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Please click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WWE NXT season 2, episode 9, originally aired on August 3, 2010.
Worst: The Kissing Contest
So, the kissing contest.
As you know if you’ve been following along (or watched too much SciFi channel four years ago), NXT is built around a series of asinine challenges that are supposed to reveal who the “best” rookies are, but mostly just make everyone look like idiotic assholes. One of the finest of these challenges is the legendary Kissing Contest, a bit so grand they did it several more times. Let me put it to you this way … if I said “WWE had a kissing contest,” what would you THINK would happen? If you said “they’d bring out someone fat and ugly and everyone would act embarrassed about having to kiss someone gross,” congratulations, you are aware of WWE’s Board of 5-Year Old Directors.
The joke is that LayCool host the contest and are like WE’RE IN THE KISSING CONTEST, and you think you’re in for an episode of The Erotic Traveler but nope, the kissing will be done by “Margarita.” She’s a heavyset lady with a fake unibrow and food all over her face. Lots of jokes about bad breath are made, and somewhere in the back Vince McMahon’s having a deep, thorough belly-laugh with his hands on his stomach.
Here are your official With Leather NXT season 2 kissing contest power rankings:
1. Lucky Cannon
This is Lucky Cannon’s moment to shine. He approaches Margarita and … well, treats her like a human being. He just participates in the kissing contest, does his best, and that’s that. No barfing afterwards, no OH NO HOW WILL I EVER BE THE SAME AFTER KISSING SOMEONE I DON’T WANT TO KISS shit, just straight-up participation. Lucky’s speciality. He wins the contest, too, and I hope it was a shoot from Margarita.
Worst Commentary: “She was blown away by that kiss!” “I’m gonna be sick.”
2. Alex Riley
Alex performs similarly to Lucky, but like most Alex Riley things, he tries too hard. He grabs her face, holds on a little too long, then does a cartoon heart flutter and collapses to the ground. This is the first time I’ve formally noticed how weird it looks for a guy to be wearing a letterman jacket with no shirt on underneath and black spandex underoos. But yeah, the fat lady is the weird one.
Worst Commentary: “You’ve got your varsity jacket, now you’ve got your homecoming queen! I think she ate her tiara.”
3. Michael McGillicutty
Oh, McGoobersnatch, you weirdo.
McGillicutty’s contribution to the kissing contest is giving Margarita a big dick-first hip hug, then grotesquely licking the side of her face while everyone around him freaks out. It’s a lot like that time The Boogeyman ate the comical prop-mole off Jillian Hall’s cheek. McGillicutty (as always) earns points for absurdity, and for that shot of him shortly after the kiss where he mouths “it’s tomato sauce.”
Worst Commentary: “He actually licked those sores. My dog does that!”
Kaval’s turn to kiss is LayCool at their strangest … they’re all, “aww, y’all, should he have to kiss her? I don’t know what to do!” in that way where you know they’re setting something up, but they’ve got zero improvisational skills and no idea how to get from Point A to Point B. I love LayCool, don’t get me wrong, but it’s their “lost in the characters” dead air that MAKES me love them. It’s like the opposite of heat. Characters existing outside of heat. They appear to know they’re characters on a wrestling show, but at the same time have nothing to do with wrestling. I don’t know.
Anyway, Kaval gets to make out with Layla but it doesn’t count, so he gives Margarita a big flat smooch. Is Kaval the most asexual wrestler ever? I can’t imagine him being in a relationship with anyone. I can barely imagine him outside of flying doublestomps and Hitman cosplay.
Worst Commentary: “Like rippin’ off a Band-Aid, just do it buddy!”
5. Husky Harris
I swear, when he dipped her my brain went SISTER ABIGAIL~!
Husky goes first, and that’s always the death slot in non-obstacle course competitions because you aren’t really sure what to do or how far you can go with it. He dips her and gives her a quick kiss (after failing to get the microphone away from Layla), then spends the rest of the competition in the background making the most amazing faces you’ve ever seen. He’s the personal massager with the Ferrari engine, Josh!
Worst Commentary: “Come on Husky, I’m sure it’s not the first time you’ve kissed something like that.”
6. Showtime Percy Watson
The dirt worst. Percy is scared to death from the moment the contest is announced until the very end, and he takes forever to deliver a neutered, underwhelming kiss. I thought you were all about having a good time, Percy, I guess you are a liar. Supplemental Best to WWE for not going the stereotypical “black guy likes big girls” route, and/or supplemental Worst to Vince McMahon for constantly stereotyping black people but not updating it beyond “dancing” and “mammies.”
To reiterate, this rewatch is making me SUPER HATE Showtime Percy Watson. I wasn’t expecting that.
Worst Commentary: “Good call by Percy to take the glasses off so he can’t see Margarita!”
Worst: The Kissing Contest Lasted Almost 20 Minutes
oh my god are you kidding me right now
Best: Hey, A Wrestling Match!
The kissing contest goes about 18 minutes, so it makes sense that the first wrestling match of the show should last just under three, right?
The opening match of this week’s show is a rematch of Kaval vs. Husky Harris, and god DAMN is it spectacular for such a short affair. These guys could’ve blown the roof off the place if 1) they’d been given more time, and 2) they’d been positioned as interesting, dynamic wrestlers instead of guys who are tentative about kissing fat chicks.
Let me put it to you this way … in three minutes we get Husky Harris catching Kaval on a plancha and powerslamming him into the security railing at ringside, we get Kaval countering a slingshot into the corner with a rebound doublestomp to the chest and that incredible move where Husky shoves Kaval into the air only for Kaval to land in a standing position on Husky’s shoulders, bounce backwards off of him and dropkick him on the way down. The finish is a huge slam from Husky and a fat man senton to put Kaval away.
In addition to some lasting tropes — the futility of Lucky, the hilarious dadaism of Michael McGillicutty, a growing dislike of Percy Watson and an appreciation for what Alex Riley might’ve been — a big part of this season is being disgusted that Kaval didn’t last long enough in WWE to face all the guys he would’ve been amazing against. Fully-realized Bray Wyatt is right at the top of that list.
Worst: Mr. Personality Kofi Kingston
Here’s a well-kept secret: WWE isn’t misusing Kofi Kingston or keeping him down. They’ve given him a lot of chances to be cool and funny, and aside from that one magical night in Madison Square Garden where he vandalized a car and jumped off a thing, it’s been … not so good.
Michael McGillicutty still wants a match against The Miz over Miz calling him “mediocre.” Lucky Cannon says he’s been waiting “weeks” for a match with The Miz, and they get into a thing backstage. Kofi shows up and plays rogue GM, announcing that Lucky will face McGillicutty in a one-on-one match with the winner going on to face Miz later in the night. Sure, okay, that works. The problem is that Kofi then has to sorta verbally humiliate Miz on the microphone to get his big power play over, and he chooses to do so by putting on an affected Mike Tyson voice and going “IS MIKE THE MIZ AFWAID OF THE NXT WOOKIES?”
1. It was a bad idea to try to hang on the mic with 2010 Miz. Dude understood how WWE communication worked and knew enough about the performers to really nuke them if he tried hard enough. I don’t know where that talent went, but in 2010, he was legit.
2. I really wish there was a Wookie on NXT.
Worst: Mr. Personality Kofi Kingston Part 2
A little later in the show, the NXT Pros are asked to say which Pro they think has done the worst job on season 2. Some of the answers are reasonable, like when Mark Henry says Zack Ryder’s done the worst job because his rookie got eliminated ages ago and he’s just sitting around being worthless. Some are less so, like dear Kofi, who says LayCool are the worst because they made Kaval wear a pink shirt. What is he, gay? Am I right, folks?
Kofi’s not the only bad part of this segment … John “White Kofi Kingston” Morrison gets into a shouting match with Miz, and just kinda mumbles to himself while Miz shouts SINCE WE STOPPED TAGGING I’VE BECOME THE UNITED STATES CHAMPION AND WON THE MONEY IN THE BANK BRIEFCASE AND YOU’VE DONE NOTHING. Again, 2010 Miz. He knew what made him kayfabe worthwhile and knew what made others not. Morrison looked like a total stooge, and Miz looked like a guy with a future.
Somebody send Miz a 2010 mix tape of himself to watch between scenes in The Marine 4: Mission To Moscow so he can come back as a thing.
Whatever: Alex Riley vs. Percy Watson
I’ll be honest, I watched this episode last night and wrote up most of it from memory this morning. I’d completely forgotten about this match. That’s how unimportant it was. It reinforced two things; that Percy Watson was drastically losing momentum, and that Alex Riley was one of the stylistic ringers to win this show and the anti-Daniel Bryan.
I don’t remember NXT season 2 seeming like much of a competition, but looking back they had a pretty good parallel going between the top guys. Riley was the WWE-bred, WWE-approved jerk who could be slid into any number of preexisting stories. Kaval was the exciting, dynamic independents guy who got shafted by WWE with the LayCool pairing and the losing streak and had the fan and Pro support. Michael McGillicutty was the best in the ring by birth and the worst on the mic by happenstance, but his name was ‘Hennig’ (whether it was or not) and that meant something. Husky Harris was the dark horse … a guy so different and weird you just had to keep him around. NXT season 1 was just “when does Daniel Bryan win this/why isn’t Daniel Bryan winning this.”
Best: Michael McGillicutty, SUPER ROOKIE Part 1
McGillicutty gets his win-loss record up to 6-0 by SKUNKING Lucky Cannon, stalking him with dropkicks to the face and putting him away with a McGillicutter. It’s amazing how confident McGillicutty seemed in the ring here, as opposed to how physically awkward he’s been since the season ended. You don’t look at the guy now and think “great natural athlete,” but here you DID, and God, how much better would his life have been if they’d just called him “Joe Hennig?”
It’s not like Joe Hennig is some hugely marketable name, but it’s him, and it means something and connects him to history. He seemed like he was worth it. He was just killing these jokers, often times not even breaking a sweat, and the crowd never, ever cares because his name is f*cking “Michael McGillicutty.” Some people can overcome a bad name with a big personality, but he doesn’t have that … all he’s got is the God-given talent trickled down by his family and a dopey, sub-everyman Minnesotan vibe. I want to root for him so hard here, but, well, you know.
Best: Michael McGillicutty, SUPER ROOKIE Part 2
The continuation of this theme happens in the main-event, which is really good. If I told you now that a Curtis Axel vs. The Miz match was really good you’d probably block me, but it is. Miz is at the top of his game in terms of personality and in-ring work and McGillicutty’s still got a fire without four years of garbage piled on top of it. Miz remains in control and wins decisively, but he gives McGillicutty just enough to make him look like a serious wrestler and a legitimate threat. It’s like the poor man’s Chris Jericho vs. Daniel Bryan from season 1, but not that poorer of a man.
I’m going to wish really hard for the NXT season finale to NOT involve promos about swimming pools and Genesises Of Whatever so these guys can have an easier road. If that works, I’ll see if fate’s interested in fixing WrestleMania 27.