S'up folks, another jam packed fun time episode of NXT this week, except it wasn't really jam packed and fun time. After last week's kind of decent showing I was hoping something more this week, but instead got an incredible starter followed by a long and underwhelming main course. Here's the happenings.
The show opened with a wonderful as usual dramatic highlight package of Bo Dallas becoming the number one contender to Big E Langston's NXT Championship, and this was immediately followed by the music of Sami Zayn. It was time for round two of his series with Antonio Cesaro, and as expected they put together as good a match as you will see on WWE TV right now. Cesaro got the duke after 10 or so minutes with the Neutralizer. Watch this match, now. Jobber tag team of the week was Baron Corbin and Travis Tyler, who were easily put away by the Southern Hick team of Scott Dawson and Garrett Dylan, with their strange terrible French accent manager Sylvester Lefort. I'm ashamed to say that during this match, I genuinely reminisced about Sylvan Grenier and Renee Dupree.
Alicia Fox advanced to the semis of the Divas Championship tournament by dispatching Bayley in a not terrible but not memorable little match up, before we got to the main event title match. Big E dominated and dominated and dominated, but Bo Dallas pulled out the victory after exposing the top turn-buckle to become your new reigning, defending NXT Champion. Renee Young finally came out to interview our new champion, who capped his moment by exclaiming he was off to Disney World. Bo is my 2nd favourite Rotunda brother. Does all that make sense? I hope so, because we're diving right in there.
Can Cesaro and Zayn wrestle in my dreams please?
Pretty much everything about this match was utter glory. Cesaro started super quick and super vicious, and I was immediately reminded that when Cesaro is being vicious he is pretty much the best thing going. Also, if there are more beautiful things in wrestling than his European Uppercuts, I do not want to see them.
This match worked on so many levels, and the crowd were into it all. Now, the Full Sail crowd is usually responsive, but this was fantastic. They hated the heel, they got into Zayn's comebacks. Saying that, Sami Zayn is the most likeable man on WWE TV, so how couldn't they? Zayn pulled out a sunset flip power bomb during the match, a move that sometimes looks a little too forced but in this instance just looked beautiful. It was back and forth and back and forth, but Cesaro got the W after doing the impossible and making the chinlock look painful. Randy Orton, take note.
I've said it before, but Sami Zayn is the next huge babyface waiting to happen. Everything about the man exudes positivity, and his move set is perfect for his character. Expect big things from the former generic luchador.
Can someone please explain this Sylvester Lefort thing?
Managers are a wonderful thing in wrestling. We all miss the Heenan Family, Paul Heyman is considered a messiah and I even think back to Mr Fuji and smile. Logic dictates that there should be more managers in WWE, especially with the newer guys on TV. Despite this, I have no idea what the deal is with Sylvester Lefort. So he's supposed to be French I guess? Or French Canadian? Whatever. He sounds like someone attempting to impersonate someone attempting to impersonate a French accent. Yes, you read that right. His look as well, wow. Lonestar mentioned it previously, but he really is some strange combination of Randy Savage and Paul Ellering, dipped in grease.
The tag team of Scott Dawson and Garrett Dylan isn't really much better. Again, tag teams are needed, especially tag teams who seem like a genuine team with matching tights, but I'm just not sold on them. If ever there was a team screaming out for a name it's these guys. Their finishing move is called 'Southern Pride', so why not that? Their finisher is also dumb, a spinebuster double axe handle combo. This is pretty upsetting. It's like having a child who makes mistakes at school, and then you explain to the child exactly what they need to make it all right. They go away, and they come back. They followed your instructions to the letter, but somehow it's just as lame. These guys, and their French chum, are exactly what a tag team should be, in the worst way. I hope they change my mind.
Can Alicia Fox maintain my attention?
Surprisingly, yes. Well, kind of. William Regal was absolutely fantastic throughout this match, much as he is all the time. However, he seems to go to extra lengths in attempting to get Alicia Fox over. As wonderful as Regal is, it doesn't work. Bayley on the other hand really surprised me here. She starts off doing the over excited fan gimmick, but after a quick beating by the Foxy One she transforms into a decent little wrestler, complete with a sweet exploder suplex. This was always going to be the throwaway first round match in the tournament however, and so it was. The bottom half of the tournament looks more intriguing either way. Everyone expects a Summer Rae vs. Emma semi final, but where do they go from there?
Can Bo Dallas get the right heat as a heel?
The seeds continued to be sewn with regards to a Bo Dallas heel turn. Exposing the top turn-buckle to put away Big E was a heel move, but Regal was quick to say that it was inadvertent. Obviously it wasn't, but the full heel turn is yet to come. When he does eventually go full heel, what sort of heat is he going to get? There's a lot of mileage in a heel Bo Dallas. He has been protected to a degree in NXT, getting a few big wins and being portrayed as one of the top competitors, so if he is pushed as an annoying heel champion who can back it up in the ring, it will work. If they immediately give him the chickenpoop treatment, the opposite will happen. The fact that the 'No more Bo' chants are so loud is worrying. These are interesting times for everyone's 3rd favourite Rotunda.
Can someone return Brad Maddox?
The episode was sorely lacking in Brad Maddox. A William Regal/Brad Maddox booth would be wonderful, with the grizzled veteran Regal bickering with the obnoxiously excited Maddox. Yes, yes please.
Truth be told, this was a very one sided episode. The opening match is worth going out of your way to see, the best NXT match since Kassius Ohno and Regal battered each other by a long way. Sami Zayn is genuinely the future of WWE babyfaces, so check this match out for some great examples of his talent. Everything after that match felt a bit inconsequential, which is quite damning when you consider the top title changed hands. No storylines outside of Cesaro/Zayn were truly moved forward, there was no Wyatt Family, Graves, Ohno, Neville, Paige, Emma and everything else that is so good about this programme. Here's hoping next week picks up.
And that's that. Lonestar should be back next week, so I hope you've enjoyed my attempt at filling those boots the last two weeks. What did you think of this week's episode? How do you feel about Bo and his forthcoming reign as King of NXT? Can you explain Sylvester Lefort to me? Drop a comment in the lonely comment box below, or find me trawling the dark corners of the internet on twitter (@pingvinorkestra) and email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I worked my first shift in a Belgrade bar today, without speaking the language. It was hilarious.
I'll be back tomorrow with my usual Saturday column, looking at the forthcoming Bound for Glory Series. Adiós!