-Yes, it’s a day late, and they’ll most likely continue to be a day late for the next several weeks. Still, you’re getting it, so I reckon there are worse things in the world.
-Oh, and by the way…how exactly is Bret Hart supposed to carry his (or any) weight in the battle of Cena’s Army vs. The Nexus? Don’t get me wrong, it’s always great to see Bret Hart, but unless he took a bath in a Lazarus Pit, I don’t see him taking anything more intense than a kick to the stomach.
-Earlier today, Matt Striker ran the rookie obstacle course (Nosodanosodanosodabigmoneynowhammystop!), and we learn a few things: first, that Matt Striker isn’t quite as spry as he used to be, and second, that Michael Cole uses the word “optical” instead of “obstacle.” In Cole’s world, I imagine seeing the course is enough. Okay, upon scond viewing, he DID say “obstacle,” but it totally sounded like “optical.” Thankfully, this obstacle course doesn’t involve the idiotic soda drinking, and also keeps all of the rookies at ringside. The order is: tire run, three hurdles, ten pushups, balance beam, and finishing up by pushing a cart up the ramp.
-Also, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I kind of miss Titus O’Neil. Seems like he was eliminated SO early, and while I was by no means impressed by him, his genuinely earnest nature was pleasant, and I would have liked to see if he got any better.
-Elimination next week! Oh noes!
-MVP is in the ring, and it’s an unannounced episode of the VIP Lounge. I know I’m excited. He’s in no mood to play games, and brings out his guest, “Showtime” Percy Watson. Percy, coming out, doesn’t really seem to remember screwing MVP over last week until he gets in the ring and looks, well, kind of sheepish. Continuity! MVP’s message: Not cool, dude. He’s ticked off, but it took initiative, and he kind of respects that. They’re a lot alike in that sense, he says, as MVP, back in his heel days, would have done the exact same thing.
-Percy says that he respects MVP, but that he went about the whole thing the wrong way, and he apologizes. They shake hands in that hip way that all of the hippity-hop kids are doing it, and it’s time to hit the club! Oh yeah!
-Hey, Matt Striker has theme music! I forgot that it was lying around in the bottom of a filing cabinet in Titan Towers somewhere, but it’s back, with school bell and everything. He wants to know why Percy Watson should be number one, and MVP answers, essentially saying that he’s the total package of charisma and athleticism. He asks the WWE Universe, and they seem to be pretty high on the guy. I’ve warmed to him a bit myself, but still think he’s kind of goofy. If nothing else, he’s got a solid persona that he maintains throughout nearly every scene. Percy then cuts a promo about how he’s had to fight, scratch, and claw for everything he’s ever had, and if Little Rock knows what he’s talkin’ about, let him hear you say-
-…and Matt Striker cuts him off before he can ask the crowd to say, “Oh yeah!” What was that about? No wonder Bryan Danielson was pissed at you for interrupting people! What a tool.
-Out now is “Dashing” Cody Rhodes, and he even spends a little time in his digital mirror, which is totally awesome. Cody Rhodes is given sixty seconds to sing the praises of Husky Harris, the best part of which is how, after he insults the crowd and the boo the crap out of him, he casually tells Striker not to time how long their jeers interrupt him from speaking. My man-crush on Cody Rhodes grows by the day. He uses most of his time to rip on the crowd, saying that Husky is like one of them: 300 pounds. That being said, he can also run a 4.9 40, and repeats the message of him being an army tank with a Ferrari engine. Husky, for his part, says that he’s not a bodybuilder or a singer and dancer, and that he is just “real.” MVP: “Real fat.” Sick burn, Montel.
Rookie Video Package: Lucky Cannon
-Mark Henry finds him hungry (and he would know…ba-zing!), and everyone thinks he has a good look. Morrison, Ryder and MVP think he’s kind of generic, as there are a lot of tall, good-looking wrestlers out there, and Miz thinks that he’s fairly forgettable. He’s got a long way to go, but he’s willing to work for it and pay his dues.
Match One: MVP and Percy Watson vs. Cody Rhodes and MVP
-I like all of these guys to some degree, so that’s something. Percy is wrestling without his glasses tonight, which is probably for the best, as I imagine it’s like having a mask that won’t quite stay on the whole time. I know Glazer hates Harris’ facial expressions, but I really don’t see what he’s bothered about; that being said, I’ll concede that Glazer know more about wrestling than me, but I just don’t have a problem thus far. Some of Watson’s moves are interesting in that they seem dance inspired. He moves around like he’s choreographed, but then will go into a more standard wrestling move, like dropping to his knees with a sort of rythm, then going into an arm drag. Watson and Harris fight to the floor amid the hurdles of the obstacle course, and both teams face off outside to send us to commercial.
-Cody and Watson in the ring and Watson is THIS CLOSE to screwing up a scoop slam, but it’s salvaged…essentially. Cole spends some time talking about how handsome Cody Rhodes is and how Josh Matthews is out of shape. Great. I must say, though, it’s fascinating listening to the commentary because you can almost smell the hate that Matthews has for Cole, especially as Cole continues to blow kisses at The Miz. MVP is in and he’s cleaning house. Ballin’ Elbow, and Husky Harris is in just in time to get knocked down by MVP. However, it’s just enough of a distraction for Rhodes to recover. MVP runs into an elbow in the corner, and Cody comes back with an awesome roundhouse kick off the second rope, and MVP might want to consider having dental work. Cole:Miz::Ivan:Cody Rhodes. Cody tags in Husky to finish him, and he hits him with a senton…for the pin. Way to help your partner, Watson. Standing there like a goof shows real…initiative, I believe it was? The senton is a great move, but I don’t know if it’s a finisher.
Winners: Cody Rhodes and Husky Harris
Rookie Video Package: Michael McGillicutty
-Zack Ryder thinks he has the best chance of winning, and everyone else seems to think he’s got the spark, the energy, and the drive. Cody takes issue with the fact that, as McGillicutty said he was going to bring back “ruthless agression,” dropkicks, armdrags, and leapfrogs say differently. Fair. Morrison doesn’t think he’s all that charismatic, but that maybe he hasn’t gotten the chance, and they cue to Striker cutting HIM off. You know, we talk about how Cole is the heel of the show, but Striker isn’t a saint.
-Commercial note: Can someone tell the guys on Ghost Hunters International that Robin Hood wasn’t a real person? Thus, you are very, very, very unlikely to reach his ghost.
-Mark Henry is selling the injury from last night, at least I’m hoping that he’s selling it and that he’s not legitimately injured. Lucky Cannon is out there, as are Miz and Alex Riley, as the rooks are going to be mixing it up in just a second.
-Lucky Cannon gets sixty seconds to do his thing, and he basically says that he won’t waste our time telling us he’s the best or that he deserves it more, as that’s all opinion, but that he’s been having the time of his life, and he wants to thank the WWE Universe for allowing him to live his dream. Nice enough. Miz’s turn, and you can hear Cole salivating longingly at ringside. However, it seems Alex Riley’s got this one first, and he says that while he might not be their favorite wrestler, this isn’t about who they like, but instead who’s best for the company, and if they want to choose who’s best for the company, they should vote for Alex Riley. That is an odd thing about heels in this competition: it’s hard to get fan votes when your job is to be booed. Sure, some of the smart marks might vote for you, but all of the kids at home who half-think this is real are going to vote for all of the faces before they even think of someone who’s as natural a heel as Riley is. In a sense, the system is broken that way. Miz says that the WWE Universe has no idea what they want, and that only HE knows what they want. The main reason they should vote for Alex Riley? Because the future WWE Champion told you to. Seems like flawless logic to me.
Match Two: Lucky Cannon vs. Alex Riley
-This is practically a squash. There’s a little back and forth offense, and Riley beats him in about two minutes with a TKO. This week, Miz is compared to Bill Clinton, leading to the inevitable Monica Lewinsky joke from Matthews. It’s weird listening to Cole talk about how the Miz’s rookies “just win and win and win,” when he spent all of last season watching Daniel Bryan lose and lose and lose, but I guess that’s that “subtle” heelishness he works into the show. Anyway, this certainly makes Cannon look like a chump, and even more certainly suggests a lack of confidence in him by the higher-ups. To tell the truth, he might be at the bottom of my list, too.
Winner: Alex Riley
-For good measure, Miz runs back into the ring and gives Cannon the Skullcrushing Finale on the briefcase. Kofi and Morrison look at him with disgust, and sometimes, it’s nice to have squeaky clean babyfaces to stand up for what’s right.
-Recap of Cena’s Army formation. Ten points for Josh Matthews as he calls Cena’s team The Avengers. Hells to the Yeah. We’re then sent to the stage where Matt Striker awaits with LayCool, Kaval, Eli Cottonwood, and John Morrison
-John Morrison needs to explain why Eli Cottonwood should be ranked first next week. Good luck with that one, John boy. He tells a story of how a boy at an airport saw all of the NXT rookies and asked, “Who is that?” in reference to Eli. He sees that as how a boy who knew nothing of NXT was interested in Eli above all the others, but for all we know, that kid was a huge wrestling fan, and simply couldn’t remember the name of the tall goofy guy. Eli, when given the mic, tries to intimidate Matt Striker into voting for him. Man, I would have LOVED if when Eli asked him, “Who are you gonna vote for,” Striker replied, “I don’t know, maybe Kaval?” Eli says he’s intimidating. Great.
-LayCool sings Kaval’s praises, calling him skilled and passionate and, most importantly, he has them, and they’re flawless. Whee! Kaval thanks them, and says that he has the confidence to go against the greats like Evan Bourne, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. Cole says, “That was horrible,” but I think it’s an interesting strategy. Basically, he’s saying, “Yes, I’m the best wrestler here, and you love my offense, and how awesome would it be for me to go against those guys?” I think it’s a pretty solid argument, even if he doesn’t have the best mic skills of the rookies (that would be Alex Riley).
-Obstacle-course, this time caffeine-free!
-Michael McGillicutty will go first, but Kofi will sing his praises first. He may not be the biggest or the strongest, but he’s the hungriest, and was born to do this. Kofi also coins the name of his fans: The McGillibuddies. That’s actually not that bad. McGillicutty says that he has a perfect record, and I get a little smiley.
-Okay, here we go. McGillicutty blazes through the whole thing in 26.7, although the pushups are questionable and he leaps half the balance beam. Alex Riley is next, but he falls off the balance beam, and ends up with 40 seconds and change. He goes and yells at the ref who made him go back for good measure. Dude, you’re the one that fell off. Eli Cottonwood is up next, and this should be…a thing. Wow, he leaps over the first hurdle, but just barely gets over the second two. The pushups are half outside the box, and they try to get him to go back, but he just goes anyway, ending up with a time of 37ish, but gets disqualified. Of course half of his body was out of the box; he’s 7 feet tall. Lucky Cannon comes out, and man, does he need this. Lucky bounds right over the hurdles but does some strange pushups. It’s close, but he’s short of McGillicutty’s time by 2 seconds. Here comes Kaval, and watching LayCool act as his cheerleaders is a hoot. Again, this is the ONLY role I like them in, and think that a partnership with Kaval full-time might be a good thing once this season is over. He does an amazing job, but is just a little short, as it takes him too long to push that huge utility cart up the ramp. It’s alright; it’s not like he needed the immunity. Percy Watson comes out, and Cole wonders if he’ll be able to see without his glasses. Matthews: “His glasses have no lenses in them. Am I the only one who sees that?” I become a bigger fan of Josh Matthews after every episode. Percy is CRAZY agile, but a bit too slow. A fan yells at him, “Fall! Oh yeah! Oh yeah!” as he goes past them on the balance beam, so apparently his act isn’t over with everyone. He’s a few seconds too short, and I don’t know if Husky Harris is going to beat McGillicutty’s 26.7. Cole and the crowd certainly don’t think so. He’s not doing too bad, but once he gets to the final hurdle, he just runs through it with a football tackle. He knows that he’s not going to win, so he’s just going to showboat and goof off the whole time. Cole makes a good point: he knows people aren’t going to vote for him, so he has to get the pros on his side. McGillicutty is immune, but I don’t think he’ll need it.
-Next week, I’m thinking Kaval stays #1, Percy Watson may be #2 unless he’s replaced by McGillicutty. Husky Harris or, more likely, Lucky Cannon is done.
-That’s all I got for tonight, guys. I’ll try to have the next one ready by Tuesday night, but I can’t promise anything until the summer job is over. Regardless, I’ll see you next week.
Tags: WWE, wwe nxt