NXT 7/18/2012

WWE NXT Results
July 18, 2012 – Week 5
By Justin James, PWTorch contributor

There’s an interesting twist to the show opening, as WWE actually shows Byron Saxton and William Regal in an announcer booth in the arena. Previous, they’ve never been shown off-camera, and judging by the camera angles all announcing was done post-production. They promise Heath Slater against Justin Gabriel. Then, Tamina Snuka comes out for the first match. She’s facing Kaitlyn.

1 – KAITLYN vs. TAMINA SNUKA

Snuka is playing heel, it seems, playing dirty on a lock-up. But, Kaitlyn is trying to hide behind the ref. Kaitlyn with a leg whip takedown, a new move for her. Snuka works Kaitlyn over with knees in the corner. Kaitlyn ties Snuka in the ropes and beats her and puts on a bit of an abdominal stretch. Kaitlyn is using a variety of moves never seen from her before. Double knockdown and Snuka comes up strong. Snuka wants a Suplerfly Splash, but Kaitlyn gets back up. Kaitlyn with a slick new submission, she scissors the head while applying an armbar of sorts, like a cross arm-breaker but nastier. Snuka manages to stand up and transition into a Samoan Drop. Superfly Splash spells the end.

WINNER: Tamina Snuka in 5:20. I loved seeing the new moves from Kaitlyn, but she didn’t look comfortable with them and was a bit slow setting a few of them up. Tamina is definitely improving and feeling more fluid.

[ c – Chris Jericho remembers his debut for Raw 1,000 ]

Video package on Big E. Langston. He talks about his strong grip. He’s positioned as a monster, which NXT definitely needs. He looks like Luke Cage with an extra 100 pounds of muscle and in a singlet.

2 – PERCY WATSON vs. JINDER MAHAL

There’s some back and forth until Mahal puts Watson in a cravat and knees Watson’s face. Watson uses a jawbreaker our of a hold to gain the advantage. the Highsman gets a nearfall (Saxton calls it the “Showtime Splash”). Regal tells Watson to stop showboating. Watson misses a splash and Mahal lands a high knee and applies the Camel Clutch for the win.

WINNER: Jinder Mahal via submission in 4:15. Both have good skills, but they need to stray from their match scripts a bit to make them more interesting.

Post-match, Mahal puts on a second Camel Clutch.

3 – RICHIE STEAMBOAT vs. LEO KRUGER

Kruger spends almost a minute after getting to the ring to ensure that his leopard skin sash is well cared for.

Kruger starts off with power, but Steamboat ducks a punch and takes control. Monkey flip sends Kruger most of the way across the ring. Kruger schoolboys Steamboat headfirst into a turnbuckle, a unique move. Kruger stays close to Steamboat and does not let him get a break. Small package from Steamboat infuriates Kruger. Kruger shows off then lands a fist drop. Steamboat hits an enziguri to draw a double count from the ref. Steamboat on a chop-a-thon. Kruger runs outside then tries to ambush Steamboat in the ring. Steamboat avoids the attack, tries a cross-body, but Kruger rolls through and puts feet on the ropes for the win.

WINNER: Leo Kruger in 4:30. Richie Steamboat’s arsenal seems limited to chops, armdrags, and lariats. He really needs to move past that and develop a moveset. Leo Kruger is a bit more interesting, but he seemed less vicious than a few weeks ago, and he came off as a generic “foreigner heel” right down to the pre-match ritual involving a garment.

Replay of the Raquel Diaz package from last week. She is going to “rid the world of repulsiveness.”

Diaz comes to the ring cutting a promo with a headset microphone. She’s facing Paige, who was enjoyable last week. The crowd seems hot for Paige.

4 – PAIGE vs. RAQUEL DIAZ

Diaz takes page down with a leg trap and tries to rub Paige’s face off on the mat. Paige with a strong comeback. Diaz hides in the ropes, catches a kick, and sends Paige to the mat. Diaz with a Gory Bomb for the win.

WINNER: Raquel Diaz in 1:10. WWE seems high on Diaz, but I think they should be high on Paige, too. Diaz is like if Snooki joined the Beautiful People.

Backstage, Alex Riley sees Aksana and asks her an innocent question. Antonio Cesaro comes in and wants to know what is going on. Aksana says that Riley was hitting on her. Cesaro bucks up to Riley and says it is “American” of Riley to hit on her. Riley says that she was hitting on her. They agree to settle it next week in the ring.

Heath Slater comes out, and there is an “original ginger” sign in the audience. Jim Ross is the third man for this match, as is the NXT tradition.

[ c – Summerslam ad ]

5 – JUSTIN GABRIEL vs. HEATH SLATER

Slater celebrates after a knockdown like he’s the man. Gabriel puts the brakes on an armdrag and lands a leg sweep to control Slater. Neither man can stay on top for long. Gabriel tries a springboard move, and Slater shoves him just as he hits the top rope, sending him to the ringside. That looked horribly dangerous.

False break and Slater has Gabriel grounded. Big neckbreaker gets a nearfall for Slater. Gabriel is hanging on by a thread, and he’s either selling the neck hard, or he is in a lot of legit pain from the fall. Running neckbreaker through the ropes for another nearfall from Slater. Gabriel dodges in the corner to start a big comeback. Slater with a wild spinebuster to slow Gabriel down. Gabriel counters a tilt-a-whirl move, but Slater counters his neckbreaker into a reverse suplex. Gabriel looks for his Tornado DDT finisher, but Slater crotches him and lands a neckbreaker off the top rope. Gabriel barely kicks out. Slater puts Gabriel up top again and wants another neckbreaker, but Gabriel fights him off then hits a moonsault into a reverse DDT for the win.

WINNER: Justin Gabriel in 8:45. Very enjoyable match. They told a good story about Gabriel’s neck and they both were so smooth and looked like they were truly improvising on the spot. It is so refreshing to watch a WWE match where you don’t what what moves people will do 30 seconds before they do them. These two have fought a number of times in the last year or two, and this is one of their best outings.

Final Reax: New NXT lacks a plot or direction or any kind of storyline. The announcers were not actually there despite the initial thought that they may be, but the announcing was still good. If I had Regal putting over my business the way he does even mediocre wrestlers I’d be a millionaire. Somehow the three-man booth of Saxton, Ross, and Regal works, while Mathews, Cole, and Booker T is a mess. Then again, the former get along and show each other respect. I was disappointed to see no Ohno, Rollins, Ascension, or Wyatt, but lots of folks who have already been on Raw, Smackdown, Superstars, and NXT. The lack of follow-up on Wyatt’s debut was especially frustrating.