Full results from the season finale of the first season of WWE NXT, live from Dallas, Texas:
- WWE Rookie Wade Barrett (with WWE Pro Chris Jericho) defeated WWE Rookie David Otunga (with WWE Pro and US Champion R-Truth) and WWE Rookie Justin Gabriel (with WWE Pro Matt Hardy in a triple threat elimination match, first pinning Otunga after Gabriel hit the 450 splash, then pinning Gabriel after blocking a 450 into an inside cradle.
- Matt Striker opened the show by introducing the eliminated WWE rookies at ringside (Michael Tarver, Daniel Bryan, Skip Sheffield, Darren Young, and Heath Slater) and then introduced the WWE pros minus Carlito (Chris Jericho, The Miz, Matt Hardy, R-Truth, William Regal, Christian, and CM Punk) and finally, the remaining WWE Rookies (Wade Barrett, David Otunga, and Justin Gabriel). Striker explained that there will be two Pros Polls, starting with a triple threat match involving the three remaining rookies.
- They introduced the first of the second season's NXT rookies, Husky Harris. Poor Windham Rotunda. First, he has the indignity of having a last name as his first name. Now, he's going to be wrestling on NXT as Husky Harris. They've had weeks to prepare for this, they couldn't think of a better name for the guy than Husky Harris? He did a brief interview explaining that he is a third generation wrestler (grandson of Blackjack Mulligan, son of IRS/Mike Rotunda, all of which is weird since his last name is Harris, not Mulligan/Windham/Rotunda/Shyster). His pro will be Cody Rhodes, which should be interesting as you'd think they probably knew each other as kids. If you asked somebody who didn't know which guy was the son of Dusty Rhodes, I'm guessing 9 of 10 would have said ol' Husky.
- John Morrison did one of his patented stilted backstage interviews introducing his protege on the second season of NXT, Eli Cottonwood. Cottonwood is tall and has a unique look, but not necessarily a good one. He seems to be doing a low-rent Mike Knox gimmick, only probably not as good. One cool thing about Cottonwood, per Wikipedia: he played basketball professionally in Lithuania.
- The opening three way was pretty good, and it got better after Otunga was out of the ring. Barrett has definitely proven himself to be carryable, and Gabriel has the potential to be a decent low to mid-card fiery white meat babyface on this show and could probably survive on Smackdown right now. During this match, Michael Cole announced that in season 2, the pros' votes would count towards 50% of the elimination and the other half would come from fan votes, so I guess somebody on the writing staff is a fan of Russell Hantz from Survivor? Either way, seems like a gimmicky way to try to get fans to tune in for season two after season one fell short of expectations.
- MVP was announced as the third pro for Season 2 of NXT. He was originally to be the pro for Skip Sheffield on this season, but they wound up changing it to be Regal. He noted that his rookie is from South Beach, and he might like to party, but it required hard work and sacrifice to make it in WWE. Percy Watson was then listed as being MVP's rookie for season 2. His gimmick appears to be a charismatic version of Darren Young.
- Zach Ryder will be a pro on season two of NXT, and judging by who has been announced as the pros for this season, it appears season two is much lower priority than season one. Ryder didn't seem to care about his rookie's accolades or how he wrestled, just how to help him pick up chicks, and his rookie was introduced as Titus O'Neil. I'm not sure what O'Neil's gimmick was past being a former Florida Gator, nor did I learn anything about him in this clip, but he seemed to have a much lower key persona than Ryder, so I guess they will butt heads?
- Before announcing the first cut (and boy, did Justin Gabriel look nervous here), Matt Striker asked some of the first season cuts about the remaining competitors and who should be cut and who should win. Tarver chose to cut himself, as his run as the single worst competitor in NXT history continued. Season two rookies, you will have your work cut out for you to top Tarver. Bryan was asked who should win, and Bryan noted that Otunga couldn't wrestle and Gabriel couldn't talk, leaving Wade Barrett. Sheffield was asked who should win and he noted that he didn't care. Young said that Barrett was the most impressive physically then tried to get some cheap heat by saying he'd prove the haters in Dallas, Texas wrong. Slater stated that Barrett should win and that it's obvious. The pros poll was then revealed, with Wade Barrett first and safe from this vote. Both men looked extremely nervous, and Otunga's eyes looked very sad, like he was expecting he'd be out here. Turns out he had nothing to worry about, as Gabriel was eliminated, which elicited a lot of boos from the Dallas crowd as the last real babyface remaining, giving the finals a really weird psychology. Gabriel cited his tenacity and vowed to keep coming back, and that someday, he'd be a world champion. Matt Hardy greeted him on the way back and said Gabriel reminded him of himself (that can't be a good thing for poor Gabriel) and similarly vowed that Gabriel would be back.
- Oh man, I have to give WWE credit. They have found a way to top themselves in season two of NXT. In season one, they made the internet explode when they paired Bryan Danielson with The Miz. In season two, they're pairing Low Ki, er Kaval, with...Michelle McCool and Layla. They even managed to make the obligatory short joke with him in their opening promo, with McCool claiming that "he's so teeny tiny." This is going to be incredible.
- Mark Henry will also be a pro in this season, to a wrestler named Lucky Cannon, who was in FCW as Johnny Prime. His gimmick is that he had a few near death experiences and is lucky to be alive, which I guess is more than we can say about Titus O'Neil.
- The main event of today's show was a talk-off between Wade Barrett and David Otunga, where each man was given 60 seconds to creatively and entertainingly explain why they should be the next breakout star, so Gabriel losing in the previous match made more sense here. Otunga did a bunch of "YO MOMMA" style diss moves on Barrett, and afterwards was hated by the crowd. Barrett attacked Otunga's wrestling ability, or more appropriately lack thereof, and claimed that Otunga had no tangible quality that deserved a victory in the competition, saying that if you added two letters in front of "it factor," you had his opinion of Otunga. Seemed like a win for Barrett here.
- Really, WWE? Really? Michael McGillicutty? Really? You acknowledge that Joe Hennig is the son of Mr. Perfect, who 90% of the fanbase knows as Curt Hennig, so you give the poor guy a name like Michael McGillicutty? Even if you ignore that and change his name for marketing purposes, you could give him literally any name you want, and you choose Michael McGillicutty? Does that sound like a name of a man who will achieve any sort of success in literally any walk of life? I've championed NXT more than anybody, and I've sat through some admittedly dumb crap, but...Michael McGillicutty? C'mon, writing staff. You can do better than that. Anyway, poor Joe Hennig will have Kofi Kingston as his mentor and he appears to be doing a cocky heel-type gimmick.
- Before the announcement of the winner of season one, The Miz announced that he will be the one returning pro for season two (which is a shame, as they really underutilized William Regal in season one), with his rookie being Alex Riley. Riley does a letterman gimmick in FCW, and would appear to be a good match with Miz for this season.
- They then went to announce the winner again, with Regal interjecting and offering congratulations to Jericho for his pro, Wade Barrett. R-Truth disagreed with Regal's premature congratulations, which caused Regal to insult Otunga's wrestling ability and his wife, and then when R-Truth threatened to fight Regal, he had the line of the show to date, saying "Please, please, make my day, I've had 15 weeks of being stuck on this show with not being handed a live microphone, please, one of you, please do something to me!" He's right, he was woefully underutilized on this show, I can see him getting lost in the shuffle on Raw or Smackdown (though obviously don't think that he should have been), but he really should have been wrestling every week on NXT and definitely should have played a bigger part in the show overall. He also called Miz "Kermit" and Hardy "Eugene," the latter of which was funny on about 15 different levels. At one point, Christian chimed in, saying "Regal, you better sit down, you haven't won a fight in a year." Punk claimed he saw enough of NXT and just walked out while everybody else continued to mess around on the stage. Jericho tried to bring this back to something resembling order, claiming he was the reason behind Barrett's success, and if Skip Sheffield had been his rookie, Sheffield would have won.
- Finally, Striker cut off the shenanigans and announced the winner, in the least dramatic move in the history of WWE, Wade Barrett. Considering he's led the unofficial Cageside Seats rankings for like ten weeks in a row, and was atop the Pros Poll for the past five polls, this was the least shocking result ever. You'd think with the ability to control everything within WWE, that they would have done a better job building to a story arc that had some sort of dramatic conclusion, but it's clear that this show became an extremely low priority weeks ago (as evidenced by the fact that most weeks, the microphone time at the end was just the pros and rookies messing around), so it shouldn't be a real huge shock that it wasn't scripted better. Barrett looked extremely happy to win and Otunga looked really sad. I think Barrett felt much more confident about winning here than Otunga, but it did seem to devastate Otunga that he didn't get the win, even if all he really had going for him was his wife and his verbal ability. He did an interview claiming that he will be the breakout star regardless, and that he knew somebody who was once eliminated from American Idol early and became the biggest star from that show. Barrett did a final promo claiming he was going to win the World title and that the winds of change would carry him to the title. Good ending promo to NXT.
I'll have more later this week with what I'd like to see on the second season of NXT. I'm a fan of the show and the concept, but there are definitely things that they could have done better and I'd like to see them do those things in season two. Unfortunately, already I see that there are going to be problems with the second season, but I can hope for a better go-around the second time.