?Yes, sir, we promised you a great main event?? The WWE video leads us into the show.
The NXT video plays and we go into the arena to hear the sound of CM Punk’s music. The Straight Edge Society comes out with Darren Young. We go backstage to Matt Striker, who informs us that in two weeks time the first round of votes will be cast. The eight WWE pros will evaluate the rookies. Who will stick around and who will go away?
CM Punk & Darren Young vs. Matt Hardy & Justin Gabriel
Young and Gabriel start out with a basic tie up and a side headlock. Gabriel whips him off and gets shoulder blocked down. Young hits a snapmare for a one count. Young wrenches the arm so Gabriel rolls and reverses the pressure. Young hits a stiff forearm to get out. Gabriel is sent to the ropes, slides between the legs, and hits an arm drag. Hardy is tagged in and they perform the old Hardy Boyz Poetry in Motion. Hardy hits a clothesline and gets a one count. Hardy gets a front face lock on and tags in Gabriel, who hits a sunset flip for a one count. Young hits a kick to the midsection and CM Punk is tagged in.
Punk hits a body slam and covers for a one count. Punk hits some forearms in the corner and stomps him. Young is tagged in and he kicks away at him. Young sends Gabriel into the ropes but he’s able to roll over the back. They then whiffed a roundhouse kick. Gabriel sends Young to the corner and gets back dropped to the apron. Gabriel forearms him but misses a springboard clothesline. That gets Young a two count. Young punches him to the corner and hits some back elbows. Young drives the shoulders into him. Gabriel is sent to the corner again but this time he tries a slingshot hurricanrana. Young instead kicks him hard in the midsection. Young kicks him out of the ring and follows. Young sends Gabriel ribs first into the steel steps. He gloats as we go to commercial.
We come back from the break to see Gabriel hip toss Punk. Gabriel goes for a big splash but Punk gets the knees up and gets a near fall. Punk viciously elbows the midsection and drags him to his corner. Punk double stomp the midsection and kicks him in the back for a near fall. Punk tags in Young and he hits some forearms on Gabriel. Young uppercuts him down and pushes him. Young has been really aggressive in this match.
All of a sudden Gabriel hits some kicks and takes him down. Gabriel hits some elbows, a snapmare, and gets a two count. Gabriel hits a nice inverted leg weep and goes up top. Gabriel poses to the fans and misses a 450 Splash! Punk is tagged in and gets a near fall! Punk locks on a body scissors and is still working the ribs. Young elbows out and jackknifes him for a two count. Punk immediately stomps the ribs again. Punk knocks Hardy off the apron and tags in Young. Young hits a nice back suplex for a near fall. Young powers Gabriel to the corner and tags in Punk, who hits some body shots to the ribs. Gabriel fights back but gets kneed. Punk hits a knee to the midsection and goes to the apron. Punk goes for a springboard clothesline but Gabriel dropkicks him out of the air!
Matt Hardy is tagged in and he hits a pair of clotheslines. Hardy clotheslines him in the corner and connects with a bulldog for a near fall. Punk pushes Hardy and runs into a Side Effect for a near fall. Hardy goes to the second rope but Punk tags in Young. Hardy hip tosses Young into the ring and hits a neckbreaker for a near fall. Hardy sends him to the ropes but lowers his head and takes a kick. Hardy clotheslines Young over the top rope and goes over with him. Serena has the referee distracted as Luke Gallows lays out Gabriel on the outside. Gallows then tries for Hardy but gets hit with a Side Effect on the ground! That looked nice!
Hardy sends Young into the ring and signals that it’s time for a Twist of Fate. Gallows distracts the referee and Punk runs in to hit a quick GTS on Hardy! Young then picks up the easy pin from there!
Winners by Pinfall: CM Punk & Darren Young
Match Rating: **
Luke Gallows throws Gabriel into the ring and hits a short-arm clothesline. Hardy is then hit with a big boot. Darren Young celebrates until Gallows kicks him and hits the Gallows Pole! The Straight Edge Society stands tall over Darren Young, CM Punk’s rookie!
Coming up next is Daniel Bryan taking on the Great Khali. This match was set up by Bryan’s pro The Miz!
Michael Cole thanks Audioslave for the use of ?Be Yourself?, an official theme song of WrestleMania.
Daniel Bryan vs. The Great Khali
Bryan stands right up to Khali and Khali throws him to the corner. The Goose calls for the bell Bryan circles Khali, peppering him with kicks. Khali then catches him and throws him to the corner. Khali chops his chest hard. Khali goes for the Punjabi Plunge and Young counters into a guillotine choke. Khali falls to his knees and pushes him off. Bryan hits two running kicks to the chest. Khali grabs him by the throat and Bryan kicks the hand off. Bryan hits a roundhouse and a missile dropkick off the top for a one count! Bryan goes to the top rope and jumps into a Brain Chop! Khali hits the Punjabi Plunge and puts a foot on the chest for the win!
Winner by Pinfall: The Great Khali
Match Rating: * ?
Big Show’s music hits and Miz’s partner makes his way to the ring. Big Show picks Bryan up and Chokeslams him. Big Show leaves the ring immediately after. This was, of course, all set up by The Miz, who is nowhere to be found tonight.
Skip Sheffield will take on Wade Barrett in the main event.
The Raw Rebound airs and the announcers run down the WrestleMania card.
David Otunga’s video profile plays. It’s the same video from the first week. I like this guy.
Michael Tarver is walking backstage. He?ll take on Heath Slater next, looking to avenge pro Carlito’s loss last week.
The WrestleMania Recall is Pete Rose at WrestleMania 14. That was hilarious when he was tearing on the Red Sox, who were sitting in an 80 year World Series slump at that point. Charlie Hustle will guest host Raw next week.
Heath Slater vs. Michael Tarver
There are no pros at ringside here. It’s just rookie vs. rookie. Slater is putting an undefeated streak on the line (he’s 2-0). Tarver is 0-1.
They lock up and Slater gets a side headlock. Tarver whips him off but misses a pair of clotheslines and gets hit by a flying forearm. Slater hits an arm drag. Tarver gets up and puts Slater on the ropes to get the arm bar off. Tarver knees him and sends him to the ropes but Slater hold on. Tarver charges and gets thrown out. Slater hits an impressive corkscrew plancha and throws Tarver back in! Slater misses a clothesline in the corner and takes a kick to the back of the skull for a two count. Carlito and Christian are watching backstage as Tarver gets a two count. Tarver locks a nerve hold on. Slater tries to fight up but gets powered down. Tarver goes into the ropes and takes a dropkick.
Slater hits a pair of flying forearms and a nice flapjack for a two count. You can hear a pin drop in the arena and this isn?t a bad match. Tarver sends him to the corner and charges but Slater jumps and rolls him up for the win. Crickets in the arena ? crickets.
Winner by Pinfall: Heath Slater
Match Rating: * ?
Christian gloats to Carlito about his rookie who is undefeated. Michael Tarver clocks Heath Slater from behind and hits a nice T-Bone Suplex, which I guess is his finisher. Carlito smiles in the back.
William Regal is prepping Skip Sheffield who won?t shut up and it’s upsetting Regal. Regal just walks off. Sheffield will face Wade Barrett next.
Wade Barrett makes his way to the ring with his pro, the World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho. Skip Sheffield comes out with William Regal, of course.
Wade Barrett vs. Skip Sheffield
The Goose is reffing another match. Barrett kicks Sheffield and sends him to the corner. Barrett charges but Sheffield jumps over the top rope and runs to the opposite corner to hit a double axe handle off the top. Sheffield hits a snapmare and slaps him hard on the upper back! Barrett has to get out of the ring to recover. Sheffield follows and goes to throw him into the post but Barrett slides off and sends him back first to the ring post. Barrett clubs him and throws him in the ring.
Jericho hilariously yells at Josh Mathews about how hard the slap was. Barrett got a one count and is now stretching him out on the ropes. Barrett knees him in the midsection and applies a submission hold. Jericho is still yelling at the commentators.
Jericho: Do your job! Talk about Barrett!
Cole: We are!
Jericho then corpses, in the words of Botchamania. Send for the man! Barrett is looking for the submission as Jericho cheers him on. Sheffield tries to elbow out but Barrett controls him with an elbow to the head. Sheffield then blocks a suplex and counters with one of his own. Barrett misses a corner clothesline and then another clothesline. Sheffield hits some running forearms and a clothesline. Sheffield picks him up hits a body slam before a Ric Flair strut big splash for a near fall. Barrett sends him to the corner but runs into a back elbow. Sheffield then gets on the second rope and gets ripped off. Barrett then hits a Fireman’s Carry Front Slam for the win!
Winner by Pinfall: Wade Barrett
Match Rating: * ?
Chris Jericho looks happy with Wade Barrett as William Regal looks disappointed with his rookie, the cornfed meathead.
Quick Match Results
CM Punk & Darren Young* def. Matt Hardy* & Justin Gabriel
The Great Khali def. Daniel Bryan
Heath Slater def. Michael Tarver
Wade Barrett def. Skip Sheffield
Bump of the Night: Side Effect on the outside!
Match of the Night: Punk & Young vs. Hardy & Gabriel **
This was a really fun edition of NXT. WWE is really doing a good job with this show. It’s something different and that’s why I like it. I?m interested to see what will happen in two weeks when the pros cast their votes in the first round. I wonder what will happen to the guy who gets eliminated. Does he go back to FCW and get repackaged? We?ll find out.
I really enjoyed the opening tag team match. Darren Young looked good in this one with a more aggressive side being shown. His hair is still goofy as all hell but he was able to open my eyes a bit tonight. Justin Gabriel and Matt Hardy looked good in this one. I?m a big fan of this Justin Gabriel. He’s something special. It’s interesting to see what they do next week after the Straight Edge Society laid Young out after he?d done everything Punk said.
The feud between the Miz and Daniel Bryan is hot even when Miz isn?t on the show. Daniel Bryan still looked good in defeat against Khali. Big Show coming out was definitely a good move too. Looks like Daniel Bryan is our next Rey Mysterio type underdog. That, in my opinion, isn?t what he needs. Bryan could be WWE’s next Chris Benoit. Benoit was, in my opinion, the best technical wrestler ever to step foot in WWE. Since his tragedy that type of intensity and wrestling ability has been missing. Bryan should be at a level like that if/when he joins the main rosters.
I still don?t like Heath Slater’s gimmick but he hit some impressive moves. Michael Tarver is a bust in my opinion.
Wade Barrett and Skip Sheffield was ok. The real highlight of that match was Chris Jericho at ringside. He was so funny he had me in stitches. I had to rewind a few times to get it out of my system. That guy is the best in the business, legit.
Final Rating: ** ?
E-Mail ? MikeyT817@hotmail.com
Be sure to check out Friday’s Smackdown recap.
Thanks for reading!