Hits & Misses HITS & MISSES - WWE NXT 1/4: First elimination, Brodus Clay, rule changes, Season 4 prize, Chances of success for NXT4 winner
Jan 5, 2011 - 12:21:08 PM
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By Beau Jeremy, PWTorch specialist
Brodus Clay: The nice push for Big Brodus continues as he scored a decisive main event victory over Johnny Curtis. He's the only one of the six Rookies who is consisently intense and displays brutality inside the ring. Those qualities can take him far in WWE. Clay barely even needs the help of his Pro, Ted DiBiase (and Maryse), to get him over with the crowd, which is a very good sign. Up to this point, his work has been solid in the ring and on the mic. Brodus Clay was one of the few things this week I left the program feeling good about.
Elimination of Jacob Novak: They eliminated the right guy and not a moment too soon, so I'll give it a hit. The less said about Jacob Novak the better. Dolph Ziggler summed up my feelings about him nicely when he said "I've never liked you at all. You're terrible. You don't have 'it.' You're not entertaining. You're not amusing. You're not anything but a blazer from Express!" It's a harsh review, but one I agree with 100 percent. Now that Novak is gone, perhaps the show will improve slightly.
Random Rule Changes: This week began with the announcement that the winner of NXT Season 4 would get a shot at the "prestigious" Tag Team Titles. After previous winners were promised a match for a title of their choosing, this announcement was quite a letdown. They may as well replace the phrase "Next Breakout Star" with "Next Floundering Mid-carder" while they're at it. The entire show suddenly has less meaning than it did before that announcement. The other sudden rule changes also included allowing Dolph Ziggler to trade his Rookie for another based on winning the opening battle royal. I saw Novak's elimination coming, so as soon as they announced the battle royal and the stipulation I thought to myself, "Ziggler will win and he will dump Novak so he and Vickie can stay relevant on this show for at least a few more weeks." That's exactly what happened. Poor Chris Masters got the bad end of that deal, as WWE made it painfully obvious they would rather have Dolph & Vickie get camera/mic time in the coming weeks instead of Chris Masters. I can't say I blame them, but I wish they were more consistent with the show rather than having sudden changes all the time. It's just further proof they are booking this show by the seat of their pants, and it's hard to get emotionally invested into something that continually changes on a whim.
Battle of the Mic Challenge: This fits in with the last point about random rule changes, as this week's challenge was worth four immunity points. Why are some challenges worth more than others? I'll never know. Conor O'Brian won, but even with the additional points, it wasn't enough to unseat Johnny Curtis as the leader in immunity points. So basically, the whole challenge was rendered worthless and a waste of time unless you really enjoyed hearing the "Your momma's so fat" jokes. It's a shame when they put so much stock into these Rookie challenges that ultimately have no bearing in the voting or the immunity standings.
NXT BIG PICTURE
With the new year starting, and with this being my first official PWTorch column, I would like to take a look at what the future may hold for these NXT Rookies. But, first, we must look back. There have been only had two male winners in the past, and comparing their current place in WWE provides quite a contrast. One is a top star while the other doesn't have a job in WWE. The winner of Season 1 (Wade Barrett) he has been featured heavily in the main event scene on Raw and he has been in multiple PPV main events. He may be on his way out of Nexus, but I would bet we haven't seen the last of Wade Barrett in the main event scene. The winner of Season 2 (Kaval) was released from the company less than two months after a lackluster run on Smackdown. Barrett and Kaval are almost polar opposites of each other regarding their post-NXT careers.
Where will the winner of Season 4 fall in this spectrum? Will WWE get the next big star or the next jobber to the stars? Also worth noting is that Season 1 did not feature fan voting like there is today. Wade Barrett was WWE's choice the whole way, while Kaval was (apparently) the fans's choice. It makes you wonder if Kaval would have been picked to win NXT Season 2 had fan voting not been implemented. Judging by current placement with the company, I would argue that Alex Riley would have been WWE's pick to win NXT Season 2.
This season, it looks like Derrick Bateman may be the early favorite to win based on the fan feedback I've seen, but if he does win, would he be the next Wade Barrett, the next Kaval, or would he fall somewhere in between? I like Derrick Bateman a lot, but he is more of a comedy act and let's just say that comedy acts don't usually compete for World Titles in WWE.
I'm left wondering if someone who isn't an early fan favorite may have a more successful WWE career - someone like Byron Saxton or Brodus Clay. It's still too early to predict the winner of NXT Season 4, much less predict their post-NXT careers, so I guess we'll wait and see. It's fun to speculate on, as this kind of uncertainty and unpredictability is part of what makes NXT appealing.
New PWTorch specialist Beau Jeremy will be covering NXT with a weekly Hits & Misses column. Be sure to also follow regular Hits & Misses specialist Jon Mezzera's Raw, Superstars, and Smackdown Hits & Misses columns.
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