Archive for the ‘NXT’ Category

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There’s really nothing to cover when it comes to Tuesday’s NXT. Nexus beat up more people. That’s about it. When the focus of the show isn’t the focus, how does that help? Hopefully, next week’s show will return things to normal.

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“Talk The Talk” Challenge

Are we going to see the same challenges as last season? What’s next? The Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Challenge? Anyways, the winner of this competition would receive a talk show next week. This challenge, unlike the others, is tailor made for the Rookie with the best promo skills. Last season, there was no doubt that Wade Barrett would win (I know, I was there). This time, Percy Watson won by a landslide. His topic, glasses, was served up to him, while the other Rookies received topics such as “moustache” (Eli Cottonwood), “pigeon” (Alex Riley), and “chicken” (Kaval). The story of the segment was seeing who could do the most with the least. Watson, Michael McGillicutty and Kaval stood out, while Lucky Cannon and Alex Riley were somewhere in the middle. Husky Harris and Eli Cottonwood struggled and need to get better.

My only wish was that during McGillicutty’s promo, he would have used his topic, “breath,” to say something along the lines of “you will say my name and perfection in the same breath.” Whenever he mentions his background, he shines. I still wish he was Joe Henning. I miss that guy.

But hey, at least Watson will get his prize. Last season, Barrett won his own entrance theme. That never happened.

“Showtime” Percy Watson (with MVP) v. Michael McGillicutty (with WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston)

The Pros are sitting on the ring apron as if they were in a tag match, which is a bit weird. This match was short and really put over McGillicutty as the cream of the NXT crop. What was even weirder than the Pros on the apron was how McGillicutty won (a sunset flip). Watson proved already during the evening that he is the best promo guy on NXT, but his in-ring skills are lacking. Watson is a tag team specialist and needs to branch out as a singles competitor. If he can find himself in the ring without help and pair it with his charisma, Watson would be a future Superstar no questions asked.

Titus O’Neil video package

I don’t understand why there is a package on O’Neil after he was eliminated. The Pro’s consensus regarding O’Neil was that he is an imposing figure, but needs to develop more in all areas of the business. He also needs to brush his teeth apparently. I guess this means that O’Neil will be back after getting some seasoning in FCW. If he does come back, he should be booked as a face.

WWE United States Champion The Miz (with Alex Riley) v. Kaval (with WWE Co-Women’s Champions LayCool)

This was the match of the season thus far. Riding some momentum after putting R-Truth out of action on Raw, Miz put together another great showing against Kaval. I’m sure the “internet geeks” wanted Kaval to get some revenge on Miz for Bryan Danielson, but that didn’t happen tonight. Kaval was also impressive; his reversal on Miz into a crossbody and especially his roll-through into a modified Warrior’s Way looked amazing. It did confuse me, however, to see LayCool trying to get the crowd into the match while Kaval was down. Regardless, Miz picked up the victory over Kaval with the Skull-Crushing Finale. Even in defeat, Kaval has looked exceptional every week and the show is his or McGillicutty’s to lose.

Eli Cottonwood video package

Survey says that Cottonwood is awkward in the ring and not intimidating even at 7 feet tall. My thoughts exactly.

Husky Harris video package

The Pros had more positive than negative to say about Harris. His body type and deceptive speed and agility work in his favor. If only he would stop harassing Matt Striker and start putting quality matches together.

Husky Harris & “Dashing” Cody Rhodes v. Mark Henry & Lucky Cannon

Speaking of quality matches, this wasn’t one of them. Since there was only about five minutes left in the show when this match started, it had to be over quick. Cannon and Rhodes have developed a rivalry. Rhodes goes over again, but look for Cannon to get one on Rhodes in the future.

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Just when you thought it was safe, NXT pulls out all of the old surprises. An unexpected elimination? A dumb contest? A new host? We did get the first Pro’s Poll of the new season, but other than that, this episode brought back all of the bad that I had hoped was purged after Season One. Oh well. Let’s take a look.

The Return of the Keg Carry

New host Ashley (who is having some mic difficulties) brings out the NXT Rookies. She mentions that there is a surprise elimination tonight for whoever is in eighth place, but immunity can be won by winning (GASP) the Key Carry. The main problem with last season was all of the twists and turns that “WWE Management” took during the course of the season. During this season’s premiere, Matt Striker spelled out the season’s process. I guess that’s out the window now, too. I don’t want to go too in-depth about the competition. But here were some highlights:

Kaval’s reason for not competing (he didn’t want to wear his body out) makes perfect sense as compared to Michael Tarver just refusing for no reason.

In response to Michael Cole mentioning that he started for four years playing basketball, Josh Mathews said it was because he was home schooled and played by himself. That was HILARIOUS. Point Mathews.

Lucky Cannon wins and receives immunity. Titus O’Neil falls on his ass (or his face, really). I thought we were past this.

Percy Watson video package

Watson is the only Rookie who did not compete, so we get a video package instead. Watson has grown on me. He is very entertaining and he always has a smile on his face. It makes me feel like Watson isn’t a caricature, but just an extension of who he really is. Those are the Superstars who shine through. Watson is still green in the ring, but once he has that figured out, he will be in great shape.

MVP (with Percy Watson) v. Husky Harris (with Cody Rhodes)

Watson joined his Pro, MVP, at ringside for his match against Cody Rhodes’ Rookie, Husky Harris. This match was really slow. The first two minutes was a feeling out process, if you will. A lot of circling and a lot of broken grapples does not lend well to entertainment value. Harris looks a step off with everything that he does. Minus the botched kip-up (which was painful to watch), everything else just didn’t flow. His moves were very basic (elbow drops, scoop slams) and other than his explosive uranage slam, nothing impressed me. MVP wins with the 305 and does an excellent job selling Harris’ offense, which may have salvaged him just a bit. Harris refused to shake MVP’s hands after the match, which makes sense considering his Pro, Rhodes, would do the same.

Lucky Cannon, Kaval & Michael McGillicutty v. Eli Cottonwood, Alex Riley & Titus O’Neil

This was a short match which highlighted Cannon, Cottonwood, and Kaval. Cannon did a great job playing the face in peril while Cottonwood, O’Neil, and Riley beat him down. Cottonwood looked much better than he has in the past, but I’m surprised they put him on the heel team. With a babyface Pro (Morrison), it’s weird to see Cottonwood develop as a heel. Kaval got the hot tag and was able to hit the Tidal Crush and the Warrior’s Way. It’s funny how a man with such a low speaking voice can shriek so loud. Anyways, a good win for Kaval, who won’t be a clone of Bryan Danielson after all.

Pro’s Poll

Here are the results of the first Pro’s Poll:

Kaval

Percy Watson

Michael McGillicutty

Alex Riley

Lucky Cannon

Eli Cottonwood

Husky Harris

Titus O’Neil

O’Neil is eliminated for being in eighth, which is where I had him last week. He gives a great exit promo, but like Cottonwood, O’Neil, though paired with heels, came off as a face. Not that it matters anymore, but just a thought.

Find out what happens NXT on NXT this coming Tuesday. In the mean time, check back tomorrow for my Superstars report.


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This season of NXT is only a few weeks old and it is already flowing much more smoothly than its Season One counterpart. Tonight, we had a Pro/Rookie tag team match as well as the first Rookie v. Pro match of the season. Mix in some video packages, awkward exchanges, and some Matt Striker abuse and we have the recipe for yet another episode of NXT! Let’s take a look, shall we?

WWE United States Champion The Mix & Alex Riley v. MVP & Percy Watson

The Miz and Alex Riley are a match made in heaven. If it wasn’t for the noticeable size difference, these two would be indistinguishable. Even with the instant rapport between the two, I liked how the Miz showed disapproval with Riley at points during the match. It makes the Rookie/Pro pairing actually mean something. Percy Watson is so entertaining, but he’s like a juiced up Urkel. He needs more experience in the ring to go along with his noticeable promo skills in order to complete the package. Miz and Riley win in a good opening contest. Riley is this season’s Wade Barrett and David Otunga rolled into one. He is the consumate WWE Superstar. Expect big things from him.

Titus O’Neil video package

O’Neil brings up his rough childhood and the lack of support and respect he had while growing up. His “working man” gimmick works better for faces (see: Dusty Rhodes), so having him as a heel doesn’t make much sense. He gets cheered later on for his “working man” comments. I am not sure that is the reaction the WWE is looking for when it comes to O’Neil. Either way, he needs to get better in the ring if he wants the respect he yearns for.

Michael McGillicutty (with WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston) v. Titus O’Neil (with Zack Ryder)

The discrepancy in talent between McGillicutty and O’Neil is astounding. Nevermind the bloodlines. O’Neil is the most physically imposing Rookie on Season Two, but is probably the most green in the ring. Irish whip clotheslines and reverse chin locks won’t win matches in the WWE. Albeit, McGillicutty uses a swinging neckbreaker as a finishing move, but at least it looks brutal. McGillicutty (by the way, we were told that McGillicutty is his mother’s maiden name, which it isn’t) put on a clinic in less than five minutes. Perhaps O’Neil’s struggles are a reflection of his “Pro,” Zack Ryder, but I would be surprised if he doesn’t find himself in last place when the first Pro’s Poll is released next week.

Kaval (with WWE Co-Women’s Champions LayCool) v. Eli Cottonwood (with John Morrison)

Kaval and Bryan Danielson took a very similar route to the WWE, so it doesn’t surprise me that he is being booked the exact same way. Kaval took on Eli Cottonwood in a one-on-one match, and much like McGillicutty/O’Neil, the talent discrepancy is alarming. Cottonwood is as stiff as a corpse in the ring. He doesn’t sell well and his offense isn’t fluid. Kaval definitely carried Cottonwood through the entire match, but ultimately lost. Kaval did get some impressive spots in, including his reverse Warrior’s Way and the springboard enziguiri. Cottonwood wins with a reverse chokeslam-like faceplant/flapjack manuever. Whatever it was, Kaval was out. Like Danielson, Kaval doesn’t need wins to earn or maintain credbility. Cottonwood, on the other hand, needs all of the help he can get. I just hope Kaval actually wins at some point.

Lucky Cannon video package

We get to hear about Lucky Cannon, who is “lucky” because he survived a brutal assault that left him unable to speak or walk. That is quite the story (if it were true). I know the WWE wants to make Johnny Prime look “lucky.” How about he wins some matches out of nowhere or has a penchant for knocking off Pros? Unfortunately, Cannon’s backstory is a little too farfetched for me to get behind.

In the back, LayCool is trying to cheer Kaval up. They give him a present. It’s a “I ❤ LayCool” warmup. To further the comparions with Danielson, Kaval has been placed with two Pros who are total opposites of him. Kaval, however, is taking things in stride in order to learn and succeed, showing his disicpline and respect for the business. Will he snap or will he continue to silently accept his mentors? Stay tuned.

Cody Rhodes (with Husky Harris) v. Lucky Cannon (with Mark Henry)

Cannon would have his chance to prove how lucky he is when he faced Cody Rhodes in the main event. Last week, Rhodes said that Cannon would be lucky to last five minutes. so Rhodes makes the match a “Five Minute Challenge.” All Cannon would have to do is not lose within five minutes. That didn’t happen. Cannon lost in about 3:30. Cannon got some offense in, but the story told through the match was his lack of experience. Last season, Heath Slater beat Chris Jericho, but it happened halfway through the season. That was more believable considering Slater had several matches (and a win over another Pro in a tag match) under his belt. This was Cannon’s second match; there was no way he was going to win, no matter how “lucky” he is.  Good work. Storytelling is important and it worked out very nicely here.

Rhodes is an absolute stud. I have said it before, but Rhodes has shined while Ted DiBiase has sunk. He is getting better on the mic and his movement in the ring is so crisp. The step-up kick off the turnbuckle looked and sounded brutal. The Cross Rhodes at the end looked a little weird, but I think that was more Cannon than Rhodes.

Rookie Final Thoughts

With the first Pro’s Pool being unveiled next week, Matt Striker gave the Rookies one last chance to speak their minds. Riley went first and said that he didn’t have to beat up nerds on the school bus anymore because he gets to do it on NXT. Kaval (wearing his LayCool shirt) is next and mentions that he has had to work hard to get to the WWE and will prove size doesn’t matter.

O’Neil follows with a “worked hard for everything and everyone doubted me” promo, which went over with the crowd. I wish he would stop with the “make it a win” schtick. McGillicutty must feel the same way because he mocks O’Neil before claiming that he possesses no weaknesses. I wish he would throw the word “perfect” into some of his promos to pay homage to his father. Surprisingly, Cottonwood delivers what I feel was the best promo, promising to wait in the shadows and bide his time until it’s time to strike. Watson is next and he makes me laugh, but in a good way. The gimmick is a little over the top for my taste, but it works for him.

Cannon, fresh off his loss, pretty much said the same thing that he said during his video package. Last, but not least, Harris says he doesn’t need 45 seconds and instead beats up Striker. Harris hits his senton splash and bails out. No one helps Striker. Do I blame them? No. Does it make sense? No. Striker has been taking quite the abuse lately. I would love to see him snap and put on the argyle trunks again. Rhodes looks pleased with Harris and the show goes off the air.

Don’t forget to vote on WWE.com next week for the first Pro’s Poll. Here is my Pro’s Poll based on what I have seen so far.

Michael McGillicutty

Alex Riley

Kaval

Eli Cottonwood

Percy Watson

Husky Harris

Lucky Cannon

Titus O’Neil

Be sure to tune in NXT week to find out what happens NXT on NXT.

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After an interesting season premiere, how would NXT keep the momentum going this week? Well, by having a solid match between possibly the two best wrestlers on the show, more video packages, and a Rookie throwing down a challenge to a Pro, I would say that NXT did an adequate job of keeping the ball rolling. Here are my thoughts on the second episode of the second season of NXT.

WWE Pros/NXT Rookies promo

At the end of last week’s show, the Pros became a united front in order to squash any chances of another NXT reprisal. Matt Striker wanted answers and thought that there was no better way to do that then to have everyone involved come down to the ring. Once everyone was in, M.V.P. spoke on behalf of the other Pros and told the Rookies that last week was an “initiation.” M.V.P. also tells he Rookie that the term “WWE Superstar” is an honor and must not be taken lightly. If one good thing came out of this entire NXT revolt, it is that it has finally given the WWE Superstars a chance to really show how much they appreciate the opportunity that they have been given. The Pros extend their hands to their respective Rookies and all is forgiven. To be honest, I wish that the Rookies would have been hesitant to forgive and forget, which would lead to underlying tension that could keep viewers wondering when the Rookies would finally explode. Such is life.

Alex Riley v. Kaval

Alex Riley and Kaval are probably the best wrestlers on NXT’s second season (with Michael McGillicutty a close third, but more on him later). With LayCool on commentary putting over Kaval, we witnessed a fast-paced, 10-minute match that definitely highlighted the immense talent both of these individuals possess. Kaval’s kicks were stiff, Riley’s slams were crisp, and both men had plenty of opportunities to show their stuff. I especially liked Kaval’s dragon sleeper in the ropes and his Liger Kick. Riley gets the victory when Kaval misses Warrior’s Way from the top rope and Riley counters with what can be described as a fireman’s carry to a spinout RKO for the victory. Kaval dominated the match, which makes him look good overall, and Riley find a way to win after being dominated, which backs up the “Expect Everything” feel that the WWE wants. Figuratively, everybody wins.

Striker enters the ring to get comments from Riley, who explains Miz’s absence (he was partying in L.A., which surprises me because everyone would be at the Lakers game) and that he can win all by himself. We also get comments from LayCool, John Morrison, and Zack Ryder, who likes the ring announcer. I like how the Pros sit on the stage and evalutate at all times, but Striker’s commentary isn’t always necessary. I think that if there can be a fine balance put into place, this could always be an effective tool.

Last week, I mentioned that Riley was going to be this season’s David Otunga because of his superiority complex. Yet, Riley is also this season’s Wade Barrett. He has the WWE look (big, strong, etc.), so he will be a perennial front-runner all season long. The video package about Kaval also allows fans to make a connection to Bryan Danielson, which like Riley’s Barrett, will be Kaval’s calling card this season.

Eli Cottonwood video package

Next, we got a video package featuring Morrison’s Rookie, Eli Cottonwood. Cottonwood wrestled last week and did not really impress me. He is incredibly rigid in the ring and needs to sell better both offensively and defensively. I think I will call him either “Khali Cottonwood” or the “Great Cottonwood.” Let me know.

Zack Ryder/Titus O’Neil backstage video

We then go to a GTV-like locker room video of Ryder and O’Neil patching up after their hostility last week. This candid moments between Pros and Rookies should be more prominent. Last season tried (Christian/Slater working out. Haha. Christian Slater. And Tarver carrying Carlito’s bags. Haha. Carlito). Here’s an idea. Between the second-to-last episode and the finale, have a special documentary episode with footage of the Rookies and Pros traveling, working out, and bonding. Just a thought.

Mark Henry & Lucky Cannon v. Michael McGillicutty & WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston

We learned several things during this match. We learned why McGillicutty goes as such (his mother’s maiden name), that McGillicutty is leaps and bounds better than Cannon, and “King Cutty” is the best wrestling duo on NXT. Cannon is solid, but that’s the best I can say. He could be great if he stands out.

After the match, Cody Rhodes give his thoughts on the match and runs down Cannon for showing sportsmanship after the match. Henry throws down a challenge for Rhodes to face Cannon. Rhodes accepts. Here comes the best part. Striker asks Rhodes what he can expect from him next week. Rhodes then proceeds to punch Striker out or so it seems. HE COMPLETELY MISSES! He swings behind him! Oh boy. At least we have a main event for next week.

WWE NXT Report: June 8, 2010

Posted: June 9, 2010 in NXT, Show Report
Tags: ,

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The second season of NXT is officially underway and it is already off to a much better start than last season. Yes, it is still way too early to make such a prediction, but (Obama impression) let me be clear. We know how long the season will be, when eliminations start, and already have an idea of how the Pro/Rookie pairings will pan out. This week, we got to know most of the Rookies, as four were in action and two were given video packages. There was also some fallout from Monday’s Raw and the actions of the Season One NXT Rookies. Let’s take a look at the season premiere of NXT.

Introductions

Matt Striker is in the ring and he introduces the WWE Pros, who in turn introduce their respective Rookies. Right away, we got to see the initial interactions between Rookies and Pros, which was a nice touch. Some were excited (The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder), some were indifferent (John Morrison, Mark Henry, M.V.P.), and some were just not pleased (Cody Rhodes, LayCool). Once everyone was in the ring, Matt Striker explained the new rules for this season; it will only last 12 weeks, the first Pro’s Poll will be released in three weeks, and the first elimination will be in six weeks. I am very happy that the WWE spelled out the rules this time because it educates the Rookies and the WWE Universe as well. Speaking of the WWE Universe, the fans have 50% of the vote towards the Pro’s Pool. I just hope there are no WWE Management cuts or lame competitions this season. Only time will tell.

John Morrison & Eli Cottonwood v. Zack Ryder & Titus O’Neil

The Pro/Rookie tag team match is a double-edged sword. It allows the Rookies to have some sort of measuring stick, but it also exposes them for how green they can be in the ring. The latter definitely overshadowed the former in this match. Eli Cottonwood has been compared to the Great Khali and the reasons are evident. He is very stiff in the ring both on offense and defense. I was hoping he would be more agile a la Kane or the Undertaker, but I can see that it will take Cottonwood a tremendous amount of work to improve in the ring. O’Neil is probably the weakest Rookie in the ring. He seemed very lost and also didn’t sell well. Morrison won with Starship Pain onto O’Neil.

After the match, Striker entered the ring to ask for Pro feedback. I like how the Pros sit on the stage and observe the matches. The WWE didn’t introduce this until later in Season One, so I am glad they decided to utilize it from the start. Morrison asked the WWE Universe for their opinion on Cottonwood, then Striker asked the Miz what he thought of the match. The Miz’s words were spot on: “You didn’t entertain. You failed.” These two Rookies have a LOT of work to do or this competition will be easy to predict.

Alex Riley video package

We are introduced to Alex Riley, who will portray the same gimmick as he did in FCW, that of the spoiled frat boy variety. Riley is a perfect mixture of the Miz and Ted DiBiase. He has the in-ring look and the mic skills to accentuate them. Riley isn’t the FCW Champion for nothing. I look forward to seeing him in the ring. He will be the David Otunga of Season Two based on his narcissistic attitude and charisma.

M.V.P. & Percy Watson v. Cody Rhodes & Husky Harris

Unlike Cottonwood and O’Neil, Watson and Harris did much better. Harris is very impressive for a man of his size. At close to 300 pounds, he can fly around the ring. His gutwrench suplex and corner splash were well done. The senton splash looked a little off, but was still impressive. Watson took most of the beating in the match, but did an alright job selling the offense of Rhodes and Harris. From what it looks like, Rhodes/Harris might be a lesser version of Miz/Danielson. Watson gets the victory with a floatover DDT on Harris. Striker enters the ring again for comment. I hope he doesn’t do this for every match because it will lose its value. Too much of a good thing is never good. Rhodes’ comments about Harris looking like one of his family members were pretty funny and he seems convinced that he will mold Harris into his image. I am intrigued by this and look forward to seeing what happens. M.V.P. still seems to be a little freaked out by Watson, but maybe he will get used to it. Watson is a tag team specialist, having teamed with Season One Rookie Darren Young in FCW. I want to see how he fares in singles matches before I make a more educated opinion.

Michael McGillicutty video package

Jo…Michael Hen…McGillicutty is our next NXT Rookie to be looked at. Long story short, he’s ruthless. I love his in-ring work and can’t wait for the uneducated Universe to get a look at him. Based on his interaction with Kingston at the start of the show, I can’t figure out if he will be a face or heel. Stay tuned.

The “Initiation”

A video is shown recapping Monday’s NXT invasion. Striker asks the Rookies for their opinions. Striker is more douchey than normal, pulling the microphone away from almost everyone. Kaval’s stern and punctuated speaking voice really stands out. Harris says he does not care, Watson says what happened was wrong, Riley sneezes, O’Neil says…something and McGillicutty criticizes the previous two. After all is said and done, the Pros beat up on the Rookies as a “statement.” Striker’s attitude could be slightly explained; the fix was in for the Rookies and he was in on all of it. I really liked it. I was not as crazy about it as I was about Monday, but that was to be expected. The Rookies are on notice. How will they respond? Find out NXT week on NXT.

Season Preview: NXT Season Two

Posted: June 2, 2010 in Analysis, NXT
Tags: ,

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When reality shows end, they usually go on several month-long hiatuses. WWE NXT Season Two? It starts next week. The WWE is wasting little time bringing back the concept and the eight Rookies and their respective Pros have already been announced. These fresh faces will compete once again for the title of WWE’s Next Breakout Star. This is a season preview of sorts; I will introduce the Rookies, detail their backgrounds, show some video clips of them in the ring, describe how I think they will interact with their Pro, and finally, make a prediction of who will win NXT.

Season Two Changes

So far, the only change we know about Season Two deals with the voting process. According to Josh Mathews and Michael Cole, the WWE Universe will now have a say on who goes where in the Pro’s Poll. The Pros will hold 50% of the vote, while the fans can vote online at WWE.com for the other 50%.

Meet The Rookies

Husky Harris


WWE Pro: Cody Rhodes

Husky Harris, better known as “Duke Rotundo” in FCW, is a third-generation wrestler. His grandfather is Blackjack Mulligan and his father is I.R.S., a former tag champion. In FCW, Harris competes as part of a tag team known as the “Rotundos” along with his brother, Bo. He is a one-time FCW Tag Team Champion.

Pro Interaction

I thought Cody Rhodes was an interesting pick. Since both have blood lines in the business, I am sure Rhodes will make it known that his family has been more successful, causing a riff between the two. I see their relationship playing out much like Darren Young and C.M. Punk; Rhodes will do his best to feign interest, but ultimately will throw Harris by the wayside unless Harris adapts to Rhodes’ in-ring acumen.

Eli Cottonwood


WWE Pro: John Morrison

Eli Cottonwood is listed at over 7 feet tall and is the first “monster” that NXT has had. He once had a basketball career, graduating from St. John’s University in New York, competing overseas, and even signing two developmental deals with the Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks.

Pro Interaction

This is a definite mismatch in terms of in-ring style. Morrison is a high-flyer with tremendous speed and agility. With Cottonwood’s obvious size and strength advantage, I am not sure how Morrison will really be able to impart his wisdom on Cottonwood. I can see the two getting along.

Kaval





WWE Pros: WWE Co-Women’s Champions Layla El and Michelle McCool

Kaval, better known as “Low Ki,” is this season’s Bryan Danielson. Kaval has had runs in Ring Of Honor (where he was the first ROH Champion), ZERO-ONE, and TNA (where he was a former X Division Champion). He is a 12 year veteran and should be the “internet darling” as Michael Cole would call him. Unlike Danielson, however, he is much more stern.

Speaking of Danielson, here’s a match between the two from FCW.

Pro Interaction

The comparisons to Danielson continue with Kaval’s Pro pairing. LayCool are the first Diva Pros. Their snootiness, much like the Miz’s, will definitely clash with Kaval’s no-nonsense attitude. This will be the most entertaining pairing to watch for sure.

Titus O’Neil


WWE Pro: Zack Ryder

A former college and professional football player, Titus O’Neil could be the most physically imposing Rookie on this season’s NXT.

Pro Interaction

Zack Ryder is a character to say the least. Depending on which way O’Neil goes (heel or face), this could be fun or painful.

Lucky Cannon

WWE Pro: Mark Henry

Lucky Cannon, or “Johnny Prime” in FCW, has been competing in WWE’s developmental territory for a while now. Not much is known about Cannon, so we are in for a surprise.

Pro Interaction

Mark Henry should be able to mold Cannon into his image. Cannon is a big guy and, with more agility than Henry, could be a superior version of the World’s Strongest Man.

Alex Riley

WWE Pro: The Miz

Alex Riley is the current FCW Heavyweight Champion. Arriving in WWE three years ago, he has been a regular in dark matches before Raw and Smackdown.

Pro Interaction

This is a match made in heaven. Riley is more or less a miniature Miz (not in size, but in attitude). These two will gel from the start and I can see these two making a huge impact on NXT.

Percy Watson

WWE Pro: M.V.P.

Hailing from South Beach, Percy Watson was a member of the “South Beach Boys” in FCW along with Season One Rookie Darren Young.

Pro Interaction

M.V.P. is from Miami, and even though he mentioned on the NXT finale that Miami and South Beach are two different entities, I think these two will get along just fine. M.V.P. was originally going to be the Pro for Skip Sheffield on Season One, but Watson is a much better fit for him. I think Watson might be the wild card in this competition.

Michael McGillicutty

WWE Pro: WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston

Now this is a shame. Michael McGillicutty is actually Joe Henning, the son of “Mr. Perfect” Curt Henning. I have no clue as to why the WWE decided not to acknowledge this on NXT. He is a former FCW Heavyweight Champion and two-time Tag Team Champion with Brett DiBiase in a team known as the “Fortunate Sons.” Reports surfaced linking McGillicutty and DiBiase to Brett’s brother, Ted, and reforming the Fortunate Sons as a heel stable. But Brett injured his knee and this might be Plan B for McGillicutty.

Pro Interaction

Kofi Kingston will be a great mentor to McGillicutty in two ways. If he goes face, these two could easily steal the show. If he goes heel, I could see a feud between the two that would definitely spark interest. Keep an eye on this one.

Winner

Right now, I cannot pick a clear cut winner, but what I can do is tell you who I think are the only Rookies who have a chance of winning are. Here are those three:

Kaval

Alex Riley

Michael McGillicutty

These three are the most experienced and WWE-ready coming into the competition. In Season One, Danielson didn’t need to win because his stardom was already established. If Kaval follows the same trend (as I detailed above), he won’t need to win either. I doubt the WWE wants two heels to win the first two seasons of NXT, so if McGillicutty debuts as a face, he will be my favorite for WWE NXT Season Two.