This Week in ‘E – Nowinski, NXT and Nexus…Alliteration is Fun

A lot of news about NXT, new developmental talent, WWE joining up with Burger King and Chris Nowinski causing a stir…

Opening Witty Banter
I hope everyone is having a great Monday. I’m looking at a great week as I have a job interview on Tuesday and am heading to a long-time friend’s wedding this weekend. There is a random mix of news this week, so let’s get to it so I can go to bed.

Let’s take some ‘E…

The News of the Week
This past week on NXT, Percy Watson and Husky Harris were the third and fourth Rookies eliminated from the second season of World Wrestling Entertainment’s hybrid reality wrestling show.

At the beginning of the episode, the five remaining Rookies all got a chance to speak on the microphone about anything other than their chances of winning the competition. Kaval stole the show with his rap about his Pros Michelle McCool and Layla and his fellow Rookies. Then immediately after that, NXT host Matt Striker announced one Rookie would be eliminated right then, which led to “Showtime” Percy Watson’s dismissal. Watson gave a brief interview giving props to his Pro Montel Vontavious Porter and promising to be back in the future.

In other action on the show, Zack Ryder (Pro to the eliminated Rookie Titus O’Neil) pinned Michael McGillicutty (accompanied by his Pro Kofi Kingston) after hitting the Ruff Ryder leg lariat. Kaval (accompanied by his Pros, LayCool) pinned his fellow Rookie Husky Harris (accompanied by his pro “Dashing” Cody Rhodes after hitting The Warrior’s Way. In the final match of the night, Kofi Kingston (accompanied by Mike McGillicutty) pinned “The Varsity Villain” Alex Riley after hitting Trouble in Paradise. Riley’s Pro The Miz was not in attendance.

Rather than present a Pros Poll to end the show it was just announced that Harris was the second Rookie eliminated. After the announcement was made Striker tried to interview Harris, but he was interrupted his Pro Cody Rhodes. Rhodes trashed his fellow Pros Zack Ryder and Layla. He then marched to ringside, taunted both Riley and McGillicutty and then attacked Kaval. Harris and Rhodes then double-teamed Kaval until MVP and Kingston made the save, which led to a wild show-closing brawl. It was a great, chaotic finish to the show and made things look legitimate.

Harris looked like a bigger star in getting voted out this week and has found a solid ally in the future with Rhodes. At this point with McGillicutty, Riley and Kaval left it is truly anybody’s game on who will win NXT season 2.

The one thing I do like about this season’s class of Rookies is that virtually every man has already developed some sort of gimmick and attempt at merchandise. Between Kaval’s branded track jackets, Alex Riley’s varsity jacket, Harris’ t-shirt with a Siberian husky adorning it, Lucky Cannon’s “I Got Lucky” shirt and now Percy Watson’s shirt featuring his trademark glasses and “have Percy” slogan, the Rookies have already taken a step in branding themselves for the future. Even Eli Cottonwood and Titus O’Neil got into the act during their brief times on the show, with the “Mustache” and “Make It a Win” t-shirts respectively that highlighted their memorably bad interviews they gave while on the show.

With Daniel Bryan back on the WWE roster, he is just finishing up a few independent dates. His last shows are on September 11 for a double shot. First he will be in St. James, New York for New York Wrestling Connection and then that night he will be in Rahway, New Jersey wrestling Munemori Sawa for EVOLVE. He will also name is replacement for a Millennium Wrestling Federation card in Boston via a taped announcement.

Hey, Bryan and WWE are good guys for letting him finish up some pre-planned dates. Sure he’s had to cancel plenty too but everyone had to see that coming.

SyFy.com has updated their schedule in regards to NXT and SmackDown. It says NXT will air at 11 PM on Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 and at 7 PM on Friday, October 1st, 2010 (right before SmackDown’s debut on the network). NXT is not listed on the schedule after the October 1st airing. SyFy opted to cancel NXT when they picked up SD. So far a new home for NXT has not been found and the fate of the show has not been announced by WWE.

I still think NXT should go to Bravo, another NBC Universal network. Can you imagine it sandwiched in between Kathy Griffin and Top Chef?

However FCW issued a press release this past week confirming a season three of NXT. In the press release it confirms that Rey Mysterio will be at the show on September 5 in Kissimmee, Florida as part of FCW’s “Labor Day Weekend Blast.”

In the release it says, “The action packed card will feature 8 matches featuring some of the stars of WWE’s NXT Season 2 and 3, along with select Superstars from Raw and SmackDown. The always popular FCW Divas will also be in action.”

The current plan is for NXT Season 3 to be 4 men and 4 women.

Okay, I like NXT and would like to see it continue. It has already trained WWE fans into believing that’s how wrestlers need to be debuted from now on as I’ve read comments about why the Usos and Alberto Del Rio didn’t go through NXT. Folks it’s still all a work.

But NXT has depleted FCW’s roster quite quick as they’ve rehired many former developmental talents this past week, including Kris Logan, Vic Adams and Pat Brink. Brink was the infamous dude who got released awhile back for getting unapproved tattoos and “disciplinary issues.”

So they’re definitely stacking things back up for NXT like competitions.

The rumor mill also said that the company re-signed Jay Bradley/Bradley Jay, who worked briefly as Ryan Braddock on the SmackDown brand back in the summer and fall of 2008. However Braddock confirmed on his facebook that he has not been re-signed, despite support from many fans.

You know, I began to actually enjoy Braddock on his short run two years ago. He could fit nicely into that Mike Knox/Snitksy evil enforcer role if given the chance again.

The rumor mill also said George Murdoch, formerly G-Rilla and currently Brodus Clay, has been released. But he worked this past weekend’s FCW shows and he is still listed on the FCW roster page.

I think it was just a case of someone not seeing G-Rilla listed, as his name had changed to Brodus Clay, and the proverbial sky began to fall.

ROH World Champion Tyler Black has reported to Tampa and to FCW this past week. Black attended training sessions and was also in attendance at all of this week’s events. He will finish up with ROH in September.

Any bets on how awesome his new name will be?

Skip Sheffield broke his leg this past week while on tour in Hawaii in a tag match with David Otunga against The Hart Dynasty. He will most likely need surgery to repair it but no real news has been reported at this time.

Okay that’s another bad omen for The Nexus. After kicking Darren Young out last week they can’t afford to lose another member, especially one that has improved as much as Skip. He has grown into the enforcer role quite well, even tasked with carrying Otunga in tag matches. With RAW in this can tonight that gives the company another week to figure out how to explain his absence. Do they say someone like Cena, Young or Bryan took him out off-screen. Do they just admit it was a legit injury and welcome him back? Or does Nexus fire him off camera and bring in a new enforcer, like maybe Husky Harris? I’m sure WWE will put a lot of thought into it and will come to the most logical and thought out conclusion. *cough.

The new WWE Tag Titles that Bret Hart presented to The Hart Dynasty last week were supposed to keep the Unified Tag Titles moniker but Vince made the call to go back to the WWE Tag Titles moniker. NO word on whether they are still floating titles but the assumption is that they still are. The new belts were naturally created for travel ease and a new design that could be marketed for replicas and licensing. Then Hurricane Helms said on his Twitter that the belts had been created for months now and were originally going to go to DX last winter but everyone made fun of them for their ugliness and so they were shelved until now.

I’m not completely sold on the design yet, but it is certainly unique and completely different than any other current or past WWE Title design. I’m sure they’ll grow on me.

WWE is taking the TV-PG thing to a new level by teaming up with Burger King to get WWE toys in BK’s kids meals:
WWE(R) and Burger King Corp. Team up for an In-Restaurant Promotion

STAMFORD, Conn., Aug 16, 2010 — World Wrestling Entertainment(R) today announced that it has teamed up with Burger King Corp.for an in-restaurant promotion, beginning Monday, August 23 through Sunday, September 12 in close to 7,000 BURGER KING(R) locations in the U.S.

WWE Superstars Triple H(R), John Cena(R) and Undertaker(R) will be featured on more than five million exclusive Superstar plush toys inside BK(R) Kids Meals. A new Superstar plush toy will be available each week during the three-week U.S. promotion and will play the stars’ individual catch phrases or entrance music. The Superstars will also appear on BK(R) Kids Meal packaging along with merchandise displays at participating restaurants. BK(R) Kids Meals also include a $2.00 off coupon at Target stores for WWE Mattel FlexForce(R) action figures. BKC has created television commercials which are scheduled to air on networks such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Disney XD to support this campaign for the duration of the program.

“WWE is very excited to team with BURGER KING(R), a globally recognized brand that reaches millions around the world,” said Michelle D. Wilson, WWE Executive Vice President, Marketing. “WWE’s family-friendly product, which is seen in 145 countries, is a great fit with the BURGER KING(R) brand.”

WWE Superstars plush toys will also be available throughout the summer in more than 3,000 BURGER KING(R) restaurants internationally, including locations in Mexico, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.
The new deal will also include $2.00 coupons off WWE Mattel action figures at Target Stores.

I seen were commentators were crapping all over this decision but I think it’s a great idea. If they are going PG, then go all the way. I know if there were WWF toys in BK meals twenty years ago I would have been all over family to go BK more often. Get ‘em while they are young.

Drew McIntyre talked to SLAM Wrestling recently and talked about his future with his fellow European Sheamus:

“We’re both planning to take over our respective brands, which is happening quite nicely. Then when the time comes, the world’s going to see a match better than the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, me and Sheamus, both as heavyweight champions. It’s going to be the greatest match of all-time, guaranteed.”

Okay I sure as hell don’t see McIntyre and Sheamus eclipsing a Michaels-Undertaker match, but I do think that the two could put together a pretty entertaining program as they mature.

Chris Nowinski recently talked about the WWE environment in the wake of Lance Cade’s passing.

On Steroid Use: “The WWE rewards the guys who use them.”

On The Unsafe Work Environment: “They have an environment where it’s absolutely unsafe to work in that ring. They have no oversight into what actually happens in the ring. And they are encouraging steroid use,” he said, citing the enormous physiques of recent champions such as Triple H and Batista. “It’s garbage that they’re not using stuff,” he said. “They absolutely know what’s going on.”

On Painkiller Use In WWE: “They’re taking pain killers because they’re working 200 nights a year and getting hit unlike anyone in the history of the wrestling business — it wasn’t like that in the ’80s, it wasn’t like that in the ’70s” he said. “I used to go through tables for four days a week.”

On Linda’s Comments On Lance Cade: “That’s complete garbage,” he said. “Just kicking dirt on the guy’s grave.”

Naturally WWE fired back with responses for Nowinski.

Here was their statement:

WWE RAISES CREDIBILITY ISSUES FOR CHRIS NOWINSKI

• Chris Nowinski did not reveal, as required, that he suffered previous concussions before signing his contract with WWE.

• He states WWE suggested that its performers take steroids. However, at no time does he ever state that it was suggested that he do so.

• His comments that WWE talent perform in matches 200 days a year is not factual. In 2009, the average active roster talent performed 135 days.

• A sheer fabrication — that he went through tables four days a week.

• Mr. Nowinski states, “They have an environment where it’s absolutely unsafe to work in that ring.” “They have no oversight into what actually happens in the ring.” If so, then why would Mr. Nowinski have ever wanted to be a part of such an environment?

• It is very dubious that he ever had a conversation with Lance Cade much less Lance Cade confiding to a total stranger that he used painkillers and steroids.

• Although renowned in the field of CTE, we are unaware of any specific qualifications or medical degrees that he possesses which would qualify him as an expert on steroids and pain killers.

So Nowinski isn’t coming back to guest host RAW any time soon I take it?

Wrestler of the Week
Week of August 9 – 15: Alberto Del Rio
Talk about making a debut. After a long series of vignettes, Del Rio finally debuted on SmackDown and was made to look like a million bucks. He went toe-to-toe with Rey Mysterio and looked like his equal right away. Then in his debut match he got his own JBL-like entrance (complete with ring towel) and car, Randy Orton-like pyro and his own personal ring announcer. Then he got to make Mysterio tap out like a bitch in the main event. Whether he sustains this momentum or not has yet to be seen (Hi Carlito!), but regardless he made a major impact on his debut.

RAW’s On Tonight!
For the second time in about a month Monday Night RAW finds itself taped and in the can. I almost expect Spike TV to give Eric Bischoff three minutes of live air right before 8 PM CST to give away the results, just for old times sake. But for those who don’t want to be spoiled, here is a preview of what will be on RAW tonight.
Edge versus R-Truth
The Great Khali versus Chris Jericho
John Cena versus The Miz
Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov versus The Usos
Randy Orton versus John Morrison versus Ted DiBiase
Zack Ryder versus Sheamus
Plus the main event for Night of Champions will be revealed.

On Last Week’s Episode…
The ladies of IP, Kelly and Chantal bring SmackDown coverage.

Kelly loves Superstars

Ivan and Logan are IP’s version of LayCool.

Kelly, Will and Andy sit through David Otunga matches so you don’t have to.

How They Rated
SmackDown! (8.6.10) – 1.6

Superstars (8.12.10) – .65

A.M. RAW (8.15.10) – .4

RAW (8.16.10) – 3.3

NXT (8.17.10) – .88

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Glazer continues to be a Tuesday morning juggernaut.

Check out my brief history of the AWA in commemoration of its 50th anniversary.

Logan continues to tear through RAW in 1995. “Tell Me a Lie” is coming; I can feel it.

David B. hangs out in Dixie, but not with Dixie, that would be weird.

Mark has been a columnist for Pulse Wrestling for over three years now, evolving from his original “Historically Speaking” commentary-style column into his current Monday morning powerhouse known as “This Week in ‘E.” He also contributes to other ventures, outside of IP, most notably as the National Pro Wrestling Examiner for Examiner.com and a contributor for The Wrestling Press. Follow me on Twitter here.

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