NXT – February 27, 2013: The Battle of South Africa

Date: February 27, 2013
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: William Regal, Tony Dawson

Back for another week here and we now have a new challenger for Langston in the form of Corey Graves. This is a good idea as Graves never got to have his title match due to the Shield interfering the first time. Other than that the main focus has actually been on the Divas division which works far better here than it does in WWE. Let’s get to it.

We open with Bo Dallas in the back with Dusty Rhodes, the NXT GM. Corey Graves comes in, carrying the NXT Title belt that he stole last week. Dusty talks about earning things, like Bo earned his spot in the Royal Rumble by winning a tournament. Tonight it’s Graves vs. Dallas vs. Conor O’Brian for the #1 contender’s spot.

Opening sequence.

Justin Gabriel vs. Leo Kruger

Justin has Tyson Kidd with him and this is fallout from last week where Kruger tried to attack the injured Kidd, only to have Gabriel make the save. We hear a brief history of the two guys as they were both trained in South Africa. Gabriel avoids a shot in the corner and chops away at Kruger’s chest before they circle each other some more. Another chop staggers Leo and we head to the mat with Justin holding a headlock.

This hold stays on for a good while as two minutes later it’s finally broken up. Gabriel comes right back with an arm trap headscissors for a bit before it’s right back to the headlock. Now it’s Kruger with his own headlock but Justin comes back with a headscissors to send Leo to the outside. We take a break and come back with Leo running over Justin with a shoulder block. A spinebuster puts Justin down for two before Kruger sends him shoulder first into the post for two.

Leo cranks on the arm for a bit before Justin fights back via kicks to the chest. A DDT on the arm puts Justin right back down for two and it’s back to the arm. Back to the armbar for a few minutes until Gabriel escapes via a snapmare. A nice series of kicks takes Kruger down as does a discus forearm. Gabriel hits a splash in the corner followed by a springboard cross body for two.

Justin goes up again, only to have Kruger knock him off the top and snap the bad arm down over the top rope. A BIG running clothesline takes Justin’s head off but somehow only gets two. Leo tries a superplex, only to be countered into a sunset bomb off the top. The 450 finally hits (with Gabriel selling the arm even while covering) for the pin on Kruger at 11:03 shown of 13:33.

Rating: B-. This was a very entertaining match that came out of almost nowhere. They were going back and forth the entire time and the arm stuff was a nice touch. It loses some significant points because of how long they spent in that headlock, but other than that I have very few complaints here. This was one of the better matches I’ve seen in a long time on NXT.

Post match Kruger hits Gabriel with Kidd’s crutch.

Aksana vs. Emma

Emma dances (badly) to the ring and tries to skin the cat to get into the ring but can’t quite get over the ropes. Aksana whips her into the corner to start and crawls over to Emma, only to have the Aussie (Emma) head to the apron. She kicks the ropes and seems to trip down to the floor. So is she a klutz?

Back in and a hair drag puts Aksana down so Emma can mock the crawling thing that Aksana does. Aksana comes back with a slam and drops an elbow for two. Emma pulls her down by the hair again and puts on a cravate for good measure. Aksana counters what appears to be a dancing suplex and hits a spinebuster for the pin at 4:39.

Rating: D+. What does it say for your career when you’re jobbing to Aksana? This was a step up for Aksana but she’s still not very good. Emma has only been around a few times on NXT and the dancing bit is only going to carry her so far, especially given how many other dancing characters there are in WWE at this time.

We cut to the back where Bo Dallas is unconscious.

Corey Graves vs. Conor O’Brian

There’s no Dallas in sight at the moment so I guess this is one on one now. The winner gets a shot at Langston. Graves goes for a leg to start and is easily shoved away. Another attempt gets the same result before O’Brian runs him over a few times with some hard shoulders. Off to a headlock on the mat by Conor which shifts into a nerve hold. We take a break and come back with Graves being backdropped over the top and out to the floor.

Back in and O’Brian keeps up the punishment as he stops a comeback attempt cold. Graves is sent to the floor and gets a breather, allowing him to wrap Conor’s leg around the post a few times. Back inside and Corey cranks on the leg with a leg lock before cannonballing down onto it. Off to another leg lock which transitions into a kind of modified Texas Cloverleaf, only with Graves laying on his side and cranking back on the legs instead of sitting on the back.

We take another break and come back with both guys on the floor again. Graves punches away at the limping O’Brian before getting two back inside. Back to another leg lock but O’Brian rips at his face to break the hold. They slug it out with O’Brian taking over and hitting a flapjack….and there go the lights. The lights come back on and the Shield is here for a no contest at approximately 9:30 shown of 14:30.

Rating: C+. While still good, this wasn’t as good as the first match. Graves going for the knee was the right move as his finish is a leg lock. Why is that such a complicated idea for so many people to grasp anymore? The finish probably ties into the Dallas attack which is fine, and it’s nice to see Shield still around here. If nothing else they have unfinished business around the NXT Title.

Graves takes the TripleBomb as the fans chant for Shield. Ambrose says Shield isn’t done with NXT. Rollins promises that things will get better, but first they have to get worse.

Overall Rating: B. This show is the most continuously entertaining hour of wrestling every single week. We had two solid matches here, a not terrible Divas match, and a run-in by the top heel group of the main roster. Oh and Dallas was attacked, which may or may not be because of the Shield. This was a solid show and very entertaining for an hour of wrestling. Good stuff.


Justin Gabriel b. Leo Kruger – 450 Splash

Aksana b. Emma – Spinebuster

Corey Graves vs. Conor O’Brian went to a no contest when Shield interfered

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews

1 comment

  1. Chrisman says:

    I found this show immensely entertaining. The Divas even got a bit of rivalry going on, some hard moves that were actually sold well.

    Why is this only 1 hour and Raw is like 5 hours long?