So here we are, about to discuss another edition of NXT. If you came for my typical dissatisfaction and were hoping for a rant, you might be in for a surprise. I've done a lot of reflecting over the past week, and I've come to an important conclusion. I set the bar WAY too high for a show that is trying to find its place like a freshman on a college campus. Of course there are flaws, and I may not enjoy every moment on the show's journey to find itself, but I vow to be more open and accepting of what the show is and less patronizing all the time. With a new outlook and view, I give you this week's more tame look at NXT.
It seems the format moving forward will be to engage the NXT participants in different types of activities for the first 15-20 minutes of the show and feature them in different types of matches for the duration of time. Though the matches are a bit crunched for time, it gives the performers a chance to showcase both their personality and in-ring ability each week (see, I CAN be positive!). This week, the competition was a mental one, as each competitor was give 30 seconds to talk about a topic given to them at random. I suppose this tests their ability to think on their feet and cut a promo on whatever story they are given. Topics ranged from easy ones like "passion" to absurd ones like "rainbows". About the only competitor who "got it" was Wade Barrett, who also received more of a babyface reaction given the fact that NXT was in his home country. Everyone else was pretty much awful, though Darren Young actually had a funny line. He was asked to talk about toothpaste, to which he said "toothepaste.......well, it's something the people here in England don't know too much about". Despite the little bit of comedy, the finalists were Barrett and Skip Sheffield, who reverted back to his goofy catchphrases. I guess that serious promo last week meant absolutely nothing. He proceeded to piss off the crowd and Barrett won this week's challenge. The prize was much better this week, as Barrett will now get his own music and titantron video, thus setting him apart from his NXT comrades. A week ago, I might have lauded over how stupid this was, and wondered how talking about rainbows and cereal were relevant to wrestler development, but taking it in stride, I found entertainment in the segment. I'm glad Barrett won too, as he is the guy who deserves his own entrance first as he is the closest to being ready to be on the main roster and to be honest, I don't think anyone else is close.
Further proof of Barrett's readiness was his match following his "talk off" victory against Christian. Although he did not win, it took a bit of interference on the part of Heath Slater for Christian to get the win. Barrett's size makes him a tough matchup for anyone, and he gave the experienced Christian all he could handle. This was the best match of the night, even in the limited time each NXT match gets. You also have to love Chris Jericho constantly yelling at Michael Cole how much influence he's had on Barrett. I cannot seem to keep a straight face through Jericho's slightly heard comments.
The next match was Daniel Bryan against William Regal. Before Bryan went out, he was given an interesting pep talk by his mentor, The Miz. At one point, Miz called Bryan the Susan Boyle of the WWE in that he has all the talent in the world but no marketability or charisma. After trying to rub some of his own charisma onto Bryan, he urged Bryan to "be a star, go win something!" If anyone is on Jericho's level in terms of quality and humorous lines, it's Miz. I would even go as far as saying that Miz amuses me in a similar fashion to the way The Rock used to back in the day. Daniel Bryan...........not so much. As for his match, it was a glorified squash which saw Regal keep Bryan winless. Not much to talk about as Bryan continues to look worse and worse. If he wins NXT while constantly getting squashed, I might boycott WWE. With that said, I know he was a star on the independent scene, but so far all I see is a decent wrestler and that goofy smirk that I want to smack off of his face. After the match, Miz attacked Regal, making the audience think he might help his rookie, but then he gave the Skull Crushing Finale to Bryan. It'll be tough love until he wins I suppose. There might be A LOT of tough love the way things are going.
The main event featured a match made earlier in the night between Darren Young and Bushwacker Luke..........er Luke Gallows. The challenge was made with the stipulation that Young would be forgiven for his transgressions if he won, but if he lost, he'd get his head shaved. Gallows was confident going in, but after about 5-7 minutes, Young gets a rollup win out of nowhere! For a guy who lacks a presence as a performer, he's not that bad a wrestler and has been given a few victories. In this case, it was over Gallows of the Straight Edge Society, who looked devastated to have lost. To further that feeling, Punk raised Young's hand in victory, making good on his word from earlier in the night, while they all walked out, leaving Luke to his sorrows. I suppose this creates a bit of inner tension with the Straight Edge Society, and while I usually believe in having internal tension, the group is too small to have it yet. I think there is so much left for the Society to do without fighting within itself, so I hope the ship rights itself quickly.
See, I can be less harsh! I made a promise to judge the show for what it is and not what I'd like it to be, and by doing so, I actually enjoyed it a lot more. If nothing else, these young kids are getting valuable time on television that they otherwise would not have gotten. In that sense, this is a great opportunity for them, even if they have to talk about cereal. I am looking forward to Wade Barrett's theme music though, because as much as I liked "Wild and Young" when the show began, it's gotten played out faster than anything by Lady Gaga. Overall, a better show than last week, and a better attitude from me. I'd say that's a winning combination!