-Holy cats, did that actually happen last night?
-Starting the show by revisiting the insane destruction of Cena and everything WWE (with the odd exception as Michael Cole, a convenient oversight that has certainly gotten the Internet nerds a-buzzing) works for me. Let’s see us some more of that delicious wanton destruction! Also: who did Justin Roberts piss off to get choked with his own tie shirtless? Does he owe one of the bookers money or something?
-Wow, they just show the aftermath. Neat touch.
-Aaaand, onto the normal happy opening, albeit with the new rookies. I love Low-ki/Kaval, but he might be too small to get any love in the WWE without wearing a mask that can be sold to children for thirty bucks. And I immediately hate Percy Watson for some strange reason…
-Matt Striker addresses last night’s vicious asskicking, calling them “the graduating class” of Season One. In all fairness to them, Michael, weren’t all but Wade Barrett essentially fired according to your little game show? Striker, for his part, looks fairly shaken about the whole thing, and is selling a bit of injury from last night. Subtle, but nice.
-Season Two Pros come out, led by the Miz. Oh wait, just the Miz, doing that whole talking thingamawhoozer. Alex Riley is introduced, and these two look like brothers. John Morrison is next, and says, “Of all the NXT rookies, mine is definitely the tallest.” That’s not so much a compliment as it’s a simple description, John-o. Eli Cottonwood is, indeed, tall.
-Quick sidenote: told my friend Matt, a huge fan in his own right, that Cottonwood, while tall, was apparently less than stellar in the ring, and already 35 years old. “That’s a shame,” he said. “I’m really not looking forward to his world title reign.”
– Cody Rhodes seems like he’s going to cut a promo, but then just says, with a sigh, “Husky Harris.” Cody’s playing the CM Punk role, it seems. LayCool is next, and Layla looks smoking. I suppose Michelle looks nice too, but my hate reflex is kicking up in my throat. Kaval comes out, pleased enough to be here, and he’s immediately made to hold the women’s titles, much to his chagrin. He’s shorter than Michelle McCool, and don’t think Vince isn’t grumbling under his breath about that one. Mark Henry enters to a HUGE pop (WHY?!) and introduces Lucky Cannon, and the kid seems to have a good look to him, if nothing else. Actually, let me clarify that: he’s well put together, but he looks like any random guy you’d see on the indies with a sweet finisher and no real ring psychology other than, “Check this out! ALL of my moves drop dudes on their heads!” You know, like the Brisco Brothers.
-Ba-ZING! Come for the recaps, stay for the comedy! Try the metaphorical veal.
-Enter Kofi Kingston, along with Michael McGillicutty, who looks a LOT like a taller Jamie Noble. I mean, like a lot. MVP “is in the building” showing that he’s not a projection, and brings in “Showtime” Percy Watson, who dances his way down to the ring, in the process offending both blacks and homosexuals. Zach Ryder has Titus O’Neil, who has the “big scary black guy” gimmick, one of the two or three that Vince gives out.
-Striker explains the evaluations for this season, i.e. half from the pros, have from the WWE Universe, meaning that they either have to a) rig the voting or b) make sure one of these guys is far more likable than the rest so that they can be assured a winner. It’s also only a twelve-week season. First Pro’s Poll in three weeks, first elimination in six.
-Wrestling to follow…oh, but first, Husky grabs the mic and starts yelling something about being awesome or making an impact or some stupid thing, and when the fans start to boo, Titus O’Neil goes for the mic, and gets out half a syllable before Harris pushes him, and the fans seem to like that. Like I said, wrestling after the commercials! Huzzah!
-The announcers quickly touch on the NXT attack from last night, as Cole recalls how he was able to escape from the crowd, and that he actually saw children crying. I can believe that; Cena’s popular with the kiddies, but they also watched people just being attacked for no reason. It wasn’t the simple good vs. bad that they’re conditioned to watch and cheer along with. Hey, I’m a fan of where they’re going with this…or rather, I will be as soon as I have the slightest clue of where they’re going with it.
Match One: John Morrison and Eli Cottonwood vs. Zach Ryder and Titus O’Neil
-Well, WWE can sleep soundly with the knowledge that if anything were ever to happen to Ezekial Jackson, they have another one handy in Titus O’Neil. Also, the Pros are on the stage, watching and evaluating, so I suppose they’re just going to be there throughout the shows in the ensuing weeks. Fine by me. Cottonwood looks a bit disturbed, which is also fine by me, but O’Neil takes him down with a shoulderblock. After Cottonwood kicks out of a cover, O’Neil starts…barking at him. Cottonwood, confused as everyone else, kicks him in the stomach and gets on with the match, drawing some laughs from the crowd. That was weird. After being clotheslined into the corner by Cottonwood, O’Neil eats a corner dropkick from Morrison, and rolls out to regroup.
-We come back to the unbearable excitement of headlocks! More accurately, Morrison with one on Ryder. O’Neil tagged in, but it’s not too long before he takes Starship Pain, and the whole thing is over.
John Morrison and Eli Cottonwood
-Morrison seems to think the big guy was okay, and the crowd is mixed, leaning thumbs up. Miz, however, was not entertained. Shocking, I know. Cole loves The Miz, and says that he should be int he Hall of Fame of Coaches, comparing him to Bill Parcells. Matthews, naturally, thinks that Cole is out of his mind. So Cole is still going to harp on Daniel Bryan Danielson? Is he sure that’s a good idea? Hasn’t this resulted in him getting attacked not once, but twice? Is there more to this, or am I simply looking too much into it? Oh, Michael Cole. One day, you’ll be viciously beaten in the ring as the fans cheer. Or maybe you won’t, because then Vince McMahon would have to openly confront the fact that fans don’t like you very much, as while JR was beloved and could get empathy, your beatdown would be greeted with tickertape and dollar margaritas. Even for the children.
Rookie Video Package: Alex Riley
-Hmmm…he’s a fortunate one, or so it seems. Good childhood, great parents, excelled at sports. His gimmick is, of course, that he’s a cocky, well-off assclown, and that one, much like Converse sneakers, never goes out of style. Sure thing, kid, but can you wrestle a spell? I watch my wrestling for wrestling…and neat swerves and storylines, apparently. So long, smug sense of self-satisfaction…
Match Two: MVP and Percy Watson vs. Cody Rhodes and Husky Harris
-Percy Watson wrestles with the glasses ON?! Man, it’s going to take a lot to make me NOT hate this guy. Luckily, he’s wrestling Cody Rhodes, who I love. Watson’s athletic, though, I’ll give him that. Harris wants in, and so he is. Dude is, indeed, husky, as Cole happily points out. Cody demands back in, and after a little confusion following an illegal tag, Cody comes in and hits Watson RIGHT before he reaches MVP, who takes a swing at him. Cody’s quick dodge of MVP’s hook, and his smug smile, is delectably heelish. WHY IS HE NOT WRESTLING FOR THE IC TITLE RIGHT NOW?!
-As we return, Cody has, apparently, just been beating up Percy Watson for the past few minutes. Boy, Cody does NOT care about tagging in Harris, who’s left alone in the corner with his tattoos. However, Cody relents and tags the kid in, and I love how he yells, “hit him harder, hit him!” Harris with a nice running senton onto Watson. Somehow, Watson escapes to the corner and tags in MVP, who hits some of his token offense on Harris, although I find it funny that when Harris falls into position for what he THINKS is the Ballin’ Elbow, MVP picks him up and slams him in the right spot for the camera. TV is wacky that way. Rhodes tries to turn the tide by jumping off the top, but he just eats a boot from MVP when Watson shouts some warning. Tag into Watson, and he hits a floatover DDT for the pin on Harris. You know, The Rock used to do that as a regular move; gotta pick up that finisher slack, man. Still, the fans liked it well enough, so what do I know?
Winners: MVP and Percy Watson
-Cody is asked for his thoughts on Husky Harris: “Husky Harris looks awfully familiar. Not only do you look like someone in my own family, you look like every one of these people. But I don’t care to talk about Husky Harris, I want to talk about “Showtime.” You think you can shape this already great athlete into a WWE Pro? I’m going to mold this, right here, into the next breakout star.” Striker tried to take the mic away from him on that last sentence, which is a bit weird. Biggest Loser, WWE-style? Hey, some wrestlers are fat; Vader had a pretty good run last I checked, and Samoa Joe might just be the best goddamn wrestler in the world. If the kid is able to deliver in the ring, let him have some buttered popcorn. MVP, when asked about the rookies, and says that Percy Watson is ready for primetime, even if he got himself into a bit of trouble, as he got himself out of it. Fair enough, although he needs an image transplant something fierce.
Rookie Video Package: Michael McGillicutty
-So how are they going to explain that his grandfather, Larry Hennig, and his father, Curt Hennig, have a son named Michael McGillicutty? Oh right, they won’t. His moves look crisp enough in the ring as far as I can see from the package. I love that he’s using the rolling neck snap, although I’d prefer he have another finisher in addition to the PerfectPlex. Also, having never seen Larry Hennig, I now know that he looked EXACTLY like his son, except, well, fatter. Not Husky Harris fat, but Vader fat. You all know Vader fat, right?
-All the rookies and pros are in the ring, as they replay the footage of the crazy NXT World Order attack from last night, in it’s entirety. It’s interesting, watching it again last night, as Barrett gives them all the nod to first surround Cena, and then to get in the ring. He’s definitely the field leader here, although who knows if he’ll prove to be the mastermind of the whole thing. It’s also easier to hear Bryan yelling, “You’re not better than me!” Again, I feel terrible for Justin Roberts, and I hope that they let him know they were going to be doing that beforehand. Another interesting facet to this was tearing the ring up, so that they fans could see that, ultimately, wrestlers are being dropped on a big plank of wood. You get that, wrestling fans? They are falling, repeatedly, on WOOD, not on a trampoline. Plus, seeing CM Punk actually try to help Cena was surreal, almost like this was bigger than his personal distaste for the man.
-Kind of disturbing, but still totally awesome. I can also see what everyone was talking about regarding the look on Gabriel’s face before and after the 450.
-The live audience for NXT is, more or less, quiet, with a smattering of claps. Kaval, asked for his thoughts, says that what they did was unbelievable, but that being said, that’s how you make a statement in the WWE. Ooh, that’s not going to go over well with the (fictional) higher-ups. Striker isn’t too pleased with that thought. Lucky Cannon calls what they did cowardly, but it did make a statement. Husky Harris disagrees with what they did, but ultimately doesn’t care, because he’s here to win NXT, and that’s it. Alex Riley sneezes, saying he’s allergic to Matt Striker. Matt Striker: “I think you’re done.” Is any of this being scripted? I know that Vince is on a reality kick, but Striker looks genuinely peeved. Percy Watson says that men should fight mano-a-mano, and people applaud for his goofy delivery. Umm, okay. Eli Cottonwood thinks Cena deserved every bit of it, drawing some boos. Titus O’Neil thinks that Season One should come out and try that on one of them…oh, and Zach Ryder better not push him in the chest again, because John Cena won’t be the only one who something something. Think before you speak, Titus, so that the words come out as sentences and phrases that humans can understand. Michael McGillicutty calls out Riley’s sneezing into the microphone as gross, and Titus for not quite answering the question, but says that they made an impact, end of story. Striker doesn’t let him finish, though.
-Due to a prevailing sense of worry and concern for their own safety, they would like to officially “welcome” the rookies to NXT…by beating the crap out of them. Michael Cole calls it an initiation, and says that it’s a message to quell any possible rebellion or nonsense like the “slaughter” that they saw last night. Okay, I get it. Of course, I don’t know how any of the rookies will ever get along with their pros again, but I suppose they’ll cross that bridge when they come to it.
-Like I said in the very first recap, I want every rookie to be awesome, and I want every one of them to succeed. That being said, I’m unsure of the rookies thus far. Cottonwood has a good ring presence, even if he hasn’t really had much of a chance to show if he can go in the ring in any real way. I liked Husky Harris, though, and anything that gets more Cody Rhodes on my television is good with me.
-Now, about this “pre-rebellion beating”…well, I understand it, but it seems shortsighted on behalf of the Pros, as it’s just going to make their time on the show more difficult. I like how Striker seems really damaged by the whole thing, as it was less than 24 hours ago. I’m interesting in seeing where this goes, and if anyone, frankly, is better in the ring than Kaval. I’m gonna guess “no.”
For more on this angle, including video of the entire affair from Raw, click here. For a full review of Raw, click here.
Tags: Cody Rhodes, eli cottonwood, husky harris, kaval, mvp, percy watson, The Miz, titus o'neil