NXT 5.41 ReviewBy Lonestar
Oh man, is it NXT time again already? The past week just flew by for me, but before I get to the show I found a little piece of “news” to discuss, courtesy of the Wrestling Observer & re-written on Rajah.com.
Triple H Making Big Changes to WWE DevelopmentalWWE's developmental system is on the verge of undergoing some major changes in the coming months - and it all has to do with how WWE calls up their talent to the main roster.<!--more-->Recruiting talent is not an issue at this point - as Florida Championship Wrestling currently features on of its best rosters ever. Wrestlers such as Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Husky Harris and Percy Watson (Lonestar’s Note: I don’t know why they’re mentioning Percy Watson when he’s currently on WWE TV) all have potential to be breakout stars - but WWE has learned the hard way how absolutely crucial first impressions are and what happens when you introduce talent before they're ready.Triple H's latest inititive (sic) is not to bring developmental talent to the main roster until the WWE creative team has a character in mind for them and a long-term idea of how to use them.On many occasions, WWE has called up wrestlers without properly introducing them or having an angle for them. The wrestlers are seen as "filler" and their careers are badly damaged.It's been acknowledged that several FCW stars have more potential than guys on the main roster, but WWE does not want to bring the FCW guys up until their characters are more polished.Because many of FCW's most promising stars spent years working the independent scene (Rollins, Ambrose), that path is no longer looked down upon the way it was just a few years ago.
Now, I have a healthy bit of skepticism about this news article for multiple reasons but my god does this point out why NXT is such a dead end at the moment for its wrestlers. “Perception is reality” is the iron-clad essential truth of the wrestling business and through NXT the WWE promotes its newer wrestlers like jobbers and inexperienced rookies. Why should I care about the Usos when they aren’t shown as standing a chance against the champions of a division that is anemically promoted? Why should I care about Bateman, Watson, Young, or O’ Neil when they’re constantly called rookie and have trouble beating the WWE’s jobbersLet’s look at it another way. Kofi Kingston received weeks of vignettes establishing his character, which has given him an identity that despite never evolving still exists to this day. Once he debuted his strengths were highlighted, he had the support of the announcers, and went on a fairly lengthy singles winning streak. Kofi hasn’t gotten past the mid card shuffle for various reasons but he still has a job and an identity in the WWE today, almost four years after his debut. Today new wrestlers barely get a few weeks to prove themselves before falling into the wasteland that is superstars or NXT. I really hope this article has a kernel of truth to it because the way the WWE went about introducing Sin Cara, Karma, and Alberto Del Rio must be internally considered as successes, even if plans for two of the three were derailed by outside circumstance. The WWE simply cannot keep only introducing wrestlers on NXT as it currently exists and expect that they’re going to get anywhere.Yoshi Tatsu and Trent Baretta vs Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks:NXT opens immediately with a match this week but first Hawkins and Reks have to run their mouths. I get the feeling that these two probably aren’t all that popular backstage at the moment and as such art is imitating life. I mean think about it, they lose all the time (on NXT even), Matt Striker and Josh Matthews keep commenting about how they’ve had chances and should just work harder, etc. It might just be my personal disinterest in them but I really think they’re lucky to even be on NXT.Anyway, Reks calls the “rookies” rookies again and gets some cheap heat from the North Carolina audience. Hawkins says that they’re two true pros. Tatsu and Baretta come out to Baretta’s music and Trent calls his opponents “grumpy-pantses”. Baretta proceeds to insult them and their stupid internet cartoon. The heels ask who gave Trent permission to speak and point out that nobody gave Tatsu a mic because no one can understand him. “Understand this.” Yoshi says after grabbing Baretta’s mic. “Wash your hair. It stinks.” Oh course the crowd chants that little gem of a line.Trent and Yoshi start off strong, working over Tyler Reks like the bum he is, until a legal distraction from Curt Hawkins gives Reks the opportunity to wrist-wrench Tatsu off the top turnbuckle. The heels do a mediocre job working over Yoshi Tatsu (I’ve counted at least three minor timing issues already) before Yoshi gets the lukewarm hot tag to Baretta. Trent hits some highflying offense, including a crossbody that Hawkins jumps for. Reks breaks up the pinfall and Yoshi enters the fray to eliminate himself from the match. Baretta sends Reks out and counters a…..fallaway slam attempt (?) into a roll-up for the win. Trent Baretta and Yoshi Tatsu win.After the match Trent exclaims “I won!” and the heels look flabbergasted. I’m not sure why they’re so surprised.Percy Watson’s Showtime Talk Segment, featuring the Beta-Max-Curtis Love Triangle:I’m not doing a play by play of this because it’s not all that important. Here’s what you need to know.-Percy Watson likes rhyming.-The monitors in the ring for recent promo segments annoy the shit out of me.-They played a video package summing up this angle. I assume the WWE video package version of me made it.-Bateman said “I think I can speak for every male in this building and say that all women are insane” to a decent pop.-Percy Watson seems to be perpetually having a good time.-Bateman got a sign in the crowd that had the “Max” crossed out of Beta-Max.-Johnny Curtis used photo-shop to put a heart around Bateman and Maxine’s mom.-Watson brings out JTG, who admits that Curtis paid him to say that Maxine left with Curtis when it didn’t happen. Oh snap.-Maxine came out and told everyone to shut up. She’s tired of NXT I guess. She told everyone to “stick it up where the sun don’t shine”. Unfortunately the camera missed her slapping her own ass. Stupid PG rating.-Bateman said Maxine is so crazy he wants to spend the rest of her life with her. Bateman punched Johnny and left, then Curtis got pissed at Watson and they fought. Matt Striker made the match between the two of them for later tonight.Jey Uso vs JTG:No Siva Tau? No tag team partner? Ok, whatever. JTG still gets his valet.This match isn’t good enough to overcome the sum of its parts. Face starts strong, heel takes over and works the ribs, face gets fired up and wins the match, though I expected a bit more of a face offense rush. Jey pretty much just superkicked JTG and that was it. Jey Uso wins.After the match Tamina kisses JTG and Jey makes vomit faces.A Titus O’ Neil “Earlier Today” vignette:Matt Striker is playing an acoustic guitar in his office (yes, he has an office now with a Ronald Regan portrait) when Titus comes in and apologizes for his angry, frustrated, slightly convoluted promo last week. Striker accepts his apology, understanding what it’s like to deal with Darren Young (points for storyline continuity). Titus talks about his troubled youth and how he’d like to set an example for the kids he goes into schools and talks with on a regular basis. I typed that point out a lot more eloquently than he put it, but that’s what he said. Striker offers to cut the “challenge” later on tonight if Titus doesn’t want to do it, but Titus says he needs confront Young.Beta-Max-Curtis Vignette:Bateman catches up with Maxine backstage and says that love is a battlefield and he’s willing to go to war. He declares that before this show is over (this is the show that never ends) he will marry her. Bateman leaves and Curtis shows up and steals a kiss with Maxine, which may or may not be sexual assault. He blocks a slap and says they’ll get physical after he wins his match.Mini-derp.Johnny Curtis vs Percy Watson:Alright, this is what I’m talking about, watch this match. Percy Watson’s flashy personality bounced well off Johnny Curtis’s new quirky, angry creep character and together they put on a match that felt like a believable fight and was probably one of Watson’s best. It is easy to forget how good Curtis is at putting together solid matches because he’s just so sly about it. Watson sold an injury to his arm well and Curtis was sure to capitalize, winning the match after a single arm DDT, a discus clothesline and his signature falcon arrow. Johnny Curtis wins.MOTN honors right here.Titus O’ Neil and Darren Young Face-off:Ah, the wonder of live microphones. This face-off had its positive and negative aspects but I think overall it was successful. In the end the audience does not like Darren Young or the way he’s interacting with Titus and they want to the see the big man kick his ass: mission accomplished. However, with the creative team recently dipping their toes a bit deeper into the promo pool with Titus, we’re going to see his weaknesses exposed a bit. Titus did better than last week but he still stumbled a bit with certain words and in general looked a bit over his head. That’s fine, he’ll learn to swim. What he is doing well is getting across the fact that’s he’s a bit conflicted about what he should do with Darren Young considering his status as a role model. Darren Young, for his part, did a great job at egging Titus on and getting under his skin. Titus didn’t want to get physical but Young started shoving him and needling him until O’ Neil couldn’t take it anymore. Titus started to beat up Young but stopped short, eventually leaving the ringside area without hitting any big moves. Personally I think this is an interesting path for Titus to take and could lead to further development of his face character or a random heel turn. I hope for the former. NXT ends with Titus on the ramp and Young looking furious on the floor of the ringside area.Wrap-up:This was an odd episode of NXT to cover and truthfully I enjoyed it more upon second viewing. It was an oddly structured, promo heavy show with only one notable match but it did a lot to progress the more important storylines and put over the “rookies” of the show. I thought this was one of Percy’s best performances since the very beginning of NXT Season 2; he’s really hitting the right spot for his character to be at lately with the perfect amount of flash. Titus and Young, who by the way looks huge in street clothes, are building their feud well as are Curtis and Bateman despite the inherent silliness of their storyline. Overall half the show wasn’t bad. I still don’t care much for the inconsequential matches that make up the majority of NXT these days but I admit this show was a step back in the right direction. I know, crazy right? NXT gets a 4.5/10 this week. Check out the Curtis/Watson match.Merry Freakin’ Christmas part 2:In case you missed it last week I’m giving you all Baby Jesus Birthday Presents throughout the entire month of December in the form of pictures of the hot women of wrestling. This week’s pic comes from a surprising source, a WWE diva I am not a fan of. Sometimes I wonder why this lady even got hired by the WWE, until I see pictures like firstname.lastname@example.org