– This is it. We made it to the end of the actual game show portion of NXT. 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.
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Click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WWE NXT season 4 episode 13, originally aired on March 1, 2011.
Worst: One More Talk The Talk Challenge To Confirm Johnny Curtis Shouldn’t Have Won This Season
We’re down to two rookies: Brodus Clay, the massive former bodyguard with the best rookie record in NXT history; and Johnny Curtis, a guy. They’re asked to verbally face off one last time before the season 4 winner is announced, and it like so much of the season will cause you to hold out your arms with a confused look on your face and wonder who Dirty Curty was blowing to get this rub.
Curtis goes for the humble-brag. He’s been knocked down since the beginning of the season but he’s still standing, and he’s gonna knock Brodus Clay’s teeth down his throat. I guess “I’m gonna knock your teeth down your throat” is a long-standing WWE threat nobody’s been able to get over. Maybe Roman Reigns got it from watching Fandango tape. Anyway, Curtis goes for bonus points with the John Cena SUDDENLY BOSTONIAN Accent. When Cena’s backed into a corner in an especially challenging feud he’s got three accents: rapper, excited southern preacher and “Boston.” Boston means he’s cutting the crap and getting REAL. For a second I thought Curtis was gonna call him “jack.”
Brodus proves he’s ready to be a top-level WWE heel by putting over Curtis’ efforts, then dropping a line about how he’s like LeBron James to make the 2011 Cleveland crowd go waaaaaarrghhhh. It works because he doesn’t sound like he was briefed on who LeBron James was moments before going live. It sounds like an actual mean-spirited thing a guy who doesn’t give a shit about Cleveland would drop in front of 2 or more Clevelanders.
Speaking of Clevelanders …
Best: Bateman Was Robbed
Most of Johnny’s speech is drowned out by a “WE WANT BATEMAN” chant. I mean hell, look at that crowd. There’s another “BATEMAN WAS ROBBED” sign you can’t see, as well as “FEAR THE PERM.”
I can’t figure out if it was a grand series of coincidences or if WWE just densely scheduled NXT like this. Johnny Curtis is your scheduled winner and you assumedly want to get him over with the crowd. Where are the last two places you go? Sacramento, home of Brodus Clay, and Cleveland, home of Derrick Bateman. Oh, and you make sure you eliminate the Cleveland guy who has artistically dominated your show THE WEEK BEFORE YOU GO TO CLEVELAND FOR THE FINALS. Imagine if this’d been Bateman in the Talk The Talk confrontation instead of Curtis, finding the strength to topple the big scary guy because he’s got his hometown of losers behind him. People might’ve actually cared about the ending.
Best If It Mattered, But Worst Because It Doesn’t: Brodus Clay Vs. Johnny Curtis
This week’s first match is, of course, Brodus Clay vs. Johnny Curtis. Curtis has a 3-6 record and is the underdog. Brodus has a 6-3 mark and has been steamrolling the competition for weeks. You’re on the final episode of the season and Curtis is winning, so you let Curtis pull off an upset, right? Nope! You have Brodus throw him off the top rope by the arm and splash him like it’s nothing for the clean win. Brodus goes to 7-3 and Curtis falls to 3-7, four games under .500, and literally none of this matters.
When NXT started, the win-loss records were a big thing. The idea of the show is that you’re proving you belong in WWE, so you should at least be doing well against WWE minor leaguers. If you can’t beat a rookie Heath Slater who CAN you beat, you know? It was even balanced by a “difficulty of opponents” thing, to give guys like Daniel Bryan a shot at winning despite having a bad record because hey, he lost to world champions and giants. By this point they’re just GAME SHOWING FOR THE SAKE OF GAME SHOWS, and Curtis being kayfabe horrible in the ring and shoot horrible out of it were just treading water to get to the part where he’s celebrated.
I don’t know. It’s not that Johnny Curtis can’t be great — the last half of NXT Redemption proves that — it’s just that they wanted to tell us he’s great without ever showing it. I wonder why he got stuck in pun vignettes for a year and never went anywhere?
Worst: WrestleMania 27 Is Only 33 Days Away!
Only 33 days until the United States Championship match between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus gets bumped to the pre-show and turned into a battle royal that The Great Khali wins!
Worst: I Wish I Couldn’t See Him
This week’s full 10-minute segment Raw recap features The Rock bringing it via satellite from his luxurious title room and cosplaying John Cena. It’s one of the weirdest promos ever, because it’s basically The Rock talking about how much he hates black people. That’s a little bit of a jump for comedy, but seriously, revisit this promo sometime and pretend it was written by Vince McMahon. It works, right?
Basically The Rock’s point is that he hates rap music and feels disrespected that Cena would rap at him. The Rock, the guy who once had his catchphrases listed by Method Man and teamed up with Slick Rick for a racist track about eating out strangers. That guy hates rap music. The rest of the promo’s basically “YOU WEAR BAGGY PANTS! YOU DON’T TRY HARD ENOUGH! YOU’VE GOT NO WORK ETHIC!” If a 70-year old white guy didn’t write this, I’d be shocked.
Worst: Byron Saxton Has No Idea How To Take Bateman’s Offense
Josh Mathews compares the next match to “American Idol or Survivor” because they’ve brought back eliminated contestants for the finale. Yes Josh, and Johnny Curtis is Taylor Hicks. The match pairs up Derrick Bateman with Conor O’Brian against Byron Saxton and Jacob Novak, and … it’s about as good as you’d expect it to be.
The notably bad thing is Byron Saxton, who has completely forgotten how to wrestle between his elimination and now. All he’s gotta do in Cleveland is take Derrick Bateman’s moves and make him look good, but nope, he botches all of them. Bateman goes for The Throwback but instead of just standing there hunched over waiting for it, Saxton drops to a knee JUST before Bateman jumps and we get this:
When it’s time for him to take a headlock driver he basically stands in the worst position possible (in front and a little sideways) so Bateman has to physically drag him backwards, reposition him and hope he isn’t afraid to take another face bump. I’d spent most of the season wondering why Saxton got shit-canned as a wrestler and permanently moved into an announcing role, but yeah, stuff like this makes it clear. You’re the worst person in a match involving Jacob Novak AND Ratitude.
Worst: We’re Out Of Material, So Here’s 10 More Minutes Of WrestleMania Promotion
Is there a single living person who was watching the middle of the 13th episode of NXT season 4 on WWE.com but NOT planning to catch WrestleMania?
Anyway, Shawn Michaels doesn’t think Triple H can beat The Undertaker at Mania. Oh man, he’s gonna be so sad when he finds out who CAN.
This is the end. My only friend, the end.
Brodus Clay is eliminated because question mark question mark question mark and Johnny Curtis is your NXT season 4 winner. He starts crying and R-Truth points out they’re caused by “real emotion, from within!” Then they spend a few minutes in the middle of the ring doing Truth’s catchphrase. Curtis thanks all the people who worked hard and supported him, assumedly not realizing that he’s going to be on NXT for another year and change and then become a ballroom dancer with a speech impediment. Three years later his main roster role (when he has it) is to hold clumsy-ass Rosa Mendes upside down without falling over.
But that’s the dream, isn’t it?
Now, let’s see which one of these kids can be redeemed.