March 16, 2010
results thanks to pwtorch
The fourth week of WWE's NXT show started with a
recap of the concept of eight WWE Rookies and eight WWE Pros having one dream.
Cue up the "Wild & Young" theme music introducing the eight Rookies with their
In-ring: C.M. Punk's music hit to start the show. Well, I sure thought WWE's announcement "John Cena will address the NXT Rookies in the ring at the start of tonight's episode" actually meant Cena would start the show addressing the NXT Rookies. Punk, Darren Young, and the Straight Edge Society came out, then Matt Hardy's music hit to bring out Hardy and Justin Gabriel.
Backstage: Matt Striker was shown making an announcement that in two weeks time, the first round of voting will take place. He said the Pros will evaluate the Rookies and make some determinations of their performance. Based on what criteria, winning matches? If so, where's the scoreboard? Is it charisma? What's the criteria for subjectively evaluating that? Back to the ring, Cole said that "by his estimation," Gabriel winning this match would make him 3-0. An estimation? It's either a win or loss. It's not an estimation. If winning matches is the criteria, then Bryan Danielson sure has been handed a tough hand with an unbalanced schedule of matches. Danielson's first match was against the World champ, while Heath Slater has two wins over Carlito, who hasn't won a single match in 2010. Danielson's "Strength of Schedule" has to factor in, right? Or, does it? Does winning matches count? It's so mind-boggling how they fail week after week to explain the criteria for evaluating this show's competition.
1 -- C.M. PUNK (w/Luke Gallows and Serena) & DARREN YOUNG vs. MATT HARDY & JUSTIN GABRIEL)
Young and Punk worked over Gabriel early on, then Young knocked Gabriel to the floor and rammed him stomach-first into the steps. Punk and Young were in control with Gabriel coughing up a lung on the floor heading to break.
Back from break, Cole talked up the Staples Center being sold-out tonight. He reset the action with Punk working on Gabriel's back with forearm smashes to the back. Young then tagged in and over-sold a round of knee strikes from Gabriel, who made a babyface comeback with a strong reaction from the crowd. We're looking at a future Smackdown brand star babyface. Gabriel then went up top for the 450 splash, but Young moved after Gabriel spent too much time posturing for the audience. Punk then tagged in and tried a pin, but Gabriel kicked out. Cole said something like Gabriel's miss-step will be part of the evaluation process by the other Pros. How much of a factor? 50/50 with wins & losses? 30/70? 90/10? Punk and Young then resumed their work on Gabriel after Punk knocked Hardy off the ring apron.
[Q2] Punk tried a springboard smash, but Gabriel moved and hot-tagged to Hardy, who cleaned house on Punk and landed a running bulldog for a two count. Hardy then ducked a clothesline and hit the side effect for another nearfall. Hardy tried to follow with a move from the second rope, but Punk ran to his corner to make a tag. Hardy then hip-tossed Young into the ring from the apron and scored a two count. Hardy followed by clotheslining Young over the top rope to the floor. The ref was distracted as Luke clotheslined Gabriel on the floor before Hardy gave Luke a side effect on the floor. Chaos ruled on the floor before Hardy rolled Young into the ring. Hardy wanted to end it, but Luke distracted the ref and Punk hit the Go 2 Sleep on Hardy. Young fell on Hardy and scored the pin for the win.
Post-match: Luke dropped Gabriel with a clothesline, then suddenly grabbed Darren Young and gave him the Gallows Pole sit-out bomb. Luke, Punk, and Serena then stood tall after Luke took out Punk's Rookie. Cole sold confusion on why they would do that. Mathews suggested Punk just has his own agenda. SES then walked out of the ring as Young stared at them from the ring selling the effects.
WINNERS: Punk & Young in 15:00. Nice, long tag match that continued to elevate...Punk. Isn't the point of the show to elevate the Rookies? Gabriel drew good babyface sympathy here and should be fast-tracked to Smackdown as a future babyface star. (*1/2)
Up next: Bryan Daniel vs. Great Khali. So, is Cena not on the show? If Cena's on the show, they're doing a horrible job hyping that the top star in the company is appearing on the show tonight.
In-ring: The Miz's music hit, bringing out Daniel Bryan. No Miz tonight. He's in Australia doing WWE promotion again. (They didn't say that, but that's where he is.) Cole repeated the "breaking news" from Striker at the top of the show with the Pros casting votes in two weeks on how the Rookies are doing. So so so vague. Great Khali's music hit to bring out Khali and Ranjin Singh. The audience cheered for Khali as Bryan tried to pump himself up in the ring. Cole condescendingly told Bryan "good luck!" with his match tonight. Mathews cut a promo on Cole about him living in a bubble and about Bryan's background. Cole shot back that "ten million viewers watch Monday Night Raw" every week.
2 -- DANIEL BRYAN vs. GREAT KHALI (w/Ranjin Singh)
Bryan tried to psyche himself up before trying to take the fight to Khali. Cole said Bryan's about to go to 0-4 in the Rookie standings if he loses. Bryan landed some offense, then tried a top rope move, but Khali blocked with The Chop. Khali followed with the Khali Bomb and put his foot on Khali's chest for the pin and the win. Cole gloated. Post-match: Big Show's music randomly hit and out came Big Show. Show, as a surrogate for his fellow Unified tag champ Miz, then picked up Daniel Bryan and gave him a chokeslam. Khali kind of admired Show's handiwork. I think. Khali's facial expressions tell a number of confused stories. Show left, then Khali followed out.
WINNER: Khali in 2:00. What was this? Last week, they elevated Bryan, this week they basically trashed him and fed him to a babyface monster to look like a silly joke. This has been a pretty weak start to the show. (n/a)
Raw Rebound: They focused on last night's show with Steve Austin guest-hosting the show, officially adding Stu Hart to the 2010 Hall of Fame, and over-seeing Bret Hart's Big Reveal at the contract signing for Hart vs. Vince McMahon at WrestleMania.
Announcers: Back live to the announcers, Cole and Striker broke down the WM26 line-up with focus on Hart vs. McMahon, Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker, Chris Jericho vs. Edge, and Batista vs. John Cena. The announcers were then shown on-camera introducing a video package on Rookie David Otunga and his Hollywood connection. It's the same video they aired during the intro of the new NXT show, with the tie-in being they're in Los Angeles tonight. The sad part is they're already doing repeat filler on NXT.
Backstage: They showed Michael Tarver walking down the hallway preparing for a match. He has Heath Slater in the ring next.
WrestleMania flashback: Pete Rose taking the Tombstone from Kane at WrestleMania 14 in Boston. Rose guest-hosts Raw next week, of course. "No, no, that's Pete Rose!" in the infamous word of Jim Ross. ... Announcers: Cole plugged Rose guest-hosting the final Raw before WrestleMania next week. He also plugged Hunter & Orton vs. Sheamus & Legacy for the show.
In-ring: Christian's music hit to bring out Heath Slater sans Christian. Michael Tarver then came out sans Carlito. So, it's Tarver vs. Slater one-on-one.
3 -- HEATH SLATER vs. MICHAEL TARVER
So, with no WWE stars ringside, we're basically looking at an FCW match on WWE TV. They cut backstage to show Carlito and Christian casually watching the match backstage on a TV. Slater ducked a clothesline and rolled up Tarver from behind for the win after three uninspired minutes with the crowd disinterested. They cut to a quick shot of Christian doing a double fist pump for his guy winning. Post-match: Tarver attacked Slater from behind and knocked him out. Again, backstage, Christian did a cartoon reaction about being upset with the attack. Tarver stood tall in the ring. Mathews said the goal is to get the WWE Universe talking and that's what Tarver did.
WINNER: Slater in 3:00. WWE is sending so many mixed signals with this poorly-thought-out show. Why didn't Tarver just bring out a baseball bat and try to bash Slater's head in if the goal is to get people talking? If wins and losses count, which I'm not sure if they do since it didn't matter with this match, then why try to compete in a match to win? It's just such a frustratingly, low-IQ, unexplained approach to a wrestling show. (n/a)
Backstage: William Regal and Skip Sheffield talked with Skip saying he just wants to make Regal happy by winning this thing. Skip kept talking over Regal, who then walked away. Cole interjected that Skip will take on Wade Barrett next. Well, there's another match with zero hype or build-up on the show.
In-ring: Chris Jericho's music hit and out came Jericho with Wade Barrett. William Regal's music hit and out came Skip with Regal. I thought Skip had potential, but they announced this week he's from College Station. Sad day.
[Q5 -- over-run]
4 -- SKIP SHEFFIELD (w/William Regal) vs. WADE BARRETT (w/World Hvt. champion Chris Jericho)
Barrett started on the offensive as Jericho interjected commentary in Mathews's headset from ringside. Barrett then worked over Skip in the ring as Jericho shouted instructions from the floor. Skip tried to collect himself and he avoided a corner attack before nailing a Polish Hammer smash to the face, followed by a clothesline. Skip then followed with a scoop slam and did his Skip Strut into a splash for a two count. Skip turned his attention to Regal to give him a nod, but Barrett cut him off on the turnbuckle. Regal simply turned his eyes to the floor in shame. That was the highlight of the show. Barrett followed with a powerslam on Skip for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Barrett in 4:00. Completely forgettable big-man match-up with no back-story for why the match took place. Jericho tried to add the match with the bonus commentary like last week and Regal was great with the facial expressions outside, but this wasn't ready for prime time. (1/2*)
Post-match: Regal continued to stare down at the floor in disgust while Jericho celebrated with Barrett. Skip then collected himself in the ring and Regal walked away talking to Jericho and Barrett. Cole closed with a plug for two weeks from now when the Pros cast votes evaluating the Rookies. On what specific criteria? Who knows. End show. No sign of John Cena this week despite the pre-show advertising as such.