THE SPECIALISTS CHIVERTON'S WWE NXT EVALUATION - 8/1: Latest Rankings of top NXT stars, Reax to Gold Rush tourney
Aug 15, 2012 - 3:00:59 PM
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WWE NXT Weekly Rankings & Evaluation
By George Chiverton, PWTorch NXT specialist
Episode - August 1, 2012
(1) Bray Wyatt (-)
(2) Seth Rollins (-)
(3) Sofia Cortez (-)
(4) Kassius Ohno (-)
(5) Paige (-)
(6) Mike Dalton (new)
(7) Richie Steamboat (-)
(8) Jake Carter & Corey Graves (-2)
(9) Bo Dallas (-1)
(10) Big E Langston (new)
(11) Jason Jordon (new)
(12) The Ascension (-2)
(13) Raquel Diaz (-4)
(14) Leo Kruger (-3)
With WWE debuting an NXT Title through the "Gold Rush" tournament (King of the Ring style with the title going to the winner), the rookies who look to be in the spotlight over the next few weeks will be competitors Richie Steamboat, Bo Rotundo, Leo Kruger, and Seth Rollins. No tournament place for Kassius Ohno in particular is a disappointment given his talent in the ring and lack of ring time up to now, although perhaps finding Rookies who the Full Sail audience is familiar with is the main priority this early in the season.
- The opening match this week was between Richie and Leo with questions standing over Leo’s gimmick and in-ring style. Even during his entrance, I found myself frustrated as his 'Tron video showed Leo in the spotlights while he bounced and boxed around looking aggressive and intense. On stage, though, in stark contrast, his entrance music was regal while Leo was walking as if he were royalty. It’s almost as if someone went on the create-an-entrance mode on the WWE video games and was exceptionally confused by how it works.
The match was a strong showing for Richie, while Kruger gave a decent heel performance. It was slow to start with standard heel antics from Kruger to ensure Richie couldn’t get any traction. Richie eventually worked his way back into the match to pick up the win. His performance merits, for me, a move up the rankings, while Leo suffered from the debut of Big E., who was in action next.
- The 289-pound, 5’11” beast from Florida is an absolute tank. Unlike other muscular men in WWE, Big E. doesn’t hide his power-lifting history, instead embracing it as his gimmick. The commentators talked up his lifting statistics, including his deadlifting world record of over 700 pounds. If he ever makes it to the main roster, I’d love to see him deadlift Big Show, if only for the visual.
His debut was squash-tacular with Big E. destroying Adam Mercer mainly using a hard-hitting, brawling style. I was expecting more of a powerful grappler, as with Ryback, but this was equally impressive. His acceleration is impressive for such a big man, which made any running strikes immediate highlights of the evening. The best was undoubtedly where instead of a clothesline, Big E. simply ran into/over Mercer. It was frankly hilarious. The finish came with E. hitting "The Big Ending," which is a powerslam pick-up into a cutter. Very impressive debut for Big E. Let’s just hope he can take offense as well as he dishes it out.
- Next, Raquel Diaz squashed the super-beautiful Audrey Marie. She looks very uncomfortable in her gimmick of a flakey and image-obsessed Diva, though. It’s like she’s playing some people's opinion of the current Divas roster, but she’s clearly better than that. The Gory Bomb she won with was superb and, being a Guerrero, I want more from her. Face Diaz is what I want.
- Hunico and Camacho were beaten by Jason Jordan and Mike Dalton. Dalton has always impressed me with great technical ability, speed, agility, and flexibility. He has that Ziggler quality (and look) of being able to make any opponent look a million dollars. As for JJ, considering he is only in the first few months of his rookie year as a wrestler, he looks an outstanding prospect. He’s completing all the basics with flair and has that inexplicable X-factor, which is essential for a star in WWE.
The match was short, with a shock huracanrana leading to the upset. The win "spiced things up a little" in the words of William Regal, and both Dalton and Jordan may be featured more on NXT now. Spice indeed.
- To close the evening, Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre had another stand-out match, which belonged in a Raw main event rather than on NXT. When Seth debuts on a main roster (which will be sooner rather than later), Drew could be the perfect man to go against given their superb chemistry and ability to make each other look good. The finish came with the Black-Out, a sly reference to Rollins’s former persona of Tyler Black, which McIntyre (whose name I have to look up every time I try to spell it) sold like a champ. Great match.
- Next week, I hope for more Bray Wyatt, as his matches have so far really got me excited.
[Torch art credit Marco D'Alfonso (c) PWTorch.com]
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