Full results for this week's episode of WWE NXT, aired March 23, 2010 (taped March 22, 2010 in San Jose, CA) after the jump.
- WWE Rookies Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater (with WWE Pro Christian) defeated WWE Rookies Wade Barrett and Skip Sheffield (with WWE Pro William Regal) when Slater pinned Sheffield after Barrett accidentally hit a big boot on Sheffield.
- WWE Rookies David Otunga and Darren Young (with WWE Pro CM Punk, Luke Gallows, and Serena) defeated WWE Rookies Daniel Bryan and Michael Tarver (with WWE Pro Carlito) after Otunga hit his spinebuster finisher on Bryan.
- They announced something of a criteria for judging where everybody ranks in the pecking order during the opening match, with the WWE Pros judging rookies by win/loss record, strength of opponent, work ethic, and "the it factor." Work ethic, it factor, and even strength of opponent are vague enough criteria that they can justify ranking anybody wherever they feel like, so I'm not sure those terms mean anything other than some sort of vague fake criteria being put in place to keep a guy like Daniel Bryan strong despite the 0-5 record. They did not talk about doing cuts next week, so I'm not sure that anybody is in danger of being thrown off the show, but it's more a status update to find out who looks likely to win at the end.
- The opening match wasn't bad, but like many of the matches with the rookies, it felt disjointed at times. I really can't help but think that William Regal and the other WWE Pros are being wasted not wrestling on this show every week. What's the point of having pros like Regal if they aren't wrestling the rookies and helping them improve? I thought the idea was for the pros to give a rub to their rookies, whether it be by wrestling them or by endorsing them as their partner. They are wasting the pro aspect by not having them more active, and the ratings also tell that tale. They need the star power from the pros like Jericho, Punk, and Christian to carry the ratings and to hopefully give some rub to the rookies to eventually carry main events on their own. Main events featuring green rookies nobody has a real reason to care about yet are going to die in the ratings. From an in-ring standpoint and a ratings standpoint, this show could be so much better by involving the pros more.
- They re-aired the Daniel Bryan and Darren Young videos from a few weeks ago, in addition to showing a new clip of David Otunga and The Miz on the red carpet for SyFy in New York last week, which was a nice piece of business. They also aired several Wrestlemania hype videos during the middle portion of the show. In all, there was an over 40 minute gap in between live action, and much of that time was either footage seen before on Raw and Smackdown or commercials. Just in case you're wondering why this week's episode died in the ratings when they are announced tomorrow.
- The main event was OK, but Tarver was in the ring way too much for it to be good. The problem with Bryan doing all of these jobs is that without The Miz around as often as he was when the show started, it doesn't really push the Miz/Bryan storyline with Miz trying to get Bryan thrown off the show. That could then lead to something like Miz vs. Bryan with Bryan's NXT status on the line, where Bryan finally picks up that elusive first win by beating Miz. Instead, Bryan just winds up looking like a jobber without Miz around weekly to push their feud. Then again, it may very well be their intent to make Bryan look like a jobber, as they have repeatedly pushed that he was a worldwide superstar before coming to WWE, so by beating Bryan every week, it makes everything that takes place outside of WWE look like small potatoes.
Here is the second week of the Cageside Seats NXT Rookie Standings, which will likely look little to nothing like what NXT's standings are next week, but tries to go for where the rookies might be headed based on current push.
8. Michael Tarver (0-3, last week: 8) - Michael Tarver is not going to be winning WWE NXT.
7. Skip Sheffield (0-3, last week: 7) - Neither is Skip Sheffield.
6. Daniel Bryan (0-5, last week: 5) - I'd say it looks pretty bleak that Daniel Bryan is going to win as well, but I don't think WWE NXT will be the last we see of Daniel Bryan on WWE TV. Then again, I've been wrong before.
5. Darren Young (3-1, last week: 6) - He looked like a comedy goof job guy after week one, but with every week, I'm starting to think Young has somebody backing him in power and could wind up a contender. I still think it's unlikely he'll win, but he will be somebody they push until the end.
4. Wade Barrett (2-2, last week: 2) - Don't take a ranking this low as any sort of slight, as one through four are all still very close, but they made moves to push Otunga and Slater this week, whereas Barrett's team lost their match, so a very slight fall back for Barrett.
3. Justin Gabriel (3-1, last week: 1) - It doesn't feel like they are focusing as much on Gabriel as they were early on, so I'm pushing him back some. I will say that in another era, his pretty boy tag team with Slater would have potential, and I could see them being a top tag team on Smackdown right now, but I don't think they're going to go in that direction. Still very much a contender to win.
2. Heath Slater (4-0, last week: 2) - Slater doesn't feel like a guy whom they would have win this, as he's not a great worker yet, and his personality doesn't exactly wow you either. Yet there has to be a reason why he's 4-0 when no other rookie is undefeated, so somebody is clearly behind him.
1. David Otunga (3-1, last week: 4) - Moves into the top spot not only because of the win he picked up, but because SyFy chose to spotlight him on the red carpet with Miz this week, which shows that his connections outside of wrestling make him more attractive than his in-ring credentials might warrant. His promos and his WWE-ready body are just icing on the cake here. Last week, he felt out of the loop, but he is back in a big way this week.
I'd say anybody in the top four could easily win this, with Bryan as a darkhorse candidate if they turn on his push after the first win (if he ever scores a first pin). As I said before, their criteria for judging is vague enough to where you can throw the 0-5 record out, as they will justify reasons to keep him around if they want to. The question is, do they want to keep Bryan around?