The Good, the Great and the Awesome from NXT 3/13/14
Another week of NXT is in the books and the focus of the show is clearly on the impending rematch between Adrian Neville and Bo Dallas over the NXT Championship.
This week, Dallas took center stage as he met "Big Cass" Colin Cassady in the main event.
Would the former champion be able to curtail his losing ways or would Big Cass be able to score the biggest win of his NXT career en route to putting himself into title contention?
After defeating Emma to retain the NXT Women's Championship in a hard-fought battle at Arrival, Paige returned to the ring this week, taking on the BFFs' Sasha Banks in singles competition.
Would NXT's Anti-Diva be able to fend off the fierce Banks or would the presence of Charlotte at ringside provide just enough of a distraction for Banks to score a big win over the champion?
With the Ascension and Alexander Rusev in action, it was safe to say that someone was going to get hurt. Who was it?
Find out the answers to these questions and more as we take a look back at the good, the great and the awesome from the March 13 episode of NXT on the WWE Network.
Natalya to the Rescue
The third-generation Diva made her presence felt on two separate occasions Thursday night as she rushed to the aid of Paige following the NXT Women's champion's bout with Sasha Banks, then interrupted what could have been an ugly two-on-one attack backstage involving Banks, fellow BFF Charlotte and the always adorable Bayley.
While it would be nice for the NXT Divas to be able to stand up for themselves, Natalya has long been a mentor-like figure for them and has been a semi-regular for the developmental brand over the last two years.
Her presence in the rivalries alone adds legitimacy to them and helps strengthen an already talented roster.
Sami Zayn's Promo on Corey Graves
For an interview that lasted less than one minute, Sami Zayn did a very good job of discussing his rivalry with Corey Graves.
Zayn admitted that he had no issues with Graves prior to last week and now that he has defeated him, he's putting the whole thing behind him. Had the interview ended there, it would have been quite pointless.
Instead, he left the door open for further feuding by indicating that if Graves still has unfinished business with him, he is not that hard to find.
Being that this is professional wrestling, everyone and their grandma knows that Graves will take him up on the offer, hopefully leading to some excellent wrestling in the weeks to come.
The Ascension and Rusev Dominate
There is something so enjoyable about watching dominant forces destroy the competition between the ropes.
This week, NXT fans were treated to that very enjoyment on two separate occasions as both NXT Tag Team champion The Ascension and "Bulgarian Brute" Alexander Rusev were in action.
The Ascension wiped the mat with the team of Travis Tyler and Cal Bishop, picking them apart and finishing them off with their impressive power-based offense and their high-impact Fall of Man finishing maneuver.
Rusev, on the other hand, capitalized on a cheap shot by Tyler Breeze (of all people) and picked apart Xavier Woods in impressive fashion, leading to a submission victory via the Accolade.
The type of brute force on display in both matches is something rarely seen in the 50/50 world of WWE, where very few are awarded the opportunity to look significantly better than anyone else.
Both the Ascension and Rusev have bright futures ahead of them, Rusev in particular, and it is the take-no-prisoners nature of their offensive attack that separates them from other up-and-coming stars in the company's developmental program.
Paige vs. Sasha Banks
The NXT Women's champion and "the Boss" have competed against one another on several occasions and very rarely do they ever disappoint.
Paige is a fierce competitor with a never-say-die attitude while Banks is relentless in her attack, using open-hand slaps to her advantage.
They had another fine match Thursday night as Banks attempted to ground Paige and keep her from gaining any momentum. It worked for a moment but Paige made it to her feet, gained control of the match and applied the modified scorpion crosslock for the tap-out victory.
It was a great showcase for the ladies, both of whom will hopefully share the spotlight on the main roster one day.
The Bo Dallas Show
There was a time when third-generation star Bo Dallas was one of the most nerve-grating performers on the entire NXT roster.
Positioned as the top babyface on the brand, fans hated him and his over-the-top, nice-guy routine to the point that their jeers ultimately resulted in management turning him heel. Instead of tweaking his gimmick and trying to make him a tough guy, however, they left the character intact and it worked out much better than it had any right to.
Since then, Dallas has gradually grown into one of the most entertaining performers in NXT and recently, the added element of intensity and aggression has really helped to fine-tune his goofball character and show that there is more to the wrestler than it previously appeared.
Thursday night was Bo's night as he was featured in a very strong backstage promo with Adrian Neville, then turned in a very good wrestling match against Colin Cassady in the evening's main event.
Dallas' frustration level with Neville shined through during his confrontation with the NXT champion as he repeatedly told him how sick he and all of his Bo-lievers are of Neville. He found himself on the receiving end of a slap as a result, but he managed to channel the anger from the assault into a ferocious performance against Cassady.
Dallas controlled nearly the entire main event as the broadcast team did an exceptional job of putting over the wrestling mind of the former champion, something which is oftentimes overlooked. He made excellent use of the ring, as he has become accustomed to doing and cut off Cassady at nearly every turn.
Things got a bit dicey near the end of the bout as Big Cass did manage to make a fiery comeback but Dallas cut him off and finished him with a double-arm DDT.
A great night for Dallas as management really put him over strong in front of the WWE Network audience.