2/27 Powell's WWE NXT Live Coverage: Bo Dallas vs. Adrian Neville in a ladder match for the NXT Championship, Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn, Paige vs. Emma for the NXT Women's Championship
By Jason Powell
Prowrestling.net Members are listening to the first part of the Dot Net Weekly audio show featuring Jason Powell and Chris Shore discussing WWE Network, WrestleMania 30, and all the news of the week. Friday's part two will feature Jason Powell and Zack Zimmerman, who is in the building at NXT, discussing the NXT Arrival show. Score access to all audio and all the perks of membership via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
WWE NXT Arrival
Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
Aired live on WWE Network
Lights were shown on the ceiling above both corners of the ring inside the darkened arena. "Are you ready?" Triple H asked from inside the ring. "No, I said are you ready? This is NXT." Hunter said NXT is the next generation and the next generation has arrived... The opening video aired... Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and William Regal were on commentary...
1. Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro. Zayn connected with a big dive onto Cesaro on the floor, which drew "NXT" and "This is awesome" chants. Cesaro quickly regained control of the match and targeted one of Zayn's knees. While on the floor, Zayn tried to dive through the first and second turnbuckle onto Cesaro, who was waiting and nailed him with an uppercut. Cool spot. Cesaro took Zayn back inside the ring and continued to work over the left knee.
Phillips pointed out on commentary that NXT and Triple H were trending on Twitter. Zayn sold the knee while making a comeback and bumping Cesaro to the floor. Zayn went for an Asai moonsault, but Cesaro caught him and slammed him onto the ramp. Zayn did a nice job of selling that he might not beat the referee's count while selling his knee, but he got back in just before the ten count.
Cesaro charged Zayn, who gave him an exploder suplex in the corner. At 13:40, Zayn applied the Koji Clutch, but Cesaro countered and wrapped Zayn's bad leg around his own neck and wrenched on it, but Zayn reached the ropes to break the hold. At 15:00, Zayn took the Cesaro Swing. Cesaro followed up with an uppercut in the corner for a two count. Zayn countered into a pin for another two count. Cesaro double stomped Zayn's face for another two count, which was followed by another round of "This is awesome" chants.
Cesaro went for a powerbomb off the ropes, but Zayn countered with a huracanrana. Zayn came back with a yakuza kick for another good near fall. Regal put over how this moment would make or break Zayn. There were dueling "We The People" and "Let's Go Zayn" chants.
Cesaro hit Zayn with an uppercut and told him to stay down. The referee started to count Zayn down on the mat, but he got back to his feet only to be knocked down with another uppercut at 19:45. A short time later, Cesaro went for the Neutralizer, but Zayn countered and got a near fall. Zayn followed up with a sunset flip powerbomb for a great near fall.
Cesaro threw Zayn in the air and hit the uppercut. Cesaro went for a cover and Zayn kicked out on one. Cesaro expressed disbelief and concern, then threw a discus style uppercut followed by The Neutralizer and scored the clean pin...
Cesaro pinned Sami Zayn in 22:55.
After the match, Cesaro played to the crowd while Zayn sat dejected in the corner. Cesaro left the ring and started to head backstage, but he stopped and returned to the ring. Cesaro grabbed Zayn by the arm and pulled him in for a hug. Cesaro spoke in Zayn's ear and Zayn returned the hug. Cesaro patted Zayn on the back, Zayn smiled, and Cesaro headed backstage. The crowd chanted "Sami" as he stood in the ring and soaked up the cheers...
Powell's POV: Awesome match. The place would have come unglued if Zayn won, but he lost nothing here. He played the underdog role extremely well as always, and fans who have never seen him had to leave very impressed. Meanwhile, the main roster wrestler on the rise got the hard fought win. Here's hoping they resume this feud on the main roster at some point because they work so well together.
A Mojo Rawley video package aired... Teresa Jacobs, mayor of Orange County, Florida, and Garry Jones of Full Sail University were shown in the crowd. Jacobs appeared giddy to be on television...
2. Mojo Rawley vs. C.J. Parker. Rawley got off to the fast start, then sold a bit for Parker. Rawley came back with hyperdrive for the win...
Mojo Rawley defeated C.J. Parker.
Powell's POV: Quick and painless, and it gave the fans a chance to catch their breath after the Cesaro vs. Zayn match. I still don't see much potential in Parker's character.
An Emma video package aired...
3. The Ascension vs. Too Cool for the NXT Tag Team Championship. Tag champs (Rick) Viktor and Konnor (a/k/a Conor O'Brian) worked over Grandmaster Sexay early on. At 4:00, Sexay threw punches and eventually made the tag to Hotty, who now shaves his head. Hotty worked over Victor with punches and played to the crowd.
At 5:40, Scotty looked to the crowd for the Worm setup. Konnor tried to break it up, but Sexay threw him out of the ring. Scotty performed the worm routine and the crowd was with him, but Victor never took the chop, instead pulling Scotty into the second rope. The tag champs performed the Fall of Man finisher and got the win...
The Ascension beat Too Cool to retain the NXT Tag Titles in 6:45.
Powell's POV: If there's one thing I want to see improve in developmental, it's the tag division. There's the Ascension and, well, whoever they bring in to face them. The Ascension have a cool entrance, but they're ordinary at best in the ring. Too Cool didn't really fit the tone of this show, but the live crowd was happy to see the worm setup.
A Paige video was shown... Ric Flair and his daughter Charlotte were shown sitting in the crowd...
Stephanie McMahon's music played and there was a delayed reaction from the crowd, which gave her a mixed reaction. The fans chanted "you've still got it." She responded by telling them she never lost it. Funny. She said they were making history. She said the first in-ring program on the WWE Network was not WrestleMania, it was NXT Arrival.
Stephanie said she was proud to be there as a McMahon and as a woman. She said being a Diva is all about being empowered and showing the world that women can do everything men can do, only better. She introduced "the next generation of WWE Divas" and then Emma made her entrance, and then Paige made her entrance as Stephanie remained in the ring. Steph shook their hands and took the title belt from Paige and held it up before handing it to the referee...
Powell's POV: That speech probably sounded great to those who don't see how sad the Divas division is these days. What's so empowering about a two minute 10-Diva tag match?
4. Paige vs. Emma for the NXT Women's Championship. Paige shoved Emma, who fired back and eventually took her down. Paige returned fire with a dropkick and got a couple of two counts early. Regal, who danced to Emma's bubble dance, later said he remembers when Paige was born because he's friends with her family. Emma went for the Emma Sandwich early, but Paige avoided it.
Emma hit the move and eventually dug her boots into Paige's back and pulled her arms back. Phillips said Raw and Smackdown viewers think Emma is just about having fun, but she's a submission expert in NXT. Emma turned the move into a version of the surfboard, and Paige sold it by crying out in pain. Emma released the move by slamming Paige face-first down to the mat.
At 10:00, Paige went for a superplex, but Emma slipped under her and powerbombed the women's champion for a two count. The announcers raved that Emma was dominating Paige throughout the match. Paige came back with the Paige Turner, which Phillips pointed out was the move that she used to beat Emma back in August.
Paige showed frustration as the announcers said no one had kicked out of the Paige Turner in NXT. Paigue applied a leg lock and then lifted her up and held her in that position until Emma tapped out. Paige offered Emma her hand, then pulled her in aggressively, only to hug her...
Paige defeated Emma in 13:35 to retain the NXT Women's Championship.
Powell's POV: Well, that beat the hell out of anything we've seen from the Divas in recent memory. Eva Marie and Aksana are working matches on the main roster while Paige remains in developmental. Stop and think about that for a minute. Here's hoping the creative team watched this match and realized that the best way to push Emma is not as a clutz who has a crush on Santino Marella.
A shot of Adrian Neville was shown, and then a video package was shown... An NXT video package aired and listed the NXT show for Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. CT... Dusty Rhodes and Pat Patterson were shown sitting in the crowd together. Patterson took Dusty's cowboy hat and put it on his own head before turning it...
Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze made separate entrances for their match. Alexander Rusev and Lana came out and destroyed both men...
Powell's POV: I missed most of that due to a minor freeze on the PS4. However, when I go back and hit the "now" option, it takes me back to the Cesaro vs Sami Zayn match. Apparently, my PS4 is a huge fan of that match because no matter how many times I close the app and relaunch it, it keeps going back to the same part of that match. However, I do have the online option, which brings me to live spot, but then crashes every couple minutes. Let the record show that I hate technology.
A Bo Dallas video package was shown... Steve Keirn and Larry Zbyszko were shown in the crowd... A video package was shown to set up the main event...
Shawn Michaels made his entrance and held the NXT Championship. He said people ask if he'll ever stop enjoying retirement. He said he's fat, out of shape, and doesn't have to adhere to the dress code. Michaels was thrown off when the fans chanted "HB-Shizzle" at him. He said they need to get that t-shirt made. He admitted he was thrown off by the fans. He said he knew about ladder matches, then said he had to hurry, an then pushed his DVD and gave a brief pitch for the main event...
Powell's POV: Oh, good, now the PS4 plays the live feed for about ten seconds and then brings me back to Tyler Breeze for five seconds before returning to the main page. Lovely.
5. Bo Dallas vs. Adrian Neville in a ladder match for the NXT Championship. Phillips hyped that Dallas has been the NXT Champion for 260 days. Neville and Dallas had a staredown with the title belt hanging between them during intros. Once the match started, Dallas tried to flee, but Neville went right after him. Neville performed a series of gymnast flips across the ring in an impressive early display of his athleticism.
Dallas went on the offensive for a bit, but Neville came back with a great dive over the top rope and onto Dallas on the floor. Dallas came back with a ladder shot. Later, Neville performed a cool tornado DDT by running the ladder and then performing it off the top rope. A short time later, Neville took a hard shot to the head when the ladder bounced on him. The referee checked on him and the match continued.
Regal said he couldn't help but root for his fellow countryman and rooted out loud for Neville as he was setting up a ladder at 11:50. Dallas was there to meet him on the other side. Dallas got the better of the exchange and tried to whip Neville to the floor, but he stopped on the ring apron and caught Dallas with a kick. Neville went to the top rope, but Dallas recovered enough to throw him to the floor.
Dallas crawled to the ladder and started to climb from the bottom when suddenly Neville springboarded over him and onto the ladder. However, Dallas grabbed him and threw him down to the mat. Dallas grabbed the ladder and tried to use it as a weapon, but Neville kicked it into him and then slammed him onto it. Neville went to the top rope and performed the Red Arrow on Dallas, who was still on top of the ladder. The fans responded with a loud NXT chant.
Dallas rolled to the floor and Neville scrambled to set up a ladder. The fans chanted Yes! as Neville climbed the ladder. Dallas scrambled and got back inside the ring and started to climb, but Neville pulled the title down to win the match and the championship. A dejected Dallas fell to the mat once Neville pulled the title down...
Adrian Neville defeated Bo Dallas in a ladder match in 15:45 to win the NXT Championship.
After the match, Neville sat on top of the ladder with the championship in hand as smoke/fog machines shot off on each side of him. Cool visual. The announcers recapped the match as highlights were shown. Back live, Neville continued to celebrate as Phillips said Neville was the fourth ever NXT Champion.
John Cena and Brian Fritz were shown clapping in the crowd.
Powell's POV: Shockingly, the broadcast team only acknowledged Cena and did not rave about Brian Fritz of Between The Ropes or Dot Net's Zack Zimmerman, who was sitting next to Fritz at one point tonight and may have been during that shot as well. Go Fritzy!
The technical problems were a real drag. I hoped it was just on my end, but I heard from a lot of people who encountered the same issue with the feed going back to Tyler Breeze and then crashing. I really hoped tonight would go smoothly because it would make me feel a lot more confident about watching WrestleMania on the network rather than dishing out the big bucks for the pay-per-view. Fortunately, I was able to watch the rest of the show on the WWE website's network feed, but I've heard from readers who had issues on several platforms.
As for the show, I really enjoyed it. The unadvertised matches didn't do much for me, but the advertised matches lived up to or exceeded expectations. It was a satisfying show for longtime NXT fans, and I think fans who had little or no exposure had to be blown away by Cesaro vs. Zayn, the women's match, and the main event. NXT looked slick and professional, and the wrestlers in the key matches never seemed like they were in over their heads. In fact, they all stepped up and delivered. Aside from the technical flaws, this show was a success in my book.
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