WWE NXT 01/02/13 starts out the first full year of NXT under the new / current format we know and love. Last week was a “2012 year in review” show, which I didn’t watch. So, I’m guessing we’re going to deal with Corey Graves’ attack on Seth Rollins to kick of the new year. Let’s get to the recap!
WWE NXT 01/02/13 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Standard NXT opening credits are interrupted by The Shield beating the crap out of two unnamed guys in the ring at Full Sail. No context is given here. We’ve never seen Dean Ambrose on NXT, Seth Rollins is now out of character, and (thankfully) so is Roman Reigns. It’s highly assumed you’re watching main roster WWE at the time to make sense out of this.
Dusty Rhodes is out and tells them that this is enough. Ambrose and Rollins cut a promo on Dusty saying The Shield has taken over Raw and SmackDown and now they’re here to take over NXT – and there’s nothing Dusty can do about it. Dusty says he can do something about it and puts Seth in a title match tonight against Corey Graves. If Seth won’t defend the title, he’ll be stripped of it. Seth cuts a promo on Dusty saying he should be careful what he wishes for. Roman gets a mic and says it may be Dusty’s house, but Dusty’s paying The Shield’s rent – and we abruptly fade to black.
Back from “fade to back”, we see Tony Dawson and William Regal trying to make heads or tails of what we just saw. We see some “moments ago” footage of the Shield beat down, while Dawson and Regal put over tonight’s main event.
Bo Dallas’ music hits and he’s out for the first match. Primo & Epico’s music hits next and they’re out.
Match #1: Bo Dallas vs. Epico (w/ Primo)
The most notable thing I had in my notes is that the match begins with a “We Want Rosa” chant – as Rosa Mendes wasn’t out with Primo & Epico. This match is fine. Nothing too amazing happens and despite the two on one situation, Bo goes over clean with the Spear.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – A serviceable match that seemed to be on the show to set up the Dallas / McGillicutty alliance in the post-match part of the segment.
Post-match, Primo and Epico corner Bo Dallas, but Michael McGillicutty is out to make the save. With the odds even, Primo & Epico bail and head to the back.
Later tonight? Seth Rollins, former top babyface at NXT, will defend his NXT Championship as a heel member of the Shield against Corey Graves.
Back from break, Sasha Banks is out to some generic EDM. Tamina’s music hits and she’s out last.
Match #2: Tamina vs. Sasha Banks
So, this is peak Tamina and she looks great in this match. Sasha looks so young here and does a pitch perfect “developmental wrestler who knows they’re going to get squashed” face during Tamina’s entrance. Sasha doesn’t get in much offense, but Regal puts her over like crazy on commentary. Via Regal we also learn of her relation to Snoop Dogg for the first time on NXT. Tamina easily puts Sasha away with a Samoan Drop / Snuka Splash combo.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Tamina looked awesome and Sasha sold the beating well. No complaints.
Later tonight? Graves. Rollins. NXT Championship!
Back from break, Kassius Ohno is out with Leo Kruger. Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd are out next.
Match #3: Kassius Ohno & Leo Kruger vs. Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd
A solid tag team match. The finish seemed to come a bit out of nowhere, but otherwise I was on board. Gabriel and Kidd work perfectly together and Ohno and Kruger seemed to work as a combo too. I can only deduce from this match and the random Bo Dallas / Michael McGillicutty pairing earlier, that the tournament to crown the first Tag Team Champions in NXT can’t be that far into 2013. Anyway, this match had a bunch of Kidd and Gabriel’s high energy offense and I totally expected them to win. However, after the hot tag to Gabriel, things break down. Kruger is able to hit Gabriel with a Kruger End after countering a roll up attempt by Gabriel.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – An anti-climatic finish, but otherwise a solid tag match that continued the growing tensions between these guys.
Up next? Main event!
Back from break, Saxton introduces the match. Graves is out first. Seth is out last with no music – just silence – and no Ambrose or Reigns. Even Graves looks confused by this. Oh, and it’s the main event so Jim Ross has joined commentary.
Match #4: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Corey Graves (NXT Championship Match)
No Ambrose and/or Reigns telegraphed the finish a bit. Graves goes on the offensive and targets Rollins’ leg for the duration of the match. Seth’s offense felt muted and he really only delivers strikes and an enziguri. After more “working on the leg”, Graves is able to slap on the Lucky 13. Ambrose and Reigns rush the ring to force a DQ.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – The match itself was barely a “Thumbs In The Middle” but the post-match part of the segment was super exciting.
Post-match, the expected three-man beat down happens to Graves. Dusty hits the stage and the locker room empties in an attempt to nullify the Shield. I noticed Mike Dalton (aka Tyler Breeze), Aiden English, Yoshi Tatsu, Oliver Grey, CJ Parker, Percy Watson, Big Cass (!), Kidd, Gabriel, and Dallas. The Shield trounce everyone until it’s just Dallas in the ring. They deliver the Shield Powerbomb to Dallas. Eventually, Big E’s music hits and he’s out. Big E slowly walks to the ring and gets up on the apron. The Shield back away and leave the ring as Big E enters it. A stare down ensues until Dusty declares that Seth will have to defend his NXT Championship next week against Big E. Roman briefly gets up on the apron, but gets back down after Ambrose convinces him to powder.
We go off the air on The Shield leaving while Big E stands strong in the ring.
Wow, that final segment felt more like modern NXT than anything we’ve seen up to this point!