The NXT Report for Sept. 4, 2013
With the decision to offer NXT as part of the free section on Hulu.com, World Wrestling Entertainment now allows its fans to become familiar with its developmental talent before they are called up to the main roster.
Superstars such as Sami Zayn, Bo Dallas, Adrian Neville and Corey Graves and Divas like Paige, Summer Rae and Emma have worked toward providing fans with one of the sport's finest weekly shows.
What did those stars, and others, have in store for fans this week?
Find out now with the debut edition of The NXT Report.
Jack Swagger def. Zayn
Alexander Rusev def. Mason Ryan
Graves def. Rick Victor
Bayley and Charlotte def. Alicia Fox and Aksana
The evening's main event was an outstanding contest between former World Heavyweight champion Jack Swagger and newcomer Zayn, who has made a name for himself in recent weeks, thanks in large part to a Match of the Year candidate with Antonio Cesaro two weeks ago.
Zayn once again put on his work boots, delivering another great performance against one of WWE's main roster stars.
The contest was a back-and-forth showcase for the two fine workers as they utilized high-impact maneuvers and near-falls to help build drama.
In the end, however, a well-timed distraction from NXT champion Dallas gave Swagger the opening he was looking for, and the former world champion applied the Patriot Lock submission for the tapout victory.
Elsewhere on the show, Graves overcame a near-debilitating rib injury to fend off The Ascension's Rick Victor, Bayley and Charlotte partnered to knock off WWE Divas Aksana and Alicia Fox and the massive rookie Alexander Rusev saw his new association with Sylvester Lefort pay off with an impressive submission win over former main roster star Mason Ryan.
Sami Zayn's quest for NXT gold
The hot newcomer Zayn made his intentions to challenge Dallas for the NXT Heavyweight Championship a week ago, and this week, Dallas' well-timed distraction cost him what would have been a huge victory over Swagger.
It has become obvious that Zayn, much like Daniel Bryan on Raw and SmackDown, has become the proverbial people's champion. His in-ring performances have been so spectacular that he has gained the respect and admiration of the NXT faithful, and he appears ready to be the breakout star of the developmental brand.
Dallas, on the other hand, is the young, good-looking, third-generation star that the company had hoped would be the next big babyface star but instead earned the wrath from the fans and now finds himself as a solid, self-confident heel.
The dynamic between the two is interesting and should result in an entertaining storyline that will build to a much-anticipated title match.
Neville and Graves halt The Ascension's rise
The NXT Tag Team champions continued their program with Conor O'Brian and Victor this week, just seven days after O'Brian and Victor heinously assaulted Graves in the backstage area, injuring his ribs.
Neville, who has been especially impressive, defeated O'Brian in singles action last week, and this week, it was Graves' opportunity not only to keep the winning streak intact, but also gain a measure of revenge against he and Neville's top contenders.
He did just that.
The tag champions have exhibited the ability to pick up singles victories over The Ascension but will have to continue to prove themselves against the bigger, stronger, more ruthless duo.
A marriage made in the emergency room
In recent weeks, Lefort and Scott Dawson have had more than their fair shares of trouble with former main roster Superstar Ryan. Rather than continuing a losing effort, they enlisted massive newcomer Rusev to do their dirty work for them.
He did so masterfully, capitalizing on momentary distractions of Ryan by Dawson and Lefort to apply the legendary Camel Clutch and pick up a huge upset win over the Welsh big man.
Rusev is a very raw, young performer at this point, but at more than 300 pounds, he has exhibited tremendous agility and speed. His spinning heel kick to Ryan was a spectacular visual and evidence that he has the opportunity to be a special type of talent.
Based on the way he lost the match, expect Ryan to look for revenge against Rusev, Lefort and Dawson as he attempts to get his win back and continue his climb back up the NXT ladder.
Summer Rae's vendetta against the Anti-Diva
Since becoming NXT's first women's champion, Paige has had a target on her back. Every Diva on the NXT roster has been gunning for her and the title—but none more so than Rae.
The personal dancer of WWE Superstar Fandango has made it her goal to take the title from the young woman known affectionately as the Anti-Diva, no matter how manipulative and cunning she has to be.
On this week's broadcast, she implored Sasha Banks to embrace her inner rage when she meets Paige on next week's show. She appealed to Banks' want to be relevant on NXT and, while the young lady did not buy in early, she appeared to take Rae's words to heart by the end of the segment.
This did not effect Paige, who told Renee Young that she was not worried about Rae or whatever she was up to but instead was focused on her match with Banks next week.
"I'm not here to be a cover girl," Paige said. "I'm here to cover girls in that ring."
It was a money line, and Paige's promise to be the most dominant Diva to ever walk through WWE should make fans very comfortable with the future breakout star.
WWE produced a very good feud between AJ Lee and Kaitlyn over the Divas title earlier this summer and has done a really solid job of pushing Paige as an alternative to the stereotypical female performer. Her rivalry with Rae, who is exactly what one would expect from a WWE Diva, should help continue the progression of the highly talented young champion.
Leo Kruger is still crazy
In a bit segment that may play into the future of NXT programming in the coming weeks, a lone cameraman caught South African madman Leo Kruger standing over a fallen Xavier Woods and mumbling to himself.
Kruger is fresh off a loss to Dallas for the NXT Championship and in need of a program. Woods is a popular and talented young star who has been in developmental for quite some time and could get the best out of Kruger.
That is, if that is where the creative team takes both performers. The short segment could very well have been an excuse to showcase Kruger's instability. If that is the case, then expect more like it in the coming weeks.
Match of the Week: Sami Zayn vs. Jack Swagger
This was a match worthy of being a pay-per-view, showcasing Zayn as a top-fleet developmental talent who is ready for the main roster and reiterating just how talented a worker Swagger can be when he is both "on" and motivated.
Star of the Week: Sami Zayn
The unquestioned breakout star of NXT, look for the former El Generico to be on World Wrestling Entertainment's main roster sooner rather than later.
NXT continues to be a really fun wrestling show that showcases some of the top stars on the developmental roster and serves as somewhat of an alternative to the other, more polished WWE programs Raw and SmackDown.
With several intriguing storylines—the heavyweight and women's title feuds, to be specific—NXT is must-see programming.
Especially since it has been moved to the free section of Hulu.
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