In the penultimate NXT before the season 2 finale, the rookies started the night out cutting promos on how they felt being in the NXT final. McGillicutty played the babyface, talking about how amazing it was to be seen by so many people on a global stage in the same ring his father fought in, in what was a nice, fluent, but hardly earth-shattering promo. Riley cut right through the sentimental mood and got a tonne of heat for doing it – going so far as pressuming he would win the NXT prize of a title shot and threatening Sheamus that he would be coming for the WWE Championship. This was a strong promo apart from the end where he said that the WWE Champion would ‘be dismissed.’ I realise that’s his catchphrase and part of his gimmick, but the gimmick is stupid – more Mean Street Posse than breakout star. Kaval was up last, and did his duty in thanking the WWE Universe, before calling out Cody Rhodes, the man who attacked him last week as part of a temper tantrum following Husky Harris’s dismissal from the show. Kaval went so far as to challenge the ‘dashing’ pro to a match. In response, Cody was excellent on the mic, pulling out some real gems on his way to rejecting the challenge, selling it as being ‘above’ Kaval. MVP stepped in at this point to defend the rookie, and to challenge Rhodes to a match instead that, MVP being a pro, Rhodes couldn’t justifiably refuse. This was seemingly a way of putting Kaval over as a dominant force, stepping up to the main roster. Whether this is a telling sign of who could win the competition remains to be seen.
Next up was this week’s challenge, a WWE trivia quiz. In theory, this could have been a valuable segment, with the rookies showing a passionate knowledge of their wrestling forefathers, so to speak. Unfortunately, it was a bit too much like a quiz show parody, with cheesy background music and a big buzzer. The questions were mostly good, and did genuinely interact with the history of wrestling (for instance, there was a question about Pat Patterson), but overall, it was a little bit too goofy, and an example of a challenge that could definately have been cut down – maybe five questions (from five eras) with the person getting the most right being declared the winner. Kaval again looked good, winning the challenge and the opportunity to have a wwe.com feature on him for some time during the final voting. Depending on how much of a say the voters have in the fnal decision, this seems to definately be WWE getting behind Kaval as a prospective winner.
When the Cody Rhodes-MVP match got underway, it was at such a point that I expected it to be the first match of two. As it turned out, it was the main event, and one that lasted a good 15-20 minutes! In that sense, it’s one of the best matches that NXT has ever hosted. What was best abot the match was how believable it was. Eventhough it lasted a long time for a televised match, there were a lot of near-falls, all of which seemed completely believeable. Also, there was a nice use of momentum, with MVP starting off the aggressor, before Rhodes turned the tide, before the end of the match where it could have gone either way. Something about the momentum not switching that often added another sense of realism to the match. Eventually it was Cody Rhodes that went over. I have no problem with this as it seems they’re trying to make him, along with Drew McIntyre, a dominant force on Smackdown. As for MVP, he certainly didn’t look weak, and will be no doubt looking good against Jack Swagger in the coming weeks. Just that sort of TV time is good for both stars.
My only problem with the booking was that, again, as has hapenned previously in this season, it was the pros that took prominance in the main event. I realise they’ll be saving a triple-threat match for next week’s finale, but it would have been nice to have seen some sort of tag match. I also realise that Miz wasn’t at the taping, rendering it hard to book such a thing, but I still think a Kaval & McGillicutty (seen as he was playing a face) against Riley & a returning Husky Harris. I don’t think there would be anything wrong with putting Husky in a match after last week’s brawl. It would have meant less time for the MVP-Rhodes match, but that’s a price worth paying for the benefit of the ‘rookies.’ Plus the fact that the MVP-Rhodes match would have still been very good if 5-7 minutes were taken from it.
Next week is the the final of this season of NXT, so with that in mind i’m going to again rank the rookies, and predict who will win:
2) Michael McGillicutty
3) Alex Riley
As for who will win, I think it’s between Kaval and Alex Riley. I think McGillicutty can be ruled out. He hasn’t had the same prominance as the other two (which continued this week, with the shortest promo time) and isn’t as over as the others. My instinct says that Kaval will and should win, but there is the consideration of the Miz to be considered. If Riley doesn’t win, it could possibly reflect poorly on the Miz, who will also probably be dropping the US title at Night of Champions. These things could act as a bit of a stumbling-block on his meteoric rise to the top. Plus, i’m sure Kaval is at a point now where he could get over without being the NXT winner. Saying that, a bit of adversity may be desirable for Miz. It’s difficult to choose between them, but overall, given the amount of exposure he’s gotten lately, i’m going to plump for Kaval.