-Alright, so I’m back for another week. I figure that I should see this thing through, especially because next week, I think, is going to be the last episode unless this travesty finds itself on another channel. It’s incredible how I can go from really looking forward to a show to absolutely dreading it, but WWE, and it’s incredible mismanagement in both choice of talent and format of show, has managed to pull off that little miracle. I want to like the show, and I want to like the girls, but it’s so obviously fallen into D-list territory, particularly by picking their least experienced or relevant superstars (Goldust and, in a sense, Vickie Guerrero excepted) as Pros, that it’s hard to build up interest when WWE has obviously lost theirs.
-Alright, let’s get started, and see if Cole’s disgusted departure from last week meant, or will mean, anything.
-They start the show by replaying all of the obstacle course nonsense from last week, starting with Vickie Guerrero running it, because THAT was a highlight of last week. Hey, I didn’t even notice that Kaitlyn rode that large crate across the finish line. Nice touch. They also replay Cole’s quitting. So…there you go, I guess.
-Here we are, and Cole is nowhere to be seen. Josh Matthews is running this ship solo, it seems. “Take your television sets off of mute, and get ready for an hour of Cole-free television!” Huzzah.
-Wait…that’s CM Punk’s music…and that’s CM Punk! And he’s wearing a blazer…wait…is he here to do commentary?! This show just got 10x better! How can they cancel it NOW? Matthews offers his hand, but Punk ignores him. Matt even offers him a picture of himself, but Punk rips it up and throws it in the audience, as is his way. He’s here because while he hated being a part of Season 1, he’s loving Season 3, and is here to chat. Right on.
-The girls are announced by Matt Striker, and out they come. My wife groans the second AJ comes out, still not warmed up to her. They’re all in the ring, mostly looking lovely, and while Striker points out that Jamie won a match and the joke-off last week, and Kaitlyn won the obstacle course and…here comes Vickie Guerrero. She takes credit for Kaitlyn winning last week, and says that Kaitlyn will wrestle Jaime tonight. That should be a thing. But that’s not all; she’s going to have some extra help tonight.
-And with out, out comes LayCool. They run down all of the rookies, saying that AJ looks like a mouse (“Want some cheese, num num num num!”), that Aksana should learn to speak English, and Naomi’s gold pants are property of LayCool, or some stupid thing. Again, LayCool’s heel schtick just annoys me, and their face work on Season 2 of NXT was wonderfully refreshing. Of all people, Kelly Kelly comes down to defend the girls, who applaud her for standing up for them. Get ready for an awesome verbal confrontation from The Rock of the Diva’s division, Kelly Kelly. The smackdown, it’s a comin’! Kelly says that the Bellas may not be here, but she and Naomi are, so why not make it a six-girl tag: Jamie, Naomi and Kelly vs. Kaitlyn and LayCool. LayCool happily accepts, because everyone knows that it’s just going to end with Michelle giving Kelly Kelly a Faithbreaker and winning while the other girls stand on the outside and watch her lose. They really need to start having these Diva tag matches involve some actual teamwork, as it’s just embarrassing to watch the girls cheer for their partner to kick out instead of actually doing something about it.
-LayCool pushes the other girls around for good measure, and we’re gonna get that match after the commercial break. Man, does Jamie stick out like a stiff, weirdly disconnected sore thumb.
-We come back, and there’s no match…instead, they’re playing musical chairs. Really. REALLY. This is a joke, right? They’re actually playing musical chairs. This is so incredibly absurd and demeaning. Noami, Maxine, and AJ all seem like they’re trying to barrel through this segment with some forced, yet weak, smiles. Aksana doesn’t seem to know what’s going on. Okay, okay…so they start this lunacy, and Jamie kind of struts along, dancing along at first, and they all walk really close to the chairs and…look, it’s musical chairs, okay? Do I really need to do the play by play for this? My god, what have I been reduced to? I have a MASTER’S DEGREE, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.
-Alright, I’m…I’m feeling better now. Here’s your stupid musical chairs commentary. Kaitlyn loses first, but gets a few points for me by lounging on top of Jamie with a goofy look on her face. My wife: “Look at Vickie Guerrero. She’s like, ‘That dirty bitch lost at musical chairs. Haaaate…haaaate.'” Indeed, she is. Punk makes a solid point that all of the girls are wearing high heels except for AJ. Jaime is out next, and the crowd is VERY upset by that. Really? Why the attachment to Jamie Keyes? Was there that much emotional investment in an announcer or from her sad attempt at humor last week? Maxine loses next, and she attacks Aksana because of it, pulling her hair and basically being all nastypants. AJ helps to pull her away, and Aksana is ultimately nonplussed. Aksana is next out (Matt Striker: “I loved you on Green Acres. Thank you!”), and we’re down to AJ and Naomi. Three guesses which one my wife is rooting for. AJ wins, but Naomi is taking up more of the chair. Punk: “The controversy on this third season of NXT is through the roof!” Slow motion video footage, as in video replay for musical chairs, shows that AJ did indeed sit down first. Naomi hugs AJ, and we go to commercial.
-Upon seeing a commercial for Smackdown on SyFy, my wife ponders, “I wonder who the poor jobber is that they got to take all those moves.” Can we all agree that it’s “some local guy?”
-Sharktopus! I am THERE.
-Before the commercials are over, my wife leaves. “This show sucks. Wait a minute, I don’t have to watch this! Is this the ‘for worse’ part of my vows?”
Rookie Video Package: Aksana
-She’s been in the US since 2001 knowing no English, and she wanted to be a fitness figure athlete. She used to be ripped, from the pictures. She loves “to entertainment people.” Of the “sexy, smart and powerful” Diva mantra of the WWE, she believes that the “smart” part is most important, as being sexy and powerful comes with being smart. The more I listen to her speak, the more I think that her misuse of the English language isn’t a gimmick. I don’t mind if it’s not; she’s been in the country for nine years, not knowing a single word of it, and now she speaks it fluently despite a few errors here and there. How many languages do you speak, after all?
-Backstage, Aksana looks worried, and Goldust comes up to talk to her. He raves about her video, and I guess he would know? Anyway, he notices that she seems concerned, and she says that there may be some work visa issues, and she could be deported if they’re not rectified. Goldust doesn’t want her to go, naturally, and says that she can still win despite losing her first two matches. Are they really going to go along with a storyline where if she doesn’t win, the WWE Universe is effectively voting her out of the country? Goldust asks her for more aggression, saying that it has to come from within.
-Recap of Cena beating up Nexus last night, and the match stipulation that will almost inevitably lead to WWE pulling the plug on the most interesting angle they’ve run in years. Way to go, WWE. Whatever happened to the “bigger picture” that Barrett was mentioning every week? Notice that he hasn’t said a word about it in at least a month, so I figure that WWE realized that they had nothing in mind. So, Cena’s going to beat Barrett at Hell in a Cell, even though it would be SO much more interesting of Barrett took him down, even if it involved a copious amount of cheating. Punk, for his part, wants Cena to lose, as he thinks it would shake things up.
-Maxine comes out with Alicia, who looks like she’s wearing a skirted bathing suit. Weird, but the lady’s got legs for days. Apparently, Maxine will tangle with AJ next. Sure, some wrestling halfway into a wrestling show, why not?
-I still like AJ, but she is a bit too perky for my tastes. They replay Maxine’s bitching out of AJ last week where she asked her to go to the back and get her some Thin Mints. You know, because she looks like a girl scout? CM Punk says Maxine’s problem is that she asked for Thin Mints when she totally should have gone for Samoas. Makes sense to me, even though I do have a particular affinity for those little minty delights.
Match One: AJ vs. Maxine
-Maxine comes out swinging, but AJ manages to wow a bit with a cartwheel over a prone Maxine, a slick armdrag, and a strong roundhouse kick. CM Punk calls a chinlock, “Vintage Maxine, vintage!” He also mockingly says that it’s the greatest television show on Earth. Despite some Maxine offense, AJ comes back with some running clotheslines and a nice running dropkick. Maxine comes back with a suplex (called a brainbuster by Punk, but probably only because it wasn’t a very good suplex), but AJ rolls over and gets the pin. Good showing for AJ, and I think we finally saw why there’s been word that she’s really strong in the ring.
-Hey, Michael Cole is out here now, to the very loud boos of the crowd. “Go ahead, boo, boo, boo, boo, boo, boo, boo, boo, boo, boo! Because guess what: you guys are in the minority!” He said he had a ton of tweets, and even notes passed to him at Raw begging him to return to NXT. Punk: “I tweeted him.” Cole continues. “Without Michael Cole, NXT is unwatchable. It’s like watching [sports reference I don’t get]. It’s like watching Bristol Palin try to dance. Without Michael Cole, NXT is, quite simply…bad.” Punk starts applauding for reasons I’m not exactly sure of, but perhaps it’s just comradery between heels. “Ladies and gentlemen, for all of you, for all of you, for my loyal fans, the Cole Miners…” Loud boos for that one. “…for CM Punk, so admirably filling in for me.” Punk: “Thank you. This show is bad with or without you, but thank you for coming.” Cole has decided to bring back journalistic integrity to the show, and so he’s returned. CM Punk hugs him, as “a handshake isn’t enough.” Cole says that he missed Matthews, and while Matthews tries to plug the main event, Cole just yells over him how riveting the show has been while Punk laughs in the background. I’m not sure if the show just got better or worse, but Cole’s complete dickishness may continue to add something remotely interesting to the otherwise bland or, at times, insulting proceedings.
-Cole and Punk are all buddy buddy, and sweet Death embrace me, there’s another challenge. It’s the “Talk the Talk Challenge.” Punk: “Ugh.” This is where they’re given a topic and have to ramble about it for sixty seconds. This could be dreadful, but Punk says, “I am so excited, I cannot tell you how excited I am right now.” Jamie is up first and her topic is “teeth.” She just ignores it, saying that the WWE Universe doesn’t want to hear about teeth, while the announcers all clamor “Yes we do!” She talks about how great she is. Punk: “What does that have to do with molars?” Her promo was well said, but, as Matt Striker points out, way off topic. Punk: “I give the little boy robot an F. She didn’t stay on topic.” Naomi is rocking a new color in her bangs this week (red), as pointed out by my wife. My wife: “I think these topics are really stupid. Who gives two shits about hearing her talking about teeth?” Agreed, honey. By everyone. Naomi’s topic is “toupee,” and this is just absurd. The audience kind of boos, especially because she doesn’t say anything for about 20 seconds. She admits that she can’t think of anything, but aren’t people here to see them wrestle? The crowd cheers for that. She says to give her a match. I agree, as does the crowd. Striker says that both Naomi and Jamie have been disqualified, and Naomi seems not to care, naturally. AJ is given the topic of “caffeine,” and she cuts a decent little promo about how she has her love and passion to get her up in the morning. Fine, but that one seemed kind of like a softball for her. Aksana is given the topic of “llama” and she doesn’t know what that is. She fumbles about it for over a minute, trying to get Matt Striker to explain it to her, or to pretend to be a llama, and he’s not going for it. The buzzer rings, mercifully, and the writers did her NO favors by giving her a noun that can hardly be utilized in a wrestling promo. Maxine is given the topic of “foot,” and in between saying that she belongs on top, because veiled sexual references are great for the PG audience, she says she’ll use her foot to squash AJ. Man, she’s really got it out for her. Not great, but not the worst by a long shot, obviously. Kaitlyn is given the topic “ignition” and she’s got nothing, instead telling a story about how when she was nervous backstage, someone told her to picture the audience in their underwear, and as she runs down the various kinds of underwear people might be wearing, she halfheartedly says that one of them “really gets her ignition going.” However, she does amuse me by ending her speech with “Aaaand scene.” My wife, and I, and probably the audience, are baffled that the writers would put these girls in these horrible situations and set them up to fail. It’s just bad, bad television, and incredibly unfair to these girls who are TRYING to be successful, but WWE doesn’t know how to challenge them without feeding them to the wolves. Shockingly, except that it’s not at all, AJ wins, as she actually cut a coherent promo. All the announcers cheer for her, saying that it was no contest, and they were right.
-My wife: “This show sucks.”
-It’s crazy that Punk and Cole are there to just bury the show, as Cole says that the main event will be a “very scientific, very technical match up,” while Punk says that this is “a main event anywhere in the country.” Not a lot of time left in the show, so I can’t imagine this being very long. A twitter comment that Matthews notes: “Michael Cole makes Mike Adamle sound like Gordon Solie.” Okay, let’s try to wrestle.
Match Two: Jamie, Kelly Kelly, and Naomi vs. LayCool and Kaitlyn
-Incredibly, incredibly awkward and stupid moment where Layla takes the flower out of Jamie’s hair and mocks her a full thirty seconds while Jamie does NOTHING about it other than put her fists up. My wife was screaming for her to do something, ANYTHING. She bodyslams Layla after a lockup and a kick or two, and Layla tags in Kaitlyn, who hits a halfway decent spear on Jamie. She then makes fun of her for about ten seconds, then misses an elbow. Tag in to Michelle, but Jamie tags in Naomi, who busts out the awesome with hard hits and crisp dropkicks. She throws Michelle into the corner and runs in with a backsplash, flipping over the ropes and onto the apron as she does it. Nice. She fights off Layla and gets caught by Michelle with a belly-to-belly suplex. Kaitlyn runs in to try to cover, forgetting that tags are necessary in tag team matches. Oy. Kaitlyn is then tagged in, and is quickly rolled up by Naomi for the three-count. Oh, Vickie’s not going to like that.
Winners: Jamie, Kelly Kelly, and Naomi
-And that’s where my DVR cut off. If something else happened, they’re not detailing the results on WWE.com. Did LayCool lay out Kaitlyn? That’s what it looks like from the picture on the website, but I honestly didn’t see it.
-Not that I need to watch a minute more of this show. You know, it’s not that I have a problem with watching the girls try to wrestle; some of theym will be good, some will be bad, and we’ll figure out who we like. The problem is that these girls are put in these absurd, pathetically planned situations where they have no recourse but to bomb. How the hell was Naomi supposed to talk about a toupee on this wrestling show and not look like a complete fool? So, she froze, and said what was on everyone’s mind: she’s here to wrestle, people are here to watch the girls wrestle, and this is a waste of her and everyone else’s time. I just don’t understand how anyone can think this show is entertaining when the announcers spend most of the show talking about what garbage it is.
-The crime is that this show doesn’t have to be this bad. Frankly, the worst part of the show isn’t the girls, but the idiotic games that they have to put up with. Sure, Jamie is awful in the ring, and Aksana doesn’t speak English all that well, and Maxine is…well, honestly, I’m not sure what’s special about Maxine other than that her character is kind of a bitch, but these girls are being overexposed and hung out to dry by terrible “booking” if you can call it that, and silliness on a level that makes them all look like chumps. WWE doesn’t get every show right, but if they used this same level of effort on their two main shows, the company might have gone under by now, and that’s not an exaggeration. At this point, it’s not that I feel bad for myself, as I have to sit and recap this show until it’s cancelled as soon as next week. Instead, I feel bad for these girls who are obviously trying their best, only to be thrown into terrible, unfair situations as they’re relentlessly mocked by the announcers. If WWE didn’t have enough ready, decently-trained women to do an all-Diva NXT, then they shouldn’t have done it. It’s a shame that all of these ladies are being burnt by this show as, regardless of their respective skill levels, they all deserve better. And so do we.