The NXT Rookies come to England, as they embark on the second week of challenges. Daniel Bryan faces his real-life mentor, William Regal, whilst Darren Young battles a member of CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society…
Wade Barrett (with Chris Jericho)
Christian (with Heath Slater)
(Winner via pinfall: Christian)
Daniel Bryan (with The Miz)
William Regal (with Skip Sheffield)
(Winner via pinfall: William Regal)
Luke Gallows (with CM Punk & Serena Deeb)
(Winner via pinfall: Darren Young)
Where WWE NXT #008‘s challenge (a beat-the-lock keg carrying race) added something to its episode, and gave viewers a real sense of fun and unpredictability, the shows ninth episode saw its weekly challenge almost derail the entire hour.
Set with the task of discussing a WWE-chosen word for thirty seconds, the NXT Rookies found themselves having to cut promos on topics such as “flowers” and “bubblegum.” It was absolutely ridiculous, and not in a good way. That it was done in front of a British crowd was an even sillier decision, although I suspect they’d not make that same mistake in 2017.
For what it’s worth, Daniel Bryan didn’t help things. As the first man up, Bryan got hit with “passion,” which not only turned out to be a decent word compared to what others were later given, but also happened to be something that Bryan could talk about extensively, let alone for half a minute. Deciding that he found the whole challenge a waste of his time, Bryan proceeded to go entirely off topic and make a joke out of it. Don’t get me wrong, the segment was a joke, but in Bryan’s case it didn’t feel like WWE were trying to low blow him for once. The UK’s own Wade Barrett would eventually win, given it was based on crowd reaction and they were in England, which I imagine is what WWE management wanted.
From a wrestling perspective, not a lot worked here. Barrett had a fair match against Christian, at least by the usual NXT standard (which is the only way I can assess the match quality on this series, I’ve realised), but Bryan and Regal was criminally robbed of ring time making it another quick defeat for the future leader of the Yes Movement, and Darren Young and Luke Gallows had what turned out to be another quick main event for NXT. These main events aren’t getting the time they need, in my opinion. Annoyingly, Young/Gallows had a fun backstage promo to set it up too, so I’d hoped for more from it.
It was another frustrating hour for NXT, but the charm of its roster is carrying it through. I don’t think the weekly challenges ever got quite as bad as this one again, so that’s at least a positive thought as I embark on the second half of this season.
Match of the Night
Wade Barrett vs. Christian