Where Rollins has switched from face to heel in his promotion Langston has done the reverse. Except that in the bubble universe that is NXT he remains as popular as ever. He’s still the developmental league’s number one good guy, obsessed with the number five.
Former indy standout PAC has signed a WWE developmental deal and debuted under the decidedly pedestrian name of Adrian Neville. Perhaps the name is supposed to provoke an image of a nondescript footballer. It certainly doesn’t conjure up an image of a WWE sports entertainer. Nor, for that matter, does it conjure an image of a man capable of the impressive flying manoeuvres the man from Newcastle is known for. Hopefully he’ll get a gimmick overhaul before hitting RAW.
Oh, and on the subject of RAW let’s hope Neville has started getting rid of his accent before he turns up there. The British have a hard enough time understanding Geordies. I dread to think how the Americans will cope.
Another newcomer since my last recap is Oliver Grey. He’s another product of the British wrestling scene, although he’s not had anywhere near the international exposure and success of Neville. The two have formed a tag team based, apparently, solely on the fact that they’re both British. It’s as good a reason as any, I suppose.
Speaking of tag teams probably the biggest change since my last NXTweet is the introduction of NXT tag team championships. My personal tastes for any wrestling promotion (and to all intents and purposes NXT is a promotion that stands alone form WWE) are to see a singles championship and a tag team championship. I can take or leave a mid-card belt, usually only thinking they’re worthwhile if there’s a particularly deep roster in place (ROH, for example, definitely doesn’t need a TV title right now).
The thing with NXT is that there aren’t really that many teams available, which means some had to be tossed together to make the tournament work. Kassius Ohno and Leo Kruger are a perfect example. Had they reunited the Kings of Wrestling I would (naturally and predictably) have been all for it. Cesaro and Ohno have a history together. Even if it hadn’t been acknowledged a fair number of viewers would have been aware of it. Kruger and Ohno are two singles guys who hadn’t had any interaction with one another before the tournament started. Yet they’re deemed worthy of wrestling to become the first ever tag team champions.
Basically there was no need for the tag belts. With The Ascension gone (there’s another change: Conor O’Bria has gone solo after Kenneth Cameron (another Brit) was released from his contract last year) and the likes of Epico and Primo, former WWE tag champs but basically jobbers, roped in to make up the numbers alongside random units like Ohno and Kruger, there just isn’t a desperate need for doubles gold in NXT.
That said I don’t think it’s a bad idea. It could indicate that WWE have a long term plan to reintroduce tag team wrestling as a serious part of their programming again. Considering the likes of Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Edge, and Jeff Hardy all got their starts in tag teams. That should be indication enough that keeping the doubles ranks nicely stocked is a good move.
Tweet 1: NXTweet.Tweet 2: Tag team title tournament semi-finals on tonight's show! For the record I think it's a GREAT idea to get tag belts for developmental...
Tweet 3: ... Especially when the main roster has, like, three teams. It's brilliance! #sarcasm
NXT Tag team championship tournament semi-final – Leo Kruger and Kassius Ohno v Oliver Grey and Adrian Neville
Tweet 4: It's Kassius... OHNO!!Tweet 5: Did he just do a moonwalk? Whatevs. Even if he did this team is no KOW.
Tweet 6: And their opponents: two British blokes.
Tweet 7: Yeah, good luck with making the Americans undertand your promos there, Adrian.
Tweet 8: Another note for the record: I like Ohno's blue trunks.
Tweet 9: Something I don't like is this bland commentator pronouncing Kassius as "Cash-ee-us."
Tweet 10: Kruger dresses like a member of The Shield. He's secretly a member. Leo 'The Secret' Kruger.
Tweet 11: 'South Africa's Best Kept Secret' Leo Kruger. 'Mr Secrecy' Leo Kruger.
Tweet 12: WWE management go out of their way to portray themselves as the only wrestling company in the world most of the time.
Tweet 13: Which means it feels odd when they have their commentators talk about wrestlers having travelled the world.
Tweet 14: Why does it matter? They're finally in WWE, competing on the prestigious NXT! Surely this is the highlight of their career?
Tweet 15: They're signing British guys now so where the HELL is James Tighe? Does he still work? I've not seen anything on him for years.
Tweet 16: Triple H and Shawn Michaels weren't a great team. They did some funny promos and were good singles guys. As a team? Average.
Tweet 17: "He just looks proper mental... He is" - William Regal on Leo Kruger
Tweet 18: I've not tweeted much about the content of this match. It's slow but very good, the kind of match you the main roster would avoid.
Tweet 19: "Regal, do you see this?!" - Kassius Ohno as he grabbed Adrian Neville's mouth guard
Tweet 20: I want to see Regal v Ohno.
Tweet 21: Good match. It didn't get particularly quick but it was satisfying.
Adrian Neville is practising his singing
Summer Rae is interviewed backstage
Tweet 22: Summer Rae thinks she's the prettiest Diva so she attacked Paige. Yeah, that's right. This feud is about prettiness.Tweet 23: "Summer school's always in session" - Summer Rae with a comment that played on her name but did little else
Conor O’Brian v Mike Dalton
Tweet 24: Here's Conor O'Brian. Didn't he used to have a tag team partner?Tweet 25: The crowd seem unenthused by O'Brian's "ruthlessly efficient" squash.
Tweet 26: Heel on the main roster, babyface in NXT, it's Big... E... LANGSTON!!
Tweet 27: Big E has a weird haircut.
Tweet 28: Langston hits his torso cutter and leaves. Conor O'Brian glowers in the ring. Langston shouts five. I feel upset.
Paige, Sasha Banks and Dusty Rhodes backstage… baybeh!
Tweet 29: Paige is telling Dusty Rhodes that she wants to rip Summer Rae's lips off. Dusty is clearly aroused... eef yoo weel!!Tweet 30: Dusty looks like a partially melted waxwork of a failed American author.
Tweet 31: Anyway, 'The Dream' just flirted with Sasha Banks and now he's shouting for Rob. #dementia
NXT Royal Rumble tournament video package
Tweet 32: The NXT tournament at Fan Fest looks pretty good. The crowd's larger than I'd expected.Tweet 33: Does Xavier Woods sleep rough?
Tweet 34: Was Conor O'Brian just described as a jolly beast?
Tweet 35: Kruger using the London Dungeon there. That's one of my favourite submission holds, fact fans.
Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas backstage
Tweet 36: Bray and Bo backstage. BrayBo.Tweet 37: Hmmm... these two looks similar. #theyrebrothers
Tweet 38: I strongly dislike Bo and strongly like Bray. Interesting? Nope. True though.
NXT Tag team championship tournament semi-final – The Wyatt Family v Bo Dallas and Michael McGillicutty
Tweet 39: The Wyatt Family clearly have membership cards at Beards R Us.Tweet 40: For those who missed the memo Michael McGillicutty is now a face.
Tweet 41: The Wyatt Family remind me a little bit of the DOA. They were on Metal practically every week in the late 90s. They bored me.
Tweet 42: The Wyatt Family don't bore me though. I'm generally a fan of cult gimmicks in wrestling.
Tweet 43: Remember Raven's Serotonin group in TNA? I thought that had loads of potential.
Tweet 44: Post-match beating from Bray Wyatt to Bo Dallas there. Husky stuff.Tweet 45: The show ends with Bray Wyatt sitting in a rocking chair and his boys staring listlessly into the camera. Darn enjoyable show.