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[2013-08-21-WWE-NXT] Antonio Cesaro vs Sami Zayn (2/3 falls)

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Great stuff that paces itself perfectly to an incredibly brutal and visually impressive finish. The sheer strength of Cesaro to pull that off is absolutely insane. All your favorite Zayn-Cesaro spots are in this and they build wonderfully.

 

****1/4

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I guess I never posted my review. This review is from late 2013 or early 2014. I cant believe it has been over 6 years since I have seen this!

 

Antonio Cesaro vs Sami Zayn - NXT 08/21/13 2 out of 3 Falls

For my money, Cesaro has his masterpiece of his 2013 campaign against Sami Zayn (if you are like me and have trouble keeping straight all the WWE rebranding, Zayn is El Generico) on NXT in a blowoff to a series of four matches. I went in totally cold to this match and was only aware of it because places like the Wrestling Culture podcast pimped it so heavily. I believe that all matches are helped when placed in context, but in a testament to this match's greatness it is bitchin' even in a vacuum. Part of that is due to the announcers doing their job (fancy that!) and explaining that Cesaro is a pompous prick and had called anyone out of the locker room and Zayn responded and got a fluke win. In order to negate this flash pin scenario, they are having 2 out Of 3 Falls match to prove who is the better wrestler (fancy that a feud over who is the better wrestler!). Zayn's strategy from the outset is very similar to Ziggler's. It is full court press suffocation of Cesaro. He immediately dives onto Cesaro when he is making his entrance and then whips him in hits a Yakuza Kick in the corner and wins the first fall. This plays off perfectly the first match and demonstrates why Cesaro has requested 2 out of 3 falls because he falls prey to flash pins. Also, it establishes Zayn's strategy of suffocating Cesaro. Cesaro tries coming at Zayn and rolling away, but neither strategy gets anything going for Cesaro However, it only takes a couple of minutes before Cesaro is finally able to hotshot Zayn and just lay in some wicked shots.

 

Cesaro has one of the best chinlocks since the 80s because of they way he grips and sells it, but it is Zayn who really makes it by how hard he is fighting the chinlock by trying to break up Cesaro's grip. It is NOT how many moves you have or what moves you do. It is how you do your moves that is what these two proved by making the chinlock an interesting point of the match. It makes sense that Cesaro wants to sap the energy of the dynamo, Zayn and contain him while he is rejuvenates. In some of his main show WWE matches, Cesaro is a bit too neutral. He wrestles sort of like a puro wrestler where face and heel lines blur, but here he really embraces his heelishness and just treats Zayn like a punk. Of course, Zayn shows him up on some of his strongman's spots like countering the gutwrench into a sunset flip. I have to say two of my favorite Cesaro spots (maybe someone has done it before) was the bridging fall away slam and the superplex with the opponent on the apron, just very impressive visuals. Zayn seems like he is going to mount a comeback with a dropkick, but Cesaro wrangles him in a chinlock swings him around and Zayn has no choice, but to tap. 

 

The third fall is the perfect climax to the story of Cesaro's strength versus Zayn's elusiveness. If Cesaro can catch Zayn, Zayn is dead in the water, but if Zayn can wriggle free he has a shot. Cesaro follows up his second fall win with a huge European upper cut in the corner and he trash talks Zayn. It becomes a war of chinlocks versus rollups and it is high drama throughout. Zayn mounts his big comeback hitting this crazy powerbomb that needs to be seen to be fully appreciated. Cesaro powders, but Zayn does not let up and dives through the turnbuckles to hit a tornado DDT on the floor. Holy shit, the kid might just pull this one off! They tease the countout victory. Back in the ring, Zayn goes for the tornado DDT again, then there is a finish to end all finishes with Cesaro running around and tossing Zayn up into an European Uppercut to win. This is a truly incredible match that embodies everything that makes wrestling great: Bully vs underdog, Strength vs. speed, struggle, playing off early matches, great build, bitchin' spots, awesome layout and a tremendous finish. ****1/2

 

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They cram everything they could into this 15-minute 2/3 falls match and it never felt excessive. Both Zayn and Cesaro complement each other well. Cesaro comes off as a rough-and-ready mechanic who enjoys working down his opponent with stomps and chin locks and Zayn flourishes as a plucky underdog who knows that he's outmatched. Zayn wins the first fall in seconds after jump-starting the match with a big dive to the outside. Cesaro takes control in the second fall and gets a completely convincing victory using a chin lock! The third fall is where they really turn up the dial and we get all sorts of big moves and near-falls. Both guys sell their disbelief of the other guy kicking out well and it never felt hokey and melodramatic (See: Johnny Gargano). Cesaro catching Zayn as he attempted his springboard arm drag and deadlifting him into the air for a Roaring Uppercut was a thing of beauty and a cracking way to wrap this match up. ★★★★

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