NXT 06/01/2010 #15

The Finale where we discover everything has taken place inside of Triple H’s snow globe.

We’re in Dallas, Texas with the five eliminated Rookies sat at ringside looking miserable. Wade Barrett, David Otunga and Justin Gabriel are the three hopefuls left with Josh getting everyone’s rankings incorrect as they head to the ring. Oh and next week we’ll be getting the debut of Season Two because I guess this show has been such a success they may as well do it again.

Husky Harris lets us know he’s a second generation superstar as his parents are Blackjack Mulligan and Barry Windham, so he gets Cody Rhodes as a Pro because his Dads are Dusty Rhodes & Dustin Rhodes.

John Morrison’s Rookie is…Eli Cottonwood? The man doesn’t have a Wikipedia page and seeing his 7 foot physique perched atop pipe-cleaner legs it’s little wonder he was out of the business shortly after this.

Wade Barrett vs. David Otunga vs. Justin Gabriel

Yeah might as well have a match with nothing at stake. Jericho yells at Josh while Justin gets a nice Sunset Flip attempt on Wade. Gabriel gets sent outside to kinda-land on Wade. Crowd chants for Daniel Bryan as Gabriel lands the 450 Splash on Otunga…with Wade stealing the pin even though it’s double elimination in a fine display of shithousery.

Wade bounces Gabriel around as his Pro Matt Hardy attempts and fails to get the crowd into it. Justin lands his fancy Glacier-style kicks and tries the 450 Splash again but lands on ribs allowing Barrett to roll him up for two.

Winner: Wade Barrett (Perfect cromulent wrestling with a crowd that didn’t give a fuck.)

MVP’s Rookie is Percy Watson who is trying really hard to make an impression with his big red glasses and telling everyone he’s a ladies man.

I’m not saying they’re struggling to fill an hour this week but we get a “This Week In WWE History courtesy of Classics On Demand” segment to talk about Junkyard Dog.

Zack Ryder’s rookie is Titus O’Neil and Ryder is looking forward to teaching him how to dress and act and when to approach the boss on live TV.

Pro-Poll #1

The ex-Rookies are asked who they think should win. Tarver answers “me” to no reaction. Bryan gets the pop of the night by standing up and insulting Gabriel & Otunga. Sheffield thinks about it and says “I don’t care”, cracking up the commentators. No Cole vs. Bryan action this week, sadly.

Justin Gabriel is voted off. Wait what happened to that indemnity thing he won a few weeks ago? Ah well, Justin says the dream’s over but he’ll be back. Pfft what’s he going to do, be part of one of the hottest angles of the year on Raw? Pish posh.

Laycool introduce their Rookie…Kaval. And if you thought the IWC reaction to Bryan getting jobbed out every week was strong, it was nothing compared to Low Ki getting treated like a child by the co-Women’s Champion.

Oh and Mark Henry will be mentoring some guy called Lucky Cannon. Absolutely no memory of him.

Otunga and Barrett are encouraged to talk as “creatively and entertainingly as possible” about one another so David says the only PPV he’d pay to see Wade in would be “a triple threat with Aqua Fresh & Listerine.” Barrett says Otunga’s got a nice body but doesn’t know how to use it and “the Great Khali has more poise than you” cracking up the commentators again. This was a fun two minutes.

Pro Kofi Kingston (with two whole years of WWE TV time) is happy to show off the son of Curt Hennig: Michael McGillicutty who definitely didn’t do anything memorable on Season Two.

The Miz interrupts the Pro Poll to let us know he’s returning for Season Two to manage…Alex Riley! That partnership would work until it didn’t.

Pro-Poll #2

Even with JYD doing a run-in, we’re still running under time so Regal decides to congratulate Jericho for having the best man on the show and R-Truth takes offence. “Listen, the only reason your man’s here is because he married well…and if you’ve seen her you know he didn’t marry THAT well.” That aged well. Regal decides to liven things up by congratulating Barrett, we’re British and we’re better than all these Yanks and challenges anyone to a fight. Christian says Willie hasn’t won a fight in a year so Regal replies “sit down Benjamin Button.” HAHAHAHA. Punk gets up and leaves as Jericho demands Regal put him over. “Jericho, I’ve always liked your two moves.” Regal should be in the Hall Of Fame for just these three minutes. After referring to Matt Hardy as “Eugene”, Striker has to sadly interrupt and carry on with the show.

Wade wins the vote to win Season One and to earn himself a future PPV title shot. “I told you the world the Winds of Change are here and today they stop blowing.”

That was the end of a truly bizarre season with little in the way of forward planning with the biggest successes coming from Bryan’s ad-libs so who knows what would have happened if he hadn’t dropped on WWE’s lap (or if they’d fired him after he refused to eat fast food during that challenge a few weeks ago?)

And with everyone focusing on Season Two and assuming that’s the end of that, we jump ahead a few days later…

Raw 06/07/10

Masked CM Punk (still hiding the hair he lost after the Rey match at Over The Limit) takes on John Cena in the main event. As Cena is about to hit the AA, Wade Barrett strolls down the aisle wearing an armband with a big “N” on it. Cena drops Punk and gets ready for a showdown, before noticing the rest of NXT Season One has jumped the guard-rail and are attacking Punk & Gallows. Once they’ve dealt with them, they jump into the ring and surround Cena.

Otunga decks the referee and Cena tries to fight all eight guys but he gets devoured like fire ants stripping a cow. Sheffield pump kicks Matt Striker at ringside, Slater and Gabriel pounce on Lawler and the announce table gets destroyed. Suddenly the cameras are shaky and even the bell ringer is KO’d. Random techs are attacked and with no commentators all you can hear are the screams of disgust from the crowd as Jason Roberts gets choked.

The concrete is removed at ringside, the ring ropes are stripped and Cena tries a comeback but gets knocked on his arse by a Superman Punch from Tarver. Everyone lines up to hit their trademark offense on the biggest star in WWE and Bryan starts yelling “YOU ARE NOT BETTER THAN ME” at a fallen John. The Rookies have to scrape Cena off the canvas so Wade can hit Badlands which sets up Gabriel’s 450 Splash. And after that, they all leave with the remaining TV time spent panning around at the destruction as Cena lays there staring at the medical attention being delivered to the staff at ringside.

I can’t even put into words how amazing an angle this was compared to the fifteen weeks of embarrassment  the Rookies had been put through. The greatest Hail Mary in the history of wrestling, giving 2010 Raw a much-needed shot in the arm, Cena a new set of opponents and suddenly eight new stars ready for action.

Well, seven.

Here’s Bryan’s thoughts:

The Monday after NXT was finished, all eight of us Rookies were brought to Raw in Miami. We had no idea why. We still had to dress separately from everyone else in the locker room, in a dirty draped-off space next to the catering area. Midway through the day, Laurinaitis pulled us all into Vince’s office, where we waited until Vince and Michael Hayes, a former wrestling star and one of the top match producers in WWE today, came in. Vince told us they had a plan, but it was of the utmost importance we not tell anybody outside of those in the room. If we did, it would ruin it, and if they heard of any of us telling anybody, that person would be fired. We were going to do something that had never been done before on WWE television.

It would happen in the main event, in which John Cena’s opponent was to be picked by the fans whose choices were Rey Mysterio, Jack Swagger, and CM Punk. They thought Rey winning was a pretty sure thing, but when you leave things up to the fans, you never know what you’re going to get, and Punk ended up winning the vote. I’m not sure how much Punk was briefed on what was going to happen, but after all eight of us got into our ring gear early in the day, if anyone asked why we were dressed, we just told them we had to shoot some photos. We lied to everybody, including people we trusted. I even lied about it to Regal.

While Cena and Punk were wrestling, the winner of NXT, Wade Barrett, came strolling down the ramp. Shortly thereafter, the rest of the Rookies, including myself, came through the crowd and jumped over the barricade. Punk had the Straight Edge Society with him, so we beat up his associate Luke Gallows, and Serena ran off. Punk got out of the ring, and we beat him up, too. Then all of us hopped on the apron and stared down Cena, the biggest star in WWE. We all slowly stepped into the ring, and the eight of us surrounded him. That’s when the mayhem ensued and the Nexus was born. We all beat up Cena, then got out of the ring to destroy everything in sight. We tore apart the ring, exposing the wooden beams underneath; we beat up security, we cut up the mat, we tore off the ropes, and we ripped apart the mats on the floor. We created chaos, and in the process, we even beat up ring announcer Justin Roberts, stripping off his jacket and shirt. Vince and Michael had told us directly that they wanted a “gang-style beatdown,” and that’s what we gave them.

Keep in mind that I hadn’t been in WWE very long. I knew some of the rules, like no bleeding, and I knew it was a PG company, but I didn’t know what exactly was PG and what wasn’t. In the middle of this “gang-style beatdown,” I saw Justin Roberts lying there, no shirt on and tie still around his neck. In moments like this, I always thought violence was good for believability, so I grabbed the long end of his tie from behind and pulled it back. Hard. The cameras picked up on it right away because it was a great visual: Justin on his stomach, being choked by the tie around his neck, his face turning purple.

Some people thought he was just selling goofy, but he wasn’t. I don’t trust nonwrestling people to sell very well, especially when it comes to a big, important angle, so it’s better to be a little rough, as long as you don’t hurt them. I pulled on the tie so hard it left long red marks on his neck. Amid the melee, somebody from the production crew came to me on the side, saying, “No choking! No choking!” I stopped and heard it just in time, because I was about to choke somebody else with one of the cable wires at ringside. When we broke the ring, Heath Slater grabbed one of the ring ropes and was about to wrap it around Cena’s neck, but John whispered, “No choking!” to him as well.

Inside the ring, we were all given a moment to shine, with each of us hitting Cena with a signature move, mine being a simple kick to the head as he rested on his knees, execution style. Prior to this whole fiasco, Cena pulled me aside and said the most important thing isn’t the move, it’s what you do before the move. Looking back, I assume he was probably thinking of some sort of hand motion or something. Instead, I looked him dead in the eyes and screamed, “You’re not better than me.” I then spit in the face of WWE’s biggest star and kicked him in the skull.

When we got back through the curtain, everybody thought the beat down was awesome. Then somebody shouted, “Who was choking Justin Roberts?!” They couldn’t see because the camera was focused exclusively on Justin’s purple face. I stepped forward and said, “Uh, that was me.” “And who spit on John Cena?!” they
asked. “That was me, too,” I responded.

Apparently choking and spitting are two of the things not allowed within the PG guidelines of WWE programming, but I had no clue. Of course, we didn’t need the choke, nor did we need the spit, but elements like that showed our disdain and added to the brutality of the whole thing. The fundamental reason our characters did all of that was that we were pissed off after being treated like jokes for an entire season of NXT, and I just did the most violent and malicious things I could think of. The parameters of PG never crossed my mind.

I apologized to everyone and made a special point to apologize to Justin and Cena. Neither of them seemed to care, and part of me thinks Justin thought it was pretty cool. I’d known him since 2002; he loved wrestling, and I think he was happy to have had such a memorable part in the moment, despite the marks on his neck.

The Nexus attack happened on Monday, then Tuesday we all went to SmackDown but didn’t do anything on the show. As I walked down the halls at SmackDown, I passed Michael Hayes.

“Daniel, what did you learn last night?” he asked.
“No choking, no spitting, “I replied.
“That’s right. It’s OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them,” Michael said.

I thought I was in the clear

That’s more than enough for this week, see you next time for Season Two and 7/8 of Nexus. Oh and it’s worth mentioning that the choke and the spit are removed from the WWE Network versions so you’re welcome for the GIFs and I’ve been Maffew.