This week’s NXT started out with a ‘Power Punch’ challenge, and in complete contrast to last week, was brief, relevant and somewhat entertaining. The cold opening to the show saw Josh Matthews take on Cole in a demonstration of the challenge, with Cole dressed up in all the WWE pro’s merchandise and performing several comic battle rituals. This is the sort of thing that makes Cole brilliant at times – and when he eventually lost, he stormed off to aa good laugh from the crowd. The only problem with this was that the machine they used to measure the punching did look like it had come straight out of an arcade, which made it look a bit less serious and unique than some of the other challenges – but this was a minor negative. The winner, Alex Riley, will be featuring on next week’s RAW, and he is probably the most equipped of all the rookies to do that. I wonder if he’ll be involved with Miz’s stalking of Sheamus (or Orton, depending on who wins at Summerslam!)?
In a rematch of the six-man tag match from RAW, Kaval, Percy Watson and Lucky Cannon took on Alex Riley, Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty. For obvious reasons, this match was given more time than the one on RAW, and it showed in terms of quality. In what was a hard-fought and, at times, high-octane match, every rookie looked pretty strong (Even Lucky Cannon who hit a Cactus Clothesline on Riley at one point). A particularly good moment came from Percy Watso, who performed what looked like a step-up enzuigiri on an opponant, using the ropes to ‘step-up.’ Kaval was the shine-out star of the match though. Whenever he entered the tempo rose and his vast array of strikes made the action genuinely unpredictable. Eventually, he hit his Warrior’s Way on – crucually – current number 1 ranked Michael McGillicutty for the victory.
Unfortunately, this was the only NXT match on the card, as, in an effort to hype up Summerslam and Miz’s potential appearance there, Miz took on former partner and bitter rival, John Morrison. This was a good match though nothing too special. The two, for obvious reasons, have good chemistry, and Miz played up to his heel role really well, at one point, yanking Morrison’s head back by the hair to position him for a reverse chin lock. As you would expect, with him being on such a roll (and a push), Miz picked up the victory in what was a good ending – again selling that Miz knows Morrison’s moves inside-out, having him avoid all of Morrison’s signiture moves before hitting his own. It looks like Miz will be heavily involved in the Summerslam main event, bei it as part of Team RAW, as a deserter of the WWE in it’s moment of need, or as a betrayer. As I mentioned, it’s a shame this match had nothing to do with NXT. Last week’s show, I thought, took the spotlight away too much from the rookies, and while this week’s show focused more on the rookies, it was a shame to see them lose out in booking to put over main roster guys and a main roster angle. I would have preferred to have seen this match on Superstars – that sort of booking would have drawn more ratings surely to Superstars and given the NXY guys their deserved platform on NXT. I realise that all six were booked in the tag match, but on an elimination night, I don’t think it’s too much to ask to have them do double-duty: maybe the three winners of the previous match could have faced off in a triple-threat?
The obvious and correct decision was made in eliminating Lucky Cannon from the competition. As even the commentators said how lame Cannon was in his response to elimination. As I reiterate, i’ve never watched a more boring wrestler in my life. Good riddance.
Next week, we have a double-elimination. They’re obviously hurrying this season of NXT, perhaps to fit in another season on SyFy? This seems more credible given WWE’s recent signing of the hugely talented Tyler Black from ROH. Rumour has it also that this would be a half male and half female season. Despite the potential small pool of talent for either gender, i’m strongly in favour of this. It’s a nice progression of the concept and would give divas the spotlight they deserve.
Seen as we have a double elimination next week, i’ll update my personal rookie’s poll, again, in leagues of quality. Thankfully, the competition is clear of the joke contestants:
2) Michael McGillicutty
3) Husky Harris
4) Alex Riley
5) Percy Watson
I’m pretty sure Percy Watson wont make the final three, but the second eliminatee is more difficult to predict. I think it’ll be between Alex Riley and Husky Harris, and seen as Riley being eliminated might make Miz look weak by association, I think that, regretfully, Harris will be the second to be eliminated.