WWE NXT 4/18/2012 Review
Well well well, look who’s back again. Welcome, and thanks for reading. Last week’s show was my first article for the new website and, I must say, it was pretty cool to get a rough number for how many people actually check out the column. Your support is appreciated, as is your passion for wrestling.
Sadly, after at least two good weeks of NXT and a very good episode of Raw on Monday, this afternoon’s episode didn’t quite hold up. I’m not sure if it was the sleepy crowd or my inability to focus on two things at once (Look a squirrel!) but NXT never really got out of the starting blocks this week. It did, however, plant a lot of seeds for the show’s future and resolved one of the longer storylines in the show’s history. It was an episode…..OF CONSEQUENCES!
Let’s take a look.
Johnny Curtis vs Percy Watson:
Before the opening video this week, the WWE decided to air a video quickly explaining all the twists and turns of the long “Striker Got Kidnapped” storyline, narrated by the one and only Derrick Bateman. I thought it was a good use of Bateman and good way to catch anyone up to date on the storyline who hadn’t been watching NXT religiously.
Once NXT starts it goes right into ring, first with Percy Watson and then with Johnny Curtis and Maxine. Curtis checks out his abs in the reflection of the “We’re in England” car at the top of the ramp and Maxine takes her usual seat by William Regal’s side.
This is where my inability to focus comes into play. Curtis and Watson are fine athletes and as wrestlers have improved a lot in the aspects they were lacking over their seasons on NXT, but what they did in the ring could not overcome all the conversation going on at the announce table. Josh Matthews, acting like a rather aggressive investigative journalist, kept asking Maxine questions about her personal life and Regal kept asking about her role in Striker’s kidnapping. This completely distracted from the match and wasn’t all that entertaining either. It did get over the point that Maxine blamed Curtis for what happened to Striker and that Regal didn’t seem to believe her.
Annnnnnyway, Watson won the match with his Percycution flapjack. Percy Watson wins. Afterwards Regal congratulates Percy and asks that Johnny Curtis come down and sit at the commentator’s desk for the nextmatch between Maxine and Kaitlyn. Curtis protested, saying he needs to shower, but did as he was told.
Maxine vs Kaitlyn:
Obviously Regal wants to get Curtis’s side of the story and Johnny of course lays the blame on Maxine. Bateman, who came out to the ring with Kaitlyn, joins the commentary as well, pointing out that he used to play as William Regal’s character in WCW vs NOW Revenge, which happens to be my favorite wrestling videogame ever. Sadlythe same distractions that occurred during the last match cripple this one as well, though it’s quite a bit shorter anyway. Maxine hits a drop-toe hold on Kaitlyn, sending her head first into the second turnbuckle, and wraps a Dragon Sleeper around her. After attempting to fight out of the hold, Kaitlyn submits. Maxine wins.
After the match Regal punishes Curtis and Maxine for their role in Striker’s kidnapping by forcing Maxine to become Johnny’s manager or be fired. She signs a contract making it so and then Regal handcuffs the two of them together because the WWE is a totalitarian organization that can do whatever it wants toits employees so long as the act is in retaliation for bad behavior.
I had no idea the WWE was a subsidiary of Wal-Mart.
Back in the locker-room, Titus O’ Neil dances in to find Darren Young in a mood. Young starts to give Titus a piece of his mind about Tamina and O’Neil’s disrespect but Titus shows him a couple pieces of paper. They’re Smackdown contracts, straight from the desk of John Laurinitis himself. That’s right, Darren Young and Titus O’ Neil are headin’ to Smackdown!
Titus: “What were you saying about Tamina.”
Young: “…..what Tamina?”
Young joins in on Titus’s dance to finish the segment. This phrase comes to mind:
Backstage Shenanigans, part 2:
After a Raw Rebound, Hawkins and Reks are backstage discussing their currently sticky situation. The still handcuffed together Curtis and Maxine stomp in, yelling and screaming, and blame Hawkins and Reks for their troubles. The heels squabble till Percy Watson, Derrick Bateman and Kaitlyn stroll through and poke fun at their misfortune. “Till death do you part.” Bateman says to Maxine, indicating the handcuffs. Kaitlyn has a better taunt. “Aren’t you used to these by now?” Snap. Maxine tries to hit Kaitlyn but falls over. Curtis and Maxine leave and Hawkins tells Reks that he’s “got this.”
Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins explain themselves:
Hawkins and Reks come out to the ring (in Hart Foundation colors for some reason) and grab some mics. Conspicuous by its absence is Hawkins’s cane. Spoiler Alert: Striker has it. Hawkins grabs a mic and accuses Regal of doctoring up some footage to frame them. Reks claims they never knew where Striker was. Speakingof Striker, he walks out from the Titantron with Hawkins’s cane and a mic.
Striker cuts a nice little promo, basically pointing out that it was Hawkins and Reks who kidnapped, blindfolded and beat him with a cane. The heels try to surround him but Striker cuts them off, swinging wildly with Hawkins’s cane. Regal stops him verbally and makes a match between Reks and Hawkins…..and the loser gets fired.
Tyler Reks vs Curt Hawkins:
In a funny moment, Reks tells Regal that he can’t fight Hawkins, that they go way back, which gives Hawkins time to punch Reks in the face. Regal makes Striker the referee and Striker suspiciously reveals he was wearing a referee shirt the whole time. Hmm.
Reks overpowers and outmaneuvers Hawkins at the start, hiptossing him across the ring and dodging a knee drop. Reks heads up top and misses a crossbody. Hawkins slaps on a rest hold and, after trading some punches with Reks, hits a vertical suplex. What’s next, a body slam? Nope, another rest hold……grumble grumble.Reks fight back up to his feet and runs the ropes, only to be tripped but Hawkins and his patented slide trip. Hawkins tries to pull Reks to the outside but gets kicked into the barricade. Reks, who is not a small man, simply jumps on Curt with an impressive looking Plancha! Reks steamrolls Hawkins back inside the ring, hits a corner splash and an reverse STO. Two-count only. Hawkins fights back with a forearm and gets his own two-count. Reks tries for a gutwrench powerbomb that Hawkins slips out of and Hawkins counters with a body slam thatReks slips out of into a rollup…and that’s the “end” of Hawkin’s career. Tyler Reks wins.
After the match Hawkins gives Striker some lip so he gets a knuckle sandwich. Cue the ‘Nanananah, hey hey hey” chant. Regal gets on the mic and officially fires Hawkins. Reks shakes Regal’s hand, so Regal fires him too. Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks are fired.
Like I said, CONSEQUENCES! This episode brought about the punishment for the sins of Johnny Curtis, Maxine, Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks, possibly bringing a close to what was a long storyline for NXT. Do I think that Hawkins and Reks are actually, for realsies fired? Eh, not really. Releases are supposed to be coming up and Hawkins and Reks are probably somewhere in the vicinity of the chopping block, but how often does the WWE actually take the time to build up a low card wrestler’s release? The fact that they’re consistently on NXT everyweek probably means they’re not actually fired and will either come back for revenge later or show up on another show thanks to John Laurinitis.
Speaking of Johnny, dude seems to be signing a lot of new talent because Young and Titus are movin’ on over to Smackdown! I’m surprised that the WWE is finally going to bring some of the NXT talent onto one of the bigger shows but am glad Titus and Young are getting the call up. Are they ready? Oh god yes. Titus has needed toswim in a bigger pond for a while now, even with his flaws, and Young is solid enough to work Smackdown as well. Congratulations are due for both men; I wonder what Mr. Johnson will think of them?
So yeah, big things happening on NXT but that didn’t necessarily translate into a good show this week. The matches were hurt by distracting commentary and the lack of a follow up with Tyson Kidd and Micheal McGillicutty was noticeable. Bateman was just…..there; besides his voiceover, he had about two things to say, both well delivered. Still, there just wasn’t enough of what makes NXT enjoyable in this week’s episode, thoughwe might look back at today’s show and point out that it was the beginning of a new era of NXT. Because of tonight’s events I’m curious to see what happens next week and that in itself is a good sign. With that in mind NXT earns a 4.5/10.