Full results for this week's edition of WWE NXT after the jump.
- WWE Pro CM Punk and WWE Rookie Darren Young (w/ Luke Gallows and Serena) defeated WWE Pro Matt Hardy and WWE Rookie Justin Gabriel when Young pinned Hardy after Punk hit the GTS on Hardy.
- The Great Khali (w/ Ranjin Singh) defeated WWE Rookie Daniel Bryan after the neck hanging tree slam.
- WWE Rookie Heath Slater defeated WWE Rookie Michael Tarver after a schoolboy rollup.
- WWE Rookie Wade Barrett (with WWE Pro and World Champion Chris Jericho) defeated WWE Rookie Skip Sheffield (with WWE Pro William Regal) with a fireman's carry into a slam.
- At the start of the broadcast, Matt Striker announced that in two weeks, they would do the first round of evaluations from the WWE Pros and at that time, there will be cuts. They didn't specify how many cuts, but I can't imagine it would be more than one or two.
- In a nice touch, they started showing win-loss records as part of each rookie's entrance, which considering they're going to cut somebody in 1-2 weeks, is a nice touch as it shows who's succeeding and who isn't.
- The opener went pretty long, about 15 minutes. It was a good match that told a good story, with Punk and Young getting along, only for Gallows to lay out Hardy, Gabriel, and then Young after the match. It felt like Punk had Young laid out afterwards for not joining the straight edge movement yet. Interesting that they chose to protect Gabriel on the pin and beat Hardy here, although considering how frequently they've beaten Hardy over the years, I guess it isn't that much of a surprise.
- Bryan and Khali had a good little match, with Bryan working well with Khali's strengths. The announcing pushed that Bryan was in serious trouble of getting cut because of the 0-4 record. After the match, The Big Show laid out Bryan with a chokeslam, continuing the "Miz vs. Bryan" story that has been dominant on NXT, as Miz had set up the Khali/Bryan match to begin with. They are pushing that Miz wants Bryan to fail so he keeps putting him in situations where he can't succeed.
- Slater and Tarver had kind of a blah match. It was amazing enough Tarver even had a match, considering he had been off of the show the past two weeks. His chances of sticking around after the first cut right now are almost nil. Slater, on the other hand, is starting to emerge as a favorite to win the contract, as he remained undefeated in three matches and is the one rookie who has yet to be on the losing side of a match.
- Barrett and Sheffield did not have a good match in the main event slot. It felt disjointed in spots and the two didn't really click, and Sheffield was blown up before the finish, despite the match only going four minutes. Barrett seems like a favorite to stick around, while Sheffield is neck and neck with Tarver in a likely cut position. They continue to waste Regal, as he should be wrestling every week on this show with the rookies but so far, he's only had one match on NXT.
Overall, a good show, one that featured more wrestling than past weeks. The only video clip they aired this week was a repeat of the David Otunga clip from Week 1, as he was the only rookie who was not in action this week. It would have been nice if they had aired a new clip rather than going for a repeat, especially since it aired after a long Raw Rebound clip, so the show had a long gap of recycled action, but that's a small complaint in a show that featured a good deal of the professional wrestling, even if much of it wasn't great.
With four weeks down into the show and more focus as to what's going to happen, especially with a round of cuts coming up, it feels like now is a good time to do the Cageside Seats WWE NXT Rankings after Week 4:
8) Michael Tarver (0-2): With only two matches, both losses, and his WWE Pro being Carlito, it seems like Tarver was pretty much a designated job guy from the start anyway. Has almost no chance of surviving the first cut.
7) Skip Sheffield (0-2): His only advantage over Tarver is his body, which is WWE-ready. Plus, while Regal isn't exactly high priority on the WWE scale, he's surely higher than Carlito. He also has more of a story with Regal than Tarver has with, well, anybody.
6) Darren Young (2-1): After getting squashed in 30 seconds in Week 1, Young seemed like a sure bet to be the first rookie gone, but since then, they've started an interesting story with him and CM Punk and he's come out on top in two matches, so he looks safe to survive the first cut whether they drop one wrestler or two.
5) Daniel Bryan (0-4): He clearly isn't going first, despite the won/loss record, although that would be a huge FU to fans of independent wrestling, so it's not completely out of the question. However, his storyline with The Miz remains the show's biggest, and despite the losses, he's clearly well-regarded or else he wouldn't be wrestling every week. But it's far from a lock that he wins, and other rookies featured seem higher priority than Bryan right now.
4) David Otunga (2-1): After the first week, I thought he was a lock to win the contract. Now, I'm not so sure, they seem to have cooled off on him just a little bit. He has the WWE look and he's clearly very charismatic, but they might want him to spend more time in FCW for seasoning, since if he were to be brought up today, he'd have to be in a non-wrestling role somewhere as his in-ring is not ready for even limited Raw matches.
3) Heath Slater (3-0): As the only undefeated rookie remaining on NXT, he's somebody who is definitely in the mix. He's the only rookie with a win over a pro in a singles match (even if it was against Carlito) so he has that going for him too. But he has yet to be featured in a prominent match, he's wrestled Tarver, Carlito, and Carlito and Tarver, and they are clearly the bottom rung tandem on the show, so he needs a win over a more regarded WWE Pro/Rookie tandem before I rate him any higher.
2) Wade Barrett (2-1): He's clearly somebody who is going to make it in WWE. Being the only rookie mentored by a World champion is a plus. He has the size they like and is also good on the stick. The only reason he isn't higher is he lost a singles match to the guy who's #1, so it feels like right now, he's lower than him on the pecking order. But it would not surprise me at all if he wound up winning the whole thing.
1) Justin Gabriel (2-1): I would call Gabriel a slight favorite right now. He hasn't been pinned yet, he beat a guy that the office clearly likes in Wade Barrett, and he was the first rookie to score a pin over a pro. His biggest detriment is his size, I don't know that WWE would put over a guy as small as Gabriel in the end, but he's clearly being groomed for a prominent babyface role somewhere at some point, probably on Smackdown.
There isn't a huge difference between 1-4, and I wouldn't even call Daniel Bryan out of the mix yet. Tarver and Sheffield are definitely not much longer for this show, though.