Vintage Best And Worst: WWE NXT 2/22/11 Season 4 Episode 12

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.

Shares, comments and likes are appreciated. This episode features the worst rookie elimination ever, so people should see it and get mad about it four years later.

Click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WWE NXT season 4 episode 12, originally aired on February 22, 2011.

Best/Worst: No Your Pro

This week’s show is a NO PRO SHOW, assumedly because they realized if they put a bunch of bored wrestlers on the stage with live microphones they’re gonna talk over the matches and try to get themselves over. That leads to three quick opening scenes backstage with the remaining rookies getting “welp, sorry” talks from their pros.

The first is Johnny Curtis and R-Truth exchanging nearly-nude bro handshakes, because their relationship is question mark question mark question mark and spoiler alert, Truth doesn’t give a f*ck about him. The second is Ricardo Rodriguez giving Brodus Clay a pep talk shot through some production equipment like it’s a GTV segment. I’m sad Ricardo wasn’t trying to lure him to the ring with a trail of cheese. The third and most wistfully sad scene is Daniel Bryan and Derrick Bateman lying on their stomachs side by side backstage, their chins on their hands. Bateman announces that it’s time to “cowboy up” and puts on a cowboy hat. It is adorable.

As a heads up, though, this is the most depressing and unfair NXT episode of all time. Reader discretion is advised.

Worst: The None Of This Is Actually Proving Anything Challenge

This is the last physical challenge featuring more than two rookies on a real season of the game show version of NXT, so they made it the stupidest thing in the world. It’s the GRACE UNDER PRESSURE challenge. First, you have to run down the ramp and bounce a ping pong ball into a Solo cup a la beer pong. Then you have to assemble a bunch of wooden blocks into a specific shape, and after that you play flip-cup. Finally you have to use chopsticks to arrange a bunch of dice in numerical order. This should not be confused with the Grace Under Fire Challenge, which asks rookies to be an alcoholic single mom raising three kids.

It’d type “it’s agony,” but I feel like I’ve typed that too much already. Nobody takes it seriously and everybody gets hung up on something. Curtis can’t build the wood block tower and flips the cup wrong, Brodus spends an hour trying to flip the cup at all and Bateman gives up completely. You can tell he has to throw the contest for fear of mathematically earning immunity, so he spends forever building and taking apart the wooden blocks while yelling I’M STUPID. Brodus has 5 immunity points so if Bateman won this and somehow won the Talk The Talk Challenge (which was possible, despite them being in BC’s hometown) it would’ve ruined their plans, so Johnny wins.

Seriously though, who thought it would be entertaining to have the first segment of the first show a live wrestling crowd sees be a trio of guys they’ve never heard of f*cking with frat games and wooden toys? Imagine if you went to a concert for a band you loved and the opening act was 60 minutes of a roadie silently building the Mouse Trap board game and never actually playing it.

An obstacle course involving beer pong and flip-cup. Matt Striker put this course together, didn’t he?

Best, I Guess: Triple Threat!

There are no pros on this episode and three rookies remaining, which means there’s a triple threat match and then nothing else. Whoops!

The match itself is perfectly acceptable, but the story (for me, anyway) is Johnny Curtis being a total dickbag. Bateman carries most of the load against Brodus, with Curtis popping in at the last second to hit something and take control. At one point Bateman’s completely dead and Curtis breaks up the pin at 3.2 with a guillotine leg drop. The finish comes when Curtis and Bateman team up to suplex Brodus, and then Curtis just kicks Bateman in the gut and Falcon Arrows him on the carcass.

The story of this season in retrospect is WHY IS JOHNNY CURTIS WINNING THIS? Capital letters. You decided he’d win before you started, and it made sense … he’s okay in the ring and he’s got a weird, interesting personality. Everybody else is a heel or a legitimate weirdo and won’t catch on. But then Bateman and Bryan hit it off and a real chemistry develops, and he becomes the fulcrum that makes everything good about the season happen. On top of that you’ve got Brodus Clay starting to kick ass, earning the best win-loss record for a rookie in the history of the show and stomping through his hometown with a week to go. Johnny Curtis hasn’t done anything but be Impossibly Average and mail in 80% of the competitions because he knows he’s booked to win. How do you STILL give it to Johnny? Jacob Novak made more of an impression this season than Johnny Curtis. At least you can make JOKES about Jacob Novak.

Worst: John Cena Thinks You’re Gay And Also A Total Queer

Last week’s episode featured a 12-minute segment from Raw in its entirety because it involved The Rock, and Rock special guest hosting something is more important than obstacle courses and slime trivia. This week’s features John Cena’s rebuttal, once again in its entirety, all 9 1/2 minutes of it.

If you don’t remember it, this was the first time Cena dipped back into his “Doctor of Thuganomics” persona to insult The Rock. It’s 2011 and social media isn’t quite as outraged as its gonna be in the years following, so Cena spends about five minutes coming up with wackier and wackier ways to say, “you’re gay, suck my dick.” That’s it. That’s John Cena’s rap angle. The Rock is gay and should put Cena’s balls in his mouth.

Say what you will about whitebread, Make-A-Wish, The Troops-loving Cena, at least he isn’t obsessed with making rivals gag on his cock. Come to think of it, The Rock was obsessed with people putting things in their asses. Kinda wish their feud had ended with them furious f*cking and moving into a condo on South Beach.

Anyway, this is the segment if you want to watch it. If you want the authentic 2011 viewing experience, listen to Tinie Tempah’s ‘Written In The Stars’ before and after it.

Worst: The Brodus Clay’s Hometown Challenge

This is the 200th Talk the Talk Challenge they’ve done and one of the only ones you can’t easily find on YouTube. Why? Because they’re in Brodus Clay’s hometown, and the crowd just boos everything until he talks.

Curtis and Bateman do their best, going into full suck-up mode to talk about how great Sacramento is and how much they’d like to be SPECIFICALLY SACRAMENTO’S next breakout star. Curtis even thanks the crowd and tells them what a pleasure it is to be allowed to perform in front of him, and gets middling boos. Bateman gets dumped on completely to the point that he’s mouthing “they hate me” as Striker takes away his mic. Brodus just starts naming off locations near Sacramento and talking about how his niece goes to school at Sacramento State and the crowd’s all YEAH THIS IS OUR GUY, HE’S THE ONE WHAT SHOULD WIN~!

This is the problem when you let The Live Audience Here In Whatever City We’re In judge contests. If it’s a contest to see which person would make the best fan at a WWE event, sure, let the fans judge it, but if you want a pro wrestler who can competently do their job and make you money, maybe don’t pick them exclusively based on what strangers think off the top of their heads. Use your skills and abilities to create characters that “the live audience here in Sacramento” will drop fifty bucks for nosebleeds to boo. Don’t make it easy and free.


Only 40 days until Miz shits the bed!

Worst: Have A Cool Summer, See You Next Year

And now, the thing.

Johnny Curtis is the ringer and Brodus Clay’s got immunity, so Derrick Bateman gets eliminated. He drops some truth in his goodbye speech — he’s the most entertaining rookie ever (true) and is the future face of the franchise (well, not THIS franchise, but A franchise) — and gets tongue-tied trying to say “Sacramento.” It comes out like “smahm.” I don’t know, I couldn’t hear what he was saying, it was drowned out by the sounds of so many angels weeping. Brodus Clay attacks Curtis to set up the finale, and before Bateman’s even up the ramp WWE’s going PLEASE DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE DERRICK BATEMAN.

Next week: The finale, and the unofficial end of an era.