May 31, 2010
Philip DiLiegro

NXT Report for May 25, 2010
From Cleveland, Ohio

The show opened with the pros (minus Carlito and CM Punk, selling Sunday’s angle I suppose) on the ramp and the rookies in the ring. Matt Striker announced that next week’s show was the NXT season finale, which unlike all of the rookies when they walked to the ring got a noticeable crowd pop. What does that say about the quality and the fan reception of this show? And what does it say that, by all accounts, WWE is planning on bringing the concept back again the following week? Anyway, the rookies all got to cut their short promos. Wade Barrett went first and said Gabriel isn’t man enough to win the competition, that Otunga reminds him of the Benny Hill Show and that Slater should go because he cannot stand his hair. Gabriel said that he wanted Otunga to go because he has no idea what he’s doing in the ring, but he’s good on the mic. Otunga then proved that Gabriel was only half-right. Lastly, Slater made fun of Barrett’s nose and said he should go. Matt Striker then announced a match to almost no pop.

Christian & Heath Slater v. R-Truth & David Otunga
Truth caught Slater with a couple of arm drags and brought him into the corner. Otunga couldn’t hold the advantage and soon was being worked over by Christian. The former ECW champion used a dropkick for a near fall. Truth tagged back in and hit a leg lariat before quickly tagging back out. Otunga worked a rear chin lock and a shoulder block before going back to a reverse chin lock. Christian came back with a side elbow off of the second turnbuckle. Slater got the hot tag and went to work on Otunga. He hit a neckbreaker for a near fall as Otunga got his foot on the bottom rope. Slater then went up top, connected with a high crossbody where Otunga rolled through for the pinfall. Slater showed good energy when he was in while Otunga showed basically nothing.
Truth & Otunga (6-4) v. Christian & Slater (5-6)

Michael Cole was in the ring with four security guards and proceeded to throw to highlights of last week, which Cole called the most traumatic moment of his career. Was it really worse than getting kicked in the nuts by Jim Ross and then watching the crowd roar in approval? Anyway, after the video package, Cole mentioned that his legal team said he could sue Daniel Bryan. But Cole gave Bryan an opportunity to publicly apologize tonight. Bryan said he was going to apologize and Cole asked the security to leave the ring. A “kick his head in” chant picked up at this point. Bryan said he was sorry. . . that Cole was by far the worst announcer in WWE history. Security then hit the ring again. Bryan began to cut a promo on the Miz and then Cole. Cole came back with a good, fiery promo by saying that Bryan should stop complaining and blaming other people; “your motto is snap or tap; the only person I saw tap in this competition is you.” The only problem with the promo is that it sort of reestablished Bryan as a whiner and a sore loser, which shouldn’t be the idea. Cole then slapped Bryan lightly across the face. Security then tried to hold Bryan back, but Bryan did catch up to Cole on the outside briefly before he was pulled off. Cole then sold like he was knocked silly from the collision. Walking up the ramp, Bryan started yelling back and forth with the Miz and threw a sucker punch. Security then had to pull the two of them apart. This was on the whole a very good segment, particularly the intensity off the Miz-Bryan pull apart. Still, the booking of Daniel Bryan up to this point hurt it in the sense that when Cole was running Bryan down, he basically was right. As good as this was, I think it would be much better if Bryan had been booked strongly and was eliminated from the show anyway. Therefore, it would vindicate him in feeling that he was screwed by the WWE machine and it would make it easier for fans to support him.

Matt Striker took over for Michael Cole at the broadcasting table.

Justin Gabriel v. Wade Barrett
Gabriel took an excellent bump off a flapjack early in the match. Barrett connected with a front suplex and a big boot as Chris Jericho accosted the announcers. Gabriel then slipped out of a submission hold and dodged a charge in the corner. He landed a bevy of kicks to the body of Barrett, a “Misawa-like roaring elbow”, and a springboard crossbody for a near fall. Barrett came back by converting a springboard attempt into a backbreaker. Gabriel then came out of superplex attempt with a sunset flip powerbomb and connected with the 450 splash for the victory. They made sure to note that Justin Gabriel has the best won-loss record of any rookie.
Gabriel (7-3) d. Barrett (7-5)

After the break, the pros were tallying their votes up on the ramp. They then revealed the poll with Barrett first, Otunga second and Gabriel moving up to third. So, it’s the end of the line (for now anyway) for Heath Slater. Striker asked Christian why Heath Slater was eliminated. Christian blamed it on Jericho who was biased toward his guy (I thought pros couldn’t vote for their own guy). He didn’t really answer the question. Miz then said that he thought Slater was voted off because of a lack of passion and fire. R-Truth then said that Slater worked hard but that WWE is survival of the fittest. Jericho said that Wade Barrett was going to win NXT, but that he couldn’t afford to lose to a clown like Gabriel again. Slater then did a passable promo putting over himself, specifically the fact that he beat Chris Jericho who once beat Steve Austin and the Rock in one right. A little off-topic here, but why do they always go back to that when trying to put Jericho over? Shouldn’t they maybe put over some of his more recent big wins? I guess December of 2001 was the last time wins and losses mattered in WWE. Anyway, that’s where the show ended, leading into next week’s finale.

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