WWE NXT Report WWE NXT ROUNDTABLE REVIEWS 7/27: Caldwell, Mayer, Parks rate and review
Jul 29, 2010 - 3:03:57 PM
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James Caldwell, Torch Assistant Editor (5.5)
The final minute of the show pushed it above a thumbs up. The NXT Rookies creating some exciting TV with a show-closing brawl was really the only thing close to real passion I saw on the show. The NXT series is flawed by existing in the "corporate WWE environment" where the Rookies are presented as pre-manufactured dolls where they fit certain descriptions and are evaluated based on the pre-fit criteria. Eli is tall, Percy is fun, Kaval is short, Riley is loud, Husky is abnormal, Cannon has an underdog story, Hennig is aggressive.
For 60 minutes of a typical NXT episode, WWE simply reinforces these basic characteristics, Michael Cole rips or praises the Rookies for pre-fitting these characteristics, and the Pros give the illusion of evaluating the characteristics already in place. The matches have no consequences, the challenges are essentially time-fillers, and the Rankings are apparently drawn out of a hat with no explanation of the criteria. In a typical week, the final few minutes of the show might be the only time there's a sense of authenticity to the process, as exemplified by Eli, Riley, Cannon, and Hennig having a brawl to close the show this week. If there is a Season Three, the show needs to be overhauled. It's the same evaluation after Season One.
As for Eli being eliminated, there was no surprise there. He looks funny, he's awkward, he moves okay for a big man, but can't put it together, and the "moustache" gimmick wasn't going to make him standout to make any noise. Perhaps WWE repackages him down the road and introduces him as Taker or Kane or Big Show's next "big man opponent," but it's back to FCW for Eli. WWE didn't do him any favors killing the "mystique" of whether he could be an intimidating big man force by exposing him in the ring before making any money with him.
Dominick Mayer, PWTorch.com Contributor (4.5)
As James Caldwell said in his recap of the show, why does WWE wait until the very end of each edition of NXT to actually make it compelling? The show is very much treading water at this point, holding to the same pattern: The front-runners (Riley, Kaval, McGillicutty) continue to be impressive, the rest are forgettable, the matches are just "there" and something of a formality and the show itself is simply the flawed first season of NXT repeated almost verbatim from week to week.
This said, the elimination bit was well done, and the pre-taped Pro comment sections were good (interesting to have every pro regardless of face/heel status back Kaval). The opening, however, showcased the central problem of this show yet again: Without a reason to invest in any of these people, live audiences and viewers at home alike have no reason to pay attention to them talking for any length of time.
Greg Parks, Torch Columnist (5.0)
Like most episodes of NXT, there just wasn't a whole lot to get excited about here. The eliminations can be interesting, but in the end, you know that if there is someone WWE likes who gets eliminated (if they don't already control the process), they'll be back up sooner rather than later. Percy Watson beating Zack Ryder was interesting - I certainly didn't have Watson as the first Rookie to beat a Pro in that pool.
McGillicutty continues to improve in the ring, but hasn't gotten to the point where he stands out. Kaval vs. Husky Harris was okay for the few minutes it lasted; Harris still is far from polished inside the ring, but shows promise. I would've eliminated Cottonwood in Week One, so there's no argument from me on the elimination this week. The brawl to end the show was reminiscent to one of the brawls that closed a Season One episode. My, how far they have come.
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