I didn’t get to see WWE NXT season 1 when it was airing because none of my local stations were carrying it, but now that The Score  is carrying season 2 (albeit in a crappy time slot) I’ve been able to watch it. Well, the first episode and the most recent episode, anyway, because of the aforementioned crappy time slot. I was going to post stream-of-consciousness reactions to the show on Twitter (kind of like what I do with RAW and Smackdown once in a while), but decided to just blog it instead, because more site content beats out Twitter posts read by tens of people.

– “Talk the Talk Challenge” Meh. A couple of good promos (Alex Riley and Michael McGillicutty), a couple of stinkers (Eli Cottonwood and Kaval), and the rest were mediocre. The concept of having challenges is kind of interesting, but I’m not a fan of how it’s implemented. Having everyone line up and cut a promo on a “random” subject seems kind of pointless when they could just  as easily have them cut promos before their matches or something. The “winner gets a talk show segment” prize… eh. I don’t really like those segments when they’re hosted by wrestlers I like, let alone ones I’m ambivalent toward.

– Josh Matthews and Michael Cole
Josh Matthews’ reaction to Michael Cole’s talk show name suggestions was brilliant. Actually, his reaction to Michael Cole in general is pretty entertaining, like he’s annoyed that he can hear the words coming out of Cole’s face. I think Matthews works pretty well as the snarky heel announcer (well, snarky, anyway, since the heel/face announcer thing seems to have dropped out of style like thought balloons in comics). I don’t quite understand Cole’s Miz-boner though. Is it something that makes sense story-wise or just Cole being a douche?

– Percy Watson vs. Michael McGillicutty, Kaval vs. The Miz, Rhodes & Harris vs. Henry & Cannon
I like the way they shoot the matches. The camera never seems to stay still, almost like a hand-held effect, but a little bit smoother. It’s got a nice energetic feeling to it, and it’s good to see the WWE trying some new things with the camera work, which has been pretty much the same for the last twenty or so years. The main event was pretty short, but fairly good. I liked Husky’s reaction when his team won, like he hadn’t proved his point yet. The other two matches were unspectacular, but good enough, and I haven’t seen somebody get pinned with a sunset flip since, like, 1990.

– The Rookies
Michael McGillicutty: I like this guy, but some of the choices the WWE made for his gimmick confuse me. In his intro promo he talked about his lineage, being part of the famous Hennig wrestling family, which is cool, I like it when they make nods to that kind of stuff. But… why isn’t his last name Hennig? “I’m the son of Curt Hennig and grandson of Larry ‘the Axe’ Hennig! But my last name is inexplicably McGillicutty.” Er… what? That weirdness aside, he’s pretty solid all-around, and I could see him winning, or at least ending up on the main WWE roster in the future.

Husky Harris: In this case I can see why they changed his name, since Husky Rotundo would be pretty hard to take seriously. They might as well call him Fatty McFatfat. His mic work hasn’t been fantastic, but he’s pretty athletic and he just has something about him that makes me think he’s going to do well.

Kaval: I like the dynamic they’ve set up with Kaval and Team Laycool, but I’m not sure if being a crowd-pandering babyface is the right move, character-wise. When I first saw him in TNA he had a kind of mysterious, sinister foreigner thing going, which I think would work in the WWE. His voice sounds awesome, but the less he talks, the better. Maybe if they gave him something other than “Hey WWE Universe, you guys are pretty awesome.”

Eli Cottonwood is a walking billboard for why the WWE needs to bring back managers. The guy’s got a cool backwoods psychopath look, complete with facial tics, but then he talks and the effects of all that size and crazy evaporates.

Percy Watson is trying too hard. Faces shouldn’t have to practically beg the audience to love them.

Alex Riley: This guy has a bit of an early Kurt Angle vibe to him. I haven’t seen him wrestle yet, but his microphone talent is certainly in the upper echelons of the NXT cast.

Lucky Cannon: Not fond of his catch phrase, or his name. Also, I had to look up the NXT cast on the WWE website to remember who he was.

– Other Observations
I haven’t heard anyone on WWE programming use the term “professional wrestler” in a loooong time, but Husky Harris busted it out during his “doorknob” promo. Certainly beats “sports entertainer.”

– The NXT theme song is kind of awful. RAW’s is by Nickelback, and therefore I’m legally obligated to hate it despite it’s near-infuriating level of catchiness, and Smackdown’s is rad.