Cesaro defeats Sami Zayn in two consecutive falls to win ⅔ Falls Match
You’re going to read a lot about this match in the coming weeks, and deservedly so. One of the benefits of NXT is the freedom they have to work. The storylines are tight, easy to understand, and almost always about wrestling. There’s no reason this kind of feud can’t be used to make the Intercontinental title a prestigious belt again, coveted by men who value skill and possess the desire to be the best. There has to be space on Raw for these kinds of stories. Nick mentioned in his SummerSlam column earlier this week how he felt Del Rio was slowly evolving the World Heavyweight championship into a technical wrestling showcase. Feuds like Zayn/Cesaro could, and should, do that for the IC title as well.
Two things stood out the most in this instant classic, and I mean two things besides the unreal through-the-ropes spinning DDT or the Tornado DDT into Swiss Death reversal. One, how about that unbelievable neck crank Cesaro locks in for his first submission pin? Using a what’s normally a rest hold to crush your opponents throat, cut off his circulation, and put him to sleep. Props to Zayn for selling the hell out of with his barely conscious taps to the mat. William Regal puts over that move every Cesaro match he calls, and it was great to see it put to such good use.
Two, check out how quick Cesaro goes for the Neutralizer after his stunning feat-of-strength reversal. He immediately picks Zayn back up, pulls him into position, and crushes his body to the canvas. How many wrestlers do that anymore? After hitting such a killer move, most would preen and pose for the crowd forever before executing their finisher. But Zayn and Cesaro were telling a story in the ring, a wrestling story, each man desperate to defeat the other to prove their superior skill level. A man who wants to win wastes no time in the ring. Nothing gets my wrestling nerd going than purpose with each movement.
Verdict: WrestleMania 30 Intercontinental Title Match
Matthew Timmons can be harassed on Twitter @matthewtimmons
NXT this week was totally great.
* AJ/Bailey was a fun little competent batch of storytelling. They’re really emphasizing “how to work as your character” to these guys — see Wyatt, Bray — and it’s creating compelling stuff in what otherwise would be sort of a waste of time. Also, AJ has developed to the point where she can carry someone who is really green to a decent affair. Her stuff looked real crisp and tight.
AJ’s this really weird super worker in a lot of ways.
* “YOU’RE RUINING MYYYY LIFFEEEEE” is my new favorite slogan. Tyler Breeze works better as an inherently sad figure with the self-esteem of a snail.
* CJ Parker sucks in the ring. He does the Phish fan thing well. I wish they’d make him a little more of the “Older hippie dude who hangs out with Occupy vegan anarchists” vibe.
* A Bulgarian who dresses like he’s in Gladiator LARP, wrestles barefoot, knows Muy Thai and breaks wooden boards over his knees? AND also grunts and speaks random Bulgarian trash talk? That explains more than anything my continued lifelong love affair with wrestling.
* I just skip the Ascension stuff.
* That main event — wow. That was a ton of beauty. It got a lot of “Match Of The Year” hype from those in attendance. It’s a shame this came out the same week as SummerSlam because it would get that hype from everyone else.
That was virtually a perfect wrestling match. It was simple, crisp storytelling with amazing execution.
The first fall was great — Sami knows he can surprise Antonio and does so right away. Second fall was awesome, too — they got a reverse chinlock over as a kill move. Third fall turned into the required “both guys throw bombs at each other to win” and Cesaro’s slight experience advantage gave him the win.
So many amazing little things in this match. Antonio being a total jerk by lifting Sami by his ear and wiping his shoes with him afterwards. Sami hoping that insane floor DDT gets him a countout win.
[…] Most weeks NXT is WWE’s second best show (and sometimes the best.) But its primary goal is to make future superstars who will one day grace our televisions on Raw. Each week we’ll scout the “minor league” talent in each segment and decide if they’re ready for the big leagues. This week we find out if the show’s gone SAWFFFFFFT after last week’s Match of the Year main event. […]