I’m alive, I swear. Sorry for missing last week’s NXT review and show. I was in the midst of a cross country road trip to greater Philadelphia for a job interview. Of course, I don’t know anyone in Philly and am a poor bastard so wasn’t about to spring for a motel. Long story short, I drove 16 hours in one day to get back to Columbus Ohio so I could crash on my college roommate’s couch. Overall it was 33 hours of driving. I now have even greater respect for the people that wrestle for a living and the miles they have to fly and drive in order to make sure the entertainment I enjoy actually happens. As for the interview, it went well but as of the time of this writing I have received no word as to whether or not I got the job. Cross your fingers for me people. 

Anyway, a big thanks to Mr. Canton for filling in for me last week. John watches NXT each week (on the television even) though I think he and I both wanted a better episode for him to review. How did NXT do this week? Let’s find out. 

NXT Opening/Guess who’s back……back again?:

Okay, sometimes NXT does a segment that….how shall I say this……probably could have been cut down a bit to save some time. I’m not going to do a play by play of this one because I don’t think it’s worth it, but if you’re a fan of Hawkins and Reks maybe you’ll find it more gripping than I did.

Basically, because of the random attacks to the superstars backstage and his inability to determine the culprit, Regal has hired the services of an outside security group. Thanks to John Laurinaitis, the two people the security group sent are none other than Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins. Now being security goons, Reks and Hawkins are outfitted in suits. Regal warns them against any possible shenanigans. 

Tamina vs Maxine:

Before the match Maxine comes out still hand-cuffed to Johnny Curtis and sucks up to William Regal over the microphone. She promises that she’s turning over a new leaf and that’s she’s going to be a nice Maxine. Her attempts to toothily smile like a stereotypical WWE face diva are amazing. 

The match actually isn’t half bad. Maxine, believe it or not, has turned into a submission wrestler, locking in a full nelson and a guillotine choke on Tamina to control the larger diva. Unlike most Maxine matches, she does a pretty good job of controlling her temper, continuing her new attempt to be a nicer person. Eventually Tamina overpowers Maxine with a Samoan Drop and heads up top for the obvious Superfly Splash finish. Tamina flies and…..no wait, Maxine rolls out of the way! Maxine locks on a dragon sleeper complete with body scissors and
Tamina taps out! Maxine wins via submission.

After the match Maxine plays nice and actually walks up to Regal so that he can handcuff her to Johnny Curtis, as per his ruling. Maxine even thanks him for the match. Nobody at the announce desk is sure what Maxine is up to but all are suspicious.

 

Yoshi Tatsu vs JTG:

Last week Alicia Fox promised JTG she would give him a makeover, to update his look. Ironically his first opponent under this new look is Yoshi Tatsu, who had his own short-lived repackaging a while back. Fox introduces the new JTG over the mic and out he comes down the ramp, looking quite a bit like TNA and ROH’s Jay Lethal with trunks, boots, a vest and partially free hair. You can see the look for yourself to the left. I would argue this new image makes him look like every one wrestler ever, but JTG has to do something to keep his job. We’ll see if this does this trick. Kevin Thorn doesn’t think it will.

Too bad JTG wrestles about the same as he did before. After a paint by numbers match straight out of Superstars, JTG dodges Yoshi’s knockout kick, almost falls over, then hits Tatsu with a slingblade slam to win the match. Double ironically, the slingblade is a signature move of Tatsu’s former tag team partner and giant star in Japan, Hiroshi Tanahashi. I would call him the John Cena of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Anyway, JTG wins.

WWE spring cleaning could wipe out everyone involved in this match and nobody would bat an eyelash. The damage has been done.

Backstage Shenanigans:

Curtis and Maxine, still smiling, run into Reks and Hawkins backstage. Reks and Hawkins inject a little intrigue into NXT, claiming that they’re “in” with John Laurinaitis and hint that the show might not be around for that long. This gets my attention and Maxine’s, who asks what they’re talking about. Reks changes the subject and produces the key for Curtis and Maxine’s handcuffs. Reks gives it to them, and tells them they should remember who helped them.

Interesting; I like this inclusion of Corporate Johnny’s presence on the fringes of NXT and Reks and Hawkins are a good choice to impose his will.

Who keeps jumping people backstage?:

After commercial, Kaitlyn and Percy Watson are walking backstage and talking about the mysterious attacks going on. For the record, Percy was cleared by William Regal after some questioning. Bateman shows up and apparently doesn’t trust Watson anymore, especially not around Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn points out that Bateman has
been acting a little jerky since his loss on Smackdown. Bateman says he was embarrassed and is just trying to protect Kaitlyn. Bateman wanders off and Percy goes to talk to him. The camera stays on Kaitlyn, who hears some loud noises in the distance. She runs to find Bateman, who just got jumped. Bateman says he didn’t run into Percy, though somebody left a pair of Percy’s glasses at the scene of the crime.

Percy hasn’t worn those silly glasses since season 2 of NXT…..though perhaps that’s a clue as to who is behind the attacks.

Also, PINK LADDER SIGHTING!!

Tyson Kidd and Percy Watson vs Michael McGillicutty and Johnny Curtis

You know, both these pairings would make excellent tag teams, especially Curtis and McGillicutty. Both work an aggressive but technical style that is currently missing from the WWE tag scene. Anyway, with all the chemistry going on between each team and within each team, this match quickly becomes a fun one. Watch the video below. A great early spot is when both heels are on the floor and Kidd gets tagged in. Tyson goes for a double
dropkick through the ropes that Curtis and McGillicutty try to counter by using the apron to catch him, but instead Kidd seamlessly swings up and over the top rope into a somersault senton that has to be seen to be believed. Tyson Kidd is just a pleasure to watch.

Back from commercial Tyson is in control, but not for long. Curtis trips Kidd up as he’s going for a springboard and a mugging commences. Curtis and McGillicutty descend like a pack of wolves. A combination backslide/slingshot legdrop is especially devastating for Kidd and my god why aren’t these two are permanent
tag team already!? Eventually Kidd kicks and scratches and fights his way out of the heel corner and is able to tag in Watson, who goes apeshit over McGillicutty. Curtis breaks up a pin attempt out of a Showtime Splash and Tyson punishes him with a nasty kick. McGillicutty misses a corner splash and Percy hits his PercyCution flapjack for the win. Percy Watson and Tyson Kidd win.

As the victorious faces walk up the ramp, Reks and Hawkins approach Watson about Bateman getting hurt. Hawkins sucker punches Kidd and the newly appointed security team drags Watson back behind the Titan-Tron. Interesting…..

Pink Ladder. It's totally a thing now.

Wrap-up:

On paper this sounded like a boring NXT. Whatever new talent promised over the past few weeks are still absent (as far as we know anyway) and the match-ups seemed ho-hum. Yet tonight NXT seemed to be move forward with a couple mysteries and new directions for several of its mainstay characters. Hawkins and Reks returned as a new security team/potential harbingers of the plague that is John Laurinaitis and their influence was all over tonight’s episode. I’ve never been a big fan of these two on NXT, but this might just be how they hit their stride
and change my mind. Maxine is now playing the role of a heel pretending to be a face, which is just hilarious in practice. Derrick Bateman also came out of nowhere with what could possibly be a heel turn (he was even wearing a suit) and honestly he does have the kayfabe motivation for it. Anyone who saw last week’s Smackdown knows that he really did get embarrassed.  

Obviously JTG got a wardrobe change, but I really don’t think this is going to be enough to push him back up the card. It’s JTG. He started in the WWE in 2006 and whether by his own fault or because of the disinterest of those with influence in the company has never really accomplished anything note-worthy in nearly six years of wrestling. I’m not sure anything will let him escape being a jobber.  

The wrestling matches themselves this week were actually pretty good, resulting in a show that succeeded as a whole. I’d recommend checking out the enitre show with the exception of the ultimate jobber match and perhaps the opening promo, which took a while to convey a small amount of information. NXT gets a 6/10 this week. I’m really curious to see where they go with the backstage attacker angle, which I didn’t expect to
enjoy when it first started. 

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