Where to start this week? I suppose the best place would be with Boss Lady Ray’s excellent blog post here so that you can revel in the riotous excitement that was the NXT’s now infamous invasion. While this was possibly the best ending to an episode of Raw in years, the fall out (at the time of writing at least) has meant that Ray’s NXT Series One crush, Daniel Bryan, has been released by the WWE. Allegedly due to the choking of ring announcer Justin Roberts, therefore breaking a WWE policy and upsetting a sponsor…
Right now nobody seems to know exactly what has happened or why. How legitimate the sacking is, what the reason behind it was, whether it’s a temporary or permanent thing… there are lots of contrasting stories flying about, so I’ll refrain from commenting until we know more – other than to say I am still excited by the NXT angle, and hope it doesn’t fall apart now.
Fortunately, we have more to talk about than just the best wrestler in the world possibly getting fired for something innocuous… Series Two of NXT started this week! Hopefully the drama of the last week or so won’t overshadow this bunch of rookies too much, as there are a few that could be very entertaining. Actually, tell you what, because I love you guys so much, I’ll give you a quick rundown of the new bunch. I know, I know… I’m too good to you. (It’s only because I’m in a good mood due to a distinct lack of Matt Hardy in this series)
First up is Alex Riley, Miz’s rebound Rookie after Daniel Bryan broke his heart. According to Boss Lady Ray, Alex Riley looks like Rick Astley, but I’m not sure I can see the connection myself. [BOSS LADY RAY’S EDIT: Ahem. WHO thinks he looks like Rick Astley?] Riley’s gimmick seems to be purely based on the phrase “Miz=Awesome, Riley=Awesomer” His mother was a former Miss Virginia beauty queen, while his father was a successful ESPN reporter – Riley combines the best of both his parents. With the brains of a beauty queen and the looks of a sports reporter, he’s sure to do well…
#GeekFact: Alex Riley can’t sign his name backwards, so the part of the video above where he autographs the screen is flipped horizontally. Not relevant to anything (I can’t sign my name backwards either) but it’s something I noticed…
Husky Harris, son of Mike “IRS” Rotunda, grandson of “Blackjack” Mulligan – all of which goes to show that surnames are somewhat fluid in the United States. The 295lb wrestler is described on wwe.com as being “one of season two’s most athletic prospects” and by certain FBI Agents as either “almost hypnotic” or “like a lava lamp.”
#GeekFact: Harris left university 27 hours before earning his Bachelor’s Degree, which I believe makes him bloody stupid.
Ahh… the new “screw the indies, look what we can do to your favourites” pairing for NXT. In case you don’t know, Brandon Silvestry (known as Low Ki or Senshi previously) has been wrestling for almost 12 years, having great success in TNA and ROH and holding over 30 championships in his career so far. A famously serious-minded wrestler, Kaval being paired with LayCool is a piece of genius – giving him chance to get a personality across as well as his wrestling ability.
#GeekFact: The hyper-serious Kaval took his original ring name of Low Ki from the lyrics to No Diggity by Blackstreet…
Lucky Cannon: I’m guessing he’s the looker this series (although feel free to correct me, my taste in men is notoriously screwy) Apparently surving a life-threatening attack as a child, he’s now wrestling with a gimmick of “being lucky”, although how lucky you can be to get saddled with the World’s Soggiest Man as a mentor is debatable.
Actually, to prove how unlucky you actually are Mr Cannon, you’re not having a #GeekFact. Hah!
Wrestlers over 7 feet tall have a mixed track record in the WWE. For every Andre the Giant there’s a Giant Silva, for every Big Show there is a Great Khali. Now we have Eli Cottonwood, billed at “over 7 feet tall” and teamed up with John Morrison. We can only assume that Morrison won’t be convincing Cottonwood to become the “King of the Helicopters” and suddenly pull out capoeira kicks and Starship Pain-like flippy moves.
#GeekFact: In FCW, Cottonwood’s history was that he had recently been released from the Kellog’s Sanitarium, as featured in The Road to Welville and the place where John Harvey Kellogg invented the Corn Flake as a cure for “self abuse” (as an aside, I can’t stand John Harvey Kellogg – but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from that)
Not, as you may think, the estranged son of Tommy Dreamer’s wife Beulah; McGillicutty is in fact another example of the rather loose interpretation of the system of patronymic surnames as understood by the WWE. The grandson of Larry “the Ax” Hennig and the son of Curt “Mr Perfect” Hennig, Michael McGillicutty has easily the most annoying name to type of any NXT Rookie so far.
#GeekFact: McGillicutty’s debut match was back in 2007 as a tag partner to Ted DiBiase Jr in Harley Race’s World League Wrestling – showing that the idea of matching up 2nd or 3rd generation stars is hardly an original one.
Erm… honestly? He’s pretty “meh” so far. He’s big and everything, but he’s coming across as incredibly dull at the moment. The only thing that might save him is the interactions between him and his mentor Zack Ryder. He can make a pretty cool “barking dog” noise at least.
No #GeekFact for Titus. He doesn’t deserve one, especially coming out with inane, nonsensical non sequiturs like “It’s definitely a challenge that I’m willing to sacrifice!”
Percy… Percy… Percy… in the words of Vanessa Williams; “You go and save the best for last” I mean, look at him. Remember back when Series One started and I was amazed at how strange Darren Young looked? Turns out his FCW tag partner in the South Beach Boys looks even weirder, like Mr Motivator hopped up on goof balls. The glasses (that he wears in the ring as well)… the frankly bizarre way he exposes his teeth and gums all the time…
So, on with the recap. After starting with a quick recap of Monday’s shenanigans, we open with a new title sequence featuring our new Pros and Rookies. One thing to note here is that Kaval is seemingly auditioning for a part in a remake of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” video…
Striker (holding his injured ribs throughout – obviously Ray’s magic fingers aren’t working as well as you would expect) welcomed us to the show, and started by condemning the graduating class of Series One for their “bombastic” impact on Raw. Now, I’m aware this may get me in trouble with certain inhabitants of the Wrestlegasm Bunker, but “bombastic” is defined as “Pompous or overly wordy.” Would you say that is a description that fits the attacks on Raw? Or perhaps more the commentary style of a certain Dean of this parish?
Anyway, Striker introduced the Pros, who in turn introduced their Rookies. Now most Pros were satisfied with the generic “this is my new Rookie – he’s super!” Most, but not all…
In fairness, I’ve made that last one up. seeing as all I could hear was The Voice of an Angel™ singing along to “Oh Radio.”
Striker went on to explain how the new Series would work slightly differently to the first – and not just inasmuch as they actually have a plan this time. This time around only 50% of the votes would be cast by the Pros, with the remaining half being cast by you – THE WWE UNIVERSE!
This series is only 12 weeks long, and in just 3 weeks the first votes will be cast and in 6 weeks the first elimination will happen, presumably with one per week after that. The prize is the same as last time however with a PPV title match on the line, probably at Night of Champions.
After a bit of a scuffle in the ring, the first match of the night was a tag match; Morrison & Cottonwood vs Zack Ryder & Titus O’Neil. Quite honestly, not much to this match, other than this frankly bizarre exchange:
Pretty short match, won by Morrison and Cottonwood after a Starship Pain.
Next up, another brief tag match between MVP & Mr Motivator and Cody Rhodes & Husky Harris – and once again not much to tell. Cody Rhodes wrestled well as he always does, Percy Watson wrestles in glasses, and Husky Harris… well… Husky Harris killed Percy Watson
Despite that ridiculously painful looking senton, Percy managed to pin Husky for the win after a nice Rock-like float-over DDT, and looked over the moon about it.
Next up – a recap of Raw, the date that will live in infamy (albeit a recap with the tie-choke of Justin Roberts removed.) Striker lines the Rookies and Pros in the ring a la West Side Story (or Bulldog if you want a slightly more masculine frame of reference) and showed them the clip.
Striker then asked each Rookie for their opinions on the actions shown – which turned out to be not quite the damning indictment he hoped for. One by one, the rookies put on their serious faces and declared that the attack was a good and valid way to make a statement. Striker was getting more and more annoyed with their refusal to decry their predecessors, but at least we could expect some repentance from Percy Watson?
Things were looking serious. Would there be a brawl between Rookies and Pros? Well, Striker asked the Pros to officially welcome the Rookies to NXT which they did…
What happens next week? Who knows… I know I’m looking forward to finding out though.