May 31, 2010
Philip DiLiegro

NXT Report for May 11, 2010
From Buffalo, New York

The show began with Matt Striker calling all eight rookies out to ringside for the first elimination of the season; each man got their own entrance as opposed to them all being down there as the show began. It was shocking how little drama any of this had; in particular, I’m reminded of how poorly this compared to the elimination moments on the old Tough Enough reality show. On Tough Enough, even though the talent level was far lower as they were using true rookies, it was presented as emotional and meaningful when someone was cut. Here, it’s hard to even care. Anyway, Matt Striker wasted no time and telling Michael Tarver that he has been eliminated by WWE management because of his indifference toward the show. Tarver threw a little temper tantrum as he left. Striker then went up to Daniel Bryan and showed footage of Bryan saying that he should be cut last week because he hadn’t won a match yet. Striker then said he was also released from NXT in the most anti-climactic way possible.

Striker then said that since “WWE management” had eliminated Tarver and Bryan, there still was going to be a pros’ poll to eliminate someone else tonight. WWE is now turning into TNA with all kinds of people and a deus-ex-machina management board having varying amounts of power over the company. As for Daniel Bryan, the best that can be said for how well he was booked is that at least he wasn’t shoved in a crate with a tag marked FCW on it.

Heath Slater v. Wade Barrett
No pros at ringside for this match. Slater started off by throwing Barrett to the floor. Slater chased him out to the floor where Barrett caught him with a clothesline. Barrett rammed him into the barricade and then into the ring. Slater then made a quick comeback with forearms and a flapjack for a near fall. Slater connected with a neckbreaker and headed up top. However, Barrett caught him coming off of the top rope and then went into a fireman’s carry and a slam for the near fall. Like most matches on WWE television, this was too quick to mean a whole lot.
Barrett (6-3) d. Slater (5-4)

Backstage, Tarver cut a promo trying to get sympathy by saying he has slept in a car and that he doesn’t know how he is going to feed his children. Striker then wished him “best of luck in your future endeavors, Michael.”

Darren Young v. Skip Sheffield
Young went up to do the ten punches spot early but Sheffield escaped and crotched Young on the middle rope. Sheffield then worked a neck vise for a bit on the mat. Sheffield used a body slam but missed a big splash. Young came back with two inverted atomic drops and a flying shoulder tackle as the crowd sat quietly. Sheffield came back out of nowhere with his version of a jawbreaker for the pinfall. This result would be completely invalidated by the end of evening, naturally.
Sheffield (2-5) d. Young (7-3)

The announcers killed some time by going through the Over the Limit lineup and reairing the two eliminations from earlier tonight. Backstage, Daniel Bryan cut a promo saying that he accepts the pros’ decision to release him. How bad is the quality control on this show? Earlier tonight, it was made clear that WWE management cut him and not the pros. Matt Striker then asked him if he regretted leaving the independent scene. In response, he said that Daniel Bryan wasn’t the guy who wrestled on the independent scene and who won titles in Mexico and Japan. He said that Daniel Bryan made be history but who knows what will happen with Bryan Danielson. If the plan is for him to go to Raw or Smackdown under that name, it really trivializes the whole competition and the importance of winning to get a contract. Danielson would almost certainly be booked into irrelevance there as well.

Justin Gabriel v. David Otunga
By the way, they have made no mention so far of Gabriel winning immunity last week, so there’s yet another baffling gaffe in continuity. Gabriel tried for a springboard move early on, but Otunga tripped him and he tumbled awkwardly to the canvas. Otunga used a flapjack for a near fall. He worked an abdominal stretch for a moment. Gabriel came back with a series of kicks for a near fall of his own. Otunga rolled to the apron where he caught Gabriel with a front face lock and gave him a front suplex onto the top rope. Otunga then won with his finisher. Not much of a match while this lasted.
By the way, Cole and Matthews spent most of this match and much of the show sniping at each other.
Otunga (5-4) d. Gabriel (5-3)

To conclude the show, Matt Striker had the six rookies at ringside for the final elimination of the evening. Striker at least tried to build some drama this time before asking the rookies who should be eliminated. Young said that Barrett should be eliminated. Slater said that Otunga should go “because he doesn’t belong here.” Striker finally acknowledged Gabriel winning immunity; Gabriel then said that Otunga should go home because he had a bad attitude. Sheffield also said Otunga should leave. Otunga said that everyone should be eliminated but Slater in particular. Barrett also said that Otunga should be next to go. Striker then revealed the pros’ poll: 1) Barrett, 2) Otunga, 3) Gabriel, 4) Slater, 5) Young and 6) Sheffield. So it’s curtains for Skip Sheffield, who cut a terrible promo saying he had been misguided (?) and that he should have listened to William Regal. He said that he will be back. Striker announced that there will be another pros’ poll with one more person to be eliminated (or so that’s the plan for now). That being said, if the idea is to speed up the eliminations in order to wrap this season and this concept, you’ll get no complaints from me.

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