-Greetings, wrestlemonkeys! Obviously, this is late (as I said it would be), and so by now, nearly all of you know who won, who lost, who’s next, and all of the horrible names that the next class of rookies is saddled with. We can only hope that, at least with the second and third generation guys, WWE will come to their senses and just let the dudes use their real names. David Otunga is allowed to use his real name for the slight bit of recognition it’ll gain, but Windham Rotunda has, as Scott Keith pointed out in a mini rant on his blog, TWO names of former tag team champions, and they still figure that “Husky Harris” is better? Shameful.
-Anyway, as I was saying…because you’ve already heard all about this one, this recap is probably going to be a bit heavier on the analysis and discussion and focus less on transcription or simply telling you what actions occur. I say that now, but we’ll see how this thing forms as I write it.
-Oh, and my wedding was amazing, and my honeymoon was delightful. Thank you for asking.
-The video package at the beginning of the show is, as we’ve come to expect from WWE, top notch. Also, in opening of the show has been changed, as it no longer lists all of the rookies and their pros. This a) gives a few more seconds to the show and the video packages and b) continues the WWE’s policy that Carlito never existed, especially on this show. Seriously, he’s not even listed as Tarver’s pro on wwe.com anymore. No wonder he was the first one eliminated; he had to go it alone the whole time! Poor guy can’t catch a break.
-Matt Striker is in the ring, and all five of the elminated rookies get to sit in the front row, and they all look spectacularly unenthused to be there. I mean, genuinely miserable, but I suppose they should be; they have been eliminated and whatnot.
-All the pros are brought out, which reminds me that Punk looks almost frightening in his new SES mask. Seriously, the goatee sticking out of thing makes him look like a megalomaniacal supervillain.
-As the finalists are brought out, it’s clear that we only have one face, Justin Gabriel, and that Cole seems to find something funny in saying that they were rated first, second or third LAST week…maybe I missed something. Regardless, all of these guys will find a little success on television; I figure they’ll package Justin Gabriel with Hardy for awhile, maybe have them team, and, if I’m lucky, David Otunga will lose in the first ever “Overpushed Wrestler Gets Eaten By A Lion Match.” Oh, I kid, I kid. I don’t wish actual harm on the guy; frankly, it would be better for all of us if he goes back down to FCW for awhile to hone his craft, then comes back and attacks the NXT winner months down the road for ever saying all of those mean, mean things about him.
-Also…what IS David Otunga listening to on those headphones? I’m thinking Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.”
-Oooh, two Pro’s Polls tonight so that two of these cats are eliminated. Then, Striker confirms my suspicions/fears: these three will be in a Triple Threat Match next. I’m odd in that I like triple threat matches, generally, but it’s tough to have a good one, even if the participants are veterans. Hopefully this turns out alright.
-New Rookies! Husky Harris (aka Windham Rotunda) is being mentored by Cody Rhodes…who is only two years older than him. Okay, so he IS a husky guy, but that’s like how TNA has a rather large lady wrestler named “Rosie Lottalove.” Get it? She’s fat, so she’s a “lot of love.” Isn’t that clever? No? Of course it isn’t, and neither is calling a husky guy “Husky Harris.” Also, question: if his father’s name is Michael Rotunda, as he just said it was, how did he end up with the surname Harris? Anyone at WWE Genealogy Department want to explain that one to me? Seriously, WWE, get your shit straight. It’s called name recognition. You want to make him a second generation guy, change the first name to whatever you want, but leave the last name alone, as THAT’S where the power is. One wouldn’t think this crap was that hard.
-Hey, it’s John Morrison, and he’ll be a pro for Season Two! Might as well give the guy something to do now that he’s on Raw with 48 main eventers ahead of him. Still, fairly inexperienced guys as Pros thus far, as if everyone were assigned The Miz. Anyway, his rookie is named Eli Cottonwood. Wow, these ARE bad. How do fans chant for him other than “Let’s go Eli”? Alright, let’s take a look at this guy…wow, dude is 7’1″, but just looks like a tall, awkward glass of water. Based on his look, I’d actually try to have him barely say two words, sort of treating him like this confused, and confusing, giant that knows it’s his job to hurt people here, but doesn’t understand too much more than that…and doesn’t care to. I’m interested to see what they do with him, or if they’ll just have him win the season because he’s so big.
-Hooray! Actual wrestling (clarification: term used sparingly when David Otunga is involved)!
-Wakka wakka wakka…
Match One: David Otunga vs. Wade Barrett vs. Justin Gabriel
-David Otunga has bedazzled the back of his head…there are no words. Chris Jericho manages to be even more awesome than usual, as he interrupts the announcers and asks if they’re talking about Barrett. Matthews states that they were on another topic, and Jericho screams at them, “Talk about the winner. NOW!” And they DO. Oh, and apparently, in Season Two, Pros will have 50% of the vote, and the fans will have the other half. Oh, and this is an elimination-style match. Thanks for telling us NOW, announcer boys.
-The match itself is fine, but Otunga can still barely punch right. However, he can take a 450 splash just fine, and does, but Barrett pulls Gabriel out and gets the pin for himself. Now it’s Barrett vs. Gabriel, which is what it should have come down to with these three.
-We return to Barrett bringing energy and fluidity to the match with an abdominal stretch. Gabriel’s offenseis flashy, but I like it; as long as he can keep from making too many mistakes, I’d totally be interested in seeing this guy on Friday Nights. Barrett, for his part, is awesome at taking near falls, kicking out at the last possible moment, just liks his mentor. Gabriel then goes for a 450 and lands RIGHT on Barrett’s knees, and MAN, did that look like it hurt. Barrett casually rolls Gabriel up after that, and this party’s over.
Winner: Wade Barrett
-Michael Cole thinks Gabriel might have a broken rib, and I don’t know about that, but he’s gonna be putting some ice in that thing.
-New Pro and Rookie combo is MVP, which I’m fine with, and his rookie is a South Beach party guy (like Darren Young was supposed to be) named Percy Watson (UGH), and there’s nothing I can find on this guy. All I know is that he’s a “self-professed ladies man,” which only further solidifies my opinion that he’s the most…flamboyant…wrestler in WWE since well, I’m not going to go there, as it’s low-class. Maybe that was just a bad video package but, in all seriousness, the guy looks like a clown. Hopefully, it was just a bad video package.
-Zach Ryder is the Pro for Titus O’Neil (UUUUGGGGHHH), and I really, REALLY hope that he follows through on his promise to teach his rookie how to pick up girls and “get zached.” I would absolutely love to see his rookie really thirsty for knowledge, and all Zach is talking about is how to build up a strong twitter following and “The Three Woos.” Titus O’Neil is, well, a big black dude. Not much else to go on, except that he’s certainly a power guy.
-Pro’s Poll time, but Striker talks to the eliminated rookies first. Michael Tarver thinks…he should be eliminated. Baffling. Striker, wisely, doesn’t follow up, and moves on to Daniel Bryan (ARE YOU BRYAN DANIELSON OR NOT?! BRAIN ARE CONFUSED!), who gets a salid pop. I have to transcribe his answer. “Well, David Otunga, you can’t wrestle. And Justin Gabriel, sorry buddy, but you can’t talk. So that just leaves one person. Wade Barrett should win this competition.” Barrett kind of nods a bit, as if to say, “Can’t argue with that logic.” Skip Sheffield doesn’t care who wins NXT. Good answer. Darren Young says his money is on Wade Barrett, and then attacks Dallas, Texas, calling them a bunch of haters. Why is he cheering for Wade Barrett? Didn’t he hate his guys, like, two or three weeks ago? Heath Slater also picks Wade Barrett, saying it’s obvious. Wow, that was pretty much a drubbing, endorsement-wise.
-Pro’s Poll goes like this: Wade Barrett is first, obviously, and the first guy eliminated is…Justin Gabriel. WHAT?! Man, that’s weird. Why have the final competition between two heels? Gabriel gives a pretty decent farewell speech, and meets Matt Hardy on the top of the ramp. Hardy gets the mic, and it seems that the guys in the truck didn’t realize that he was going to say something. It’s not much, mostly saying that Justin Gabriel “will not die,” and that he’s a good guy, he’ll be fine, blah blah blah. Again, I don’t know why, as Cole points out, the two-most self-serving individuals are in the finals, as it makes for a lousy story, but then again, I’m not running a multi-million dollar corporation.
-Oh god, it’s Team LayCool. As I don’t cover Smackdown, let me make my thoughts on them public: hate. The fact that they were allowed to call Mickie James fat for months and months and, eventually, come out on top, to me, is the most dispicable thing I’ve ever seen a company do. As annoying heels, they do their job, but the fact that Michelle McCool has been women’s champion this many times is horrendous, especially when Gail Kim and Natalya Neidhart barely get in the ring at all. Maybe if I was boffing the Undertaker, I could be a champion, too. Okay, rant over. The girls point out that their rookie, Kaval, is “so teeny tiny.” Umm, that’s not going to go well. Man, Kaval/Low-ki/Senshi is AWESOME, but I don’t know how well he’s going to do if he’s just the subject of idiotic “comedy” skits with the two of them.
-Holy crap, Mark Henry is a mentor? What’s he going to teach? “Okay, so what you do is get signed to a ten year contract based solely on what little name power you have as an Olympian, then wait until the final year of your contract to have any worth to the company in any fashion. Then, be big and slow, but fun enough to be in three minute squashes where guys kick your knees before you topple to the ground like a pile of sausages. Okay, go!” Anyway, this class seems to be majorly lacking the star power of the first one. Not a world champion among them, unless you count Mark Henry’s cup of coffee with the ECW Championship. His rookie’s name is Lucky Cannon, and Cole says that he has a very interesting story that we’ll hear about next week. Was it a close call with his cousin, Palmer Cannon? Anyone? Anyone?
-Rookies get to be on the mic! They get 60 seconds to rant against each other, and that’s pretty awesome. Otunga has some fairly lame jokes about him being ugly, and having bad teeth, but I will admit to laughing a bit at his comment that, “the only pay-per-view match I’d pay to see with you is a triple threat match between you, Aquafresh, and Listerine.” Alright, as bad-breath/teeth jokes go, that one wasn’t bad. Barrett barely cares. I also like how he says that Barrett’s body won’t be on muscle and fitness, and Barrett replies by flexing his pecs. Touche’. Otunga also says that while Barrett has a couple of good moves in the ring, that can be learned, although it would seem that Otunga is trying to prove that particular statement wrong. BaZING! All-in-all, not a terrible rant, but it’s what we’ve come to expect from Otunga: he has some skill on the mic, although not as much as WWE says he does. He might be better as a heel manager for awhile, giving him time to continue learning in the ring. In fact, I think that’s a MUCH better idea, and I believe people have said it on other sites, as well as in the comments below my articles.
-Barrett’s turn. “Well that was thoroughly entertaining. I’m sure you had the viewers turning off in droves just like you have done very time you’ve stepped in the ring so far on NXT.” Barrett’s words seem to ring fairly true, saying that Otunga has a bodybuilder’s physique, but no idea how to use it, as well as the money-line, “I’ve seen the Great Khali move in the ring with more balance and poise than you do.” I dig Barrett, and have for awhile, so it’s nice to see him calling out David Otunga on his “it factor,” and saying that he talks about that because he has no tangible quality that WWE can hold on to. Well said, and time’s up. Both tee and hee.
-Hi, Kofi Kingston! I suppose that he’s been a strong enough pro to be a mentor here, so I’m good with his inclusion. He’s mentoring Joe Hennig, who’s been saddled with the horrible, horrible name of Michael McGillicutty (AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!). So putting him on NXT and giving him this name was better than teaming him with Dibiase as “Fortunate Sons?” Oh well. That being said, he looks kind of like a taller Jaime Noble. Let’s hope he’s half as good in the ring.
-The announcers restate the new rules of season two, i.e. that the WWE Universe gets a say in the rankings and eliminations. The only reason I mention this is that Cole looks at Matthews and asks, “Does that mean that we get a say?” Matthews looks at him with a stare of PURE CONCENTRATED HATE. Seriously, go back; you’ll see it.
-Look, the eliminated rookies are still miserable! To the ring!
-Matt Striker is in the ring with Otunga and Barrett, and it’s almost that time! Of course, it IS that time for The Miz to make a special announcement. Why do I have the feeling that this involves Daniel Bryan? Nope, I’m wrong; he’s going to be back for Season Two, and he has a new rookie, Alex Riley. He wears a varsity jacket with the sleeves cut off, which screams arrogant villain, of course, but they don’t show any footage of him actually wrestling. Alex Riley isn’t a terrible name, so I suppose I can give that one a pass, and he almost looks like The Miz, so I can see these two getting along just fine.
-Matt Striker, for his part, essentially says, “That’s nice,” and moves us along to the ending. Striker throws to big screen for the Pro’s Poll, but it’s interrupted by William Regal getting up and congratulating Jericho on Barrett’s victory, only lamenting that it’s a shame how he didn’t have Regal for a mentor. R-Truth gets up to stop them from celebrating early, and Regal says something that, certainly, I didn’t anticipate: “The only thing your man has going for him is that he married well, but I’ve seen his wife, and he didn’t marry that well.” Hey! Leave Jennifer Hudson alone! That is a HEEL, ladies and gentlemen. Punk also chimes in that the only reason he’s here is because of who he married, and that we should just get on with it.
-Okay, this segment takes a weird, but amazing turn. Regal is more awesome on this show than he has been in months, and his faceoff with R-Truth is just outstanding stuff. He begs someone, anyone, to attack him, as he’s been on this show for 15 weeks “without a live mic,” and he is all up in everyone’s business. I especially like how he calls The Miz “Kermit.” R-Truth, in lieu of fighting him, just dances and thrusts his pelvis, to which Regal replies, “How very entertaining.” Wow, did the writers just script “Regal acts badass for a few minutes to kill time” in to this show? Man, I would LOVE to have Regal be a big deal SOMEWHERE. Christian piping in, “Regal, sit down, you haven’t won a fight in a year,” is also pretty epic. CM Punk says, “I have heard enough and seen enough on NXT,” then gives the peace sign, and just WALKS OFF THE SET. My god, what is going on here? Jericho says the reason Barrett won isn’t because he’s English, as Regal suggests, but because he mentored him, and so they naturally disagree on that point. Regal says that he’s always liked Jericho’s two moves (hot damn), but that Barrett would have won with any of them as his pro. Matt Striker then tries to bring them back, and does.
-What the hell was any of that? I loved it, as it was just a bunch of guys ad-libbing in character, and it was dynamite, but I’m not sure if it served any purpose whatsoever. Maybe they were told that there was a problem with the video, and so they had to stall? I haven’t the foggiest idea.
-Now, the Pro’s Poll actually works and the winner is, of course, Wade Barrett, as was apparent from the day that Daniel Bryan got eliminated. Jericho smugly smiles and claps as, after all, his dude won. You know, we never DID hear the theme music that Barrett was supposed to have won. David Otunga doesn’t believe this is happening, and says that it’s okay, as he was eliminated from a reality show before and ended up a bigger star than anyone on it. He also happens to know someone that was eliminated from American Idol, and became the biggest star that ever came out of it. Well, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood have done extraordinarily well, but neither of them have Oscars, so I suppose he has a point.
-Barrett, naturally, is as happy as a pig in crap. His speech is self-serving, naturally, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he does. The show ends with what appears to be the same video recap that started the show. Umm, alright.
-Wrestling-wise, it was a one-match show, and booking-wise, they had the final competition come down to two villains. Maybe they knew that Gabriel’s weakness on the mic wouldn’t translate well to a verbal showdown, so they got him off early. Regardless, when the final vote is between two guys that the audience wants to boo, one because he’s a jerk and the other because he’s awful, it comes like an election in the United States, where people are just cheerleading for who they hate less. Still, Wade Barrett should have won, and he did, and I’m fine with that.
-With the old class, I imagine that WWE will bring up who they like, and it seems that Bryan Danielson is going to end up somewhere or another, which is good for all of us little Internet wrestling nerds, and I’m sure that most of the others will have a job for the immediately forseeable future.
-The new class…well, apparently, people are high on Alex Riley, but I know nothing about the guy, and the only guy who I’ve ever seen wrestle is Kaval, who I’m a big fan of. I mean, the guy’s been wrestling for as long as Danielson, so I’m surprised they still want to use him on NXT, but hey, you want to make him deal with the two primadonnas, maybe it’ll make for fun television. I’m not sure it will, but benefit of the doubt, thy name is NXT…sometimes.
-Bye all. Next week, new rookies! New pros! New wrestlers to hate and get behind! More Michael Cole being a heel! All this and more on a new episode of NXT! Exclamation points!
Tags: chris jericho, David Otunga, Justin Gabriel, NXT, The Miz, Wade Barrett, William Regal, WWE