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THE SPECIALISTS
CHIVERTON'S NXT SCOUTING REPORT: Lots of movement in latest NXT Rankings, plus in-depth evaluations of the next stars appearing on WWE TV

Feb 22, 2013 - 1:06:09 PM
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NXT Rankings & Evaluation
By George Chiverton, PWTorch NXT specialist


Latest NXT Rankings

(1) Bray Wyatt (-)
(2) Paige (+1)
(3) Kassius Ohno (-1)
(4) Corey Graves (-)
(5) Luke Harper (debut)
(6) Adrian Neville (debut)
(7) Oliver Grey (debut)
(8) Bronson (-3)
(9) Jake Carter (-3)
(10) Big E. Langston (-3)
(11) Richie Steamboat (-3)
(12) Rowan (debut)
(13) Bo Dallas (-4)
(14) Conor O'Brien (-4)
(15) Jason Jordon (-4)
(16) Leo Kruger (-4)
Waiting List - Nemo Montenegro, Xavier Woods, Sasha Banks

Before we get started, we have some debuts on the rankings, which I will explain post-evaluation, as the main event was an important factor for many competitors.

Furthermore, the arena and ring where NXT is shot has undergone a makeover with the main difference being the canvas going from light gray to black. The difference is startling with NXT having a much more underground feel to proceedings.

Oh, and one more thing, for the sake of getting a point across on Tony Dawson I will include a For The Win count in brackets as they appear on the show e.g. (FTW 1). Just an experiment to see what number we get to over 45 minutes of programming...

2/13 NXT Episode Evaluation

- The week kicked off with another Scott Stanford-tacular montage of the Tag Tournament up to now leading to the final still of The Wyatt Familly vs. Oliver Grey and Adrian Neville. Setting up the match from the off is nothing but smart.

- Mike Dalton made his first-ever full ring intro next, as did Axl Keegan. That was until Paige stormed to the ring to attack announcer Summer Rae. Phew, for a moment there I though we were going to have a match. She called out Summer, who had bailed by this point and then slapped Kegan, who bailed, too. What a wuss! You've got to feel bad when you're jobbing to Divas, even if they're as awesome as Paige.

Dusty came out to get Paige out and she refused like a grumpy teenager. A brawl then ensued on-stage after which Paige sold a shoulder injury. That smells like an out to me. Another great performance from Paige, who seemed exceptionally natural in her role. Summer was also good.

- Alex Riley was next out (poor Dalton and Keegan were just too scared to return) to face the excellent Corey Graves. The match-up was a good idea from the off with Graves trying to get over as a heel and Riley always demanding a response from the Full Sail audience. The two have good chemistry, too, and a few more matches wouldn't go amiss. (FTW 1 - two minutes into the first match).

Overall, this particular match was very good for a short opener. Both men worked hard to put both themselves and each other over with even the restholds looking like they had intention and purpose. Graves was again superb with some venomous strikes and his (FTW 2) submission finisher. Regal was clearly quite taken with him, and so am I.

- Up next was Paige vs. Summer Rae as a result of their earlier debacle. Paige's shoulder was taped and covered with a big sign saying THIS IS AN OUT FOR THE FACE. At least that's what I saw. The injury was sold well, but credit belongs to Summer Rae, who, although a bit green kept her end of the bargain. She's nowhere near ready yet, as her off timing on the finish indicated. A spinning roundhouse was good for the victory and left the audience silent. I think a submission finisher should have been employed here as Paige would have come off better and Rae would have looked more heelish. Still, I'm happy with this feud.

- Something with Sasha Banks happened. Snooze.

- Adrian Neville and Oliver Grey were out next to some generic rock ready for the main event. Bray Wyatt then strutted out talking up Neville and Grey as classic underdogs before implying his family would destroy the Brits finishing with 'Follow the buzzards.' Excellent.

- Main Event time. Grey kicked off proceedings with Harper hitting a suicide dive early in the match, perhaps trying to get more over with the audience. Trying to match up with Neville's offence is certainly tricky, although I personally think the two Brits's contrast works to their advantage.

For the opening five minutes, the match seemed well balanced between the two teams, until Grey was eventually interfered with by Bray on the outside to build to the hot tag. Dusty (FTW 3) ejected Wyatt as a result which gave some degree of an excuse to the Wyatt Family if they were to lose. Of note, Neville has slowed his style a tad, but when working in the ring with Harper he cut loose a bit more. Both men were independent stars to different extents and their combination clearly worked more naturally than when Neville has fought WWE-bred wrestlers. Perhaps, when he reaches the main roster, it would be wise to see him wrestle the likes of Cesaro, Bryan, or Punk.

When the hot tag was made to Neville, the crowd when crazy, indicating the time spent working over Grey was just right. (FTW 4) That was until Neville springboarded into a huge Harper boot. However a few flashy moves (FTW 5) later Neville was on the top rope hitting the corkscrew shooting star press for the championship.

Post-match the team both looked knackered and conducted a rather rubbish interview choosing to sell excitement rather than cut a decent promo. Even to my ears their English accents were a bit jarring, but maybe under more normal promo conditions we'll see a more considered approach that sits easier on the ears. In context, this was fine, though, and them winning seemed like as big of a deal as it should have.

Overall: NXT has new tag champs and they're from Queen'sland, not to be confused with Queensland, Australia. Now, us English hold the Intercontinental and the NXT tag championships. So, we basically run WWE. It also means that every Superstar billed from the England in WWE, except for Paige, now holds a title (since Layla is apparently from Miami and Kenneth Cameron has been cut). I smell a conspiracy.

So, on to the rankings and firstly Paige moves up a spot thanks to both a string of excellent in and out of ring performances. Oh, and the conspiracy. She is a star to be and although many will still be expecting Sara Del Ray to revolutionize the Divas, the answer for me is in Paige. Of note, Del Ray (arguably the best female wrestler on the independent scene for the past few years) is currently on the NXT training team and perhaps is partly to thank for Paige's development. Then again, as I wrote on Paige's debut, she comes from a great wrestling family in Norwich and has been wrestling every day since she was 15 under the tutorship of both her mother, Sweet Soraya, and her father, Ricky Knight. She'll hopefully get the opportunities she deserves once on the main roster.

As for the debutantes I chose, perhaps controversially, to place Harper. His command of character is matched only by Bray Wyatt and the two together have tremendous chemistry. He carried the Wyatt Family tag team in this respect. Furthermore, he has the most-rounded game of the four with excellent wrestling ability and an awesome deluded look all on top of the character basis. His performance in the finale was excellent and the big boot to Neville stood out. Of the four, he is the most ready for the WWE main roster.

Next and by a very, very narrow margin is Oliver Grey, who based purely on his performances in NXT has been superior to Adrian Neville. Although, I personally believe Neville will eventually take the lead, the high-flyer has yet to adjust and Grey has utilized a Regal-esque European mat wrestling style that is not seen enough on WWE programming. It's personal taste that dictates whether you like Grey and I do and it's my article, so take that mom. What? Let's move on.

Adrian Neville has had great highs and lows in WWE with his moveset being nothing but awe-inspiring. However, his teething problems as well as some image issues have held back his massive potential. Undeniably in the ring he can be excellent but that should not depend on his opponent. I don't want him to adjust, but the WWE style may demand he has to. Furthermore the name 'Adrian Neville' is not exactly catchy. 'PAC' had impact and not only because it was always spelled all in capitals, but it was catchy, recognizable, and readily associated with the man's high-flying ability.

"Adrian Neville" is not only generic, but its downright awkward. To get technical Adrian is a dactyl, which essentially means the word is stressed at the start before soft two syllables. Combine that with the classic trochee on Neville (stressed, unstressed (FTW 6)) and its completely un-chantable. Compare Daniel Bryan and Adrian Neville. The 'an' just gets in the way. Regal kept calling him Aaron by accident and that would be a great move for my money if only to give the audience something to shout. He needs a quick re-think in short and perhaps Regal could be the one to instigate it.

Finally, Rowan has had the misfortune of being around many wrestlers who are of an exceptional quality. In particular, Harper is a same size and both are going for the same look. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Rowan would look as scruffy as sin standing next to any man on the planet except for Harper whose facial hair is a beautiful atrocity. Furthermore, whereas Harper has his character to a tee, Rowan is only good.

For example, on ring entrances, the two men make their way to the ring in their insane tormented way before getting ready for the match. At this point, Rowan reverts to being a normal wrestler with the occasional taunt or flick of the head. In contrast, everything Harper does is in character; movement around the ring, attacks, reversals, and even bumps. Rowan is a good wrestler, but not of the quality of the nine or ten wrestlers. He has great potential, though, and working with Harper will bring nothing but benefits.

So, that does it for that week's English lesson. Come back next week for Shakespearean studies.


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