After last week’s not-so-subtle 39 minute ad for WrestleMania, WWE NXT 04/03/13 will get things back on track for the fledgling yellow brand. On tap is Conor O’Brian getting his title shot against NXT Champ Big E Langston. Will Corey Graves get involved? Last time we saw Conor, he and Graves were teaming up to beat Big E down to end the show a few weeks back. Also, the lone bit of story from last week’s show was Ohno attacking William Regal at the commentary table. I imagine we’ll get some sort of update on that altercation either this week or next. If this ends up with Regal working a match I’m going to be super excited. Anyway, let’s get to the recap!
WWE NXT 04/03/13 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Cold open on a hype video showing us how Conor O’Brian became the Number One Contender to Big E Langston’s NXT Championship.
Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped from Full Sail.
Tony welcomes us to the show and we’re sent to the commentary table where we see Tony with special guests Brad Maddox and Kassius Ohno. Not sure why Maddox is there, but I’m assuming Ohno is there to get his receipt from Regal.
Bo Dallas’ music hits and he’s out for a tag team match. Adrian Neville is out next as his partner. We learn that Oliver Grey is out for six months (ACL injury) at the hands of the Wyatt Family. Well, that’s interesting considering he’s one-half of the tag champs. This also explains why they were so weird with the Neville / Grey team after they won the tournament. Bray Wyatt’s music hits next and Bray waits for Saxton to introduce the Family before he rants at Neville about snakes and cages. Harper and Rowan hit the ring and it’s on.
Match #1: Bo Dallas & Adrian Neville vs. The Wyatt Family (w/ Bray Wyatt)
Some relatively standard tag action, but it’s miles better than the stuff from last week. Harper and Rowan isolate Neville and beat on him until he escapes and makes the hot tag to Bo. Dallas goes on a run, Neville takes out Rowan and Bray on the outside, and Bo puts Harper away with a Belly to Belly Suplex.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – It feels like we’re in “make lemonade” territory with Adrian Neville holding the tag belts with no partner. Not sure if this was an audition for Dallas a potential partner – or just NXT attempting to put a bow on that “mutual enemy” stuff we’ve seen between Dallas, Neville, and the Wyatts lately.
Later tonight? The NXT Championship is on the line in the main event.
Back from break, Conor cuts a promo on Big E Langston in a dark room. Conor is the Ascension and he will rise.
Next, we see the announce team. In case you forgot from last week… it’s WrestleMania soon. Here, watch a video promo for the John Cena vs. The Rock match.
After that, we’re back to the announce table. Tony gets a half-dozen words out before William Regal launches into the shot and beats the crap out of Kassius Ohno. After Ohno is sufficiently beaten, we fade to black. The crowd is really into this chanting “Thank you, Regal!”. Good stuff.
Back from no break, our commentary team is now just Tony and Brad.
Summer Rae’s music hits and she’s out for a tag match. Her partner? Audrey Marie. Sasha’s music hits and she’s out first for the babyfaces. Her partner? Paige.
Match #2: Summer Rae & Audrey Marie vs. Sasha Banks & Paige
Most of the match involves Paige attempting to get her hands on Summer and failing. This means that Sasha spends a lot of time in the ring with Summer and Audrey and everyone looks decent enough. Two tag matches in a row with the standard “face goes in peril” schtick made this one suffer a bit. Sasha goes in peril, counters into a roll up, gets 2, and hits the hot tag to Paige. Summer tags in Audrey and immediately bails to the back. Paige kicks Audrey and hits her with the “Paige Turner”. 3 count.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – We’re not quite to the golden era of the women’s division – but we’re taking some larger steps towards getting there.
Post-match, Paige immediately takes off for the back after Summer.
Meanwhile, Big E and Conor are both backstage in a split screen and… they’re… walking!
Next week? William Regal returns to action to face Kassius Ohno. That should be good!
Conor’s music hits and he’s out first for the main event. Big E’s music hits and champ enters last.
Match #3: Big E Langston (c) vs. Conor O’Brian (NXT Championship Match)
It’s a total hoss battle and about what I expected. Short and to the point. Conor takes the lead early on, but struggles to get more than a one count on Big E. Eventually, Big E “hulks up” and teases a comeback, which Conor ends with a Big Boot. From there, Conor starts mocking the five count and attempts to hit Big E with a Big Ending. “Big” mistake. Big E counters it and hits Conor with a Big Ending of his own to retain the title.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – I don’t know if it was the timing of this getting postponed a week due to the WrestleMania episode – but this just felt anti-climatic. It’s also possible that because of the way they’ve booked things up to this point, neither Conor or Corey Graves felt like they’d realistically beat Big E for the title. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like Big E as the champ a lot – but it just doesn’t seem like we’ve found the right challenger for him just yet.
Post-match, the crowd coaxes Big E into another Big Ending and self-counted five count.
We go off the air on Big E holding up the NXT Championship.