Well folks, we did it. We’ve arrived at Episode #14, something Miles has been looking forward to since the early days of this podcast. Because now we get to cover the episode of NXT that originally aired on August 21, 2013, and the main event of that episode is the stuff of legend. NXT had already been getting acclaim for its presentation of the women’s division, but this two-out-of-three falls match between Sami Zayn and Cesaro is what truly put NXT on the map, and became the standard by which everything that came afterward was judged. It is THE classic NXT match, and there’s no better way to celebrate it than by bringing on fellow NXT enthusiast and the host of Megadumbcast, Kris Newton.
If you don’t have WWE Network, you can watch this episode here, and you absolutely fucking should. Like, right now.
On this episode:
HOLY SHIT GUYS WE LEARNED HOW TO MAKE GIFS
That right there is WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee, whom we discuss extensively in this episode due to her defending her title against awkward NXT standout Bayley. And speaking of using things extensively, I don’t if you already knew this, but we learned how to make GIFs, so there will be LOTS AND LOTS of GIFs in this episode. Like, a lot. You’re welcome.
The story of this match is Bayley attempting to restrain her thirst/inner fangirl long enough to actually wrestle her championship match. As you can see, from the very beginning, all she really wants to do is hug AJ. And as it turns out, all AJ wants to do is hug Bayley back!
You know, in a sense.
Eventually Bayley just can’t resist anymore and delivers a series of wide-eyed, goofy-grinned hugs, finishing with this one:
However, an early reign as Divas champion isn’t in the cards for our girl, as AJ Lee (who main roster viewers knew at the time to be a cruelly intelligent and manipulative character) fakes an injury to sucker Bayley into letting up on offense. She then takes advantage with a kick and delivers a running knee to the head, known in professional wrestling as a Shining Wizard.
AJ retains, and even sadder is the fact that we won’t be seeing her again, but hey, at least Bob got to learn about the Shining Wizard!
On the other side of that coin, here’s someone who’s going to be part of the lives of wrestling fans for a VERY long time: Alexa Bliss. Her character’s first real appearance on TV (not counting that one time she came out with everyone else to celebrate with Paige) occurs during this backstage segment where Tyler Breeze is photobombed by the random hippie who’s been loitering in the background lately. Yes, this is an actual storyline built around a photobomb. More on that in a few.
Don’t get used to seeing these two, as it is the first and last appearance for both on NXT. In the case of Ron Hicks, it appears to be his first and last appearance in wrestling! Feast your eyes!
Bob has been around long enough by now to recognize these instantly as jobbers, and to know that bad things are in store for them when the lights go down (Dan, if you’re reading this, that was absolutely a Kamelot joke, and yes, it was just for you).
The sudden darkness heralds the arrival of the Ascension, who have apparently added pec shimmying to their signature pose:
…and who take this one easily with their double team finisher, the Fall of Man (a variation of which is currently being used in modern NXT by the Undisputed Era).
The important thing, though, is that they still retain their sensual closeness, as Victor once again uses the power of backrubs to drain the stress from his partner’s shoulders (as vampires will do).
Bob hopes her affection for these two lasts as long as their immortal lives, and so do we.
Now, moving on to wait what is this
Yes, the photobombing hippie has arrived to wrestle a match, letting us know that is name is CJ Parker, and he’s from “the Moonchild Commune.” Here’s the reaction he gets from his opponent, regular jobber Baron Corbin:
And here’s the reaction he gets from the audience:
BRUTAL. Whoever made the decision to cut to the crowd after this match is lucky if they kept their job. Somewhat more notable is the post-match stuff, in which Tyler Breeze comes out to ask Parker to stop messing up his pictures. But even then, the only actually notable thing is Renee Young completely failing to keep a straight face when Parker utters the words, “Chillax, hot boy.”
In a piece of performance art that probably says something about his childhood, Alexander Rusev has written his opponent’s name on a board, which he then breaks over his knee. Deep, bro.
Anyway, about that opponent…
*sigh* It’s fine.
Okay, it’s rapidly becoming less fine.
By the way, if you didn’t catch this episode’s #ButtWatch in the earlier GIF (which, I stress, we know how to make now), here’s a better shot:
Anyway, like everything Dolph Ziggler has ever done in his career (which we discuss some in the episode) this match is fine. Ziggler wins because he was kind of actually big in 2013, but he makes Rusev look good in the process. And at this point I’m kind of rushing through this because it’s almost time for…
…one of the greatest matches in NXT (and wrestling) history. The match that made this promotion. The match that actually started what we know today as NXT. Holy shit, this match, you guys.
There are really no words that can be added to this one in any way that makes it more impactful. You really just need to go watch it. Like, if you’ve never watched any wrestling leading up to this point, if you’ve just been using the visual companions to follow along, this should probably be the thing you actually watch. Because it’s largely indescribable.
But if you don’t feel like it, never fear — the visual companion has your back with some highlights, because WE CAN MAKE GIFS NOW.
That’s how Sami Zayn starts this match: by attacking Cesaro before he can even enter the ring. That’s how personal this feud has become. And Sami doesn’t waste any time taking advantage — he rolls Cesaro back in the ring, kicks him in the face, and rolls him up to win the first fall, just like he did the very first time they wrestled.
Zayn continues his flurry of offense for a while after picking up the first fall, including this move, known to wrestling fans as a hurricanrana:
As well as Zayn double-jumping like a fucking video game character:
But you can’t keep Cesaro down forever, and he manages to stem the tide of Sami’s offense for a moment. Just long enough to catch his breath, re-set his jaw, and commence murdering the fuck out of Zayn.
Said murdering includes this powerbomb:
And this swinging choke hold:
Which ultimately results in Sami performing a terribly weak, desperate tap out that gives Cesaro the second fall and gets Bob right in the feels.
The third fall is when shit gets crazy. Some highlights include: Cesaro suplexing Zayn from the ring apron to the mat while standing on the second rope:
Another edition of High Flyin’ Oral Sex:
Zayn diving through the ring post to catch Cesaro with a tornado DDT on the floor, because seriously what the fuck:
And of course, the finishing sequence, which is even more impressive when you realize that Cesaro almost drops Sami, decides mid-drop that nah, he’s actually better and stronger than that, and somehow DOESN’T drop him:
WHAT THE FUCK
WHAT THE FUCK
Sometimes professional wrestlers are just ridiculous human beings, guys. Not sure what else to say. At least Cesaro did his own post-victory taunt before vaguely remembering to put his hand over his heart for “We the people.”
Seriously, watch this match. And if you’ve already watched it, watch it again.
Oh, and just in case you think we forgot that Kris Newton was on this episode, here are a couple of other characters we discuss:
Come on, you knew some Disney characters were coming. What you might not know is which NXT wrestlers we directly compare them to. Gonna have to listen to the episode to find out! And on a similar note, we will say that between that amazing main event match and Kris being on the show, this was an incredibly special episode for both Miles and Bob, and we hope you’ll give it your listens and your love. In other words…
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. And if you like the show, please consider supporting us on Patreon and getting access to all kinds of bonus stuff! Thanks in advance!
Additional music and sound credit to:
“Eyes Gone Wrong”, “Greta Sting”, “NewsSting”
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0