NXT: The Bottom Two Impress, Despite the ‘Stick Game’

Michael Tarver has had few opportunities to show his skills thus far

The first thing that needs to be said about this week’s NXT is what the hell kinda crap was that ‘Rock ’em Sock ’em’ challenge about? Are they deliberately making the challenges¬†stupider each week? It looked like a bouncy castle at a child’s birthday! It might have been redeemed with some taste of, y’know, wrestling (cheap-shots or even moves), but they didn’t even try to include anything like that. Just horrible. I can only imagibe what someone like Daniel Bryan was thinking, probably, ‘I can’t wait to get off NXT to the main roster!’ We know what Punk thought, coming right out and calling it a ‘little stick game thing’ and we shared in his disdain for it.

As usual, admittedly, the rest of the show was good. The matches were solid and (perhaps apart from the main event) advanced the characters which is important. I’ve never been thet high on Darren Young, but I must admit, he’s got the best storyling/feud going out of the lot. It’s a real draw to see how his relationship with the S.E.S. develops.

But my highest praise is for Michael Tarver. In the first couple of weeks, I really liked Tarver and the whole 1.9 gimmick. Then he kinda got sidelined and didn’t garner any interest. Recently he’s started this non-conformist trait which is an interesting ingredient in the NXT recipe. While people like Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater seem to just get by on a generic kind of determined intensity (which is, to be fair, largely because they are faces), Tarver has gone and nuanced his character and made it stand out and consequently, sew on the roster can match his intensity. I was also impressed by his mic manner and solid in-ring skills. If he can manipulate his character in to some sort of interesting feud, he largely overlooked Tarver might be able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.


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