OK, I’m not actually “unwell” – not even in the Jeffrey Bernard sense but I haven’t the time to write an actual recap for NXT this week, which is a shame because it was actually a much better episode than last week, despite again only having two matches. As you will be aware if you read the special Wrestlemania edition of Strut, Pose, Turn Boss-Lady Ray graciously allowed me to take my family away for the weekend, so I haven’t had chance to actually do any writing over the Easter break. Also, my procrastination being the stuff of legend, I would normally write my recap tonight, but as tonight is a Cookery TV night in the Bunker it’s not going to happen. Instead you will have to suffer through a disgracefully brief collection of loosely connected ramblings interspersed by a couple of images.
NXT opened with the Dean informing us (finally) of the actual rules behind the voting side of the show. Essentially (and I’ll try to keep this simple) the 8 Pros judged the rookies on four criteria; win/loss records, the strength of their opponents, dedication and work ethic, and the ‘IT’ factor. Pros could not vote for their own rookie, and the results of the first Pros’ Poll is as follows:
1. Daniel Bryan 0-5 (win/loss record)
2. Wade Barrett 3-3
3. Justin Gabriel 3-2
4. Heath Slater 4-1
5. David Otunga 4-1
6. Skip Sheffield 0-4
7. Michael Tarver 0-4
8. Darren Young 3-2
Apparently, there’ll be another vote in six weeks, after which the NXT Rookie in last place will be eliminated from the competition, presumably to be subjected to a fawning interview by Davina McCall.
From then, one Rookie will be eliminated each week until there’s a final four. Only one Rookie will be crowned WWE’s next “breakout star” and will receive a championship match on pay-per-view versus the champion of his choice. Now, this hopefully means that we’ll be seeing Daniel Bryan holding the United States Championship in a couple of months, but I expected him to do badly in the rankings so what do I know? Also, a Battle Royal would be held that night, with the winner getting the “honour” of guest-hosting Raw.
First though, an eight-man tag match pitting the Raw Pros against the Smackdown Pros. The big news from this match was that Jericho, still banged up from Wrestlemania, put his Rookie Wade Barrett in the match in his place. So, the team of Regal, Christian, Carlito & The Miz went up against the awesome team of Barrett & CM Punk (along with the infinitely less awesome Matt Hardy & R-Truth – I don’t care what you say, I’ll never stop hating Hardy.) Jericho was amazing on commentary again, and should definitely be a candidate for the commentary team or a General Manager position when the time comes to stop wrestling. Even better was Regal [Andrew swoon] begging Punk [Ray swoon] to either swap Rookies or be “saved”.
This was a really good match, and because of my lack of time/effort I would recommend you watch at least the end of it if you haven’t already as it was a really strong finish with Barrett getting the pin on Christian to win the match. If that doesn’t show how much the WWE want to put Barrett over then nothing will.
Next up was the Battle Royal, and that wasn’t as good, apart from Daniel Bryan coming out either happy with his Number One Ranking, or confused by his finger:
Anyway, as you’re probably aware Otunga won and got to host Raw last night, but as I refuse to watch Raw I can only assume he spent a lot of time with the Bella Twins and botched a few live promos.
Look, I’ll be the first to admit this wasn’t a particularly informative recap, but I did warn you at the start of it. I had planned to leave you with my own little fashion section, a tribute to Ray’s Strut, Pose, Turn if you will. The idea was to discuss Michael Tarver’s new RUN DMC inspired RUN NXT shirt. This is quite a nice shirt, I’m always a sucker for co-opted logos. But it’s not an overly original idea for a wrestling shirt, given that both independent wrestling stable BLK OUT and TNA’s Velvet Sky’s OMG WTF shirt have used the same idea. However, I got distracted looking at pictures of Velvet Sky and didn’t get round to it. Sorry about that. Hopefully next week’s recap will be slightly more impressive…