I don’t know at what other point i’ll talk about it, so i’ll just start out with it. Last night’s edition of NXT was very strange in certain ways. Probably the most shocking aspect of it was how the commentary team (including Josh Matthews) were constantly running down the show. As it turns out, it must be part of some sort of work, but it still cast a very strange atmosphere over the show. I suppose it’s a testament to the NXT format that it’s been able to produce so many fresh angles since it’s inception. There may be more to say about this in conjunction with other critiqued segments.
Our first match was a renewal of a brewing feud between AJ and Kaitlyn/Vickie, in a tag team match pitting AJ & Primo against Kaitlyn & Dolph Ziggler. This was a pretty good match for the time it got. The real stand out was Primo though. As Josh Matthews said, NXT has (or at least could be) a real re-birth for the Cuban superstar who has struggled to get significant TV time without his brother. He came in and hit an array of quick, well realised moves in an almost lucha libre style. Eventually, however, Ziggler managed to avoid an attack and hit his Zig Zag for the win. This was greeted by a rather passionate hug by Kaitlyn, much to the chagrin of her ‘pro’, Vickie Guerrero. I had just been thinking what an easy but entertaining story it would be for Ziggler to be drawn to Kaitlyn and away from Vickie, so i’m glad to see a seed has been planted there. After the first two weeks, Kaitlyn has definitely emerged as the most interesting diva on the show.This feud is also really good for both AJ and Primo who can use it to propel themselves to the top (e.g. I don’t know if Primo has ever wrestled the Intercontinental Champion before!)
Again, we had two competition segments on NXT. Why? Matthews at one point said that the most important characteristic in a diva is her personality. Now this is definitely better than had he said her ‘looks’, but it still struck me as a little patronising. I would prefer to see the ‘joke’ segment from this week replaced with another match, or the time from it given to matches that were already booked. This season of NXT is a chance to show off the diva’s wrestling abilities in a way they don’t necessarily get on the main brands. For the record, the best jokes were AJ’s, Naomi’s and the eventual winner, Jamie’s. Throughout the segment, Cole and Matthews had been running the divas down, and to end it, Cole started bashing a gong which was by his announce table for quite a long time. That was when the atmosphere started to get really weird.
After this was another match: Aksana against Jamie (in her first match of the season). This match was pretty short, but not bad in any way. I do have certain problems with Aksana’s character, but nonetheless, I do enjoy her dynamic with Goldust, with her being drawn to him and starting to mirror him, as if he has some sort of hold over her. In the end, Jamie went over to cement a ‘good week’ for her.
Finally, we had the familiar obstacle course challenge. This, I am absolutely fine with. It was the exact same course as the men got and therefore didn’t suggest any kind of patronising inferiority. If this was the only challenge on the show, then it would be perfect as a showcase for the divas. After a funny slapstick segment where Vickie Guerrero showed the divas how to run the course ‘perfectly’, before falling over in timely fashion, Kaitlyn came through here to win the challenge, for the first time much to the delight of her pro. Throughout, Cole was again calling the show ‘stupid’ and all the rest, saying – with some justification to be fair – that he was calling Orton-Cena the night before and had moved on to this. He started banging the gong again, and finally said that he was quitting the show, much to the delight of everyone in attendance. It’s difficult to argue with that heat. Cole is certainly a very good heel announcer. It’ll be interesting to see who replaces him, if anybody. Joey Styles (who was mentioned on air, and whose recent ‘shoots’ on NXT might have been a part of this angle) is a possibility. Also, I suppose Todd Grisham is a potential replacement as he’ll be there anyway for Smackdown tapings; maybe one of the former ECW guys; or maybe we’ll see Cole skulking back to the table. Whatever happens, it’s a pretty interesting situation!