My First Impression Of WWE NXT
Before I get started, let me go ahead and let everyone know that unlike my fellow writers here on Bleacher Report, I will not writing any news stories, simply because I can say that I do not have any insiders to go to for my information.
I simply see something and voice my opinion on it, kind of like what I do on "The Hot Seat" radio show at the college I go to. I co-host that with Bleacher Report writer "Hollywood" Joe Burgett, and believe me, it has caused many sleepless nights.
Anyway, let me get to the point. Unfortunately, my family has not been able to pay for DirecTV, so I was not able to watch WWE NXT live. However, thanks to the power of Youtube and some dedicated users, I was able to go back and watch the show.
First of all, going into this show, there were a few people I was interested in seeing. Obviously, the first one is "The American Dragon" Bryan Danielson, now known to the WWE Universe as Daniel Bryan. The reasons for wanting to see him are simple.
I respect Bryan and what he has meant to the wrestling business as a whole, especially being a guy who put Ring of Honor on the map. For the record, I do not consider myself part of the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC), but I am someone who does read the blogs, posts, articles, and stories.
I just do not read all of them. I would say that I am somewhat on the fringe of being a part of the IWC. I consider myself somewhat of a mark who is somewhat smart and has worked in the actual wrestling business, albeit for a very short time.
Getting back to Bryan. While he may not have done the best job on the mic to begin with (learn how to get the word "especially" out without having your tongue fall to the floor), he made up for it with his verbal exchange with The Miz and with his main-event match against Chris Jericho.
Needless to say, there were some flaws in the match, but that's expected when he's working with someone for the first time in front of the largest crowd he has ever been in front of on national TV.
There was the enziguri by Jericho that Bryan sold by falling backwards. Then there was Jericho not taking a Dragon Screw Legwhip properly which was very odd to see from the World Heavyweight Champion. And of course, there was the spot in which Bryan threw himself through the ropes and into Jericho.
Unfortunately, unlike Chikara, there was the announce table waiting for Bryan to fling his body right into. Thankfully, no serious injuries occurred. Bryan, as most would expect, did hold his own Jericho and in some instances, looked to be working better than Jericho in the match.
I'm really hoping to see Miz and Bryan in a rivalry from this and see Bryan challenge Miz for the United States Title, but we'll see in the distant future. One thing that most people really liked, as did I, was Bryan's "catchphrase" about making Miz either Tap or Snap.
Granted, I saw a moment where Bryan could've made himself much more of a serious character, like he is in the ring. Instead of turning to the audience and asking what they thought, I believe Bryan should have looked with a cold stare at The Miz, demanded he look at him and tell him that if there is no referee when they fight, it will just become one option.
I think that would have added a little more to his persona. There were times when Bryan could have also chosen his words better besides then, but I won't go into them.
Overall, I'm excited to see Bryan on a huge platform, where he should have been years ago, and I can not wait to see what's in store for the man that this show is seemingly being built around.
It's no secret that Bryan was someone that I, along with many others, were looking forward to seeing. But what about the other members of the NXT roster caught my eye before the show's first episode.
Well, for one, there's Heath Slater, formally known as Heath Miller. I had seen some of Slater's work in FCW and a few in DSW. When I watched some of Slater's work for those two promotions, I really couldn't help but be entertained and find myself laughing at the way he presented himself and conducted a promo.
I figured he had the charisma and mic work down. I felt he even had a very good chunk of the ring work down, granted he did have some problems in the tag match with Christian vs. Michael Tarver and Carlito.
However, it seemed that he never really felt in himself that he was ready to make that jump to the WWE. Unfortunately, it's that kind of tentativeness that has kept many stars from holding what most would probably see as the biggest prize in wrestling, the WWE Title, or even the World Heavyweight Title now.
Some seem to not believe in their work and Slater seems to have that attitude. Hopefully, with time, his attitude will change into someone who's hungry to be alone in that spotlight.
The next guy that caught my eye was Skip Sheffield, or as some of you may have known him before as "Silverback" Ryan Reeves. Sheffield is a young prospect that was formally a part of the $1,000,000 Tough Enough, but did not win.
That dubious distinction went to Daniel Puder, with Sheffield finishing third and Mike Mizanin, now The Miz, finishing runner-up. Look how well that turned out. Perhaps it was better though that Sheffield didn't win and immediately start in the WWE.
According to Jim Cornette in a ROH shoot DVD, Kevin Dunn used the Tough Enough show to prove that any Average Joe could come into WWE, which made me loathe Kevin Dunn even more than I already did. I'm sure you can see the logic in that concept.
But perhaps Sheffield needed to get that developmental contract instead of winning the $1,000,000 and embarrassing himself in WWE before being sent back to DSW and OVW anyway. These past 4+ years have given Sheffield time to learn the art and perfect his craft as well as he can. And while he'll be far from perfect, let's hope that Sheffield makes good on the time he spent in Georgia, Kentucky, and Florida.
How about not just the rookie, but the guy he's paired with. Darren Young, the "South Beach Party Boy" as he's known on NXT is paired with the exact opposite of his character, the "Straight-Edge Savior" CM Punk.
And yes folks, this is more opposite than Bryan and Miz being paired, at least in terms of characters. I look at Darren Young and find myself enthralled with his energy and enthusiasm. Perhaps it was over the top, but that's what made it so good for me. I can see where this relationship between Punk and Young is heading.
Young will eventually want to be excepted and mentored by Punk so much that he will have his head shaved and be humiliated in front of a world-wide audience. If it works out well for the kid, then my hat's off to him, but I seriously doubt that will work in his favor.
Then, there are the other NXT rookies, and some of these guys have some good stuff to offer.
Let's start with Otunga since I've mentioned him recently. A former reality TV star (isn't that gimmick taken?), Otunga has only been the business for less than two years (have I mentioned that already?).
I believe that Otunga may have the best talking skills of any of the NXT "rookies", however I was thoroughly disappointed with his look during his entrance. For a guy that compares himself to The Rock, he looked awfully boring and dull heading to the ring.
He worked a hoody and shades, trying to look like a MMA fighter. Perhaps it's part of Otunga's mystique, but do not compare yourself to The Rock if you can't bring out an entrance that gets the people behind you.
Not to mention, he had R-Truth and his rapping to help out, and what does he do? He just bobs his head for a few seconds before returning to Terminator mode.
As for the match between Otunga and Young, it was a complete waste for both. Young got squashed and they could not even get Otunga's finisher to go right, which is on both guys. Young looked great for the short time before the finish, but it certainly was not enough to gage anything off of. Otunga is good on the mic, but that is as far as it goes.
How about Wade Barrett? Yes, the guy got no ring time, but he was given the chance to speak and sounded very impressive in putting over Chris Jericho. Granted, his interview with Matt Striker did not go so well, but nevertheless, I see possible great things for a character like Barrett, considering how well Sheamus and Drew McIntyre have been getting pushed.
We'll just have to see how he does in the ring. By the way, if you did not already know Barrett had done some color commentary down at FCW, just look for the match between Bryan Danielson and Kaval (Low-Ki), and he sounded good doing that, which may be another option if NXT does not go the way he hopes.
There's Michael Tarver, a boxer gimmick. Personally, I'm not big on it considering we have the Big Show using the knockout punch as a finisher and really, who's going to top that punch?
To be honest, I thought Tarver's work was a little sluggish, but I'll give him some time. He's working with Carlito, which you can expect that to mean he'll learn how to be "cool". Just kidding. I don't really see where the relationship with Carlito will go, since I'm really confused as to why Carlito is even a mentor to begin with. I don't see him being a good mentor. Maybe it's just me.
And Skip Sheffield was not the only rookie to sit out for the night. There was also Justin Gabriel, who is being mentored by Matt Hardy. My partner in crime, Joe Burgett, is very high on Gabriel, so I'm interested in seeing what he brings to the table. I've seen very little of his work, so I'm looking forward to it.
Let me also say that while Michael Cole's comments during the show may have been a work, it did get me worked up, so I guess that means he did a good job. However, Joey Styles is saying that Cole was shooting on the headset.
Whether it's real or not, I would've liked five minutes in the ring with Cole. Perhaps this is the best thing for Cole considering people were sick of the way he talked on commentary on RAW.
Anyhow, I'm really looking forward to seeing these characters develop and the possible storylines ahead. Should be fun to watch.
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