The first NXT standings are revealed, as Matt Striker reveals that the winner of NXT‘s first season will not only receive a main roster contract, but will be able to challenge for any championship of their choosing at a PPV. The NXT Rookies compete in a battle royal to win the right to guest host the following weeks WWE RAW…
Christian, William Regal, The Miz & Carlito
R-Truth, Wade Barrett, Matt Hardy & CM Punk
(Winners via pinfall: R-Truth, Barrett, Hardy & CM Punk)
8-Man Battle Royal to determine the Guest Host for the next WWE RAW
(Winner: David Otunga)
It’s hard to be so tough on NXT, particularly because it has such a youthful charm about it, but my feeling is that WWE opened themselves up to hard reviews when they started using terms such as “revolutionary” to describe this new show. Even now, nearly 8 years after this season of NXT aired, they’re doing similar with 205 Live when they describe it as “the most exciting hour of television,” or some words to that affect. I mean, is it really?
One thing that did feel fresh and new in this episode was the reveal of the superstar rankings. I’d be very interested to know how these rankings were calculated, as one would expect the writers to have put them together to represent the supposed view of the mentors, but then the placement of some rookies seems well off, given their booking. I love Daniel Bryan, and I always have, but what about his performances would have made the NXT Pro’s rank him above men who have beaten him? Or a Heath Slater with a 4-0 win/loss record? It didn’t make much sense to me.
The resulting promo from Bryan and Otunga, the first time we’ve ever been given a real taste of legit rivalry between rookie and rookie, rather than rookie and pro, was electric. Otunga is incredibly relaxed on the mic, and I enjoy watching him talk. Bryan is always gold when he’s trashing other people.
From a wrestling perspective, we had a fun 8-Man tag match featuring all the mentors. I liked this, and it had enough time to tell a story. On a main show, it never would’ve had the same courtesy. RAW vs. Smackdown was a nice little touch, and saw people team up who you wouldn’t normally get to see do so due to their heel/babyface relationships, etc. Wade Barrett looked like he belonged amongst these talents, and Chris Jericho did a good job of putting him over on commentary.
The less said about the battle royal, the better. This was an embarrassing main event, summed up by the flat and botched ending that saw Otunga win to become guest host of the following weeks WWE RAW. Quick eliminations, and no story. The talent looked directionless, and whoever pieced this match together backstage did not have the best intentions of the talent in mind, in my mind. Nothing here got any of them over, and in some cases confirmed to us who the irrelevant talent on the show are, at least as far as WWE are concerned.
If you were speeding through the season, I’d recommend the opening segment where the rankings were revealed, and the promos that followed it. The tag match is worth a watch, but only if you have some free time. The battle royal is best ignored, if I’m honest.
Match of the Night
Christian, William Regal, The Miz & Carlito vs. R-Truth, Wade Barrett, Matt Hardy & CM Punk
(+0.5 for the entertaining opening segment)