– Here’s a link to NXT season 1, episode 10. Or you can follow along on the WWE Network, where it is not available and would crash in 40 seconds if it was.
– Be sure to follow our recap of NXT season 1 on its tag page and catch up on any episodes you might’ve missed. We’re “two weeks away” from our first elimination, and only 6 away from a ring getting broken and Justin Roberts using a necktie improperly.
– Support your local retro wrestling column! If you want to see these continue, consider sharing it with your friends and loved ones.
As for now, please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE NXT season 1, episode 10, originally airing on April 27, 2010.
Worst: Me Too, Justin, Me Too.
“This show is worse than the rose, which is an English flower, right”
Worst: The Seal The Deal Challenge
Ready for the most condescending use of the NXT rookies yet?
Episode 10 begins with the announcement of the “Seal The Deal Challenge,” which sounds like WWE’s wanky name for a kissing contest but is actually Matt Striker handing each rookie a wad of dollar bills and making them sell programs in the audience. That’s how bad this has gotten: the only value WWE sees in the NXT rookie is their ability to shill pre-existing WWE merchandise. Everybody has given up. When Striker announces the challenge, the rookies all just shake their heads derisively and make faces because they’ve been doing this shit for almost three months now and WHOOPS SORRY IT AIN’T GETTIN’ BETTER.
The worst part is that we have to watch the full challenge, meaning all eight rookies spend a minute standing in the crowd going PROGRAM? PROGRAM? C’MON, PROGRAM? while awkwardly trying to make change as little kids in John Cena shirts kinda crowd around them trying to get on TV. Have you ever watched a wrestling show and thought, “I wish I could see what the merch vendors were doing right now?” Have you ever judged a wrestler on his or her ability to make a 10-year old give them $15 for a book of Batista glossies?
Spoiler alert: David Otunga wins the contest (which allows him to have a match of his choice against any WWE Pro) by making a bunch of children sell programs FOR him, then chooses a match with R-Truth. If you looked up “colossal waste of time” in the dictionary, you’d briefly see a photo of the Seal The Deal Challenge before your dictionary exploded and killed you.
Best: “Daniel Bryan Is Great At Selling!” – The Internet
He’s got great magrate!
When it’s Bryan’s turn to sell programs, he decides to continue trying to get over his weird, early gimmick of “overly-masculine yet polite socialist” by simply throwing free copies to a mildly interested crowd while yelling things like “I’m not exactly a capitalist!” and “Down with capitalism!” In theory this was to endear himself to the WWE Universe, but wrestling crows are sorta built on how badly fans want to give wrestlers tons of money for nothing so he just loses.
Have you picked up on the subtle “Daniel Bryan is a loser at everything” story happening here?
Best/Worst: Also, A Match Happened!
Believe it or not, several wrestling matches happened on this weird hour of QVC and featured Chris Jericho getting his heat back on Heath Slater, which I guess was a thing that needed to happen. Jericho gets revenge for last week’s upset win by Codebreakering Heath during an interclass tag match and it probably would’ve been great if it’d gone more than three minutes. I guess we need time for the menial task shilling that proves nothing!
I think the highpoint of the match is when TEN EPISODES IN Michael Cole comments on the Heath Slater/Christian pairing by saying, “I like to call this team Christian Slater!” and Josh Mathews goes “HEH WOW” as though every person on the goddamn planet didn’t immediately realize that was the only reason for their pairing. TEN EPISODES. I wish Cole called Chikara matches just so he could blurt out OH MAN I JUST FIGURED OUT WHY THEY CALL HIM WORKER ANT three years too late.
Best: The “What The Pros Think Of Rookies” Videos
One of the best parts of the show is the continued use of the “what the pros think of the rookies” video packages where guys like Punk and Regal appear to be giving real opinions instead of shouty, in-ring speeches. For example, they think Daniel Bryan is awesome and ready to go, and The Miz is still all “HE NEEDS CHARISMA TO BE A STAR I HAVE CHARISMA” because that’s his own talking point.
The first video is about Michael Tarver, which is an almost The Self-Desctruction Of The Ultimate Warrior-quality burial job. They’re all just like, “yeah he’s garbage but uhhh also a dark horse I guess whatever.” Punk mentions Tarver having “saddled with a less-than-stellar pro,” which is awesome because LOL Carlito. A little later in the show he mentions Justin Gabriel having a worthless pro as well, which compares and contrasts well with Matt Hardy’s announcement that Daniel Bryan needs a personality if he’s gonna make it in WWE. Matt Hardy. The guy who’s greatest exhibitions of personality for the first five years of his career were daisy pants and some badly-frosted hair.
Worst: Street Clothes Carlito
Check out WORLD EXTREME CAGEFIGHTER Carlito over here, making Mike Tarver carry his bags. COOL SKULL HOODIE, BRO.
Best: Justin Gabriel Seals The Deal
I don’t think I ever truly appreciated how awkward Justin Gabriel was during this season, but I wish they’d bring him back and make that his character. He starts off his attempt at selling programs by asking the WWE Universe to “help me win” because he wants to wrestle a pro next week and “show you what I’m good at, and that’s wrestling!” PRECIOUS. Also, this gem from somewhere in the middle:
Gabriel: “All this American money looks the same to me!”
Cole: (deadpan) “He’s from South Africa.”
Josh: (even more deadpan, somehow) “think that’s slowing him down a little bit?”
The best part of Gabriel’s turn is that weird kid in the photo who buys a program, turns around, mugs for the camera and says something that sounds like “SHIT YEAHHHHH.” He then goes AROUND Gabriel and stands behind him, right between him and Matt Striker, and keeps going YEAHHH. HE LOVES THESE PROGRAMS.
Striker announces that 22 programs it the time to beat (it’s based on dollar amount, not number of programs or time) and the announcers reveal that they have no idea how to do math. We’re all smart here in the WWE, where any facts can happen. Justin Gabriel only has a 12.5% chance of winning this challenge!
Best: Bad News Barrett – Origins
Near the end of the episode they realize they don’t have time to let everybody sell magazines, so they come up with a reason for a few of the rookies to bail. Michael Tarver declares that he’s the product and WWE should be selling HIM — a valid point — and Wade Barrett shows the first glimpses of the attitude that would make him an extraneous cult hero in 2014.
Striker gives him a cash wad (that he got from his day job as a stripper, I’m guessing) and tells him to sell programs, but Wade’s AFRAID HE’S GOT SOME BAD NEWS! He’s going to put that money in his pocket and leave with it because there’s nothing Matt Striker or anyone on NXT can do about it. You may remember this con from last Christmas when he raised money for charity and then kept it all for himself. The only way this could’ve been better is if he’d thrown programs at the crowd from the top of a giant motorized pillar.
Worst: Michael Tarver vs. 7-2 (!!) Darren Young
Damn, when did THAT happen?
This match is pretty bad (as you might’ve guessed) and ends with the Straight Edge Society helping Young win, but I’m giving it a specific Worst for Josh Mathews’s color analysis. This might be the worst sentence ever attempted by a WWE announcer, which is saying something because he’s sitting next to the dude who said “in to the corner post goes one Chris Benoit” for like four years.
Josh: “Young unmistakable with the headband and the wild hair that Darren Young possesses.”
Nice call, Mojo Jojo.
Worst: Guess Who Loses In This Week’s Main-Event
This week’s main is Daniel Bryan vs. Skip Sheffield. That should be GREAT, and four years removed from this revolutionary concept in television history has proven itself to be a good-to-great TV match every time they’re paired up. It starts off pretty good with Bryan laying into Skip with kicks to the chest and dropkicks in the corner, and then … Skip hits a clothesline and a backpack stunner and that’s it. Clothesline and a finisher. That’s all Daniel Bryan could take before losing a match. Shit, even jobbers get a backdrop before they’re toast. When the match ends, they show William Regal getting in the ring and you can just SEE how stupid he thinks this all is. Regal unmistakable with the sad face and floppy hair that William Regal possesses.
I’m telling you, if you’re bent out of shape about super popular megastar Daniel Bryan only having a WrestleMania XXX main-event with Triple H instead of challenging for the WWE title, I urge you to revisit this season and watch him lose in 50 seconds to 0-5 rookies amidst constant insults and emasculation en route to being eliminated and fired. Casual fans who are all PFFT I’M DONE IF DANIEL BRYAN DOESN’T WIN AT WRESTLEMANIA have no f*cking idea what The Struggle is.