I did it! WWE NXT 07/24/13 happened exactly five years ago on today’s date. I’m caught up on the “catch up” for NXT Catch Up. From now I’ll be updating the NXT Catch Up section once a week until I’m completely “caught up” to when this site began recapping the show. Considering the NXT Women’s Division is the reason I got back into pro wrestling and started this site – it’s rather fitting that this first goal of catching up on these shows falls on the episode where the first NXT Women’s Champion is crowned. Yep, that’s on this week’s episode. So, without any further ado – let’s see what happened five years ago on NXT.
WWE NXT 07/24/13 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever.
We open with a dramatic video package highlighting this week’s NXT Women’s Championship Tournament Finals match. We even get brief interviews with Paige and Emma in said video package.
Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped from Full Sail. Tom welcomes to the show and he’s joined by Brad. We’re kicking things off with the Tournament Finals! Emma’s music hits and she dances to the ring. Paige’s music hits and she’s out last.
Match #1: Emma vs. Paige (NXT Women’s Championship Tournament – Final Match)
Wow, they killed it. I can absolutely see why this is often listed as the true beginning of the “evolution”. Emma and Paige pull out all of the stops and deliver one of the better women’s division matches we’ve seen in NXT. It’s a solid and evenly paced match until the turning point. Said turning point comes when Emma superplexes Paige off the ropes. And it happens. The first “this is awesome” chant for a women’s match at NXT. I’m not crying, you’re crying! Emma is unable to convert the superplex into a three count and Paige fires back with some kicks. With Emma staggered, Paige hits the Paige Turner and becomes the first NXT Women’s Champion.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – One of the most important matches in WWE history.
Post-match, Paige celebrates with the new title. Several women come out from the back to celebrate with Paige. I noticed Rosa Mendes, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Alicia Fox, Charlotte, and the yet to debut Alexa Bliss. Triple H’s music hits and he’s out to raise Paige’s arm in victory.
Later tonight, Sheamus takes on Luke Harper in the closest thing NXT will have to a “hoss battle” in this era.
Next, a promo video airs featuring Zeb Colter and Antonio Cesaro. Oh, they’re calling Sami Zayn an “illegal” and threatening to deport him. Wow, this aged poorly.
Back in the arena, Angelo Dawkins is already in the ring. Some music hits… and we see Tyler Breeze for the first time. This is pre-selfie stick Breeze, so he’s slumming it by holding his phone to take selfies of himself. He poses on his way to the ring and continues to take dozens of selfies after stepping into the ring.
Match #2: Angelo Dawkins vs. Tyler Breeze
Breeze continues to take selfies even after the bell rings. Dawkins finally has enough and lays hands on Breeze – and Breeze starts clubbing Dawkins. Dawkins gets a few roll ups, but Breeze takes command with some more strikes, some more selfies, and drops Dawkins with the Beauty Shot (spinning heel kick). 3 count.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – The entire presentation from Breeze is incredible. Within minutes he was getting massive boos from Full Sail and clearly knew how to work this character to get great reactions.
Post-match, the “replay” features Tyler posing during his entrance in slow-motion. Meanwhile, Tyler continues to pose and take selfies – to the point the ref has to direct him to leave the ring.
Next, we see last week‘s Ascension backstage promo. They’re up… next!
After no break, the Ascension’s entrance hits and they’re out. Some random music hits and Mickey Keegan is out with Aiden English. Good luck, boys!
Match #3: The Ascension vs. Mickey Keegan & Aiden English
Absolute destruction. Keegan never even tags in and The Ascension just brutalize English for a few minutes. We see The Ascension hit the Fall of Man for the first time and it’s a done deal.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Finally… they’re here!
Post-match, Rick Victor holds the pin forever and we eventually get the first “post-victory Ascension pose”.
Up next? Sheamus vs. Luke Harper.
Next week? Bo Dallas & Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro & Leo Kruger. They’re still treating Bo Dallas like a babyface. That’s adorable.
Meanwhile, Sheamus is out to a pop. The Wyatt theme hits and the entire clan is out to back up Harper.
Match #4: Sheamus vs. Luke Harper (w/ Erick Rowan & Bray Wyatt)
Hoss battle. Seriously. This is just a brawl with a few wrestling spots peppered in from time to time. Either way, it’s fun as Hell and you get to see several minutes of Sheamus and Harper clubbing away at each other. As is “main roster talent slums it at NXT and beats the n00b” tradition, Sheamus goes over with a Brogue Kick. But, they do allow Harper to hit the Discus Clothesline and get a near fall on Sheamus.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – One of the better “main roster guy faces NXT guy” matches we’ve had so far. I don’t count the ones with Cesaro either since he’s almost on the show weekly right now. There are no future implications from this match at NXT, but it was definitely a fun watch.
Post-match, Bray laughs at the result of the match.
We go off the air on the Wyatt Family backing up the ramp while Sheamus celebrates in the ring.