The 13th edition of The NXT Wrestling Fan has arrived, and it’s luckier than Corey Graves’ finisher! Why so lucky, you ask? Is it because Cesaro screams “ZAAAAAAAYN” like he’s just been left to die on the Regula I research station? Yes. Yes, it is. Also because it covers the episode of NXT that originally aired on August 14th, 2013! If you don’t have WWE Network, you can watch the show here:
Also on this episode:
This episode marks the NXT on-screen debut of Paul Heyman, a living legend in wrestling for a whole host of reasons, most notably for creating this:
Which is why fans chant it at him a lot. Most fans have a hard time booing him, too, as he’s known as a creative genius in the wrestling business. He’s also an amazing performer, one of the best talkers wrestling has ever seen, and a manager to so-called “Paul Heyman Guys.”
One of the many main roster stars gracing NXT during this taping, Axel is the Intercontinental Champion. It’s a title he will lose later in the year to former NXT Champion Big E Langston, who is main roster bound, but shows up here looking for a shot at the championship before he’s even left NXT. Axel fucks with Langston for a while, but is eventually goaded into giving him the title match. Paul Heyman’s acting as his client takes the bait is just one more indicator of how good at this he is:
The match ends in disqualification when Heyman interferes and attacks Langston — a poorly-conceived plan that doesn’t go great for him, but does keep the championship on Axel due to, as Bob skillfully remembers, the champion’s advantage. But Langston and Axel do manage to create some highlights before the finish…
…including the latest installment of #ButtWatch.
And while we say goodbye to Big E Langston on this episode, as it’s one of his final appearances in NXT, his legacy lives on forever: A ridiculously big and strong man with an ice cream cone torso, brought to you by the number five.
We think he’s gonna be okay.
This is some episode for good promos. Backstage, Sami Zayn “makes a beautifully impassioned speech telling us that he’s not ashamed of who he is, whether or not Cesaro and Coulter think there’s something terrible about being Arabic or Canadian or anything else.” You really have to hear this to get the full effect — it’s so good it launches us into a full-blown academic discussion. Your response to the essay question is due on Monday.
By the way, here’s a representation of the tights Sami will start wearing a little later on, which the academic article we talk about is referencing. Don’t say we never give you any visual aids for your exams; that’s what this entire exercise is for!
Mason Ryan is back, much to Bob’s delight, and gets a pretty definitive win over Scott Dawson. Bob has also come to appreciate the fact that Mason Ryan matches, while they will never be technical masterpieces, serve a distinct function as part of the show and feature the only thing they need to feature: a big dude throwing around smaller dudes. Enzo and Cass are just the clowns that come out to briefly interact with the strongman in an effort to convince the crowd to stay through intermission. The mini-feud between Ryan and Amore might be over — or might not be, or might not even be a feud — but the important thing is that we got our semi-weekly Looney Tunes segment.
Our second championship match of the episode involves Paige defending against Summer Rae, despite the fact that she lost the dance battle to Emma last week. Important rule of wrestling: sometimes, if you beat up the #1 contender, that makes you the #1 contender. Not always, but sometimes!
The match is fine, but nothing spectacular — moments of impressive modern athleticism punctuating a fairly standard 2013 women’s contest. Also Bob and William Regal apparently share at least one kink, involving watching a woman knee somebody in the face. No shame, guys!
Also, we can confirm in this episode that William Regal fucks. Just saying.
Curtis Axel isn’t the only main roster champion showing up on NXT TV tonight. Also present is AJ Lee, the WWE Divas Champion and low-key one of the best female wrestlers of her era. She’s also…not quite right in the head. And when someone sets her off, it doesn’t usually bode well for them.
Cue the enthusiastic arrival of Bayley, who reveals that she’s kinda sorta been stalking AJ before asking for a shot at the Divas title. Which, by the way, looks like this and is terrible:
AJ is actually pretty cool with Bayley at first, despite the stalking admission, and cheerfully agrees to a championship match next week. Things change, however, when Bayley mentions that she doesn’t understand why people call AJ crazy.
Watch the progression of AJ’s expression as Bayley makes this mistake, then tries to salvage it by saying that maybe they can still be friends after Bayley takes AJ’s title.
And then, of course, since she’s done such a great job in this conversation, Bayley feels like it’s appropriate to close things out with another hug. Hey, maybe it will warm AJ’s cold, sadistic heart and get to her to forget about Bayley’s little faux paux just now, huh? I mean, it couldn’t hurt to try, right?
Oh. Oh, no.
Speaking of people AJ Lee would like to roast slowly over an open fire, Dolph Ziggler will be here next week! It’s a generic white guy, kids, or as Bob puts it, “your basic unit of human male.” Get excited!
Finally, we have the main event, which features the main roster powerhouses of the Shield against the full-fledged D&D party of Adrian Neville, Seth Rollins, and Xavier Woods. It must be said that our local elf/hobbit/dragonborn combo looks pretty confident coming into this one, and by “looks pretty confident” we mean “find yourself someone who looks at you the way Graves looks at Neville coming down the ramp:
Of course, that kind of friendship can only be forged in the fires of Mount Doom, so maybe don’t hold yourself to that high a standard. The babyfaces also do a little miniature Shield taunt before entering the ring, so you know they’re feeling themselves.
Unfortunately, all that bravado is for naught, as the group composed entirely of future world champions is about to put down Team NXT when Team NXT’s least decorated member gets hit with the move that ended the Undertaker’s career (you know, for a while).
Hey, if it had to be Team NXT’s person of color to take the pin, at least it was the Shield’s person of color who did the pinning. I’m sure it did wonders for Neville, Graves, and Woods to spend some time in the ring with these guys, but there was never any doubt who was coming out on top. Does this match metaphorically foreshadow the entire history of the main roster’s relationship with NXT? The answer is much too depressing to surprise you!
Incidentally, this is the final appearance of the Shield in NXT (though Rollins does show up one more time, far in the future). We’re even comfortable saying it will never happen, ever, no matter how big NXT becomes. See, while Rollins and Reigns have both gone on to become two of the top stars of Raw and Smackdown, there won’t be any more Shield reunions any time soon, because Dean Ambrose left WWE due to a lack of creative fulfillment and now wrestles in All Elite Wrestling under his original wrestling name, Jon Moxley.
(By the way, this is the episode where Bob, who has been watching AEW, realizes that Dean Ambrose and Jon Moxley are the same person, and her reaction is PRICELESS).
And that’s the show, aside from the closing backstage segment that gives Episode #13 its name when Cesaro bellows the name of the man he once stranded on Ceti Alpha VI. If you haven’t seen this moment, no still image will do it justice, but we took one anyway. It’s at the top of this visual companion, but here it is again, just because we love it so much.
Thanks for reading! We actually managed (just barely) to catch up on the visual companions in time for Episode #14! And now, to work on the visual companion for Episode #14! Hooray!
Anyway, thanks for your patience, and don’t sleep on that 14th episode, as Kris Newton of Megadumbcast joins us to talk about the LEGENDARY 2/3 falls match between Zayn and Cesaro. Also, we just launched our Patreon! If you’d like to help us continue making this show, go check it out. Here’s a little preview of the very first reward you get for your support:
Thanks for everything, guys, we love you!
By the way, that is, in fact, our music! It’s called “Learnbuckle” and it was created by the uniquely talented Rafael Medina, whose work you can and should follow via his Twitter account, @EarthMeauxFaux! You can also follow Miles @mjschneiderman, MeganBob @meganbobness, and the show itself @nxtwrestlingfan, or visit www.nxtwrestlingfan.com
Additional music and sound credit to:
“Eyes Gone Wrong”, “Greta Sting”, “NewsSting”, “Samba Stings,” “Machinations”
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0