After distancing myself from the WWE product for almost a decade, I missed the beginnings of NXT. Thanks to the WWE Network, all of the early NXT episodes from Full Sail are finally available for streaming. So, since I missed at least two years worth of “NXT at Full Sail”, I’m going to begin recapping these “classic” NXT episodes for the site. Not sure how regularly I’ll do this and another one this week is out of the question because WrestleMania week is going to be “pro wrestling overload”, but we’ll get there. Heck, I may even fill in the “missing episodes” on this site from when I took my sabbatical from NXT last year. Stranger things have happened. Let’s get to the recap.
WWE NXT 06/20/12 Recap
“Yes sir, we promised you a great main event tonight”. We open with a dramatic video package welcoming us to the next generation of superstars. I see you Jason Jordan with hair. Hey, it’s Seth Rollins with a blonde streak. Hey, it’s Bo Dallas not booked terribly. The future begins… right… NOW!
NXT video credits and we’re taped from Full Sail. William Regal welcomes us to the show by way of voice over as we pan the crowd. Jim “Good Ol’ JR” Ross is out first to his theme. JR lets us know that the American Dream Dusty Rhodes is the GM of NXT. “Common Man Boogie” hits and Dusty is out to a pop. Dusty drops that the big main event for the debut episode is Tyson Kidd vs. Michael McGillicutty (aka – Curtis Axel in more modern times). Dusty puts over how nuts tonight will be and tells everyone to have some fun.
JR then sends us a hype video on Bo Dallas. Man, it’s wild to see fresh-faced Bo Dallas, full of energy and catch phrases. They even put over his lineage and it seems like a no-brainer he’s going to be a huge star on the main roster in short order.
Up next? Bo Dallas debuts.
Back from break, a pre-Ascension Viktor (aka – Rick Victor) is already in the ring. Bo Dallas is out next. Our announcers for this era of NXT are JR and Regal.
Match #1: Rick Victor vs. Bo Dallas
Essentially a squash match to put Dallas over. He works the arm for a bit, hits Rick with a running clothesline, hits a powerslam, and puts Victor away with a spear.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – I like this Bo Dallas kid, he seems like he has great potential.
Post-match, Riley Pierce interviews Bo on the ramp. Dallas says he has a “game plan” and the match we just saw was his plan being executed. Bo tells the guys in the back to remember his smile because they’re going to be seeing a lot of it. Keep watching, because we will know Bo!
Next, JR sends us to a video package on some guy named “Seth Rollins” who is debuting next week.
Later tonight? Kidd vs. McGillicutty.
Up next? Damien Sandow works a match. “Maybe”, adds JR. Hmm.
During the break, a video package for “Antonio Cesaro” airs and we learn he’ll be in action next week.
Next, Damien Sandow heads to the ring wearing his bathrobe. Already in the ring? A pre-American Alpha Jason Jordan.
Sandow cuts a promo putting himself over by calling himself the “savior of the masses”. Full Sail is already Full Sail and chants “What?” at him. Apparently, Sandow feels that Jordan is an “ignoramus” and refuses to wrestle him. Eva Marie’s “I won’t wrestle people” gimmick from last year? Yeah, Sandow already did it. Sandow leaves to his music while Jordan fumes in the ring.
Next, we get a video package on the pre-Viktor Ascension. It’s shot like they’re standing above a CGI city at night and seeing this, I don’t think anyone in WWE has ever decided on what The Ascension’s gimmick is supposed to be. But, you know, Rise and all that. They’re up next!
Shoe-horned into this show is the “Raw Rebound”. I don’t recap recaps, so I skipped this. Hey, maybe some day I’ll become enough of a masochist to sit through every Raw episode on the Network and recap them for this site. But until that day, my “I don’t recap recaps” rule stands.
Back from break, The Ascension are out with a crazy entrance that intercuts them… walking… to pre-taped footage of them looking angry and/or mysterious. The two unlucky men they’re facing? C.J. “Juice Robinson” Parker and LOOK, LOOK EVERYBODY, IT’S MIKE DALTON BEFORE HE WAS KNOWN AS TYLER.
Match #2: The Ascension vs. C.J. Parker & Mike Dalton
Even this early in the game, it’s a NXT Ascension match. Dalton never even tags in and his sole contribution to the match is getting knocked off the apron by “Cameron” who is the guy that Viktor eventually replaces. The Ascension stomp is a thing that happens. After toying with Parker for a while, he’s dispatched by way of their Downcast finisher. Wherein, Cameron trips the guy and then Connor delivers a flapjack. The Fall of Man is probably a more dynamic finisher for them, so I can see why that was changed.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – I’ll never tire of seeing the Ascension (even this early version) made to look like a strong, unstoppable tag team.
Up next? The main event.
During the break, a teaser vignette for Bray Wyatt airs. Man, even in this embryonic form, I’m all over the “swamp person doom prophet” Bray Wyatt and that is on full display in this vignette. We’re told he’s “coming soon”, so I’m going to have to watch like forty more episodes of this show until he debuts, right? #Emmalina.
Next, Ethan Carter, er, I mean, Derrick Bateman is backstage… walking… into a men’s room. He’s looking for Johnny Curtis (aka Fandango). I can only describe Johnny Curtis as Dean Ambrose Lite years before Dean Ambrose Full Strength was even a thing. Bateman is looking for Curtis because they have a match in the main event on next week’s show. I get the impression there is some history here since Curtis claims to be sick of Bateman and his curly hair, but I’m hoping JR / Regal fill us in next week as to why these guys don’t get along. Before long, Curtis is calling the men’s room his “office” and telling Bateman he got “weird sick” in there. See, kinda Ambrose-y. Bateman says Curtis should be scared of what he’s going to do him next week. Curtis no sells this, wipes his hands on Bateman’s shirt, before saying that his hands were already clean, and leaves. Bateman’s response? He calls Curtis a “dirt bag”. Such a strange backstage segment.
Next, McGillicutty is out for the main event. Kidd is out next.
Match #3: Michael McGillicutty vs. Tyson Kidd
Man, the one thing this match did is make me miss watching Tyson Kidd in a wrestling ring. I was really getting into his stuff after watching his later run in NXT at the same time he and Cesaro were tearing it up on the main roster tag division. Anyway, this match. Not a terrible match by any means. Kidd works his mixed style to great effect doing both a suicide dive and still working more classic ground holds. McGillicutty gets in the majority of his offense after trapping Kidd in a tree of woe for a while and gets some heel heat from the crowd after choking Kidd from the outside. We get a few near falls, one by way of Kidd hitting a reverse moonsault off the top, before we head to the finish sequence. McGillicutty goes for a Perfectplex, but Kidd blocks it into a roll up, and then converts that into the Dungeon Lock. McGillicutty taps immediately.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Not a bad match by any stretch, but it felt more like a live event match. No story build after the match and it just felt like, “Hey, here’s two guys that can put on a good match so we’ll have them main event”. Both guys looked good though, and Kidd seemed the most over out of the two, so likely a wise decision to have him go over clean here.
We go off the air with Tyson Kidd celebrating in the ring.