Best: Heath Slater Doing Corkscrew Planchas
When I think back to watching NXT when it originally aired, I remember all of these matches being bad. Turns out I was swayed too much by the deadness of the crowd (who don’t give a shit about what’s happening because they’re live at a WWE show and will only react to people, situations and words they already know) … some of this stuff is pretty good, like Heath Slater dragged out Michael Tarver’s best-ever WWE match and hitting a damn corkscrew plancha on him in the process. The crowd reacts with mild silence and Michael Cole just ignores it and has a conversation with Josh about whether or not his win/loss statistics are correct. BECAUSE THIS IS A SHOW WHERE ROOKIES ARE TRYING TO BE POPULAR WITH WRESTLING FANS.
Slater gets the win with a roll-up that doesn’t look great because even Michael Tarver’s butt is a little sloppy, improving to 3-0. As a reminder, even though the announcers obsess about win-loss records the win-loss records don’t mean anything, and eliminations will occur based on the votes of the WWE Pros, except they won’t because management eliminates the first two guys by decree. How are you liking this revolutionary concept in television history?
Worst: The Wrong Entrance Themes For The Wrong Guys
As I mentioned, these NXT shows are taped in front of Raw and Smackdown-ready crowds, so they want to react and interact with wrestlers they know, join in on catchphrases they know how to sing and wear shirts that were either $10 too expensive or begged for. It’s not to say that they’re stupid or anything, they’re just used to a thing and that’s what they want.
So if you’re trying to get some NXT rookies over as heels and some over as faces, why are you making faces come out to recognizably heel entrance themes and vice versa? Justin Gabriel gets Matt Hardy’s theme and Heath Slater gets Christian’s, but Daniel Bryan’s out there trying to get face reactions while ‘I CAME TO PLAY’ blares in the background. Skip Sheffield has it even worse. He’s a cornfed meathead in a cowboy hat and a little vest and he LOVES YOU THE FANS but he’s walking out trying to get cheered with William Regal’s ominous instrumental backing him? What’s that?
If you want to pair heels and faces up so you can tell a bunch of different pro vs. rookie stories, that’s fine, but damn, let them come out to American Bang.
Best: It’s A Shoot, Brother!
Skip Sheffield has SHOOOOOOT written across his ass. Just wanted to make you aware of that forever.
There isn’t much to say about the Skip/Wade Barrett main-event other than Jericho going full TALK ABOUT WADE BARRETT and the Shoot Panties, but it was fine. It seems crazy unfair to me that Skip’s only gotten to wrestle twice in four shows with an “evaluation week” coming up, but I know how bent out of shape about the Internet he eventually gets so I’ll let it slide.
And hey, Wade Barrett’s got a bright future in WWE, pending the discovery of any bad news.