WWE NXT debuts tonight, and considering it's the "next evolution of television" (holy hyperbole, Vinny Mac!), I figured I had to live blog for it. Keep refreshing your page for ongoing updates.
Oh and "YOU'RE GONNA GET YOUR F'N HEAD KICKED IN!"
Starting things off with the Rookies lined up backstage, The Miz calls out Daniel Bryan (aka Bryan Danielson for those of you who can't let go) and tells him to seize the moment. Miz sends him out with his music and lets us know that if Bryan doesn't show some personality tonight, he'll slap it into him. I dunno if that's a good idea, Miz!
Michael Cole & Josh Matthews are our ringside commentators, Savannah is handling ring announcing duties and Matt Striker is our "host." Hey Matt, t-shirt tucked into dress pants? Downgrade!
Okay, in the ring, Daniel Bryan apologizes to his fans worldwide for getting saddled with The Miz, he'd have preferred William Regal (which garners some boos), and it doesn't take long for The Miz to interrupt. Miz isn't happy with his "bro," apologies aren't cool! Great exchange here, Bryan's already setting the bar here, and gave us his new catchphrase "tap or snap." Miz wasn't impressed and slaps his rookie across the face as promised, and already it looks like they're going with the "personality vs. skill" element of the Miz/Bryan partnership. Definitely the right way to start this show, but like I said, Bryan's going to be a tough act to follow.
Carlito out next with Michael Tarver, and while Bryan is the obvious star of the group, Tarver is my pick for #2, the dude just looks like a WWE Superstar... a WWE Superstar that will mess you up. And it looks like this will take us into our opening contest, Carlito & Michael Tarver vs. Christian & Heath Slater. Christian/Slater, get it? Okay, I have to say it, Slater's a total dork. Match is underway and at the moment, I'm more intrigued by WWE's interesting usage of different camera angles than what we usually see. Definitely gives it more of a "reality show" feel, but it's a bit distracting. Maybe I'll get used to it, or maybe WWE should save the more "artistic" camera work for promos? As for the match, solid work from all four men, the match was a bit simplistic and on the short side, but it told the story it needed to tell and Christian Slater came out victorious!
CM Punk & The Straight Edge Society out next with their rookie, the "party boy" Darren Young, who tries to hang out with the group, but just gets an awkward stare from the Second City Saint. Priceless. David Otunga is Young's opponent, and if you're looking for personality and charisma, Otunga might be at the top of the heap. Fantastic hype video for the guy, playing up his Hollywood background, his relationship with Jennifer Hudson, and the fact that he hangs out with Barack Obama... definitely Joey Styles' worst nightmare. Otunga makes quick work of Darren Young, beating him almost instantly with a Ron Simmons'-esque Spinebuster. Sucks to be Darren Young, but David Otunga is going places.
Main Event Time! Chris Jericho vs. Daniel Bryan, and that noise you heard was the sound of every smark's pants getting a little tighter. Jericho is here with his rookie, Wade Barrett, Europe's #1 bare knuckle fighter... at least that's what I think he said. Too many commercials between Jericho's entrance and the start of this match, but good things come to those who wait, right?
Okay, I had to step away from the computer to give this match the proper attention it deserved. Only gripe with this was that it was a little too short, but they could've got twenty minutes and I'd still say it was too short considering it was Chris Jericho vs. Daniel Bryan! You have to wonder if Jericho was backstage tonight and said "yeah, give me Bryan and I'll give you a main event." From Bryan going for his patented suicide dive and getting reversed into the announce table (NASTY!), Jericho looking like his leg was being torn off when Bryan grapevined it, or Jericho busting out the freakin' LIONTAMER to win, this was pretty much all I could ask for to be introduced to the NXT concept. I'm sold.
After the match, The Miz beat Daniel Bryan down for the perceived disrespect from earlier tonight. I think it's safe to say that the critics have been silenced, the Bryan/Miz pairing was a brilliant move on WWE's part, it's going to make both guys look better when this is all said and done.
I really, really liked NXT. I thought the presentation was unique and interesting, but kept the feel of World Wrestling Entertainment. I wasn't sure about Michael Cole on commentary, but when he started heeling it up a bit, defending WWE and dogging the internet crowd, it really got across the purpose of this show: asking if the rookies are ready for the big leagues. If the next shows are even half as good as this one, I'll be tuned in every Tuesday night.