Credit: James Caldwell, PWTorch
Tonight’s seventh week of WWE NXT Season Two started cold with clips from earlier today in an empty arena with Matt Striker demonstrating the obstacle course for tonight’s show. Michael Cole and Matt Striker narrated Striker running through the course and saying the winner of tonight’s competition will have immunity next week. Cole said the WWE fan voting will begin Wednesday at 12:00 noon for the second NXT Poll next week. Striker eventually completed the course at 41.5 seconds.
Arena: After the standard NXT intro video, they went to a live arena for Cole and Mathews to introduce the show. Already in the ring was MVP with the VIP Lounge.
VIP Lounge: MVP waited for his music to stop as he leaned on a coffee table at the centerpiece of the lounge setting. MVP said big things are popping and little things are stopping tonight. MVP said he’s normally be ready to party, but he wants to get serious tonight with his guest. He brought out “Showtime” Percy Watson to explain himself for last week.
Watson danced and strutted to the ring, then met MVP’s icy glare as he entered the Lounge. MVP told Percy that what he attempted to do last week didn’t take courage, guts, or spirit. “It did take initiative,” he said. MVP said he wanted to smash Percy’s glasses, but he thought about it and realized they’re a lot alike. MVP said the MVP that debuted on Smackdown a few years ago would have done the same thing. He said he’s come a long way since then, so the question is whether Percy has. Percy said he’s learned a lot, baby. He told “P” he respects him, but he thinks his go-get-’em mentality took over last week and he sincerely apologizes. MVP asked Percy if he’s truly learned a lesson. He said it’s for real. MVP said it’s water under the bridge.
Matt Striker’s music interrupted to bring out Striker on stage. Striker recapped an elimination taking place next week and told MVP to talk up his Rookie, Percy Watson. MVP said Watson needs the appearance, verbal skills, and charisma. He said he thinks Percy has all of those things. He asked the crowd, which agreed with Percy’s “oh yeah!” sales pitch. Watson said he’s a heavy hitter, go-getter, and not a quitter. He said he knows what it’s like to fight and scratch for everything in life. Watson asked the crowd if they’re with him. Striker interrupted and said he certainly understands Watson’s position.
Cody Rhodes’s music then interrupted to bring out Rhodes, his mirror, and Husky Harris. Rhodes checked himself out and walked over to Striker, who he’s feuded with NXT on this season. Rhodes gave a sales pitch for Harris that he’s 300 pounds. He looked into the crowd and told a lady she looks 300 pounds, but she can’t run a 40-yard dash like Husky can. The crowd interrupted with a “You suck” chant. Harris said WWE is filled with male models and six-packs, but he’s a new type of star. He stumbled on an attempted promo on Hornswoggle and perhaps Kaval, then laughed at himself and said he’s real. “Real fat,” MVP interjected from the ring. Striker said they’re up next in a tag match.
NXT Rookie video: Lucky Cannon. They showed clips of Lucky being excited to be part of NXT. Mark Henry, his Pro, said he’s impressed him with his hunger to succeed. Kofi Kingston said he has potential. Lay-Cool said he has a good look. MVP said he’s tall and good-looking, but there are a lot of guys who fit that billing. John Morrison and Zack Ryder said they don’t see him standing out. The Miz said he almost forget about him; he’s forgettable. They recapped his inspirational story and Henry said he’s willing to pay his dues.
On-stage: The NXT Pros were shown on stage watching things closely as the first match of the night was set to kick off.
1 — MVP & PERCY WATSON vs. CODY RHODES & HUSKY HARRIS
MVP started things off in control of Husky Harris. Mathews had the first pop culture reference of the night, saying Watson is enjoying hanging out with LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh down in South Beach these days. MVP made a cover on Harris, then tagged in Watson. Harris cut off Watson and Rhodes tagged in to work on Watson. Watson came back with an arm drag, but Rhodes took Watson back into the heel corner to bring in Harris. Harris lost control and Watson knocked him to the outside. They started brawling ringside in-between some of the obstacle course gimmicks. The Pros eventually separated the Rookies until MVP slapped the taste out of Rhodes’s mouth. They cut to break with MVP and Percy on the advantage.
Next Monday on Raw: Randy Orton is prime to strike on WWE champ Sheamus. And, Team Cena + Bret Hart has leveled the playing field against Nexus. … Back to NXT, Rhodes was pounding on Watson with aggressive kicks and strikes in the ring. Rhodes taunted MVP, then went back to work on Watson until Husky tagged in and charged Watson with a big corner splash. Cole, the play-by-play person on Raw, played heel commentator as Harris and Rhodes continued to work over Watson.
Cole mocked MVP and Watson’s “love fest” in the opening segment, then MVP took a hot tag to clean house. MVP dropped the Ballin’ Elbow on Rhodes, then booted Harris off the ring apron. MVP turned around and found a big kick to the face from Rhodes. Rhodes told Harris to show why he should be #1 and he tagged him in. Harris then hit a running sentaun splash and made a cover, which was good for three and the win.
WINNERS: Rhodes & Harris in 12:00. That was a surprising result with Harris pinning MVP. WWE is obviously high on Harris and trying to convince fans to vote for him in the online poll this week. Rhodes continued to shine, which has been a theme of NXT this season. (*1/2)
NXT Rookie video: Michael McGillicutty. Zack Ryder said he thinks Mike has the best chance of winning the competition. Kofi Kingston, his Pro, said he has passion. Lay-Cool said he’s as close to perfect as there is, but he’s not flawless. Cody Rhodes criticized McGillicutty for executing dropkicks and arm drags when he said he was bringing ruthless aggression to WWE. He said he hasn’t seen it yet. Morrison said he doesn’t think Mike has shown much charisma, but he hasn’t been given many opportunities to talk. They showed historic clips of Mr. Perfect in action as Miz said “daddy” was perfect, but Mike is mediocre. He smirked. Kofi said he has a big chip on his shoulder and he’s ready to become a star.
Still to come: Rookie vs. Rookie with Lucky Cannon vs. Alex Riley. Cole said the best part is that Riley’s Pro, The Miz, will be ringside. Mathews just sighed as they cut to break.
Announcers: Cole and Mathews went to last night’s Raw when Mark Henry faced Wade Barrett one-on-one. They showed Barrett attempting the big overhead slam from the top rope that took out Henry. Cole continued to suggest Nexus proved they are just as credible one-on-one as they are as a group. He said Mark Henry won’t be here on NXT after the injuries on Raw.
In-ring: Striker was with Lucky Cannon while Miz and Riley stood by. Lucky Cannon was given mic time to sell himself to the audience. Cannon said he’s going to let the audience know he’s been having the time of his life. Miz smirked in the background while flashing his Raw MITB briefcase. Cannon thanked the audience for letting him into their world.
Striker handed it over to Miz and Riley. Riley wanted the mic from Miz. He said he doesn’t like the audience and they don’t like him. He said this competition is about who should run this company. Riley said he knows the fans care about this company, so do the right thing and vote for him. He gave a politician’s smile to sell the vote. The Miz said the audience has no idea what they want only he knows what they want. Miz said the reason to vote for Riley is because the future WWE champion told them to. Miz held up his briefcase to accentuate the point.
2 — ALEX RILEY (w/The Miz) vs. LUCKY CANNON
Cannon airballed with a top rope splash early on in the match as Cole continued to heel on Cannon and plug the Ri-Miz combo. After Cannon missed with the splash, Riley followed with a modified TKO for the decisive pin and the win. Cole said since they’re in Little Rock, Miz is like Bill Clinton. Mathews said that must make Riley the Monica Lewinski equivalent. The announcers paused, then Cole cackled after talking about Riley winning and winning and winning.
Post-match: Miz teased bashing Cannon with his MITB briefcase, then they left the ring. Miz thought it over some more and re-entered the ring to bash Cannon in the gut. Miz then teased the Skullcrushing Finale and delivered his finisher into the case. Miz stared down at Cannon before picking up his dented case as Cole said he can do whatever he wants and no one will stop him. Riley retrieved Miz’s U.S. Title belt, which looked pretty natural in his hand, as refs checked on Cannon in the ring. Miz and Riley headed to the back and walked by Morrison on stage. Morrison sold that he wasn’t too pleased with Miz’s actions and Miz flashed the case to Morrison to close the segment.
WINNER: Riley in 2:00. Riley is definitely a future WWE star and each week’s NXT episode is simply more confirmation. Miz using the MITB briefcase for a power trip was more in line with how I thought WWE would utilize the case as a method to enhance his heel persona. Good segment, although Cannon isn’t exactly in a position to make that babyface comeback. (n/a)
Raw Rebound: They showed highlights of the big moments from the entire Nexus Invasion angle leading to last night’s show. They had a voice-over from John Cena that he thought he could stop Nexus by himself, but he realized it can’t be done alone. The Rebound went to the end of Raw when Barrett and Cena had their in-ring discussion and Cena balked at the idea of joining the group. Cue up the clips of Cena assembling his team of Raw stars, culminating with the return of Bret Hart.
Announcers: Cole and Mathews were shown on-camera to talk about Summerslam. Cole said what worries him is Nexus having time to regroup before Summerslam. They plugged the NXT Rookie voting opening Wednesday at noon EST for next week’s elimination.
On-stage: Striker was with the remaining Rookies and Pros who haven’t had mic time. Morrison, with Eli Cottonwood, said he was flying home from last week, then the NXT Rookies walked by him in the airport. Morrison said a kid stopped eating and asked his mom who “that guy” is, referring to Eli Cottonwood, because Eli stood out from the crowd. Morrison said he thinks if Eli continues to improve, he’ll be a long-term investment for WWE. Cottonwood then asked Striker who he’s going to vote for. Striker stammered, so Eli stood over him. Striker said he’ll vote for him. He tried to cut off Eli’s mic time and Eli didn’t do anything about it.
Striker then asked Lay-Cool about Kaval. They said he has passion, heart, skill, and smarts. They said the one thing he has that no one else has is…Lay-Cool. Kaval then took the mic and said the fans should vote for him because he can go toe-to-toe with the best in WWE, including Evan Bourne, Randy Orton, or Rey Mysterio. Kaval said he has the ability and they (the fans) have the power to make this come true. Striker gave a final plug for the obstacle course challenge as Cole said under his breath, “That was terrible.” The camera focused on the obstacle course gimmicks ringside before they cut to break.
On-stage: Striker announced the obstacle course challenge. Michael McGillicutty was on stage first with Kofi Kingston. Before that, though, Kofi gets to sell the audience on Mike. Kofi said he’s not the biggest or strongest, but he’s the hungriest. He said no one is as hungry as Mike. Man, I’m getting real hungry here. Kofi gave a shout-out to the McGillibuddies. “Oh my Lord,” Cole said. “I’m going to throw up.” Mike plugged himself being 4-0 with a perfect record. He said the audience needs to make the…perfect choice…and vote for him. Back to Striker, who said if a Rookie fails on any obstacle, he must return to that point and re-do it.
Cole referenced Striker needing three takes in the “cold open” to get the obstacle course right. McGillicutty stormed through the obstacle course at 26.7, easily topping Striker’s pre-show time. Alex Riley was out next to run the course. Riley finessed the course like he was running on his tippy-toes. Cole said he looked pretty lame on the push-ups. At least he sounded objective there. Riley eventually finished at 40.3, barely topping Striker and well short of the…perfect time. Riley, upset, stormed down the ramp and shouted at ref Jack Doane for making him re-do one of the obstacles.
[Q5 — over-run] Eli Cottonwood was next. He straight cleared one of the hurdles, then fell down after the third obstacle. He apparently botched the push-ups and tried to continue the race as refs chased him down. Eli didn’t care and shoved the refs aside before finishing anyways. John Morrison just laughed at his Rookie’s plight. Eli was DQ’ed, for the record. Lucky Cannon was up fourth. Cannon stormed through and finished at 28.2, just short of the perfect time.
Kaval was out fifth and Cole said he couldn’t do any worse than his promo. Mathews mocked Cole’s voice and said if this doesn’t work out, he can do voice-overs for movie trailers. Kaval stormed through the course, but didn’t have the strength to push the traveling case up the ramp to finish before Hennig. Kaval finished at 29.1 for third place. Out next was Percy Watson, who finessed things like a gazelle in the meadow. Watson eventually finished at 31.5, leaving Hennig in first place with only Husky Harris to go.
Harris walked out with the crowd groaning. It was actually a good groan, not a groan of indifference. Harris nearly tripped on the tires, then he approached the third obstacle and paused. He went into a two-point stance and ran through the obstacle with a big smirk. Cole and Mathews continued to make Natural Disasters tag team references as Husky slowly walked through the rest of the course with disdain for the entire process. And he finished at 50.3 with no care for how he finished.
Joe Hennig is your winner. Meanwhile, Lucky Cannon continued to sell The Miz’s briefcase shot standing in the background as Striker plugged Hennig being free from elimination next week. They closed with a final plug for the online voting and someone being eliminated on next week’s show.