Best: Daniel Bryan Finishes First In The Pros Poll Because F*ck You, Or
Worst: The Pros Poll, Based On NOTHING And LIKE IT
Finally, after five long weeks of introductions and elaborate declarations of worthlessness, we find out the results of the “Pros Poll.” If you haven’t been following along, that’s a seemingly-arbitrary ranking of the NXT season 1 rookies decided by the pros to (in theory) decide eliminations. Remember, a pro can’t vote for or against his own rookie, even though we’re never given actual point totals or informed about how “against” votes affect said totals or anything resembling truth or statistics.
Anyway, the Pros Poll is decided based on four things:
1. Wins and losses
2. Strength of opponents
3. Work ethic
4. The “It” Factor
“Wins and losses” and “strength of opponents” are good categories if we’re applying CHIKARAmetrics to the thing, but numbers three and four are the Get Out Of Jail Free card that lets WWE just arrange and rearrange things however they want. Uh, you know, besides just scripting the pro votes. I forget, is this a reality show or a regular wrestling show, or–
Buh. What I’m getting at is that “the IT Factor” might as well be the “Jerry Lawler thinks you don’t have personality because you don’t act goofy and love Each And Every One Of These fans” award and “work ethic” seems especially random, considering that the show’s been largely built around the idea that how hard you work doesn’t matter if don’t win, and that you have to respect your pro and do what they say but also break out and make a name for yourself. It’s a f*cking pro wrestling Ouroboros. No matter where you go, you’re eating your own ass.
The first Pros poll is actually perfect. Bryan is #1 because he’s the best wrestler on the show, better than almost all of the pros already and obviously the guy the show’s being built around, whether it’s intended to break him or not. Wade Barrett gets #2 because he’s the guy you’d look at and say “that’s a WWE Superstar.” Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater are 3 and 4 because they’re good at wrestling but kinda have the personality of his and her dish towels. David Otunga shows up right behind them because he’s the inverse … he’s got a lot of personality but is maybe the worst wrestler in the world. Skip Sheffield is 6th because he’s a physical monster, but also kind of a dipshit and his only contributions to five weeks of programming were a catchphrase he hasn’t gotten to say since debuting it and a bunch of dirty looks from Bill Regal. After that it’s Michael Tarver and Darren Young, because they are the dirt worst. Young gets better and gets his shit together eventually, but as of 3/30/10 they’re God-awful but on TV while poor Damien Sandow mires in developmental, repeatedly approaching FCW creative with ideas like “LUMBERJACK” or “DISCO ENTHUSIAST” in the hopes they’ll throw him a bone and let him back on TV.
So there you have it. After six weeks, the product of the Revolutionary Concept In Television History is “wrestlers stating the obvious.”
Best: You’re Right, David Otunga, Daniel Bryan IS Like Eating Mashed Potatoes
Daniel Bryan gets a brief interview after his Pros Poll placement is announced and he throws a little (deserved) shade at Michael Cole and the idea of the “IT Factor,” mentioning how being married to somebody famous doesn’t make you good at wrestling. Otunga responds by saying that talking to Daniel Bryan is like “eating mashed potatoes.” Bryan makes a great troll face and asks what that even means, then makes fun of Otunga’s jeans, but sadly not the fact that his haircut makes him look like an energy drink. Otunga’s right, though. Daniel Bryan IS like mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are great and everybody likes them.
Worst: Justin Gabriel’s 40 Degree Day
“Third place in the Pros Poll? Ugh fine whatever.
Oh btw thanks for sticking me next to the steroid cowboy, guys, he smells like deer carcasses and Christmas present cologne. There’s no way this motherf*cker bathes, he thinks the Edge gel takes off the dirtiness when he’s creating total body hairlessness. A cowboy hat and underpants and a vest without a shirt? He looks like a Hanna Barbera character. I thought I had it bad when Hardy dressed me up like a Hot Pocket and tried to eat me.”
Best: Bros Before Pros
The showcase match for this week is a Raw Pros vs. Smackdown Pros eight-man tag FOR THE BRAGGING RIGHTS TROPHY (I hope), with Chris Jericho subbing in Wade Barrett for himself. The match is all right (and probably would’ve been a lot better if we hadn’t spent the entirety of 2013 watching Shield tags) and ends with Jericho interfering, allowing Barrett to hit the WASTELAND~ on Christian and get the pin.
Best: Chris Jericho, Announcer
Jericho was really the ace of NXT, wasn’t he?
Jericho’s dominance at the NXT announce table continued this week as he just suited up and sat down for formal color commentary, doing everything he could to put over Wade Barrett as a legit main-roster threat. He also worked hard to get everyone ELSE over (talking about what a great and dedicated wrestler CM Punk is despite his image, complimenting R-Truth’s explosiveness, etc.) without ever breaking character or seeming like a “nice guy.” How great is that? That’s what I loved about guys like Jesse Ventura when they were on commentary. They’d go too far justifying Hulk Hogan’s actions as evil or whatever, but they’d also give shit to the guys who deserved it and talk up the guys who needed it. They’d point out little things that made watching a guy wrestle seem more layered and important, and it was never about out-of-context earpiece yelling to push imaginary agendas. Just an honest POV on what’s happening from a guy who is, for all intents and purposes, kind of an asshole.
I would give anything for Jericho to forget about “legacy” runs every January-to-April and just suit up in the announce booth. I think it’s the best thing he could contribute to wrestling right now, and I don’t know why we haven’t already begged him to do it a thousand times.