Worst: Welp, We’re Carrying Kegs Again
This week opened with the first rookie challenge of season 2, and HEAVENS TO MURGATROYD it’s a keg carry. You may remember keg carrying competitions from such wrestling programs as NXT season 1, which was built around seeing which would tear first: the rookies’ backs, or their self-esteem. The first one featured Daniel Bryan galloping around in a circle with a keg dick and Michael Tarver dropping it like an idiot 0.6 seconds in. WHAT MAGIC AWAITS US IN NXT SEASON 2?
- Kaval refusing to carry the keg because it weighs as much as he does, then explaining that he probably shouldn’t hurt himself doing something stupid if he’s gotta win a wrestling competition. It’s a fair point. Not a fair point is Matt Striker’s impossibly smug response as Kaval’s walking away: “Some would say that sounds like a crock but okay!” Ki should’ve spun around and koppo kicked him in the dome.
- Michael McGillicutty pulling a Michael Tarver and dropping the keg almost instantly, then explaining it away with the verbal grace you’d expect:
- Matt Striker treating Titus O’Neil like a dog: “GO GIT’EM!” He could’ve added “C’MON BOY, C’MON BOY, WHO’S A GOOD BOY??” and nobody would’ve noticed.
- Titus O’Neil finding a way to top Tarver’s season 1 performance by not just dropping the keg, but falling directly on his f*cking face in the process. He crashes and burns before he gets to the first ringpost, which makes his purple, homemade “make it a win” tee even sadder. He tries to save face in the post-run interview, but it mostly amounts to “HEY YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPEN RIGHT HURR.” Titus has gotten way better in the ring and way better on the microphone since this episode, but man, I cannot stress how epically pitiful he was.
- Husky Harris going last because he’s supposed to be an “army tank with a Ferrari engine,” but screwing up and hurting himself at the midway point. Uh, because a tank with a Ferrari engine wouldn’t actually be able to move. Matt Striker’s all SO HUSKY WANNA TELL THE CROWD WHY YOU SUCK SO MUCH DICK and Husky’s voice gets juuust serious enough to reach Bray Wyatt for the first time.
- Alex Riley almost killing himself at the finish, doing a Titus O’Neil fall forward and only keeping his face off the floor because he’s catching a keg to the ribs.
- Lucky Cannon’s victory speech, which is about how he’s not as good as the other rookies, but hey, he’s got THE HEART to carry a heavy object slightly faster than them!
I’d love to say WWE learned their lesson after this and never did the keg carry again, but I’d be lying. I just wish the game show setup for NXT had stuck around long enough for Cesaro to attempt a keg carry. I want to see him squat lift the keg like it’s a Solo cup and just hurl that shit through the center of the TitanTron.
Best: The First Half Of Husky Harris Vs. MVP
I remember Husky Harris vs. MVP as being one of the worst matches I’d ever seen. I just have a vague idea of it in my head, so when I settled in to retroactively recap this episode, I prepared for the worst.
The opening of the match is actually pretty good. It’s a feeling-out process, but Husky seems comfortable on his end without any of the “rookie jitters” most guys seem to have. MVP plays it cool as the veteran, letting Husky slither and slide around the ring like a weirdo and treating him as a physical and professional equal. Everything before the commercial break is worth watching. Knowing where these guys ended up adds a strange perspective to the contest, and I think “a new, strange perspective” is the best reason to sit through these old NXTs.
The commercial break happened and I was like, “oh, cool, this isn’t as bad as I remembered.”
Worst: This Is As Bad As I Remembered
You have never seen a match fall off as hard as Husky Harris vs. MVP.
I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if Husky was gassed and got confused or if MVP is just a terrible wrestler who doesn’t know how to lead a match, but man, it is awful. Husky will not stop going for lateral presses. CONSTANT lateral presses. Two or three every time MVP’s near the ground. MVP’s talking to him, too, loudly, and I assume it’s “DO MORE LATERAL PRESSES, THE CROWD LOVES IT.” At one point Husky bodyslams him and just kinda stands by his head to listen to him shout things, slowly picks him up, bodyslams him again. Lateral press, and a kickout at one. It’s like they had this match in the Temple of the Sun and somebody chose the wrong grail.
The ending’s just as bad. Husky’s been in control for the entire match, right? So MVP comes back, hits his convoluted knee lift (drop?), and Husky just collapses into helplessness waiting for the Ballin’ Elbow. MVP takes his sweet time with it, too, then gets visibly upset when Husky doesn’t get up fast enough to take his crummy R-Truth finisher. The match ends, mercifully, and we don’t ask the Pros what they thought because even Zack Ryder would’ve been like this is garbage, I’m out.