. Glad to see them putting the newcomers over. *1/2 Meanwhile, Alexander Rusev plots revenge on Mason Ryan. The plan: First they win, then they go to SIZZLER. Corey Graves v. Rick Victor Graves is right pissed and attacks to start, stomping Victor down and putting him down with an elbow for two. Graves takes him down with a facelock, but Victor throws forearms to retaliate and they slug it out. Graves with a suplex for two. Crossbody, but the ribs are taped and thus this proves to be a stupid move. Victor goes to work on the ribs and drops Graves on the top rope, as we take a break. Really? Are they afraid of people changing channels on Hulu? Anyway, back with Victor stomping a mudhole in the corner, and he adds a gutbuster for two. Victor drops knees on the ribs and goes to a chinlock as the crowd’s not really feeling this one. Victor pounds the ribs again for two and goes to another chinlock. Note to Alex Riley: You don’t have to relate EVERYTHING to your limited experiences as Miz’s bag-carrier and curtain jerking babyface. Graves makes the comeback and puts Victor down with a knee and a short clothesline. The partners get involved for distraction and Victor tries a gutbuster, but Graves rolls him up into a small package at 10:55. And Graves steals his half of the tag belts back as well, so logically you put the Ascension over when the do the title match. Decent but dull match. ** Meanwhile, Summer Rae continues her mean girl abuse of Sasha Banks. Meanwhile, Paige is not particularly afraid of Sasha or Summer. Next week: The title match. Alexander Rusev v. Mason Ryan Now, Rusev already broke the board with Ryan’s name on it in the pre-match skit, and now he does it again. Am I to believe this is some sort of MAGIC BOARD? I hope someone got fired for that blunder. Mason Ryan is, how to say this, 17 sizes smaller here. Not that I’m insinuating anything, but let’s just say that if he was walking around backstage at RAW, HHH would probably make fun of him for losing so much weight. Plus he’s got long greasy hair now. It’s a weird change for him. Ryan tries and fails to overpower Rusev, and walks into a leg lariat that gets two. Rusev drops headbutts and puts him down for two. Blind charge misses and Ryan slugs him down, then puts him down with a big boot and cleans house on the other heels. This allows Rusev to drop Ryan and finish with a camel clutch at 4:00. That’s kind of a career low for Mason Ryan. * Sami Zayn v. Jack Swagger Zayn puts Swagger down with a dropkick and chops him down for two. Swagger bails and Zayn teases a dive, but flips back into the ring instead. Big reaction from the crowd to that one, but Swagger gets a cheapshot and takes over with knees in the corner. And we take a break. Back with Swagger hitting a suplex and choking away on the ropes, but Zayn suckers him into a charge and puts him on the floor. Zayn follows with a BEAUTY of a dive, and back in for a high cross that gets two. Sunset flip gets two. Swagger powers him down with a throw for two, and then tries an Oklahoma Stampede, which Zayn turns into a powerbomb for two. Swagger grabs the ankle and then hits a Doctorbomb for two. The straps come down and it’s another anklelock, but Sami makes the ropes after freaking out the crowd. Swagger stomps him down while Zayn sells the ankle, but Zayn blocks the Swaggerbomb and comes back with the running boot in the corner for two. They slug it out and Zayn goes up, but Swagger crotches him and tries the superplex, but Zayn powerbombs him off the top and gets two. Dammit! He had me sucked in with that one, too. This brings out Bo Dallas to “cheerlead”, and Swagger grabs the ankle again for the submission at 15:15. How is Zayn not on the main roster yesterday? What more can he possibly need to “develop”? ***3/4 The Pulse Another round of logical, weekly booking topped off by Sami Zayn having a crazy good match AND building towards the storyline of his challenge for the NXT title. What a great show this is!

NXT – April 18, 2012

NXT
Date: April 18, 2012
Location: 02 Arena, London, England
Commentators: William Regal, Josh Matthews

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We’re in Regal country tonight and after a good show last week, hopefully this time things pick up even more. We’ve had some stories on the show lately and they’ve been done well with the long backstage segments. For the first time in a long time I’m actually looking forward to this show. Let’s get to it.

The opening video now has a recap which is the exact same format of Glee. I think that’s Bateman narrating. It covers the whole Stolen Striker story. This even has the bell and the title in lower case letters.

Percy Watson vs. Johnny Curtis

Regal gives us a quick story about hang gliding naked and being in jail for two days, getting here just in time. The announcers are talking about Glee now as Maxine sits in on commentary. Watson hits a leg lariat for a quick two. Maxine blames Curtis for being the mastermind for the whole Striker caper. There’s no relationship between Curtis and Maxine. Curtis makes his comeback but walks into an armdrag.

That gets Watson nowhere so it’s right back to Curtis choking away. The majority of this match is about Maxine and the plot which she denies connection to, meaning the camera is on her for most of the time as well. Regal talks about going to the Himalayas and how they can pick up a mountain gazelle for its hair and how it was made into something he’s wearing today. That’s a bigger lie than anything Maxine has said today.

Curtis hooks a chinlock as this is getting more time than it probably should given the guys that are in there. A jawbreaker gets Watson out of the hold and he speeds things up. A dropkick puts Curtis down as does the jumping clothesline. Heisman gets two and the Persecution gets the pin at 8:19.

Rating: C-. I’m really hoping this commentary with Maxine/Regal is leading to SOMETHING with Watson as he’s having the same match every week and there’s nothing coming out of it that I can see. Watson is athletic but he needs some reason for us to care about him which he doesn’t have at all right now.

Post match Regal calls Curtis to the back. Curtis has to sit in on commentary with Regal during Maxine’s match, which is next.

Maxine vs. Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn has new music. She grabs two quick rollups for two and a backbreaker for the same. Maxine comes back with a neck crank and some chest slaps. Curtis talks about playing as Regal in WCW/NWO Revenge which is a cool thing to hear. Kaitlyn breaks out of it and hits a cross body for two. Maxine sends her into the buckle and a dragon sleeper with a body scissors gets the submission at 3:33.

Rating: D+. They look good and that’s about it. Maxine is one of the few Divas with an actual personality and it helps her a lot. That and she’s not just another blonde. The match was nothing that good but it was better than most of the 40 second matches that I’ve gotten used to lately from the girls.

Post match Regal says he doesn’t believe either of them about Striker, so Maxine is required to be his manager or they’re fired. He has a contract to make it official. They go to sign it and Regal handcuffs them together. That’s from the arrest story he told to start the show.

Titus and Young are in the back and…..THEY’RE GOING TO SMACKDOWN???? AS IN PEOPLE ARE LEAVING THE SHOW???? SOMETHING IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING ON THIS SHOW??? They do a stupid dance.

Striker is looking in a mirror and has Hawkins’ cane. There’s a showdown tonight.

Raw ReBound is about Punk vs. Jericho.

Reks and Hawkins are yelling at each other in the back and say they’re done. Maxine and Curtis come in and yell at each other as well because they’re stuck together. Watson comes up and laughs at them. Bateman comes up and finds it hilarious. Kaitlyn thinks Maxine should be used to handcuffs. Comedy ensues.

Here are Hawkins and Reks who say that Regal doctored the footage which said it was them that kidnapped Striker. Striker pops up and says that he’s not 6’3 and 300lbs but he’s been accepted. He calls the two guys chavs which will make sense if you’re from England but the name fits. Striker talks about being chloroformed and beaten. The people don’t believe the lies and everyone knows it was them. Hawkins says so what so Striker swings the cane at both of them. Regal stops them and says right now it’s Reks vs. Hawkins, loser gets fired.

Curt Hawkins vs. Tyler Reks

Oh and Striker is guest referee. He just happened to be wearing a referee shirt under his jacket. Reks says they’re friends but in the middle of it Hawkins decks him. We take a break with Hawkins on the floor. The bell rings when we come back and Hawkins is sent to the floor again. Reks pounds on him as Regal talks about throwing a ferret in a bucket with a rat. Reks misses a top rope shoulder and Hawkins takes control.

Off to a chinlock as the fans make Reks the face by default. A kind of suplex gets two and Hawkins guillotines him on the top rope. He spends too much time yelling at the people though and Reks hits a pescado to take him out. Downward Spiral gets two in the ring for Tyler. Hawkins tries what looked to be a suplex of some sort but Reks gets behind him and a rollup pins Hawkins at 5:30.

Rating: D+. I’m glad one of them is gone as this isn’t an interesting pairing at all. The heel team of them didn’t work either and I don’t know of a single instance where I cared about these two at all. Not a good match either although Hawkins isn’t terrible I guess. At least the match was short though. Striker didn’t mean anything at all in this match.

Striker punches Hawkins post match.

Regal fires Reks post match as well because he wants to.

Overall Rating: C. Hokey smoke FOUR PEOPLE left the show tonight. Considering there hasn’t been anyone gone in months, this is catching up for lost time to say the least. I’m very glad that they’re actually changing some things for once as now the only rookie left is Bateman, assuming Titus and Young don’t stick around anyway. I can’t imagine them hanging out on Smackdown that much, but at least we might get some fresh blood here. That’s a huge step in the right direction for this show and that’s a good thing.

Results
Percy Watson b. Johnny Curtis – Persecution
Maxine b. Kaitlyn – Dragon Sleeper
Tyler Reks b. Curt Hawkins – Rollup

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Results
Percy Watson b. Johnny Curtis – Persecution
Maxine b. Kaitlyn – Dragon Sleeper
Tyler Reks b. Curt Hawkins – Rollup

NXT – April 11, 2012

NXT
Date: April 11, 2012
Location: Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia
Commentators: William Regal, Josh Matthews

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

It’s that time of the week again. After last week’s disappointing ending to the Who Stole Striker story, it’s time for more Regal vs. Hawkins/Reks, because that hasn’t been done to death yet around here. We’ll also see Maxine trying to get her hooks into Regal, which is probably an idea they came up with in FCW and are using here. Let’s get to it.

Percy Watson vs. Johnny Curtis

Maxine comes out with Curtis and Watson isn’t pleased. He thought they weren’t together anymore but Regal cuts off his complaints and tells Maxine to stay away from the ring. Maxine sits next to Regal and he can’t speak as well all of a sudden. Watson speeds things up after a slow start with a one footed dropkick where he lands on his feet. That was pretty cool. They fight over a top wristlock and Watson takes over with an atomic drop and a legdrop for two.

Maxine is whispering into Regal’s ear as Curtis takes over with right hands. He sends Percy’s shoulder into the corner and out to the floor as we take a break. Regal is now off commentary and talking to Maxine. Curtis controls with a wristlock but Watson comes back and rams some shoulders into Curtis’ ribs. Regal is frustrated that he isn’t focused on his job as Curtis hits a cool move by dropping a leg on the arm of a standing Watson for two.

Back to the arm hold and Watson can’t break out of it. Elbow to the arm gets two. Josh doesn’t seem to get what’s wrong with Regal. Regal tries to focus and talks about Curtis a bit but still isn’t all there. I’d assume this is connected to whatever the list of stuff Regal is into that Maxine and Curtis were supposed to get their hands on last week or the week before. Watson starts his comeback with his usual strikes and the dropkicks as Regal leaves with Maxine. Belly to belly puts Curtis down and Watson is distracted by Regal leaving, allowing Curtis to roll him up for the pin at 8:13.

Rating: C-. This was ok but Curtis is just such an uninteresting character, as is Watson. Watson’s character basically is that he’s an athlete while Curtis is weird. The weird part is fine when he’s talking, but in the ring it doesn’t really do anything at all. The match was more about Regal and Maxine, which is ok because it gives us some intrigue. He looked distracted when they left so something is up.

Hawkins and Reks talk to Maxine in the back who is minus Regal now. She talks to them and asks if they did that thing. Reks isn’t sure what they she means but apparently Regal is going to be talking to them soon. She doesn’t get Striker back until they know she didn’t screw them over. Why does she want Striker back? They leave and Maxine pretends to cry when Bateman and Kaitlyn pop up. Maxine cries on Bateman’s shoulder and asks for help with Reks/Hawkins. He says he’ll do it because she’s the worst thing that ever happened to him. He and Kaitlyn leave and Maxine smiles. This is a confusing story.

Tamina comes out of a dressing room and runs into Titus. She yells at him for leaving Young last week but Titus has a peace offering: a coconut tree. She seems legitimately pleased and kisses him on the cheek. Tamina walks off and runs into Young who doesn’t seem happy with Titus giving her a gift. Young walks up to Titus and Titus says he was just proving he was better than Young again. Titus leaves and Young is mad.

Back to Kaitlyn and Bateman with the one with better legs saying that she misses the old days of NXT. Bateman disagrees but they hear screams from a closet. They open it up to find Striker bound and gagged holding Hawkins’ cane. Bateman wants to get him to the doctor but Striker says he’ll handle this. He leaves while Bateman and Kaitlyn shrug.

Raw ReBound is about Cena and Lesnar.

Regal comes up to Reks and Hawkins, saying he’s underestimated them. He squeezes their necks and wants to know where Striker is. They don’t know and Regal says if anything is wrong with Striker, there will be serious consequences. Regal leaves and they go to find Striker. They open the closet and find that he’s gone. Are we supposed to believe that a guy that was kidnapped in whatever city has been in the same closet for a month now? Anyway Maxine comes with Curtis to laugh at them.

Michael McGillicutty vs. Tyson Kidd

Regal is back on commentary and is all messed up still. We get a quick recap which is based around Kidd not being a Hart and this is the rubber match in the feud. Regal seems back into it once the bell rings. Kidd works on the arm to start and arm drags him to a stalemate. He keeps making McGillicutty miss by using his speed, including sliding between his legs to clothesline him to the floor. Kidd dives over the top but crotches himself on the ring skirt. McGillicutty sends him onto the announce table as we take a break.

Back with McGillicutty holding a chinlock as Regal talks about leopards. Kidd gets up quickly but a shot to the back of the head puts him right back down. As he did earlier, Kidd speeds things up and has better success. An armdrag puts McGillicutty down and then fires off the strikes. A dropkick to the side of the head gets two. A Sharpshooter is countered but Kidd comes back with a Blockbuster for two. I could go for seeing that move becoming someone’s finisher again. Kidd kicks him in the head and tries his springboard cross body but Michael dropkicks him out of the air for two.

McGillicutter is countered into a backslide for two. Saito Suplex puts Kidd down and McGillicutty hooks a Sharpshooter on Kidd. Tyson makes the rope so McGillicutty tries the PerfectPlex, which should have been his finisher since the day he debuted. Kidd reverses it though and sets for the Sharpshooter. Instead of that though, he puts his foot above McGillicutty’s shoulder and leans forward, wrapping his feet around Michael’s head and pulling back on his arm as he leans back. It’s like a triangle choke but with their legs intertwined and it gets the tap out at 9:24.

Rating: B. This was an entertaining match with a cool finish as Kidd goes up a level to beat McGillicutty. Regal talks about Kidd doing submission training with Bret every day off he has which plays into this as well. This was a very solid ending to this feud and hopefully Kidd can get actual TV time soon instead of being the best wrestler on NXT.

Overall Rating: C+. I certainly got my wish about this show: Tonight’s episode was certainly not boring. I’m not completely sure it made sense, but it definitely was not boring. However, we got a very good main event (by NXT standards) and some plot twists that have me wondering what’s coming next. That alone is good enough to make this a good show and I’m curious as to where this is going.

Results
Johnny Curtis b. Percy Watson – Rollup
Tyson Kidd b. Michael McGillicutty – Leg Trap Triangle Choke

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NXT – April 4, 2012

NXT
Date: April 4, 2012
Location: Orlando Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Josh Matthews, William Regal

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We’re done with Wrestlemania now and NXT is still going. Tonight we’re supposed to find out what happened to Striker as I think we’ll get the list of demands from the kidnapper. I would complain about Striker being on the Wrestlemania pre-show doing commentary, but I don’t think enough people know about the angle going on here anyway. Let’s get to it.

Tyler Reks vs. Percy Watson

Reks and Regal have been having a Twitter war and Regal apologizes because it’s been bullying on his part for how dominant he’s been in it. Reks takes him to the mat but Watson wrestles out of it. A one footed dropkick sets up an armdrag to send Reks to the outside. We actually get a Percy Watson chant. Back inside Tyler pounds him down and stomps Watson in the corner.

Reks keeps him down with knees and chinlocks. This match is going by quickly but I can barely remember anything about it. I don’t know what it is about Reks but he’s very forgettable. Watson gets his feet up in the corner to stop Tyler’s offense, allowing Josh to say that Percy is building momentum. Watson uses those good jumping abilities for some clotheslines but won’t cover. It doesn’t really matter though as he rolls up Reks out of a backdrop for the pin at 6:09.

Rating: D+. I have no idea what they’re going for with Watson as he’s been having the same match for months now. I think they’re trying to push him as a Shelton Benjamin type incredible athlete but it’s only kind of working. Watson needs a story to keep people interested in him, and that’s not going to happen here because his name isn’t Derrick Bateman.

Reks and Hawkins get ready to beat up Watson but Regal says cool it. If they attack Percy, they’ll be suspended for six weeks.

McGillicutty comes up to Natalya in the back and says if he beats Bateman tonight, he gets a rematch with Kidd. He hits on her and Natalya cuts him off. This goes nowhere but at least there’s no Natalya “comedy”.

Natalya vs. Kaitlyn

New music for Kaitlyn and Kidd is on commentary. Nattie takes her down and Kidd says there’s nothing going on with them. Bridging rollup gets two for Natalya. I think Natalya is a face here but I really have no idea. Kidd admits that he isn’t a Hart, which ticked him off when McGillicutty rubbed it in his face weeks ago. Natalya works on the arm and uses more holds on whatever part of the body she picks. Kaitlyn’s first offense is a cross body but Natalya laughs it off and the Sharpshooter gets the submission at 3:30.

Rating: C-. This was a squash for Natalya as she picked apart Kaitlyn with ease. I’m so glad they’ve dropped that idiotic gimmick she’s been using for the last few months as she’s very talented and can make even someone like Kaitlyn look good. I’m still not sure if she’s a face or a heel though, but I doubt WWE has put any thought into it either.

Young says he doesn’t need Titus’ help with Tamina. He’s gotten her a coconut tree. Tamina and Alicia come up and Young hits on her with some really corny lines and she walks off. Young: “Tamina where you going? I’ve got reservations at McDonalds!” That’s the first funny thing Young has said in almost three years.

Titus O’Neil/Darren Young vs. Usos

Young and Jimmy start things off with Young grabbing a headlock. Jimmy speeds things up and Young tags out. Titus kicks Jimmy’s head off in a great looking shot. Back to Young for about two seconds before O’Neil comes back. They tag again and then a fourth time in the span of about fifteen seconds.

A fifth tag results in a belly to back suplex by Young for two, followed by a chinlock. Jimmy gets up and comes back with a powerslam and there’s the tag to jey. Titus comes in as well and everything breaks down. O’Neil yells at Young and walks into the Samoan Drop and Jey hits the Superfly Splash (cross body according to Josh) for the pin at 4:20.

Rating: C. Pretty good fast paced match here and hopefully this wraps up the Tamina/Young story because stories like that one are so repetitive on this show that they lose any interest at all. Hopefully the Usos get another tag title match soon and maybe even get the belts as they’ve got nothing left to do here.

Raw ReBound is all about Lesnar’s return.

Bateman and Percy tell Kaitlyn they still think she’s awesome. Maxine pops up on her phone shouting about needing something. She’s eating a doughnut when Curtis comes up. Everyone else leaves and Curtis says he’s got a message from the kidnappers, saying meet us in the basement. Bateman is still there apparently and says this is getting weird. Curtis: “That’s my line.” Bateman: “That was my fiance.” Maxine and Curtis leave when Kidd comes up to talk to Bateman. He wants Bateman to be ready for his match tonight. Not much to say by Kidd but I’m liking these rapid fire backstage scenes.

Curtis and Maxine are in the basement/boiler room when Reks and Hawkins pop up and Reks chokes out Curtis. Hawkins: “Reks and I are the kidnappers.” They did this to get Regal off their backs and they’ll frame Maxine/Curtis if they don’t get Regal off Hawkins/Reks’ backs. They leave and Curtis says it gets real weird next week. Dang it they had a good story going and they use it on the same people AGAIN.

Derrick Bateman vs. Michael McGillicutty

They exchange chops to start and then they exchange harder chops. Regal talks about Maxine’s mother coming up to accuse him of having an affair with Maxine at Wrestlemania. There’s no followup there. It just happened apparently. Bateman sends him to the floor and hits a flip dive from the apron to the floor as we take a break. Back with Bateman still in control.

McGillicutty gets in a knee to the ribs and takes over. Off to a chinlock which Derrick breaks, only to be sent into the ropes again. Dropkick gets two. We get the sequel to the chinlock but Bateman breaks it up again. A Russian legsweep sends the back of Michael’s head into the middle buckle and both guys are dazed. Now Bateman goes after the knee and hits a move that I don’t think would really hurt.

He gets McGillicutty in a DDT position but shoved McGillicutty forward. I think it was supposed to slam Michael’s head into the mat but it didn’t come close. There wasn’t a cover so it doesn’t matter but it was really different. Bateman hits the flipping neckbreaker that Morrison used to use for two. He really likes those falling forward moves. Derrick goes up but misses a top rope crossbody. McGillicutty tries a Sharpshooter but Bateman breaks it up. It doesn’t really matte though as the McGillicutter gets the pin at 8:30, earning McGillicutty a rematch with Kidd.

Rating: C. This was ok but I think it was more lengthy than good. I really don’t like Bateman’s in ring style as he uses some very weak looking moves such as the falling bulldog and that ridiculous looking reverse DDT. The match was ok and it sets up another step in the McGillicutty vs. Kidd feud which is good, but at the end of the day it’s another respect feud.

Overall Rating: C. This show had some ok stuff on it as far as the in ring parts, but I’m really disappointed in the culmination of the Striker kidnapping thing. Hawkins and Reks are so uninteresting as heels because their story has basically been this: they whine, Regal does something, they whine some more, Regal does something else. Nothing ever changes from that and it gets really boring really fast. And that’s what we get after a few promising weeks. I can’t say I’m surprised though, because this is the land of broken hopes.

Results
Percy Watson b. Tyler Reks – Rollup
Natalya b. Kaitlyn – Sharpshooter
Usos b. Darren Young/Titus O’Neil – Superfly Splash to O’Neil
Michael McGillicutty b. Derrick Bateman – McGillicutter

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NXT – March 28, 2012

NXT
Date: March 28, 2012
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators: Josh Matthews, William Regal

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

Who would have thought that when we started this season that it would run through Wrestlemania 28? That’s the point we’re going to reach unless there’s some divine intervention and this season ends after today. Now the good thing is they have an angle that has a mystery to it after last week with Striker disappearing. Let’s get to it.

Hunico vs. Derrick Bateman

Bateman controls to start but gets backdropped into the corner as Hunico takes over. Elbow drop gets two. Oh make that one. Regal explains why Camacho hangs out with Hunico, which is apparently due to a gang attack that Hunico bailed him out of, resulting in a stab wound which is why Hunico wears a shirt in the ring. See how easy a story that was to explain?

Bateman gets beaten down for awhile until he comes back with a cross body. Hunico hits one at the same time though and both guys are down as we take a break. Back with Hunico chopping and pounding on Bateman. His shirt is torn now too. Hunico goes up but jumps into a dropkick as Bateman gets a breather. He launches Hunico over his head and into the buckle chest first.

Hunico pounds down on him again as Regal is talking about WCW. He seems to think it was funny and I can’t say I argue. Bateman tries to suplex Hunico in from the apron but Hunico falls on top. Bateman rolls through for two but stops to go after Camacho. The distraction allows Hunico to hit his modified Angle Slam (it’s the Angle Slam but he hooks the other guy’s head, almost like a torture rack) for the pin at 7:00.

Rating: C-. I wasn’t really all that into this. I’ve been liking Hunico more lately but this was a miss for him. Granted that could be because Bateman is a waste of time and space but maybe that’s just me. Nothing that great here as they went back and forth, but there wasn’t much selling in between.

Video on Rock vs. Cena from Once In A Lifetime, which wasn’t bad.

Video on HHH vs. Taker, which I think is the same one from Raw.

Video on Punk vs. Jericho, which I don’t think has aired before. It’s about Punk’s rise to the top of WWE over the years and then shows Jericho exposing Punk’s family history.

Maxine is on a phone and wants a list next week. Curtis comes up and apparently the list is about Regal, who is into some freaky stuff. This is news? Maxine gets off the phone and Curtis says that the company has been trying to keep Striker’s whereabouts on the DL. It happened on NXT. How much more DL can you get?

Maxine yells at him because Curtis hasn’t found out anything about Striker. Watson and Riley pop up and Watson yells at her for taking the spotlight during his match by rubbing Regal’s feet. Maxine asks how mad Watson is at her in a strange bit. They go down the hall and run into Natalya and Kidd. They’re talking about the economy. Ok then. The walk continues and they run into Gabriel. I think they’re looking for who stole Striker.

Now they run into Titus and leave, but the camera stays on Titus. Young comes in with a flower pot which Young says is for Tamina. O’Neil says take her to McDonalds. Young says he lies, cheats and steals in the ring but he can’t do that with Tamina. I’m not the biggest Eddie fan ever, but NO WAY does Young deserve to be able to say that.

Curtis and Maxine pop up again and accuse Titus of the kidnapping (they haven’t actually said those words yet, but rather “it was you” every time). Titus tries to kiss her for some reason but Curtis pulls her away. Young and O’Neil leave and Maxine gets a text. The kidnappers say that after Mania, she’ll give them what they want and they’ll get Striker back. LONG backstage segment here but it covered a few things which is good.

Video on the Divas tag, I think from Extra. I have no issue looking at Maria Menunos.

Titus O’Neil vs. Jey Uso

Young and Jimmy Uso are on commentary. So I’m assuming we’re not going to talk about the Striker stuff on commentary are we? Josh points out that the Usos aren’t that successful when they’re in singles action. Jimmy says that’s true, because they’re a team. Simple yet true. This is your usual power vs. speed match with Titus controlling early but Jey taking him down. He goes up but Titus rolls to the floor before the jump and we go to a break.

Back with Titus hammering on him, using the clubbing forearms. Jey gets in a shot and comes off the top with a cross body for two. Titus runs him over with another clothesline for two. Off to a chinlock to eat up some time as Jey comes up with exactly the same kind of offense you would expect from him. The Umaga attack hits in the corner as does the Samoan Drop. The Superfly Splash hits knees though and the Clash of the Titus ends this at 6:22.

Rating: C-. I wish I could care about this feud, but it’s just not happening. The problem in modern WWE for guys like the Usos is that the tag titles are never defended and the champions are basically jobbers when you need to get bigger names over as singles guys. Titus is a heel now but he’s the same guy he’s always been, just with a sneer now. Nothing match but technically it was fine.

Tamina comes out to check on Jey and glares at Young for some reason.

Overall Rating: D. The problem here is that this show was a commercial for Mania with a backstage segment and about 15 minutes of wrestling to fill in some gaps. That’s totally understandable as well as no one is going to care about anything with four days before the biggest show of the year. Not a good show or anything, but this had zero expectations coming in so it’s fine.

Results
Hunico b. Derrick Bateman – Spinning Torture Rack Slam
Titus O’Neil b. Jey Uso – Clash of the Titus

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