April 21, 2010
Philip DiLiegro

NXT Report for April 20, 2010
From Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut

They started as usual with Matt Striker in the ring introducing the rookies. As far as crowd reactions tend to go on this show now two weeks in, Daniel Bryan and Justin Gabriel, in that order, get the only noticeable babyface reactions. The standout (faint praise) is actually David Otunga as a heel. There was no pointless Q and A to begin this week. The competition for this show was the old American Gladiators standard: The Joust (called rock ‘em sock ‘em rookies). For those of us who were fans of the original American Gladiators, this sounded liked a cool piece of nostalgia for one night (on paper anyway, it didn’t play out that way). For those unfamiliar, Joust is where two competitors stand on two circular platforms about one foot apart and spar with pugil sticks (giant Q-tips). This was contested as an eight-man single elimination tournament. The winner gets a feature on WWE.com (seriously, that’s the first prize). Heath Slater knocked David Otunga off in about twelve seconds. Wade Barrett threw himself off the pedestal in about five seconds after trying for a haymaker, advancing Skip Sheffield. Daniel Bryan won when Michael Tarver dropped his pugil stick and forfeited. Darren Young defeated Justin Gabriel immediately. Well, that stunk.

Next week on Raw, the universe changes as a bunch of wrestlers change brands! The universe sure seems to change a lot, doesn’t it?

Justin Gabriel v. David Otunga
R-Truth apparently survived last night, as he accompanied Otunga to the ring. Gabriel shook off some basic offense from Otunga and came back with an arm drag and a dropkick (where Otunga was out of position). Otunga retook the advantage with a reverse chin lock that eventually led him to a neckbreaker. Gabriel used a headscissors to take Otunga to the floor and followed him out with a somersault senton. Back in the ring, Gabriel used a high crossbody off of the top rope to pick up a near fall. Gabriel went up for the 450 splash, but Otunga rolled to a safe corner. Gabriel then went for a sunset flip from the outside, Otunga reached for R-Truth’s hand on the outside to try and avoid being cradled. Truth never reached to help him, so Gabriel was able to get Otunga over and score the pinfall. So, add Otunga and Truth to list of partnerships in turmoil.
Gabriel (5-2) d. Otunga (4-3)

Up next were the semifinals of the Joust tournament. Skip Sheffield defeated Heath Slater as he landed a few strikes right off of the go. Darren Young defeated Daniel Bryan in about ten seconds, making it the second longest bout of the night.

Michael Tarver came out and cut a promo, heeling on the crowd and issuing an open challenge. Sheffield answered the challenge and was ready to give Tarver a fight. Before he went any further, C.M. Punk and the Straight Edge Society interrupted. Punk pitched a highlight of Darren Young pinning Luke Gallows last week. He then predicted that young would continue to win, adding him to the impromptu match.

Skip Sheffield v. Darren Young v. Michael Tarver
Young started out hot by back dropping Sheffield over the top rope and clotheslining Tarver to the floor. This led into an early commercial break. After the break, Sheffield and Tarver were double teaming Darren Young with a series of shoulder blocks in the corner. They then stole a page from the book of the Hart Foundation when Tarver sent in Sheffield as a battering ram onto Young in the corner. Sheffield hit a belly-to-belly suplex and went for a pin, which of course Tarver broke up. Young tried to grab another win by a roll up but Tarver kicked out and threw him shoulder first into the ring post. Sheffield and Tarver then worked together for a bit with Sheffield getting the better of it. He hit a big splash, which led to Young making a save. Sheffield was dumped to the floor, leaving Young and Tarver. Young took the advantage and went up the top rope to finish, but Gallows knocked him off of the top rope. Gallows then nullified Skip Sheffield on the floor, seemingly setting up Tarver for the win. But Young made a quick comeback, hitting Tarver with an uranage out of a full nelson hold for the pin.
That finish plus the whole quitter gimmick plus the 0-5 record plus the fact that he has the weakest star as a coach (Carlito) makes it very likely that Tarver will be the first man cut in three weeks. By the way, the referee clearly saw all of Gallows’ interference begging the question why this wasn’t ruled a no contest or disqualification.
Young (6-2) d. Tarver (0-5) & Sheffield (0-4)

They then aired a promo piece on Heath Slater with pros like Christian, Matt Hardy and William Regal putting him over. Miz and Chris Jericho knocked him as annoying. This was interesting in a sense in that Slater is the first rookie to be presented in such a way.

Skip Sheffield defeated Darren Young went to a stalemate in eight seconds. Initially, they called Sheffield the winner but they put them up on the pedestal again after it was unclear who really did win on replay. Sheffield defeated him decisively this time in all of nine seconds.

Heath Slater v. Chris Jericho
Jericho started with a back suplex and slingshot Slater under the bottom rope. Jericho worked a pressure hold on the canvas for a bit. Slater came back with a series of clotheslines and a backbreaker for a near fall. Jericho took down Slater and went for the Walls of Jericho; as he was trying to turn him, Slater reached up and rolled up Jericho for the surprise pin. Jericho threw one heck of a temper tantrum after the match.
Slater (5-2) d. Jericho

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