We have just wrapped up the first season of WWE NXT. When this was first conceived it was to be the next innovation in wrestling television, at least that was what was promised by Vince McMahon. Did it live up to the hype? In my opinion it didn’t but it did introduce us to several potential new stars. Some of them we are very optimistic and hopeful for and others we feel have been somewhat shoved down our throat. The bottom line is WWE made a concentrated effort to introduce us to potential new stars and whether or not we agree with the process we have to at the very least commend them for attempting to create new stars. Season 2 is right around the corner and if you don’t mind I would like to give you my analysis on the stars that most of you will be introduced to for the first time. There are potential diamonds and some clunkers but let’s get into them together…you’re reading “Wrestling Rumblings.”
The first rookie I want to talk about is Eli Cottonwood who will be mentored by John Morrison. First off am I the only one who finds it kind of funny that both John Morrison and The Miz, guys who came up on Tough Enough are now considered strong enough stars to mentor someone on what could be considered the successor to Tough Enough? Anyway back to Cottonwood who I heard others say earlier in the week is even worse all around than The Great Khali. I think that’s a very strong statement but to be honest while I don’t agree with that as I do think he has more in ring ability than Khali it’s not enough to sway me. To be quite honest I am not a big fan of anymore 7 foot guys on the roster as it makes Big Show and Khali seem less than special and don’t expect much from Cottonwood on NXT even after he gets eliminated. He is just one of those guys who don’t really look good unless he is in there with a jobber and well WWE has enough guys of that stature on the roster already.
Next rookie up is the current FCW Heavyweight Champion Alex Riley. It’s funny but Alex has the gimmick that I always thought would have worked great for Colt Cabana in WWE that of the college jock (ironically enough he was a tag team partner of Cabana’s when Cabana was in FCW). I don’t think much of his in ring work but I do think he can get better. He has been in the developmental system now for about 3 years and has really been one of the bright spots of the FCW show as ever since going out on his own he has been the lead heel or pretty close to it on that show. He is a guy who WWE has been flirting with calling up for awhile now and was even rumored to be given the slot of the masked man in the Straight Edge Society that eventually went to Joey Mercury. He definitely has some charisma and with Miz as his Pro and him portraying the “Anti Bryan” he will be someone to keep an eye out for on NXT as I expect him to go far.
Next up is Lucky Cannon who is being mentored by Mark Henry. Lucky wrestles in FCW as Johnny Prime and has been part of developmental for 3 years now. He is really nothing more than a body and I don’t expect much from him. He has a real hokey gimmick going into NXT being that he was a sheriff and I don’t think a cop gimmick is going to work in 2010 although they could always have him try to go the heel route and see if he can be a modern version of The Big Bossman. I don’t think it’s possible but he is up on the roster and I would give him all the chance in the world to succeed as he does have a good look and maybe even one of the best looks on this season of NXT. Still as season one has proven looks don’t necessarily mean anything as Darren Young and Skip Sheffield had great physiques and didn’t get far in the competition and to be honest I don’t think Cannon is better than those guys.
Titus O’neil is one of those guys that JR would probably love. He played for the University of Miami football team and also spent some time playing Arena Football. To be quite honest he hasn’t been wrestling that long and unlike some of these so called rookies who have been at it for a few years hasn’t even finished his first year in the business. He is very clumsy in the ring but I expect him to get a good look because of his legit athletic background. Still I don’t consider him any kind of favorite to have a roster spot when the competition is over as he would definitely benefit from at least another year in FCW. With Zack Ryder as his Pro I expect him to be one of the first 2 to 3 guys eliminated.
Now we have the tag team partner of Darren Young in FCW Percy Watson. If you hated Darren Young be prepared to hate this guy more. He will of course be mentored by MVP and just might make it to the middle part of the competition just because of his gimmick giving him a little color. Still I am not enamored with him and I doubt many of you will disagree with that after seeing him on NXT.
Now we have what has to be the worst name ever given to a wrestler to showcase Husky Harris or as some would better know him Windham Rotunda the son of Mike Rotunda AKA VK Wallstreet AKA Irwin R. Schiester it should be said that I never really thought much of Mike Rotunda’s work. I mean he had some good moments but he was always really just a solid hand to me and really was probably at his best when teaming with someone else as he had his greatest success as part of Varsity Club, US Express and Money Inc. The same would be true for his son as his son has the ability to blend in with a really good partner and his brother Taylor (Bo in FCW) is actually the better of the two sons but WWE obviously has bigger plans for Bo or they see something in Windham that we don’t see. With Cody Rhodes as his mentor I don’t expect him to last long in this competition, although I find myself wondering if Cody may wind up his partner when all this is said and done.
This brings us to one of the favorites this season Joe Hennig or as you know him now Micheal McGuillicutty who of course is the grandson of Larry Hennig and the son of Curt Hennig. He will be mentored by Kofi Kingston which is a good choice as I think they want to give Kofi some time on this show to further establish his star which means Joe will get a lot of time to shine. Joe is a bit older than most of the rookies as I believe he is 30 and the rookie I am about to mention next is the only one on this season that is older than him but he has really come along strong in his training in FCW. He was slated to come join Ted Dibiase along with Bret Dibiase in there offshoot Evolution stable but of course Bret was injured and bought those plans to a screeching halt. I don’t think Joe is going to win but I do expect him to impress people to the point where he will make the main roster soon.
The last guy on this show really doesn’t need much of an introduction but I will give him one anyway and that’s Kaval who you may know as Low Ki or Senshi. Of course Kaval will be playing the role of this seasons Daniel Bryan as he will be the guy who is world traveled in what WWE deems “the minor leagues” and will have the worst mentor in Lay-Cool. I just hope that WWE does not try to duplicate the Daniel Bryan formula as I am not even totally sure Bryan’s future in the company is going to be solid with that angle and I would rather see Kaval play the role of the underdog on the show. They have already showcased how small he is and well he would wind up being the smallest guy in WWE outside of Rey Misterio. I am very interested to see how they book him against guys like the 7 foot Cottonwood but with this season’s vote being 50% the internet vote I would have to assume that if that is indeed a legit vote that Kaval would have to be a heavy favorite in this competition and I hope he wins as I think it would be a good push for him.
So that’s it these are your NXT rookies. To be honest I thought the first season had a better batch of talent but I hope that WWE has somewhat learned the lesson from season one and will cut out some of the silly competitions that bogged down the first season and give these guys a chance to really go out there and impress, I am really not a fan of the current model of NXT but we have it for at least one more season and I would like to see it succeed.
On that note it’s time to wrap this week’s column up but of course I have to give the people something to do. In the spirit of the upcoming NXT season I am going to encourage all of you to try to catch some FCW either on TV, torrent or via youtube it would definitely give you some insight as to some of the characters you are about to be introduced to next week. Of course you can all send your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and well that’s it, next week I will try to do better, and until then, I am out.