The 2010 first season of NXT continues in this second episode, as an injured Daniel Bryan looks to bounce back from his defeat to Chris Jericho a week earlier by defeating the world champions rookie, Wade Barrett…
Darren Young (with CM Punk, Luke Gallows & Serena Deeb)
David Otunga (with R-Truth)
(Winner via pinfall: Darren Young)
Wade Barrett (with Chris Jericho)
(Winner via pinfall: Wade Barrett)
William Regal & Skip Sheffield
Matt Hardy & Justin Gabriel
(Winner via pinfall: Hardy & Gabriel)
With the first episode of NXT focusing firmly on Daniel Bryan, episode two looked to introduce some of the other faces whom we would be following throughout this first season. This meant a proper debut for Wade Barrett, facing the man his mentor beat the week prior, and main event slots for Skip Sheffield and Justin Gabriel.
The show opened with a rematch from the week before, as Darren Young avenged that quick defeat to David Otunga with a solid performance that saw him pick up his first win of the series. That it came due to the helping hand (quite literally) of CM Punk didn’t take away from the fact that both Young and Otunga put on a solid show opener that felt like big lads wrestling. This was two heavyweights going at it in a physical encounter that surely left both men feeling sore after its conclusion. There was absolutely nothing special here, but I was endeared to this contest purely due to its simplicity. That, and I was reminded of how much I enjoyed CM Punk during his stint as the leader of the Straight Edge Society.
Daniel Bryan’s match with Wade Barrett was brief, and sadly gave no reason to ever revisit it again. Bryan’s broken ribs meant that this would always be a short affair, but I appreciated the continuity from his match with Jericho the week prior. Barrett hitting Wasteland felt a bit flat on its first appearance, but I put that down to the crowd not realising it was his finishing move. The resulting pinfall felt lacklastre as a result. Jericho’s beatdown of Bryan afterwards seemed unnecessary, but felt like Jericho’s payback for Bryan “embarrassing” him by running him so close one week earlier.
The main event was fair, but there was nothing memorable about it. People still talk about the first episodes main event, even now, but I don’t think you’ll see any discussion about the tag match that ended this show. It was a typical TV match, but excelled in the moments where Regal was trashing his rookie Skip Sheffield, and when Justin Gabriel hit his 450 Splash to get the win. The move, much more familiar to fans nowadays than it was when Gabriel used it here, woke up the crowd and turned Gabriel into an immediate top star on this show.
This episode felt much more like traditional WWE television, with the freshness of the show already seemingly fading away as the company fell back into the habit of presenting a standard wrestling show. There were moments that still felt different, like the ending segment that saw Carlito spit apple in the face of Heath Slater backstage, but there’s no denying that this felt a little by-the-numbers. The video packages were top quality though, as you’d expect from WWE’s production team.
Match of the Night
Darren Young vs. David Otunga