FEEDBACK: NXT Arrival 2014

This week is REWIND-A-WAI #21 and we will be reviewing NXT Arrival from February 2014 as chosen by Espresso Executive Producer @MikeKing

This was the first live event on the WWE Network after the launch of the streaming service.

Leave us any feedback, questions or comments for this week’s review.

NXT Arrival
Thursday, February 27th, 2014
Full Sail University
*Bo Dallas vs. Adrian Neville for the NXT title
*Paige vs. Emma for the NXT women’s title
*The Ascension vs. Too Cool for the NXT tag titles
*Antonio Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn
*Mojo Rawley vs. CJ Parker
*Xavier Woods vs. Tyler Breeze

1 Like

I was watching NXT religiously at this time and one thing I didn’t really understand watching this was, why did Neville win the NXT title? The story at the time was all about Bo & Sami and Neville didn’t feel like the right guy to win it at that moment, to me at least. Now looking back, he was fine and it created a great moment for the first special. We also got a fantastic Cesaro/Zayn match on this. One really fun thing about this show is looking at the evolution of everyone one this show to where they are now and what they have done. I know this was originally planned to be a test for the network but think it ended up being a very good show and was worth watching.

Jake from The Windy City

This was the day I became a subscriber to the network and the first time I was exposed to NXT. Unfortunately, my stream was marred with technical problems it cut out during Tyler Breeze vs. Xavier Woods and I missed half of the main event. Other than that, it was a spectacular show and it’s sad looking back watching Cesaro and Sami Zayn having that spectacular and emotionally-intense curtain-jerker and seeing where they are today.

An amazing overall show that finally got me attracted to NXT.

Do you both miss the two-hour Takeover specials when they were at Full Sail or do you agree that they have definitely gone past that?

I’m going to leave real feedback but wanted to throw shout to @MikeKing for picking an awesome review! These NXT specials were awesome and will always have a special place in my heart

Jalen from Pickering,

Paige and Emma had some really good matches between this and the tournament finals. I feel like they get overlooked for what they did for women’s wrestling in that company.
It’s almost comical to see where the Ascension were then versus now, but you could say that about almost every NXT Tag champ. It’s a laundry list of jobbers, broken up teams, released performers, and more jobbers.
But god damn Cesaro and Zayn were magic together! Cesaro looked like a beast, and Zayn was outstanding as a white meat babyface. That is how you use main roster talent in NXT. That is how you get over in a loss. Beautiful stuff! However, I can’t help but think about the incredible matches we’re being deprived of, due to Cesaro being in a tag team. Styles, Bryan, Almas, Mysterio. Yes please!

Andrew from Cape Breton

I was looking forward to this show. I wanted to go back and check out what I did watch live at the time, and wanted to feel some nostalgia. What I felt was something different though. The optimism presented on the show was dashed by the cruel mistress that is hindsight. This show really tried to push that these were the superstars of tomorrow, but it really is the starting point for the dead characters that would come up from NXT and fail on the main roster. Most people on the show didn’t live up to any of the potential that this show tried to present they would have. The main event featured a man who was pigeonholed as a crusierweight and quit because of it, taking on one half of the B Team. Juice Robinson probably saved his career by quitting WWE instead of becoming the next Adam Rose, Emma, Ascension, No Way Jose, or any of the long list of NXT death gimmicks and wrestlers that have come up since and will continue to come up. When you think about it, this show is actually really sad to watch.


Alex from Newark

The thing about the first few Takeover specials like this one were fun due to the lack of expectations for the cards like current Takeovers have. When a handful were Indy darlings and the rest were from the developmental system. Seeing talents like Breeze, Ascension, and Bo in high positions against the likes of Zayn and Neville allowed for fresh matches that displayed the Indy talent to show how they can work the WWE style in their own way and how the NXT system can bring up stars that can keep up and work in the ring. Full Sail being the venue made the show feel big even though the size of the crowd was the same as a TV taping. The Zayn/Cesaro feud was great example of the main roster talent coming down to establish a main eventer in NXT and I wish this happened more often. Therefore not needing to always sign talent when call ups were done and over crowding the brand with wrestlers. Great show bringing back fond memories of a growing brand.

Question. If NXT were at that point in growth today, which 5 “Indy” talents would be the focus of the brand among the rest of the card consisting of just NXT developmental talent nobody has heard of before NXT?

Bruce from Vancouver,

I was actually planning on choosing this for my next Espresso producer episode, so thanks, Mike! As I’m sure you’ve just finished saying, it’s difficult to watch this show without thinking about the paths that each of these wrestlers has gone down and how our understanding of NXT has shifted over the years. Back in 2014 I was naive enough to think that it was just a matter of time before NXT’s advances and changes in both wrestling and general production started to transform and improve the main roster product. So much for that. I have to echo Andrew’s thoughts: while the Sami/Cesaro match is a classic and it was great to see Paige hit that scorpion crosslock again, I felt a bit melancholy watching this show and thinking that of all the people on this card barring Xavier, CJ Parker is the one whose career has perhaps taken off the most…thanks to leaving NXT.

8 Mojo’s bored relatives out of 10.

Michael from Newfoundland.

This was a very good show. I have always enjoyed that nXt has been used to let the guys excel at their best qualities. I’m looking forward to Trips taking over the main roster.