The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT – 1/15/14

Taped from Orlando, FL

Your hosts are Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips and Tensai. 

COOHHH joins us to start for another earth-shattering announcement, I would presume.  And indeed, he’s here to announce the WWE Network, and that NXT will be LIVE on said network on February 27.  So this must be a pretty fresh taping.

Adrian Neville v. Tyler Breeze

Breeze quickly bails and Neville teases a dive, but just headfakes him instead.  The crowd still cheers for Tyler anyway.  Back in the ring, Neville pounds on him in the corner, and the crowd wants to make sure it’s “Not in the face”.  Breeze gets a cheapshot and dumps Neville to the apron, then follows with a springboard kick as we take a break.  Back with Breeze holding a chinlock, and he stomps Neville down for two.  Breeze stops for a selfie, the same thing that cost Hackenschmidt the title back in the day, and that allows Neville to make the comeback as Tensai clarifies that he has no problem telling another man that he’s pretty.  Neville goes up and gets caught with a dropkick that gets two, as Breeze is angered by Neville’s blatant disregard of his wishes about not hitting in the face.  Beauty Shot misses and Neville puts him down with a high kick, but misses a crazy twisting moonsault.  Breeze gets two off that.  Another Beauty Shot is reversed into a powerbomb by Neville for two.  Back to the top, but Breeze cuts him off, so the crowd swings back to Breeze again.  Fickle bunch.  Breeze tries a rana from the top, but Neville blocks it and finishes with the Red Arrow at 14:30.  Clearly Breeze’s best ever match by far.  ***1/4

CJ Parker v. Jason Jordan

Jordan controls Parker on the mat, but CJ puts him down with a sidekick and the palm strike to finish at 1:08.  Parker continues going nowhere with this gimmick.

Bo Dallas v. Mojo Rawley

Meltzer had an interesting discussion about Mojo a few weeks ago on the radio show, as apparently Rawley is the #1 guy in NXT in their eyes and will be getting the “golden ticket” push as Dave put it. As in the same one Goldberg got in WCW.  So there’s some pretty high hopes for this guy.  This is pretty early for the Bo Dallas match, so he’s probably going over here.  Mojo overpowers him with ease and Bo bumps out of the ring and runs away from a football tackle.  Back in, Bo takes over with a cheapshot in the corner, but Mojo keeps bumping him around and Bo runs away again.  Back in the hard way for Dallas, but Mojo misses a blind charge and Bo rolls him up for the pin at 3:49.  Now’s not the time to be beating Rawley, but really it doesn’t matter until he gets to the main roster.  ½*  Personally I would have saved him for the big reveal when Bo screws his last challenger out of the title and then issues an open challenge like Honky Tonk Man. 

Alexander Rusev v. Kofi Kingston

Kofi throws kicks on Rusev and elbows him out of a criss-cross, but Rusev throws him off like a child.  Rusev pounds away and goes to a nervehold, but charges and gets sent to the floor.  Just like the network, he’s over the top!  Kofi makes the mistake of following him out there and gets clubbed, but comes back with a dive off the stairs as we take a break.  Back with Rusev missing a charge, but Kofi tries slugging away in the corner and gets powerbombed for two.  Rusev keeps pounding away while the crowd gets bored and alternates sarcastic Goldberg and Ryback chants at him.  Back to the nervehold and the crowd does the wave while Lana tries desperately not to crack up at ringside.  Rusev’s samoan drop is countered into a crucifix for two by Kofi, and he makes the comeback, but gets caught with a samoan drop for two.  Is this like “Beat up Kofi Kingston in boring matches” week or something?  Kofi hits the SOS for two and throws kicks on the fallen Rusev, but takes too long and gets flattened again.  He tries the Accolade, but Kofi revives for the Boomdrop before getting distracted with Lana.  Even so, Trouble In Paradise finishes at 17:51.  Better than the Orton match from RAW at least.  **1/2  Not a fan of 50/50 booking pervading NXT, though.  Rusev should have continued rolling as the monster before the inevitable callup.

This was a very wrestling-heavy show, which was fine because both of the long matches were good.  Not much else to say about it this week.