NXT – March 20, 2013: The Art Of Week To Week Booking

NXT
Date: March 20, 2013
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Tony Dawson, William Regal

Last week’s show was about building for the future, so hopefully we get what the stuff that was being built to this week. The main stories are the Wyatt Family vs. Bo Dallas and the tag champions and Langston vs. O’Brian which should be a good match when we get around to it. I love how they make us wait around here. It’s like the old days when they didn’t have PPVs every month to build to and things can flow more naturally. Let’s get to it.

The opening video recaps the Family vs. Neville and Gray and sets up Neville vs. Family member Luke Harper tonight.

Justin Gabriel vs. Leo Kruger

This was set up by a Gabriel challenge last week. Feeling out process to start with both guys shoving the other into the corner. Kruger gets the first control with a headlock before Gabriel grabs one of his own. Back up and Kruger shoves him down before driving an elbow into Gabriel’s neck. We take a break and come back with Leo still in control, this time via a hammerlock.

Justin fights up for a few seconds but is driven right back down by the hammerlock. He escapes again but they ram heads to put both guys down. Back up and they slug it out by exchanging forearms until Gabriel takes over with a series of right hands. A big spinebuster gets two for Kruger but as he goes for an arm hold of some kind, Gabriel suplexes him down to get a breather.

Gabriel goes to the middle rope for a kind of jumping mule kick for two followed by a HARD kick to the chest. Justin is consistently selling the arm work from earlier which is a very nice thing to see. A big spinning kick to the head of a kneeling Kruger gets another two count as does a sunset flip.

Gabriel plants him down but Leo rolls away before the 450 can be launched. Kruger goes old school villain with a thumb to the eye before draping the bad arm over the top rope. A seated armbar has Gabriel in trouble but somehow he crawls over to the ropes. Kruger hits a kind of Stroke onto the arm before putting the armbar back on and that’s good enough for the tap at 9:56 shown of 13:26.

Rating: B. I really liked this match as they had a great story going out there. Gabriel sold the arm the entire way through the match which was really nice to see. Kruger continues to impress me and having him as a crazy man who was driven over the edge by his time in the South African militia is a fine character. Good stuff here.

Audrey Marie says it’s always the calmest before the storm because Sasha knows Audrey is gunning for her.

We recap the ending segment from Raw.

William Regal is in the ring with something to say. He calls out Kassius Ohno who comes out in a shirt which says fighting spirit. Regal says whatever their issue is, it isn’t worth it because Ohno doesn’t want to end up like Regal is. William offers an apology and a handshake but Ohno won’t shake it. Ohno talks about growing up idolizing Regal and traveling with CM Punk to attend a camp Regal held to learn from him. During Kassius’ time in Europe, Regal was a mentor to him and made sure the right people saw Ohno’s footage which was his foot in the door to the WWE.

Now though, Regal is on the downside of his career and it’s not a career that Kassius wants. Ohno wants to know what Regal has accomplished in this industry because he used to be an amazing villain, but now he tries to laugh with the people, but the people are really laughing at him. All anyone is going to remember is Regal bending down to kiss Vince, and that’s enough for Regal to shove Ohno down.

We look at Punk and Undertaker’s segment from Raw.

Bayley vs. Paige

Bayley is some new chick here apparently. Paige easily throws her down to start and gets a rollup for two. Off to an armbar by Bayley for a minute or so before Paige fights up and screams a lot. Paige whips her into the corner and trips her down so a kneeling Texas Cloverleaf can make Bayley submit at 2:23.

Post match Summer Rae runs out to the ring but Paige stares at her to send Summer backpedaling.

Adrian Neville vs. Luke Harper

We finally learn something new about the Family: Harper is from Rochester, New York. Harper lands a STIFF right hand to take over early but Neville charges right at him, only to be dropped with a hot shot for two. We take an early break and come back with Harper headbutting Neville down and crawling on the mat to hook a chinlock. A kick to the head and an elbow drop get two for Luke and it’s off to an over the shoulder backbreaker.

Harper clotheslines Adrian’s head off and gets five straight two counts. Luke looks to Wyatt for inspiration, allowing Neville to fire off some forearms to get himself a breather. A running forearm staggers Harper and a kick to the head from the apron staggers him a bit more. There’s a missile dropkick for two but Neville has to dive on Erick Rowan who was approaching the ring. Harper heads outside as well and there’s a top rope Asai Moonsault to take him down as well. Back in and a spinning DDT puts Luke down but Wyatt himself distracts Neville, allowing Harper to hit a discus lariat for the pin at 7:33 shown of 11:03.

Rating: C+. I was digging this match with the David vs. Goliath formula working the entire way through. The ending is good too as Harper winning gives the Family a reason to get another shot at the titles but Neville only lost because he was at a 3-1 disadvantage. Good match here and a solid main event.

Post match Oliver Gray comes out to save his partner which makes you wonder where he was during the match. Bo Dallas comes out to make it 3-3 and the Wyatt Family is cleared out to end the show.

Overall Rating: B+. NXT just works. The matches are good, the promos are good, the stories are interesting, the show never drags, the commentators actually talk about what is going on in the NXT world and I want to see what happens next. What more can you possibly ask for than that? The main event sets up a nice six man tag and we have the title match to look forward to also. Another good show this week.

Results

Leo Kruger b. Justin Gabriel – Seated Armbar

Paige b. Bayley – Kneeling Texas Cloverleaf

Luke Harper b. Adrian Neville – Discus Lariat

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