After winning the NXT challenge in the previous episode, David Otunga cashes in his prize: a main event versus his own mentor, R-Truth.
Daniel Bryan (with The Miz)
Michael Tarver (with Carlito)
(Winner via pinfall: Michael Tarver)
(Winner via pinfall: R-Truth)
Of the few challenges I remembered as I embarked on this rewatch of NXT‘s first season, the obstacle course was one of them. Of the whole task, the only part I could actually remember was the soda-drinking one, which was just as baffling but entertaining now as it was then.
Daniel Bryan, actually trying on this challenge compared to others, found himself not only slowed down by some kayfabe injuries, but also by the fix drink. Heath Slater saw his time hurt by the sugary goodness too. It was just so silly, but fun, and clearly whoever crafted this challenge knew that the soda drinking would be a challenge for these athletes.
From a wrestling perspective, this was a mixed bag, which is certainly an improvement over some previous episodes. Michael Tarver and Bryan’s match was actually quite fun, although a part of me felt that this was the episode where another in-ring defeat made Bryan look like a jabroni. Losing streaks work when there is a payoff, but NXT has offered none for Bryan, and one can’t help but feel it was purely done out of spite by WWE‘s management. But alas, I’m over it.
The main event, determined in the previous episode following Otunga’s NXT Challenge victory, failed to impress. This was partly due to time, and mostly just due to a lack of in-ring chemistry, at least in this writers opinion. Tarver/Bryan, with the worst loss records in the competition, put on a much better match.
Despite the lacklustre wrestling, this episode is worth watching for its obstacle course. Whilst it leads to you laughing at the talent, rather than with them, the sheer entertainment value makes it somewhat unmissable, especially if you haven’t seen it before.
Match of the Night
Daniel Bryan vs. Michael Tarver