NXT Episode 214 3/27/14 Review
1. Mojo Rawley vs. CJ Parker
Still can't believe they were dumb enough to have Parker cut a promo wearing a nice suit the other week. You might as well wear a shirt that says NARC when you go on your Umphrey's Mcgee cruise. And man Mojo stinks. He doesn't take an interesting beating, and this whole match was CJ dominating with nice offense, until the go home sign gets lit and Mojo hits his two pieces of offense (butt butt and a light as a feather Bombs Away) for the win. Terrible structure. Parker looks good in the ring though, and knows how to carry himself and somehow not seem phony. He hits a nice standing spin kick (think Booker T's old standing leg lariat) and throws decent punches, had a nice immediacy to things while he was putting the boots and fists to Mojo. But they seem pretty committed to making Mojo "a thing" sooooo...I mean it looks good when Gronk is sitting in the crowd with his family all wearing your shirts, but as far as defensive linemen making a transition to wrestling he doesn't appear to be quite as good as Steve McMichael. They talk up his freakish strength but none of that strength comes across in his matches. I don't think he's been doing this too terribly long and he's obviously a high level athlete, so there's obviously room for improvement, I just wish he was doing his improving off TV.
2. Xavier Woods vs. Tyler Breeze
Fun match. The more I see Breeze the more I really like him. He's really smart in the ring and lays out spots in a fun Finlay type of way. He's not an ass kicker like Finlay obviously, but he's creative in similar ways. He has cool fake outs and comes up with neat ways to play possum, plus he does a lot of little things really well like hold snug headlocks and bump appropriately for the move being delivered. He's a big bumper, but he doesn't go big on every single bump. He and Xavier match up nicely but watching the two of them it's clear how much Breeze outclasses him.
3. Corey Graves vs. Yoshi Tatsu
Poor Yoshi Tatsu. Knocked down to losing 3 minute matches on NXT. So much for his revenge for the Graves attack on him a few weeks ago. Although I suppose him getting paid by WWE for 5+ years is something nobody would have predicted, so good for him! Tatsu is fun here keeping Graves off balance, with hard chops and neat things like kidney punches and leg kicks to the front of Graves' thighs. Graves starts targeting Tatsu's knee and Tatsu sells it well enough to make it look like an actual injury. Graves has cool leg whips, like when Mike Modest would whip a guy's arm into the mat, but with Tatsu's leg. He ends the match by doing a sliding tackle into Tatsu's patella which is just gross. Never seen a guy do a chop block to the FRONT of someone's leg before. Yikes. Graves gets the tap but this was tragically short, like 3 minutes. I'd love to see what these two could do with 9 minutes. Shame. Guess we all needed that Mojo Rawley match.
4. Charlotte vs. Natalya
Hey this was quite good as well! And again, they seemed to really be going places with it until the inevitable run in finish. Charlotte works sort of sloppy but here it works for her as it makes her strikes feel dangerous in an untrained way. She throws a few elbows that seem to land hard, and a big lariat with full follow through. The mat stuff is really engaging too, Nattie getting to break out some tricks she doesn't really get to break out on the main brand. There were a couple of spots with Charlotte attempting to lock on a poor figure 4 which lead to nice Nattie reversals, including a small package that I thought was the finish. I was getting ready to include this in my list of recommendable NXT matches before the finish.
5. Bo Dallas vs. Adrian Neville
Eh, pretty disappointing for the time allotted. They didn't make very good use of the early minutes, and then when Neville hit a moonsault to the floor Alex Riley and Tensai acted like it was something they had never seen before. Neville does some things that most people can't do, but it's like they were dying to talk about Neville's flying and just couldn't wait to use the line for something more uncommon. Things pick up when Dallas hits a big clothesline which, naturally, Neville bumps all haywire for. But the pacing just never quite clicked and Riley/Tensai kept trying to make it sound like they were going through an EPIC WAR, with stuff like "how are both men even on their FEET right now!?!?" even though it was about 6 minutes into the match. Neville hits a nice kick from the apron and then goes for the Red Arrow, but Dallas gets knees up and you know Neville planted right into those knees. That looked like a finish right there. It's not, and that's fine, but then they lose me by having both men knocked out and struggling to get to their feet, as I guess Neville landing gut first on Dallas' knees really took it out of Dallas. And mere moments after just being barely able to beat that count back to their feet, Neville has found the strength to hit his inverted 450. Okay. This was very disappointing coming off their good ladder match from Arrival. That match was laid out really nicely but perhaps I gave them too much credit for that. It's possible that show had more hands on match layout from agents, and they leave guys more up to their own devices on the regular shows. That's probably too broad and I'm sure it's not totally that way, but it doesn't sound that crazy.
If they had divvied up the allotted match time a bit better this could have been a very good week of TV. But they did not and so it was not. This week it became more apparent just how lousy Alex Riley is on commentary, and Tensai isn't much better. Both come off incredibly insincere and often come off like total shills. It's not a shock to hear a bunch of worthless platitudes being spouted on WWE TV, but people like Regal and Renee Young sound so natural and genuine on commentary that it's tough listening to these hacks.
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