In a few conversations with Hellions, the man who hosts my blogs on his site and knows more in general about wrestling than me, I’ve realized a few things. One, in getting to know a writer for NXT and learning he’s a former soap opera writer, it makes sense why the storylines are where they are. Two, Hellions pointed out to me NXT seems to be the show more aimed towards women. Sitting back, looking over NXT, I’ve realized it’s probably a huge part of the reason I enjoy it while some fans still don’t like it. I like drama. And comedy. And facial expressions. I also like good wrestling. This show brings me the things I would love to see in a show. Which is why today’s Top 4 had to be broken down the way it is.
4. Tamina, Darren, Titus
- 4.3 – Titus: He gave Tamina the coconut tree Darren wanted to give her! And has been increasingly funny. And I haven’t wanted to stab him in about three weeks.
- 4.2 – Tamina: Loves the coconut tree and commends Titus, to Darren, how thoughtful he is.
- 4.1 – Darren: Heartbroken, near face turn, and I can’t help rooting for him in this upcoming love triangle.
3. Maxine, Tyler Reks, Curt Hawkins, Derrick Bateman, and Kaitlyn
- 3.3 – Derrick Bateman and Kaitlyn: Hello Chicks and America shirts, hello best facial expressions of the show
- 3.2 – Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins: It’s interesting to see Tyler Reks playing the part of someone a little confused while Hawkins plays the part of the man who knows what’s going on, until he forgets his cane somewhere very important.
- 3.1 – Maxine: She flirts her way through with Regal, figures out how transparent the Reks/Hawkins kidnapping is, and generally knows how to act and bluff her way through anything. The woman has more chemistry with anyone who walks on screen then anyone I’ve seen.
2. Percy Watson vs. Johnny Curtis
I’m inclined to put matches before storylines on the list because first and foremost… this is a wrestling show! Unfortunately this show only had two matches and they were still longer and better put together matches than anything we saw on Raw or Smackdown this week. Curtis and Watson prove to be a tool for Maxine to distract Regal and take him away for a little while, but in the meantime these two tear up the squared circle and put on a non-stop show.
1. Tyson Kidd vs. Michael McGillicutty
The two are 1-1 in their matches and William Regal informs us that this is the last match. This will determine who the winner is. Despite believe I knew who would win going in this was still a tense match up. McGillicutty reminds me why I originally enjoyed him and brings personality and style to the ring against a man who could arguably be the best technical wrestler in the WWE. (arguably, I could see a few other names thrown into the debate.) Kidd has continually brought PPV quality matches to television, or the internet, in the past months and despite being on the show everyone keeps talking about wanting off of he never skimps in the ring. MCGillicutty gives it back just as equally, culminating into what could be more than match of the week.
Let’s start off with what did not make the list, and the reasoning behind it. First, Darren Young has a crush on Tamina, and it’s sort of cute because Titus is the one who tells her, with D-Young standing right there. NXT is so full of childish antics and romance it really is it’s own wrestling sitcom, and I love every moment of it. What makes this segment a major fail is The Usos are either coming off racist because they don’t want Tamina to date below her stations (JTG and now Darren Young, and whatever happened to JTG?) That, or Tamina has a thing for black men. I do not have a problem with Tamina dating a bunch of black men, it’s that it looks like there is racism going on with the Usos being against two black men in a row.
The match between Darren Young and Jimmy Uso was a good one, but it did not make the list because compared to the other three, and the segment, it was slow. That and we were supposed to be wowed by Jey being on commentary and I forgot he was even there he said so little. Talented men overshadowed by larger talents on the show.
4. Curt Hawkins vs. Justin Gabriel
When I first heard the show was going to have four matches I wondered how they would fit four onto the less than an hour show while keeping the plot that NXT is known for. This match suffered because of it. Gabriel has been on a roll lately and Hawkins is always great in the ring but the match was not given the time these two deserved. If you judged the match by the last Smackdown and Raw, sure, the match was long, but NXT is notorious for longer, better matches and it was disappointing to see these two have the match that suffered most because of time constraints. Still, an excellent match to watch and gives Hawkins a chance to show even as a singles competitor he can hold his own… even if Gabriel won.
3. Johnny Curtis and Maxine
Curtis and Maxine are up to something, as usual. They want off NXT and onto one of the other shows and will do anything to get there. This includes lying to Josh and chloroforming Striker. “Why do you have chloroform?” Maxine asks the creepiest man currently in the WWE. With Striker and Mathews out of commission Maxine is free to join Regal on commentary for our number two of the night. Later Curtis, who was supposed to be watching the box that Striker was put into, finds the box without Striker. Not wanting to admit this to Maxine he sits on it and when he refuses to show her Striker she asks, “You killed him didn’t you?” Striker is not dead, in fact there is a note left behind telling Maxine and Curtis that someone knows what they did.
2. Tyler Reks vs. Percy Watson
After just writing a blog on why I think Reks is great (oh, you didn’t read that? Go do it after you are done here) he does not disappoint me in this match. Holding true to his character he is a beast in the ring against Watson while Watson takes advantage of Reks’ distraction. Why is Reks distracted? Well, Maxine is massaging Regal’s feet and the two of them are doing anything but talking about the match in front of them. Usually I’m an advocate for commentary being about the match but during this particular one it does work. 1) Regal and Reks are feuding a bit and Regal ignoring Reks makes perfect sense. Of course he would rather pay attention to the beautiful woman beside him than the man who called him “old” even though there is only a ten year difference. 2) Reks and Watson put on a match that is great enough that even with the distractions it is hard to not pay attention to what they are doing in the ring. Reks, though, gets distracted enough that he loses to Watson.
1. Michael McGillicutty vs. Tyson Kidd
Who would have thought I would be throwing McGillicutty up into my top 4, much less at number one? But McGillicutty (who seriously needs a new name if only because I hate typing McGillicutty!) has been brilliant since his return to NXT to feud with Tyson Kidd, and Kidd… well, he’s always been brilliant, it’s just that now people are starting to realize it. Out of the three shows I’ve watched so far this week (Raw, FCW, and NXT) this is the best match I’ve seen so far. This time Kidd picks up the win, making them 1-1. After Kidd’s win McGillicutty leaves him with a statement in a truly creepy, dastardly voice. “Tyson! Tyson! This isn’t over. You’re going to regret ever crossing me. Because I’m going to hurt you where it hurts the most. In your heaaaart.”
As much as I love Batelyn the two of them had very little to do this week. No match, not a central focus in plot, mostly used as accessories for the plots of others, but boy are they shiny accessories. Bateman did get out a good, “Let’s backpedal,” and Derrick and Kaitlyn walked backward and away from the ever increasing weirdness that is Maxine and Johnny.
“Roll it, Jumbotron!”
As 100th episodes of a show go this one decided to go all out. The very first match is a no DQ between Titus O’Neil and Darren Young that saw O’Neil turning heel. This does not make the top four though because, let’s face it, O’Neil is awful. The only thing he has going for him is his seal bark and he insists it’s a dog bark. The other match to not make the list was Heath Slater vs. Percy Watson. Slater has no moves that are really his own and while he’s not a bad wrestler he has nothing that makes him stand out. Watson has a few out of nowhere moves that do not seem to work for him. Solid workers that need different moves. That the Watson and Slater match also told no story keeps it off the list but does not make them people to simply be brushed aside.
4. Michael Cole
Michael Cole comes back to NXT for the 100th episode. While I lament the loss of William Regal on commentary, Michael Cole can make Josh Mathews shine. Mathews can make his snarky comments and be shot down by Cole’s overbearing attitude and they can be a highlight in commentary. Cole dismisses O’Neil and praises Curtis and even makes a MidCard Mafia reference. Cole may be the most hated man on commentary but he really does know what he’s doing out there. He proves it again that NXT is the place where Cole is best, because he can be crazy, goofy, or a complete jackass and it counts for naught because this is the place where you form your own opinions and the WWE is not forming them for you. Michael Cole’s overreactions to everything during The Wedding had me laughing so hard, the only man that had him beat this episode was Derrick Bateman.
3. Yoshi Tatsu & Trent Barreta vs. Tyler Reks & Curt Hawkins
Sure, we have seen this before, but they have a rivalry going on that works. This particular match has no build up ahead of time as most of the show goes to the Titus O’Neil drone promo and the wedding at the end, but that’s okay because the story has been progressing. The biggest plus on this match is that Reks gets the pin on Tatsu. I know, I am a bit biased, but honestly I love all four of these men. I am torn every time they step into the ring, but Reks needed the win more than Tatsu or Barreta did at this point and it made no one look weak. This is the most fun feud since Tyson Kidd and Yoshi Tatsu were fighting over an action figure!
As Elvis, the man who would preside over the wedding, stepped out I felt my jaw drop. No, it could not be, yes, it was! Matt Striker! “I know Elvis is supposed to be taller, but thank you very much. I’d like to thank Carrot Top, he ordained me, thank you, thank you very much.” “Are you all ready to see the lovely bride? Giggity giggity!” If that’s not your sense of humor, I apologize, but… seriously… words can not express how much I loved this.
1. The Wedding
Let us face it, there was never a doubt that this wedding was not going to happen, but damn did they do a great job capturing the hilarity of Johnny Curtis, Maxine, and of course Derrick Bateman. First Maxine can not understand who it is standing with Curtis, “This is Chad! Chris, Chris, this is Chris. He’s my best man!” Then Striker breaks character to exclaim, “Hang on a second, there is no one here that objects to this wedding?” Of course, there was someone who wanted to interrupt this wedding. “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIT! This must end!” This all culminates into a brawl between Bateman and Curtis with Maxine joining in and fish hooking Curtis. This has been my favorite episode of NXT yet, and anyone who knows me does know that I have been a fan of NXT since day one.
There were only about four things that really happened on NXT this week. Usually this would not incline me to do a top four but I am going to. The reason? You still are not watching this show! No matter how many times I tell you that you are missing something great, you will not watch it. No matter how many times I tell you that you can not insult something without watching, you won’t watch, and continue to insult it. NXT is not what it was. Do not talk to me about “challenges” or how long the competition has been. Tune into the show, because certain things about it will wow you! (Though those certain things will not be Titus O’Neil or Percy Watson)
4. Jimmy Uso vs. JTG
The Usos are unhappy that Tamina has decided to take up with this man. “He’s not one of us.” While this could sound like some good ol’ fashioned racism I just take it as JTG was raised from the streets and the Usos were raised a little more privileged, I mean, look who their father is? Jimmy and JTG, after each getting their time to shine on the microphone, put on a match that was predictable but entertaining. I miss Scott Stanford’s commentary when JTG is in the ring. No one is telling me how fly JTG is! (After complaining about this on twitter Scott gave me this, “This JTG is so fly, when you look up “fly” in the dictionary, there’s a picture of Jayz and Eminem pointing to a poster of JTG.” I can breathe a little easier now)
3. Yoshi Tatsu vs. Johnny Curtis
While this match is going on Derrick Bateman and Maxine drop on to commentary, however I’m not going to talk much about them here since they are further up on this list. This is all about Curtis, who is trying to make a good showing for the woman he went on one date with, and Yoshi Tatsu who is dressed in blue and seems to have lost the Dark Yoshi look and feel. Perhaps he did not like being a darker him? I am unsure but he seems to be back to his usual self which might be for the best. Curtis might lose this match but at least Curtis is doing something. For those who have been wondering about him since his promos on Smackdown, he’s easily a reason to tune in!
2. Tyler Reks, Curt Hawkins, and Darren Young
Matt Striker, who is host, seeming general manager, and tonight also a commentator, creates an impromptu match. Of course the match has to involve Percy Watson and Titus O’Neil, but he teams up Tyler Reks and Darren Young, while also telling Hawkins he may be there as well. Earlier, before the match, it seemed that Reks and Hawkins might have been inviting D. Young to join their duo and turn it into triplicate talent. Either way Reks and Young work better together than I was expecting and Hawkins makes a great showing at the side of the ring, interfering enough for Young to get the win. Another shock because I was sure they were going to let O’Neil get the win after Young had just freshly returned. Young was a little sloppy in places but I will brush it off and say he’s a bit out of practice after 30 days, or not used to lifting the dead weight of O’Neil. In coming weeks it will tell if my returning adoration for the man will remain. I look forward to it, and I hope he continues on with Reks and Hawkins.
That’s pronounced Beta Max. If you don’t get it you might be too young.
As I mentioned Bateman and Maxine join Striker and Regal on commentary during the Johnny Curtis and Yoshi Tatsu match. If you are wondering why this match of all matches I again urge you to watch NXT. The Curtis/Bateman feud is the best one they have going, and you’ll notice that they are actually allowing two “heels” to work together? Yeah, take note that this does work. Striker does what he does best and is downright rude to Maxine but, damn, if the woman can not give it as good, or better, than she gets. She has quite the tongue on her and Striker, for the first time, seems to lose a battle of words between commentators. All the while Bateman, who has been freshly signed to Smackdown which could mean the end of his purgatory in NXT land, speaks eloquently and with his usual panache. At the end of the Curtis match, after Curtis has already lost, Bateman excuses himself to slide into the ring. What happens next is the most unexpected thing I’ve seen in WWE in months, at least. I won’t spoil it, why don’t you watch it?
Best line of the whole show? Matt Striker keeps calling William Regal, “Master Regal.” Regal quips that he should stop because it makes him feel weird. While Derrick quickly quips back, “Matt, don’t call me Master, it might be inappropriate.”
For those complaining about the “PG Era” why don’t you watch NXT? Batemax alone push the boundaries of PG. And it’s a bit hot when they kiss. And are wrestling. And just in general on screen.
Excuse me, I need to go get the mop now.
FCW this week has Dusty Rhodes joining Matt Martlaro on commentary. Dusty Rhodes is a living legend but a good commentator he is not. Though I had to smile when Rhodes mentioned, “Steven Regal.” William Regal still has a plotline going on so he is out of commentary and tonight’s episode did not see him return to the ring, though we did see a return of Dean Ambrose. FCW continues to be the best WWE produced show. Highlights? Why here’s the top four of this episode!
4. Maxine and Aksana
Maxine, as general manager, seems to have an open door policy. She allows people to walk in and speak to her and seems to be patient, almost the opposite of her NXT character. However, no matter where Maxine is, she is a devious woman with something always up her sleeve. But, so is Aksana. Aksana comes in asking for the Steamboat/Harris match to be for the title and puts on a womanly pout. At the end of this discussion the two even hug, with similar looks on their faces behind the other’s back. Beautifully done. These women know how to give a promo.
3. Corey Graves vs. Leakee
Graves is accompanied by Leah West to the ring, which at first I thought Rhodes was saying Leo West and left me wondering if Kruger changed his name until I saw her. Graves was to face Leakee who I’ve quickly become a fan of. He has the look, he has the moves, I just do not know his promotional skills yet. That is all right, I am happy to watch this man in the ring. Graves puts on a good show and is more believable than I was expecting. I was expecting them to feed the man to Leakee, not let him have a good showing before he was finally pinned. WWE has done a good job programming me, and yet it’s so bad.
2. 6 Man Tag Match
Derrick Bateman may be upset with me for this one, but his match has to go to number two. This match is an excellent showing of talent and there is not one person who I do not think deserves a spot with the WWE. Dean Ambrose, Damien Sandow, and Antonio Cesaro are up against Seth Rollins, Johnny Curtis, and Derrick Bateman. While Derrick Bateman will outshine anyone, he has the most charisma and the best abs, this still is an entertaining match that showcases each man and touches more on the upcoming feud between Cesaro and Rollins. Why was this not the best?
1. Richie Steamboat vs. Husky Harris
A pinfall anywhere match. Or “Pretty much anywhere in the Tampa area!” as Martlaro would tell us. I was expecting a slow match, I do not think I have completely forgiven Harris for his first showing in NXT. He continues to try to prove me wrong about him and Harris and Steamboat put on a match that had me on the edge of my seat. The ending alone made this show worth watching because I want to know what happens next! How often does a wrestling show end and I continue to sit there and go, “Well? What happened?”
Lowlight? NO Ascension. At all. Not even a promo.
Another highlight of this episode was a very special happy birthday to a woman in the crowd. Since it was October, and her birthday, and breast cancer awareness month, they wish this breast-cancer a happy birthday that had her in tears. Now that is touching.
There were only about four things that happened this week in NXT so doing a top four almost seems pointless. Instead I’m going to point out the flaws of this week’s episode of NXT, and no it will not be that this season has gone on for 36 weeks.
This week we see a match between Kaitlyn and Tamina again. This is a solid match. These two women have a different style and Kaitlyn is likely my second favorite diva currently with the company. My first and third are Maxine and AJ. We’ll look into that phenomenon another time.
Before Kaitlyn’s match she and AJ are seen in the locker room for the second week in a row. This is the second week in a row I find myself straining to hear what the two of them are saying. There is no reason to shout in a locker room but I feel like the two of them are mumbling to one another and wonder how they even understood each other standing right there. These two have great chemistry, but they need to turn it up.
The Usos battle Tyson Kidd and Johnny Curtis. Finally Johnny Curtis gets some air time and it’s a solid match, which Curtis loses. The problem is not the match it is that you knew Curtis was going to lose to the Usos. It’s pretty much the same curse Superstars have every week, predictability in ring.
Speaking of predictable, tonight’s match is Percy Watson, Titus O’Neil, and AJ vs. Derrick Bateman, JTG, and Maxine. Bateman won last week so that must mean, yup, he’s losing to O’Neil again this week. Back and forth between these two, constantly. It feels like this has been going on the entire 36 weeks when I know it has not been that long.
But damn close.
O’Neil continues to harp that Maxine has fish lips and the crowd continues to not really react to it. While Maxine might have been my least favorite on NXT Season 3 she is now my favorite diva. Does she have fish lips? Well she does have full pouty lips, but that is sensual, not something to be harped upon. Plus, if you realize that a joke is not working, move on.
As always the highlight of the show is Maxine and Derrick with a smattering of JTG. While JTG might not be able to say how fly he is as well as Scott Stanford with his own, “JTG-6 because I’m so fly,” he is entertaining and moves well in the ring. Maxine and Derrick have chemistry between each other and just as they shine in the ring and out, separate or together. These two make NXT worth watching, even if the show is a recap of last week, and the week before that, and the… you get the picture.