Best: The Triple Threat Finale
The main event (and only match) on the final episode of season 1 of NXT is a triple threat match between the three remaining rookies — Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel and David Otunga.
The first thing I want to point out is how David Otunga has GLITTERY STARS incorporated into his haircut. I couldn’t get a good shot of it, but they show up in the video a few times. Seriously, his hairline is stars. If David Otunga’s in-ring ability was ever as entertaining as his ability to accessorize he’d be main-eveninting WrestleMania right now.
His in-ring ability is covered up pretty well here, as the match is sorta based around two guys dumping the third and going at it for a little while until the third recovers. It’s the most basic way to work a triple threat match, but it works, especially when all one of the guys in the match can do is throw clubbing forearms. Otunga gets eliminated first when Justin Gabriel hits him with a 450 splash and Wade yanks Gabriel out of the ring by his foot to steal the pinfall. In that one moment, you’ve got the three defining characteristics of the NXT finalists:
1. Justin Gabriel’s 450 splash is bulletproof if he connects
2. Wade Barrett is a huge butthole
3. David Otunga talks a big game but can’t really back it up
Number one gets reinforced even more in the finish, when Gabriel goes for another 450 on Barrett, eats knees and gets rolled up for three. I love a high-flyer with a dangerous, high-risk move that has a 100% chance of pinning you if he connects, but like a 50% chance of f*cking him over and costing him the match if he misses. You can apply basic ring psychology to moves as well as wrestlers, and the physics and know-how of Gabriel’s 450 splash were and remained more interesting than half the rookies on the show.
I don’t want to spoil anything for anybody, but Wade Barrett winning this episode is one of the most telegraphed things WWE’s ever done. The entire hour’s devoted to how awesome he is.
Best: The Announcement Of NXT Season 2
Throughout the episode, random WWE stars you might’ve forgotten (John Morrison! Dixie Carter’s friend MVP!) pop in to announce that they’ve been named Pros for season 2 of NXT starting next week. Thanks, reality show cycles! The best by far is LayCool. If you read these columns regularly but don’t really know a lot about me, here is a quick list of my life priorities:
3. remembering and celebrating the careers of LayCool
I love them. Love them. And they got to be the Pros to NXT season 2’s Daniel Bryan, Kaval. It’s going to be a heck of a ride watching ladies who are nothing but personality desperately try to instill that into a 4-foot-negative-six ninja who absorbs none of it and wins anyway!
Best: HUS-KY HAR-RIS clap clap clapclapclap
“My name’s Husky Harris, I’m from Brooksville, Florida, and I’m one of the rookies on NXT season 2. I’m a third generation star … my grandfather was Blackjack Mulligan and my father was IRS, the tax man. I started training in 2009, when I realized that THE SYSTEM, MAN, THE SYSTEM IS A DEEEMON, I HEAR HER CRYING OUT TO ME, CALLING OUT TO ME, DESTROY THE SYSTEM. WATCH IT BURN. FOR I AM THE EATER OF WORLDS, JOHN CENA, HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO HURT SOMETHING THAT SIMPLY CANNOT FEEL? THE CHILDREN ARE CRYING, JOHN CENA, THEY CRY AND ONLY I CAN HEAR THEM, YES, ONLY I CAN HEAR THEM FOR–
sorry, what was i saying again”
Best/Worst: Daniel Bryan Has Been On Every Episode Of NXT Since His Elimination
Remember when Daniel Bryan got eliminated from NXT and we were all sad, and he gave that cool promo about how Daniel Bryan was done, but Bryan Danielson was gonna be fine? Yeah, he’s been on every episode of NXT since. He’s actually been more of a focal point since his elimination because he could be here and do cool stuff without having to stand around getting shouted at and losing matches. Why did we assume that ANY of these people had lost their jobs?
To continue the Wade Barrett Love-a-Thon, Matt Striker reintroduces us to the eliminated NXT rookies and asks them who they think should win and why. Most of them say Wade (including Daniel Bryan’s astutely observed “Otunga can’t wrestle, Gabriel can’t talk, this is pretty obvious”) and the ones who don’t make it memorable. Skip Sheffield says he doesn’t care — what’s he supposed to do, write about it from behind a keyboard? — and Michael Tarver once again picks himself. Good old Michael Tarver, sticking to his “say I’m going to win the competition whether I’m still eligible or not” gameplan.
Worst: Justin Gabriel Really Can’t Talk
The NXT rookies tell Justin Gabriel to his face that he can’t talk. His response? Getting on the microphone and trying to deliver an impassioned speech about his tenacity while not only licking his lips, but the entire lower half of his face. He says that no matter what you do to him, he keeps “gepping up.” You do that, Justin! You gep up and you fight!