April 7, 2010
Philip DiLiegro

NXT Report for March 23, 2010
Taped in San Jose, California

Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater v. Wade Barrett & Skip Sheffield
No pros at ringside for this match, except for Regal who isn’t booked on WrestleMania (but they just had to find a way to get Drew McIntyre on the card). Christian eventually wandered down but did nothing of note. Michael Cole explained that next week is the first pro vote and elimination based off of won-loss record, strength of opponent, work ethic and the “it” factor. Gabriel began by peppering Barrett with a few kicks until Barrett overpowered him. He used a chin lock for a bit and then connected with a stomach breaker. Sheffield tagged in and hit a hanging vertical suplex and big splash for a near fall. Gabriel slipped out of a body slam attempt and got the hot tag. Slater entered and hit a crossbody and neckbreaker for a near fall. Slater then saw Barrett entering the ring and ducked so that Barrett punted Sheffield in the head. Gabriel entered and sent Barrett to the floor, leaving the two legal men in the ring. Slater covered for the anticlimactic pin.
Sheffield, as one of the least impressive rookies, would seem to be in trouble next week. Also working against him is that he has one of the two smallest stars for a coach.
Gabriel (3-1) & Slater (4-0) d. Barrett (2-2) & Sheffield (0-3)

They repeated the promo piece on Daniel Bryan, showing photos of him wrestling all over the place (including one with a Pro Wrestling NOAH title belt) and mentioning him being trained by Shawn Michaels. He said his goal was to main event WrestleMania. And later tonight he tries to avoid an 0-5 start to his NXT career.

They replayed the Shawn Michaels-Undertaker video package. Hyping Smackdown, they mentioned that Vickie Guerrero would have her first ever divas match, a ten-man tag between the money-in-the-bank participants (what a terrible job they have done building interest in any of those guys becoming number one contender, by the way. Almost everyone in that match is on some kind of a losing streak) and cut-ins to the events taking place in Phoenix on Friday. They then did another video package: this one on Bret Hart / Vince McMahon.

Up next was a feature on Darren Young. He still comes across as too generic at this point for my tastes. They then showed some footage on the Miz and David Otunga on the red carpet at some SyFy network get together last week. Yes, nothing says “A” list like being in the same room with the stars of Ghost Hunters.

Daniel Bryan & Michael Tarver v. David Otunga & Darren Young
Bryan worked with Otunga around some holds and hit a standing dropkick. Tarver was tagged in along with Young. They did nothing of note until Luke Gallows grabbed the ankle of Tarver on the outside. Tarver went to the floor and nose-to-nose with Gallows. Nothing came of it and Tarver went back to working with Young. After a commercial break, Bryan was working a submission on the mat. Bryan hit a standing drop kick and tagged out to Tarver. All the while, they made sure to mention that CM Punk and company were paying no attention to the match. Young retook the advantage on Tarver and tagged out to Otunga. Bryan tagged in and forced Otunga out. He then started with a flying guillotine choke attempt on Young. After that failed, Bryan moved into an omaplata. Young reached the ropes; meanwhile, Tarver was still arguing on the floor with Luke Gallows. Bryan reached for the tag at that moment, but there was no one home. As Tarver did get back in the corner, Bryan whipped Otunga into Tarver knocking him to the floor again. Bryan then tried something from the middle rope but failed (again), allowing Otunga to connect with a slam. That led to the decisive pinfall. And the losing gimmick continues.
Here’s an interesting idea that may garner a little extra attention in these rookie v. rookie matches that often bore much of the crowds. Have one match each week determine who gets eliminated with the two lowest vote getters competing. That way you have the eliminations seem more than completely arbitrary.
Otunga (3-1) & Young (3-1) d. Bryan (0-5) & Tarver (1-2)

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