I haven’t seen the full episode for this one (it hasn’t aired yet and I won’t be home when it’s on later tonight), so today’s commentary is based on the clips on WWE.com.

– The Challenge
… was terrible. The WWE.com clip cut out Matt Stryker’s bit at the beginning where he explains what the point of it is (assuming he did one), which I really would have liked to have seen, because I have no idea why anybody could have possibly thought this challenge was a good idea. So the rookies have to kiss a homely woman to prove… something? Lucky Cannon wins immunity, probably because he’s less interesting than the ring post and at risk of getting the boot in the next elimination (although considering the fan vote is only half of the elimination criteria, the WWE can easily preserve whoever they want to remain in the competition with the pro poll).

– Michael Cole & Josh Matthews
I think I’ve made it quite clear that I think Michael Cole is an untalented douchebag. I’ve heard plenty of bad commentary, but this is just ridiculous coming from the biggest promotion in the world. Cole and Matthews have all the chemistry of a third grade science class, and spend more time being complete assholes to each other than actually talking about what’s happening in the ring. The key to good heel/face commentary is a certain degree of subtlety. Whereas Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler bickered and had very different views about appropriate behaviour for wrestlers, but you could still believe that they respected each other and had a certain degree of friendship between them. Cole and Matthews interact like they’re in junior high.

– Matches: Miz vs. McGillicutty, Riley vs. Watson, Harris vs. Kaval, McGillicutty vs. Cannon
The WWE.com clips appear to be out of order, so I’m commenting on the matches in the order I watched them. They also don’t show the entire match, which is a little annoying (yes, I’m aware they have full episodes on Hulu, but I just get a pop-up saying they don’t work in my region).

Miz beats McGillicutty to the surprise of nobody. Cole’s Miz-boner significantly detracts from the match. McGillicutty’s earlier bout against Lucky Cannon is… well it sure did happen. Is the McGillicutter a spinning neckbreaker, or is it supposed to end in a Diamond Cutter? If it’s the latter, that seems like it would look pretty cool if Lucky Cannon didn’t bone the bump.

Husky Harris and Kaval had a very entertaining match (well, the three minutes of it that were online were good, so I’m extrapolating that the rest of it was also good) that featured some cool spots, the best of which was Harris countering a plancha into a powerslam against the guard rail. Kaval countering the catapult into the Warrior’s Way was also very cool, as was the Uranagi/senton combo that Harris used to get the fall.

Overall, I think the challenges need a serious reconsideration if they’re going to continue to be part of the show, because right now they’re just a half-assed nod to the immunity challenges on reality TV shows. Four matches is also a bit much to try to cram into a 45 minute show. I’m also not sure how sustainable the show is in the long term, since the WWE already has problems showcasing their entire roster on TV without adding more guys to it every few months. And if season one is any indication, the bulk of the NXT roster will probably find themselves sticking around. A few of the guys from this season probably won’t be back, but I wouldn’t be surprised if four or five guys ended up in the WWE.