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NXTBT: He's Here

It's Thursday once again, so you know what that means—time to continue our look at the NXT of old!


He’s Here.

Run.


Bray Wyatt debuted on this episode of NXT, having been built up the past few weeks with a series of mysterious vignettes. Wyatt picks up your typical introductory NXT win over Aiden English (whose entrance video shows us the first signs of English’s Artiste run.) It’s pretty much the same thing we’ve been seeing the past couple of weeks with guys like Seth Rollins, Kassius Ohno and Bo Dallas, so it’s no five-star spectacle.


What is worth talking about, though, was the way Wyatt carried himself in his debut. Even this early on, he had a certain presence to him that just makes you want to tune in. From the way he introduced himself to all his little mannerisms in the ring, you just knew this character could be something special. One minute in, and the crowd was already chanting for this guy. There are no absurd mind games such as insects flashing in the ring (who would even think of—oh, wait), it’s just a good, old-fashioned beatdown.  


Just look at this bit of action, for instance. Wyatt does a little waltz with a dazed English before planting him with Sister Abigail. It helps sell the notion that Wyatt is crazy, that he’s someone who isn’t exactly right in the head. These small things are what really made NXT-era Bray Wyatt so good and well-received, compared to the doom and gloom he is now. I wish we could have this version back. Does anyone know if the New Day's time machine is still working?


#MillionsOfDollars! #MoneyMakingScholars!
This episode’s main event is another main roster visit, with the Usos returning to take on the Prime Time Players.


It’s a decent main event with some actual tag team psychology going on. At one point, Jimmy Uso tries to get the hot tag to his brother Jey, only for Darren Young to pull Jey off the apron and cut him off. You go, Darren, four for you! The ending is a little funny in that the referee gets distracted with a fallen Uso, so that the Players can hit a backbreaker/elbow drop combo on the other Uso for the win. Hey, it’s not as if they did anything illegal in the first place.

Young and O’Neil still quite hit their stride here—they still don’t have the signature PTP theme, so their little dance routine is a bit awkward. There’s also no Abraham Washington (remember him?), so we don’t find out that Titus O’Neil is the real deal (URAH URAH URAH) and that Darren Young takes no days off. At least there are no jokes about Kobe Bryant in Colorado, right?


The Rest of the Show:
  • Camacho def. Tyson Kidd. This stems off from last week’s main event where Kidd ended up eating a McGillicutter to take the fall. The big thing here was that they gave this match time, which has been a rarity so far in NXT. Kidd’s technical style was a nice contrast to Camacho’s power-based moveset, and the result is a decent 10-minute opener. William Regal is at his absolute best here because he makes Camacho sound like a legitimate threat, and if you didn’t know better you might think Camacho is a guy who can stand up to the John Cenas and CM Punks of that era (spoiler: he wasn’t.) Michael McGillicutty ran in when Kidd attempted a Sharpshooter, allowing Camacho to win with a DDT. Hooray for continuity!
  • Justin Gabriel made his return from injury, and immediately gets hounded by his old partner Heath Slater. Slater brags about how he’s been involved with legends and Gabriel has done nothing of note, setting up a match on the next episode. I’m actually with Slater on this one—his legends run leading up to RAW 1000 was great to watch, while Gabriel really struggled to make a name for himself after the Nexus disbanded.
  • Also up for next week: Leo Kruger and Richie Steamboat one-on-one. The two came to blows after Kruger tossed some light jabs at Steamboat, setting up a match so that they can settle this properly.
  • We also got our first look at Raquel Diaz, who comes to NXT to exfoliate ugliness. Diaz is the daughter of none other than Vickie and Eddie Guerrero, so there was some degree of hype as to how she would turn out. Did she have Vickie’s mic ability and Eddie’s wrestling pedigree, or did she inherit Vickie’s mat prowess instead? We’ll see in the next couple of episodes.

The MVP of the Month
As we traverse NXT’s early days, we’ll be highlighting the show’s best performer every 4 episodes. It’s not necessarily the guy who looks dominant and wins all the time—the idea is to take a look at who is heavily featured and manages to put in some solid wrestling in his/her matches. Since NXT is a developmental show, we’re guaranteed a steady stream of new faces, and I think this can at least help us see who looks good and strong from month to month.

With that said, it’s an easy award to Tyson Kidd for the relaunched NXT’s first month. Kidd has starred in two main event matches, won one of them, and has really been the most consistent guy so far. Of course, it’s not as if there was stiff competition here—most of the main players were still in their introductory phase, so there really isn’t anyone close. I suppose you could make a case for either Jinder Mahal or The Ascension for going 2-0 and looking dominant, but neither have really had the quality of matches Kidd has put out.

Tyson Kidd wins a pair of Beats for being NXT's finest in its first month.

Cover photo taken from Uproxx.


*****

Anthony Cuello is an HR and training practitioner. When he’s not sleeping or reading the Harvard Business Review, he covers Lucha Underground for Smark Henry. A psychology nut, he tends to watch wrestling looking for these small nuances of in-ring behavior. He dreams of a wrestling business with good people management practices, and hopes to help make that happen one day.

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