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Please click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WWE NXT season 2, episode 12, originally aired on August 24, 2010.
Worst: Michael McGillicutty Gives It Up For Biggie Smalls
Quick, name a wrestling show that has totally given up.
On this week’s NXT, we (surprise surprise) are giving each rookie one minute to talk about something! In one full season plus 11 episodes, WWE had not yet figured out that asking relatively unknown wrestlers with bad promo skills to deliver minute-long improv promos to an audience that ONLY RESPONDS POSITIVELY TO THINKS THEY KNOW is a bad idea.
Alex Riley does a solid job, mentioning the now-hilarious fantasy booking of him and The Miz having guaranteed title shots at the same time and racing to see who could be the first to beat Sheamus. This was a legit thing that could happen in 2010. In 2014, Sheamus would tie them together by the neck with a zip tie and effortlessly Brogue Kick them into oblivion. Two weeks later, Riley would be wearing a wig and playing Sgt. Jake Carter’s love interest in The Marine 5.
Our Man McGillicutty’s promo is fine, honestly, but I’m giving him a Worst because after 11 episodes he decides that now is when he should be milking the Mr. Perfect thing. Guy gives a wistful promo about how much he loves “this job,” and how it’s an honor for him to wrestle in the same ring as his late father. He then kisses his fist and throws it up to the sky. Take a moment to picture Mr. Perfect struggling to drag a keg around a wrestling ring without falling down and chugging a souvenir soda to keep Matt Striker from calling him worthless. Same ring, y’all.
Best: Drink Every Time Kaval Says ‘WWE Universe’
Me too, Alex. Me too.
One of the best parts of NXT season 2 is watching Kaval figure out exactly what he needs to be doing to win. It’s brilliant. Daniel Bryan was always caught in this struggle between mainstream success and independent glory. He’d proven himself, dammit, and it was ridiculous that he’d have to change himself and put on some ridiculous character to be recognized. He was the American Dragon, no matter how many times David Otunga hit one move on him and pinned him clean. Sincerity vs. corporate obligation. Heart vs. ignorance and greed.
Kaval, on the other hand, just put on the pink LayCool shirt and said “WWE Universe” as many times as humanly possible. His promo here is just HEY WWE UNIVERSE I LIKE YOU, THE WWE UNIVERSE on loop. When he calls out Cody Rhodes for disrespecting him, Cody tries to speak and gets immediately interrupted with MORE STATEMENTS ABOUT WWE UNIVERSE. Motherf*cker was the Neil Degrasse Tyson of NXT. Going on a cosmic journey of John Cena shirts and barely paying attention.
Worst: The Director Of Wrestling Operations Steps In
The weird payoff to the Cody/Kaval beef is that TNA DIRECTOR OF WRESTLING OPERATIONS AND EVIL FACTION LEADER MVP steps in to co-opt it and make it about himself. Cody insults Kaval a little and turns down a chance to fight, so MVP stands up with absolutely zero authority, says that yes, Kaval isn’t on Cody’s level, but HE is! So tonight in THAT VERY SIX-SIDED RING we’re gonna have a match between MVP and Cody Rhodes. Okay! Meanwhile, Kaval’s standing in the ring nodding his head all “yeah!” because … maybe he thinks he’s still getting to wrestle? I don’t know.
I wish MVP had turned around and been like, “AND ALSO TONIGHT LAYCOOL, YOU’RE GONNA BE IN ACTION … AGAINST JOHN CENA!” just to see if they’d go through with it.
Best: And Now Let’s Just Play Trivia
There are three rookies left and you can’t do a triple threat until the finale, so the followup to them standing around talking is them standing around answer questions. It’s a full-on Family Feud set-up with Striker softballing them recycled questions from ‘Outthink The Fink.’
The first question is “who was in the Ironman Match at WrestleMania 12?” Everybody stands around gritting their teeth until McGillicutty reluctantly answers. Brutal. It’d be like asking them “at WrestleMania 3, Hulk Hogan bodyslammed ANDRE THE WHAT” and having nobody know. Things pick up after that with Kaval and McGillicutty answering stuff that ranges from insulting (“which superstar’s music starts with ‘you think you know me'”) to delightful (Kaval singing Demolition’s theme), so I wonder if everybody played it cool on the first question so they wouldn’t look like a dork.
The real importance of this segment is that Alex Riley, a man currently paid to talk about and analyze WWE, knows jack shit about WWE.
Worst: McGillicutty Thinks Triple H’s Music Is Played By Rob Zombie
Last Night On Raw: The End Of Our Fun Nexus Updates
Yeah, so remember how Wade Barrett got a guaranteed title shot on a pay-per-view of his choosing for winning NXT season 1? Remember how that was the ENTIRE POINT and the reason the guys wanted to win? Barrett announces on Raw that he’s calling off the Nexus truce with Sheamus and challenging him for the WWE Championship at Night of Champions. Pretty straight forward. But wait, INTERNET NOISE!
The Anonymous Raw General Manager (Hornswoggle, remember) chimes in and says that the match is actually going to be a “six-pack challenge,” meaning six guys will be in the match. The match that Barrett won. That he received as his reward for winning the game show. And I guess that yeah, maybe Barrett corralling a bunch of rookies and turning them into a deadly killing force might’ve made the Board of Directors mad enough to screw with his guaranteed contracts behind the scenes or whatever, but that’s not addressed. Anon just brings out a bunch of WWE superstars like John Cena and JOHN CENA and they stand around in a circle to kick the shit out of Wade.
For his fair use of the thing he fairly won. Thanks, good guys!
Worst?: We’ve Got 20 Minutes Left, So Here’s A 20-Minute Cody Rhodes/MVP Match
Like I said, the only thing they had left to do was eliminate guys and run a triple threat, so they padded this episode with whatever useless garbage they could find. The last half hour of the show is just recaps and a 20 minute Cody Rhodes vs. MVP match with an OVW-style love of fundamentals and TWO COMMERCIAL BREAKS.
That’s it. They headlock, armdrag and dropkick each other for 18 minutes, then do their signature moves. It’s a wrestling school coach’s DREAM. I feel like I’ve used “this is a match they could’ve done in training” too many times for this season, but revisiting the early years of NXT really shows you how much guys like Daniel Bryan and The Shield have done to change how basic WWE matches work. Nowadays on Raw you get a 15 minute Ziggler/Barrett barnburner full of reversals and violent strikes. Hossy creativity. Tons of hot six-man tags. On a 2010 Raw (and especially on NXT), what was there? A bunch of guys who saw Cena, Orton and Batista get big and tried their best to emulate them. It was a NIGHTMARE.
What I’m saying is to not take this weird era of main roster throwaway wrestling brilliance for granted. You could have MVP and Mr. Kennedy instead of Rollins and Ambrose. You could have Deuce and Domino instead of the Wyatt Family.
Best: Next Week!
We finish off season 2 with one of the most important and unintentionally funny wrestling hours ever. Things to look forward to include:
– Michael McGillicutty tanking his career with two of the worst promos in recorded history
– Our first look at season 3’s Divas, many of whom became important types
– Our first look at season 3, which in itself is the asshole of wrestling television
See you then!