The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT – 1/22/2014

Taped from Orlando, FL

Your hosts are Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton & Tensai

PLUGS! As a reminder, I have new Kindle books out covering all the Royal Rumble rants and also all the RAW rants for 2013. And they, don’t forget to stop by WhatCulture for my list of 5 Returns That Rocked and 5 That Fizzled.

Adrian Neville v. Wesley Blake

Blake is doing a Stan Hansen thing, but with douchebag tats.  Neville takes him down with a headlock and works the arm, then goes up with a missile dropkick for two.  He throws a chop in the corner, but Blake fires back to the dismay of the crowd.  Neville puts him down with forearms, however, and finishes with the Red Arrow at 4:00.  Nice squash for Adrian.  *1/2

Meanwhile, the BFFs are, like, totally sick of Bayley and her kittens and stuff.  Charlotte’s not so great with the promos as of yet.

Xavier Woods v. Alexander Rusev

Xavier has now brought the Funkasaurus entrance with him to NXT, so that’s some nice continuity there.  Rusev has a new look with shorter hair and plain black MMA trunks, so they’re getting him ready to come up pretty quick. Woods evades him and gets a dropkick, but Rusev clubs him down and then pounds the shit out of him on the mat.  High kick gets two.  Woods fights back with another dropkick and the running knee for two, but Rusev just gets even more annoyed and finishes him with the Accolade at 2:41.  Lana would like more punishment, but Sin Cara makes the save, wearing a tattoo-obscuring armband.  What an incredibly random pairing that is.  Another total destruction for Rusev.  *   When they break Reigns away from the Shield they could probably replace him with Rusev.

CJ Parker v. Antonio Cesaro

This crowd wants BLOOD.  It should be glorious to watch.  CJ takes Cesaro down and tries a senton, but hits knee.  Cesaro pounds the back with kicks and backdrops him, but Parker comes back and slugs away.  Sidekick and running knees in the corner allow CJ to go up with a flying bodypress for two.  The crowd is not loving this comeback.  He follows with an airplane spin, which the crowd gives a hearty boo, and then Cesaro counters with the GIANT SWING and finishes with the Neutralizer at 3:30.  It’s becoming a running gag that the crowd hates Parker so much and they refuse to turn him.  Fun little match, though.  **  This brings out Sami Zayn on crutches, asking for a rematch.  Cesaro, however, does not wish one.  Well then. 

Meanwhile, the Miz shows up for some reason, but CJ Parker interrupts and he’s MYSTIFIED as to why fans are booing him every week.  Tensions are raised.

Natalya v. Summer Rae

They trade takedowns, but Summer gets a spinkick for two.  Into a leglock, but Natalya reverses until Summer makes the ropes.  Summer goes to work on the leg again, but Natalya dumps her, and then drags her back in and finishes with the Sharpshooter at 3:35.  *

Meanwhile, Aiden English continues antagonizing Enzo & Colin, and gets his foot run over by a wheelchair as a result.

Bo Dallas is here to celebrate his historic record for longest ever NXT title reign, and he humbly (humbly) accepts, even though he didn’t ask for it.  The historic banner is raised, but Adrian Neville interrupts because he wants Bo to shut up already.  So HHH interrupts via video wall and agrees to give Neville the title shot if he can last 4:45 with Bo. 

Beat the Clock:  Adrian Neville v. Bo Dallas

Neville misses a dive and splats on the floor, allowing Bo and his awesome pink shirt to take over in the ring.  Suplex gets two.  Bo pounds away in the corner and works him over with elbows, but Neville makes the comeback, and Bo runs away, then realizes that Neville just has to run out the clock.  And then it’s too late, as Neville evades him and therefore doesn’t lose.  Kind of an ass-backwards way for a babyface to earn a title shot. 

Not a fan of the main event program, but the rest was the usual breezy and fun show.  And congrats to NXT for winning Best TV Show in the Observer Awards!