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December 30, 2013

Very Positve Review of the December 25th Edition of WWE NXT

Pwinsider.com (Mike Johnson) reviews the December 25th edition of WWE NXT:


Due to the holiday last week and family responsibilities, I am catching up today on TV thoughts.

The 12/25 edition of WWE NXT may have been the most perfect one hour of pro wrestling television in 2013. Usually I cover TV episodes by looking at what works, what doesn't and what we learned, but the reality is that with this episode - we learned that good wrestling TV is still out there and that WWE NXT's production team needs a big pat on the back.

The episode, which was hosted by Renee Young doing her usual expert job as the girl next door that loves pro wrestling, was something of a review of the last year of NXT. As much as I wrote that the 200th episode was a good "jumping on point" for new viewers, this episode was even better.

Over the course of one hour, the show reviewed names that had moved from NXT to the main roster, the current/next generation of NXT talents that are being featured, reviewed all three NXT championships, showcased champion Bo Dallas and more.

The show also celebrated what was deemed, quite deservedly, the NXT Match of the Year, a Best of Three Falls bout between Sami Zayn and Antonio Cesaro. The highlight package presented the bout as something akin to a Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat classic and when it was done, you were left feeling like you had witnessed history on NXT TV. Given how many executives' heads were turned by that match, it may even end up being a pretty important bout historically, so I may not be too far off either.

The show was then topped off with an excellent match between William Regal vs. Antonio Cesaro. As much as I've compared NXT to Jim Crockett Promotions' old TV at times, this episode reminded me of the original ECW at its finest - it was short, fast interviews, packages and highlight reels held together by a good announcer - but then we had the main event with William Regal pretty much in the old Terry Funk in ECW role - the grizzled veteran who may not be the best dog in the fight anymore, but you are going to have to work to beat him....and that's what Antonio Cesaro had to do.

The promos setting up the bout were awesome with Regal pretty much saying that he's done everything in his career but be the World champion, and that it was his own fault. He said that if he has to go out, he wants it to be at the hands of someone like Cesaro. One almost suspected that Regal was predicting this was his retirement bout. Cesaro then did a promo thanking Regal for helping him get a job with WWE, but warning him that didn't matter once they got into the ring.

When they did, it was pure joy for diehard wrestling fans. They did all the European wrestling matwork, they teased submissions, they sold injuries to the extremities at the match wore on and they built drama. In the end, Cesaro, even though he was a villain, sold his own dismay and disturbance at knowing he had Regal not just beaten but destroyed, and that moment where he showed a glimmer of remorse as Regal pulled himself up, still trying to channel his inner fighting spirit - before Cesaro pulled him into the Neutralizer....well, it was one of the best moments in pro wrestling all year.

Because it was truly showcasing the art and emotion of a great pro wrestling match.

Kudos to everyone involved in the making of this episode. Go out of your way to see it, NOW.


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