WWE NXT Report JAMES'S WWE NXT "ARRIVAL" REPORT 2/27 - Week 87: Complete real-time coverage of WWE Network special, including all NXT Titles on the line, plus Overall Reax
Feb 27, 2014 - 9:00:09 PM
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WWE NXT "Arrival" Report
February 27, 2014
Live at Full Sail University
Aired on WWE Network
Report by Justin James, PWTorch contributor
The pre-show opens with Renee Young chatting with Bret Hart, Kevin Nash, and Paul Heyman. Young is very complimentary to Heyman, who plays nice and is happy to be there. I get a big minute-plus pause in the middle of this. The FSU crowd is very hot in the background.
Video package on NXT, and another pause in the video. My Internet connection is testing fine, and YouTube plays, so this is on WWE.
Turns out, they are actually outside of FSU, with a big crowd. And... ANOTHER pause in the video as Heyman talks up NXT. This is an absolutely horrible sign for the chances of watching WrestleMania or another PPV on the WWE Network. As a sign of how badly this is going, their on-screen time to NXT Arrival shows they have nearly three minutes more than they really do.
Video package on the Performance Center. More pauses in video.
The clock during the next video pause shows 24:31 remaining in the pre-show, my computer's clock reads 7:40. Nash is asked what the Performance Center could have done for him, and he makes a long string of jokes about how he could have been the best high-flyer in history if he had those tools.
Just switched browsers, and the video feed is up-to-date and I've missed nearly seven minutes. Heyman chats up a fan with a "Paul Heyman Guy" shirt, who gets a selfie with Heyman. He then gets a female fan's perspective, she wants to see all the matches.
Heyman throws back to Young. Young reviews tonight's card and then there is a video package on Paige and Emma, focusing on their title match in the NXT Women's Title Tournament. Lots of selections from both, as Paige talks about her transition from hating Paige to respecting her, and Emma talks about how she has stayed at the top of the dogpile.
Emma gets a pre-game pep talk from Natalya. Weird to see them both dressed down in stretch pants and hoodies.
Ack, another video pause, though it was only a few seconds.
Hart talks up Natalya, and how her experience will benefit Emma's quest for gold.
Tensai with a pre-match talk with Paige. Paige respects Emma, but says that being the champion requires a more serious attitude than Emma has.
Young tells us that The Ascension is booked for a Tag Team Title match against... video pause... waiting... still waiting... more waiting... a mystery team.
Nash says that The Ascension is dominant, and the length of their matches shows that they aren't "working by the minute." He gracefully overlooks that other than facing Hunico and Camacho and the American "Pitbulls" in a short squash, they haven't found anyone who weighs more than 183 pounds since they won the championships.
Young segue ways into... video freeze... Bo Dallas against Adrian Neville in a ladder match.
Kevin Nash talking about his first major title win.
Alex Riley with an interview with Bo Dallas. Paused video.
Refreshing the web browser restarts the video, though it doesn't pick up where I left off, but at the current place.
For the curious, I am on a very, very speedy PC that was wiped clean a month ago, on a 50 Mbps FIOS connection, 15 minutes outside Philly, and I've never had an issue like this with Hulu, Netflix, etc. so there is no reason to have these issues.
A video package on Zayn vs. Cesaro wraps up the pre-show.
[Q1] Darkened arena, and Triple H can be heard to say "Are you ready?" and as the lights come on he says it again. He throws to a package on NXT being The Future. Nice clips of the main stars, with their names. I hope this is the new titles going forwards, fresh new package.
Sami Zayn comes out, and they have a new look to the graphics. this show has looked good for a while, but now it looks really slick. William Regal, Tom Phillips, and Byron Saxton have the call for this big night.
Cesaro is out to a big reaction. This is practically face-vs-face as far as the FSU crowd is concerned.
1 - SAMI ZAYN vs. CESARO
They stare each other down, and Cesaro easily wins the lockup. Dueling "We the People" and "Sami Zayn" chants.
There's some fantastic action to start this match off. Crowd declares "This is Awesome" and less than three minutes in, they are right. Cesaro catches Zayn off the top and smoothly hits a backbreaker. Zayn rolls out of the ring. Cesaro is tossing Zayn around inside and outside the ring. The crowd unites in an "Ole!" chants to rally Zayn, and it works for a moment, but Cesaro slams Zayn's face into the barriers.
Zayn looks for the Torpedo DDT and Cesaro rattles his brains with an upper cut as his comes through the ropes at the corner. I got goosebumps watching that. "Holy s--t!" chant from the crowd just as my video freezes. After missing a few seconds, Cesaro is working Zayn's previously-injured knee over in the ring. Cesaro continues to work the ring as the video freezes continue.
[Q2] Cesaro with a half crab mid-ring, but Zayn manages to reach the ropes. Saxton questions the integrity of Zayn's knee and the crowd wills Zayn to his feet. Zayn manages to dump Cesaro, but instead of taking a breather in the ring, Zayn heads to the apron for more offense. Video pauses. I don't know what happened, but Cesaro is back in the ring and Zayn is halfway down the ramp. Zayn rolls under the ropes at 9 1/2.
Cesaro charges Zayn in the corner but Zayn catches him and counters with a suplex that puts Cesaro's face into a turnbuckle. Zayn with the "Blue Thunderbomb" (spinning Doctor Bomb) for two. Cesaro with an insane submission move mid-ring, wrapping Zayn's leg in a nasty way, but Zayn reaches the ropes.
This crowd hasn't had a quiet moment. Cesaro charges, Zayn gets a boot up, Cesaro catches it and transitions tot he swing, but Zayn rolls through, but Cesaro counters with the swing. Charging uppercut in the corner. Cesaro is winning on points but almost looks defeated as even a disgusting double stomp to Zayn's head doesn't get a pin. Cesaro on the second rope to suplex Zayn into the ring, but a boot stuns him. Zayn meets him on the ropes, but Cesaro blocks a huracarana, counters with a super-powerbomb, but Zayn reverses with the huracanrana. Cesaro in the corner and the big running boot nearly puts Cesaro away.
Reset and Cesaro shakes a finger at the crowd to shush an "Ole!" chant. The pauses haven't happened for a few minutes, ginfers crossed. Basic uppercut drops Zayn, he crawls to his feet and Cesaro does it again. This feels like 'Taker-Michaels at WM 26. Regal says this is uncomfortable and sounds emotional.
Zayn barely gets up, Cesaro tells him to stay down and drops him again. Zayn takes another shot, but fires back, it's all out until a stiff suplex gets Zayn the break. Zayn charges but takes a boot to the face. Neck crack, Neutralizer but a back body drop blocks gets two, Cesaro tries again, Zayn counters with a sunset flip powerbomb for nearfall.
They are both down but they are moving enough for the ref to not count. Pop-up uppercut only gets one and the announcers pop hard. Cesaro can't believe that only got one. Zayn can't stand but he can kick out. Spinning uppercut right into the Neutralizer and Cesaro has it.
WINNER: Antonio Cesaro in 22:55. Match of the year by a country mile. That was beyond emotional. Some of the sequences in here had 5+ counters strung together. Hard hitting action... cannot say enough about this. Must-watch match. This sets up the Dallas-Neville match to get dumped on, as nothing can match this.
Post-match, Zayn is slumped in the corner. Cesaro re-enters the ring, and stands over Zayn. "Hug it out!" chant, and Cesaro picks up Zayn and embraces him, and whispers in his ear. Zayn is nearly in tears. After Cesaro leaves, they play Zayn's music for a moment as he surveys the crowd. Zayn's music hits as he limps out of the ring.
[Q3] Video package on Mojo Rawley.
Teresa Jacobs (mayor of Orange County Florida) and Garry Jones (head of FSU) are shown at ringside. C.J. Parker comes out. This is, quite literally, the comedown match after what was an insanely hot match. Mojo Rawley is out to continue the high-energy of the night. Smart move, maybe this isn't comedown time. Rawley gets the crowd cranked during his entrance.
2 - MOJO RAWLEY vs. C.J. PARKER
Parker looks even and the crowd is hot for Rawley as his toys with Parker. Parker is steamed as Rawley trash talks him. Some back-and-forth, but Rawley sends Parker sky high on a back body drop. Arm bar from Rawley, but Parker is able to get some momentum. Rawley tries to fight out of the corner to a "stay hyped!" chant but he can't make it. Rawley reverses a whip and hits a pair of Stinger Splashes. Running seated senton for the win.
WINNER: Mojo Rawley in 3:25. The crowd loves Rawley, and so do I, but his in-ring needs work. A natural athlete like him should be able to make quick progress on this.
Backstage, Emma is stretching and looking nervous.
Video package on Emma. The last video pause I had was in the middle of the Cesaro-Zayn match.
Between the pre-show and the in-show packages, they are putting more time to the Divas than anyone else. Zayn-Cesaro speaks for itself, but the Neville-Dallas hype is light.
Video package on The Ascension.
The Ascension come out to new music, new video package, and a new entrance routine. Much less "Undertaker-light" and more "Mad Max." This is a HUGE improvement to The Ascension. They are facing Too Cool.
3 - TOO COOL (SCOTTY 2 HOTTY & GRANDMASTER SEXAY) vs. THE ASCENSION (CONOR O'BRIAN & RICK VICTOR) - NXT Tag Team Championship match
Victor starts against Sexay, who makes the mistake of celebrating a knockdown. Sexay gets double-teamed and the #1 trend on Twitter is #NXTArRIVAL. Who knew? The crowd celebrates O'Brien's offense. Sexay has landed one punch in the whole match.
Saxton compares The Ascension to the Legion of Doom. Fair enough, with the new packaging. Sexay is looking another but as he is worn down by Victor. Jawbreaker gets some separation and Sexay finally gets to tag in S2H. S2H with offense and raising the roof. The crowd is quiet for the first time all night. O'Brien gets dumped from the ring, but Victor counters The Worm and creams S2H with a clothesline. S2H is dazed as he gets up to eat The Fall of Man.
WINNERS: The Ascension in 6:40. Bland match, but I love the re-packaging of The Ascension. They went from "cheesy gimmick with potential" to "serious gimmick." Let's see the NXT tag division get restocked and put up some real competition to them.
Ric Flair and his daughter Charlotte are shown ringside.
Video package on Paige.
Stephanie McMahon is out to a nice pop. "You still got it!" gets met with "I never lost it." McMahon says she is proud to be here to announce the Women's Championship match.
[Q5] Paige with new music, and a new look, red-black lipstick and dark purple ring gear. Makes her look less punk and more vampire. Nasty eyes from Paige.
4 - EMMA vs. PAIGE - NXT Women's Championship match
Paige with a chest bump to start the match and it's a full-on brawl. Full contact match as Paige wants an early Paige-turner. Emma wants a slingshot but Paige blocks. They aren't giving each other an inch to breathe. Side chinlock looks like it will pop Emma's head off. Emma catches Paige's foot as she tries to stomp her guts out. Paige gets a foot up to block the Emma-sandwich, but Emma catches the foot, slingslot, but Paige blocks the Emmalock. Paige with knee lifts to the face through the ropes. Emma kicks Paige's legs out from under her but it is only good for one.
Emma dodges a corner charge and locks in the Dil-emma to a four count. Emma Sandwich gets two. The crowd is divided down the middle on this match. Emma with some submission holds from her mentor Natalya's book. Paige looks insane as Emma tries to rip her arms out. Emma suspends Paige in the air with her boots while yanking on the arms. Emma has turned her game way up tonight. Emma does the Paige-stomp in the corner for two. Back-and-forth along the ropes, and they meet on the top rope. Shades of their first title match as Paige wants a superplesx. Paige blocks a power bomb, but Emma catches her takes her mid-ring and hits a sit-out power bomb.
They take a reset to catch their breath. Emma gets heelish, and slaps Paige telling her to give up, but Paige fires back with a slap. Paige Turner, but Emma barely kicks out. Paige is losing her mind. Paige with a Scorpion crush lock (hat tip Regal), lifts Emma into the air while holding it, and Emma taps.
WINNER: Page in 12:54. Fantastic women's match. Both had their A-game going tonight, with Emma dropping the funnies and hitting a sweet sit out power bomb. Love Paige's new submission. I have to say... Paige's new look is amazing. It just exudes danger.
[Q6] Post-match, Paige, offers a hand. Emma takes it, Paige yanks her close, and they hug.
Video package on Adrian Neville, focusing on the Red Arrow. He says that with he style, he needs to eliminate all fear. I can imagine so. He says he has never been in a ladder match, but it should be his specialty.
Pat Patterson and Dusty Rhodes are ringside.
Xavier Woods is out for the second stretch of "comedown" after the Women's Championship match. He's facing Tyler Breeze who has new, shinier, less-furry/feathery ring gear. Even his phone is barren. Video freezes during his entrance.
5 - XAVIER WOODS vs. TYLER BREEZE
"Breeze is Awesome!" to start the match. But Alexander Rusev's music hits to stop them. Woods and Breeze try to keep him out of the ring, but he squashes them both.
WINNER: No contest.
I miss his post-beatdown promo due to video issues. Rusev's first promo, and I miss it.
[Q7] I have some severe technical issues, and I finally get the feed back as Shawn Michaels gets ready to talk. He has the NXT Championship with him. The crowd is demanding one more match. He says he gets asked that a lot and he appreciates it. He says he has no desire to change being in retirement. "HB-Shizzle" match throws him off his game, then he "C.M. Punks" and says they need a shirt with that. "Yes!" chants, and Michaels admits he is thrown off. He cuts his promo short, pulls out his DVD and says they need to buy it so he can put his kids through college.
Adrian Neville with brand new music and video package, and entrance now gets some special effects. He even has new, less generic ring gear. NXT has really done their best to turn this into a grade-A show. Bo Dallas has new "Boleiver" trunks, and gets the only true boo of the night. The ref has to force them to give each other space before the bell.
6 - ADRIAN NEVILLE vs. BO DALLAS - NXT Championship Ladder match
Dallas immediately wants a ladder, but Neville keeps him in ring and dazzles with speed. Missile dropkick and a slick kip up, Neville to the top, but Dallas rolls away. Neville pursues but Dallas takes his legs out. Dallas with the Orton Barrage. Dallas ties Neville up in the ropes and fetches a ladder. By the time he returns, Neville is free and kicks the ladder into him. Neville tries to use a ladder like a javelin on the outside, but Neville ducks, and back body drops Dallas onto the ramp.
Neville to the ladder, but Dallas takes him off, then hits him with the ladder a few more times. Dallas trups Neville under the ladder while he climbs it, but Neville pushes the ladder over and Dallas sells a leg injury. He talks to a ringside ref about something. Neville up the ladder but Dallas tips it and Neville hits the ropes face-first. They tussle over a ladder and Neville gets slammed in the corner with a ladder to the middle.
[Q8] Dallas puts a ladder in the ropes in the corner, but Neville uses the ladder to hit a running DDT. They fight mid-ring and fall down. The ladder topples on its own and accidentally hits Neville's head, drawing a check from a ref. Neville with blows in the corner, to the audience's dismay. Dallas looks cocky as he looked to bulldog Neville into a ladder, but Neville blocks and sends Dallas to the corner to smash his face in a ladder. They meet on a ladder and Dallas yanks Neville arms to drive his head into the metal. They drop down and Neville drops Dallas. Neville wants the Red Arrow, but Dallas springs to life and dumps Neville, who hits the apron then the ground. The refs check on both as neither man is quick to get to their feet.
Dallas is grinning as he is the first to show life. Dallas to the ladder, but Neville jumps right over him and gets a finger on the title. Dallas wants a German Suplex off the ladder, but Neville blocks, he hits a buckle bomb on Neville to the corner with a ladder. Neville puts Dallas on a ladder and hits the Red Arrow, he catches a lot of that ladder. Dallas is out the ring and Neville is somehow moving. Neville to the too of the ladder, Dallas rolls into the ring, but Neville gets the title anyways.
WINNER: Adrian Neville in 16:02 to capture the NXT Championship. Other than the last minute or two of the match, this didn't feel like a ladder match. Dallas simply did not take the risks needed to show that he really wanted to retain his title. The Red Arrow onto the ladder was super scary, though.
Post-match, John Cena is shown ringside on his feet clapping.
Final Reax: I would gladly have paid PPV money for this. Zayn-Cesaro was better, more emotionally intense, and more exciting than anything WWE has put on since their previous encounter. The announcing team was perfect tonight, no bickering, no fake feuds, no "storytelling" for things outside the ring. Of note is their performance in the opening match, where it was clear that they were completely invested in the match. The problem is that they had to close the show with Neville-Dallas, but the show could only go down from Zayn-Cesaro.
The opening match was the peak of the show of course. Words cannot do it justice. Sign up for the WWE Network and watch it.
The Ascension desperately need competition. Having to drag Too Cool out of wherever they have been to have a title match is side. I really do like their new presentation.
The women's match was very well done, and I loved the small touches like Emma taking Paige's stomps in the corner and Paige trying to emulate Emma's superplex from their first title match. Can't say it enough, Paige's new look is just phenomenal. For all the folks demanding that Paige goes to the main roster, take a step back and ask yourself if you'd rather see her in 13 minute matches on NXT, or getting to be Santino's dance partner.
The Neville-Dallas match did not quite disappoint, because I do not expect too much from a Bo Dallas match, but to be honest, it is impossible to follow Zayn-Cesaro and compare favorably. I don't know where Dallas goes from here, he isn't main roster ready and his character needs the belt to really work.
If Raw had this kind of quality, I would gladly sign up for a three-hour show. Note that there was not a single commercial break (not even the spots on PPVs) or dead time, making this two-hour event mighty close in total content to a three-hour Raw.
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