The second season of NXT begins, the day after the original NXT Rookies came together to form The Nexus and destroy Monday Night Raw…
John Morrison & Eli Cottonwood
Zack Ryder & Titus O’Neil
(Winner via pinfall: Morrison and Cottonwood)
MVP & Percy Watson
Cody Rhodes & Husky Harris
(Winner via pinfall: MVP & Percy Watson)
Despite a serious lack of direction at times, and a significant lack of seriousness too, NXT‘s first season had a charm that made rewatching it never feel quite as tedious as simply being a chore. A lot of that was down to its roster, which included future megastar Daniel Bryan, and the man who’s got kids, Heath Slater. There was always a reason to not give up on it, even when the wrestling was treated as an afterthought, and the “challenges” descended into something directed at school children.
NXT‘s second season launched with a roster that, if you were quizzed on the spot, you probably couldn’t name entirely. Kaval (known to most as Low Ki) is the one viewers normally associate with this run, and some might remember Bray Wyatt before he was following the buzzards, appearing here as Husky Harris. Perhaps the most shocking thing, however, is just how many of this seasons roster are still with the company almost eight years later. Your Titus O’Neil’s and Percy Watson’s, for example. Just this surprise alone is enough to make one think that they best pay attention to this incarnation of the show.
Unfortunately, the first episode of season two featured many of the problems that plagued the first run. Once again, the wrestling was not a priority, although the main event was rather run to watch, particularly due to to Cody’s Rhodes’ clear disdain for a Husky Harris who lacked the fine physique of his mentor, Rhodes himself.
As per that first season, a lot of time was wasted on recaps, too. Did we need to see the full clip of Nexus destroying RAW the night earlier? Probably not. The video packages for Alex Riley and Michael McGillicutty did make up for such time wasting though, particularly Riley’s which demonstrated immediately how good his promo abilities are.
The biggest problem, and this isn’t isolated to this episode but rather the show as a whole, is WWE‘s almost visible disdain for it. After showing the lengthy footage of Nexus’ attack, the new NXT Pro’s decide to get the new set of rookies in-line by attacking them at the close of the show, leaving them all beaten and battered. It was a tutorial in how to make sure your new talent can’t get over with the viewing audience. It’s somewhat terrifying that no one backstage was able to make the key decision-maker see that burying his new roster on their first appearance wasn’t going to do them any good in the eyes of the viewers. But then, NXT has been doing that for a while, at this point.
In many ways, this first episode of season two felt very much like the hangover from the events on RAW. Compared to the first seasons debut, which saw Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho have a very good main event match, this one underwhelmed significantly. Yes, the tone felt a bit more serious again, but it was all a bit slow, and there was no attempt to really wow the crowd right of the gate. They could have made a statement with this first appearance for the NXT Rookies, but instead they left the new competitors on their backs, looking weaker in those few minutes than any first season rookie ever did.
Match of the Night
MVP & Percy Watson vs. Cody Rhodes & Husky Harris