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Please click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WWE NXT season 2, episode 6, originally aired on July 13, 2010.
Worst: Do We Have To Introduce Everybody Every Time?
Okay, I get it. Even if the hardcore fans know who they are, the NXT Rookies are new faces for the WWE Universe, so introducing them a few extra times wouldn’t hurt. What I don’t get is why we had to introduce every rookie and every pro, one at a time, at the beginning of EVERY EPISODE. The first five minutes of most of these episodes is just Matt Striker going MARK, HENRAYYYYYYYYY and Mark Henry wandering out and waving to a bunch of people who f*cking know who Mark Henry is.
This week was even worse, as they tried to integrate new host Ashley Valence and let her take turns announcing guys with Matt Striker. If you missed her debut, she can barely say words. So Striker’s in there all DASHINNNNNNG, COOOOOODYROOOOOOOOSE~!!! and Ashley follows it up with a meek little “zack ryder.” All lowercase. And yep, six episodes into the second season we’re boy-girling WWE Pros. Can we let the entrance theme introduce the guys and tack five extra minutes onto Kaval/Miz?
The very worst part was that this was the week the Nexus “came home” to NXT. That’s a big deal, right? These guys came up together on season 1, banded together when they realized they were being treated like trained monkeys and demolished Raw and everyone on it. 6-8 WWE rookies changing the way WWE treats rookies. And now they’re BACK … and Ashley is introducing them with “and ladies and gentlemen please welcome the nexist.”
Ashley I swear
Best: WWE’s Literal Entrance Theme Era
I’ve probably written about this before, but in the late 2000s/early 2010s, WWE’s production team got really into sneaking messages into entrance theme choices, especially for the game show contestants. Christy Hemme got ‘Walk Idiot Walk’, with the lyrics “see the idiot walk/see the idiot talk,” because they didn’t have a hell of a lot of faith in a Diva Search winner. Ashley Massaro had “to be yourself is all that you can do” because that’s literally all she could do.
NXT’s secondary theme at this point is ‘Get Thru This’ (their spelling, not mine) by Art of Dying. “If I can get through this/I can get through anything!” Basically the mission statement of the show, right? “One day you’ll be WWE World Heavyweight Champion. For now, chug this diet soda as part of an obstacle course.”
Best: I’M AFRAID I’VE GOT SOME BAD DUDES
And only six of them. Shut up!
If you haven’t been paying attention to the “last night on Raw” portions of this column, Darren Young is out … uh, forever following a BRUTAL ASSAULT from John Cena. Daniel Bryan is out and currently working the ECW Arena against Shingo because he choked out a ring announcer with a neck tie. So the Nexus is now six guys in matching shirts, several months away from the “Nexus Wolfpac/Nexus Black and White” split that would give us Mason Ryan and The Corre. Look at their faces, they have no idea where this is going.
Best: Alex Riley’s Career In A Nutshell
The opening tag match is a lot better than it should be, pairing up Miz and Alex Riley against Mark Henry and Lucky Cannon. Henry’s trying to avenge being humiliated on the previous night’s Raw, when Miz ran him into the Anonymous General Manager’s lectern and dumped a bunch of trash on him. A motivated, tough Mark Henry is one of the best wrestlers in the world, and good enough to make up for whenever Lucky Cannon hops in and starts shittily arm-dragging everybody.
Miz is great here, too, doing everything he can to avoid Henry and throwing Riley under the bus. As soon as Miz is in trouble he dives to the outside, leaving Riley to eat a World’s Strongest Slam and get a bunch of trash dumped on HIM. It’s Riley’s career in a nutshell, really … being abandoned by the Miz, being forced to make it on his own and being a pile of garbage.
Last Night On Raw: Why We Hate John Cena
The good news: John Cena took a clean, pinfall loss on Raw. Justin Gabriel pinned him!
The bad news: Cena lost a SIX-ON-ONE match by pinfall, only doing so after a blind tag broke up the Attitude Adjustment and everybody on the team took turns hitting finishers on him. The “damned numbers game.” Then IMMEDIATELY after taking the loss, Cena fought back, sending six men packing by himself and instantly getting back heat he never lost. Note that Cena is showing zero damage at this point. He valiantly stands his ground and is saved by Sheamus, his opponent at the upcoming pay-per-view, and the Nexus change into six shirts that say AFTERTHOUGHT across the front.
Dude couldn’t just lose to six guys.
Worst: The Percy Watson Show
One of my internal talking points since the end of NXT season 2 has been, “why didn’t Percy Watson make it?” He had the size, he had a unique look, he had a personality and he was competent in the ring. In retrospect … Percy Watson was kinda the worst, wasn’t he?
After winning last week’s Talk The Talk Challenge, Percy gets to host The Percy Watson Show, an awkward talk show segment where he wears nothing but underpants, dances in place like he’s gotta take a hard dump and fills in all the empty spaces with nervous laughter and phrases like “oh yeah” or “know’m sayin?” It’s very much an example of a guy saying, “okay, I’m going to PERFORM now” instead of being a performer. What The Miz does, but more obvious.
Like I said, I originally really dug the guy, but on this watch-through I want to Ryback one of those leather sofas and hurl it at him. The talk show segment itself is pointless, too, as he brings down his NXT Pro and compliments him a bunch before TRYING TO FORM A NEXUS. Or whatever. Percy’s all, “sorry I have to do this” and brings down the rookies, but nothing ever comes of it. Suddenly we’re in a battle royal pitting “every man for himself,” with rookies fighting rookies and pros fighting pros, and Jesus, how many times are we gonna have these rookies attempt to unionize only to be portrayed as the weakest, stupidest guys in the world?
This episode should’ve ended with the NXT season 2 guys putting on Nexus arm bands, bottom line. Or, I don’t know, the season 2 Rookies and Pros teaming up to drive the Nexus off their show. One or the other. The Nexus being treated like The Shield and the season 2 cast doing these aborted almost-turns is the worst.
Best: The Battle Royal Was Fun, Though
Despite the weird circumstances that created it, this was probably the most smartly-wrestled battle royal in WWE history.
It’s built up as every man for himself, with Wade Barrett declaring that he was going to win it. When the match starts, though, the Nexus immediately bands together, sliding out under the bottom rope and hanging out at ringside while the Pros and Rookies wrestle like idiots. Whenever someone gets eliminated, the Nexus jacks them. It’s great. It takes the people in the ring like five minutes to figure out what’s going on and force the Nexus back in.
When they’re IN, the Nexus just huddles together in a big group in the corner. If an excited babyface gets too close, they just start kicking and punching. It’s like Lisa and Bart Simpson fighting. The Pros and Rookies keep fighting and eliminating each other because they are THE DUMBEST PEOPLE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, and eventually it’s down to the Nexus and five-ish stragglers.
Best: A Constant String Of Turns
The final guys in the ring against the Nexus are Zack Ryder, Cody Rhodes, The Miz, John Morrison and Kofi Kingston. Guess which ones are the scrappy babies? Three wonderful things happen:
1. Zack Ryder puffs up his chest and tries to singlehandedly confront The Nexus, in their face all YOU’RE NOTHING, YOU’RE NOTHING, YOU’RE NOTHING, WOO WOO, ETCETERA, and The Miz just grabs him from behind and throws him out. It’s LOVELY. I miss when The Miz was a guy I thought was cool and had forward momentum. I also miss laughing at Zack Ryder’s incompetence instead of feeling pressured by it.
2. Miz decides to team up with The Nexus, offering his hand in friendship. When he realizes they’re gonna say no and beat him up, he rushes over to the ropes and eliminates himself. Because frankly, why would you keep trying to win under these circumstances? This battle royal was announced five minutes ago. You aren’t gonna win anything. You’re just asking for an ass-beating. It’s essentially 6-on-1 now for every man. If you aren’t Cena, bail. The end.
3. Cody Rhodes hangs back like a sneaky ninja, letting Kofi and Morrison do their thing. When they’re eliminated and he’s forced to face the music, Cody tries to do what The Miz did. Instead, possibly because of that old Rhodes Luck, he gets beaten up.
My only complaint is that “The Nexus” is declared the winner of the battle royal. Was it team-based all along? They pushed “every man for himself” so hard, and that stip is the only justification for Pros and Rookies to be fighting amongst themselves. The non-Wade Nexus guys should’ve nodded in unison and eliminated themselves to give their boss the win, or they should’ve at least pressured the ring announcer into announcing them as the united victor, you know? Make it seem like a thing they’re forcing on us.
Anyway, this episode ends and nobody new joins the Nexus. In a couple of weeks there’s a kissing contest. NXT season 2 rookies make bad decisions.