Welcome NXT faithful. Last week we saw the rebirth of a new and improved NXT and sadly this week we get to see it take its first wobbly steps. This week’s episode featured an overabundance of squashes matches and also suffered a bit from its odd taping situation. NXT is now filmed in what I believe are four episode chunks, wherein the same audience watches four episodes worth of content at once. That’s a lot to sit through, especially if wrestlers reappear on subsequent episodes. For some reason the commentators also kept switching throughout the show so that Jim Ross got paired up with combinations of William Regal, NXT alum Byron Saxton and Chris Russo. It was a bit jarring, so hopefully they’ll fix that audio confusion in the future.
Just like last week I’ve embedded a full length video of the episode at the bottom of the page. Feel free to watch it before somebody pulls it.
Seth Rollins vs Jiro:
Remember how last week I said I wasn’t sure what to think about Seth Rollins? Well, I still don’t. Rollins made the stage his own personal mosh pit before easily defeating Jiro (who no longer works for the WWE, by the way) with what was supposed to be a specialized curbstomp that JR called the Blackout. Jiro kind of took it on the back but I’ll buy it. Afterwards Briley asked Seth a question on the stage and Rollins started squawking about something or other. I kinda tuned out because of his voice. Anyway, Jinder Mahal came in and they stared at each other for a moment before Rollins walked to the back.
If you were looking for some example of Rollins’s wrestling ability this wasn’t it. Check out his matches against Dean Ambrose or Damian Sandow in FCW or any of his stuff in ROH if you want a better showcase of what Rollins can do.
Jinder Mahal vs Jason Jordan:
Is there anyone out there who is actually a Jinder Mahal fan? I thought he did better than usual in this match but he’s still pretty bland in the ring and horribly dated outside of it. This was another squash match, this time against Jason Jordan, the wrestler that Damian Sandow refused to wrestle on last week’s show. Jordan only manages to hit a couple punches and maybe a dropkick here before submitting to Jinder’s Camel Clutch. And yes, because I’m that guy, I totally just checked to see if Camels live in India. They do.
Jinder also cut a promo before and after match, saying he was going to mold NXT in his image. I have no idea why he decided to cut the same promo before and after the match, but he did.
Leo Kruger vs Aiden English:
Kruger is a former FCW champ from South Africa and, tell me if this sounds fresh and exciting, thinks he’s better than everybody else. That’s pretty much his character. Not that a cocky, confident, affluent character can’t be done very well in today’s WWE (Damian Sandow comes to mind) but it’s a well-trodden path to go down. Kruger doesn’t offer anything new with his video introduction or his match, finishing off his jobber opponent with a vertical suplex and a sleeper hold. Leo Kruger wins. Thrilling. I guess he’s saving the body slam for next week’s show.
The Usos vs Ascension:
I was surprised they did this match already but glad they didn’t job out the new team in their second week on television. The live crowd didn’t react that loudly to their second Ascension entrance of the night but I think the match went over well enough. The Usos brought their usual fire and Ascension answered by cheating a bit and isolating the shit out of one of the Usos in the corner, never letting him get a breath of air. After the Usos came back a bit and hit the big Samaon Drop, Conor O’ Brian got a blind tag and Ascension set up their swinging jawbreaker/flapjack combination for the win. Ascension wins/is still creepy.
Richie Steamboat vs Rick Victor:
Steamboat also gets the video interview/match combination and makes the point that he’s trying to step out of his father’s shadow and be his own man before going to the ring and doing a lot of dad’s old moves. Does he do them well? Yes, but it’s a little contradictory to what he was just saying minutes earlier. After making Rick Victor look like a chump with excellent arm control through arm drags, arm holds and a bunch of chops, Steamboat wins the match with a slingblade, a move popularized by Hiroshi Tanahashi and bastardized by JTG. His father, Ricky Steamboat, cheers from the front row.
Antonio Cesaro vs jobber number 5:
I just can’t keep the jobbers straight anymore. Jobber number 5 was African American, muscular and billed at 270 pounds. He certainly was a big guy, which made it even more impressive when Cesaro dead-weight lifted him like he was nothing. This was probably my favorite squash match of the night because Cesaro just ate the poor dude up and spit him out. It wasn’t Ryback like in intensity but Antonio definitely left no question as to who was being physically dominated. Cesaro won with a Gotch-style Neutralizer, which looks like a mix of a Styles Clash and a piledriver.
Bray Wyatt Video:
This is why you run vignettes. Wyatt hasn’t even debuted yet and he’s still one of the best things about this season of NXT. In this week’s creepy video Wyatt seems to be preaching more directly and you can even see the people he’s preaching to……assuming they’re not actually all in his head.
Johnny Curtis vs Derrick Bateman:
Main Event Time! Curtis decides to jolt the crowd awake by slapping the taste out of Bateman’s mouth to start the match and then running like hell. This is a great way to get the crowd involved and soon Curtis and Bateman are doing their thing, Bateman the plucky good guy and Curtis the leg-mangling heel. Seriously, I say it all the time but Curtis knows how to destroy a limb. Bateman also did great job selling the injury, including hitting one of his signature moves right on his injured knee and then reacting in great pain and not even bothering with the pinfall. Eventually Bateman yanked Curtis into the newly renemed DBD (Derrick Bateman Driver?) for the pinfall victory. Derrick Bateman Wins/Can say Jim Ross called his match.
Woah. That was entirely too many squash matches! Hopefully NXT will mix it up a bit more after their new characters have been established and start wrestling each other in real matches and feuds. Until then we might get a bit more of this. Advertised for next week’s show are some unnamed women and Kassius Ohno (Chris Hero). Hopefully those two things do not mix. This week’s show was a bit of a downgrade and therefore gets a 5/10. Have any initial opinions on any of these new wrestlers or on NXT as a whole? Write in the comments section below or let the world know on twitter.com. Can’t watch NXT easily? Let the WWE hear your pain with the hash tag #IWantMyNXT. Spread it around; let’s see what happens.