NXT rolls on, as Daniel Bryan teams with The Miz for the first time, and Heath Slater goes head-to-head with the man who spat apple in his face one week earlier…
R-Truth & David Otunga
The Miz & Daniel Bryan
(Winners via pinfall: R-Truth & Otunga)
Carlito (with Michael Tarver)
Heath Slater (with Christian)
(Winner via pinfall: Heath Slater)
Wade Barrett (with Chris Jericho)
Justin Gabriel (with Matt Hardy)
(Winner via pinfall: Justin Gabriel)
Despite giving it coverage in the episodes opening video package, the brawl between rookie David Otunga and his pro (R-Truth) from last week seemed to go largely forgotten in this episode, as they teamed up to face another warring rookie and pro team in a Daniel Bryan and The Miz.
The match itself was solid, and the whole Bryan/Miz angle got almost half of the episode. If there’s one thing that NXT should be commended for, three episodes in, it’s the management of the Bryan/Miz rivalry. It genuinely makes the show must-see, and given we are still seeing wonderful moments between them seven years later (even at last months WWE Survivor Series 2017), there’s a good case to be made that NXT‘s first season began one of the greatest rivalries of the past decade.
The stipulation hanging over the match, that The Miz would get Bryan fired from the show if he was pinned, perhaps came a little early in the shows run. We are three episodes in, and Bryan has had more coverage than anyone else, so the threat of him being removed from NXT wasn’t very real, but did create some interest as to how the match would end. That The Miz actually robbed Bryan of a submission victory, only to get pinned himself, was a fun way to end the match, as were Bryan’s successful attempts to make Miz look weak at ringside immediately after, and in his backstage promo following the match. For a brand new show, this relationship is darn enjoyable.
Carlito and Heath Slater’s match ended the only way it could, really, with Slater picking up the victory over Michael Tarver’s pro. I thought Slater’s pre-taped interview discussing Carlito’s previous attack on him was compelling, and Slater is already showing himself to be strong on the mic. His in-ring action has been solid, if nothing special, but he definitely is starting to hit the right notes for a talent in 2010’s WWE.
The lengthy focus on Bryan and The Miz early in the show meant we had a main event that didn’t start until less than five minutes of the show remained, which meant we were robbed of a decent shingles match between Wade Barrett and Justin Gabriel. If so much time hadn’t been spent on WWE RAW recaps, both men would have had more minutes to make an impression, but that’s a problem that existed on WWE for many years, and certainly didn’t start here on NXT. Quite fun watching these recaps almost eight years later, mind you.
Once again, the wrestling on this show left me feeling underwhelmed. It’s not bad, but it’s not especially good. It simply does what it has to, and nothing more or less. That’s the difference between TV wrestling and PPV wrestling, really, but it does make reviewing a weekly show somewhat difficult! It’s still an enjoyable show though, particularly for some of the rivalries that are being developed.
Match of the Night
R-Truth & David Otunga vs. The Miz & Daniel Bryan