NXT Retro Review Episode 5: ‘Gabriel vs. Slater’
Coheed and Cambria welcome us to the show. Byron Saxton and William Regal are on commentary.
They lock up to start the match. Tamina locks in a standing keylock, then uses a knee to the gut and tossed Kaitlyn into the ropes, but she holds on. They stare each other down briefly and Kaitlyn goes for a clothesline, but Tamina ducks and puts her down with a double chop to the chest. Kaitlyn takes a quick powder. She seems to be working more like a heel, even though she was a babyface on WWE TV at the time. She even hides behind the ref for a moment. She pops out, but runs right into an armdrag.
Tamina tries to follow-up with a kick, but Kaitlyn catches it and takes her over with a dragon screw. Kaitlyn telegraphs a charge in the corner, but misses and Tamina hits her with some knees to the gut. Tamina missed a forearm, and Kaitlyn caught her with some knees to the gut, and whipped her in, but Tamina kipped over her and put her down several times with Snuka-esque chops, then hit a flying forearm for a two count. Tamina tried another sidekick, but Kaitlyn caught it again and put the leg in the ropes and started kneeing her in the side, then tried to apply an awkward abdominal stretch in the ropes, but the ref called for a break. Kaitlyn stomped her in the gut a few times, then used a jackknife pin for a two count. Kaitlyn caught her with a basement dropkick for another near fall, then went back to work on the midsection, then slapped on a bodyscissors.
Tamina managed to fight to her feet, and they took each other down with a double facebuster. Both ladies struggled to their feet and Kaitlyn threw a right, but Tamina blocked it and came back with a pair of clotheslines and a sidekick to the ribs. She body slammed Kaitlyn and moved to go up top, but Kaitlyn simply grabbed her leg and then raked the eyes. She hit a Russian Legsweep and turned into a submission hold, but Tamina powered up to her feet and hit a Samoan Drop. Tamina then hit the Superfly Splash off the top rope for the pin.
Winner: Tamina by pin
Then we get an awesome debut promo from Big E. Langston. He talked about rituals, and how symbolic they are. They then showed him putting chalk on his hands like a weightlifter and what that meant to him, interspersed with shots of him lifting heavy weights and beating up dudes in a ring and ended with a great line. “When you see this, when your time comes, take your beating like a man.” Real good stuff.
Jinder Mahal vs. Percy Watson
Man, these old Jinder matches are much more significant now, aren’t they! They go to lock up to start the match, but Jinder slips under and grabs a waistlock into a headlock. Watson shoves him off, but Jinder puts him down with a shoulder block. Watson dropped down and leapfrogged over and caught him with a leg lariat. Watson cocked his hand to throw a punch, but Jinder begged off, and tried to catch him with a kick, but Watson caught it, and nailed him with a right, then whipped him into a hip toss into a neckbreaker. Jinder got some distance, and caught Watson with a upkick to the ankle, putting him down, then kicked him in the head. Jinder pounded with knees from a cravate position, then whipped him into a back elbow before dropping a knee for a two count.
Jinder stayed on him knees to the gut, then dropped knees to the chest. Jinder is nowhere near as big as he is now, but he still has veins very prominent in his body like he does now. He is also significantly darker in complexion. Jinder hit a double arm suplex for a two count, then applied a chinlock. The fans got behind Percy and he worked to his feet, and broke the hold, then came alive with a pair of big dropkicks and a clothesline. Percy slammed him chest first, then hit the awesome Showtime Splash for a two count. Percy then a Flying Clothesline in the corner, and went for a second rope Skytwister Press, but Jinder dropped to the mat and Percy crashed, and stumbled right up into a perfect Flying Knee from Jinder. Jinder then applied the Camel Clutch and Watson tapped out.
Winner: Mahal by submission
Once again, Mahal posed a bit, then went back and reapplied the camel clutch for some little extra punishment.
They hype the debut of Raquel Diaz later in the night.
Richie Steamboat vs. Leo Kruger
Regal is doing a great job putting over Kruger on commentary. The fans are firmly behind Steamboat here. Kruger caught Steamboat with a sucker kick to the ribs before the bell, and started working him over in the corner, but Steamboat ducked a forearm and started lighting up Kruger with hard chops to the chest. He whipped him across the ring and caught Kruger with a high monkey flip out of the corner. Steamboat tried an awkward running kick to the chest, but Kruger caught it and schoolboyed him so his head hit the turnbuckle! Great move!
Kruger stayed on the offensive, throwing him throat first into the top turnbuckle and catching him with a running kick to the chest, then whipping him into his own Steamboat esque double chop to the chest. Kruger mocked Steamboat, then slapped on a neck crank, before switching to just pulling on Richie’s mouth. Kruger picked him up, but Steamboat caught him in a small package for a two count, but Kruger came right back with a double ax to the back. Kruger hit a pretty snap suplex, then took some time to pose and hit a fistdrop for a two count. Steamboat tried to crawl to his feet and Kruger grabbed his leg, but Steamboat caught him with a desperation enzugiri. They came up trading chops to the chest with Steamboat getting the better of it, and hitting a Flying Forearm, a clothesline, and a double chop to the chest. Steamboat ducked a clothesline and hit a crossbody block, but Kruger rolled through and put his feet on the ropes for the three count.
Winner: Steamboat by pin
They replay the Raquel Diaz promo from the last week they claimed her to be the Ultra Diva, on an “Exfoliating Ugliness Tour.”
Raquel Diaz vs. Paige
Diaz is of course, the daughter of Eddie and Vickie Guerrero. She cut a promo on the way to the ring wearing a Bobby Brown mic, beginning with the most valley girl OMG you can imagine. She talked about the ugly colors of the arena and told the women of NXT to get their beauty regimes ready, because she would be exfoliating the ugliness out of all of them. We then get our first of many Paige entrances in NXT. This crowd already loves her. They go to lock up, but Diaz drops down and hits a drop toe hold and gets on her back, grabbing her hair and slamming Paige’s head into the mat and rubbing it in. The fans don’t like does. Diaz rolls Paige on her back and covers her for a two count. Paige fights back with some punches to gut and hits a pair of clotheslines and a sidekick to the chin for a two count. Paige goes to church in the corner, but Diaz screams and clings to the ropes, using the ref as a shield. Paige then throws a right, but Diaz ducks, and catches a Paige kick, and uses the leg to slam her to the mat. Diaz then hits a Gory Bomb for the quick win.
Winner: Diaz by pin
We then see Alex Riley (now there’s an example of wasted talented by WWE) walking in the back. He sees Aksana and asks if she knows where catering is, but she takes his hand and starts flirting with him until Cesaro comes over, his satchel over one shoulder. They start jawing back and forth until Cesaro says he should kick Riley’s teeth down his throat. Riley said they can do it next week and tells Cesaro “Nice murse.”
Jim Ross joins the commentary team for the main event.
Heath Slater vs. Justin Gabriel
They go to lock up to start the match, but Slater slips under and goes to the headlock. Gabriel throws him in and Slater puts him down with a shoulderblock and celebrates likes he just won the match. They go to lock up again, but Gabriel slips on a headlock. Slater tosses him into the ropes and drops down to avoid a shoulder and throws a clothesline that Gabriel ducks. Slater tries to catch him in a hiptoss, but Gabriel lands on his feet and takes him down with a back heel trip for a one count, then took Slater over with an armdrag into an armbar. Slater got to the ropes. When Gabriel broke the hold, Slater tripped him and locked in a headlock.
Gabriel fought to his feet and managed to counter with a top wristlock, taking him down into an armbar. Slater got to his feet and tossed Gabriel in and got him with a shoulder block. Slater dropped down, but Gabriel cartwheeled over him and took Slater down again with an armdrag into an armbar. Slater worked to his feet and used Gabriel’s hair to maneuver him into the ropes. The ref tried to get him to break, but Slater nailed him in the gut and landed two rights upstairs. Slater whipped him in, and Gabriel tried a kip up headscissors, but Slater blocked it. Gabriel came back with a right hand, and went for a springboard, but Slater hit the ropes and Gabriel went straight back, taking an incredible bump to the floor. Commercial Break.
BFC, Slater has a rear chinlock slapped on Gabriel. Slater broke the hold to hammer Gabriel in the chest with elbows, then covered him for a two count before going right back to his hold. Gabriel finally found a second wind and got to his feet, breaking the hold with some elbows and a leg kick, but missed a big right and Slater countered into a great looking neckbreaker for a two count. Slater worked Gabriel over with some rights, then whipped hard into the buckles for a two count. Slater then snapmared Gabriel and went back to the rear chinlock. Gabriel managed to fight out of the move again, but Slater hung from the ropes and hit a swinging neckbreaker for a two count.
This is around the time that Slater was being beat up by legends on RAW so the crowd is taunting him with that. Slater whips Gabriel in, but misses a Flying Clothesline in the corner, and Gabriel makes the comeback, hitting two spinning heel kicks, a flying forearm in the corner, and a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Gabriel goes for a suplex, but Slater turns it into a spinebuster for a two count. They trade a series of reversals but Slater comes back with a reverse suplex for a two count. Slater charged in the corner, but Gabriel caught him with a back elbow, and Gabriel went for a Moonsault, but Slater crotched him and took him off the ropes with another neckbreaker for a two count. Slater crotches Gabriel and seems to be looking for another neckbreaker, but Gabriel fights him off with elbows. Gabriel unhooks his legs and Slater comes around, but Gabriel catches him with a foot and his a sloppy Moonsault into a reverse DDT for the three count.
Winner: Gabriel by pin
JR puts Gabriel over in the way that only he can, and that’s all for this show.
Fanatic Take: This is a pretty interesting episode of the show for several reasons. First, a year and a half away from the genesis of the Divas Revolution, NXT had two women’s matches in a one hour program. That was rare, and even though they weren’t super quality, it is a sign of something to come. As was how over Paige was five episodes into the Full Sail era. You know that Raquel Diaz had to be expected to be the female star of the brand, with her pedigree and her gimmick, but that wasn’t to be. My favorite part of the show, by far, was Big E Langston’s vignette. It made him like a monster, a force that everyone in NXT would have to be reckoned with. As we saw earlier with Bray Wyatt, someone in Florida knew what they were doing with vignettes from the beginning, and that continues to be a strength of the brand to this day. Plus, the main event was a really solid match. Fun show as usual.
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