March 31, 2010
Philip DiLiegro

NXT TV Report for March 30, 2010
From Las Vegas, Nevada

Matt Striker billed tonight as the “most important night in the history of NXT.” In a scary moment, he then asked the crowd how the rookies were doing and they gave a tepid response to say the least. He then introduced the rookies and went over the criteria for how the pros poll is calculated (W/L record, strength of opponent, “it factor” and work ethic). He then put up the “Pro’s (sic) Poll” on the Titantron, and despite what they kind of led you to believe, no one is getting eliminated:
1) Daniel Bryan
2) Wade Barrett
3) Justin Gabriel
4) Heath Slater
5) David Otunga
6) Skip Sheffield
7) Michael Tarver
8) Darren Young

Darren Young cut a terrible 30-second promo after that. Bryan then acknowledged his poor won-loss record, knocked Michael Cole and said that there are people here who are married to famous people who cannot wrestle. Otunga said he may not be able to do a lot of moves like Bryan, but he has more charisma than anyone else here. He really should put over his Harvard-degree or something legit, because lots of charisma he does not have. Bryan then insulted Otunga’s attire. Matt Striker then announced in six weeks (!) there will be another vote to finally eliminate someone. There, then will be a vote each week until they are down to only four. Someone will then win (not clear how, other than it seems there will be no vote, and get a choice of a championship match on a pay-per-view. He then announced a battle royal for tonight for the eight rookies, with the winner becoming next week’s Raw guest host.

The Miz, Christian, William Regal & Carlito v. CM Punk, R-Truth, Matt Hardy & Wade Barrett
This is Raw vs. Smackdown; as if anyone can tell who belongs where. By the way, if you want to point to a recent angle which badly hurt any drama the Shawn Michaels retirement might have had, I nominate all the chapters of this December’s “Chris Jericho will never be on Raw again” saga. Anyway, Jericho decided to be on commentary and had Wade Barrett take his place. Jericho was a much better commentator than either Cole or Matthews, doing a good job of putting guys over. And when the two guys were on a stupid sidebar, Jericho kept bringing them back to the action in the ring. But he did have one Matt Striker moment, saying “Raw v. Smackdown isn’t something you see very often.”

R-Truth and Christian started with a pretty good exchange before they went to a series of fast, in and out tags to start. It ended up with Barrett clotheslining Christian off of an Irish whip. He did some work in the corner before Christian came back with a springboard sunset flip. They did simultaneous tags to Hardy and Miz, who worked together for a bit. They went over the top rope together as the match went through a commercial break. The heels kept the heat on Hardy during the break with Miz with a sleeper. Hardy used a jawbreaker to get out of that and make the tag. R-Truth entered and got the brief advantage over both Miz. But Miz came back with a backbreaker and tagged out to Regal. He and Carlito kept the advantage for a bit. Regal and Christian then started working together, strange giving they were feuding a few weeks ago. Truth eventually countered Miz’s effort off the top rope with a dropkick and tagged out. Somewhere in here, Jericho made a joke about how Josh Matthews “might shoot on me and attack me.” Christian and CM Punk then countered each other’s finishers. Christian did hit a missile dropkick, forcing Barrett to make the save. We then had the obligatory, WWE 8-man tag match spot where everybody hits their finisher and a bunch of people fall to the floor. It ended with Jericho grabbing Christian’s leg from the outside allowing Barrett to connect with his finisher for the decisive pin. Barrett continues to be put over strongly. By the way, they have predictably done a terrible job with Christian since he left ECW.
Smackdown d. Raw.

NXT Rookies Battle Royal
Right of the bat, everyone got together and dumped Wade Barrett. They then went to a commercial break. During the break, we found out that Sheffield was eliminated by Darren Young and Justin Gabriel. Young was then eliminated by Daniel Bryan as he was working on the middle rope. Bryan then eliminated Michael Tarver with a headscissors. Heath Slater then charged at Bryan, foolishly propelling both of them over the top rope. So, ¾ of the field has been eliminated in about 90 seconds of TV time. Gabriel landed some kicks, including a nice enzuigiri. He then connected with the 450 splash. Gabriel then deliberated for some reason and struggled to get Otunga to his feet. He couldn’t lift Otunga up to get him over; incredibly, Josh Matthews then pointed out Otunga only weighed 240 pounds, making Gabriel look like a fool. Otunga then won the battle royal by, get this, raking Gabriel’s eyes and nonchalantly throwing him out. You couldn’t possibly come up with a way to make these eight guys, who have so little credibility with the audience as it is, look worse. Booking a battle royal in this way in this short a period of time was just stupefying.

Matt Striker interviewed Otunga after the match. He said he proved he should be ranked number one. He then said everything would be A-list on Monday.
Otunga wins Battle Royal.

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