The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT – 12.25.13 (NXT REWIND!) Merry Xmas to all! If anyone wants to get me a great present, Hulu Plus gift cards are always appreciated as we obviously can’t buy them in Canada. Taped from Orlando, FL Hosted by Renee Young So this is a year-in-review show, with one new match thrown in like an unreleased track on a greatest hits CD. I remember back in the day when Superstars would be a year-in-review show! We start with a look at the new Performance Center, and then clips of the guys who graduated from NXT to the main roster. Fandango! The Shield! The Wyatts! Big E! Cesaro! Sandow! Big E Langston hits us with some comments on how much he loves the NXT audience. Flashback: Adrian Neville & Oliver Grey beat the Wyatts to become the first NXT tag team champions. Whatever happened to Grey, anyway? Flashback: Paige beats Emma to win the Women’s title tournament. I’m still mystified why they employ 75% of the dead weight in the Divas division and leave these two to rot in NXT. Paige promises to be the ANTI-DIVA and go after AJ, very soon now. Bo Dallas butts in and talks about the importance of bo-lieving in yourself, setting up the clips of him winning the title from Big E. Future Stars of NXT now, with Aiden English, Mojo Rawley, Alexander Rusev, Sasha Banks, Corey Graves, Sami Zayn, and a quick soundbite to show their deal for each one. Current stars on NXT, featuring appearances from Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Christian, John Cena, Damien Sandow, Big Show, Sheamus, RVD, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, AJ Lee, Ric Flair, and HBK. William Regal has a great introspective promo about costing himself chances at being World champion, and why he needs to beat Cesaro tonight. Flashback: Sami Zayn has a MOTYC against Cesaro, which was a hell of a way for me to begin reviewing this show. Sami Zayn is so inspired by this flashback that he challenges Kruger to a 2/3 falls match next week. Given that Kruger is getting repackaged into ROCK GOD Alex Rose, I’m guessing it won’t go well for Kruger. William Regal v. Antonio Cesaro We have a TON of time left in the show, as the review stuff only ate up 30 minutes, so they’re going long here. They fight over a wristlock and the crowd pays their respects to Regal. We take a break and return with Cesaro trying a flying headscissors and getting slammed. They continue their chess match over the wristlock and we get a classic bridge from Regal, into a straitjacket hold that’s pretty awesome. The crowd informs that this is wrestling. And yet they don’t train guys to do this stuff. They have an INCREDIBLE battle over a cravat, as Cesaro literally lifts Regal over his head in a suplex to escape. Regal gets revenge with some cheapshots in the corner behind the ref’s back, but Cesaro clips him and starts dismantling the knee. We take another break and learn that Big Show will be the New Year’s Baby on RAW. That just makes me love this show all the more. Back with Cesaro pulling Regal’s knee brace off and pounding on it with a horse collar hold (aka the Brock Lock) until Regal makes the ropes. Regal sneaks in with a rollup and backslide for two, and throws forearms to make the comeback. And then Cesaro just DESTROYS him with his own forearms, to the delight of the crowd. And this sets up the GIANT SWING, leaving Regal a mess and Cesaro talking EURO-TRASH. Neutralizer is countered by Regal and he targets the biceps to neutralize the awesome Swiss power of Cesaro, and he’s all fired up now. Sadly, the knee betrays him, and Cesaro throws headbutts in desperation, so Regal knees him in the head and tries the butterfly suplex. Cesaro powers out of that and bridges him for two, but Regal hangs on and it’s the Regal Stretch. Cesaro can’t power out, but he makes the ropes, and then he just unleashes a perfect dropkick out of nowhere. Now he’s good and pissed off, pops the shoulders back into place like a real man, and crushes Regal’s head with a double stomp. How do you even work that?!? He jumped on the man’s HEAD! Regal selling like he’s a ravaged wreck is tremendous. And then it’s the NEUTRALIZER to finish, but Cesaro is too sad to complete it because Regal is so pathetic and old. The Swiss do have hearts! But then he just puts him out of his misery anyway at 28:00. But in the end, they shake hands because they’re both real men, and holy shit this was the greatest thing I’ve seen in months. ****1/4 And what a story, with Regal pulling out everything he had left, but Cesaro just having too much for him. Both guys come out looking great. The Pulse The year in review was a helpful guide for newbies, and then Regal v. Cesaro was the best old school old lion v. young buck match I’ve seen in years. Find it on YouTube!