It’s Tuesday morning, so it’s time for another NXT Catch Up episode recap here on Turn Heel. Today’s episode, WWE NXT 02/27/13, is another mystery episode where last week’s show gave no clues on what to expect. And, before even starting the episode on the WWE Network, I see this week’s show barely clocks in at forty minutes – so I’m not expecting a lot. Let’s get to the recap!
WWE NXT 02/27/13 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Cold open on Bo Dallas backstage with Dusty Rhodes. Enter Corey Graves – who is annoyed that Bo Dallas is there. Dusty asks if Graves “brought it” and Graves produces the NXT Championship belt he made off with last week. Dusty puts over Bo as the guy who won the Royal Rumble tournament, worked the Rumble match, and then beat Wade Barrett (the current Intercontinental champ at the time) the next night. Dusty suggests a Triple Threat match tonight between Dallas, Graves, and Conor O’Brian with the Number One Contender spot for the NXT Championship on the line. Bo is excited by this, but Graves is annoyed and vows to show all of them what it means when he says “stay down”.
Updated opening credits (hey there Sasha Banks, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan) and we’re taped from Full Sail. Tony Dawson welcomes us and he’s paired with the ever-present William Regal. Tyson Kidd’s music hits and he’s out on crutches with a “dressed to compete” Justin Gabriel. Tony reminds us that Gabriel came to the rescue last week when Leo Kruger was about to put the boots to the injured Kidd. Kruger’s new music hits and he’s out as Gabriel’s opponent.
Match #1: Justin Gabriel (w/ Tyson Kidd) vs. Leo Kruger
Wow, this match had a really bad edit a few minutes in. I can hear Bruce Prichard’s angry Vince McMahon impression already (“Goddamn Pal!”). The match is rather slow and had a real “2013 NXT Main Event” feel to it. Kruger weakens Gabriel’s arm and shoulder and goes to work on the arm – for most of the run time. Gabriel mounts a few mini-comebacks of the kick variety but Kruger recovers back into “work the arm” mode. Finally, Gabriel goes on a run of strikes, hits a sunset flip powerbomb, and puts Kruger away with a 450.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – This felt a bit long, especially since it ran longer than the main event on a really short episode.
Post-match, we don’t see how – but Kruger has obtained one of Kidd’s crutches and hits Gabriel with it through the ropes. Kruger leaves and Kidd fumes before going to check on Gabriel. This one feels far from over.
Later tonight? Conor O’Brian vs. Corey Graves vs. Bo Dallas in a Triple Threat with a shot at Big E Langston’s NXT Championship hanging in the balance.
Back from break, some fans showed up to the wrestling show.
Meanwhile, Aksana is out for a match. Emma’s original theme hits and she awkwardly dances to the ring. We linger on Emma some more and see her botch attempting to pull herself into the ring and then barely doing it a second time. I love Emma, but “goofy Emma” is still my least favorite Emma (no, I don’t count Emmalina because #EmmalinaIsALie).
Match #2: Aksana vs. Emma
Well, both Paige and Emma are here and showing up on TV, but we’re still a ways out from them “changing the game” as far as how WWE women’s wrestling is presented. This is called a “Divas match” by Tony and, well, it follows that formula. Emma focuses on her dancing a little too much for my liking and Aksana doesn’t bring a ton to the table. The high points of the match were Emma mocking Aksana’s “sultry slide” taunt and Emma essentially “breaking character” by slapping on a nice cravate. The finish comes when Aksana hits a solid spinebuster out of nowhere.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – This is Emma’s first appearance in the “dancing Emma” character so I’m giving this one a big pass. Aksana doesn’t do a whole lot, but the spinebuster wasn’t bad.
Meanwhile, Renee Young is backstage with some breaking news. Someone has taken out Bo Dallas and he’s lying on the ground behind Renee getting checked out by refs and a trainer. It doesn’t look for the main event.
Up next? Triple Threat?
Back from break, Corey Graves is out to his music. Dawson tells us that the main event is no longer a Triple Threat and we’re just getting Graves vs. O’Brian. “The Ascension” Conor O’Brian (hey, that’s how they had Saxton announce him!) is out last.
Match #3: Corey Graves vs. “The Ascension” Conor O’Brian (Number One Contender’s Match for the NXT Championship)
I get the distinct feeling that the originally announced Triple Threat is happening next week or the week after. Much like last week’s main event, we get a non-finish here. O’Brian looks solid enough manhandling the smaller Graves, until Graves targets the leg. I’m a fan of that, since Graves’ finisher is a leg-based submission and the story Graves tells here makes sense. The crowd is rather silent during this match since it’s heel vs. heel, but they eventually start pulling for Conor a bit as Graves continues to work on the leg. Conor mounts a comeback, hits the flapjack part of his “Fall of Man” singles finisher, and the lights go out. I bet you’re thinking Wyatt Family… I was too. Nah, lights come up and The Shield is beating down both guys. The ref calls for the bell.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – I’m not a huge fan of a non-finish in the main event two weeks in a row, but hey, “peak The Shield” – so you’ve got my attention.
Post-match, The Shield continues the beat down and both Graves and O’Brian get Shield Powerbombs. Dean Ambrose gets a mic and cuts a promo letting everyone know you can’t run from justice. Seth gets the mic next and says the Shield are here to right the wrongs of an industry gone awry. Things will get better, Seth promises, but first they’ve got to get a lot worse. Ask Sheamus, ask John Cena, heck, ask Ryback just how bad things can get. I had to laugh there since it sounds like a lead-in soundbyte for a segment on Ryback’s podcast in 2018 where he complains about stuff he didn’t like on Raw and SmackDown that week. Anyway, Roman gets the mic to scream the catchphrase “Believe in the Shield”.
The Shield exit the ring to their music, Roman stops to scream in Corey’s face, and we go off the air on Graves and O’Brian flat on the ground outside the ring.