THE SPECIALISTS CHIVERTON'S NXT SCOUTING REPORT: Latest Rankings & Evaluation of top WWE prospects, including Wyatts
Jun 22, 2013 - 3:36:38 PM
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WWE NXT Rankings & Evaluation
By George Chiverton, PWTorch NXT specialist
Latest NXT Rankings
(1) Bray Wyatt (-)
(2) Paige (-)
(3) Kassius Ohno (-)
(3) Corey Graves (+1)
(5) Luke Harper (-)
(6) Adrian Neville (-)
(7) Oliver Grey (-)
(8) Bronson (-)
(9) Jake Carter (-)
(10) Big E. Langston (-)
(11) Richie Steamboat (-)
(12) Rowan (-)
(13) Bo Dallas (-)
(14) Conor O'Brian (-)
(15) Jason Jordon (-)
(16) Leo Kruger (-)
Waiting List - Xavier Woods, Sasha Banks, El Local, Baron Corbin, Bayley, Scott Dawson, Garett Dylan, Sam
6/5 Episode Analysis
- Out first was Jim Ross to emcee the contract signing between Bo Dallas and Big E. Langston. There was a very flimsy-looking table in the ring, which perhaps alluded to future events. Bo came out to a temperate reaction at very best while Big E. was fairly well-received. He's working a monster face role on NXT while being a heel enforcer (at the moment) alongside Dolph Ziggler and does well to re-assure the Full Sail audience that he is their face champion whenever he comes out.
Langston signed and then passed to Rotundo. Immediately "No more Bo" rang out amongst boos. Bo did a good job playing up the importance of the title as a gateway to the WWE roster. Maybe the best work he's done on NXT, but he's far from over. I really hope there's a heel turn in this for Bo, as he needs to freshen up.
Big E. tore into Bo Rotundo and his mannerisms seemed more "cocky entertaining face" rather than a heel. Full Sail rather enjoyed this. Bo left the ring sharpish after signing the contract and JR announced the match for next week on NXT.
- Renee Young was backstage with Corey Graves. He promised to take down the Wyatt family with a fluent and fairly tasty promo. Renee questioned whether Graves and Ohno could work together in the main event for the titles. Graves played up that they don't get along but both want to win. Simple but very effective way to promote the main event match.
- Out next was Tamina Snuka for her First Round match for the NXT Women's Title tournament. She faced Paige, who got the biggest reaction in the world. The women's title is not only a good idea, but another beautiful title in NXT's cap: really well designed and 'Women' for me is more respectful than 'Diva' even if it's not quite as good of a brand.
In the early stages of the match, Tamina played up power and dominance to get the crowd behind Paige, including a big, bad kick to Paige's chin. However, when Tamina went for the splash, Paige was able to block and steal a win. Not bad for a first round match but a more convincing win for Paige before the finals would be nice to see.
- Renee was back with Ohno this time. Ohno was asked about his plan of attack to which he replied with a nice promo about attacking the Wyatt's 'castle.' Ohno added to the idea that it's not about working with his partner, but about getting to the Wyatt Family. They are setting up bad tag team work to lose this one, I think.
- Colin Cassidy was in the ring ready to lose to Mason Ryan. Colin is taller than Mason (over 7-feet), so it did not make Ryan look as big as he would have otherwise. Initial speed from Cassidy meant Mason couldn't get a foothold, but a big boot later and Ryan was dominating. The crowd weren't into it, though, mainly because the other monster, Big E., is much more charismatic. Ryan won with a neckbreaker from the Torture Rack.
- Sami Zayn was backstage with Renee (whose having a busy one). He proved again to be exceptionally natural and likable on the microphone, having a conversation rather than cutting a promo. He talked up his successful debut two weeks ago previously against Antonio Cesaro and Curt Hawkins before Antonio came in. The re-match was established and George was a happy chappy.
- Alex Riley came out to a strong reaction (which we keep hearing about from house shows). Unfortunately he was set to face Conor O'Brian.
Conor struck a pose and held it. This was meant to be scary, but it just looked like he was vogue-ing. Very odd. The two men were fairly evenly matched for about two minutes, but a flapjack into a painful looking submission was a win for Conor O'Brian. I've said it before and I'll say it again: O'Brian is coming across as silly and not a lot more. His finisher is an improvement, though.
- Main event time with Kassius Ohno and Corey Graves both receiving decent reactions. If tonight leads to a feud between the two we could see some very good matches on NXT. There was tension between the two before the match but they had coordinated outfits so they definitely had chatted a bit.
Bray came out and cut an excellent promo where he showed all the qualities that get you called up to the WWE Roster. He really is a creepy guy on the mic. In the ring, Rowan kicked off against Ohno. They stuck with chain wrestling to start and Rowan kept up well. He has certainly improved as a result of being paired with Harper and hard work.
Graves came in with Harper and they exchanged some beautiful sequences where Graves wrestled with a much more athletic, lucha libre style than I've seen from him. He was excellent and pulled off a series of flips and reversals, which I haven't seen from him or anyone for that matter.
Back from the break, Graves came in on a hot tag and started to clean house. He really looked great in this match. Ohno hit a lot of big strikes, including a wing attack in the corner into a drive by kick on the floor. As he set up the spinning elbow, Bray played distraction, but Ohno still managed to deliver a spinning, erm, headbutt? Okay? Rowan got in to break up the pin, but Graves soon had him out of the picture. As Kassius set up the elbow, he was clubbed in the back of the head by Bray, but then Graves came absolutely flying over the top with a corkscrew splash, which looked like he took a nasty landing. In ring, Harper hit the discus lariat on a groggy Ohno for the win.
On commentary Brad Maddox (who was an excellent heel commentator) played up bad teamwork and that Graves had become distracted by Bray when he should have focused on the match. This was not a universally held view, but seemed to be the key development from proceedings.
All in all this was a great match that never seemed to dull or slow down. Graves in particular showed a part of him I didn't even know existed. Combined with his promo, he goes on equal terms with Ohno in my rankings. If the competition wasn't so stiff he'd make a suitable number one placed rookie.
Overall, a good week of NXT on the provision that storylines pay off i.e. heel Bo and something coming out of the main event.
6/12 Episode Analysis
- They kicked off with a recap of how Bo made it to the NXT Title number one contendership.
- Out first was Sami Zayn (formerly El Generico) to some Ole! chants and big cheers. There was a brief recap on his hugely successful double debut. Cesaro came out fuming and assaulted Zayn. The ref managed to break them and asked Zayn if he wanted to compete. Zayn agreed and got smashed for his troubles.
Cesaro took control and worked power offense until Sami made a half comeback with a piece of athleticism. They worked at a high-pace, even for a slow heel like Antonio. He moved to a strike game, which Zayn sold well, if a little over-zealously. He does need a little practice of wrestling both the WWE style and without a mask. He is otherwise perfect as far.
Eventually, Sami reversed a reverse chinlock into a Blue Thunderbomb, which was a staple for him on the indies. Unfortunately, though, a big uppercut cut him off. In the corner, Cesaro pounded away on Zayn, but was caught by body scissors. As Cesaro tried to bring down an axe handle to break the hold, Zayn dodged and applied head scissors. He threw Cesaro out of the ring, then hit a huge and very brave Senton over the top. A lot of trust by Sami there. As Cesaro rolled in the ring, Sami went to top again, but was uppercut on his way down.
Another kick out (which means if Sami does lose now he will not lose a thing) and after a great sequence Sami reversed a powerbomb into a sunset flip driver. This suddenly felt like a PWG ring rather than a WWE one and Regal was lapping it up on commentary. Sami had Cesaro into the corner and seemed to be going for a mafia kick into the corner. Cesaro met him halfway, though, with a huge kick of his own. It made a lovely sound, let's just put it that way. Cesaro then muscled his way into the most natural-looking Neutralizer I've seen to date. Sami is the first wrestler who looked like he was fighting the move rather than accepting and assisting. It was good for the win.
Great, great match by both men and their time working together on the indies was on display. Sami lost nothing and Antonio looked strong in victory. He slapped Sami on the way out to emphasize his heel antics and the victory.
- In the ring were Baron Corbin and Travis Tyler. Travis was orange, while Corbin was not. He was tatooed with some unique tats.
Out came the Sylvester Lefort, who was doing such a strong French accent that I didn't know what he was saying. His gimmick is just awful. It's essentially a French "Million Dollar Man," although he's clearly not French. Which makes it even worse.
He sent out his tag team: Scott Dawson and Garrett Dylan. Now I voiced concerns about the ridiculousness of their gimmick a number of weeks ago. They were essentially playing caricatures of the American South complete with trucker caps, leather vests, and BBQ Sauce. Sigh, yes, BBQ sauce. Why would anyone do that? It's ridiculous. We're meant to believe these men are here to have a real fight and they're bringing condiments? No. Just no.
Dylan and Dawson worked with a very green (although mainly orange) Travis Tyler, who was all over the place taking bumps and moving around in Double D's corner. The two kept the ring small for Tyler not letting him out of their corner. Quick tags ensured the match was kept interesting amongst a flurry of similar punches and strikes. When Corbin made it into ring, he took a Double A spinebuster (completing the comparisons to Arn Anderson by Regal) and a double axe handle, which was good for the win. The crowd sat on their hands and frankly I don't blame them. There just wasn't a lot to write home about here.
- Out next was Bayley in another First Round Women's tournament match. She's taken on a doughy-eyed innocent gimmick, which seemed okay but soon took on Eugene-esque overtones. Hmm. She is undeniably beautiful, but may need a re-think. Alicia Fox was her opposition and was built by Regal and Tony Dawson as a heavy favorite. Bayley was dominated for the majority of the match, but staged a comeback with a headlock suplex getting Regal all hot under the collar. Eventually, a scissor kick was good for the win. This was a strong win for Alicia as she goes on to face Paige. Not a great match, though.
- Main event time between Bo Rotundo and Big E. Langston for the NXT Title. Bo was strongly booed on the way out, while the crowd was hot with the Five Count for Big E.
Dawson played up that Big E. was not just unbeaten, but generally unchallenged. A huge back body drop by Langston confirmed the power early, but he also showed some athleticism both dropping down and leap-frogging Bo in the early stages of the match.
Back from a break, Big E. was strongly in control of Bo, setting up a comeback that I don't think anyone wanted to see. Langston scored a two with a clothesline and then hit a huge splash where he got some serious hang time. After some more offense, E. went back to the splash, but came up empty. Bo started the comeback to silence, then boos then a loud "No More Bo" chant. Big E. hit a belly-to-belly to cut off the comeback. Clotheslines, then his characteristic big knees and freight train running attack.
Langston signaled for the Big Ending and pulled up Bo, but Bo manged to get a grip on turnbuckle cover. As Big E. dragged him away, the turnbuckle was exposed. Bo slipped out and whipped Langston a couple of times into the steel. Bo's modified belly-to-belly suplex was good for the win. Heel turn is finally in process.
- After the match, Bo had a brief interview and was booed out of the building. I hope they capitalize on the heel tactics that Bo used to win the title to solidify this move, as it's been a necessary move for a while now.
- Overall, NXT has a new champion and although I get that Big E. needs to move on, for me there are better candidates than Bo. However, Bo's new heel persona could build interest into the character. It's important to remember that Bo began to be booed not as he acted any differently (i.e. he was still playing a face), but because people didn't want to watch him. He's been an odd combination of boring and obnoxious up to now and although one of those traits are important for heels, the other is a big no-no. We'll see I guess.
Anyway thoughts and comments can be sent to me @PWChiverton where I will respond. Probably. Have a good week chaps!
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