April 20, 2010
results thanks to pwtorch.com
he ninth week of WWE's NXT show started with the
usual NXT video intro package before they went to the arena with Michael Cole
doing a voice-over to introduce Michael Striker. Striker was positioned ringside
to introduce the eight NXT Rookies already in the ring. Everyone received some
smattering of boos other than Daniel Bryan and Justin Gabriel. Striker recapped
the contest and reminded the audience of Wade Barrett's victory last week in the
Tonight, Striker said they're about to get physical in a striking and a balance challenge. It's basically American Gladiators's joust contest. Striker said it's "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Rookies." The winner receives global exposure on WWE.com with a feature that will begin tonight at midnight. Wow. From guest-hosting Raw to an entrance music to a dotcom deal. Winner next week gets a handshake?
First up in the "joust" was Heath Slater vs. David Otunga. After a brief battle, Slater knocked Otunga off his pedestal. Otunga was dressed in blue jeans, creating an obvious disadvantage. Next up were Skip Sheffield and Wade Barrett. Skip knocked Barrett off his pedestal and Barrett fell forward and shoved Skip off his pedestal. Barrett then chucked his instrument at Skip, setting up a near-brawl. Good tension there.
Up next were Daniel Bryan and Michael Tarver - the two winless competitors. Cole noted the win-loss records. Tarver just dropped his instrument and allowed Bryan to knock him off the pedestal. What the heck? Tarver then shoved Bryan post-joust and ran off. Bryan had to be held back. Awkward. Cole and Josh Mathews noted Tarver is just weird. Last up were Darren Young and Justin Gabriel. Darren won easily. So, in the semi-finals later on, it will be Young, Bryan, Skip, and Slater.
Still to come in the main event: Heath Slater vs. Chris Jericho.
Announcers: Cole did a voice-over on some shots of the Mohegan Sun Casino showing folks gambling. Cue up a video package on the Extreme Rules PPV, focusing on the WWE Title match between John Cena and Batista. Back to the announcers, Cole and Mathews plugged the PPV line-up, which only has five matches thus far. Either WWE adds a bunch of matches on Smackdown or they have some bonus matches from the Raw brand.
[Q2] Cole and Mathews were shown on-camera after running down the PPV and they plugged the next Pros Poll coming up in two weeks.
Video package: Cue up a video package on Wade Barrett. They actually had sit-down interview soundbytes from the WWE Pros talking up Barrett. Carlito said he likes the way Barrett projects himself. William Regal put over Barrett's class and style. The Miz said you can't wait to see what he's going to do next. Chris Jericho, his Pro, said he's been a great protégé and has been listening to what he has to offer. Jericho said he's delivering and he'll be a Superstar in a very short period of time. What looked like it was going to start off as another filler video turned into a really nice video with the Pros putting over a Rookie in a unique setting. Well done.
In-ring: R-Truth's music hit and out came R-Truth with David Otunga. So, apparently Truth is alive after a segment on last night's Raw where his character was blown up. Naturally, there was no mention of this by the announcers, with WWE oblivious to how stupid it looks for someone to be blown up, then appearing fine with no mention the next night. This is why WWE turns people away from pro wrestling. So low IQ. Matt Hardy then came out with Justin Gabriel and we have Gabriel vs. Otunga tonight.
1 -- JUSTIN GABRIEL (w/Matt Hardy) vs. DAVID OTUNGA (w/Matt Hardy)
Otunga quickly knocked down Gabriel and worked him over on the mat. Truth shrugged his shoulders as Otunga lost control before Otunga cut off Gabriel with an inverted drop. Otunga then attempted a corner move, but Gabriel flung him through the ropes to the outside with a corkscrew. Gabriel followed with a sick dive on the floor, clearing the top rope in the air. Back in the ring, Gabriel set up for the 450 splash, but Otunga rolled out of the way. Otunga then knocked Gabriel to the apron and Gabriel attempted a sunset flip. Otunga held the move and begged for help from Truth on the outside to give him leverage, but Truth stood his ground and watched as Gabriel flipped over Otunga into a pin for the win. Afterwards, Truth smirked and walked away from the ring as Otunga glared at him. Meanwhile, Gabriel and Hardy celebrated in the ring.
WINNER: Gabriel in 4:00. The announcers played up during the match that Otunga hasn't been listening to Truth during the NXT contest, so Truth didn't offer any help when Otunga asked for help. Otunga is still very, very green in the ring. He has some of those awkward mannerisms in the ring like Rob Terry and doesn't look comfortable yet. (*)
Up next: Daniel vs. Young and Slater vs. Skip in the Joust semi-finals.
Announcers: Cole said the NXT Rookies are gambling tonight on NXT as they plugged the casino again. They have an actual bracket for this Rock 'Em Sock 'Em deal.
Stage: Slater and Skip were positioned on the joust for the first semi-final match. Skip knocked Slater off in about five seconds, putting Skip in the final two for the third straight week. Darren Young and Daniel Bryan were in the ring, then both men made their way to the stage for the next semi-final. Cole wondered if Bryan's vegetarian lifestyle will help him. Mathews said it's vegan. Darren Young was all over the place swinging wildly, but Bryan left his mid-section exposed for Darren to give him a quick poke to knock Bryan off the pedestal. Naturally, Cole noted Bryan losing everything on NXT. Finals: Young vs. Skip.
In-ring: Carlito came out with Michael Tarver for something. Carlito was sporting blue jeans and like a gray pajama top. Poor guy has been living out of a suitcase for two weeks. Tarver proceeded to cut a promo explaining why he didn't compete in the Rock 'Em Sock 'Em deal. He said he's not going to dance on a little blue platform for the fans. He issued an open challenge, then William Regal's music hit. Out came Skip Sheffield, who did a catch phrase that got over. The audience just eats up his Skipisms. So, we have Skip vs. Tarver.
Not so fast. C.M. Punk's music interrupted to bring out Punk, Luke Gallows, Serena, and Darren Young. Punk said Skip and Tarver aren't the only two looking for competition. Punk put over Young looking for competition. Cue up a video from last week when Young beat Luke Gallows in the NXT main event. Punk resumed his promo saying he's trying to keep Luke and Young sharp and on the edge. Punk put over Young being in the finals of the "stick-fighting thing" and now this is a triple threat. Apparently Punk has booking power now.
2 -- SKIP SHEFFIELD vs. MICHAEL TARVER (w/Carlito) vs. DARREN YOUNG
Young cleared Skip to the outside early on, then Young clotheslined Tarver over the top rope to the floor. Young was in control going to break. Young has really stood out the last few weeks. He's got something marketable there.
[Commercial Break. A spot for TNA Impact aired during the break focusing on former WWE stars in TNA. It had a local flavor selling TNA's Houston house show coming next month. Good piece of local marketing.]
Back from break, Skip and Tarver were working over Young. Naturally, Skip and Tarver's "teamwork" broke down and they argued over who should win the match. Skip then smashed Young into the ringpost and proceeded to work over Tarver before hitting a running splash off the ropes. Young then entered the ring and dumped Skip to the floor before smashing Tarver with a forearm. Young then flew off the ropes with a big shoulder block before back-dropping Tarver to the mat.
Young then went up top and the camera rotated around to show Luke Gallows shove Young off the top rope. Luke KO'ed Skip on the floor, then Tarver tried to take advantage in the ring, but Tarver took forever to put the pieces together on Luke's help. Young recovered, then hit his finisher on Tarver for the pin and the win. Post-match: Luke sold frustration that his plan failed yet again. The jealous "brother" watched as Young celebrated post-match. After a replay of the finish, Luke jawed at Young from a distance while Young stood his ground ringside.
WINNER: Young in 8:00. Good action. The formula three-way with two in the ring and one on the outside, but they worked the formula effectively. Young has something special. It's definitely there to exploit going forward on Raw or Smackdown. (*1/2)
Video package: Heath Slater. The Pros did the sit-down soundbytes talking about Slater's work so far on NXT. Christian, his Pro, said he didn't know what to expect at first, but he's listened to his suggestions. William Regal and Matt Hardy added good perspective. Jericho said he hates the guy the moment he sees him. Jericho said when Slater turns heel (he didn't use that verbiage), it'll take him to the next level. Miz said he's absolutely idiotic, but people want to see what he's going to do. Christian said he's going to have to scratch and claw if he's going to win this. Awesome addition to the show this week. They're building anticipation to see how the Daniel Bryan soundbyte video comes off in the coming weeks.
Up next: Joust finals, then Slater vs. Christian in the TV main event.
Draft plug: They advertised the three-hour Raw Draft show on Monday. Earlier in the show, they ran another Hart & Soul DVD plug. Good to see them continuing to plug the hard work put into that DVD project.
[Q5 -- over-run]
Stage: Time for the finals of the challenge. They reviewed the bracket and Matt Striker was in the arena as Skip and Young were positioned on the podiums. Striker built anticipation before the joust was on. After a brief battle, both men appeared to fall off simultaneously. Ref Jack Doane declared Skip the winner. Mathews questioned the decision and Cole said it looked like a tie. A few replays showed a virtual tie, depending on what rules of the joust they're using. Where's Adamle to sort this out? Striker then told Skip the replays were inconclusive, so they're having a re-start right now. Skip didn't whine or complain or cry or moan, but simply welcomed the challenge. That was a great touch after watching the NBA Playoffs where the star players cry and moan and complain when called for a foul. It's just sad.
Anyways, they went back to the podium and Skip dominated Young before giving him a hard jab to knock Young off the podium to earn the clear victory. Skip finally wins one of these contests. In the post-match interview, Skip went to Keanu Reeves from "Hardball" for his material on a babyface promo for the crowd. Mathews and Cole questioned the material choice before plugging Skip's growth on the show.
3 -- HEATH SLATER vs. CHRIS JERICHO (w/Wade Barrett)
The bell sounded three minutes past the top of the hour and Christian slapped Slater across the face. Jericho then stomped away on Slater and worked him over while Barrett watched from ringside. Jericho settled into a chinlock as they went well past the usual over-run period on NXT. This is where Tony Schiavone is missed to sell the sporting aspect of this. "The tape machines are rolling...and we're outta time!" Slater made a comeback at 3:00 and the crowd was unappreciative of his work on the recognizable Jericho. Slater then made a cover, but Jericho kicked out in time. Jericho then teased the Walls of Jericho, but Slater grabbed Jericho by the neck and flipped him over to trap Jericho's shoulders to the mat for a three count. Beautifully executed pin.
Post-match: Slater popped up stunned with the win while Jericho freaked out. Cole declared: "the decision is official. Heath Slater has pinned Chris Jericho." Jericho went nuts arguing with the ref like an NBA star, then Slater high-tailed it to take his victory and avoid a beating. Jericho begged to have the pin waved off, but the ref stood his ground and said it was a win. Jericho went Mr. Anderson on Jeremy Borash and shouted, "I'm the best in the world!" So great. Jericho had the crowd egging him on as he continued to throw a fit. Jericho then went to the announce table and started clearing items. Jericho grabbed a chair and chucked it into the ring as the credits rolled. Jericho to the ref: "You stupid!" They ended the show eight minutes past the top of the hour with Jericho still going nuts after taking the loss.
WINNER: Slater in 4:00. Great victory for Slater they can build on, while Jericho was even greater in the post-match going nuts and acting like an NBA primadonna after the upset loss. Mr. Anderson, Jericho, Punk, and Batista are running neck-in-neck for the best heel in pro wrestling this year. We've seen some great work from Anderson and Jericho today. (*1/4)