– 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. Still not sure what we’re gonna do about Season 5.
– Shares, comments, likes and other Internet things are appreciated.
Click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WWE NXT season 4 episode 8, originally aired on January 25, 2011.
Best: Derrick Bateman, Cheater
On last week’s episode, Derrick Bateman broke the How Well Do You Know Your Pro challenge by coordinating his answers with his pro ahead of time. In theory, it should be exactly what WWE wants from a rookie: he’s “making an impact” by “doing whatever it takes to succeed.” Also, the show is full of heels who regularly cheat. Despite both of these things, Bateman is admonished for cheating and penalized in this week’s first challenge.
The best part is the security footage of Bateman cheating, wherein this brilliant motherf*cker dresses up like a burglar and walks along the dressing room walls to drop off a clandestine note. There’s nobody in the room but him and Bryan, so he could’ve just walked up to him and said “hey, we’re gonna cheat, say these answers.” He could’ve dressed up in an LED jacket and had the Funkadactyls deliver it, the same GTV security cam would’ve caught him.
Worst: Outthink The Fink
In “Outthink The Fink,” rookies have 30 seconds to answer “very difficult” WWE trivia questions. Legendary ring announcer and WWE obsessive Howard Finkel goes first, and you have to get more correct answers in the allotted time to win. That sounds harmless, but it earns a Worst for two damning reasons:
1. Matt Striker. He’s got thirty seconds to ask as many questions as possible, but he takes up twenty asking them. When a question should be “who did Undertaker defeat at WrestleMania 7,” Striker phrases it as, “at WrestleMania 7, the legendary Undertaker’s undefeated streak began with a victory over whom.” Instead of saying “correct” and quickly moving on to the next question, Striker says “that is correct, brotha!” and chuckles to himself. He has to comment on everybody’s answers. Instead of “no,” he’ll say “no, not even close” and pause. Most of the time he’s in the first third of a question when the time runs out. Every other person is saying READ THE QUESTIONS FASTER.
2. The Derrick Bateman bias. Once again, the contest is rigged for him to lose. As punishment for last week’s cheating, he only gets 20 seconds instead of 30. Considering he won four immunity points by cheating and only had two to win here, that’s a pretty good deal. Anyway, Bateman gets robbed of two questions. One is at the end, where he has the correct answer but Striker’s making it as verbose as possible. The other is “at which event did Kane first meet the Undertaker.” Bateman says “Badd Blood,” which is correct, but he’s wrong. Because by “meet,” Striker meant “wrestle against.” Taker met Kane for the first time at Badd Blood. If Bateman had said WrestleMania 14, Striker would’ve switched it.
If both questions had counted, Bateman would’ve not only Outthunk The Funk, he would’ve done so in 1/3 the time. Nobody wins and nobody gets immunity points, because NXT.
Worst: Daniel Bryan Makes Out With Chef Robert Irvine’s Wife
In WWE, being boring or ugly makes you susceptible to the worst gimmick a guy can have dressing like a turkey and popping out of an egg: the LADIES MAN. Dean Malenko got it, Lance Storm got it and Daniel Bryan got it.
The Bellas are both in love with Bryan and compete against one another to be his “first,” because when he said “vegan” they thought he meant “virgin.” Because they are bricks with smiley faces painted on them. They barge into his locker room and are AGHAST to find him making out with Gail Kim. That leads to a catfight and a pull-apart brawl between the women, and a shot of Bryan in the ring doing the ¯_(ツ)_/¯ thing because Divas be thirsty, or whatever. Oddly enough the angle mellowed out but never really ended, as Bryan eventually caught on with the WWE Universe proper as a jerk in an AJ Lee emotional abuse angle and ended up marrying a Diva.
Gail’s doing great, though. You can find her wrestling in her shoot underpants on Destination America.
Note: One of my dream WWE guest stars is Chef Robert Irvine, just to run ‘Wrestling Show Impossible’ and give him three hours to make Raw watchable.
Best: Daniel Bryan Drags A Miracle Out Of Ted DiBiase
Want to see the best singles match Ted DiBiase ever had in WWE? It might be this one.
It’s remarkable to see a DiBiase (Jr.) match that works, because it reveals what a good hand he could’ve been if he’d been allowed to be himself instead of a hairless newborn version of his dad. Bryan works like he’s 2002 American Dragon, controlling DiBiase early with a bunch of wristlocks and hammerlocks. He’s allowed to actually have a dynamic offense (unlike much of his other NXT work) and DiBiase rolls with it, using his size, strength and cunning to stay in it. The finish comes with Bryan building more and more momentum, eating a forearm to the face on a suicide dive attempt and getting caught with Dreamstreet. DiBiase beats him clean, but for once a Bryan NXT loss doesn’t feel like a copout. DiBiase earned it, man, and it was good.
Maryse’s reaction is also great. “Good job! You actually did just won a match!”
Worst: Live Mics During Wrestling Matches
The only bad part is that the Pros have live microphones and everyone’s given up, so Ziggler spends the entire match ragging on Bryan to the live audience. If the crowd shows any interest in Bryan at all, Ziggler yells “SUCKS!” at them or tries to be clever with full sentences and one-liners. It’s awful. Ziggler’s a funny enough guy, but sometimes his character and his sarcastic sense of humor intersect in a bad way and he hurts things instead of helping. See also: his breakup with AJ and first aborted face turn.
Eventually Truth figures out Ziggler’s tanking the match and jumps in to get the crowd back behind Bryan, and thank God for him. If he wasn’t there with cheesy shit like “when I say Daniel, y’all say Bryan” the crowd would’ve never given the really-pretty-good match they’re watching between two guys they don’t already love a chance.
Best: The Rookie Fatal 4 Way
The main event is a shockingly well-constructed fatal 4 way match between the remaining rookies. Instead of just being aimless wrestling in every direction, the kids appear to have a gameplan throughout and execute it well, telling all the stories they need to tell without the normal “staggering around trying to set up Tower of Doom spots” thing.
– The first elimination is Derrick Bateman, because of course it is. The story is that the other rookies are mad at him for cheating them out of immunity points, even though (1) every single one of these rookies has cheated to win in the past, especially the heels who actively cheat to win matches, and (2) nobody cares about immunity points.
– Elimination two is Byron Saxton, via a BEAUTIFUL double leg drop from Johnny Curtis.
Legitimately the first notable thing he’s done in the entire season.
– Elimination three is Curtis himself, via Brodus Clay’s Slippery Tongan Death Grip. If you aren’t familiar with the move, the attacker (Meng) pinches that little fleshy part of your neck between your Adam’s apple and your chin. This causes you great pain, because Meng could look at you from across the room and shatter your spine with his eyes. Brodus keeps trying to add stuff to it. The first time he did it he tried turning it into a chokeslam, but he couldn’t keep the grip and it looked bad. This time out he tries a crummy STO, but loses the grip on the way down. Curtis has to grab Clay’s wrists and force the hand into his throat. It’s real bad, and a solid reminder why his finish was “the big splash” for the remainder of his WWE career.
Worst: One More Try, Brodus! You Can Do It!
No. No you can’t.
The winner of the fatal 4 way got the chance to “swap Pros,” a followup to the battle royal that let the Pros swap rookies and sent Byron Saxton from Chris Masters to Dolph Ziggler. When Brodus wins, he announces that he’s ditching DiBiase. “You are the brokest rich dude I ever met.” That’s so perfect. So not perfect (once again) is the TEMPORARY TONGAN DEATH GRIP, which Brodus clamps onto Teddy and loses the second they hit the mat. DiBiase does this funny little hand shuffle to get the grip back in the right place and then plays dead. YOU’RE FAT, BRODUS, KNOCK HIM DOWN AND JUMP ON HIM. IT WORKS.
Best: Brodus Trades Up
Brodus trading up from Ted Jr. to Alberto Del Rio is huge, and probably the best move any rookie made this season. I mean, it got him a WrestleMania appearance, you can’t get much better than that. What would sticking with DiBiase have gotten him? Access to a bunch of Raw tailgate parties? Sheeeee.