Full results from tonight's episode of WWE NXT from Uncasville, CT after the jump:
- Heath Slater defeated David Otunga in the first round of Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Rookies Challenge.
- Skip Sheffield defeated Wade Barrett in the first round of Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Rookies Challenge.
- Daniel Bryan defeated Michael Tarver in the first round of Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Rookies Challenge.
- Darren Young defeated Justin Gabriel in the first round of Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Rookies Challenge.
- WWE Rookie Justin Gabriel (with WWE Pro Matt Hardy) defeated WWE Rookie David Otunga (with WWE Pro R-Truth) with a sunset flip.
- Skip Sheffield defeated Heath Slater in the semifinals of Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Rookies Challenge.
- Darren Young defeated Daniel Bryan in the semifinals of Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Rookies Challenge.
- WWE Rookie Darren Young defeated WWE Rookie Michael Tarver (with WWE Pro Carlito) and WWE Rookie Skip Sheffield after hitting his Full Nelson finish.
- Skip Sheffield defeated Darren Young in the finals of the Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Rookies Challenge.
- WWE Rookie Heath Slater defeated WWE Pro Chris Jericho (with WWE Rookie Wade Barrett) with a cradle out of the Walls of Jericho.
- This week's NXT challenge was Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Rookies, basically Joust from American Gladiators, only if Joust took place in a bouncy castle. The winner received a special feature on WWE.com. The Sheffield/Barrett match looked heated. For the second straight week, Tarver quit during his challenge. The first segment consisted of only the quarterfinals and only went about 8 minutes, which is much shorter than these have typically lasted.
- They aired a new video package for Wade Barrett, that showed the WWE Pros discussing him, interspersed with clips from Barrett's matches over the past few weeks. I enjoyed this and it would be nice to see WWE air these instead of the same David Otunga video every week. Also, it was nice to see WWE utilize the pros a bit more. That has been one of my complaints with the NXT concept through the first nine weeks; the Pros have been underutilized, in some weeks woefully.
- R-Truth accompanied David Otunga to the ring for his match, apparently none the worse for wear after being blown up yesterday on Raw. Good to know he's OK. They are back to teasing dissension between Truth and Otunga. The match was decent, with the finish being Gabriel going for a sunset flip, Otunga asking Truth to keep him from being rolled up, but Truth refused and Gabriel pinned Otunga. Guess we can add Truth and Otunga back to the list of Rookie/Pro conflicts, along with Regal/Sheffield, Miz/Bryan, and Punk/Young.
- The semifinals of the Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Rookies Challenge was exactly the same as the first round.
- Michael Tarver appears to be getting heat simply based on being incompetent. He came out cutting a promo decrying against these challenges and threw out an open challenge. It was accepted by Skip Sheffield, and the two of them were about to get it on. BUT WAIT! CM Punk's music hit and out came the Straight Edge Society, who turned the match from a singles match to a triple threat match involving Darren Young.
- The match itself? Well...triple threat matches are hard to make work with three good wrestlers, and these three are three of the worst wrestlers on NXT, which is a show that largely consists of green rookies. So yeah, that's about how good it was. It was #6 vs. #7 vs. #8 in the last Pros' Poll, which Michael Cole tried to downplay for the guy ranked #8 for some reason, probably because Michael Cole is not a very good announcer. Young won despite interference from Luke Gallows, as they continue to play up problems between the two of them. It also further buried Tarver, who couldn't win despite interference and was pinned seconds later.
- They aired another video featuring pros comments, this time for Heath Slater. Good stuff. They pushed that the heels are kind of annoyed by him, but Jericho made the old heel point where he thought Slater could become a player once he stopped gladhanding fans and became meaner. This was far more effective than airing the same David Otunga video every week.
- The finals of the Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Rookies Challenge saw an inconclusive first match, and a subsequent rematch won by Skip Sheffield. In his post-match promo, he quoted the movie Hardball for some reason. I'm not sure what this all accomplished.
- The Jericho/Slater match was good with the surprise finish. I thought they might do something with Edge coming out with Slater, to replace Edge's former partner Christian as Slater's pro for the night with Christian still stuck in Europe, but that was not the case. It would have worked for the Jericho/Edge storyline, but it was not to be. Jericho threw a pretty epic crap fit after losing, which made Slater's win come off as even more of a big deal.
NXT seems to have some timing issues, as it never goes off the air on time and the last half of the show inevitably feels rushed. This week was the same way, as my DVR would have cut off as Slater was getting into the ring for the main event. It would seem to me that they could probably figure out a way to cut a few minutes out of the challenges to help save time. In addition, they air a weekly Raw Rebound that might make sense on Smackdown, which goes two hours and has more time to kill, but eating up five minutes of NXT will be felt a lot more. I mean, the NXT ratings are crap, does anybody at WWE really think somebody is watching NXT and not Raw, unless it's by choice?
8) Michael Tarver (0-6, last week: 8) This ranking has not moved since the first week I started ranking NXT rookies. It is the most forgone of conclusions that Michael Tarver will be the first rookie cut in three weeks.
7) Skip Sheffield (0-5, last week: 7) This ranking also has not changed since the first week, and it would appear to be another forgone conclusion that Skip Sheffield will be the second rookie cut in four weeks, despite winning the Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Rookie Challenge.
6) David Otunga (4-4, last week: 2) The bloom appears to be off of the rose for David Otunga. He has the look and the charisma, but if you try to decipher this competition based on results, Otunga does not appear to stand out. His work definitely hurts him, as he's not ready to contribute right now, no matter how much WWE might want him to.
5) Justin Gabriel (5-2, last week: 5) Holds steady despite picking up a win this week, mostly because I don't see how there's a chance in hell that he winds up winning, even if his work is good. His showing in the interview challenge last week was so atrocious that he realistically can't win, even though his matches are always good, and he carried Otunga to a passable match this week.
4) Daniel Bryan (0-8, last week: 4) This was the first week he wasn't in action, and it hurt the show. Even his match with Khali brought something to the table. I wonder if he might be considered an attitude problem, as the tone of his blogs and his tweets read in a way where if somebody in management was aware of what he was saying, they would choose to bury him for it. Bryan will be more of a big picture guy; if he goes the entire competition without picking up a W, we know he was only here to bury the indies.
3) Darren Young (6-2, last week: 3) They are developing a story around him, CM Punk, and Luke Gallows, so somebody clearly likes him. I'm not sure why, as other than his body, Young doesn't have a lot to offer. He's not a good worker, he's not a good a promo nor is he particularly charismatic. He hasn't really done anything to stand out. His push kind of baffles me, but it's clear he's regarded on some level.
2) Heath Slater (5-2, last week: 6) Vaults back into the top tier thanks to picking up a clean pin on a man who was World champion three weeks ago. I may have been underestimating him.
1) Wade Barrett (4-4, last week: 1) Barrett holds onto the #1 spot for the fourth straight week. In his hype video, he was pushed unanimously by the pros as being a player, and combined with how well he performed under the pressure of last week's interview contest that swallowed so many rookies whole, he remains a strong favorite to win in the end.