Best: Michael Tarver vs. Skip Sheffield On The Microphone
The best part of the show is actually BEFORE Punk shows up, when Michael Tarver’s descent into madness runs headlong into Skip Sheffield, who is caught somewhere between the moon (Ryback) and New York City (“the cornfed meathead”) and can’t figure out if he’s a mad steroid guy or a fun-loving hillbilly. So Tarver says things like:
“If silence is golden, my words are invaluable!”
“I didn’t come here to dance on a balloon like a little monkey for your entertainment!”
And Skip retorts with “what I need from you is to turn your upper lip south, and shut your mouth!” and I’m just watching with my mouth hanging open in ironic bliss. The best part is when Skip calls Tarver “Mr. Nitwit of Negativity,” which I’m disappointed in myself for not calling dudes for the last four years. You can practically hear the announce team say “f*ck this” and walk out when he says it. So wonderful.
I’d call it my favorite ridiculous non-flowers-related dialogue in early NXT history, but Michael McGillicutty hasn’t found out he took second place yet.
Worst: Darren Young Is Still Winning
Daniel Bryan is an afterthought in this episode, having Cole briefly call him a worthless nerd and point out his 0-8 record, but last place rookie Darren Young is still suddenly DESTROYING EVERYBODY. He gets his third win in a row by pinning Michael Tarver, which is exceptional because the match ends with Luke Gallows running out to interfere and taking out both Skip Sheffield and Young himself. Seriously, Gallows shoves Young off the top rope and leaves him prone for Tarver’s finisher (which I guess is “punch to the gut,” because that’s the only move he’s ever done) and Young still wins. Just straight up pins Tarver anyway. Weeks 7-9 Darren Young are that horrible video game story mode situation where the computer decides your opponent is winning no matter WHAT you do.
Worst: Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Rookies Gets The Bret/Luger Ending
Here’s how hard the computer is cheating for Young: he gets knocked off the pedestal in Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Rookies, but Skip steps off at the same time and there’s CONTROVERSY. It’s Lex Luger and Bret Hart being simultaneously eliminated from the Royal Rumble in dismissive-wankworthy NXT physical challenge form. Skip is announced as the winner, graphic and all, but Striker shows up and is all NOOOO WE GOTTA DO IT AGAIN. The crowd boos with excitement!
Oh, and when they do it again Skip just easily wins. I wish they’d done that with Bret/Luger. They got eliminated at the same time? Put them back in the ring and let Luger casually send Bret sailing.
Best?: Heath Slater Pins Chris Jericho Clean
do what now
Remember in episode 1 when Daniel Bryan made a cool, important mark in his early WWE career by taking World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho to the limit in his debut match? Remember how that was a great rationale for keeping him at #1 on the polls, because “strength of opponent” is one of the four key values of NXT and Bryan was having to fight Jericho and Khali while everybody else wrestled Carlito?
Yeah, nope, here’s Heath Slater pinning Chris Jericho clean by reversing the Walls of Jericho into a small package. Immediately after a lengthy Heath Slater video package where all the pros get together to talk about what a huge star he’s gonna be. THIS IS ALL TOTALLY ON THE LEVEL, FOLKS. The match itself isn’t bad, but just like comparing Bryan to the rest of the rookies, it was a paint-by-numbers 2010 WWE thing instead of anything resembling excitement. But now the crowd’s going to fall in love with New Internet Darling Heath Slater, right?
Stay tuned! (They don’t.)