Credit: Phil DiLiegro & F4WOnline.com
The show opened with the eight rookies on the top of the steps. Matt Striker asked a couple of standard questions and then said the rookies would be competing in a physical challenge. Of note, Otunga said he abandoned Cena last night because didn’t want to share the spotlight with anyone and that he wanted to ingratiate himself to Miz. Bryan was asked whether he deserved to number one and asked whether Michael Cole deserved to take Jim Ross’ place on Raw. Well, is water wet? Cole then did his incredible (as in not at all credible) spiel against Bryan: “He’s a pee wee!”. Cole’s still a better promo than Ted DiBiase, Jr. anyway. This all led to a race to carry a keg (yes, of all items they chose a keg, hilarious given the WWE mythology on their talent’s alcohol usage) around the ring. It went as follows:
Slater 12.0 seconds, Sheffield 12.4, Gabriel 13.6, Young 13.6, Otunga 14.1, Barrett 14.7, and dead last was Daniel Bryan at a distant 24.9 seconds. Michael Tarver dropped the keg immediately and was disqualified. Cole said Tarver failed at his first competition on NXT; I guess matches aren’t considered competition.
Slater’s reward for winning was that he got to wrestle Kane in the main event. Amazingly, this whole segment took 15 minutes.
Backstage, Skip Sheffield did a promo saying that he was no longer going to be a nice guy. So, he’s now a heel, I suppose. By the way, none of the pros appeared on the show tonight.
Daniel Bryan v. Darren Young
Bryan hit a baseball slide and a flying knee off the apron onto Young. He then hit a missile dropkick off of the top rope and went to work on the mat. He got a near fall off of a backslide and then another. They kept exchanging quick falls on the canvas before Young won out of nowhere with a cradle off of a double-leg takedown. The baffling booking of Bryan continues as he keeps losing and isn’t getting enough ring time to establish himself by having good wrestling matches.
Young (4-2) d. Bryan (0-7)
Continued on page two …
Justin Gabriel v. Michael Tarver
Tarver started on the advantage with stomps and an abdominal stretch. Gabriel came back with a series of kicks and a Stinger splash. He hit a springboard crossbody and went up for the 450 splash. Tarver caught him on the top rope but Gabriel came back and hot shotted Tarver on the top rope. Gabriel then connected with the 450 splash for the pinfall.
Gabriel (4-2) d. Tarver (0-5)
Wade Barrett v. David Otunga
Barrett hit a big boot to the back of Otunga and went to work in the corner. Barrett went to work on the outside; no heat at all for this match. Otunga made his big comeback with shoulder blocks and a body slam. He got a near fall off of a small package and then a neckbreaker. Otunga then was caught going up to the top rope and Barrett connected with his underwhelming finisher for the victory.
Barrett (4-3) v. Otunga (4-2)
Heath Slater v. Kane
Slater started with a weak drop toe hold attempt. He then connected with a couple of moves from the top. Kane no sold all of that and hit a big boot. Kane did some work on the floor before bringing him back in and landing some shots in the corner. Kane worked a reverse chin lock and connected with a side suplex. Slater did get to kick out of a couple of pinfall attempts. Kane connected with his clothesline off of the top rope. He then scored the winning pinfall with a choke slam.
Kane d. Slater (4-2)
All in all, this was another nothing show with an excessively long and ultimately pointless opening segment. None of the matches were given time to accomplish much. And without the presence of the pros as coaches, the show is lacking some of the things which have been the best about it: the Miz-Bryan interplay, Chris Jericho or Christian in any capacity and the pros have been involved in the best matches, too. With the show trending below even the meager standards of ECW in the ratings, it seems WWE has given up to some extent here and is running down the clock until the end of the season. At which point, I suspect this show will go through another format change.