Alright, so after all of the criticism that WWE NXT got in the beginning, I think that it went pretty well.
There were some definite hits and misses, but I think overall, the WWE is doing what it needs to do and that’s create new stars. Tarver was really out there, I still don’t know what they were doing there, Bryan Danielson and Miz was good, then Danielson and Cole completely stole the show. David Otunga brought some mainstream attention. And most importantly, the WWE has made a great decision by picking Wade Barrett as the winner.
Barrett truly has it all, he’s got a good build, a good look, he can do well in the ring and where most of the guys lacked, he is great on the mic. That promo he ended the season finale with was fantastic. They’ve a great star in him and I hope they take advantage of it and and allow him to continue to grow and define his style.
Now, as for season 2 of NXT:
First of all, I’m really glad that there will be a season 2. However, some of what i’ve seen already, i’m not too particularly thrilled about. Let’s take a look at the pairings for this season.
Rookie: Husky Harris (Duke Rotundo) and Pro: Cody Rhodes –
This is a pairing that I like. It’ll certainly be interesting to see the interaction between the 2nd generation Superstar and his 3rd generation rookie. They could really play well off of each other and their families. Another reason I’m liking this is simply because it’s going to give Cody something to do. He’s been stuck on Superstars recently and this could really help elevate him to the bigger Smackdown! stage. Cody has some great mic skills, so it’ll be nice to see that utilized to his benefit and to the benefit of Husky Harris.
Rookie: Eli Cottonwood and Pro: John Morrison –
I’m predicting that this will be the inevitable ‘lost’ paring. In the style of Michael Tarver and Carlito, we’ll end up forgetting about Cottonwood sooner or later. I’ve not seen too much from him, so unless he’s very, very good, I don’t see the WWE Universe getting this guy over. On the flip side, he’s a big dude, so they could push him because of his size. In the long run, I think it might have been better to pair someone like Big Show, who does well as a big guy, with Cottonwood.
Rookie: Percy Watson and Pro: MVP –
I’m dubbing Percy Watson the David Otunga/Darren Young of this season. I think he’ll be really comfortable in front of a camera and possibly even on the mic and will have some good charisma, but his in-ring may be where he suffers. These two are another pair of opposites; MVP is laid back and Watson is really out-there, so how they match up will be interesting.
Rookie: Titus O’Neil and Pro: Zack Ryder –
Zack Ryder oozes charisma and excitement, Titus O’Neil… not so much. Like Michael Tarver, he’ll be the guy we forget about too. The difference between Michael Tarver and Titus O’Neil is that Tarver built all of his character in a matter of a week or two, and mostly from the elimination. That worked a bit for him, he still got a raw deal with Carlito, who gave less than his best effort, but I’m not seeing that in O’Neil. I’d like to be wrong and have Ryder get what he can from this guy, but I’ll have to wait and see.
Rookie: Kaval and Pro: Michelle McCool & Layla –
Much like Miz’s pairing with the American Dragon, the best in the world, Bryan Danielson caused the IWC (Internet Wrestling Community) to raise their fists in anger (mine included), this season’s ‘odd-couple’ pairing is starting to do the same.
I’ve learned from my mistakes, however. I’m very, very intrigued by this trio. I’m not at all certain what to expect, but I think it’s safe to say that Kaval is amazing and we should expect him to be great. The trio has a lot going for them, Kaval is a completely serious guy and LayCool is, well… they’re LayCool. They’ve also got that they’re the only females in NXT going for them too. I’m looking forward to it, but keeping my fingers crossed for the best.
I think he’ll end up going down the road similar to Danielson’s simply because he isn’t a rookie and doesn’t need the win to help him. He’s got a fan base, this is just a small step into the major leagues for him.
Rookie: Lucky Cannon and Pro: Mark Henry –
Lucky Cannon is good and his good looks won’t hurt him. I like that he has a backstory to him, he’s got something and that’s more than can be said about others. Looking into the future, I think that the ‘lucky’ gimmick could be great to get him over as a face and will work well when he needs to turn heel.
I know people aren’t thrilled with him being paired with Mark Henry. A part of me agrees with this, but the other part isn’t so bothered by it. I don’t know that he’ll be hurt by the pairing with Henry, but I think they could have done better.
Rookie: Michael McGillicutty and Pro: Kofi Kingston –
Joe Hennig has the family wrestling gene, he’s the son of one of the best wrestlers in history and he’s a big guy. He’s got it all going for him. Why on earth did they ruin whatever momentum he had behind him already by giving him such a ridiculous name?
I really, really don’t see it. They’ve already made a few dumb name-changes, but this one was completely unnecessary.
The pairing with Kofi Kingston- I don’t know. I’ll have to wait and see how they work with each other before I judge them.
Bad name or not, Joe Hennig will be someone to watch this season and after.
Rookie: Alex Riley and Pro: The Miz –
Alex Riley is one guy who could take the whole cake. He’s good, he looks great, he sounds great and he’s got the Miz as his pro, what more could you ask for? Another great thing is that he works his gimmick well. Miz and Riley will be the pairing we all love and love to hate. I’m really looking forward to seeing them play off of each other.
My biggest problems so far have been the ridiculous and unnecessary name changes of rookies like Joe Hennig, Johnny Prime and Duke Rotundo. My other problem is that that the ‘pros’ on this season are nearly still rookies themselves. I would have liked to have seen guys like Goldust, Finlay and Big Show as pros. They have something to offer. Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes and LayCool don’t have that same experience to offer.
For the most part, I think there is some real potential for both the pros and the rookies this season though. Pros like Cody Rhodes, MVP and Zack Ryder will benefit from the additional TV time, while rookies will all get their first bit of WWE television exposure.
Whether the rookies sink or swim will be determined by their talents and how well the WWE Universe puts them over.
I’m excited to see how this season will go. Who do you all think has the best chance of taking the season 2 NXT win?