Well, we finally made it to WWE NXT 02/05/14. This was the first episode of NXT available on the WWE Network when I first signed up in late 2015. So, I’ve technically seen this episode before, but I’ll be damned if I remember more than just the broad strokes of what happens in NXT during 2014 and 2015. What I do know, is that Sami Zayn is going to make Antonio Cesaro reject him to his face in regards to a rematch… again. Also, we get to see Sylvester Lefort attempt to beat Mason Ryan in what I assume will be a futile effort to add Ryan to Lefort’s stable. I see that going well.
WWE NXT 02/05/14 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped from Full Sail. Tom welcomes us to the show as Sin Cara’s music hits. Sin Cara heads to the ring and we learn Tom is joined by Tensai and heel Byron Saxton this week.
We see footage from 2 weeks ago of Sin Cara saving Woods from an attack by Rusev. Lana is out next to get “what”ed and introduce Rusev. Alexander Rusev follows Lan’s introduction and is out new music. We learn during Rusev’s entrance that he recently debuted on the main roster in the Royal Rumble. Rusev’s days in Florida are numbered.
Match #1: Sin Cara vs. Alexander Rusev (w/ Lana)
The first thing I noticed about this match is that it is lit with a strange yellow light. Said yellow light turns off after the match, so I’m not sure why this happened. No other matches on this show have yellow lighting. Very odd. Anyway, it’s about what you suspect from a guy who has already worked the main roster facing someone new to NXT. Rusev crush. Sin Cara gets in some flippy stuff, but looks incredibly sloppy most of the time while doing so. Eventually, Rusev ends it with the Accolade. Sin Cara taps immediately.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – Sin Cara looked really sloppy and the last month or so of Rusev at NXT has been incredibly boring. He beats someone, usually someone who is a member of the New Day, several times. Someone in the front row has a sign up during Rusev’s entrance that says “enough of this guy” and I get it… I get it.
Post-match, we do the “Rusev won’t break the Accolade until Lana says so” and “Rusev slaps on the Accolade again after winning” spots. During the post-match, that weird yellow lighting is gone – thankfully.
Up next? Emma vs. Alicia Fox.
Back from break, Fox is out. It’s a women’s match in early 2014 NXT so Renee Young has joined commentary as so says the NXT Constitution. Emma’s music hits and she’s out next. Tensai LOSES HIS MIND. He starts screaming about “loving bubbles” and gets up at the commentary desk and starts doing the Emma dance. I know the feeling, Tensai – and she’s not even Evil Emma yet. Just you wait.
Match #2: Emma vs. Alicia Fox
It’s your average women’s match at NXT from this period. Fox hits the bridging Northern Lights suplex and Emma ends things with the Emma Lock. We see the spots that matter and the post-match segment(s) lead us to believe we’re just killing time until Paige is back anyway.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Both women have had better matches, but this one hits all of the right notes and the segment leads to some storyline progression for the women’s division.
Post-match, Emma gets a mic and cuts a promo wishing Paige a speedy recovery from her injury. Once Paige is back, Emma will be cashing in her rematch for the NXT Women’s Championship. Emma then dances until a wild Sasha Banks sprints across the ring and Emma dodges her. Summer Rae is in next and Alicia Fox starts a two on one situation with Emma. Oh, hey, now Charlotte has joined the beat down. But, Nattie’s music hits and she and Bayley are out to make the save and clear the ring. Nattie, Bayley, and Emma dance in the ring to end the segment. So, this segment established Emma vs. Paige as a thing we’ll see again soon – and managed to further the Nattie & Bayley vs. BFFs story. Not bad.
Later tonight? Adrian Neville vs. Corey Graves.
Back from break, some random music hits and Sylvester Lefort is out. Mason Ryan’s music hits and he’s out last.
Match #3: Sylvester Lefort vs. Mason Ryan
Ryan will not be joining Lefort’s stable, he will not pass “Go”, he will not collect $200. Lefort gets in some strikes that barely stagger Ryan, before Ryan recovers, hits a Big Boot, and puts Lefort away with a move that almost looks like Jinder Mahal’s “Khallas”.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Fun for a squash I suppose.
Meanwhile, Aiden English is backstage and asks for a spotlight. He gets it! Wow, that is a Velveteen Dream move! Anyway, English cuts a promo saying he doesn’t feel bad for threatening Enzo and calls him a “greaseball” and a “Goodfellas wannabe”. But, English is moving on from Enzo & Cass and faces Tyson Kidd tonight. English sings a parody version of “O, Canada” and leaves. Kidd vs. English is up next.
During the break? Lefort is interviewed about losing to Ryan. Lefort says he no longer wants to hire Ryan, but he’ll get revenge.
Meanwhile, Aiden English is out to sing himself to the ring. Kidd is out next.
Match #4: Aiden English vs. Tyson Kidd
This entire match seems based around Cass coming out and causing English to lose. It’s an average back and forth before Full Sail tell tales the surprise by saying “sawft” a bunch of times. Sure enough, Cass is out to put on English’s beret and scarf. Cass tosses the beret past English in the ring and Aiden walks into a top rope blockbuster by Kidd. 3 count.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Pretty goofy, but then again the whole “artiste” character of English seems designed for a feud with people like Cass & Enzo… so… yeah. Meanwhile, Tyson Kidd was here and didn’t really get to do much.
Up next? Adrian Neville vs. Corey Graves.
Back from break, Neville is out. Graves enters last.
Match #5: Adrian Neville vs. Corey Graves
About what I expected. Neville starts out with his fast offense, Graves goes for the knee, and then works it for the back half of the match. Again, I’m really bummed we don’t get to see much of the “sadistic, will wreck your knee” version of Graves we’ve been getting lately. Both guys get their stuff in and Neville finishes Graves off with a Red Arrow – even though his knee is “banged up”.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Solid stuff for a NXT “main event” from this time period.
Post-match, Neville is too banged up to even stand. Bo Dallas’s music hits and he’s out in a suit. He takes his jacket off, rolls up his sleeves, and heads to the ring. Right as Bo is about to get in the ring, Triple H’s music hits and he’s out. HHH is glad both Neville and Bo are out here because he wanted to speak with both of them. On Feb. 27th, on the WWE Network, Triple H will make the night memorable by suspending the title above the ring in NXT’s first ever ladder match – for the NXT Championship.
We go off the air on Triple H saying “good luck” and Bo holding up the title in Neville’s face.
Next week? No idea. Maybe the Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro face off that didn’t happen this week?