– Here’s a link to this week’s show, and by “this week” I mean the week of March 23, 2010.
– Be sure to follow our recap of NXT season 1 on its delightfully-organized tag page and catch up on any episodes you might’ve missed. Justin Roberts is now 11 weeks away from being choked to death with a tie. Just to keep you updated.
– Your comments are also greatly appreciated. Let’s talk about the 4-year old wrestling show that is 60% WrestleMania hype videos.
Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE NXT, originally airing March 23, 2010.
Worst: Is Matt Striker Wearing A Short-Sleeved T-Shirt Suit Jacket?
You haven’t been in Express For Men for a minute.
Best: The Start Of A Beautiful Friendship
The opening match on this week’s show is the first “all rookies” tag match, pairing Skip Sheffield and Wade Barrett up against Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel. This is the first time Slater and Gabriel teamed up together, and this is important from one of two perspectives:
1. They ended up becoming three-time WWE Tag Team Champions and were such good friends that they stuck together through three incarnations of The Nexus: the original team, the New Nexus and The Corre. They once refused to hit each other (or CM Punk) with kendo sticks because they are Ultimate Bros.
2. They made up the bromance affectionately known in fan-fiction communities as SLABRIEL. They are wild and young and happy and hairless and EXTREMELY INTO TEAMING WITH ONE ANOTHER. And they believe in a thing called love, apparently.
Either way you look at it, the first pairing of the team is notable, and the only notable thing in this episode. They get the win, too, when Wade accidentally boots Skip in the face and costs his team the match. Okay, one other important thing:
Best: Skip’s Underpants Are The Only Thing Keeping Him In This Game
If you can’t make it out, his ass says NEXT BIGGEST THING. Last week they said SHOOOOOOT. Considering that the only character development Skip’s gotten since his introduction video has been “William Regal hates having to look at him,” the Message Trunks are doing him a favor.
I really hope he has a pair that say YOU’RE NEXT.
Worst: And Now, Three Straight Expanses Between Commercial Breaks About WrestleMania
In the last few columns I’ve joked about WrestleMania hype videos taking up too much of these shows, but holy shit, this week’s NXT has completely given up being a revolutionary concept in television history in favor of being an hour-long episode of Smackdown.
They have the opening match, go to commercial, and come back to a WrestleMania hype video. When that’s done, they go to commercial again. They come back to a SECOND WrestleMania hype video, go to commercial AGAIN, and return to a THIRD EXPANSE BETWEEN COMMERCIAL BREAKS DEDICATED TO WHATEVER’S HAPPENING AT WRESTLEMANIA. Batista is there, I don’t know, you wouldn’t be able to identify. They’ll occasionally toss in one of those “meet the rookies” clips from week 1, but the actual wrestling content of the show is the first match and the main-event, and that is sad. How do we get Heath Slater over? WHY, DEDICATE SIX MINUTES TO BRET HART AND VINCE MCMAHON SIGNING A CONTRACT, OF COURSE.
I might be thinking about it too much, but is/was there a single person in the world watching NXT that wasn’t interested in WrestleMania? That’d be like the Charleston RiverDogs stopping for three innings per game to make sure we know what the New York Yankees are.
Worst: Daniel Bryan Loses His Fifth-Straight Match
So Edge really hates Chris Jericho, because —
oh, wait, are we wrestling again?
The main-event of the show is Darren Young and David Otunga teaming up to face Michael Tarver and Daniel Bryan. QUICK, GUESS WHO TAKES THE PINFALL. One of my favorite comments about the Vintage NXT reports so far was that looking back on the show beyond the “why are they burying Bryan Danielson?” question was unprecedented. I’ll be honest with you, it’s almost impossible to do. It’s easy to look back now that he’s the most popular wrestler in the company and say they were building him up as the ultimate underdog or whatever, but that’s not really the case. They’re just shit-talking him nonstop until he loses to everybody en route to elimination. He got one appearance (one) in the Raw roster version of the NXT team before they fired him.
Was this magical, precog storytelling, or just WWE having Bryan job clean to a David Otunga spinebuster because Luke Gallows and Michael Tarver were too busy yapping at ringside to make fans of non-WWE wrestling feel like assholes? Even four years removed it kinda makes me feel awful. They spend so much time hammering home the fact that win-loss records are the most important thing in the world heading into next week’s Pro rankings, which is funny because … well, I guess we’ll talk about that when we get there.
But yeah, it wasn’t hard to pick out the two legit superstar wrestlers in this mass of Carlito-stained refuse. Speaking of that …
Best: CM Punk
One of my favorite things to do is go back and see how every single aspect of Daniel Bryan’s character had its groundwork laid in NXT season 1. His first word on WWE television was, “yes.” In episode 2, The Miz tells him he’s the “weak link” and gives him a complex. In episode 4, Big Show shows up for no reason to steal his heat. So what happens in episode 5?
Daniel Bryan is going to lose due to factors beyond his control, and CM Punk just stands around doing nothing while it happens. Ha, I might as well be watching Raw.