– Here’s a link to this week’s episode if you’d like to go back and watch it.
– Some mighty say you should share this column so I keep writing them! Seriously, you’re going to want to remember season 3.
Please click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WWE NXT season 2, episode 5, originally aired on July 6, 2010.
Best: The Talk The Talk Challenge
If you missed it in season 1, the Talk The Talk Challenge gives NXT rookies 30 seconds to cut a promo about an assigned topic. In theory, every professional wrestler should be able to do this. Even if you’re bad at public speaking you should be able to bullshit in front of people for 30 seconds. Most guys do. Some guys, like Heath Slater or Justin Gabriel, end up angrily listing cereal brands or digging themselves into an awkward hole because they hate flowers respectively. Season 1’s competition ended with Wade Barrett brutally slaughtering everyone else on the mic, a trend that continues to this day.
Season 2’s competition, with its prize of “you get a talk show segment next week,” lacks season 1’s nuke-throwing competencies but makes up for it in confused dudes having no idea what the f*ck is going on. And still, some people are fine. Alex Riley jots down notes on a clipboard the entire time, says he’s a rooster in the NXT season 2 hen house and claims his remaining six opponents are “pigeons.” Kaval’s topic is chickens, and his promo kinda sucks, but he says he’s not a chicken so whatever, we’ll allow it. Percy Watson talks about glasses. Husky Harris makes this face:
But man, when it’s bad, it’s the worst thing you’ve ever heard. Eli Cottonwood gets his legendary WWE moment with the topic MUSTACHES, which prompts him to make the worst logistical point in the history of promos: he doesn’t have a mustache, nobody here has a mustache, only REAL men have mustaches, and he has the best mustache of everyone, probably, if you allowed him to grow it. Holy shit. “Stay with me, stay with me!”
Running right alongside Cottonwood’s mustache soliloquy in the pantheon of bad public speaking performances is Lucky Cannon. He uses the topic “deodorant,” an easy lay-up with a well-placed “my opponents need some deodorant!” You Stink burn, to say WWE is LIKE A SWEATY MAN that needs LUCKY CANNON AS DEODORANT. There’s a True Detective-style “deodorant is a flat circle” point made as well, as Lucky thinks deodorant would not exist without stinky sweaty people, but also that stinky sweaty people wouldn’t exist without deodorant? I have no idea. He realizes he’s bombed hard and ends the promo with a new catchphrase: “I’M GETTIN’ LUCKY, WHO’S GETTIN’ LUCKY WITH ME!”
The biggest disappointment is Michael McGillicutty, who you’d expect to scorch the Earth with his inability to speak, right? His topic is “breath,” but all he says is that he’s related to famous wrestlers and that he’s gonna “take your breath away.” BORING COMPETENCE IS NOT WHAT I WANT FROM YOU, MCGILLICUTTY, GET IT TOGETHER.
Worst: Matt Striker Continues To Be The Least Likable Person Ever
During last week (four years ago’s) keg carry, Kaval refused to participate, pointing out that the keg weighed as much as him and saying he probably shouldn’t hurt himself unless he was doing it in the ring for the fans. Matt Striker’s response as Kaval walked away: “Some would say that that sounds like a crock, but okay!”
Kaval’s Talk The Talk talking point is chickens, so (as mentioned) he says he’s NOT one. He says he’s going to ride a wave of crowd support to the end of the competition and win NXT season 2. Striker’s response: “Some would say it was a little patronizing, but let’s not discount that!”
Why does Striker have to give his thoughts about Kaval’s performance in real time, and why does he do it with a passive-aggressive “some would say?” Who would ever agree with or like this guy? He’s the most garbage human WWE’s ever put on screen. Some would say he deserves to get kicked in the face.
Worst: John Morrison Is Worse Than Any Of These Rookies
“I think, WWE Universe. It’s great. What do you think?? If I had to say whether or not I’d vote off Titus O’Neil, actually, I would vote off The Miz!”
I typed that from memory, but it’s close enough. I guess Tough Enough season 2 didn’t have a ton of Talk The Talk Challenges.
Best: The Miz
Miz’s response to Morrison’s ice burn is a sarcastic thumbs up and mouthing, “Good one!” You know, because you can’t make the “jack it off and throw it” gesture on WWE TV.
The reactions of the Pros are the best part of the entire challenge. Morrison covers his face during Cottonwood’s mustache nightmare, Mark Henry makes a spectacular “what the f*ck are you talking about” face during Lucky Cannon’s armpit of a promo and Miz watches Riley’s hen house declaration with a huge smile on its face. When it’s over and Riley drops his YOU’RE ALL PIGEONS HA HAAA pipe bomb, the camera cuts back to Miz grinning about it, even though he visibly has no idea what it’s supposed to mean. It was just real, you know? Affable and human, two things WWE Superstars never get to be.
If they’d just gotten to act like people and ACTUALLY mentored up-and-coming WWE stars this would’ve been a great show probably, huh?
Worst: Percy Watson, Now Managed By Panama Jack
The first match of the show (about halfway in … thanks, skills challenges!) is the most student match you’ve ever seen between Percy Watson and Michael McGillicutty. They don’t do ANYTHING. It’s just headlocks, a couple of dropkicks and then a sunset flip to finish. I don’t know if they were trying to avoid the disaster of MVP vs. Husky Harris from last week, but they didn’t do anything here they weren’t doing their first few weeks in wrestling school.
The interesting thing here is that WWE made a weird decision to have the NXT pros actually stand on the apron in their rookies’ corners like tag partners, instead of like every other mentor/pro/manager ever. So you’ve got Kofi Kingston in his gear and a t-shirt on one side and MVP dressed like the CeCe Winans on the other. Did they fly him in from the women’s department at a Banana Republic for this show?
Best: Miz Vs. Kaval
“He’s NOT AWESOME, Kaval!” – LayCool with solid advice from the ring apron
I guess Miz’s head and heart were in the right place this week, because in addition to his adorable reactions to the Talk The Talk challenge, he was (for once) a strong veteran force in his match against Kaval. Miz wrestled like a WRESTLER, which is something he doesn’t do a lot … he tends to wrestle like someone pretending to be a wrestler for a wrestling show. Lots of facing the hard camera, lots of preening, lots of space between moves. Not a lot of focus on making things look correct technically or hit hard. Here, Kaval’s speed and style meshed with Miz perfectly, and Miz was able to be a commanding presence without ever going too far.
They kept it simple, but Kaval’s “simple” is being flippy and dynamic to overcompensate for his size. Whereas a guy like Daniel Bryan will just come at you with kicks to the chest and armbars, Kaval thinks he has to springboard and cartwheel and turn sunset flips into double stomps. It makes for an exciting match, but it also opens him up to some very obvious weaknesses, and if they’re doing that on PURPOSE, God bless them. It plays into the finish of the match, too, with Miz tripping up Kaval on the top rope sideways, then Skull-crushingly Finalizing him in front of his Pros.
The aftermath is good, too, with Miz angrily holding his jaw and Alex Riley doing a bunch of YEAH THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT taunting in the ring. Good stuff here, and it’s nice to remember a time when Miz had improved so tremendously, and was going to be a thing.
Worst: Last Night On Raw
Per the Anonymous Raw General Manager, Nexus leader Wade Barrett came to the ring to offer John Cena a handshake and a truce. The actions of the Nexus haven’t been a personal thing against him, he’s just always around when they start murdering folks, and he wants to make that perfectly clear. Cena’s response:
“Take your truces, take your handshakes, crumple ’em, and stuff ’em up your NEXUS!”
What happens next makes sense, then no sense, then John Cena Raw sense. Wade’s all, “come on, shake my hand so I don’t have to get Skip out here,” and Cena tries to Attitude Adjust him. The Nexus runs out, a few Raw also-rans like Evan Bourne run out, and the brawl ends with the Nexus on the run and Cena STF’ing an abandoned Darren Young to death. That gets interrupted by the Raw GM, who says that because of Cena’s actions he’s now in a 7-on-1 handicap match on against the Nexus on the next show. Cena’s response? Further destroy Darren Young.
So, your heels are the young guys who were made out to be jokes because they weren’t tough enough to “make an impact,” so they got together, made an impact, and used force to get what they wanted. The heel is the guy protecting the status quo who refuses to make peace for the benefit of the show because he wants the thrill of personally beating seven dudes, causes everyone to get hurt and expresses his anger by continuing to beat up a guy who’d already had the shit beaten out of him. The general manager is a babyface leprechaun who doesn’t have the ability to talk, but can write wordy e-mails in less than a second that condemn and punish the babyfaces? I don’t even know.
Best: I Bolieve I’m Enjoying These Husky Harris Baby Pictures
There were two “what the pros think about the rookies” segments on the show: one where everyone’s like “ennghhh Eli Cottonwood is tall, but he super sucks,” and one where everyone says Husky Harris rules and will make it. Why didn’t we all love Husky Harris? Was it just that MVP match? Because “we all hate MVP” should be the talking point. That one’s still valid in 2014.
Worst: Lucky Cannon Sucks Even In Fast Forward
I guess they burned through too much time with the rest of the show, because the main event is a SUPER QUICK tag match between Cody/Husky and Mark Henry/Lucky Cannon. It was actually pretty good (and made me want to see Bray Wyatt vs. Mark Henry in something important), but clearly the fast forward button had been pushed. Husky works Henry for most of it, a hot tag is made and Lucky IMMEDIATELY loses to a Cross Rhodes. Just immediately. After taking like, zero damage.
I know Lucky Cannon’s career ended up going the way it should’ve, but man, how did this guy even make it on television? TWICE?