WWE NXT 12/18/13 is the final full episode of NXT for 2013. I cheated and looked ahead and next week’s show is mostly “year in review” business so I imagine it’ll be a quick recap that week. But, Episode 200 is here this week – complete with the Ascension issuing an “open challenge” and Bo Dallas taking on Adrian Neville in a Lumberjack match for the NXT Championship. Not to mention, the “King of Kings” will be on hand to make a huge announcement. I wonder what it could be? Let’s find out!
WWE NXT 12/18/13 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Cold open on Triple H’s entrance. He hits the ring to cut a promo putting over this as the 200th Episode of NXT. HHH name drops Damien Sandow, Antonio Cesaro, The Shield… and after the crowd chants “Five!” – Big E (who is apparently the current Intercontinental Champion at the time of this taping). Triple H mentions the Performance Center has been established a few miles down the road from Full Sail and NXT will just get better and better. Well, he’s not wrong looking back at this from five years in the future. HHH drops the “This Is NXT” catchphrase and gets the crowd pumped by asking them if they are ready.
Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped from Full Sail. Tom Phillips welcomes us to the show and Sami Zayn’s music hits. Tom is joined by Tensai and Byron Saxton this week. Tyson Kidd’s music hits and he’s out next. Hey, Alexa Bliss is the ring announcer this week. Kruger’s music hits next and he’s out first for the heel team. Cesaro is out last to Jack Swagger’s music.
Match #1: Sami Zayn & Tyson Kidd vs. Leo Kruger & Antonio Cesaro
You can’t really go wrong with these four guys in the ring. We get a solid, if not somewhat standard tag match for the opener. Cesaro looks great and there is a nice moment early on when Cesaro first tags in against Zayn where Full Sail chants “Match of the Year” at them. We get the usual beats like Zayn getting a near fall with the Blue Thunder Bomb and Kidd setting up the finish with a suicide dive onto Cesaro on the ramp. Kruger counters a Helluva Kick early on, but can’t counter it when Zayn connects for the finish.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Not bad at all for a tag match between four random guys.
Meanwhile, Nattie is backstage and Emma dances into frame. Nattie is annoyed and claims she’s watching “Tyson’s match” which… uh… is over. Natalya alleges that Emma almost poked her eye out with her dance moves. Emma counters by saying that Nattie has changed since becoming a “reality TV star” and implies Nattie didn’t deserve the title shot she got against Paige. Natalya banters back that Emma’s title shot came from her winning a dance contest. This escalates into Nattie saying she’d like to “tango” with Emma to see who is the next contender for Paige’s title. Emma is down and says she’ll “leave the silly stuff at home” for that match.
Later tonight? Bo Dallas defends the NXT Championship against Adrian Neville in a Lumberjack match.
Next, we get a “NXT Moment” featuring the first episode back in 2010.
After that, we get some “earlier today” footage of a meet and greet at Full Sail.
Meanwhile, Sasha Banks (w/ Summer Rae) is out. Paige is out next. Commentary makes a big deal about Paige’s title reign being “almost” at “150 days”. Asuka laughs at your puny title reign.
Match #2: Sasha Banks (w/ Summer Rae) vs. Paige
During the opener, commentary mentions that “all titles will be represented tonight”. Which I guess is code for “expect some non-title matches”. This is… not great. Having seen Sasha Banks work Natalya in person last night she is better than she is here. Most of Sasha’s offense is a wear down “submission” hold that Paige eventually powers out of. Paige goes on a run, Summer tries to trip her up from the outside, Paige dodges, and Sasha kicks Summer through the ropes. Paige hits the Paige Turner for victory.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – I’m going to try hard not to be hyper critical after watching a 50 minute or whatever women’s division gauntlet match in person 24 hours ago so I’ll just say this was “okay”.
Meanwhile, Enzo & Cass are backstage. We’ve officially entered the “Enzo is in a wheelchair” era of NXT. They overhear Aiden English doing vocal exercises and head over to bully him. Aiden isn’t having it and says he’ll be singing on Broadway while Cass will be a lowly ticket taker. Hmm. Enzo puts over Cass’ “pipes” and somehow this escalates into a Big Cass vs. Aiden English singing contest with Full Sail as the “judges”. At least we’ll be spared from having to hear Enzo rap.
Up next? The Ascension have issued an open challenge.
Next, we get a “NXT Moment” focusing on the first episode from Full Sail.
After that, we see The Ascension mid-entrance. Some music hits… The American Pitbulls are out. Get it? Get it? *nudge nudge* Get it? Oh, and this is an “open challenge” with no titles on the line because… it’s not 2018 and we’re not in the “Main Roster Open Challenge For A Title Era” yet.
Match #3: The Ascension vs. The American Pitbulls
The Pitbulls (not to be confused with the guy who sings “Green Light” and his clone) get in a surprising amount of offense here. Before long, however, The Ascension are back firing on all cylinders and hit the Fall of Man to get the win.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – I mean, it’s weird enough to keep my attention. But, I checked and we never see the American Pitbulls again at NXT so…
Post-match, Hunico & Camacho are out to ruin the victory pose down. The Ascension pick up the other Pitbull, drop the other Pitbull, and hit the Fall of Man on the other Pitbull. Hunico & Camacho watch this from the ramp, stay there, and posture a bit.
Meanwhile, Devin is backstage with a pre-New Day Kofi Kingston. Before Kingston can do more than put over NXT, Lana enters and speaks in Russian. Kofi and Devin have no idea what she’s saying – so Lana speaks in English and says that Alexander Rusev is offering to crush Kofi next week in the ring. Kofi says that sounds more like a challenge and he doesn’t back down so Rusev is on.
Up next? Main event time!
Next week? A look back at 2013.
Also, next week? William Regal vs. Antonio Cesaro (aka – what next week’s recap will mostly be talking about I’d imagine).
Also, not “next week”? Kofi Kingston getting crushed by Alexander Rusev. I’m assuming we get that in the first episode of 2014.
Meanwhile, the Lumberjacks are out and Howard Finkel is our guest ring announcer. Adrian Neville is out first. Bo Dallas is out last. Also, during the mid-match break we get footage of the episode where Seth Rollins won the NXT Championship in an odd production move.
Match #4: Bo Dallas (c) vs. Adrian Neville (Lumberjack Match for the NXT Championship)
If anything, this is fun to watch for the “Hey… that’s *insert guy we now know*” moments when looking at the Lumberjacks. I noticed Tyler Breeze, Tye Dillinger, Baron Corbin, Wesley Blake, Angelo Dawkins, Buddy Murphy, and Braun Strowman. As for the match, it’s… okay. If anything, the Lumberjack stipulation works as it sets up a scenario that I imagine will be fun down the road. Neville gets into it with Breeze on the outside early on. Breeze pouts on the ground for the rest of the match. Later on, Bo bails to set up the finish and every Lumberjack (except Breeze) is over to eat a Neville dive from the top. Bo gets tossed back in and Neville goes up for the Red Arrow. One of the unknown Lumberjacks distracts the ref and Breeze pulls Bo to safety. Neville misses the Red Arrow and Bo steals the win with a cover for three.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Definitely fun to see a smaller version of Braun Strowman wearing trunks. Oh, and the set up for hostilities between Breeze and Neville was a great development too. Full Sail chanted “We Will Riot” towards the end of the match in reference to Bo retaining. Bo retained. I saw no rioting.
We go off the air on Bo celebrating on the ramp and Full Sail not sticking to their word and rioting.