WWE NXT Report JAMES'S WWE NXT REPORT 12/28 - Week 43: Review of final NXT of 2011; year-end review of NXT series
Dec 29, 2011 - 1:43:11 AM
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WWE NXT Results
December 28, 2011
Taped 12/27 in Indianapolis, Ind.
Report by Justin James, PWTorch contributor
Let's see what Santa has dropped in my NXT stocking this year, shall we? My wish list had, of course, Derrick Bateman to the main roster, more time for the ladies, a return of William Regal to the announcing role, and, just for fun, to see if Matt Striker's office added any new decorations this week. I suspect (and hope) that may be an ongoing gag for NXT going forwards.
Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks
[Q1] The show starts with Matt Striker in the ring, and he promotes NXT's 100th episode in three weeks. Striker recaps NXT success stories like Daniel Bryan. Striker then asks Justin Gabriel to come out as an NXT homecoming. Gabriel hits the ramp ready to wrestle. But, before Gabriel can get a full sentence out, Heath Slater interrupts and says that Gabriel "hasn't done jack" since he left NXT, and says that he's been carrying Gabriel the whole time. They argue about Slater's nickname, and Striker books Gabriel versus Slater. That may be the most mic time either one of them has gotten since NXT 1.
1 - JUSTIN GABRIEL vs. HEATH SLATER
Slater pushes Gabriel and runs for the corner. Gabriel with a series of wristlocks as Striker subtly recaps the Curse of NXT. Quick-paced back-and-forth and Gabriel settles into an armbar. Striker brings up a number of good points that were on my mind as well before the start of the episode, and I will discuss at the end of the article. Striker was about to enlighten us as to the fate of Eli Cottonwood before Matthews cuts him off. Matthres gets snide about Striker's passion. Gabriel continues to be on control with a series of holds and basic offense. Slater knocks Gabriel to the apron, but when he charges, Gabriel slips between his legs and sends Slater to the outside. Gabriel follows up with a flip dive over the top rope.
[ c - WrestleMania 28 ad ]
Gabriel sets up for the 450 splash but Slater crotches him. Gabriel is on the apron getting stomped and Slater hits a basement dropkick to send Gabriel to the outside. Slater flapjacks Gabriel into the apron then mouths off to the announcers. Slater rolls Gabriel into the ring for a two count. Slater with some kicks and then a side chinlock. Gabriel fights out but gets a back body drop for two. Gabriel kicks Slater from the ground and fights his way up, and manages an inside cradle for a nearfall. Slater knocks Gabriel down and moves back to the attack. Gabriel recovers when Slater argues the count, but Slater takes him back down again. Back to the chinlock for Slater. Slater cuts off the comeback and lands a belly to back suplex for two. Slater with strikes in the corner but misses a splash, letting Gabriel comeback with kicks.
[Q2] Strikers denies being the "GM" of NXT and claims to just be the "host." Gabriel with a cross-body in the corner followed by a springboard crossbody for a nearfall. Gabriel with a side Russian legsweep then he goes for the 450 again, but Slater runs up the turnbuckle and manages a powerslam in a split second without missing a beat. That was slick. Slater gets a believable nearfall from it.
They trade bombs from their knees and get to their feet. Gabriel slips out of a tilt-a-whirl move driving Slater to the mat with an elbow. Springboard moonsault from Gabriel for two. He floated forever on it, very sweet. Slater with a spinebuster for two. Slater puts Gabriel on the turnbuckle and they punch each other until Gabriel hotshots Slater on the rope. Slater flops into the ring, and Gabriel nails a springboard 450 splash. Beautiful.
WINNER: Justin Gabriel in 15:00. Regular readers of my Superstars reports will know that I'm not a big fan of Heath Slater's offense, but I do appreciate his ability to heel to a crowd that doesn't know him and draw heat. I take back what I said about his offense. While he wasn't consistently awesome, Slater had some moments of real sweetness, particularly the snap powerslam from the turnbuckle. Gabriel hitting the 450 from a springboard should not be underestimated in the spectacle of it. Good match, and probably the longest "TV" match of the month.
Backstage, Derrick Bateman is flopped on one of their travel boxes as Maxine walks down the hallway. He jumps to life and says he knows she wants nothing to do with him and she confirms it. He says they are both crazy and they craziest thing they shared was their love. She looks skeptical and reminds him that their weekends consisted of pillow fights and watching Titanic while he cried on her shoulder with his snot rolling into her popcorn. He disputes it. She says he didn't listen to her then, he's not listening now, and he should be preparing to face Johnny Curtis. He says he loves her for keeping him on track, vows to win his match, and says they will become a power couple again. She doubts it and starts to walk away. He tells her, "one more thing," and pulls her back to give her a kiss. She resists for a moment and melts into him. Then, she slaps him and he smiles. Johnny Curtis from around the corner has a sick smile.
[ c - Raw hype, but the ad is interrupted by part of the new 1/2/2011 package ]
Yuck, Darren Young is on commentary. Also of note, Tony Chimel is handling the ring announcer duties. Josh Mathews actually refers to Percy Watson as a Rookie. This has all the makings of being an angle and not a match, sadly enough.
2 - PERCY WATSON vs. TYSON KIDD
Watson takes Kidd down with a shoulder tackle, then transitions from a wristlock to overhead throw. Young distracts Watson from the booth, letting Kidd get on top. Kidd with a snapmare for two. Kidd chokes Watson in the ropes as Young and Striker recap Young's history with Nexus and C.M. Punk. Wow, that was a while ago, when established people actually appeared in NXT.
[Q3] Watson escapes from a headlock and nails a really well-done running enziguri. The ref starts a double count and they are up at five. Watson with kicks and a pair of dropkicks, followed by a clothesline. Kidd elbows a charge and tries a top rope move but eats a dropkick. Watson with the "Downtown Athletic Club Splash" as Striker dubs his standing jumping splash to lateral press, which gets two. Young heads for the apron for another distraction, letting Kidd kick Watson in the gut and slip in his spinning neckbreaker finisher for the win.
Post-match, Young gets in his fireman carry-to-gutbuster finisher, then mocks Watson.
WINNER: Tyson Kidd in 7:00. Good match. Once again, Percy Watson has dazzled with his ability to be as fast as Tyson Kidd, and Kidd can do no wrong. I would have liked to see this go on for a bit longer and have a clean finish. Darren Young's commentary was only mildly less awful than last week.
[ c - WWE Magazine ad ]
Backstage, Maxine is strolling along and Aksana (of all people) says she was looking through Teddy Long's phone for her pictures, and found something that Maxine should see. It's an email from Derrick Bateman saying that he's looking forward to being on the Smackdown roster, but he's tired of Maxine dragging him down, and requests that she stays on NXT. Maxine asks Aksana if Johnny Curtis put her up to it, and Akasana says no. Maxine gets angry, gives the phone to Akasana and huffs off.
3 - DERRICK BATEMAN vs. JOHNNY CURTIS
Bateman can't wait for the match to start, but Curtis gets the immediate advantage. Curtis with a heavy throw to the corner and a big suplex for one. Bateman with a running elbow for a knockdown, then punches and kicks in the corner. Bateman yells at the ref for demanding a break, then hits Curtis with a big chop. Bateman with a dropkick and punches on the mat as Striker questions Aksana having the phone and recapping that Curtis has been a manipulator. Bateman sense Curtis out the ring then lands a missile dropkick from the apron. Bateman rolls Curtis in the ring but Curtis rolls out the other side. Curtis lands a nasty punch on Bateman's head, goes to the top, and gets a flying clothesline from more than halfway across the ring. Maxine comes down the ramp and Curtis notices her and he holds Bateman in a hold.
[ c - Smackdown ad focused on the "Barrett Barrage" ]
Bateman and Curtis are trading punches out of the break with Bateman hitting the mat and Curtis with a side headlock. Maxine is pacing the ring and she declines to talk to Josh Mathews. Curtis chokes Bateman in the ropes. Curtis with a chinlock. Bateman finally gets a suplex for a separation. bateman with three clotheslines and a running dropkick. Bateman with a running neckbreaker for two. Bateman finally notices Derrick Bateman. Curtis elbows a charge and lands a clothesline for two. Bateman escapes a suplex and sends Curtis into the ringpost.
[Q4] Bateman with a rollup off the ringpost for the win.
Maxine seems a bit happy about the result, and Bateman turns to her. He drops to a knee and she enters the ring. He holds out his hand and she stares him down and walks away. Striker decries women who don't tell men what they want. Curtis is at the top of the ramp and approaches Maxine. She looks back at Bateman and slaps Curtis, then throws herself on him. She drags Curtis to the back by the hand. Bateman looks crushed.
WINNER: Derrick Bateman in 8:00. Decent match. For the emotions that are supposed to be in play, it was too technical.
Final Reax: Well, it looks like Santa left me some coal this year. I suppose my consolation prize will be Brodus Clay debuting next week on Raw. The Bateman/Curtis/Maxine story is starting to wear very thin at this point. And, where was Titus O'Neil? This was a lackluster episode in that nothing was accomplished. It was really odd to not see JTG (although that was a relief), Tamina, The Usos, or Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks after their near-constant appearances over the last few months.
Now that everyone is in "year end reflections" mode, I wanted to offer up some thoughts on NXT. When the show came out, folks were disappointed. The fact is, though, that NXT has pushed new talent into WWE. Every single titleholder right now (with the exception of Beth Phoenix and Evan Bourne) was either an NXT Rookie or an NXT Pro. After Season 1, NXT became the place where "pros" either revived their careers or went into the sunset; the "NXT Curse" is very real.
But, let's look at what's happened. Cody Rhodes stole the show throughout NXT 2, going from "the guy who always got beat up in Legacy" to one of the most compelling characters in WWE right now. Dolph Ziggler found his bearings on NXT, transitioning from his "I'm Dolph Ziggler" gimmick to the wrestler that about half of PWTorch readers believe will win the Royal Rumble. Jim Ross has publicly stated that both of these men should quit WWE if they don't wear big-league belts by the end of 2012, and he's right. Daniel Bryan is now the World Heavyweight Champion, despite weighing about 180 lbs. The Miz leapt from being an almost-fired chump to NXT Pro to WWE champion. Alberto Del Rio bounced from Pro to WWE champion in the middle of a season. Maxine is the only Diva with a character and air time to speak of at all (even if it is all on NXT still). Zack Ryder took the NXT disappointment and used it to fuel his self-made push. Alex Riley had a decent mid-card showing earlier this year and continues to impress on Superstars. And, Wade Barrett's been knocking on the door of the two big titles for over a year now.
What I'm saying here, is that NXT has been an excellent method of discovering talent that otherwise would have just gotten buried on the main roster until they eventually parted ways, and it has done a decent job at preparing FCW talent for the main roster. While NXT is often groan-inducing (dropping the challenges has helped a lot with that), it's really neat to see diamonds in the rough getting their final polish.
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