Before this week's WWE NXT elimination episode started, WWE accidentally cut to the arena where two referees were standing ringside looking toward the Titantron for the opening video.
Earlier Today: Johnny Curtis and R-Truth were shown hugging it out. Truth said he won't be on NXT tonight because none of the Pros are going to be there. It's time to take the training wheels off, they said. Curtis said he's a one-man Wolfpack, then did some wolf howling.
Elsewhere: A roving camera caught up with Ricardo Rodriguez telling Brodus Clay he's on his own tonight, so get it done.
Locker room: A camera on the floor of the locker room showed Daniel Bryan and Derrick Bateman on the floor resting on their elbows. Bryan said if he comes back next week and Bateman is eliminated, he'll punch him in the face. Seriously. Bateman said it's time to...cowboy up. Bateman slapped on a cowboy hat. Cue up the NXT intro video.
Announcers: Todd Grisham introduced the show, joined by Josh Mathews. He sent it to the stage, where Matt Striker introduced the remaining NXT Rookies, starting with Clay, then Bateman, then Curtis. Mathews said Curtis could be overlooked going into tonight's elimination. Striker set the stage for a cut tonight and the season finale next week. He said the way to avoid elimination is winning challenges. Striker noted Clay is in the Immunity Lead with five points. There will be two challenges tonight.
First up is the Obstacle Course worth three points. The first station is a peer bong ball toss into plastic cups. Next is a tower-building gimmick. Third station is cup-flipping. Finally, station four is using chopsticks to rearrange dice. Where did they come up with this? The crowd booed, not impressed with the challenge.
Johnny Curtis was up first. He had trouble building a tower. The arena was silent on the chopsticks as Mathews referenced motor skills needed. Curtis finished at 1:19:0.
Bateman was next and he struggled with the beer pong. Mathews said Bateman used to work a build-a-bear as he tried to build the tower. He was incorrect on his first try and argued with the referee, then realized he only had one slight change to make. Bateman, frustrated with himself, stomped off and did the cup flip. He just gave up at this point, with the time well past expired.
Brodus Clay demanded the gimmicks reset before he jogged to the beer pong station. Clay tried finessing it, so he decided to throw like 15 balls at the cups, scoring one to advance. Next was the build-a-bear station, which he mastered quickly. Clay horsed around on the cup-flip, obviously not trying to win. The time expired and the crowd booed. Curtis threw his hands in victory as Clay continued to play with the cups for the heck of it. And Curtis gets three immunity points.
Announcers: Grisham and Mathews were shown on-camera. As expected, they plugged a triple threat match coming up next.
[Break. "Chaperone" has a "bright sense of humor."]
1 -- DERRICK BATEMAN vs. BRODUS CLAY vs. JOHNNY CURTIS
Bateman and Clay slowly eased toward Clay, trying to corner the big man, who just threw Bateman over the top rope to the floor. Grisham recapped the immunity points at this point as Clay worked over Curtis. Bateman re-entered the ring as the announcers spent about 60 seconds debating whether the first challenge or the second challenge was worth three points, neither, or both. Organized chaos from the NXT announcers.
Clay stuffed a boot in Bateman's throat, but Curtis smashed Brodus from behind. Bateman and Curtis then double-clotheslined Clay over the top rope. Bateman followed with a dive onto Clay ringside, clearing both men to the floor. Curtis then showed off some aerial ability flying over the top rope with a somersault dive onto both men. He landed on his feet, then celebrated as they cut to break.
Back from break, Curtis was working over Bateman in the ring while Clay caught his breath on the floor. Bateman and Curtis exchanged holds while Mathews noted Curtis's problem on NXT has been being lost in the shuffle between Bateman's "antics" and Brodus being Brodus. Bateman was in control at 7:00 and landed a big flying dropkick on Curtis in the corner. Clay then grabbed Curtis's head and tried squeezing it like a melon while ref Scott Armstrong just watched rather than requesting a break in the corner. Clay followed with a butt bomb on Bateman and two men were down in each corner.
Clay followed up on Curtis with a snap suplex for a two count, then resumed a corner attack on Bateman. Bateman then took a modified t-bone suplex and took his sweet time attempting a cover on Bateman, allowing Curtis to come off the top with a big guillotine leg drop. He was slow to make a cover on Brodus and scored a nearfall. A pin on Bateman also resulted in a nearfall. All three men recovered to their feet moments later, then Bateman and Curtis executed a ring-rattling double suplex, as Mathews called it. Curtis followed with a suplex smashing Bateman on top of Clay. Curtis then rolled up Bateman and it was good for the three and the win.
WINNER: Curtis at 11:01. Nice finish to the match. Also, nice tease that Curtis has a shot of ending up in the finals.
Video package: Triple H. He's back. The voice-over man said the King of Kings is back on his throne. And he's featured in the new WWE Kids magazine.
Announcers: Grisham said in WWE, there is a reaction for every action. He fed to a full-length video clip from Monday's Raw showing John Cena's show-opening promo responding to The Rock. After the ten-minute clip, Mathews and Grisham said he hopes the Rookies were paying attention because they have a talking challenge up next.
[Break. Hall of Fame plug focused on Shawn Michaels.]
In-ring: Matt Striker was with Clay, Bateman, and Curtis. All three were still selling the effects from the triple threat match. It's Talk the Talk Challenge time. Each Rookie has 30 seconds to convince the audience why he should be voted the NXT Season 4 winner.
Curtis was first. He said he was going to say some nasty things about Clay and Bateman, but he's going to "take the high road" and thank the crowd for allowing him to perform every week. Curtis said a vote for him is a vote for freedom.
Bateman was up next. He said Sacramento is the land of gold. He said he is the Sacramento King of NXT. The fans booed, which Bateman acknowledged, acting surprised. He finished the promo referencing having "it," and he was booed. The cheap heat local promo didn't work this week.
Brodus Clay gave a shout-out to various Northern California towns and California, in general, to a strong reaction. The crowd survey had boos for Curtis, louder boos for Bateman, and strong cheers for Clay. So, he gets the immunity points and nine total points to earn immunity. Curtis left the ring and Bateman stayed in the ring selling concern over the elimination coming up next.
[Break. Raw preview for next Monday: Triple H is back. And with his sights set on WrestleMania, it's Game On.]
Next week plug: it's the Season Finale. Voting opens on Wednesday afternoon. ... To the ringside area, where Matt Striker was with Clay, Bateman, and Curtis. Striker congratulated them on getting to this point, then he fed to the random image selector. Cue up the drumroll...and the Rookie going home is...Derrick Bateman. Grisham said that's shocking.
Bateman no-sold before taking the mic for his farewell promo. Bateman said he thought he had the support of the fans online, but sometimes this is the way the cookie crumbles. Bateman said he is the future of this industry and future face of WWE. He said he is the Superstar who plays it tough, except in Sacramento. (He tripped over the word "Sacramento," then stomped off.) Suddenly, Curtis was on the ground. They cut to a replay showing Clay dropping Curtis with a clothesline. Clay shouted at Curtis that he'll see him in Cleveland next week.
The show concluded with a replay of the elimination reveal. The camera was zoomed in on Curtis, who reacted with surprise that he wasn't eliminated. They replayed Bateman's eyes shifting around, selling surprise. It's Curtis vs. Clay on next week's season finale. So, the winning Rookie's prize of a Tag Title shot will go to either Curtis & R-Truth or Clay & Del Rio and/or Rodriguez. Yikes.
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