WWE NXT 12/05/12 is another mysterious episode as no matches were announced on last week’s show. We do have an alleged announcement from GM Dusty Rhodes coming down the chute at some point – if the doubled commentary from last week is to be believed. And, of course, Jinder vs. Seth for the title in two weeks – so maybe another confrontation between those two tonight? I don’t know. I’ve got nothing. Let’s get to the recap.
WWE NXT 12/05/12 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped from Full Sail. Tony Dawson welcomes us to the show and Michael McGillicutty’s music hits. As the future Curtis Axel makes his way to the ring, a chyron pops up to alert us that William Regal is back on commentary this week.
Antonio Cesaro’s music hits and he’s out sporting the WWE United States Championship. I still like this 2012 Cesaro entrance theme and it’s such a trip that it’s, essentially, a rap song based around the hook of Dean Malenko’s old WWE entrance theme.
Match #1: Michael McGillicutty vs. Antonio Cesaro
Not a bad opener. The crowd absolutely despises Cesaro so they’re behind McGillicutty. Cesaro is in control for most of the match. As over as McGillicutty is here, it’s like they don’t want him to get too much stuff in on the main roster mid card title holder. McGillicutty’s hope spots are brief and don’t really amount to much. After a Saito suplex and elbow strike gets McGillicutty two, Cesaro gets a “thumb to the eye” in behind the ref’s back. Cesaro capitalizes off of that with a pop-up uppercut and puts McGillicutty away with the Gotch Neutralizer.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Cesaro tends to deliver and this is a good match – even if McGillicutty felt a little restrained.
Later tonight? Tyson Kidd takes on Leo Kruger in the main event.
Next, we get a video package on next week’s Rollins vs. Mahal NXT Championship match.
Back from break, Axl Keegan is already in the ring. Commentary mentions it’s his “debut”, so I imagine he’s expected to be more than just cannon fodder? Bo Dallas is out next.
Match #2: Axl Keegan vs. Bo Dallas
It’s a babyface squash match. Keegan controls the match, but his most exciting move is a body slam. So, yeah. After taking some shots to the head, Bo starts asking Keegan to “hit me again”. Bo answers back with some punches of his own and hits the Spear to get the win.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Bo can go, but there’s not much to this match.
Post-match, Bo cuts a promo issuing a challenge to anyone in WWE. He doesn’t want a match, he wants a fight.
Later tonight? Kidd vs. Kruger.
Up next? Corey Graves vs. Yoshi Tatsu.
Back from break, Graves is out. Regal calls him “naughty”. Tatsu enters next. During Tatsu’s entrance, Graves tosses his jacket at Tatsu and Tatsu catches it. Graves uses this distraction to attack Tatsu outside the ring. Eventually, Tatsu rolls back in and the match starts.
Match #3: Corey Graves vs. Yoshi Tatsu
Another glorified squash. Almost immediately, Graves attacks Tatsu’s knee and the remainder of the match is Graves working the knee. Tatsu mounts the token comeback and Graves squashes that quickly and slaps on the Lucky 13. Tatsu taps immediately.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – We haven’t seen much of Graves yet, but this helps establish him as a calculating heel – which is what I imagine his NXT character’s aim in based on the vignettes we saw.
Post-match, Graves leaves through the crowd.
Later tonight? Jim Ross joins commentary for the main event.
Back from break, already in the ring? Gavin Reid. Roman Reigns is out next. Reigns gets a dramatic entrance with his Titantron video on full screen until he hits the stage.
Match #4: Gavin Reid vs. Roman Reigns
Your third squash match in a row. Roman dominates Gavin Reid and shouts out random things like “what is my name?” and “who’s the man”? Of all three squashes on this show – this one is the most decisive and the one I liked the least. Roman hits his “Moment of Silence” slam finisher and gets an easy three count.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – I absolutely do not like the NXT Roman Reigns character and am so happy the Shield became a thing around this time.
Post-match, Roman demands that ring announcer Byron Saxton get in the ring and gives him a hard time for no reason. He claims Saxton is jealous of him and wishes he looked like Reigns. Yeah, I don’t get it either. There’s zero context here and eventually Roman excuses Saxton and says he doesn’t want to have this conversation with Saxton again. Okay, then.
Meanwhile, Tom Phillips is backstage with Tyson Kidd. Tyson mentions wanting to become NXT Champion and that causes Kassius Ohno to show up and butt into the interview. Ohno mentions he put Steamboat on the shelf and a “kid” like Kidd should watch himself around Ohno. Kidd quotes Einstein and leaves.
After no break, Kruger is out for the main event. Ross replaces Dawson on commentary and sounds like he’s inside a beer can. Tyson Kidd is out next.
Match #5: Leo Kruger vs. Tyson Kidd
Not bad for a filler match when last week promoted a title match two weeks out. Kidd shows off his versatility and Kruger gets to display a bit of his ruthlessness. A good chunk of the match is mat-based, which makes it a bit slower than the modern-day NXT main events, but I enjoyed it for a change of pace. Kidd tries to hit his springboard elbow drop early on, but Kruger has it scouted and blocks it. We call back to that in the finish sequence, where Kidd sets up for that move, but lands on his feet instead, and transitions into a submission hold – tapping Kruger out.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Maybe it was the string of squash matches, but this had enough time to breathe and was a satisfying watch.
Post-match, Ohno appears and immediately attacks Kidd. Kruger comes to and joins in and they double team Kidd for a while. Eventually, Ohno hits the rolling elbow and this causes Regal to leave commentary! Regal heads to the ring, pulls Kidd to safety, and helps him to the back.
We go off the air on Kassius Ohno looking really confused in the ring.
Next week? Seth Rollins defends the NXT Championship against Jinder Mahal.