– This recap. This recap you’re about to read. This’ll be the recap. The recap, of McGillicutty.
– For the full effect, please make sure you’ve read about the previous 12 episodes in season 2 of NXT. There will never be anything quite like it again, until season 4.
– Season 3 begins on Wednesday. Your introduction to that is included in this week’s report.
Please click through for the vintage Best and Worst of NXT season 2, episode 13, originally airing on August 31, 2010.
Matt Striker: “Rookies. Pros. Ladies.”
Because the ladies aren’t pros. Because Matt Striker. Welcome to the NXT season 2 season finale.
Worst: GUESS WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
The show starts off with the three remaining rookies in the ring — Kaval, Michael McGillicutty and Alex Riley — and puts them into a match Teddy Long would’ve rolled his eyes at and called predictable. Tonight they’ll be facing EACH OTHER (dun dun duuuun) in a triple threat match.
To explain something before we begin, the NXT season 2 finale is one of the weirdest, most enjoyable hours of train wreck WWE programming ever. I’m not even sure I’m good enough to write about it. My entire professional life has been kinda leading up to this. It’s the Hogan slamming Andre at WrestleMania III of “hey, remember this shitty thing that happened?” Two reasons:
1. It is the greatest single-episode example of a can’t-miss WWE prospect tanking his future in two chances on the microphone, and
2. It is the introduction of NXT season 3.
I can say without hyperbole that NXT season 3 is one of the most spectacularly infuriating things they’ve ever done, so let’s begin the season 2 finale report with the first in a series of “meet the season 3 rookies and pros” previews.
Other way, Kelly.
Best: Dubdub E Dayvuhs
Up first is Naomi, whom you may know from her championship match against Paige at Money in the Bank 2014 or from her several years as one of two butt-touching cheerleaders from an interplanetary dinosaur man. Her gimmick here is that she wears a lot of neon and talks like one of the Country Bears. Spoiler alert: everyone involved in NXT season 3 treats it like a flaming trench of garbage, but it actually contained and produced a ton of marketable female talent.
Naomi’s Pro is Kelly Kelly, whom you may remember from that time she was in WWE for seven years and never learned how to run the ropes.
Michael Cole on Naomi: “She can sing, rap, and even dances in her matches!” No mention is made of whether or not she can wrestle in her matches. Somewhere offscreen, Alex Riley adds, “I haven’t seen an athlete like this since Sheryl Swoopes!”
Best: McGillicutty Is Still Finding Ways To Not Take Kaval’s Finish
The triple threat match ends up being really pretty good, and plays on the strengths of the rookies. Riley gets to stick and move and just generally be a butthead, McGillicutty tries to focus his attacks and line up knockout blows, and Kaval counters them both with stuff you don’t see all the time. The two low points of the match are:
1. Josh calling Kaval’s rolling koppo kick a “rolling Liger kick” because he wants you to know he’s a nerd who likes cool wrestling. Hey Josh, if you really liked Liger, you’d call it a koppo kick because that’s what f*cking Liger calls it.
2. The finish, which is Kaval knocking out McGillicutty and going up to hit the Warrior’s Way, but Riley shoving him off the top rope by the ass and stealing the victory. If you’ll recall, McGoobersnatch was a total baby about taking the double-stomp a few weeks earlier, and now he’s eating an entire season without cowboying up and taking it. Icefishermanning up, whatever the Minnesota equivalent of cowboys is.
Worst: Season 3 Hasn’t Even Started Yet And It Is The Worst
“Maxine claims she’s well-kept, intelligent, manipulative, motivated, and gets what she wants. She says men shouldn’t pursue her [dramatic pause] but men can’t resist her!”
Still nothing about the wrestling? I can’t wait for season 3, which looks to crown WWE’s next breakout UNRELATED MEAN LADY.
If you don’t remember Maxine, I’ll get wistful about her in the next season of write-ups. She’s an underground success story. She started off as one of the very worst performers you’ve ever seen, winning ‘Worst Worked Match of the Year’ for 2010 in the Observer awards, but ended up a MASTER of WWE backstage comedy. Her pairings with Derrick Bateman and Johnny Curtis anchored NXT Redemption during its transition from forgotten gameshow to cult classic. I can’t wait to get super mad at her, then miss her.
Her Pro is Four Years Ago Alicia Fox, who had not yet learned how to speak like a human being.
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Best: Quick, Name Two Wrestlers I’d Love To See Paired Together In 2014
From one half of Foxana to the other, the next rookie announced is Aksana. You may remember her as the lady who crawled around all awkwardly like a kitty for four years and wore a jumpsuit that looked like the front of a shoe. She most recently dropped an Old Glory knee drop on Naomi’s eyeball and broke everything around it. I love her, for many of the same reasons one might love The Room.
Her Pro is some guy named Goldust, who I believe is doing low budget indie horror flicks these days. Oh, and his brother just became a glittering space creature.
Best: See You Never, Alex Riley
Earlier in the season, eliminations were decided by a poll. Half of the ranking was determined by the WWE Pros, and half by the WWE Universe via online voting. We never saw any data, but they at least charted the dudes 1-8 so we could see who was doing well and who wasn’t. At this point in the season they’ve completely given up, so they’re like LET’S SEE THE PROS POLL and it’s just a yellower version of those random selection graphics from the WWE Draft. BEEP BOOP BOOP BOOP BEEP BOOP BOOP awww now Alex Riley SORRY BRO.
The best part is that before Riley’s eliminated, Striker goes out into the crowd and asks all the previously eliminated rookies their opinion on who will be WWE’s next breakout something something. Highlights include:
– Titus O’Neil not knowing anybody’s names. He wasn’t paying attention when he was ON the show, of course he’s not paying attention NOW.
– Lucky Cannon continuing his weird passive-aggressive heel turn from his elimination episode and the announce team just HYPER BURYING HIM as he talks. “AW NOT THIS GUY AGAIN.” “ALL OF A SUDDEN HE’S A BAD GUY.”
– Percy Watson picking Michael McGillicutty because he has “lenience.” I don’t know. Also, Percy cementing himself as my least favorite NXT season 2 rookie by gaining the support of Brock Lesnar Guy:
– Husky Harris comparing himself and McGillicutty to Cody Rhodes by saying they were “born better.” That was Legacy’s catchphrase. I see what you’re doing, Husky. You aren’t gonna get on Raw doing a bad, rehashed version of Legacy. You’re uh, gonna get on Raw doing a bad, rehashed version of the Nexus. At least both of them involve Randy Orton kicking you in the head!
– Nobody picking Kaval.
Best: CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK!
The next rookie introduced for NXT season 3 is A.J. They say she’s got “spunk.” They’d say the same thing a few years later and mean something completely different. You may remember A.J. as that lady from all the pregnancy rumors on SquaredCircle, from her time teaming with Kaitlyn as the “Chickbusters,” or from … whatever it is she did after that. She got married!
Her pro is Primo, one of the sons of WWE Hall of Famer Carlos Colon. He Quantum Leapt into the body of a Puerto Rican guy playing a Spanish bullfighter from Mexico in 2013. He works well with extremely small people, I guess.
Best: The First Of Two Impossibly Bad Michael McGillicutty Promos
Before the final elimination of the season, each rookie is given a chance to plead their case. Kaval does a perfectly acceptable job, pointing out that he’s just a flawed kid from New York who worked hard for 13 years to earn respect around the world. In contrast, McGillicutty somehow summoned up all the bad promo chi from the center of the WWE Universe and unleashed it in an unstoppable attack that broke new ground in both personal embarrassment and avant garde performance art. When I say “bad promo” you think I mean “bad promo,” but I mean “holy shit somebody help us, he’s cracked the fault lines and we’re all drowning.”
TOO BAD WE AREN’T WEARING A WETSUIT.
Collected here are the many precious gems of McGillicutty’s “don’t eliminate me” promo. Please read each one as ELIMINATE ME, QUICKLY.
– “First of all, I’d like to ask LayCool something. Did you seriously submit your adopted ninja baby into the NXT competition? I mean, I don’t know whether to SPANK YA or BREASTFEED YA!”
– “You wear a wetsuit to the ring. What, are you goin’ SWIMMIN’? This isn’t a swimming pool … no matter how much you want it to be.”
– “What makes you think you’re gonna do any better now that you ARE here? Or, after you get eliminated, you won’t be here any longer.”
– “What does that mean, ‘Kaval?’ It means ‘flute,’ I think, right? Look it up, it means flute. Good name. I’m glad. I hope his parents are happy.”
Me, the entire time:
He couldn’t possibly top all that, could he?
(but first, here’s a giant lady)
Best: I Can’t Wait To See The Long, Storied Career Of NXT Diva Aloisia
Whoops, I just saw the entire thing.
Best: A Masterpiece
Sit back and let it soak in, folks.
If “you wish the ring was a swimming pool” and “your name actually means flute” weren’t bad enough, Michael McGillicutty reacts to being eliminated from NXT with his unforgettable GENESIS OF MCGILLICUtTY promo. It’s supposed to be this ominous threat, like he’s gonna form a New Nexus (cough) and destroy all the people who’ve wronged him. The problem is that 1) McGillicutty had been a privileged, popular good guy everybody thought was gonna win all season, and 2) he clearly forgot 99% of the words in the English language and did the best he could with “this” and “moment.” It’s unreal. It’s like the ending to Flowers For Algernon happening in a wrestling ring.
I remember watching this when it happened. Joe Hennig had been that one guy in developmental you knew was gonna be a big deal. He was Mr. Perfect’s son, for God’s sakes. He could wrestle, he had a full head of hair and he was a solid promo. Then NXT season 2 happened. His hair got wetter and thinner every week, he started being afraid to be on defense and the inside of his brain got replaced with two cartoon animals on a see-saw. I have no idea what happened, but he fell from the top floor to the very f*cking bottom in about ten minutes.
The good news is that he ended up okay. He had a sad run (and tag team titles) as “boring guy with ill-fitting baseball cap,” spent some time perfecting his wrestling game on the better versions of NXT and reemerged as a guy so hopeless and boring even Paul Heyman couldn’t save him. None of those are the “ending up okay.” What’s okay is that now he’s “barely functional stupid guy” in a tag team with a fully functional stupid guy (Ryback) and things are kind of adorable.
He was right, though. That was the moment. Right then.
Worst: The Worst Brawl In WWE History
Lots of hyperbole this week, I guess, but it deserves it. MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE EVER.
The Super Nintendo Of McGillicutty turns out to be the other rookies jumping in the ring and attacking Kaval. IT’S A NEW NEXUS, your brain is thinking. Things drag on a little and the WWE Pros rush to the ring, and while this kinda reads as exciting, absolutely none of it makes sense. People forget who they’re supposed to be fighting. Titus O’Neil takes MVP’s finisher in the corner and sells it by calmly walking away. Alex Riley starts attacking Percy Watson even though they’re supposed to be on the same team, and by the end of the fight they’re back on the same side and it’s never addressed. Cole’s reaction for the assumedly sympathetic Kaval is, “THIS IS HOW IT GOES IN THE WWE, BUDDY, GET USED TO IT” even though he’s being attacked by seven people NOT in the WWE.
It’s absurd, pointless, and goes nowhere. It is the perfect ending to NXT season 2.
Next Week: NXT Season 3
Jesus take the wheel.