-So, just to prove that I’m as easily swayed by celebrities as the networks think I am, I half-watched ABC’s new gameshow, Downfall, hosted by one Christopher T. Jericho. He was a pleasant enough host, despite being a bit too enthusiastic for my taste. I get it, you’re pumped to be on the magic box doing something other than pretending to hit people, but tone it down a smidge. All joking aside, the show is fine, I guess, but it’s such an oddity that it had better catch on with the Wipeout/MXC crowd, otherwise it’ll be lucky to make it through the season. Questions were a good mix of toughies and throwaways that I easily knew despite the confused looks on the contestants, but it’s probably harder to tell a pro wrestler which celebrity has a child named Apple when you’re watching that car you wanted fall off a skyscraper.
-Hey, there’s wrestling on tonight! How about that Eli Cottonwood; boy, is he tall, or is he tall?! That kid’s got a future, what with the tallness.
-Percy Watson…I swear, I will end you unless you get a personality that doesn’t make me want to strangle you with a necktie. OH THE VIOLENCE.
-The new lady ring announcer’s name is “Ashley Valence.” If that’s not her real name, it’s not bad. Hey, they’re letting her say things. She’s not bad, but she’s just as chipper as Matt Striker, and that kind of makes my skin ruffle. Oh, wait she’s saying important things. Next week is the first poll, and the people at home can vote on WWE.com starting at 10 PM next Tuesday. Wow, they’re going to tabulate the results DURING the show so that people can vote along WITH the Pros? Impressive. The Pros scores are the other half of the equation, naturally, and Ashely announces each of them. Cody Rhodes gets some vile boos, Kofi gets cheered like crazy, and people make noise for Mark Henry so that they can keep this decade-plus practical joke going. Man, the WWE Universe is hil-ar-ious. No Miz or MVP tonight, which means that, if we’ve all been good boys and girls, we get another stirring John Morrison promo. Actually, all joking aside, just let Cody talk so that people can just hate the crap out of him for all the right reasons.
-Oh wait, Miz is accompanying Alex Riley to the ring for the first match of the night. They even have a little shared ring entrance to show their unity, which is, of course, a change of pace from the Bryan Danielson dynamic. Michael Cole’s cheering the Miz’s amazing coaching abilities just makes me hate Cole MORE, if such a thing were possible. I used to be a Cole apologist/defender, but he’s gotten so mind-numbingly irritating as of late that I just can’t stand the guy. Late to the party, I know.
-Aaaand here comes Percy Watson and MVP, so everyone’s here. You know, Watson has an okay look, and he’s ripped as anything, but I just can’t stand the goofiness factor. But hey, he can always evolve into a gimmick that works outside of FCW. I want the glasses gone, but I know some people like them, so maybe I’m just not hip like the other kids.
Match One: MVP and “Showtime” Percy Watson vs. Alex Riley and The Miz
-Riley starts with MVP, but he wants Watson and gets him. Wow, crowd is kind of buying Watson’s goofy, “that’s entertainment” shtick. Riley puts Watson in a headlock, and the crowd busts into a “Daniel Bryan” chant. Keep it up for the next three months, guys. Watson apparently went to the Maven School of Dropkickery, as his are pretty nice. MVP in, and after a quick double team, Riley finds himself on the floor, and arguing with Miz. Hmm…I like the idea that these two don’t get along quite as well as one would think. It’s a swerve, folks. You see, back during the “Attitude Era,” Vince Russo did all of these wackadoo things, and…you know, it’s probably best not to talk about it. Percy Watson matches up with Miz, and Miz suplexes him so hard that it KNOCKS HIS GLASSES OFF. Well, he might as well be dead. Miz is super aggressive, as if to show Riley how it’s done. Cole, in his desire to sing Miz’s praises, even mentions how his Season One rookie was ranked number one until he eliminated himself. He doesn’t give a name, but he acknowledged the existence of…someone…which is something…I guess. MVP manages to get the upper hand on Riley, and hits a Ballin’ Elbow. However, when he tries to capitalize, Riley kicks him in the leg and pushes him into Watson, who tags in. Miz in, but Watson takes him down with a flying clothesline, then hits him with some sweet dance moves, and a splash where he twists in mid-air. The guy’s athletic, I’ll give him that. However, Miz gets the better of an exchanged with a stungun, and hits the kid with the Skullcrushing Finale for the win. Cole runs into the ring and makes out with the Miz as if no one else is watching. Metaphorically.
Winners: Alex Riley and The Miz
-Riley is a solid hand in the ring, much like Heath Slater. Percy Watson may just win me over if he continues to show just how much he can do in the ring. He may never be the risktaker that Shelton Benjamin was, but the guy’s got the muscles and agility; now, he just needs the moves.
Rookie Video Package: Titus O’Neil
-Rough, rough childhood, but turned his life around when he was a kid by going to a sheriff’s camp. Interesting story, as he talks about how people told him his entire life how he wouldn’t graduate high school (he did) or go to college (he did) or make anything of his life (he has). He’s also in the University of Florida Hall of Fame. He also talks about how he loves coaching youth sports, and if they let this guy be himself, he may be an incredible, earnest face. He’s oddly lanky, but that doesn’t mean anything big. Seems like a good guy, and I hope that he has something to offer the company.
-Cole gets all quiet when talking about how Vince McMahon got all beaten up last night. Is it really as bad as the first NXT invasion? Sure, the guy’s old, but they destroyed EVERYTHING the first time around.
-Mike McGillicutty has the easiest wrasslin’ Twitter name ever: MikeNXT. Simple enough. In a video above the action, McGillicutty recalls getting his first win last week and calling his mother as they both shared this moment of great pride. Nice enough, I suppose, but I wasn’t exactly feeling the moment, then or now. Subtle piece of acting, but McGillicutty’s no Mick Foley when it comes to characterization.
Match Two: Titus O’Neil vs. Michael McGillicutty
-Titus looks a little weird in there, but I can’t put my finger on how. His arms just kind of hang at his sides, and it just weirds me out. About a minute in, O’Neil throws on a headlock (that’s bad), but Cole reveals that he has a Master’s Degree (that’s good!). McGillicutty tries to roll through some move or another, but one or both of them screw up. O’Neil goes for an awkward splash to the silence of the crowd. McGillicutty hits his running neckbreaker, and that’s it. Ending came a bit out of nowhere, didn’t it? Bad match.
Winner: Michael McGillicutty
-Holy crap, next is Kaval vs. Eli Cottonwood! This could be awesome, or completely soul-crushing…for me, that is.
-I like how Kaval essentially ignores LayCool, which is probably the best thing that he could do, even if LayCool is infinitely more watchable on NXT.
Match Three: Kaval vs. Eli Cottonwood
-Kaval is announced at 174 pounds, and I’m surprised they actually say that he’s under 200. Kaval does his best to get this thing moving, but Cottonwood slows it down but good. Cottonwood throws him into the corner face first, and then decides to pick up the pace by locking in a bear hug. Geeze, did he go to the Mark Henry Wrestling School for Oafs? Nice counter by Kaval as he gets them both to the ropes and locks on a wicked armbar in a sort of side-tarantula style, which he breaks at four. He’s going to get a good match out of Cottonwood if it kills him, by cracky, and he comes back with a springboard roundhouse kick. However, Cottonwood just flings him across the ring and to the apron. Kaval with a roundhouse, and then a springboard double stomp TO THE BACK OF COTTONWOOD’S HEAD. Holy crap, that dude should be dead. However, he gets knocked too far away and can’t capitalize, and Cottonwood kicks out at 2. Big reverse chokeslam by Cottonwood gets the win, and I’m sad now.
Winner: Eli Cottonwood
Rookie Video Package: Lucky Cannon
In 2004, he and some friends went to go help a friend of his, and he was hit in the back of the head with a lead pipe. After three weeks in a coma, he had to learn how to walk and talk again. His biggest asset is “his heart.” That’s sweet.
-Kaval is hurtin’! LayCool is trying to stay positive, and they have a gift for him! It’s…a pink tank polo that says “Property of LayCool.” He tries to be upbeat about it, saying, of course, “I don’t know what to say.” Their reply: “Say thank you!” His reply: “Do I have to wear it?” Their reply: “You should wear it all the time! When you’re sleeping, when you’re eating, when you’re with us, when you’re without us.” He’s less than enthused, and they try to turn that frown upside down. It’s interesting that Kaval doesn’t exactly hate them, but he doesn’t exactly like them. Instead, he just kind of accepts him, and acknowledges that they’re shallow nutballs, but that, ultimately, they mean well. Of course, I imagine it’s only a matter of time before he snaps, either on them or because of them.
-Cole wonders if they can bring out one of those shirts, size small, for Josh Matthews, and Matthews has an awesome retort: “That’s hilarious, you’ve just ruined everything we saw on television, thanks a lot.” Hooray Matthews! Matt Striker joins the guys at ringside, still in a bad mood after being attacked by Cody Rhodes last week. Matt says that he’s going to try to be professional and chalk it up to Cody being put on the spot by Mark Henry, and that the show is about the rookies, and he’ll leave it at that. Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that they’re building somewhere with this?
-Replay of the beating of Vince McMahon from last night, and MAN, how nervous must Gabriel have been before hitting the 450 splash on Vince? That’s one move on one guy that could not afford to be messed up for anyone involved. And is it just me, or does it seem that they piped in extra heavy “NXT” chants to overshadow the “Daniel Bryan” ones that I remember hearing last night?
-Anonymous GM of Raw says that the actions of the NXTers/Nexus will be met with the “appropriate consequences.” So…they’re getting rewarded, I’m guessing?
-Hey, it’s Cody Rhodes, with Husky Harris! Boy, Cody is awesome. I hope he doesn’t lose this match to Lucky freakin’ Cannon. Oh well; at least he can relax with the knowledge that nobody’s going to see it unless they replay it on Smackdown.
-Holy crap! Syfy is airing Dinocroc vs. Supergator! How can I find the time NOT to watch this?!
-What’s the name of the blonde ring announcer lady? News to me.
-Since he stated last week that Lucky Cannon would be lucky to last five minutes with him, Cody sets himself up for failure, as he challenges Lucky to a “five minute challenge,” meaning that he has to beat the guy in less than five minutes. Ain’t no way that’s happening.
Match Four: Cody Rhodes vs. Lucky Cannon
-Cody is incredibly cocky about the whole thing, naturally, but Cody never seems in trouble, at least in the first four minutes. Michael Cole to Josh: “You were in two matches in your career!” Josh: “Yeah, I’m undefeated.” He’s got a point. Cody’s dominating, but he hasn’t put him away at 1:45. Lucky comes back with a big boot, and runs into the corner and leapfrogs Cody, but Cody jumps out of the corner with an outstanding roundhouse kick off the second rope. Man, he just kicked his head off, and it was glorious. CrossRhodes, goodnight, with one minute remaining. Huh. I thought for sure Cody was going to lose that one.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
-Why is this guy not on Smackdown every week feuding with Kofi Kingston or Christian?
-Looks like Husky Harris is the only rookie not wrestling this week. That may not bode well for the Pro’s Poll, as fans are a fickle and forgetful bunch.
-Closing arguments from the rookies! Time for some mediocre promos! To Kaval’s credit, he is totally wearing the shirt that LayCool got him.
-Alex Riley starts and gets good and booed. He basically details how he was the school bully shoving nerds in lockers, and now he gets paid to do it. He also refuses to hand back the mic. Kaval is next, and gets cheered, giving me hope. He won’t be in too bad a place, let alone last, that much is for sure, especially as that particular place is reserved for Titus O’Neil. Just calling it like I see it. Anyway, Kaval details his attempts to get into WWE ten years ago, but was told he was too small. Now he’s back on NXT, and my sound cuts out throughout his promo, although I could see that he went past the buzzer. And the sound cuts out throughout all of Titus’ promo, but WWE.com shows me that he ripped on guys like Riley, and that he had to work for everything, and essentially gave us the Cliff’s Notes of his video package. McGillicutty says that he possesses no weakness (except mediocre mic skills, apparently), and says little more than that. Eli Cottonwood is the baddest and the meanest, and he’s also patient. And he’ll strike with vengeance…for what, I have no idea. His actions will speak louder than his words. Great. Percy Watson is next, and basically says gibberish for 45 seconds. Seriously, there was nothing of note in anything that he said. “I got two words for you: oh yeah!” He should hang out with Mark Henry and go back to the “Kool-Aid-Man” thing that he was rocking for a few months. Lucky is passionate, and says that he’s lucky because he wakes up in the morning. Neat way of looking at it, I’ll give him that.
-Husky Harris, in lieu of his 45 seconds of promo time, thought a better way to make an impact would be to attack Matt Striker, which he does, much to the glee of his mentor, Cody Rhodes. Works for me. I thought the two of them looked good together, and Cody could always use a Murdoch-style enforcer to be his minion.
-I like Harris being Cody’s dickish sidekick, and the two of them can ride off on their black horses twirling their evil handlebar mustaches. No one really impressed me anymore than they did last week, and while I want to like Titus O’Neil, he’s making it really, really hard. Right now, Kaval is easily my favorite, but I’m interested in seeing what any of this means for Striker. Is he going to return to the ring, perhaps only on NXT, to teach a few of these kids a lesson? Curiouser and curiouser…
-No more analysis this week, as I’m bushed. Remember kids, keep chanting “Daniel Bryan” in various places around town!
Tags: Cody Rhodes, kaval, miz, NXT