First, my apologies for not getting a Raw Recap up yesterday, I forgot to set my DVR for the show.
Results from tonight's episode of WWE NXT from North Charleston, South Carolina:
- WWE Rookie Michael Tarver (with WWE Pro Carlito) defeated WWE Rookie Daniel Bryan (with WWE Pro and US Champion The Miz) after a goofy powerslam.
- WWE Pro R-Truth defeated WWE Rookie David Otunga after the Lie Detector.
More detailed analysis of NXT after the jump.
- Tonight's Goofy Rookie Challenge was an obstacle course. It involved monkey bars, a rope ladder, jumping a barricade, running up steps, drinking a soda, running back down the steps into the ring, juggling for 5 seconds, a dizzy bat challenge, and pushing a cart across the finish line. The winner of this goofy challenge was immune from next week's first cut. Believe it or not, the soda seemed to give most people the most trouble, which I guess makes sense as I can't imagine drinking a large soda after all of that physical activity. Daniel Bryan spent the entire challenge selling his ribs after the match with Batista last night. and completed the race in 2:45. Heath Slater went second and destroyed Bryan's time, clocking in at 1:36. Darren Young's time was 2:07, not good enough to beat Slater's time. Justin Gabriel blew past the course and came in at 1:29. David Otunga came close, clocking in at 1:35. Wade Barrett quit the competition after being unable to complete the monkey bars. Skip Sheffield finished in 1:31, and despite finishing second he was congratulated by Matt Striker. Michael Tarver was disqualified for being unable to drink the soda, so Justin Gabriel won the challenge.
- The Bryan/Tarver match came right after Bryan's performance in the obstacle course. Miz browbeat Bryan for not performing well in the obstacle course, claiming that Bryan was embarrassing him and that if he didn't beat Tarver this week, he saw no way he would avoid being cut next week. This actually got some time, so they elected not to completely bury Bryan like last week, only partially bury him with the loss.
- They replayed last week's Seal the Deal challenge with Darren Young trying to sell programs by saying he would wrestle CM Punk if he won. This led to a backstage segment with Punk being angry with Young and telling him he won't make his name at Punk's expense, also telling Young had to win the obstacle course challenge.
- The R-Truth/Otunga match was pretty short and non descript. Otunga didn't embarrass himself, but it wasn't anything you'll remember immediately afterward. In other words, it's everything WWE hopes for in their TV matches.
- The show ended with the rookies doing last-minute interviews hyping the eliminations. Justin Gabriel called out David Otunga, so that will likely be a match at some point. Otunga talked of it being unfair that he had to wrestle R-Truth after competing in the obstacle course. When asked who should be eliminated next week, Tarver claimed that he should be the one voted off, claiming he was going to kill everybody if he wasn't voted off. Sheffield claimed Michael Tarver should be voted off next week, as did Heath Slater and Wade Barrett. Daniel Bryan, like Tarver, claimed he should be voted off next week, but for different reasons, saying he hasn't won a match so he shouldn't be there anymore. Darren Young and Wade Barrett scuffled following Young claiming he wanted to win more than every other rookie, so the final interview segment set up Gabriel/Otunga, Young/Barrett, and Tarver/everybody feuds.
This week's show had its positives and negatives. They eliminated the Raw Rebound, which was a definite plus. It just wasn't necessary when there is so much to get to on this show. The two matches they did have were given more time, so it wasn't quite as Impactesque this week. But the challenges still keep them from being able to get to the wrestling, and that's where they can tell the best stories. They also cut out the cool videos with the pros talking about the rookies this week, I assume because the goofy challenge took up so much time this week. We saw a step in the right direction this week with the better matches and the elimination of the Raw Rebound, so hopefully in future weeks we can see a further streamlining of the show to make it even better.
This week's NXT rankings:
8) Michael Tarver (1-7, last week: 8) Despite the win, I still don't see any possible way Tarver survives.
7) Daniel Bryan (0-10, last week: 6) I don't think he's going to be the first or second one voted off, but I do see some sort of gimmick where Bryan starts winning matches every week to barely stay alive or something similar. That said, it would not surprise me in the least if he was the first or second voted off.
6) Skip Sheffield (1-5, last week: 7) Stood out in the obstacle course challenge, and I think he's got a shot at becoming a star at some point.
5) Heath Slater (5-3, last week: 5) Didn't really do anything to stand out or drop either way, so staying stagnant seems accurate.
4) David Otunga (4-5, last week: 3) Otunga always seems to be one step forward, one step back, like they don't want him getting too cocky.
3) Justin Gabriel (5-2, last week: 4) Won this week's goofy challenge, whatever that's worth.
2) Darren Young (7-2, last week: 2) Didn't do anything to warrant a rise or fall.
1) Wade Barrett (5-4, last week: 1) Still the favorite.