The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT – 12.05.12
Taped from Orlando, FL, on 11.15.12 in case you’re wondering.
Your hosts are Tony Dawson & William Regal
US title: Antonio Cesaro v. Michael McGillicutty
Regal notes that Cesaro had just toured Europe and received a hero’s welcome, and now he’s “rather miffed and vexed” at having to return to the US again. Dawson once again wants to stress how Michael is MR. INTENSITY as though that’s gonna get him over. Cesaro pounds on Mr. Intensity to start, but Michael fights back with chops until Cesaro headbutts him in the gut and chokes him out on the ropes. McGillicutty with a dropkick for two and a backbreaker for two, but Cesaro backdrops him onto the top turnbuckle and then brings him down with an uppercut for two. Double stomp gets two. This guy Tony Dawson is ridiculously terrible, sounding like he’s never watched a wrestling match in his life. Mr. Intensity with a sunset flip for two, but Cesaro puts him down with a lariat and then deadlifts him into a gut wrench for two. Anyway, back to Dawson, as he talks about how McGilllicutty spent his childhood “growing up and watching sports entertainment” in a sentence that no functioning human being would ever speak. Michael makes the comeback with a clothesline and Saito suplex into a sliding lariat for two. He pounds away on Cesaro on the ropes, but walks into SWISS DEATH and the Neutralizer to finish at 5:45. Cesaro made him look good in the loss but there was a ceiling. **1/2.
Axl Keegan v. Bo Dallas
Not familiar with Keegan, but apparently this is his debut and he doesn’t look like anyone who became anyone so I assume he washed out. He looks kind of like if Jim Mitchell was a wrestler. Keegan pounds away with nothing special, but Bo comes back and spears him for the pin at 2:39. This was a lot of nothing. Afterwards, Bo lets us know that he fights because he loves it, and then offers an open challenge to fight anyone in WWE. They were all over the place with the Dallas character at this point.
Meanwhile on RAW, CM Punk claims to have nothing to do with The Shield, so the Miz hooks him up to a lie detector gimmick. Apparently Punk lies about some stuff (WHAT? SHOCKING!) so the Shield storms in and beats up Miz until Ryback makes the save. Man, remember when Ryback was a serious contender to the World title? Good times. Also a reminder that Miz was still a douchebag even when he was supposed to be a babyface.
Corey Graves v. Yoshi Tatsu
Graves attacks on the ramp before the bell and beats Tatsu into the ring, but he misses a charge before regrouping with a clip of the knee and then going to work on it. Tatsu fires back with chops, but Graves takes out the knee again, so Tatsu cradles for two. Graves cranks on the knee, but Tatsu comes back with an armdrag and backdrop before firing back with body kicks. Graves takes out the knee again and hooks him in the inverted Indian deathlock, which is called The Thirteenth Step, for the submission at 3:14. This was a much better showcase for Graves than his debut a couple of weeks ago, as he actually had focus this time. **
Gavin Reid v. Roman Reigns
Again with the weird no man’s land between taping the Shield’s appearances in NXT and them showing up on WWE TV after Survivor Series. Roman holds a cravat on Reid as Dawson notes that Roman doesn’t earn respect so much as he demands it. You could say he demands to be acknowledged. Superman punch and Moment of Silence slam finish at 2:08.
Meanwhile, Tyson Kidd stakes his claim to the NXT title, but Kassius Ohno interrupts in his hipster glasses and sweater and threatens to make him into another Richie Steamboat. So Tyson drops an Albert Einstein quote on him and leaves Ohno confused.
Leo Kruger v. Tyson Kidd
Kidd quickly takes Kruger down with a leglock and then controls with a headlock while JR says that it may be surprising to hear, but Tyson reminds him of Dynamite Kid in some ways. It’s surprising to hear that the guy who literally NAMED HIMSELF AFTER DYNAMITE KID reminds someone of Dynamite Kid? Burning hot take there. Kruger catches him with a spinebuster and we take a break, and return with Kruger holding a full nelson. Kid breaks free, but charges and clotheslines himself on the top rope before bumping to the floor. Shocking that his neck gave out a few years after this. Kruger continues working on the neck in the ring and then tosses him for a baseball slide and back in for a kneedrop that gets two. Kidd fights up and Kruger beats on the neck again to put him down, but Tyson comes back with a spinkick and an enzuigiri in the corner. Kidd with a springboard flying elbow, but Kruger gets the knees up to block it and gets two. But then he tries it again and Kruger again gets the knees up, but this time Kidd catches the leg and wraps him up in a triangle for the submission at 12:38 in a clever finish. A very decent main event. ***. This brings out Kassius Ohno for the beatdown, but Mr. Regal leaves the announce position and pulls Kidd out of the ring to save him and end the show. Interesting development there.
A thoroughly pleasant and enjoyable hour of pro graps this week! Probably because it was bookended by Cesaro and Tyson Kidd doing their thing, but it still counts.