[TV Review] NXT – 11/28/2012

nxt review

With two weeks to go until NXT Champion Seth Rollins defends against #1 contender Jinder Mahal, the focus shifts towards that feud with an in-ring confrontation between both men mediated by WWE announcer Michael Cole. Also on NXT, Trent Barreta attempts to get revenge against Leo Kruger for last week’s attack and in the main event Team Hell No defends the WWE Tag Team Championship against Michael McGillicutty and Johnny “Not Fandango Quite Yet, Bro” Curtis.

Click “read more” for a review of this week’s show. For a more detailed recap, check out my coverage over at Lords of Evolution.

*****

Opening Segment: Daniel Bryan addresses the NXT Universe and gets into an argument with his tag team partner Kane.

  • Segment Review: A really fun way to open the show. Bryan’s dry and awkward comedic timing is perfect and although Team Hell No is slowly wearing out its welcome I still find them entertaining enough to smile through their “I’M the tag team champions!” deal. Either way a very high energy way to open up the show.

Match: Leo Kruger pinned Trent Barreta (4:42).

  • Match Review: Barreta had his ribs taped up, so losing the match didn’t hurt him too much since he was still selling last week’s “injury”. However it did help elevate Kruger a bit since Barreta has been pretty high-profile in recent weeks so that’s nice. The match itself was all “attack the ribs” offense from Kruger but his character is entertaining and Barreta is great at selling offense and making opponents look good so it worked out in the end.

Match: Xavier Woods pinned Memo Montenegro (2:15).

  • Match Review: Woods made his NXT debut last month in a losing effort to Leo Kruger so I guess this was a way to build him back up? I don’t know. Either way the match was too short to really get much out of but Woods’ front flip clothesline is still awesome whether he’s Xavier Woods or Consequences Creed. I’m still not digging the gimmick though; he seems to enjoy it but the whole “dancing black man” schtick just feels really awkward in 2012. Plus it inhibits any upward mobility; the only feud I could see him in is against the soon to debut Fandango in a “serious dancer” Vs. “happy go lucky dancer” face-off. They should pay me so much money to write for them (I’d sink WWE in a year if they did that).

Match: Audrey Marie pinned Emma (2:40).

  • Match Review: Another squash match. Audrey Marie is a good in-ring talent and the debuting Emma did a good job playing the babyface in peril. However this match was just nearly 3 minutes of body scissors and roll-ups. That’s about it. What kept it entertaining was the commentary, where Jim Ross had to keep awkwardly covering for Tom Phillips’ lack of knowledge about pro wrestling holds and their names. Also wasn’t Audrey Marie headed towards a feud with Paige? Is that already over?

Backstage Interview: Tony Dawson reads a Roman Reigns press release.

  • Segment Review: Having heard Roman Reigns talk before, I fully endorse getting across his arrogant NXT gimmick in press release form. It was a little hokey, Reigns told Dawson through the letter that he’d take a “Reigns check” on the interview, but it worked a hell of a lot better than his generic “I’m a bad guy derp” promo he cut on the entrance stage a few weeks ago. A random question: do you think Reigns will continue developing this character for NXT or is this just all now moot due to his main roster call-up?

In-Ring Interview: Michael Cole mediates the Seth Rollins/Jinder Mahal confrontation.

  • Segment Review: Good god this was pretty awful. Mahal just did “Maharaja” schtick while Rollins threw a hail mary and went for the cheap “I’m the champion of the people!” pop for the NXT crowd. It was just awkward all around and Cole’s presence (outside of his awesome Rat Pack theme music) was ultimately pointless. Luckily they saved it with a textbook “challenger poses with belt to foreshadow possible outcome” ending after Mahal’s attack on Rollins but the damage was done. They would not be talking me into an arena given their current mic abilities.

Main Event: Team Hell No (c) defeated Michael McGillicutty/Johnny Curtis to retain the WWE World Tag Team Championship (7:03).

  • Match Review: Ross was the ultimate pro tonight, not only covering for Phillips’ flaws but also giving us a story for this match: Curtis finally cashed in his NXT Season 5 title shot in order to get this match for him and McGillicutty. It was a stretch, sure, but at least it gave this purpose. As for the match itself…it was a bit disappointing. This was taped awhile back so Bryan/Kane were acting like they were a few months ago as opposed to how they act currently (and yes there’s a minor difference), and the action was okay but nothing special. Also the match went way too short, making this a more promo-heavy episode of NXT. I think I expected more because I assumed they would play up the dysfunctional nature of the McGillicutty/Curtis tag team (the former is serious, the latter is creepy) and then there’d be some comedy spots involving all four men. So I’m thinking the fact I didn’t really get into this match is partly due to that. Either way a solid but uneventful tag team main event, but a fun post-match celebration that saw Bryan/Kane hug it out. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen that so it was kinda nice.

*****

Overall Show Thoughts:

  • Another “treading water” edition of NXT as it gets closer to the big Rollins/Mahal II match. The in-ring action was short and while not bad, it didn’t really stand out as well (the first and last matches were the best though for those of you wondering). Storyline-wise it was just a continuation of the new Barreta/Kruger feud (which may have just been blown off in this one match) and a heavy focus on the NXT Championship. I love the idea of the latter, but Rollins/Mahal didn’t deliver on a promo level and made the amount of time they spent on the in-ring confrontation (minus the end part) unjustifiable. To conclude, there was some good but on the whole this was just a “meh” episode.

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