– Make sure you’ve read The Best and Worst of NXT Season 1, The Best and Worst of NXT Season 2 and The Best and Worst of NXT Season 3 in their entirety. You can catch up with episodes of Season 4 on the linked tag page.
– Shares, comments, likes and other Internet things are appreciated. Jacob Novak’s gone for like 8 episodes, so take advantage of this time we have.
Click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WWE NXT season 4 episode 6, originally aired on January 11, 2011.
Worst: The Slingshot Challenge
Near the end of the slingshot challenge, Josh Mathews puts on a serious voice, mentions how he’s sat through every episode of NXT and calls this “the worst thing I’ve ever seen.” Todd asks, “worse than some of the Divas stuff?” “Oh yeah.”
The problem is that it’s the most awkward and boring physical challenge you can imagine. Pros are supposed to stand in the ring and launch t-shirts up the ramp with a slingshot, and their rookie is supposed to catch the shirts and drop them in a bucket. The rookie with the most shirts bucketed at the end of 30 seconds is the winner. There are five rookies and the contest can mathematically only run for 2 1/2 minutes, but it feels like 20. Pros don’t know how to use the slingshot, rookies don’t know how to move or catch things, and Matt Striker is trying his damnedest to bury everyone involved. He gets into an argument with the announcers about football terminology. Meanwhile, Connor O’Brian’s just standing on the stage in a half squat while Alberto Del Rio shoots a t-shirt 30 feet to his left.
The most interesting thing about the competition is the slingshot itself. They took two of the stage girders, propped them up against the ring apron and strung a pair of Kim Kardashian’s underwear (topical) between them. The least interesting thing is literally everything else.
Derrick Bateman and Daniel Bryan win (complete with adorable celebration), even though the referees try to cheat and give it to Connor. Bateman spikes his second caught shirt in the bucket with time to spare, and the announcers are all DID HE GET IT?? DID HE GET IT??? Then Connor shows up, catches his second shirt as the buzzer sounds and shoots a bad jumper that whiffs the basket and flies off the stage. The referee initially gives Connor a point for this, and only takes it back when Bateman is rightfully like, hey ref, what the f*ck.
The Bateman bias lives, but this is his SPITTING HOT FIRE episode, so nothing can stop him.
Worst: Ricardo Has A Problem
“My co-workers keep making racist jokes about me. I should just keep putting up with it, right?”
We find Ricardo Rodriguez backstage making a clandestine phone call (with a WWE camera in his face) regarding his hatred of Alberto Del Rio’s rookie Connor O’Brian. The weird part? Ricardo gets subtitles. In real time. These shows are supposed to be happening “live,” and this dude’s got Too Many Cooks-style words popping up across his chest.
Worst: Byron Saxton WILL RISE
The first match of the night is Connor O’Brian vs. Byron Saxton, who has decided to act babyface and work heel tonight after playing heel and working babyface for the previous five episodes. He probably would’ve won this season if he’d chosen his an adventure and stuck with it instead of flipping ahead and trying to work the “best ending.”
This match is weird, and the most 1995 Monday Nitro match of the season. Byron dominates the entire thing, to the point that the announcers are saying “wow, Alberto Del Rio can’t be happy with his rookie’s performance.” Then Connor gets his boot up on a charge in the corner, full nelson slams Saxton and pins him clean. It’s the only thing he does to him. Once Critical finisher and it’s over. The announcers can’t even finish their talking points.
Del Rio’s reaction is everyone’s.
You should’ve hit your three-quarters nelson trip dip into a leaping backwards nothing, Byron.
The slingshot challenge gets an instant contender for Worst Thing Josh Mathews Has Ever Seen in “Superstar Password,” a game in which rookies have to get their pro to guess a wrestler’s name. If you get Kofi Kingston you can’t say “Kofi” or “Kingston,” but you can say “Jamaican dude, does this” and do the clappy hands.
Getting pro wrestlers to identify popular pro wrestlers should be the easiest thing in the world. Nobody’s drawing cards with BEAU BEVERLY on them. It’s all guys like John Cena, Randy Orton, Edge, and so on. Still, NOBODY can get ANYTHING. It’s so embarrassing. A guy draws Big Show, and instead of saying “7-feet tall, 500 pounds, used to be The Giant, broke Hulk Hogan’s neck twice,” they go “uhhhh … WRESTLER. MOVIES. Uh… MOVIES. MOVIES.” Derrick Bateman gets Kane and says “just won the world title from Kane.”
The worst is Connor, who might be shoot illiterate. He just stars at his card going “ennnnnnhhhh” like Tina Belcher. When Del Rio prods him to say something, Connor goes “let’s talk about how great YOU are!”
It’s like tossing the Qur’an into a touch tank and asking the manta rays to tell you about Dhul-Qarnayn.
Best: Daniel Bryan And Brie Bella’s First Date
This segment, without hyperbole, is still my choice for the best WWE backstage comedy segment ever. I love it with my whole heart.
Per last week, Bryan and Derrick Bateman go on a double-date with the Bella Twins. It’s technically Bryan and Brie’s first “date,” which means Derrick Bateman is responsible for their marriage. I show this bit to people all the time, and I’m happy to have made it far enough into NXT retro reports to share it with you. Now I just need to shoulder through Redemption until Derrick Bateman’s intervention.
Things to love here:
– Bateman and Bryan taking the Bellas to “WWE RESTAURANT,” aka that weird backstage room they put tables in whenever people go on dates. They don’t even TRY to make it look like a restaurant. The background tables are way higher than the one wrestlers are sitting at, waiters come and go as lines of dialogue command them and nobody has a good time. It’s so unrealistic I expect Grover to waltz in with a bowl of soup and a shitty attitude.
– Hearing the end of a story about how Derrick Bateman once shat in a laundromat.
– Bateman’s favorite cheese is “goat.” FORESHADOWING.
– “Are you wearing wrestling boots?”
– Brie thanks Bryan for sending her a text. Nikki gets upset that Bryan didn’t send her one, too, even though she swears he did. Nikki accuses Brie of deleting the text so she wouldn’t see it, and instead of saying “I didn’t do that,” Brie accuses her of being jealous and starts a physical confrontation. Everything we know about the Bellas and their history in 2014 checks out. Brie’s spent her life sabotaging Nikki and pretending she’s the “good twin.” BRIE IS EVIL. THEY CALLED IT IN 2011.
– My favorite line of dialogue, and something I quote to this day: “no my pants. No, my pants. NO, MY PANTS. NO! MY PANTS! RRRRRRAAAHHHHHH!”
– Bateman carries around a BAG OF LOOSE CHANGE and intends to use it to pay for four dinners at a fancy restaurant. He storms off with an angered adjusting of a fannypack. “See you never!” And then Bryan LEAVES THE BELLAS WITH BATEMAN’S BAG OF CHANGE BECAUSE HE’S AFRAID OF CONFRONTATION and/or doesn’t want to get stuck with what’s left of the bill.
At the end of this segment, confetti should’ve fallen from the ceiling of the restaurant and Derrick Bateman should’ve been declared the winner of NXT season 4.
Best: Johnny Curtis Does A Mean Distraction Rollup
The main event is Johnny Curtis vs. Ted DiBiase. In case the words “Ted DiBiase” didn’t clue you in, it’s the most by-the-numbers thing in the world, but they do a lot of basic stuff well and the crowd’s into it, so we’ll make it a win.
“By-the-numbers” is being generous. It physically IS the numbers. Curtis is the plucky face getting beaten down by DiBiase’s day one wrestling school offense. Clothesline! Dropkick! Headlock! Maryse distracts the referee, allowing Brodus Clay to sneak in a cheap shot to Johnny’s back. That causes R-Truth to be a good pro for the first time in four seasons and knock out Brodus, distracted DiBiase and allowing Curtis to sneak in a Divas rollup for the win. It’s a box of saltines in wrestling form, but sometimes you wanna eat crackers, so whatever.
The low point is Curtis hitting a Falcon Arrow, and Josh screaming “talk about innovation!” That’s not me being a smark and expecting Josh to know Hayabusa. Hardcore Holly used to do that shit.
Next Week: Another Elimination!
See you never, somebody!