The Season Starts Now – NXT 2/23/10

The début of NXT starts off with all 8 Rookies lined up backstage. Enter The Miz who’s been quite vocal lately about his Rookie Daniel Bryan via his WWE blog. He gives Bryan his first task in proving his words wrong. Go out the ring and introduce himself with some charisma. As Bryan goes out to the ring (to Miz’s music) Miz gives an aside to the viewers that if Bryan fails at being charismatic he’ll personally go out there and slap some into him.

Bryan comes out to the ring where we find that Michael Cole and Josh Matthews will be the commentary team for the show and that Matt Striker will be the behind the scenes host. Bryan comes out, thanks his many fans from his 10 years on the indy circuit and apologizes to them for being partnered with the Miz. The Miz doesn’t take this well and for the 3rd time we hear his music, though I’m not complaining about that. Miz informs Bryan that he’s failed and that he was right about him in his blog. Miz then slaps Bryan and leaves after some back and forth where Bryan says he’ll make Miz tap or snap.

Backstage, Striker questions Bryan’s reaction to what just occurred and what he expects to learn from the Miz. Bryan doesn’t expect to learn anything from the Miz as he’s been wrestling all over the world twice as long as him to which Striker informs him that none of it was in the WWE and he should have some respect.

Carlito & Michael Tarver vs. Christian & Heath Slater

Both teams come out while video segments play giving some background on the Rookies. Tarver is the son of Mike Tyson’s sparring coach who claims to knock out his opponents in 1.9 seconds while Slater is the self-proclaimed “rock band without instruments”.

These pairing seem to like one another as of now and the match starts off with Carlito and Slater. Slater takes the upper hand but his youthful cockiness allowed Carlito and Tarver to take the advantage. Christian comes in and fights both opponents quickly avoiding a tag team manuever and gaining the edge. Slater pulls Carlito out of the ring allowing Christian to show the rookie why he was the ECW Champion for so long. Christian hits the Killswitch and picks up the win. Slater does a ridiculous dance.

Darren Young vs. David Otunga

Pre-match shows both rookies with their pros. Neither pairing appears to click as Otunga seems to think himself better than R-Truth and Darren Young’s party lifestyle gains no favor with the Straight Edge Society.

Otunga was given a video segment where he discussed his “A-list” celebrity status, in-ring abilities, relationship with Jennifer Hudson and comparisons to President Obama.

The match was incredibly short as Otunga “squashed” Young. It worked though because of CM Punks unwillingness to work with his Rookie. Expect something to come out of that. Otunga so far is the only rookie who actually fit their pro’s music though.

Daniel Bryan vs. Chris Jericho

Unbeknownst to Bryan, he was scheduled to face the new World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho. Jericho enters with rookie Wade Barrett (who is incredibly British) and then has Barrett announce him. Barrett introduces himself and proceeds to admonish Jericho. Jericho only wanted an introduction and cut Barrett off.

The Miz actually came to the ring with Bryan but was left at the ramp as Bryan ran up ahead.

The match starts off with a shoving match ending with Bryan slapping Jericho. A good series of holds and strikes occur with Jericho ending up outside the ring. Bryan performs a suicide dive out on to Jericho who counters it into a powerslam into the announce table. Both superstar get up and Jericho counters a springboard attack with the Walls of Jericho which was countered by Bryan with some sort of heel lock. Jericho makes it to the ropes and hits Bryan with the Codebreaker. Jericho locks in the Walls again and Bryan is force to tap out quickly. Throughout the match Matt Striker interview Barrett ringside about his pairing with Jericho. After the match The Miz beat some more respect into Daniel Bryan.

Afterthoughts

I liked it! Then again, it was basically WWE ECW 2.0, now without the old ECW stigma and a dash of reality/behind the scenes TV thrown in. I’m liking the pairings more now that I’ve actually seen the rookies talk so I think that aspect is working great. I’ll finish with a Rookie Nightly Summary.

Daniel Bryan: Clearly the star of the night as the whole show pretty much revolved around him. So good for him.

Michael Tarver: I liked him. He pulled off the intimidating presence of being a devastating heel striker while showing good in-ring ability.

Heath Slater: The goofy dancing didn’t work for The Brian Kendrick. Good luck making it work for you.

David Otunga: Being an actually celebrity really can’t hurt. The man’s got a presence as well. I see a bright future if “worked” well.

Darren Young: I don’t think he’d be on the show if he was going to just be “the jobber” so if you like him, don’t be worried about his treatment just yet.

Wade Barrett: Incredibly British! He’s like a young William Regal.

Next week we’ve been teased to see Matt Hardy and his NXT Rookie Justin Gabriel in action so keep watching sports “entertainment” fans!

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