Our regular NXT reviewer, Lonestar, is away this week so I volunteered to fill in. I watch NXT every week. Here in Canada it's shown in primetime on television in glorious HD. If it was only an online show for us then maybe I wouldn't watch, but I find it a worthwhile way to spend 40 minutes every week. I think due to it only being an online show in the US it definitely hurts it. Hopefully they can get a TV deal soon or put it on the new WWE Network when that starts up in November or December. Let's roll.
The show begins with that "Wild & Young" song that has been the song of NXT since it began. The clips feature the talent that is featured on NXT, so that's current. It's still called "NXT Redemption" even though the "redemption points" idea is long gone.
In the ring, Matt Striker was in the ring. He welcomed back Josh Mathews, who was out last week selling the attack from Brock Lesnar. He also welcomed William Regal in the ring, who is the matchmaker on the show. It's basically like saying that he's the GM in a babyface role. He said he was scouting talent last week and that we'd be seeing new talent on NXT in the next few weeks. I'd assume that the top FCW guys would be candidates for that. I'm looking forward to seeing who gets the call up.
The music of Johnny Curtis started as he walked out with Maxine, who he is handcuffed to. Curtis complained about being cuffed to her and she wasn't happy about it either, calling him a moron. I'm a fan of Maxine's work especially in the promo department. Also in the looks department. Her tight dress shows off her features very well. She wasn't happy about being on NXT still. She fell down entering the ring. Crowd isn't reacting much to it, but they're trying hard. As they entered the ring, Regal noted that they lost their matches the last couple of weeks. I guess winning matches is a way to get off the show.
They were interrupted by JTG, who said "pump the brakes, old man." That means stop. He said Regal needs to worry about him. He's wondering why Regal isn't responding to him and said the people want more of JTG. I think that was a heel promo, but the fans cheered him possibly because they recognized him. Striker took the cuffs off Curtis and Maxine because Curtis and JTG would be tag team partners. Cue the music of the most talented man on NXT, Tyson Kidd. He gets a good babyface pop. Tyson said they should be out there entertaining the fans instead of complaining. He said he had a friend to tag with for this match. SAY IT TO MY FACE! The tag partner is Alex Riley.
Analysis: It was a basic opening segment that was effective in terms of setting up what would be the opening match. The only odd part of it was JTG getting cheered while he did a heel promo. I'm guessing that's more because the fans aren't likely NXT viewers and are unaware of who is in what role. The promos were all good. Tyson's promos are better as a babyface than they are as a heel, I think.
Back from break, Maxine was at the commentary desk. Regal enjoyed it because she was miserable.
Tyson Kidd & Alex Riley vs. JTG & Johnny Curtis
Kidd started with Curtis. They had a match last week that Kidd won. Kidd ended up getting some good nearfalls early using his speed take control of the action. He tagged in Riley, who hit a dropkick, but Curtis was able to tag in JTG. Riley hit a nice spinebuster on JTG. He climbed the top rope. JTG was able to throw him off with a slam as the heels isolated Riley from his partner. They went to break as JTG slammed Riley into the turnbuckle.
The "Be A Star" commercial aired. Alicia Fox: "They called me…a boy." Always makes me laugh even though it's not supposed to. It's just awkward.
Back from break, Curtis and JTG continued to work over Riley while Maxine showed frustration on commentary. Nice neckbreaker by JTG on Riley, which led to a chinlock. Curtis prevented the hot tag to Kidd. The crowd was loud for the tag, so they're winning them over with the match. Maxine mentioned having to go to the restroom with Curtis and being cuffed all the time. I remember a previous show where they said they only got cuffed when they got to the building, so maybe the story changed somewhere. Maxine promised to change her ways. JTG hit a suplex on Riley for two. Curtis got a cover on Riley, but Kidd had enough so he broke up the pin. There was a "let's go Riley" chant. Maxine was ripping on Curtis. JTG hit a facebuster for two. Curtis put Riley on the top rope, but Riley fought it off. Riley ended up hitting a clothesline off the top rope. He got the hot tag to Kidd as JTG also tagged in. Kidd hit his spinning kicks followed by a running dropkick for two. Kidd hit a neckbreaker on the middle rope, which isn't an easy spot to do, but they made it look great. JTG and Curtis got dumped to the floor. Kidd ran the ropes, his partner Riley gave him a backdrop and Kidd connected with a somersault plancha on his opponents. Big pop for that. Meanwhile at the announced desk, Maxine promised next week she'd be better behaved. Back in ring, Kidd went for a springboard attack, JTG moved, went for a rollup and Kidd was able to trip him up. Kidd applied The Dungeon Lock, which is the name of his new finisher that starts out like a Sharpshooter, but ends up with Tyson on his back applying a hold to the arm of his opponent. It's an impressive looking move. JTG tapped out quickly. The match went about 12 minutes.
Winners: Tyson Kidd & Alex Riley (aka Saying it to Kidd's Faces)
Post match, Kidd and Riley celebrated the win. The crowd popped big for it.
Analysis: **1/2 It was a basic tag team match that got a good amount of time to tell the story of the heels working over one of the babyfaces before he got the hot tag to his partner. That's tag team wrestling. I liked the finish a lot. In addition to Tyson being better in promos as a face, he's also better in the ring as a face. His high flying talents are better used as a babyface. Hopefully when Justin Gabriel returns from injury their babyface tag team can get a push.
In the locker room, Percy Watson was talking to Michael McGillicutty, who has done a really good job in being a cocky heel character on NXT. He was making fun of Watson's gear. Last week McGillicutty attacked him, so that led to the having a one on one match. McGillicutty denies attacking him and says that he would have finished the job. McGillicutty says he'd be the one that gets the last laugh. That's the main event.
Analysis: Good segment. Like I said, McGillicutty has grown as a performer while he's been on NXT. I still think his name sucks, but you can see the improvement in his work. Watson's a good babyface with a strong personality too.
There was a commercial for the WrestleMania 28 DVD that comes out on Tuesday May 8. I'll be picking that up.
They aired the Raw recap with Lesnar breaking the arm of Triple H.
Regal and Mathews noticed Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins sitting in the crowd. They were "fired" from NXT a few weeks ago. Regal got security to take them away, so that's what happened. I like them as a team. I'm sure this angle is leading to something although I'm not sure what that is.
In the locker room area, JTG was upset about his loss. Alicia Fox showed up. He complained about a dark cloud over his head. She said he looked like he was stuck in Brooklyn, but in 1998. She told him he needed a new look. She would help him get it all ready for next week. At first he said no. Then he said fine. Well, she is a former wedding planner. And they did used to call her a boy!
In another part of the backstage area, Kaitlyn was walking with Derrick Bateman, who was rocking a generic WWE NXT t-shirt. They were talking about how he was getting a match on Smackdown this week. All of a sudden, somebody was yelling. They ran over and it was Alex Riley, who was grabbing his left knee. They helped him get to a doctor.
Percy Watson made his entrance. He barely got a reaction. He had his left knee taped up to sell the injury from last week. Michael McGillicutty entered next. Same deal as far as a reaction. I'll refer to him as MM rather than type McGillicutty every single time.
Michael McGillicutty vs. Percy Watson
Watson took control early, hitting a backbreaker and grabbing a chinlock. Regal said it would be a good learning experience for Watson because he can't do high flying offense due to his injured knee. MM made a comeback, but Watson was able to quickly recover. MM ended up hitting a dragon screw legwhip on Watson's injured left knee. They went to break as Watson was selling the knee injury in the corner.
We return to the action with Watson still grabbing his injured left knee while MM worked it over with a series of kicks. He also twisted the knee in a submission like move, but Watson was able to kick him off. McGillicutty knocked him down with a clothesline to the back. It's so quiet in the crowd that when McGillicutty gave him a Figure Four Leglock there wasn't even a loud "woo" reaction from the crowd like you'd expect. Watson got out of it with punches to the head. Watson threw a series of punches in the corner, but McGillicutty got out of it and threw Watson hard into the turnbuckle to take control one more time. When MM went for the Figure Four again, Watson kicked him in the butt to send him to the floor. Watson came back with a clothesline and a nice hip toss as the crowd started to come alive a bit. Watson hit a nice facebuster into a neckbreaker combo for two. Watson put him on his shoulders, MM fought out of it and then he attacked the knee with a forearm shot from behind. McGillicutty hit his one handed snapping neckbreaker for the win at around the 12 minute mark.
Winner: Michael McGillicutty
Analysis: **1/4 This was fine. Watson did a really good job of selling the leg injury the whole match while McGillicutty was technically sound in terms of how he attacked it. It's not like you'd ever see these two guys get a long match on Raw or Smackdown, so NXT is good in terms of allowing guys to get a good amount of time in the ring in front of a big audience. That's why NXT is useful.
After the match, Matt Striker walked to ringside with a piece of material (let's call it a tassel) found on Percy Watson's boot earlier. He gave it to William Regal. Regal grabbed the microphone to ask if the tassel belonged to Watson because he was missing a tassel off his boot. He said security wanted to talk to him. So he suspects him even though McGillicutty is the heel that attacked him last week and likely attacked Riley this week? In the ring, McGillicutty was wondering what happened. Watson walked to the back with Striker to talk to security.
The show ended like that. Odd ending.
1. Tyson Kidd
2. Alex Riley
3. Michael McGillicutty
I was hoping for a great show for my fill-in NXT review, but it was a pretty average show all around. There were only two matches on the show, which was a little disappointing.
In terms of storyline, they actually do a good job of weaving things together. Stories go from week to week. There have been a number of heel/face turns over the months. There wasn't a big angle this week. Just a bunch of small things that continued current happening like the Curtis/Maxine relationship as well as the second week in a row with a mystery attacker.
The other thing worth pointing out is that William Regal is the best announcer in WWE. I feel confident in saying that because it's true. He puts over the competitors in the ring. He does an excellent job of telling the story of the match in ways that are better than Jerry Lawler, who is well past his prime.
The crowd reactions were telling. They always are. The ones that got the biggest crowd reactions were Kidd, Riley, JTG and Regal because fans have seen them over the years at various points on regular characters on Raw or Smackdown. I think in the case of Kidd and Riley they really did an excellent job of keeping the crowd into it, building up to the hot tag well and finishing the match off the right way. The talents that are considered new or full time NXTers barely got a reaction because chances are 80% of the audience in the building never watches NXT. At least they don't pipe in crowd noise for it because then it would be too unnatural.
This wasn't the greatest episode NXT. Some of the talent (Kidd, Bateman, McGillicutty, Maxine to name a few) needs to become permanent fixtures on Raw and/or Smackdown. Hopefully that can happen soon. With new talent coming on NXT in the near future it could freshen things up a bit as well.
As a rating, call it a 5 out of 10 or so.
Lonestar will be back to write the NXT recap next week. It was a pleasure to fill in.
I'll be back on Saturday for Canton's Corner.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org