Where were you on Halloween 2012? I don’t remember either, but I wasn’t watching WWE NXT 10/31/12, so that’s why I’m seeing this episode for the first time. Last week we got the parting shot from Jim Ross that we’d see a main roster midcard title get defended this week and Roman Reigns would be debuting. Late 2012 NXT is a disjointed mess of new stars and main roster midcarders biding their time. Considering the episode was likely taped weeks in advance, I’m not expecting any Halloween themed segments either. Let’s get to the recap!
WWE NXT 10/31/12 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Standard opening credits and we’re taped from Full Sail. Cold open on the Usos’ entrance. No announcer yet so we get to hear Summer Rae do the ring announcing. Eventually Tony Luftman’s voice enters the fray and welcomes us to the show. Michael McGillicutty’s music hits next and he’s out with Johnny Curtis. Regal calls him “Custard Foot Curtis” and never explains to us what that means. Curtis poses a lot and dances around – shades of Fandango? This, predictably, annoys McGillicutty.
Match #1: The Usos vs. Michael McGillicutty & Johnny Curtis
I’m not sure of the timeline, but Curtis’ attitude in this match feels like we’re seeing the birth of the Fandango character. McGillicutty yells at Curtis a bunch, which seems to telegraph their miscommunication leading to a loss. Instead, the Usos get a hot tag and just go on a run and win by way of being the better team. The dissension in the “not really a tag team” of McGillicutty and Curtis plays no real role despite being heavily featured in the match. After the previously mentioned “hot tag” sequence, Jey hits a Samoan Drop on McGillicutty and Jimmy follows up with a splash off the ropes for the win.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – With all of the focus on McGillicutty’s frustration towards Curtis I figured that would be the reason they lost. Instead, this seemed to be a vehicle to hint at more Usos vs. The Ascension stuff.
Post-match, The Ascension’s music hits and we eventually see them staring down at the Usos from a hole in the Full Sail wall. It sounds creepier than it was.
Meanwhile, Trent Barreta is backstage with Briley. Ohno is mentioned and speak of the devil – he appears. Ohno excuses Briley and tells Trent that the victory over him was a fluke. Trent disagrees and offers to do the match again next week. It’ll once again end with Trent’s “knee in your dumb beard”. Take that Kash-e-us!
Later tonight? Roman Reigns debuts!
Also, later tonight? Antonio Cesaro defends the WWE U.S. Title against Tyson Kidd!
Back from break, Xavier Woods is out to no reaction. Okay, that just felt odd. Leo Kruger’s music hits and he’s out next.
Match #2: Xavier Woods vs. Leo Kruger
Another match to get Kruger’s new “weird hunter” character over. Woods does almost nothing in the match and sells a Kruger bear hug for a good chunk of the run time. After Woods gets a brief comeback, he misses a dropkick off the ropes, and Kruger hits him with the Kruger End.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – A slow, plodding match that didn’t establish anything new from the Kruger character.
Next, a Big E Langston video package airs. We’re then sent to Byron Saxton standing on the stage next to the weird podium again. This time he’s with Big E. Langston. Saxton asks Big E about the five count and Big E says he likes the number five. He has five fingers, five toes, likes high fives and low fives. At that, they’re interrupted by Vickie Guerrero. She screams at the crowd and says she’s a cougar who is here to recruit new men for her stable. Big E sells it like he’s interested in joining her but claps his hands so gym chalk gets all over Vickie. She screams “excuse me!” at Big E and leaves.
Later tonight? A main roster title match is our NXT main event.
Back from break, Jinder Mahal’s music hits and he’s out. He cuts a promo saying that the NXT Championship is his birthright and he demands Dusty come out to the ring and grant him a rematch with Rollins. Instead, he gets Justin Gabriel – who proposes that he should get a shot at Seth’s title. Gabriel even polls the crowd as to who they’d see and only “Tie Dye Guy” seems interested in seeing Jinder vs. Seth again. Meanwhile, Drew McIntyre’s music hits and he’s out to protest saying that he should be the next guy to face Seth. That causes Bo Dallas’ music to hit and he cuts a promo saying all three of these guys have already had their shot and it’s Bo’s turn. This causes Dusty’s music to hit and he’s out. Dusty cuts a promo saying they all make a good point – but in NXT you don’t just get “nothin'” you have to earn it all. How about next week we have a Fatal Four Way match to determine who is the number one contender? Everyone except Drew McIntyre seems okay with this or neutral about the whole deal. Dusty asks for his music to hit, it hits, and he dances to end the segment.
Up next? Tony tells us that “high-flying up and comer” Roman Reigns will debut. Roman Reigns is many things, but I think even he would agree he’s not a high flyer.
After no break, CJ Parker is out. Dramatic music hits and Roman Reigns is out, wearing trunks.
Match #3: Roman Reigns vs. CJ Parker
Reigns has come a long way. While not completely terrible, he doesn’t do a whole lot in this match. He punches CJ a bunch and works the arm. After a boot out of the corner, Roman does his scream and pound the mat thing – but it’s clearly a beta verison of both and not the “Ooooooaaaaaaah” one we’re used to in modern times. You expect the Spear or the Superman Punch, but instead Roman hits a belly to back side slam called the Moment of Silence to get the win. I had to look that up since I’d never seen Roman use it before.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – I can definitely see why Roman was on WWE’s radar already. And seeing an early match like this just proves how much better the guy has gotten over the years.
Up next? The main event!
Back from break, next week? Fatal Four Way match to determine the number one contender to the NXT Championship!
Tyson Kidd is out next for the main event. Jim Ross replaces Tony on commentary – thank God! Cesaro’s music hits next and he’s out with the U.S. Title. William Regal tells us we need to check out Cesaro’s Tout for the feats of strength he posts there.
Match #4: Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. Tyson Kidd (WWE United States Championship Match)
While I’m not wild on the main roster midcard titles getting defended on NXT – this match was a fun watch. Cesaro and Kidd have great chemistry and know how to play off of each other’s strengths to put on a show. I’m sure this natural chemistry is why they worked so well as a tag team too. Regardless, Cesaro retains by way of a Neutralizer, but Kidd gets in a nice run towards the end of the match and gets a near fall after a springboard elbow. Good stuff.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Even though it felt obvious that Cesaro would retain – these guys didn’t phone it in and had a solid match.
We go off the air on Cesaro posing in the ring with the United States Championship.