WWE NXT -June 27, 2012
by Scrooge McSuck
- Just when you think you're bored with the classic content on the WWE Network, you find out that there's been a content dump lately, including the pre-Network Era of NXT (not counting the "reality show" nonsense) and ECW on Sci-Fi. Yes, ECW ON SCI-FI has been restored for all time on the WWE Network, unless something major happens that forces them to pull the listing (see also: Hulk Hogan's Rock n' Wrestling cartoon). Not too long ago, I was tempted to watch the entire run of the "modern" NXT, but somewhere in time, Hulu pulled all the pre-2014 episodes, so all I could find is random episodes online.
- Taped at Full Sail University in Orlando, FL, with Jim Ross and Byron Saxton calling the action, unless otherwise noted. Yes, Saxton has been around this long, and has yet to develop much of a personality. I should also note the original opening theme song for NXT is "Welcome Home" by Coheed & Cambria. As part of the revolving door of ring announcers, we've got Summer Rae handling those duties, at least for this episode, and it definitely sounds like amateur hour.
Seth Rollins vs. Jiro:
Rollins moshes out during his entrance, and thank goodness he doesn't do that anymore. No clue who Jiro is (he gets the "already in the ring" treatment). Lockup and Jiro quickly grabs a wrist-lock. Rollins escapes as J.R. describes him as "somewhat unorthodox." He sweeps the leg, but gets nailed with a slap across the chest. Rollins with a series of chops and a clothesline, followed by a dropkick and enzuigiri. He charges into the corner with a forearm, and comes off the ropes with the Curb Stomp (called the Black-Out) for three at 1:33. Jim Ross makes sure to tell the kids not to try a move like a curb stomp at home. No sh*t? Pretty sure this is Jiro's only NXT appearance before being released.
- Seth Rollins cuts a promo at the top of the ramp, but it's interrupted by the MODERN DAY MAHARAJA, Jinder Mahal, and it's safe to say his music now is much better.
Jinder Mahal vs. Jason Jordan:
Yes, the illegitimate son of Kurt Angle was kicking around NXT for years before catching a break as one-half of American Alpha. Mahal cuts a pre-match promo about molding NXT into his vision. Lockup into the ropes and Mahal with knees to the midsection. Neck breaker for an early two-count. Mahal with a leg sweep and knees across the chest for another two count. Jordan fights out of a chin-lock, but can't follow up. Mahal with a double under-hook suplex for two. Jordan rolls away from a knee drop and unloads with rights. Mahal swats away a dropkick and goes back to the knee strikes. Running high knee to the face, and the Camel Clutch finishes at 2:50. Can you say "squash"?
- Hype video for Leo Kruger. They use stock footage of Lions hunting prey in the wild to put over his South-African heritage. He makes his in-ring debut... NEXT!
- Monday Night's Most Memorable Moments, as we draw closer to the 1,000th episode of Raw. It's highlights from the first episode, January 11th, 1993. Dolph Ziggler tells a story about wanting to be home in time to "watch his favorite show." Unless he's talking about Prime Time Wrestling, how can the 1st episode already be his favorite show?
Leo Kruger vs. Aiden English:
You'd think the hype video would lead to a debut in the coming weeks, not immediately afterwards. His theme music is as bland as white bread, too. English gets the "already in the ring" treatment, too, and might have more of a tan here than ever again! Kruger with a quick boot to the midsection. Whip, English ducks a right hand and throws a dropkick. Kruger pushes away a second dropkick and goes to some ground n' pound. Whip to the corner and Kruger follows in with a hard clothesline. Double stomp to the chest, followed by a snap suplex. Kruger hooks a rear choke, and English taps out at 1:24. Amateur hour continues, with the time keeper missing their signal to ring the bell.
- Hype video for "The son of a Hall of Famer", Richie Steamboat. Yes, they use classic footage of the Dragon walking around with the infant Richie. He debuts... NEXT. Seriously, keep some bullets in the chamber for next time, dammit.
Jimmy & Jey Uso vs. The Ascension:
Witness the Usos doing their pre-match ritual without much of a reaction. For whatever reason, Byron is out and William Regal and Chris Russo (no clue) have joined commentary for this match. The Ascension is represented by Kenneth Cameron (Bram outside of WWE) and Conor O'Brian (later relabeled Konnor). Kenneth and Jimmy start, with Jimmy using his hard head to take control. Jey in for a double team elbow. Jey with a slam and headbutt for two. Conor pulls the ropes down, causing Jey to spill out of the ring. Whip to the corner and the Ascension take turns stomping Jey down. Jimmy with the hot tag, planting Kenneth with a Samoan Drop. Running hip attack gets two. Conor with the blind tag. Kenneth with a jaw breaker, and Conor with a flap jack (the combination called the "Down Cast") for three at 3:32. ½* This wasn't very good, and it didn't help NOBODY knew which Uso was which.
Richie Steamboat vs. Rick Victor:
We're back to Jim Ross and Byron calling the action. I don't get it, either. Yes, Rick Victor would be repackaged a little while later as "Viktor" of the "new" Ascension. They trade arm locks until Steamboat switches to a side headlock. Steamboat with a pair of deep arm drags as we see Father Steamboat sitting in the front row. Puzzling how some people get to keep their names (Steamboat) and others don't (Joe Hennig), even though their heritage is recognized! Snap mare and Steamboat comes off the ropes with a sliding clothesline for two. Viktor mounts some offense, forearms in the corner. Steamboat quickly comes back with another deep arm drag, into the arm-bar. Crisscross and a diving body press from Steamboat. He unloads with elbows in the corner and comes off the ropes with a sling blade for three at 4:25. Longer than most of the squashes, but this was all Steamboat. He sure knows show to do a deep arm drag. I wonder where he learned that from.
- Hype video for Antonio Cesaro! I could've sworn he was already on the Main Roster! Oh, and who could forget his on-screen relationship with Aksana. He's coming... next!
Antonio Cesaro (w/ Aksana) vs. Dante Dash:
Has Cesaro EVER had good entrance music in WWE? We're rapidly running low on time, and we still have a "Main Event" coming up after this! Saxton puts over Cesaro being a "Smackdown Superstar." Cesaro opens with a waist-lock takedown and the dead-lift, gut-wrench suplex. "Rugby Style" punt to the spine, followed by an aggressive chin-lock. Cesaro with a flurry of forearms and a running boot in the corner. Spine-buster and the Neutralizer finishes at 1:46. In a weird production head scratcher, we return from the replay, and Aksana is holding a microphone, but she doesn't say anything.
- Hype video for Bray Wyatt. I'd call him a son of the soil, but that would make him a hillbilly. He's preaching to a small group of people, one, out of focused, that closely resembles Luke Harper. He's coming... but not tonight. So we can expect him to get a stronger push, because they're holding back his in-ring debut?
Derrick Bateman vs. Johnny Curtis:
TV Main Event. Bateman is probably better known for his run in TNA/Impact Wrestling as Ethan Carter III, while Curtis would be repackaged shortly after as "Fandango." I love watching these older episodes just to see how much (or in some cases, how little) has changed. Curtis slaps the taste out of Bateman's mouth and quickly runs to the floor. Bateman avoids a knee drop and connects with a dropkick. Bateman with a slap of his own, followed by a hard whip to the corner for two. Curtis avoids a charge, causing Bateman to hit his knees on the turnbuckle. Curtis with a leg sweep and knees across the leg. Curtis with a modified Indian Death-Lock. Curtis transitions into a spinning toe hold. Bateman boots him into the corner and connects with a reverse leg sweep. Curtis picks the leg, but gets caught with a forward DDT (headlock driver) and Bateman picks up the win at 3:47. *1/4 Another short match, but it was slightly better than our last competitive match.
Next Week: The NXT Debut of Kassius Ohno and a showcase of some of the Women of NXT.
Final Thoughts: There's just too much going on in this episode. I know you want to familiarize new fans with as much as people, but sometimes there's exceeding that and doing too much. 7 matches crammed into a 43-minute run time seems like too much, at least for the modern era. Maybe 20 years ago it wouldn't be an issue, but there's no room to breath. Three Superstars were given the hype video treatment, and made an in-ring appearance immediately after! To be fair, there wasn't much when it comes to quality matches, meaning we aren't just blowing through all the matches that could potentially mean something down the line.
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