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THE SPECIALISTS
CHIVERTON'S NXT SCOUTING REPORT: Latest evaluation & rankings of WWE's top Developmental stars

Sep 13, 2012 - 7:30:33 AM
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NXT Rankings & Evaluation
By George Chiverton, PWTorch NXT specialist


9/5 NXT RANKINGS

(1) Bray Wyatt (-)
(2) Seth Rollins (-)
(3) Kassius Ohno (-)
(4) Paige (-)
(5) Jake Carter (-)
(6) Sofia Cortez (-)
(7) Mike Dalton (-)
(8) Richie Steamboat (-)
(9) Bo Dallas (-)
(10) Big E. Langston (-)
(11) The Ascension (-)
(12) Jason Jordon (-)
(13) Raquel Diaz (-)
(14) Leo Kruger (-)

9/5 NXT EVALUATION

The week started with a recap of last week's excellent proceedings between Seth Rollins and Jinder Mahal finishing on a graphic confirming there will be an interview with the new champ tonight. Plugging this interview as a main event is another way to elevate the NXT Title as well as getting intelligent viewers hyped to see where Rollins's next challenge is coming from.
ChrisHero_130_3.jpg

- Kassius Ohno vs. Richie Steamboat was the opening bout and it was a match that I haven't seen in the WWE in a long time. Ohno, despite having a face reaction initially, was eventually disqualified for a sequence of blatent eye pokes. Yes guys, eye pokes. I loved it. Hilarious and super old-school. There was then a subsequent beat down by Ohno which settled down after a huge rolling elbow. Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat, who has noticeably gained a bit of weight, then came out to absolutely scream down the officials for not helping his son sooner. Interesting turn of events that had a lot of the arena guessing.

- The beautiful Audrey Marie then came out to make her NXT debut against the o-so lovely Paige. Paige is exceptionally popular with the Full Sail audience, and Audrey could have stood and been cheered for breathing. Both are clearly accomplished wrestlers, but Paige is an absolute cut above. WWE could and should just straight up swap the NXT women's roster and the main Divas roster as every Diva seems ready. The finish of this match was a sensational DDT by Paige.

- Backstage, Kassius Ohno was tracked down by Ricky Steamboat, who was mocked thoroughly. Ricky responded by pushing Ohno, who was then restrained by officials. Ohno was pretty hilarious here shouting (condescendingly) the likes of, "The Dragon's back!" and "You want to end your career twice!" Good fun.

- Percy Watson vs. Leo Kruger. I haven't seen either in a while and Kruger is a changed man. Excellent. He's got a hunter gimmick, which seems much more accomplished and thought through than his last gimmick. His intensity is far more than it was and his persona has gone from confused to straight up crazy. Percy was pretty much squashed. The finish was a tad abrupt which left everyone quiet. I need and would like to see more of this Kruger, although I cannot yet say I'm a fan.

- Brodus Clay on NXT against Ryan Collins. Fun squash.

- Usos vs. The Ascension, with a replay of the previous week's attack by the men in black. They have definitely grown on me, especially with their amended high/low tag team finisher. Seeing Conor O'Brien hitting a spinning heel kick is a great sight, especially when Kenneth Cameron is flying above him. The match was excellent with a higher-paced start than I can remember seeing in a long time. There was a huge impression that both teams wanted to hurt each other. The Usos in particular sold they needed to recover their pride and stand their ground. In the end the match broke down until eventually the Ascension goth the better of the Usos with Kennith picking up the win. Strong stuff.

- And, here we are with the Seth Rollins interview. He was super-face, which I'm not a huge fan of. I'd rather see a little more edge to suit his rock loner persona, but, hey, he's over and at this still early stage of NXT, that's the main thing. I was expecting a run-in by Mahal or his next opponent, but this established Rollins as the single champion and clinically tied up his victory last week.

Overall, good matches on NXT plus some storyline stuff with Ohno made for a satisfying viewing package. Still no Bray Wyatt, though...

On close, it wouldn't be right if I left this article without acknowledging and sending all of my personal best to Jerry Lawler. No wrestling fan will ever need to justify admiration for Jerry, who, through years of being a wrestling fan, I feel the familiarity that can only be associated with a genuine friend. Each report on his condition seems more positive than the last, which can only be a good thing, but the question marks that stand at the moment are equally, and correctly, not being taken lightly by WWE or his close friends. Let us all hope he pulls through and does so with as little long-term damage as possible.

8/29 EPISODE EVALUATION

With the Gold Rush tournament being quite severely rushed, August 29 brought everyone back up to speed.

- Mike Dalton and Jason Jordon had a minorly-plugged re-match with Hunico and Camacho. Dalton was crisp and professional, Jason hit a stunning dropkick, and Hunico and Camacho did heely things to win. What you'd expect really. Nice moves displayed, though.

- The Ascension came out and destroyed the Usos with a pre-match attack. It was a good heat-gathering move and made them look significantly less campy and significantly more of a threat. Thumbs up champs.

- Big E. strutted out to kill his next victim to death. One clattering clothesline followed by the big ending finisher made for an exceptionally short squash. A follow-up attempted interview led to interviewer Briley Pierce being scared off.

- Main event time, thank goodness. The locker room was all out on-stage, including many wrestlers who had yet to debut. Howard Finkel (yeah, The Fink) announced NXT commissioner Dusty Rhodes to the ring. He brought the title with him, which was a nice touch. Jinder and Seth made their entrances and proceeded to have a wrestling match. Of note, when Rollins entered the arena, Paige seemed very excited. I hope they get married. Think how good their babies would be at wrestling while looking a bit gothy. I'd love that.

Layla had a weird promo in the middle of the match. Did you know she's English by birth? Yeah, that's the weird part of her accent explained.

So, the match, where Rollins carried Mahal, in my opinion. He took the risky bumps, injected some fluency (which Mahal did nothing to help), and provided all the excitement. By the end of the match, the crowd was crazy mad hot with everything getting a huge reaction.

Highlights were Seth from the top rope to the outside, Seth hitting a huge superkick, and Seth winning. They all happened in a good way. Seth winning was a great choice for the tournament and NXT. He is an individualistic and fantastically talented wrestler who represents a lot of what NXT claims to be. Feud with Ohno? Yes please.

8/22 NXT EVALUATION

In the penultimate week of the Gold Rush tournament, the show's emphasis was completely on the importance of the match and the two competitors. The main event was Rollins and Mahal facing off, and every match had the commentators talking about the title and there was even a video package featuring the likes of Miz, Kofi Kingston, Daniel Bryan (who made the best argument that the title shows you should be on a main roster), and even Cena. The soundbytes, the build, and the energy all created a compelling plug to watch the title match. The main shows could really learn a thing or two here.

- The week opened with Antonio Cesaro defeating Derrick Bateman in a short but effective match. I know I have not been preaching Bateman as much as I used to as of late, but please do not get me wrong, this is not because he lost his star quality or become any less in my favor. In his match this week, he showed intensity, technical composure, and charisma in ample quantities. Furthermore, you can tell how hard he's worked to promote himself on YouTube and Tout. Hopefully he'll be rewarded in future.

- The second match was a fairly forgettable affair between Sofia Cortez and Tamina Snuka. Cortez was perhaps at a disadvantage due to my personal opinions on Tamina Snuka but regardless she didn't shine quite as much as in her first two matches. She seems to be floating between face and heel, and this match confirmed that she works best as a babyface. Hopefully she'll be back there in a couple of weeks time. Oh, and then Raquel Diaz did a thing. It was lame.

- The third contest was far from forgettable with Kassius Ohno eventually defeating Jake Carter (Vader, Jr.) after what was a strong match. I was expecting a simple squash match, but, instead, Carter scored some offense, which left a sweet tender taste in my mouth. He moves in a deliberate and pronounced fashion, much like Cody Rhodes before he takes Sin Cara's offense. He was certainly aided by Ohno's talent at selling, but as a singles debut it was an impressive one. Ohno was as ever with his rolling elbow proving devastating. At least it looked that way, and that's how wrestling works. Keep an eye out for Carter. A re-imagining of the legacy stable with Carter and Rhodes could be golden. As for my rankings, he rockets up three spots. Great match, and I hope to see more.

Oh, Kassius did some post-match antics on Carter's head. Regal and I were amused until Richie Steamboat showed up.

- McGillicutty and the excellent Jonny Curtis then faced Kidd and Gabriel, who would seem like unlikely tag champs, but a feud alone would produce some great matches. This match was evidence for that. Tyson was innovative and awesome, Gabriel was a shooting star, especially while taking offense from Michael, and the whole match was smooth.

- Ohno backstage interview. He's dangerous, etc.

- Finally, face-to-face with Jinder and Seth. Seth went super face while Jinder went super foreign, which in WWE means you're a heel of course. I wonder if WWE will ever get over its xenophobia and create a babyface who also happens to be Muslim, for example. Oh and don't chat Great Khali rubbish at me. He doesn't talk.

Cheap shot from Jinder, then a comeback by Rollins, which climaxed into a suicide dive. Standard procedure, but, hey, it works for some.

[Torch art credit Marco D'Alfonso (c) PWTorch.com]


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