-My thoughts on the draft? So far, I’m happy. The supplemental draft was, ultimately, pretty pointless, with the exception of Cody Rhodes to Smackdown, which I completely agree with. So Chavo is moved over to Smackdown…along with Hornswaggle, so tht their feud of the millenium can continue. It’s not like Chavito is doing much of anything these days, anyway, but all of the moves and shakes in the supplemental draft meant next to nothing, at least as far as I can tell as an outsider. The main draft, however…hey, Chris Jericho is probably the biggest heel on Raw, right next to Batista and, to a lesser extent, Sheamus, and readers know that I love me some Chris Jericho. Plus, Christian now has an opportunity to be a bonafide main eventer on Smackdown, and Kofi can stop being squashed by the big-bads on Monday Night. Game on. Still, I can’t help but feel bad for Carlito…all the guy wanted was to be traded to Smackdown, and nothing. Of course, we always figure he’s not long for his future endeavors, yet somehow he holds on. But hey, he ain’t NOBODY’S Virgil.
-And now, onto the show that I’m currently recapping! Michael Cole calls Matt Striker their own Wink Martindale, a comment I’m guessing less than half the people watching this show get anymore. I get it, and I didn’t think I was THAT old, but I guess I was wrong. All the rookies are in the ring, and I can’t help but notice that Skip Sheffield has replaced his typical cowboy vest with a leather one with spikes all over it. This suggests that a) that gimmick is a-changing, or b) he simply wanted me to start making more homosexual leather-club bondage jokes. Your voice has been heard, Mr. Sheffield, and your vote has been counted.
-Pro’s poll is in two weeks. I’m thinking Tarver is gone, Barrett is number one, and Daniel Bryan is number seven. Today they’re testing likeability, and the rookies are going to go out into the crowd and try to sell merchandise…for sixty seconds. Wha? The winner earns a match against a WWE Pro of their choosing next week. This is really, really strange. They’re trying to sell programs for fifteen dollars a piece. This is easily the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen. Ain’t nobody buying from Skip Sheffield, nor do I blame them. Well, one kid does, as does a little girl, and Sheffield calls her “little lady” and says, “yup yup” which is kind of nice. I won’t lie, Sheffield is kind of likeable in a “Tell me about the rabbits again, George” kind of way. He sells four, and, instead of spending all of the time selling now, they’re going straight to a match. I can get behind that plan.
Match One: Christian and Heath Slater vs. Chris Jericho and Wade Barrett
-Replay shown of Heath Slater rolling up Jericho, and Jericho gettin’ all angrypants. Michael Cole immediately gets on my bad side by calling Christian’s team “Christian Slater.” Let the bile commence. Jericho’s strikes do seem to have some extra stank on them, tonight, as his kicks sound harder, and he argues with the referee to continue his angry sore loser character from last week. It’s always great to watch Christian and Jericho in the ring together, and it’s a shame that they’ll be on different brands, but it’s better for both. The match actually flows pretty well, with all of these guys being fair-to-great hands in the ring. Christian slingshots himself over the ropes and onto Barrett, and Slater and Jericho give us a wonderful bit of consistency as Jericho goes for the Walls of Jericho, and Slater rolls him up AGAIN, but this time Jericho kicks out, then immediately springs up and hits Slater with a Codebreaker. That’s all for Slater, and Jericho doesn’t look terribly happy at all that he won. Instead, he simply shakes Barrett’s hand for helping him with that bit of business, and then they raise their hands, as if it was business as usual, and all is set right in Jericho’s world. He does give us a wry, smarmy grin before we’re thrown to Daniel Bryan and Matt Striker in the stands. Match was fun, but way too short. I could have watched those four beat on each other for another five minutes.
Winners: Chris Jericho and Wade Barrett
-Daniel Bryan tries to sell programs…let’s see how THIS goes. Actually, in terms of Daniel Bryan being likable, this works just fine, as he just gives out programs for free, as “he’s not much of a capitalist.” Cole screams how he’s going to lose again, but to be fair, I bet you that he’s more likable than any of the other rookies now. He makes zero dollars, naturally. Michael Cole calls Bryan a tool, and Matthews says what every member of the IWC wishes they could say to the man’s face: “Have you ever looked in the mirror? You are the definition of a tool. You are a toolBOX.”
-Earlier today, Carlito was talking to Michael Tarver about taking every opportunity that he can get, and then gives him an opportunity to carry his bags for him. Maybe Carlito needs a Virgil…actually, Tarver could be a GREAT Virgil for Ted Dibiase! What if he loses in two weeks on NXT, but needs some other way to get into the company…and takes the very offer that Carlito rejected? I think this could work brilliantly if WWE has any intentions on using the guy for anything.
-Video Package for Extreme Rules. Hey, I ordered it, and I had fun. HATED the ending to Batista/Cena, however. Hated hated hated, Roger Ebert-style.
-Justin Gabriel goes to sell programs, but before he starts, he simply asks people to help him fight a pro next week so that he can show them what he does best, which is wrestling. Right way to start, as far as I’m concerned. He also gets the line of the night thus far: “All of your American money looks the same to me.” He’s got a point. Wow, people love this guy, and they are lining up to buy these disgustingly overpriced programs. He sells 22 of the things, and I don’t see anyone selling more than that. Matthews says, “That’s like 5,000 dollars!” Cole, after some math help, correctly states that it’s 330 dollars. Hard to find someone more likable on the NXT Roster than Gabriel, to tell the truth. He seems like some nice kid that just wants to make you smile.
-Video package showing the Pro’s thoughts on Michael Tarver, and they’re really mixed on the guy. Regal calls him a sleeper (I agree) in how he doesn’t have people taking him seriously, and CM Punk actually comes off as a normal human being instead of his character. He also says that Tarver has been saddled with a less-than-stellar Pro. Ouch. Carlito, for his part, says that he’s a tough kid, and that maybe if he listened more to Carlito (his words, not mine), then maybe he’d be higher up in the rankings. Miz sees nothing, Christian sees something, but isn’t sure what it is, and Matt Hardy sees him at the bottom of the barrel. I think Tarver, when he’s not stumbling over his words, is fairly well-spoken (an odd comment, I know), and he seems decent enough in the ring. Like I said, Virgil the guy and get him off NXT if he’s just going to be a goof.
-Did you know Darren Young, who comes out without CM Punk this time, but with Luke and Serena, has the best record of the NXT rookies? That blows my mind.
Match Two: Michael Tarver vs. Darren Young
-After throwing Young into the corner, the ref holds Tarver away for an oddly long time. Once he’s allowed to re-establish contact, he hits what I can only describe as a reverse powerslam, which is kind of cool. Young re-establishes control and hits a tornado elbow and a running shoulderblock. Cole says that Young has greatly improved, and I agree that he’s definitely better, although I don’t know if “greatly” is the right word. Gallows takes out Tarver on the apron while Serena distracts the ref. It hurts Tarver just enough for Young to capitalize with his full-nelson facebuster and put him away.
Winner: Darren Young
-Post-match, the SES walks into the ring and confronts Darren, and Gallows pulls Serena away from the rookie when they start talking to one another. Matthews calls jealousy. Why help him, then? Maybe it was under Punk’s orders?
-David Otunga is in the crowd to sell programs, and I’m sure THIS is going to go swimmingly. Apparently, Gabriel made 210 dollars. He got gipped by the crowd, man. Otunga points out that, as a celebrity (ha!), he doesn’t do manual labor, so he enlists two kids to sell the programs for him. Fits with the character, at least. Otunga does shockingly well, especially for a heel. Maybe fans are just getting into the competition now. Otunga: “Look at all this money! They should call me Money like Mayweather!” That’s not un-clever. Next is Miz vs. Skip Sheffield.
-Recap of the WWE Draft. So is Edge a heel now? To be fair, Orton was lord of heels until, like, a month ago.
-Pro’s video package of Justin Gabriel shows the 450 Splash about five times, and while Justin’s a big fan of Matt Hardy, CM Punk disagrees. “I think his biggest detriment is his coach. I don’t know what Matt Hardy can teach him other than how to Myspace or…or Twitter.” If you think I didn’t start laughing out loud, alone in my apartment, immediately after that one, you would be wrong, good sir or madam. Jericho is unexcited. “He’s got a big flashy finisher. So what?” A few of the pros complain about his personality, but William Regal seems high on him, and that’s good enough for me.
-Recap of Otunga’s issues with R-Truth from last week. Earlier today, R-Truth makes a startlingly good point to Otunga. “Sunset flip, all you have to do is sit down, grab the legs, 1-2-3, Otunga wins the match.” I LOVE that comment, and I’ll tell you why: it is a perfect explanation of a pro to a rookie of how to counter a common move that so many allow to trip them up. It is a moment of actual teaching in a show that we all know is scripted and staged, but it comes off as so genuine because it’s such a good example of something that would be taught by a veteran. Otunga nods, but isn’t terribly impressed. That’s good advice, David! And from R-Truth! You’re lucky that guy doesn’t start throwing out some wacky non-sensical rhymes in lieu of actual advice! Otunga thinks R-Truth should have just helped him last week, but he simply says, “Truth don’t play dat.” Is this riff from In Living Color a new catchphrase of him? Hell, the show was, like, twenty years ago, so I guess he’s within his right to poach from it. “If you can’t run with the big dogs, get off the porch.” That’s not bad, either. You know, every time I start to hate R-Truth, he shows me that he has some value to the company. Guy will never be world champion, but he’s popular with the kiddies and can hang well enough in the ring, even if his offense is only a couple of flips and twists. Holds himself well in backstage skits, too. Like I said, he’s never going to be a major contender, nor should he, but he keeps showing me reasons why he should, if nothing else, have a job.
-More Program selling, and DAVID OTUNGA MADE 315 DOLLARS?! WHAT?! He made more than Justin Gabriel?! That is horrifying to me. Here we have Heath Slater, and he tries his darndest, and he actually runs out of programs for a second, but he can’t beat Otunga’s money count. Darren Young is next, and on the opposite side of the building, it seems. Man, Striker must be The Flash or something to get from one side to the other as quickly as he did. Young openly says, “Who wants to see Darren Young vs. CM Punk?!” Hey, calling out who your opponent will be isn’t a bad idea…unless you lose. Then, the pro just hates you. So, good luck with that. Some kids are happy to buy programs from him, but he’s running out of people to buy from him. Some people just don’t want the programs…I think I’d only buy one from Daniel Bryan, but I’m a snob. Matt Striker looks at the wad of money that Young has, and automatically knows that he didn’t beat David Otunga. Seriously? You can tell by not counting it, and only by looking at a crumpled mess of bills? This thing is obviously rigged, and unless someone gives Wade Barrett 400 dollars for one program, we’re going to have to sit through another awkward Otunga match next week. Delightful.
-Tarver is up next, and he doesn’t seem sure of where he is, let alone prepared to sell programs. I can tell that this is going to go wonderfully. Tarver grabs the mic, and screams that he shouldn’t have to sell WWE stuff, and that WWE should sell him, that HE is the product. He doesn’t even take the bag, and just walks off yelling that he’s the product. He has the point, but he’s still going to lose. Cole points out that the only thing dumber than that was Daniel Bryan giving programs away. “Ha ha. That was really stupid.” Matthews just turns away, perhaps in disgust or exhaustion at Cole’s antagonism towards Daniel Bryan. Regardless, Wade Barrett is next. People WAVE MONEY at him, and he instead just cuts a promo talking about how he’s already proven himself, so he doesn’t need to participate in this joke. However, he does like money, so he’s just going to take the change given to him, put it in his back pocket (which I’m pretty sure doesn’t exist in wrestling trunks), and walk away. Cole applauds this, because, duh, he’s kind of a heel on this show.
-Video Package on Daniel Bryan! The pro’s position on Daniel Bryan is, apparently, pretty damn high. CM Punk thinks his ranking as number one is dead on, and Christian and Regal both think that he’s already a superstar, ready to go. Miz, of course, thinks he sucks, and his myriad of losses are replayed. Regal points out that Bryan and Miz are oil and water, while Miz believes that he brings the best out in people. So, long story short, Miz hates him, everyone else thinks he’s awesome as long as he can show everyone that he has a personality.
-David Otunga has won the Seal the Deal challenge, and Otunga, unsurprisingly, decides to face R-Truth next week. Honestly, I hope that Truth destroys him, but I suspect he may cheat and eke out a win. Actually, what could work even better would be if he beats R-Truth by using the exact same advice that Truth gave him.
-Recap of the Hart Dynasty victory from last night. Wow, Miz has a HUGE welt on the left side of his face from Big Show clocking him last night. Man, if it’s not legit, their makeup person deserves a raise. Regal gets up real close and personal with Miz, and I have no idea what he said to him, but Regal certainly has a smile on his face.
-Miz, mumbling with pain, says that he can’t compete tonight due to the sucker-punch from Big Show last night, and so Daniel Bryan will be taking his place. Well, one of these guys is going to get a win on the boards, so it seems. Alas, I’m thinking Sheffield takes it.
Match Three: Skip Sheffield vs. Daniel Bryan
-Bryan comes out swinging, and smashes Sheffield into the corner with a running dropkick. The guy hits hard, you have to give him that. Still, I’m figuring this is going to end with Sheffield doing some power move, or Regal cheating, and Bryan going 0-9. See what you’ve done to me, WWE? Congratulations, I am joyless and without hope. Bryan gets on top of Sheffield and starts punching him in the gut, then throws a gravevine on the leg for a quick little submission. Sheffield reaches the ropes, and Bryan gives him a hard kick to the chest, but Sheffield catches the second one, throws him back, then nearly kills him with a clothesline. Little man, meet big man. Sheffield with a backpack stunner, and that’s it. Bryan is running out of excuses, even from me, as someone who desperately wants the guy to succeed. Regal takes a long look at Daniel Bryan, and I wonder what it means.
Winner: Skip Sheffield
-That was a show. The wrestling matches (in particular the final one) were far too short, for my money, but at least the program-selling bits were relatively painless. I’m not going to spend the rest of this paragraph talking about Daniel Bryan, because I think I know where that’s headed, but the one big hook for next week is how David Otunga will fare against R-Truth. While I’m not a huge Truth fan, I would LOVE for him to annihilate Otunga for letting his ego get ahead of his ability, but I have a feeling that Otunga will pull it out in the manner I mentioned earlier, by reversing a sunset flip with the advice given to him by Truth. At that point, Otunga will brag about how he never needed any of Truth’s help, since he beat him at all, and we’ll be privy to some supposedly dickish heelishness, which I imagine will be done lazily and cockily by Otunga, who is simply too inexperienced to have the proper amount of villainy. Let him hang out with Jericho, Miz, and CM Punk more, and see if any of it rubs off. Heck, try to actually rub up against them literally if that’ll do the trick.
-See you next week. Comments are belowish.
Tags: chris jericho, cm punk, Daniel Bryan, Darren Young, David Otunga, Michael Tarver, Skip Sheffield, Wade Barrett