WWE NXT results and reactions from January 1: Pitching a shut out

Kofi and Natty visit from the big leagues, and Sami Zayn and Leo Kruger do it two-out-of-three falls style to kick off the new year down in developmental. Get all the results and our thoughts on the show, right here.

Tyler Breeze has entered the building, y'all!  I so much prefer Byron Saxton as ring announcer, both over the women they trot out to be ring announcers and to Saxton as a commentator.

Next out is Lana, who's Russian delivery sounds a little more natural lately.  Does the phrase that she repeats when she comes out mean "Excuse me"?  They should get women to do Vickie Guerrero impersonations in all of the languages.

Alexander Rusev vs. Kofi Kingston

  • The Bulgarian's look is evolving. On the positve side, he's grown his hair out a little. On the negative, he's taped his feet in white. The black ankle supports are better - less contrast to the rest of his appearance. Plus, these look kind of like sock with the toes cut off.
  • One of the most refreshing things about Rusev? He's a heel that the NXT fans treat like a heel. They don't ignore him, or cheer him. They just boo him. It's so nice.
  • Kicks and slams from the Brute are returned with elbows from the main roster star, but Alexander hits a splash off the ropes for a count of two.
  • When a splash to the mat misses, Kingston sets into his usual sequence: chops, drop kick, springboard clothesline, boom drop. The big man shoves off what was probably going to be a Trouble in Paradise, but Kofi comes right back with a cross-body for two, and a bicycle kick to the dome.
  • The Ghanian-American climbs the ropes in the corner, but Lana distracts before he can launch any offense. Rusev grabs and throws him into the center of the ring. There, he locks on The Accolade. Kingston makes a valiant effort to escape, but eventually has to tap.

Rusev defeats Kingston in approximately four minutes via submission

Devin Taylor (which has to be the most porn star sounding name they've handed out in a long while) is backstage with Sylvester Lefort.  The latter's gimmick is rolling on, even with Scott Dawson out.  Color me thrilled.  He's auditioning for a new protégé.

Bull Dempsey gets some screen time, but the Frenchman says that he is too fat to make him any money.  Mason Ryan walks up behind Lefort, and when solicited, takes a bill from him and stuffs it in his mouth.  Everything about that was horrible.

Natalya vs. Emma

  • Winner gets a shot at Women's champion Paige. The announce team (Tom Phillips, Alex Riley and William Regal) explain that Emma is upset that Natty weaseled her way into her previous match with the champ, and in ten seconds do a better job of setting this match up than Nat an Em's awkward backstage segment from last week.
  • Crowd reaction is kind of mixed, but female fans of all ages at Full Sail sure do like to dance along with the developmental diva during her entrance.
  • Bit of chain wrestling to start, with the Total Diva showing off a cool cartwheel counter that she uses to set-up a release suplex. Emma transitions that into a roll-up that comes close to getting the job done, but when she pauses to taunt her opponent, she catches a bit of a beating.
  • Dil-emma until the referee forces her to break the hold, but she can't follow-up when the Canadian slides away from the low crossbody (are they really calling that the Emma sandwich? Because they shouldn't). Nat connects with her discus clothesline, and then works a couple of painful looking rest holds, including an inverted surfboard stretch that almost made me tap.
  • When neither of those work on Emma, though, Natalya goes for a Hogan-esque slam and leg drop. Lance Storm's student rolls away from the latter, but can't connect with a clothesline follow-up. The Anvil's daughter sort-of sells her leg having been hurt on the missed drop when she drops E with double-leg takedown and goes for the sharpshooter. Psychology-wise, that's supposed to be what allows the dancer to reverse into an Emma-lock to become the #1 contender.
  • After a brief hesitation from both women, Natty raises Emma's arm and they both dance us out of the segment.

Emma defeats Natalya in approximately four and a half minutes via submission

Strangely disappointing.  Verbally and physically, I just don't think these two have a whole lot of chemistry.

Sing-off time!  Hosted by Renee Young, who is looking fab in a form-fitting dress and really high heels...where was I?  Oh yes, Aiden English and Colin Cassady singing competition.  Silly me.

Big Cas is looking sharp in a suit, but Enzo and his leopard print scooter are nowhere to be seen.  The Actor starts off with a bit of Opera.  The New Yorker starts off looking nervous and clearing his throat/sounding like he might hurl, but some words of encouragement from Young prompt him to deliver his version of Danny Boy that ends by saying that English is "S, double U, A, F, T...Saaaaaawft".

The crowd loves it, but Aiden won't accept their vote.  Colin agrees to a round two, which AE kicks off by talk-singing his way through a bunch of insults directed at the audience.  Cas responds with a funny version of The Temptations' signature hit that would make Kurt Angle proud.  But after the crowd chimes in at the appropriate time, English cheap shots the big man with a chop block and rolls out while Big Cas holds his knee.

Cassady continues to impress on the stick, but the most amazing thing about that segment is probably that they actually got the NXT-zone to treat English like a heel.

Tyler Breeze vs. Mason Ryan

  • Here's a heel the Florida faithful will never boo. If I heard Saxton correctly (always a dubious proposition with my old ears and laptop headphones), Tyler is now making his seasonal residence in Canoa Quebrada, Brazil.
  • Breeze looks scared, but before the two men can lock up, Slyvester Lefort makes his way to ringside. Ryan tries to shoo him off, and that gives the model an opening to land some punches.
  • The Welsh Colossus, who actually looks pretty trim these days, punches back and lifts then drops TB onto the top rope. But he goes after the Frenchman on the floor, and when he comes back to the ring, he gets a Beauty Shot and takes the loss.
  • Couple of interesting things post-match: (1) Tyler reacts hesitantly to his victory, and it makes me wonder if they aren't considering a face turn. He would usually heel it up, acting like he didn't need help and snapping a bunch of selfies. (2) Lefort disappeared after Mason's assault. Is he feuding with Ryan? I actually wouldn't mind seeing him allied with Breeze, if only because it might draw the ire of the crowd. Their looks mesh too, just have Prince Pretty do all the talking while Slyvester sticks to interfering on his behalf.
  • Yes, I am aware that interesting thing #1 is contradicted by interesting thing #2.

Breeze defeats Ryan in approximately one minute via pinfall

Tyler Breeze has left the building.

Leo Kruger vs. Sami Zayn

  • Phillips and company put over the history of two-out-of-three falls matches in NXT.  I miss the old FCW 15 title.  Maybe if WWE ever goes ahead with something like a cruiserweights show, they can have an multiple-falls stipulation for one of the titles.
  • The first several minutes feature Kruger beating Sami up on the floor and rolling him back in for a pin attempt.  None of these work.
  • After the latest in a series of punches and European uppercuts leave Zayn wobbly, Leo charges him in the corner.  Sami is able to dodge this, though, and launches him into the turnbuckles with an Exploder suplex.  Yakuza kick follows that, and The Likable One takes the first fall after approximately three minutes.
  • After a commercial break, we rejoin the action as Sami has Leo seated on the top turnbuckle and seems to be setting up for a superplex.  The South African helps him lose his balance, sending him to the floor where he lands on his right arm/shoulder.  Zayn makes it back into the ring when the ref was at nine, but is immediately DDT'd for a near fall.
  • The Syrian-Canadian does his face-in-peril routine for a while as Leo puts the boots to him and works the crowd.  He eventually dodges a clothesline and hits the spinout powerbomb for two.  Sami heads to the outside, but Kruger catches him and drapes him over the top rope for a sick spinning neckbreaker.  I thought for sure that would even the count at one all, but Zayn manages to kick out.
  • After another superplex tease, the hunter sidesteps a crossbody and cinches in the GC3.  Again, I'm convinced that this will even the score, but Sami struggles for and eventually reached the bottom rope.
  • Kruger is unhinged, and works over the baby face while he clings to the ropes for protection.  When Sami finally gets to his feet, and after trading punches, Leo pushes him back into the ropes so that he bounces back into DAT SPINEBUSTER!  Based the amount of time left in the show at this point, I pretty much figured out what story they were telling, but I was still surprised when Kruger doesn't go for a cover.
  • The South African is beside himself at this point, and rips his shirt off to set-up for The Slice.  SZ side-steps that with an STO, and then locks in the Koji Clutch!  There's nowhere for Kruger to go and he's forced to tap!  Sami wins 2-0!

Zayn defeats Kruger, two falls to zero, in approximately ten and a half minutes

A little bummed that Leo went out like that, but he is going away for a repackaging, and he looked strong (if not smart) even in a shutout.

This was a very well-rounded show.  Another standout main event under Sami Zayn's belt, and a little bit of something for everyone in the segments and matches leading up to it.

Grade: A-

How was it for you, Cagesiders?

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