Welcome to the Network era of the show! The Network actually loads faster and more effectively than Hulu does on my PS3, so moving NXT there is kind of great for me. Speaking of the Network, if you’re enjoying the 1993 season of Monday Night RAW and want to have my rants for ALL of that year’s run as reference, check out my Kindle book, available for only 99 cents on Amazon! Along with some other great Kindle books I wrote, too.
Taped from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and William Regal.
Adrian Neville v. Camacho
They’ve WWE-ized the graphics and set and I’m starting to get uncomfortable with it. Neville has the belt here, so I guess they scrapped the rest of the last taping cycle. So those of you looking for CRZ in the crowd will be sorely disappointed. Neville holds an armbar on Haku Jr, but gets chopped in the corner, setting up a Camacho powerslam for two. Neville comes back with kicks and a missile dropkick to set up the Red Arrow at 3:00. *1/2 Renee Young does a post-match interview with him, and they keep doing bizarre cuts to the crowd during it. Neville cuts kind of a funny promo, pointing out that he looks like an elf and has an accent so thick that even he can’t understand himself, but he’s got the belt and he’s the best. Minor note here, as Neville says he won the belt “last night” when he should have said “last week.” This brings out Bo Dallas for the rematch feud no one particularly wants.
Meanwhile, Emma is bummed about losing last week, and Ric Flair brings out Charlotte to rub it in. Flair stops by to creep out Paige after the break as well.
Emma v. Charlotte
Summer is represented by a head on a stick this week. The stick probably needs to lose some weight to properly match up. They trade wristlocks and Emma controls on the mat and gets a rollup for two. Another rollup gets two. Emma gets distracted by Sasha while Charlotte fakes a leg injury, and the neckbreaker finishes for Charlotte at 3:20. Charlottle is coming along OK. *1/2
Corey Graves v. Yoshi Tatsu
Graves bitches about Sami Zayn getting tons of chances despite never winning and derides the relevance of Tatsu. An entitled millennial skinny-jean douchebag is kind of an interesting gimmick. Graves teases walking out, but catches Tatsu with a clothesline on the floor and sends him into the stairs, and takes the countout win at 1:30. That was literally the most devastating trip to the stairs in the entire history of professional wrestling. I mean, Tatsu must have suffered 18 consecutive concussions off that move to be unable to move the one foot from the stairs to the ring. DUD Sami Zayn comes out to answer Graves’ grandstand challenge, so that’s apparently our main event tonight.
Meanwhile, we’re at the launch party for debauched British rock god ADAM ROSE, who looks strangely familiar, but is absolutely not a repackaged Leo Kruger despite all ridiculous rumors to the contrary. I’m assuming Kruger went back to South Africa and got eaten by a dingo or whatever animals are hunted there. I’m also assuming the original gimmick name of Alex Rose was changed to avoid the obvious lawsuit.
Meanwhile, Alexander Rusev and Xavier Woods have words for each other, although we can’t understand Rusev’s words so they are perhaps less effective of a threat than you’d like.
Adam Rose v. Wesley Blake
Rose’s entrance is the GREATEST FUCKING THING EVER. He comes out to wacky British pop with an entourage of party animals, and then crowd surfs off the apron onto them while singing along with his own song. I’m not even doing it close to justice. Also, this match appears to be taken from the previous set of tapings. The match is the same Kruger squash (or at least someone who looks shockingly like Kruger, but NOT…remember, eaten by alligator or something, different person) with slightly more flair, as he hits a spinebuster and finishes with the lariat at 2:30. Honestly, Russell Brand is a perfect comedy archetype to swipe from and I’m glad someone finally did it.
One thing I’m not glad someone finally did is make a WWE/Scooby Doo crossover movie. Plus it’s not even the awesome Scooby Doo Mystery Inc. continuity with the wacky relationship drama and fourth-wall breaking.
Sami Zayn v. Corey Graves
Zayn quickly chases Graves out of the ring and threatens a dive, but lets him back in instead. Graves attacks and gets a front suplex for two as we take a break. Back with Graves holding a neck vice on the mat and going to work on the knee. Zayn fights back with a backdrop, but gets caught in a backbreaker for two. Graves misses a blind charge and Zayn hits a crossbody for two. Zayn tries the running boot and runs into a punch to the ear, but he comes back with the Blue Thunder bomb for two. Zayn charges again and Graves clips the knee, but Zayn gets a small package for two. He goes up and Graves tries another backbreaker to counter, but Zayn rolls him into a small package for the pin at 10:20. They just need to find something for Zayn and bring him up already. **3/4
Really fun show, highlighted by the awesome debut of ADAM ROSE. Who is not Leo Kruger at all. He was eaten by a wallaby.