Vintage Best And Worst: WWE NXT 2/15/11 Season 4 Episode 11

Pre-show notes:

– You can watch this episode on Hulu, or on WWE’s YouTube channel.

– 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.

– Follow us on Twitter at @WithSpandex, follow me at @MrBrandonStroud and like us on Facebook.

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Click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WWE NXT season 4 episode 10, originally aired on February 15, 2011.

Worst: The Smash And Grab Challenge

This week’s opening contest features all of the show’s most frustrating themes, including:

– asinine physical challenges that don’t require any specific skill and prove nothing
– Johnny Curtis throwing every challenge and not caring because he knows wrestling’s a work and he’s scheduled to win
– Brodus Clay’s apathy actually paying off for him, because in WWE “trying hard” is a detriment
– Derrick Bateman being disqualified for everything to make sure he doesn’t win
– Matt Striker

It’s the “Smash and Grab Challenge,” in which the rookies are blindfolded and asked to hit piñatas full of “NXT Dollars,” which are regular American dollars some intern printed out before the show. They don’t have Wade Barrett’s face on them or whatever. When the piñata comes down, the rookie’s supposed to remove his blindfold, gather as many NXT Dollars as possible and run them up the ramp to his pro. The pro can “coach” the rookie throughout this process. You can imagine how well this goes.

Up first is Johnny Curtis, who can’t seem to connect with his swings. Truth’s coaching makes it worse, because he just screams arbitrary terms and expects Johnny to put it together. SWING JOHNNY SWING, SWING HARDER, MOVE UP, TAKE A STEP BACK, NO, SWING JOHNNY, SWING UP, MOVE UP TO IT NOW, COME ON, COME ON JOHNNY SWING, SWING, SWING, SWING. The segment really should’ve ended with Curtis bolting up the ramp and beating Truth to death with his festive stick. Curtis gives up about halfway through, taking off the blindfold and trying to cheat. Everyone stops him and threatens him with disqualification, but nobody pulls the trigger and about 20 seconds later he puts it back on and limply finishes up. He gets no NXT Dollars.

Brodus Clay goes next, obliterates the piñata with one swing and spends his entire minute calmly gathering money. He just nestles it into this little pile on the mat and does push-ups over it. He takes his time meandering up the ramp and hands the cash-wad off to Ricardo, and all the announcers are trying to make it seem dramatic by yelling YOU’VE ONLY GOT TWENTY SECONDS LEFT!

Last and intentionally least is Derrick Bateman. He busts open the piñata with his first swing but doesn’t knock it down, so after a few more shots he jumps up, grabs it down and rips it open. Everyone flocks to him immediately all DISQUALIFIED DERRICK BATEMAN IS DISQUALIFIED, even though nobody said “you can’t jump up and pull the piñata down after you’ve opened it up.” There’s no precedent set for what you can and can’t do besides kinda-sorta badgering Johnny Curtis to put his blindfold back on, but DB pulls some shit and everybody’s up his ass.

The worst part? They didn’t even use the John Cena piñata.

Best: A Preview Of Raw In 2012

The first match (of only two, because they’re running out of time and effort and have basically given up) is R-Truth vs. Brodus Clay. If you watched basically any Raw in 2012, you’ve seen this match. I’m Besting it because Brodus formally switches his finish to the big splash, and because Brodus had this weird upswing of momentum late in the competition and seemed like he was putting it all together. His matches got better, more of his personality was showing through and even though he was clearly playing it cool, he was trying harder to win the competitions. In a year he’d be a funky dinosaur, but he was doing all right.

Worst: Save Yourself Trivia, Holy Shit

Up next is a combination of everything you want out of a wrestling program: guys sitting on stools in buckets, participating in wrestling-themed Jeopardy while they try to avoid being slimed. It’s like Marc Summers ghosted his way into Matt Striker’s hot dog body and decided the way to WWE stardom is through yanking flags out of enormous prop noses.

The worst part is that in addition to being a literal mess, it is a figurative mess. The airhorns return, which is always a bad idea, and nobody seems to have proofread the questions. The category is “1980s” and the question is “the year Smackdown debuted.” That’s 1999, if you’re wondering. Brodus calls Striker on the game being stupid, Ziggler jokes in the background about how rigged it is, and everybody hustles to come up with explanations as to why it doesn’t matter. Great job, everybody.

Brodus answers most of the questions and wins by a mile, so Curtis and Bateman are punished via DEAN AMBROSE BRIEFCASES.

Todd Grisham quips, “you can’t do that on television!” Sadly Josh does not follow it up with, “this show makes me want to barf.”

Worst: The Rock Is Hosting WrestleMania 27, So Let’s Show You The ENTIRE ANNOUNCEMENT

Remember when The Rock returned to WWE and announced he’d be hosting WrestleMania 27? If you don’t, this episode NXT shows you the 12-MINUTE SEGMENT from Raw in its entirety. The whole damn thing. It’s longer than both of the show’s matches combined. It’s prefaced by additional WrestleMana and Hall of Fame hype videos, meaning there’s about 20 minutes in the middle of NXT with no actual NXT content.

Best: DB vs. DB

The good news is that the main-event almost makes up for it.

The episode opens with Daniel Bryan and Derrick Bateman backstage (in matching trunks), and Bateman challenging Bryan to a “submission exhibition match with pinfalls legal.” Bryan points out that that’s a regular match. They agree to a friendly sparring session, and Bryan changes trunks so the crowd will be able to tell them apart. Why Bateman didn’t win the season and the Bateman/Bryan team didn’t get a run at the tag straps is beyond me. I guess we needed to abandon Johnny Curtis while R-Truth did nothing for a year.

The actual match is a lot of fun, as it’s true to its intent: Bryan puts on a wrestling clinic of chain wrestling and submission holds while Bateman tries (and mostly fails) to keep up. You can actually see Bateman pulling a Joseph Park from time to time, not going over smoothly on transitions because he’s supposed to be “learning.” Bryan ties him up for most of the match, but Bateman gets one big counter: a powerbomb counter to the LeBell Lock. The announcers play it up as a counter Bryan obviously taught Bateman himself, and Bateman doing his homework. The finish plays on this, with Bryan countering BATEMAN’s LeBell Lock in a way he NEVER taught him … a roll-through that reverses the pressure on the arm and leaves Bateman locked in the hold. Bateman has to tap, and Bryan celebrates with him after the match for a job well done.

I feel like I’m doing something wrong by being such a Derrick Bateman cheerleader in these reports, but almost every episode leaves me standing here with my arms out, bug-eyed, trying to figure out what went wrong.

Next Week:

It goes wrong.