This week's episode following last week's "Graduates" highlight show started with a recap of the Matt Striker vs. Darren Young feud and William Regal's recent interjection in the proceedings. Cue up the NXT intro video.
Announcers: Jack Korpela has replaced Todd Grisham on play-by-play. Korpela introduced himself to the NXT audience and introduced Regal as his broadcast partner. Darren Young then stomped out to introduce the show himself. Young declared NXT is over and done. Excitement was in the air, but then Young turned it into a heel promo that he's clearly the winner of this season. Young then turned his attention to Regal, saying he could have torn Striker apart on the last show if Regal didn't intervene, which would have got him suspended or fired.
Regal left the broadcast position and slipped into the ring to teach Young Darren a lesson. Regal said he believes Young has a bright future in WWE, but he's seen him take liberties with Striker, and that's not the way to go in WWE. He's not allowing it. Young took exception to Regal trying to police NXT. Pause for a "Regal, Regal" chant, which Young took exception to as well. Regal talked up his resume and said Young doesn't have a clue on what the real spotlight is. Young said they should settle it in the main event tonight. Regal said if he has to get through to Young that way, then so be it. "You need to be taught a lesson," Regal told him before noting he's doing this for Young's benefit. Stare Down. Young slowly backed away from Regal, dropped the mic, and bailed from the ring.
Up Next: Bateman and Maxine vs. Titus and A.J. in mixed tag action.
1 -- DERRICK BATEMAN & MAXINE vs. TITUS O'NEIL & A.J. (w/Hornswoggle)
Korpela noted Bateman and Maxine have bonded over their common spite for past NXT eliminations. He also noted Titus is fired up after the heels put their hands on his brother, Hornswoggle. Titus quickly took out his frustration on Bateman with repeated strikes before Bateman bailed to the heel corner to tag in Maxine. That forced a tag to A.J., who went after Maxine. After A.J. landed some offense, Maxine cut her off and tried to wear down Hornswoggle's love interest. A.J. eventually found an opening to tag in Titus, which brought in Bateman. Titus landed power offense before the action broke down. Once the Divas cleared out, Titus hit the sky-high bomb on Bateman for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: Titus & A.J. at 5:15. The usual NXT match this season with Titus coming out on top, then celebrating with Swoggle. As for Bateman, his story was sixth-most-important in this match behind Titus, A.J., Hornswoggle, Maxine, and the announcers.]
[Break. Raw plug: Will next week's Raw be Triple H's last as COO?]
Backstage: After the break, Maxine was trying to tell Bateman he screwed up. Bateman told Maxine she should have just pinned A.J. They went around and around in the crazy cycle before Maxine calmed them down and revealed The Plan in front of the audience that they have to eliminate Hornswoggle. Maxine said he's standing between them and getting to the top. Cue up the make-out scene that led to Korpela and Regal selling disgust ringside. Regal talked about his match tonight and offered the old Mafia/WWE line about just when he thought he was out, they pull him back in. Regal then left the announce table to prepare for his match.
In-ring: Tyson Kidd's music played to bring out Kidd for an unspecified match (or segment). Korpela was then joined by Matt Striker for the Superstars portion of the show. Striker played into their Superstars tandem as Kidd completed his entrance. Kidd took the mic in the ring and said he's tired of the mind games. He said everyone knows Yoshi Tatsu is behind this. No sign of Yoshi, so Kidd continued to run down Yoshi for not taking anything seriously. Kidd said Yoshi has no idea what he's capable of. Cue up the sound effects and latest Japanese character on the Titantron. Yoshi's music then hit to bring out Yoshi, now sporting a mask and wearing a dark outfit. Striker asked rhetorically if he thinks he's Great Muta. Yoshi then removed the mask to reveal multi-colored facepaint indicating various emotions and a very serious look.
2 -- YOSHI TATSU vs. TYSON KIDD
Yoshi absorbed early blows from Kidd before attacking him with kick strikes. Yoshi knocked Kidd to the floor and they cut to break.
[Break. WWE Network 2012 announcement that aired on Raw last night.]
Back from break, Yoshi was still in control of the match, now in the ring. Yoshi knocked Kidd to the floor again, then measured him for a move on the floor, but Kidd avoided and rammed Yoshi back-first into the guardrail. Back in the ring, Kidd went to work on Yoshi for a few minutes. Yoshi eventually came back with a top-rope chop followed by a Muta-style strike on the mat for a two count.
Yoshi fired himself up and wanted to finish Kidd, but Kidd kicked his legs out from under him to cut off Yoshi's momentum. Moments later, Kidd lost momentum. Yoshi then went up top, but Kidd crotched him. Kidd tried a huracanrana, but Yoshi held onto the top rope to block. Yoshi followed with a top-rope spin kick and it was good for the pin and the win. Afterward, they went to a nice slow-motion replay of Yoshi's finisher. They cut back to Yoshoi for a close-up of his face as he sold the victory with determination.
WINNER: Yoshi at 10:28. A toned-down version of their matches focusing more on Yoshi's character change. Good action, though.
In-ring: Darren Young was out first for the main event. Striker talked up his in-ring skills, even if he doesn't respect him as a man. The old villain William Regal was out next to strong cheers. Striker said it's respect from the audience for Regal's accomplishments.
3 -- WILLIAM REGAL vs. DARREN YOUNG
Regal quickly taught Young a few lessons with elbow strikes, then knees in the corner. Regal then measured Young for the old crotch stomp, but acted like Steve Corino putting aside his heel tendencies for a simple elbow drop to the mid-section. Regal then knocked Young to the outside and beat him up some more. Regal dragged Young to the announce table, received Striker's headset, and asked Young if he wanted to apologize. "Never!" Young declared.
Back in the ring, Young did the old routine begging off, but Regal was wise to that old trick and stomped on his hand. Regal then went to work on Young's chest with forearm blows. Young finally found some offense with a basic whip to the turnbuckles that Regal sold like a gunshot to the back. Striker said old age is a concern for Regal as Young went to work on Regal. "This should be you, Striker!" Young shouted toward the announce table. Young then went to work on Regal, who made a comeback before doing the old trick of arguing with the ref while kicking Young in the lower regions as he was seated in the corner. Regal followed with an exploder suplex.
Suddenly, JTG showed up on the ring apron and Striker had enough, so he yanked JTG down off the apron and beat him up. Back in the ring, Regal nailed the Knee Trembler and it was good for the win. Striker grabbed the headset again and said JTG needs to mind his own business. For his final act, Striker unbuttoned his shirt and challenged JTG to come fight him in the ring. They signed off with Striker challenging JTG, Regal amused by JTG's attempted interference, and Young off-camera.
WINNER: Regal at 6:50. Regal is simply a master storyteller. Well done. The problem is the show continues to drift away from focusing on who the next "breakout WWE star is," which means this show will only be prolonged another month, two months, three months, longer?
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