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NXT WEEKLY RANKINGS & EVALUATION 6/20 - New NXT Week 1: Early impressions from new cast of FCW talent

Jun 27, 2012 - 11:10:27 PM
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By George Chiverton, PWTorch NXT specialist
NXT6logo_5.jpg

A new season of NXT has finally arrived and I look forward to charting the progress of the latest "rookies." However, it is too early at the moment and until the full roster has been put on show (probably within the next 3-4 weeks) the rankings will have to wait.

However, in the words of Damien Sandow, allow me your indulgence. Having followed FCW for a few months and watched this week's NXT, there are certainly some thoughts to share.

First, the New NXT looked great. The show felt the perfect balance between FCW and a full arena show (e.g. Raw), which is where NXT should be. As wrestlers are exposed to the same weekly audience at Full Sail University, viewers can expect a much better reception for Superstars who successfully garner long-term reactions, both positive and negative.

Also, the NXT roster has the best announce team in pro wrestling today behind them with Jim Ross and William Regal. Both are superb, as you likely already know. This week, they did a superb job introducing the new talent as well as elevating established stars like Tyson Kidd.

Add in the quite excellent Dusty Rhodes as a crazy, ranting authority figure and WWE has a much better product than the flagging final episodes of NXT Redemption had to offer. So. let's move on to the in-ring talent on offer this week.

- Bo Dallas (formerly Bo Rotundo (brother of Bray Wyatt (who was formerly Husky Harris (too many brackets)))) had a full introduction with an old NXT style sit-down interview broken up by FCW match clips. The interview wasn't great and although Bo can deliver in the ring (he hits a great spear), his character already appears a little bland. "A smile that shines for miles" is the catchphrase he is trying to sell at the moment, alongside a happy-go-lucky, resilient babyface persona. Lucky Cannon from NXT Series 2 springs to mind. And, that's not happened since I praised Lucky for not being Lucky Cannon from NXT Series 2. Still, it's likely too early to tell, and considering this was the first time many in the audience saw Bo, he drew a good reaction both before and after his match.

In the ring is where Bo really shined, though. He has excellent grappling abilities hitting some great armdrags and powerslams before nailing his spear and picking up the win. His opponent, Rick Victor, is a Hart dungeon graduate and hence has all the qualifications on the technical side of wrestling that one could ask for. Unfortunately, his image is currently all wrong, in my opinion, with a hairstyle reminiscent of Claudio Castagnoli when it just wasn't right. You know? He's one shave off much brighter prospects, though.

- Next to be given the NXT introduction package was Seth Rollins (formerly Tyler Black). I literally need to say nothing beyond that he has all the skill he used to have (thank goodness) as well as a solid gimmick as an outsider maverick. It's a common theme among ROH's more successful alumni where they can have fairly weak gimmicks in the context of all of wrestling, but make them work with excessive in-ring skill and plenty of mic practice. Daniel Bryan is case in point and soon Rollins will be, too.

- Damien Sandow was on NXT and I enjoyed him this week. There is little to say, as little happened, but the crowd hated him, which was brilliant.

- Next on was "The Ascension," a stable made up of Conor O'Brian, (yes, the self proclaimed rat of NXT Season 2 and early NXT Redemption) and Kenneth Cameron, who is a wrestler from my side of the pond. Now, the Ascension, where do I start? Their gimmick is Brood-esque, selling they have demonic supernatural qualities such as hanging out a top building sites without even wearing a hard hat. Scary stuff. Some aspects of this gimmick are perfectly fine, with their entrance being pretty bad-ass. Conor O'Brian in particular has an awesome coat with one of the largest collars I've ever seen, as well as glow-in-the-dark contact lenses, which were very effective on his entrance.

But, the positives end for me here. As with any gimmick this ridiculous and inflated, there will be flaws. Primarily the make-up of the Ascension troubles me. Not only is Conor now meant to be scary (which is almost impossible to take seriously following on from the whole rat thing), but the group was originally created by none other than Ricardo Rodriguez. What could possibly be scary about that? Secondly, although I applaud O'Brian for committing to the gimmick, in a pre-taped video segment he growled. Conor O'Brian growled at me. And, I laughed. It was silly.

Finally, I'm yet to be sold on either man's ability in the ring as based on recent FCW matches, which can be the ultimate underminer of a heavy gimmick. For a man who has been in and around WWE since 2005, you'd think that Conor would have a much more solid gimmick by now.

Their match was a simple squash that ended with "The Downcast" - a jawbreaker from Cameron into a flapjack by O'Brian. Many thanks to whomever is diligently updating Cameron's Wikipedia page for informing me of that one.

- Final to be debuted was Bray Wyatt (formerly Husky Harris (brother of Bo Dallas (who was formerly Bo Rotundo (we've been here before)))). Now, Bray is the most exciting thing possibly ever at the moment. The gimmick is inexplicable other than unnerving. He's sort of happy in his inflections and tone of voice while discussing dark themes and malintent. I don't do him justice, so I'd reccomend looking up the video package from this week where he sang that your children should be scared of him being under their bed. It was brilliant, and when compared to the Ascension, whom were oft laughable, showed a touch of class from Rotunda in coming up with the character. As observed by PWTorch contributor Matt Brummitt though, molding this complex character into the ring is going to be a tricky one. Still, he's certainly one to watch.

- To conclude the show, Kidd and McGillicutty put on a clinic. Go watch the match. That's all there is to say.

NXT is finally the exciting show promised and hopefully I've given you a taste of the potentially great series to come. You're welcome.


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