Zim's WWE NXT Review: Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt, big update on NXT Tag Team Titles, Paige vs. Summer Rae, Wyatt Family vs. The Colons vs. Neville and Dallas, Luke Harper emerges as a star
By Zack Zimmerman
WWE NXT aired May 2 on Hulu Plus
Taped March 21 at Full Sail University
A video package hyped Chris Jericho’s appearance and questioned what he had in store for NXT… The opening video played… Primo and Epico made their entrance, as Tony Dawson, William Regal, and Brad Maddox checked in on commentary. The Wyatt Family made their entrance without their patriarch. Eve…er… Bo Dallas’s music hit and he made his entrance. Out next was one-half of the NXT Tag Team Champions Adrian Neville.
1. NXT Tag Team Champion Adrian Neville and Bo Dallas vs. Primo and Epico vs. The Wyatt Family (Harper and Rowan) in a Triple Threat elimination tag team match. All three teams traded some basic offense and tags early. Big boos when Bo Dallas was tagged into the match and hit a big double hip toss with Neville on Epico. Neville tagged himself back in briefly and was bleeding from under his right eye. Dallas sent Epico up and over to the outside to take the show into the first break…[C]
Back from break, Harper bodyslammed Dallas on the floor as he rambled "yeahyeahyeah." Back in the ring, Rowan worked over Dallas as the commentators said that Neville had been tended to at ringside, and was back on the apron ready to go. Harper tagged back in and managed to make a chinlock entertaining with his facials. Primo eventually tagged in and went to work on Dallas with frequent tags to Epico as the crowd chanted "No more Bo!"
Dallas continued to take a beating with little sympathy from the crowd, until he collided with Primo and both men were able to tag their respective partners. Neville fired up with shots and a big kick, followed by a standing Shooting Star Press for a two-count. Neville dropkicked both members of the Family off the apron and hit his up-and-over handspring over Primo. He followed up with a rope-aided kick and nailed the Corkscrew Shooting Star for the first pinfall.
Adrian Neville pinned Primo to eliminate Primo and Epico in about 11:00.
Neville briefly sold the effect of his finisher and as he turned around, he walked right into Harper’s discus lariat. Harper made the cover and scored the non-title victory on the Tag Champion.
Luke Harper pinned Adrian Neville for the win in about 11:30.
Harper had a big, twisted smile on his face as he continued to ramble "Yeahhhh. Yeahyeahyeah." A replay showed the finish and The Family stood dominantly and maniacally over the laid-out Neville…
A long video package recapped the history between Paige and Summer Rae. After the video, they replayed Summer attacking Paige on the interview set and accepting her challenge from two weeks earlier. Scott Stamford hyped that they would be going one-on-one after the break…[C]
Zim’s Zag: Solid opening tag match; elimination matches are always more fun so it was a nice change from the norm. The Wyatt Family continued to show their masterful grip on their characters with Harper really, really standing out. Neville and Dallas are a strange pairing, made even worse by the fact that the fans who seem to adore Neville, audibly detest Dallas.
Back from break Paige started to make her entrance, but Summer attacked her from behind on the ramp. She rolled Paige in the ring, where Paige whipped her jacket at Summer and the ref called for the bell.
2. Paige vs. Summer Rae. Paige repeatedly drove Summer into the ring ropes and then hit a Perfect-plex in the middle of the ring for a two count. Summer backed Paige into the corner and fought back with strikes. They rolled around the ring before Summer rolled to the outside a short time later…[C]
Back from break, Paige was in control and went for a crucifix pin for a two-count. Summer shoved Paige into the middle rope and began to work on the left leg. She mocked Paige’s scream and hooked in an Indian Deathlock, or "Native American Deathlock" according to Brad Maddox.
Paige eventually made her way to the ropes, and fought back with a kick to the gut. She whipped Summer across the ring by her hair and stomped away in the corner. Summer rolled to the outside, "I’m outta here!" She said. Paige went in pursuit and whipped Summer into the ring apron. Back in the ring, Paige caught Summer going for a kick and transitioned into the Paige Turner for the win.
Paige beat Summer Rae in about 7:00.
The commentators put over the victory as redemption for months of frustration, while a replay aired. Regal said he didn’t think that Summer would let this all end that way, and he expects we’ll be seeing more from these two… Scott Stamford hyped the main event of Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt coming up after the break… [C]
Zim’s Zag: Serviceable but underwhelming match. Nothing was particularly bad, but nothing was particularly good either. Paige is a solid worker with good charisma but I’m still not quite sold on Summer in the ring yet; time will tell.
A "Breaking News" graphic appeared and it was explained that half of the NXT Tag Team Champions, Oliver Grey, was out with an injury. Commissioner Dusty Rhodes allowed Adrian Neville to pick a new partner rather than strip him of the titles, and so Neville chose Bo Dallas. However, since The Wyatt Family scored the non-title win in the opening match, they earned a Tag Team Title match on next week’s episode…
Bray Wyatt made his entrance with The Family and a microphone. He said that he is a hero because he stands up for what he believes in. He said that he’s the type of hero that stares back at you through your TV screen. He said that tonight he’s facing a six-time World Champion but "Tonight, Bray Wyatt breaks down the wall." He closed with a chuckle. Chris Jericho made his entrance to a very nice reaction from the small studio crowd. He was sporting a big shiner on his left eye.
3. Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt (w/The Wyatt Family). The crowd chanted "Y2J" and Jericho took control with a big shoulder block and a dropkick. Wyatt rolled to the floor to regain composure, but Jericho took him out with a sliding dropkick between the ropes. He whipped Wyatt into the ring post before tossing Wyatt back into the ring. He followed up with a diving crossbody for a two-count and was firmly in control. Rowan grabbed Jericho’s leg from the outside, so the referee ejected him from ringside… [C]
Back from break, Jericho was in control while the commentators clarified that Harper was still allowed at ringside. Wyatt tossed Jericho to the outside and immediately distracted the referee. Harper hit a quick big boot, and Wyatt continued the beating on the outside as Harper continued to ramble "yeahyeahyeahyeah."
Back in the ring, Wyatt dropped repeated elbows on Jericho for a two-count before settling into a chinlock. Jericho tried to fight back with chops but Wyatt hit a knee to the gut for two. More shenanigans ensued with Harper on the outside, and Wyatt stayed in control with a snap suplex. He went for his running senton, but Jericho evaded it and hit several tackles and a diving axe handle.
Jericho hit the bulldog and appeared to be going for the Lionsault but Harper jumped up on the apron. Jericho changed direction and dropped him with the triangle dropkick, but turned right into a clothesline from Wyatt for a near-fall. Jericho came right back with an enziguri for a near-fall of his own. Wyatt reversed a whip and leveled Jericho with a great-looking running crossbody for another near-fall.
When both men stood back up, Jericho hit the Codebreaker, but it sent Wyatt to the outside. Jericho went after him and rolled him back in the ring, where the referee checked on him. Harper was nervously mumbling "yeahyeahyeah," but took advantage of the brief distraction by driving Jericho into the ring post. Harper rolled Jericho back in the ring, but Jericho was able to kick out before three.
Wyatt wore Jericho out with shots in the corner and charged in with a big splash. He danced around the ring with Jericho and kissed him on the forehead, but Jericho was able to avoid Sister Abigail. Jericho sent Wyatt into Harper, who had jumped on the apron, and then turned Wyatt over in the Walls of Jericho. Wyatt tapped immediately.
Chris Jericho defeated Bray Wyatt in about 10:00.
A replay aired and the announcers put over what an awesome encounter that was. Jericho climbed into the crowd to celebrate with the fans while Tony Dawson gave the sign off…
Zim’s Zag: Excellent 10 minute match. Wyatt looked very comfortable and came across like the threat he should. Jericho was visibly calling everything to Wyatt, and he did Wyatt a service in this one. It also showed the phenomenal potential of the Wyatt and Harper pairing. As I’ll explain, those two were the absolute show-stealers of this episode.
This was an in-ring heavy show with all NXT talent and that’s a thumbs up from me. Solid matches all around, but that wasn’t the story of this show. Luke Harper was the story of this show. He is the most subtly perfect character in all of WWE right now. His constant murmuring and "yeah-ing" gives him such a bizarre and deranged dimension. His facials are expressive and unlike anything we see in wrestling. He comes across like a completely mindless monster but is the absolute center of attention whenever he is on-screen. Alongside Bray Wyatt, who has his character spot-on as well, that is a TV-ready act that could be really special if utilized properly. If you have access, I highly recommend this show.
Throw any comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @InVasionZim; always happy to discuss.
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