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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

All Time MOTY List HEAD TO HEAD: 2014: Cesaro v. Zayn VS. Shield v. Wyatts

Cesaro v. Sami Zayn NXT Arrival 2/27

ER: Awesome, awesome match. This is not news to most of you. These two match up so well, and this was just a wonderful match to start the big "introduction" event for NXT. There are great matches, and then there are matches that are not only great, but perfectly slot into their time and atmosphere. There were several nice callbacks to their 2/3 falls match from August, starting with Zayn going for his turnbuckle dive DDT and Cesaro lying in wait with a beastly uppercut. Cesaro just manhandles Zayn the entire time using his freak strength. We didn't get anything quite as freakish as the 2/3 falls finish, with Cesaro literally running around the ring holding Zayn above his head and then tossing him even higher, but there were still plenty of awesome freak moments. Everytime Zayn would leave his feet I'd wonder if it would end with Cesaro catching him in mid air and then tossing him painfully, and it often would. Cesaro leveled him a couple of times with uppercuts, the best being a brutal running corner charge. We also get Cesaro working all over Zayn's knee, wrenching it in some cool ways, doing his nasty double stomp to it (later we even get a double stomp literally to Zayn's face), and Zayn gamely plays up the knee injury throughout, showing that some moves take longer to set up because of the knee, and when he follows through with the move anyway it almost always backfires (like Cesaro catching his split legged moonsault and splatting him on the rampway). Zayn's flash roll-ups and pins are all convincing, and Cesaro is great at getting into position and launching himself into Zayn's hope spots (Cesaro taking the sunset flip powerbomb is a thing of perfection). The fans rightly flip out for this one and I was hanging on all of the nearfalls with them. I love that Cesaro never actually went full heel in the match. Crowd was into him and more into Zayn's comebacks, but Cesaro didn't outright cheat or work in an underhanded way, and he didn't need to. This was just a classic match with flawless execution and an awesome, unexpected build. I couldn't see wanting anything more.

PAS: This was a pretty awesome version of a indy juniors style main event. All time great Cesaro performance, which was really a bridge from Claudio to Cesaro. He really broke out a bunch of his great rudo base work which was his signature as CC, as he is just awesome at bumping for high flyers which is something you rarely see him do anymore. He also just chucks Zayn around the ring with crazy power throws, I especially loved his throwing uppercut, and that cut off dive was one of the coolest versions of that spot I have ever seen. I thought Zayn was a little fighting spirity at the end, that kind of "look at my determination" face can get hammy at times and I think it crossed that line. Still minor point, for what was otherwise a great match


VERDICT

PAS: I think this is a pretty convincing win for Wyatts v. Shield. I really dug the Sami v. Cesaro match it was about as good a version of a NXT/PWG juniors main event. Cool execution, impressive near falls, great individual performances, I loved how they did all of the call backs to the 2013 match and the big spots were sufficiently big. Still the Wyatts v. Shield match was the climax of a one year plus story with the emergence of the Shield and the emergence of this new big gang on the block to challenge them. Awesome build, great payoff, the best heel v. heel matchup in wrestling. That kind of thing done well is always going to trump a great juniors match for me.

ER: I love this match, and I think it has a convincing argument as the best singles match of 2014. But those Wyatts/Shield trios and that glorious Hardy Boys/Young Bucks tag (my favorite tag match of the last 5 years, at least) are going to be tough to overcome.

2014 MOTY Master List

All Time MOTY List

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