The NXT Rookies face off in a battle of strength and balance, whilst Heath Slater goes one-on-one with Chris Jericho…
David Otunga (with R-Truth)
Justin Gabriel (with Matt Hardy)
(Winner via pinfall: Justin Gabriel)
Michael Tarver (with Carlito)
(Winner via pinfall: Darren Young)
Chris Jericho (with Wade Barrett)
(Winner via pinfall: Heath Slater)
Are you a fan of the 1990’s television classic Gladiators? If yes, then you might enjoy the weekly challenge on this episode of NXT, which saw all eight NXT Rookies beat each other with sticks in an attempt to knock their opponent(s) off their platform. For anyone else, you’ll probably find yourself smiling during these segments, but more so at the sheer ridiculousness of it, as opposed to actual enjoyment. It was an improvement on the awful challenge from the previous episode, mind you. Skip Sheffield won this week, for those of you keeping track.
As is the case a lot of the time on NXT, the wrestling matches were mostly short, but did enough to tick along. There were no standout matches here, but there weren’t any that were offensive to watch, so they pretty much nailed the WWE TV formula.
I did like the setup for the triple threat, and it was nice to move away from a traditional singles match or tag match. That the interference by Luke Gallows blew up in his face was entertaining, and I’m quite enjoying the ongoing storyline with Darren Young and his Straight Edge Society mentors.
Heath Slater did what Daniel Bryan couldn’t do in the NXT debut episode, beating Chris Jericho via rollup. Jericho’s reaction was priceless, but I suspect we’d never have seen this outcome had Jericho still carried the World Heavyweight Championship as he did at the start of this season. Slater’s win record is incredible thus far, and I’m genuinely surprised that WWE have picked him out for the push they’re giving, as they have many more choices on NXT who fit their typical WWE look/character. Still, it’s fun to watch, but I’m now officially tired of the “shock” wins over the mentors. At this point, I just want to see it happen via a dominating and clean win.
With only six episodes left, we are very close to the first eliminations. My instincts tell me that they shouldn’t have waited so long to start removing people from the process, particularly given they clearly hit an early creative rut on the show prior to the introduction of the weekly challenges. Either way, my memory tells me that the best of NXT‘s first season comes following a particularly elimination, so I can’t wait to get to that part of the show.
Match of the Night
Michael Tarver vs. Skip Sheffield vs. Darren Young