Full results for this week's episode of NXT after the jump.
- WWE Smackdown Pros CM Punk, Matt Hardy, R-Truth, and WWE Rookie Wade Barrett vs. WWE Raw Pros Christian, William Regal, Carlito, and WWE Unified Tag Team and US Champion The Miz when Wade Barrett defeated Christian with his fireman's carry slam.
- David Otunga won an NXT Rookie Battle Royal featuring Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, Justin Gabriel, Skip Sheffield, Heath Slater, Michael Tarver, and Darren Young.
- The show opened with Matt Striker in the ring introducing the show, saying that this would be the week of the coach's poll reveal. He brought all eight NXT rookies to the ring to the Wild and Young theme song that is all the rave these days. The first Pros' Poll read as follows: 8) Darren Young, 7) Michael Tarver, 6) Skip Sheffield, 5) David Otunga, 4) Heath Slater, 3) Justin Gabriel, 2) Wade Barrett, and 1) Daniel Bryan. Now, how in a poll that features win/loss record as a criteria, that Daniel Bryan could be ranked #1, I could not tell you, but this whole thing is a giant work anyway.
- They did reveal more details on the competition itself, and they upped the stakes a little, which might be a ratings ploy. In six weeks, they will do another Pro's Poll, and whomever is ranked last will be eliminated, with weekly eliminations after that until they are down to four. The winner of the competition will get a championship match at a PPV against any champion of their choosing. With a more detailed criteria laid out, it might be easier to read where this is going, as I don't think they would put David Otunga in a PPV World title match that quickly, even if they do love him. They also announced that the winner of tonight's NXT Rookie Battle Royal would host Monday Night Raw next week, so I guess they couldn't line up a celebrity for Raw. It's still a good idea, as it gives NXT more visibility on the Mothership, and it appears that WWE is going to be more aggressive in trying to get viewers to watch NXT without tinkering with the format too much.
- They did continue the Michael Cole/Daniel Bryan feud, as Bryan made a comment about how he was #1 despite Cole's comments, and after the break, Cole went on a tirade against Bryan, claiming that he had proven nothing, he had lost all of his matches, and that Wade Barrett deserved to be #1. Chris Jericho joined Cole and Josh Matthews on commentary, as he did not participate in the Pros 8 man tag as he sold his injury from the match with Edge at Wrestlemania. Jericho was great, really funny, almost too entertaining considering how hard he's worked to try not to be entertaining during this recent heel run, but picking on Michael Cole will make anybody a babyface. Then again, nobody watches this show.
- The eight man tag was good stuff. They did a nice job building to a good climax, and the finish really put over Wade Barrett as a top guy on the show when he got the pin over Christian, who is a legitimate WWE star, it's not like he got a pin on Carlito. Really enjoyed this match.
- The battle royal told a good story. Wade Barrett was thrown out first, with the story that the other rookies wanted to get the big guy out first, plus he just came off of a big win so jealousy may have played a part as well. Otherwise, it was a typical battle royal, everybody seemed to get dumped simultaneously so I guess something ran long at some point. Even though Otunga has the most charisma out of the other rookies, I'm not sure he's going to make for a great guest host, but maybe the company is hoping he'll get Jennifer Hudson to show up or something.
This week's Cageside Seats NXT Rankings:
8) Michael Tarver (0-3, last week: 8) I don't care what the Pros' Poll rankings reflect, Tarver is clearly on the bottom of the NXT totem pole and will be the first rookie cut in six weeks.
7) Skip Sheffield (0-3, last week: 7) Unless they decide to cut Sheffield instead.
6) Darren Young (3-1, last week: 5) I think Young being at the bottom of the Pros' Poll is to up the drama in his partnership with CM Punk more than anything, but he looks unlikely to make the final four participants at this time, even if he should avoid being the first cut.
5) Justin Gabriel (3-1, last week: 3) I'm souring a bit on Gabriel's chances every week; in the first rankings, I had him ranked first. I don't see him falling past 5th, but I think it's quite unlikely that he will win. I should have known when he was partnered with Matt Hardy that he was unlikely to win; that was almost as bad as being partnered with Carlito.
4) Heath Slater (4-0, last week: 2) Win/loss record didn't matter as much as I had thought in my first rankings, so I'm moving Slater down accordingly. I still think a Slater/Gabriel face tag team would be a good fit on Smackdown after this is over.
3) Daniel Bryan (0-5, last week: 6) I was sour on Bryan's chances after last week, but being ranked first in the polls has renewed my faith that they are going to do something with him, despite the 0-5 record. Plus, since he's the only one of the eight who could have a credible PPV title match, that increases his chances of winning. Based on the stipulation, it would not surprise me at all if he won and challenged Miz to a US or Unified tag team title shot at whatever PPV he cashes in that title match.
2) David Otunga (3-1, last week: 1) Winning the battle royal and hosting Raw next week ups his stock a lot, but the PPV title match stipulation drops it just as much, as they aren't going to put him in a title match against anybody without keeping the match impossibly short.
1) Wade Barrett (3-2, last week: 4) Barrett took a huge step forward getting the pin in the eight man tag. He was the only rookie in the match, and he was the one who got the fall, against a legit pushed commodity in Christian. He would also be easier to hide in a PPV title match than Otunga, even if he wouldn't be the guarantee to have a good match that Bryan would be.
Overall, this was a really good show and one worth watching if you can find it, and if you get Universal HD, they air repeats over the weekend. Now that they have clarified what the competition is about and have set up specific goals in mind for the rookies to attain, the show is a lot better, even if the polls themselves are fairly arbitrary. Hopefully the show can build some good ratings momentum with a more clearly stated purpose.