The wrestling on this week’s NXT wasn’t as good as it has been pretty consistently since it’s conception. The first match of this night was tag team action pitting Percy Watkins and MVP against Alex Riley and The Miz. Given the great chemistry between the two in the past, I hoped for a good match here, but in truth, it was a little bitty, never really getting in to passages of wrestling but mostly keeping to a smashmouth style that didn’t suit either of the pros really. Likewise, the match between Titus O’Neill and Michael McGillicutty was a pretty average affair.
The first match of any real note was Kaval against Eli Cottonwood. Last week I mentioned that I wasn’t a big fan of the buzzsaw style (if that is how you would describe the style of Kaval), but Kaval, again, as I said, is a verytalented purveyor of it. His work in the ropes showed great ring-awareness and his timing in some of his springboard attacks. Cottonwood did alright for his part, being your typical powerhouse monster. I didn’t think much of his reverse chokeslam (ish) finisher, but his psycho character is watchable, a nice touch being his stroking of Kaval’s face after his victory. I have noted before Kaval’s similarity, at least in terms of his role on NXT, being similar to Daniel Bryan. With that in mind, I notice that he is now 0-2. I really hope they don’t go the slightly unoriginal route of putting Kaval on a losing streak.
Speaking of Bryan, there were again very audible and widespread chants of “Daniel Bryan!” I suppose he has a lot of links to NXT, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we heard them on Smackdown too. The someone surely will have to listen!
I’m not a fan of Lucky Cannon. Though I like the semantics of his first name, and the possibilities it offers, he comes across as something of a uninteresting stock face character. From what I saw against Cody Rhodes (though, to be fair, he was intentionally limited), there was nothing to suggest he is anything special in the ring.
The real story, the cliffhanger, was what came after when the rookies made their final statements before next week’s elimination. Everyone had a decent short promo, with Alex Riley probably being the strongest. As this went on, I was starting to think how unremarkable Husky Harris was, and his actions may not have said much about his charisma, but it sure made a pretty good impact. There are two things, out of many others, that I have noticed recently. One is that during this NXT storyline, there has been a general sense of rebellion. Another is that Matt Striker has been getting in more physical confrontations. Bearing this in mind, Husy Harris attacked Striker in what was seemingly a continuation of what his pro, Cody Rhodes, did last week. This must be some sort of angle between Cody (and Husky) and Matt Striker, perhaps leading to a brief return to the ring – ála Taz – to take on Cody. While the attack in itself wasn’t that mindblowing, but given the current climate, it was an interesting seedling with which to extend the rebellion atmosphere to the new season of NXT. It’ll be interesting to see how Striker reacts next week.
Given that next week sees the first elimination, and despite the fact that the season 2 rookies haven’t had the same time to assert their characters than the season 1 rookies did, I’ll add my two cents to how I think the pros poll should materialise:
2) Alex Riley
3) Percy Watkins
4) Husky Harris (mostly after this week’s performance)
5) Michael McGillicutty
6) Eli Cottonwood
7) Titus O’Neill
8) Lucky Cannon
Obviously, I hope Lucky Cannon gets eliminated, but my instinct is that Titus O’Neill hasn’t asserted himself enough for ‘management’ to keep him in the competition.