NXT 5.44 ReviewBy LonestarHappy New Year Cantonites and welcome to the NXT Review. I’ve been out of town as of late and haven’t caught the past couple of Raws but I’ve heard a bit of the commotion over ratings and main event segments and hypocritical internet fanboys thanks to this wonderful website. Now, it’s hard to delve into this topic without getting one’s hands dirty and since I’ve got NXT to talk about I’ll avoid the conversation for the most part and just make one little point. If you don’t enjoy John Cena or his current feud in the main event spot please, by all means, change the channel. This isn’t a “like it or get out” argument, it’s a simple fact of life; changing the channel and lowering the rating is the only way the WWE will realize that maybe they should try to support someone other than Cena for the long haul.<!--more-->[caption id="attachment_4586" align="aligncenter" width="550" caption="Either a limbo contest or a clothesline"][/caption]NXT Opening:Once again Matt Striker is standing in the ring to start NXT. First he announces tonight’s main event of Derrick Bateman vs Darren Young and then reminds the audience of NXT’s upcoming 100th episode. Striker says that each and every week NXT alumni will be invited back to the show, including tonight’s guest “The Natural” Michael McGillicutty. I am gonna hate typing that name out each time. McGillicutty, who I haven’t seen in quite a while, marches out to new theme music. Speaking of returns, holy crap it’s William Regal! Happy freakin’ birthday to me! Thank goodness he’s back at the announce desk.Striker tries to congratulate McGillicutty on all his accomplishments but he won’t hear it. “I have arrived!” Mike announces. “This show sucks, man. This show gave me absolutely nothing. I went on to jump John Cena. I became a part of the most dominant faction in WWE history, the Nexus. (Lonestar’s Note: Hah!) I’m a former WWE tag team champion. I didn’t accomplish these things because of NXT, I accomplished these things because I do what I want when I want and nobody sees me coming. Nobody is gonna prevent me from being a success in this company!”Out comes Alex Riley, walking and talking like a white-meat baby face. Riley, of course, is another alumnus from season two of NXT, which begs the question…… “Where the hell is Kaval!?” (Don’t answer that, I’m still jaded.) A-Ry goes for a cheap pop from the audience and runs down McGillicutty in a way that shows his comfort on the microphone. Riley challenges McGillicutty to a match and a scuffle breaks out. Striker calls down a ref to make the fight official.Micheal McGillicutty vs Alex Riley:Riley is still fired up from the fight and has the advantage in the beginning of this match, clotheslining McGillicutty out to the floor. McGillicutty decides to take his time re-entering the ring, walking up the steps instead of simply sliding under the ropes. Riley goes on the offensive again, to the crowd’s delight, and hits a facebuster of sorts using the turnbuckles, almost like JTG’s mugshot maneuver. Anyway, Riley telegraphs a back-body drop and gets thrown out to the floor, where he lands on his feet. After dodging Riley’s jumping kick McGillicutty spears Riley off the apron, sending him crashing down to the concrete and into the commercial break.Back from commercial McGillicutty is still in control and Riley is actually getting some chants from the live crowd. Over at the announce desk Master Regal is doing a fine job of building up McGillicutty as a wrestler with an impressive pedigree and actually mentions his father Mr. Perfect and grandfather Larry “The Axe” Hennig. Michael backs up that heavy praise in the ring by doing a great job of controlling Riley with a mix of technical wrestling and some brawling. After quite a bit of nice heel control, Riley hits an STO to turn the tide. Riley fires up the crowd with clotheslines and a spinebuster. McGillicutty hits a nice Saito suplex! Damn! Only a two-count. McGillicutty heads up top and gets crotched by Riley. A-Riley hops up for a superplex…..or a hiptoss, whatever. Not quite Kurt Angle quality there Alex. Riley just gets a two count off his top rope move, though the crowd really thought it was gonna get three. McGillicutty and Riley go back and forth with finisher attempts before Riley hits his TKO for the three-count. You better believe the crowd liked that result. Alex Riley wins.Bate-Curte-Kaite-Max Vignette:There was just way too much goofiness and subtlety in this tiny segment for me to accurately describe in lines on a webpage. Click the link and watch this. Derrick Bateman, Johnny Curtis, Kaitlyn and Maxine all have their funny moments as solo acts but together they’re wonderfully ridiculous.Maxine vs Kaitlyn:Master Regal’s fascinating Maxine fact this week is an amazing act of alliteration. After the lockup Maxine rams Kaitlyn’s head into the turnbuckles repeatedly. Kaitlyn answers back with what Regal calls a straight-arm lift before dumping Maxine into the ropes. Kaitlyn bodyslams Maxine easily and drops a leg on the witchy woman. Kaitlyn goes for another bodyslam……that Maxine counters into a tight dragon sleeper! Kaitlyn taps out to end the match surprisingly early. Maxine wins. [caption id="attachment_4587" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="Maxine in Action"][/caption] Team Yoshi vs Team Hobo Vignette:Tatsu and Baretta are playing WWE ‘12 backstage. Reks and Hawkins come in and one of them says “Look who finally came out of the closet!” Yoshi gets angry but Baretta holds him back and reminds Tatsu that he was literally trapped in a closet last week. Okay, WWE, that right there was actually kind of funny. Baretta and Yoshi challenge their rivals to a game of WWE ’12, which Tyler Reks agrees to. Upon grabbing the X-Box controller Reks discovers that he’s fallen victim to the old superglue-on-the-controller trick.Trent Baretta vs Curt Hawkins:The fact that Reks came out for this match with the X Box controller still attached to his hands is amusing to me. It would totally crack me up if he uses that thing to interfere tonight!What’s there to say about this match? I still don’t have much interest in this feud and Curt Hawkins isn’t helping to change that very much. Call me a move snob, but Hawkins’s moveset of a body slam, a vertical suplex, an elbow drop and a clothesline do not an interesting repertoire make. Josh Matthews just admitted that the WWE doesn’t call moves anymore after Regal called a suplex a suplex and Regal responded by saying he’s different and a one-off. Regal should have just hit Matthews with the Knee Trembler right then and there at the announce table. An enzu-giri from Baretta buys him some space and allows him to set up his corner elbow and a big knee strike. Trent tries for his rope run-ddt but gets tossed away. Hawkins slides under Baretta to the floor and trips him. Trent kicks Hawkins pretty far down the floor, putting him in the perfect position for an aerial assault. Baretta hits the ropes and soars over the top with an excellent somersault senton that Hawkins catches beautifully. Baretta throws Hawkins back into the ring but Reks provides a distraction. After dodging a couple attacks from Hawkins, Baretta nails him with the rope-run DDT and picks up the three-count. Trent Baretta wins.Darren Young vs Derrick Bateman:After a nice video recap of the feud between Darren Young and Titus O’ Neil, Josh Matthews mentions that Titus should be medically cleared to wrestle next week. I was wondering where he had gotten to.Bateman and Young are moving with a lot of speed to start of this match, which makes sense considering the show will end in five minutes. After some back and forth athleticism both men move out to the apron where Young does a nasty apron…….atomic drop!? Ow. Fucking Ow. I don’t know if there was a communication problem or if Bateman bumped weird, turning a suplex into an atomic drop but that had to be one of the nastiest looking bumps I’ve ever seen. Bateman appears to be fine, thank goodness. Bateman fights back inside the ring and throws Young into the turnbuckle and out to the floor, setting him up for Bateman’s flying dropkick off the apron. Bateman hits his spinning neckbreaker and Curte-Max is out to distract. Bateman ignores them for a bit, until Maxine says that she and Johnny are going to get married in Vegas in two weeks. Sure enough, Young hits the gut-check gutbuster on the distracted Bateman for the win.Wrap-up:Tonight’s episode of NXT might be the funniest one in recent memory. Bateman and Curtis are always pretty humorous but even the super-serious and seductive Maxine got in a good line. Speaking of Maxine, the lady knows how to wear a red dress! I’ve been a fan of Maxine’s character since NXT’s third season, but I was curious what others thought of her. When asked to comment, thejohnreport.net founder and head writer John Canton had the following to say.

"I'm officially impressed by Maxine." – John Canton

Good to know boss man. Another highlight of the show was the return of NXT alumni Michael McGillicutty and Alex Riley, who have both improved since I’ve last seen them. If their match and last week’s bout between Slater and Gabriel are any indication, NXT alumni coming back each week can only help the show by varying the show’s wrestler base and giving us new matchups. William Regal’s return to commentary was also a breath of fresh air and one of his better performances behind the desk so far. Regal did everything I praise him for; he was entertaining with his little character quirks and his fascinating Maxine fact, he put over the talent with his verbal praise, and he even called some moves!Overall tonight’s episode was entertaining, which helped to make up for the fact that it was pretty much a one-match show. Nothing besides the McGillicutty/Riley opener was given the time to develop into anything great, though each match worked for what they were. Maxine vs Kaitlyn was short but never dragged. Baretta did his part to make his match exciting. Bateman and Young hustled to get some action out of a short main event. I’d say that thanks to some comedy this week’s NXT held steady and earned another 5/10.Twitter.com/LonestarTJRLonestarTJR@gmail.com