-Alas, this episode’s eliminations have been spoiled for me, and I agree that those were the two to go. We’ll go more into detail as the episode proceeds. Fair enough?
-Last week, Lucky Cannon was eliminated, and while I’m sure he’s a nice enough guy, good riddance. Before he walks out of our lives (in video package form, naturally), he promises (threatens?) that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Lucky Cannon. I don’t know how true that is…of course, who ever thought that we’d be hearing from Michael Tarver or Darren Young again, and look how big those guys are now, even if Young is going to have to find something else to do after this Monday. WWE could always reunite the South Beach Party Boys with Percy Watson, I suppose.
-As far as Cannon goes, the guy had a good enough look, but simply next to nothing to offer in the ring, and a veritable cornucopia of nothing special on the microphone.
-Weeee are wiiiiiiild and yoooooung!
-Jamie Keyes introduces the remaining rookies, and could seemingly not be less interested in doing so. Cole loves Husky Harris and openly mocks Kaval’s deep voice. What’s wrong with a deep voice? It’s done James Earl Jones just fine. Oh, and by the way, in terms of audience reaction, the rookies get NOTHING. The crowd, surprisingly, doesn’t seem to care about anyone in the slightest, and would rather just get started with Smackdown, apparently.
-Matt Striker is in the ring, and it’s talky time! Each wrestler gets one minute to talk about whatever they want, except why they shouldn’t be eliminated. Percy Watson starts, and we can all bet that it’s all catchphrase time. His topic? 3D: desire, determination, dedication. Not exactly the Three I’s, but it will do. He actually gets a decent reaction from the crowd until he finishes with an “Oh yeah!” and, oddly enough, there’s a smattering of boos. Huh. Alex Riley is up next, and expresses a level of exasperation with Matt when asked for his topic. His topic, naturally, is Alex Riley. That’s so simple, it’s brilliant. He apologizes, in his own evil way, saying that perhaps his actions and attitude haven’t engendered himself to the WWE Universe. Thus, he says that he’s sort of sorry for picking on Kaval (“He can barely defend himself in real life.”) and Lucky Cannon (“Don’t worry about being unemployed, Lucky; the world needs plenty of bartenders.”), and for calling Matt Striker a dork on national television…then immediately retracts that last one, saying that, on second thought, it was pretty funny. Cole laughs, and I can’t really disagree with him. Riley is easily the best on the mic in this whole competition, and everyone knows it. Michael McGillicutty’s topic is his competition, and he essentially just mocks everyone in a fairly basic manner, although he does call Alex Riley the “David Otunga of NXT Season Two,” saying that he can talk, but can’t wrestle. As far as I can tell, Mr. Hennig, Riley is lightyears ahead of Otunga in both of those areas. Kaval is next, and as he takes the microphone to the cheers of the crowd, he states that his topic is NXT. In one of the oddest things I’ve ever seen him do, he RAPS his whole promo. While he’s not the master of rhymes, and Cole, naturally, buries him, there’s enough wacky stuff in it, INCLUDING a TNA reference, to warrant a listen on Hulu or Youtube if you haven’t seen/heard it. Striker is impressed and, frankly, so am I. I especially like when he goes to McGillicutty and says, “Joe, I mean Michael…” and saying that the only thing that Husky breaks are buffet tables. Seriously, check it out. Husky Harris has to finish, and he snatches the mic from Striker and announces his topic as “cowboy boots.” Kay. Apparently, the ones he wears used to belong to to Barry Windham. Also, the devil wears cowboy boots. Umm…alright.
-Oh crap, first elimination right now. Man, that’s pretty dickish of the WWE higher-ups. What was the point of having all of them cut promos? And the first elimination is…Percy Watson. Striker then gets right up in his face and gives him the microphone to deliver his final thoughts. I think this is a suprise to Percy, and he seems somewhere in the vicinity of some tears, a bit of real emotion beginning to come through the veneer of his gimmick. Still, he delivers a very classy speech, thanking MVP and promising to work harder. Nicely done from Percy, and he even gets some handshakes and quasi-hugs from the other rookies. To be honest, he was probably next on my list, too.
Match One: Michael McGillicutty vs. Zack Ryder
-Well, good to see Ryder getting something to do, as I’ve liked him since his rebirth as a solo act. That being said, I’m pretty sure that he’s gonna eat it here. McGillicutty, as always, is totally solid in the ring, and is really keeping the energy up there, notably present in two really impressive dropkicks in a row. I know dropkicks are kind of basic, but it’s the little things that impress me. Zack Ryder takes him down a notch with a hard kick to the chest on the outside, and back in the ring, Ryder gives him a running facewash in the corner. I’d love to see Ryder do more, but he sees trapped on NXT and Superstars for the time being. McGillicutty punches Ryder repeatedly in the corner, then tosses him against the ropes and catches him with a backbody drop. Ryder to the outside, and he guillotines McGillicutty. Next thing you know, Ryder comes in with the Ruff Ryder leg lariat, and he actually pins the rookie. Well, good for him, but not so good for McGillicutty. After that, Ryder delivers a rather angry “woo woo woo.”
Winner: Zack Ryder
-The announcers run down the results and happenings of the Kane/Rey Mysterio/Undertaker shenanigans. This Friday, Kane will explain why he attacked his own brother. Why is this any kind of mystery? This is Kane and the Undertaker we’re talking about. Since when did Kane EVER need a reason to attack him? Why is this a shock to you, announcers? This is just like how Sting was always shocked when Lex Luger turned on him for the 9,000th time. Don’t you remember when this nonsense happened the first ten times?
-Backstage, Kaval is with LayCool, and while I can’t stand these women as heels, I absolutely adore them as faces. Their shallowness is comedic and goofy on NXT, and I love their seemingly undying affection for Kaval. Even when he loses, they just want to take care of him and help him; they never belittle or berate him, and while they kind of treat him like a poodle, it’s a poodle they treasure. They give him a little cheer, and ask him if he’s going to win tonight because, you know, they’re winners. All hands in, big cheer, and Kaval walks out, rolling his eyes a bit. See, he thinks they’re a bit annoying and silly, but it’s not like he hates them for it. Sure, they’re a little overly energetic, but there’s no real animosity. Then, in a moment that may only exist to make me happy, the girls start talking about Layla’s kiss with Kaval two weeks ago in the kissing challenge. Hooray, continuity! Layla swears that it meant nothing, but admits that he is kind of cute, and Michelle replies that they would make a cute couple. Layla says that sometimes, she closes her eyes, and just imagines his voice. See? Chicks dig the Barry White thing. Layla exits, and Husky walks in, then hits on Michelle. She’s not having it, and walks off. Husky than says that once he beats “her boy,” she’ll see things his way. It’s not like beating Kaval would be a big stretch for Husky, as he’s done it at least twice by now, maybe even three times.
Match Two: Husky Harris vs. Kaval
-Michael Cole says that Kaval is like Brett Favre in that he has the whole Internet kissing his ass. However, unlike Brett Favre, Kaval “isn’t any good.” Matthews: “That’s a stretch.” Husky lifts Kaval up in a vertical suplex, but Kaval reverses by kneeing him in the head and floating over into a dragon sleeper. Nice. Husky takes over again with power moves while Cole continues to talk about how awesome Husky is. I like that whenever Kaval gets hit, LayCool shrieks, and they squeal with delight at his every offensive mood. Nice rolling heel kick to Husky’s skull, and Kaval starts to capitalize with running elbows and forearms, followed by a nice combination of kicks, including something that’s a lot like Morrison’s Flying Chuck. He goes for the Warrior’s Way off the top, but Husky gets out of the way and grabs him for a sloppy uranage. Luckily, Kaval kicks out. Husky seems like he’s going to go for that senton, but he just kicks him instead, and tries for another uranage, but Kaval floats over into a DDT. Kaval runs to the top, and hits the Warrior’s Way SQUARE on the Husky’s chest. Done and done. About time he got one over on the big lug.
Match Three: Alex Riley vs. Kofi Kingston
-Before the match starts, there’s a quick recap of his involvement in the angle with Miz and Daniel Bryan the previous night. By the way, did anyone notice that Alex Riley’s big featured role on Raw last night, which he won on the previous week’s NXT, involved running out and distracting Daniel Bryan? And cutting a quick promo where he put over The Miz? Hardly a major spot, although I suppose anything with Miz is somewhat big these days? Oh, and did anyone else notice the insane dent that Bryan’s head made int he MitB briefcase?
-Oh yeah, the match. Riley totally holds his own, but Kofi gets the upper hand and, after a few minutes, finishes Riley with Trouble in Paradise. Well…hardly a great showing. Matthew also calls out Cole for his obvious favoritism towards Riley, as Cole called him “impressive” after he was essentially squashed. Notice, however, that I spent more time recapping what happened on Raw than following the match. So, yeah…impressive.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
-Raw Rebound. Go read one of the fine Raw recaps on PulseWrestling! My own quick thoughts: Darren Young looked pretty good against Cena, but come on…there was no way he was going to beat Cena with any level of cleanliness, as Cena often wins even against even the most egregious of cheaters. Of course, with the loss of Young, does the Nexus start trying to recruit to raise their numbers, or do they just keep it at six? A friend of mine is convinced that Miz is their secret leader/ally.
-Cole, Striker, and Matthews are in the ring, and Striker asks each of them who should win and who should be eliminated. Cole, predictably, says Alex Riley should win, as he’s made the largest impact, and when it comes to who made the least impact he, also predictably, picks Kaval. Cole hates the Internet. Matthews, crazily, ALSO says that Kaval should be eliminated, and that Alex Riley should win. Apparently, Matthews was also really turned off by Kaval’s rap. Well, screw both of you, then, as I liked it just fine.
-All of the rookies are out in front of the ring, and it’s time for tonight’s poll. Season finale is in two weeks, and apparently they’re not giving rankings anymore, just saying who should go home, and the person going home is…Husky Harris. I think we all saw that coming, but Cody Rhodes isn’t having it. In fact, Cody is furious. He turns to Zack Ryder, saying, “You’re a pro? Yeah, good luck in your future endeavors, pal.” Layla is next. “And Layla, you’re a pro? You’re too busy trying to make out with every rookie from NXT, you’re a real pro.” The audience is next. “And you people? You should really have a say in this. It’s only fitting…it’s only fitting that I’m saying this in one of the laziest parts of the country…” Husky tries to interrupt him, but Cody says that he’s essentially doing this for him. He runs down all of the rookies, and when he gets to Kaval, just kicks him in the stomach. Husky and Cody start beating on Kaval, and Miz and Kofi run down to help out. Eventually, the faces get the upper hand and chase Cody away, and Kaval puts on the exclamation point by jumping high off the top turnbuckle to the outside with a forearm to Husky’s head. Husky and Cody back up off the ramp as everyone else shoos them off, Husky saying, “I beat you!” to Kaval as we fade out.
-Et tu, Josh Matthews? Figured you’d give Kaval some level of support, but I suppose he’ll have to rely on the “Internet fans” to vote him to the top. The finals should come down to Alex Riley and Kaval, and I wouldn’t be surprised in Riley won the whole thing, but, big softy that I am, would prefer that Kaval took it. McGillicutty’s good, but he’s in a weird place where he’s not the best talker of the three, nor is he the best wrestler, so he’s the proverbial monkey in the proverbial middle. Regardless, I like all three of those guys, and will likely be happy with whoever wins.
-That being said…go Kaval! THAT being said, I’d be totally down with seeing the Husky Harris/Cody Rhodes duo hang around Smackdown, with Cody using Husky as his muscle when he needs a bit of backup. They work well together, and they can bond using the whole “second-generation wrestler” thing. Of course, Husky and McGillicutty can always hang out with the somewhat directionless Ted Dibiase on Raw as “Fortunate Sons.”
-Night, kiddies. I’ll see you in a little less than a week.
Tags: Alex Riley, kaval, Kofi Kingston, Layla, michael mcgillicutty