NXT: Husky Gets Pushed

Husky Harris teamed with his pro Cody Rhodes to defeat Lucky Cannon and Mark Henry

Because I was away last week, I didn’t get chance to talk about the return of the controversial weekly challenges to NXT. My general position last season was of suspicion, but eventual toleration. NXT beiung a ‘reality’ show, it needs some different unique and even alien aspects to make it noticeably different to all other televised wrestling brands. It is also good that they are using the same challenges (so far) that they did last year. In the middle of a wrestling show, they can already seem a little goofy, and having stalwart challenges will hopefully limit this effect. The talk the talk challenge is arguably the most interesting, as it gives a chance for the superstars to show of their raw mic skills without having to tie it to the usually undeveloped feuds they become involved in. Percy Watkins won this time, but I must admit, while he comes across very well, he seems a little one-dimentional on the mic, rambling a little before rounding it off with an ‘Oh Yea-ah.’ The only really good talker is Alex Riley, though Husky Harris and Kaval have decent skills too. But more about them later …

Percy Watson followed up his talk the talk victory with action in the ring with Michael McGillicutty. These two are obviously fantastic athletes, and McGillicutty understandably has natural talent in the ring, though this is not lost on Watson either. The two of them had what was growing in to a very good, physical and technically soung match, in which Watson eventually hit a very good dropkick (after executing a bit more of a sloppy one earlier on). This match was cut short very abruptly and inauspiciously with a sunset flip which was crying out near fall but instead got the three. This hurt Watson for going down easily, but also McGillicutty for not being able to show more in the ring. It’s a shame for both, seen as they were both starting to put on a good in-ring show.

The match that followed this, The Miz vs Kaval, arguably stole the show and was certainly the match of the night. The Miz continued to show his new-found extreme intensity in this match, and mixed with the buzzsaw style of Kaval, it made for a very physical, hard-hitting match. They created good chemistry though, with good chains and near falls. Kaval has some truly remarkable moves, especially the handspring corner buzzsaw kick which he hits square every time. Personally, i’d prefer to see something like that be used as his finisher instead of his impressive but a little clumsy Warrior’s Way. This match was perhaps the parallel of last year’s Chris Jericho vs Daniel Bryan match which really got Bryan over as an impressive in-ring competitor to those unfamiliar with him, in that Kaval looked anything but weak in his loss, the story being that he had pushed Miz to his limit.

NXT has been fantastic for Miz, and in this week’s show, I noticed something else. Among others like Mark Henry and MVP, Miz actually looked quite wizened, an adjective which goes some way to equating to credible. The fact that Alex Riley is so similar to Miz in character, but seemingly less experienced really helps Miz get over as experienced and credible as a top star. I don’t know how much it will help, but i’m sure his pairing with Riley will accelerate his main event push for these reasons.

In one of the very enjoyable video packages in which the pros give their opinions on specific rookies, it seemed almost everyone asked was very high on Husky Harris, selling his intensity, determination, and the remarkable contrast between his build and his athleticism, which is undoubtable. Indeed, it seems like Husky has been given an opportunity to shine in recent weeks and is taking bold grasp of it. He had a decent tag match with Cody Rhodes against Mark Henry and Lucky Cannon. There is no doubt that Husky’s team was what made this match. Henry – God bless him – while pulling out a couple of explosive clotheslines, isn’t the best person to wrestle to look good against, while Cannon is simply bland, Nonetheless, Rhodes and Harris put on a good match with them and looked strong, dominating Cannon in the end. This is important for both, who are both arguably at a cross rhodes(!) in their career. While Henry can be forgiven, having paid his dues, Lucky Cannon is going to bring out something special (other than how ‘lucky’ he is) in order to get any kind of serious attention you’ve gotta think.

In exciting news, it was also announced that Nexus will return to NXT next week. Any number of things could happen, but my hope (and guess) is that they will be trying to recruit current rookies to their group in order to strengthen themselves against the WWE lockerroom. If that does happen, I imagine the heels (Riley, Harris, and Cottonwood, for instance) will side with them, with their pros refusing to stop them, and faces like Kaval and Lucky Cannon refusing to join them, thus creating a mini-version of the hot storyline on NXT, or something like that …

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