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WWE’s NXT big thing

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Green...but mean: WWE's NXT generation of heels kicked ass on tonight's RAW.

World Wrestling Entertainment closed an otherwise bloated, painfully unfunny, lackluster RAW tonight with one of those angles that may be talked about for years to come if the follow-up is as brilliantly executed–and in today’s WWE, that’s a big IF. As the Viewer’s Choice (think Cyber Sunday-/Tuesday-like voting scenarios) main event of CM Punk vs. John Cena was in the ring, eight “NXT” (the recent rookie competition show on Syfy) would-be superstars emerged one by one from the stage and the audience, surrounding the ring. Wearing NXT armbands (for solidarity, I suppose), the gang of greenhorns first attacked Luke Gallows and Punk, with Serena scurrying to the back. Cena was bum-rushed next, followed by Matt Striker and Jerry Lawler at the announcer’s table. Michael Cole, fresh off a memorable performance in an angle with NXTer Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson, who’s certainly no rookie and an amazing performer), suspiciously disappeared from the ringside area after the announcer’s table was turned on top of the fallen King, so perhaps he’ll be playing the Eric Bischoff role a la the NWO. They’ll definitely need a mouthpiece for this young band of renegades, and given his natural obnoxious nature, Cole could be an inspired choice.

RAW ring announcer Justin Roberts was attacked and partially stripped, with his eyes nearly popping out of his skull as Bryan choked him with his own necktie. The NXT invaders destroyed the ringside area and snapped the ring ropes before continuing the beatdown on Cena. Against character, Punk attempted to make the save but was easily overwhelmed. (It would have been a nice touch if the heels had unmasked Punk as well, but that was a small detail that was overlooked.)

The live crowd jeered pretty hard and it appeared on TV that no one left the arena during the onslaught. Bryan taunted a seemingly unconscious Cena, repeating “You are not better than me!” before nailing the Champ with a vicious kick across the skull, with the crowd chanting, “You suck!” The NXT gang then hit a few of their finishers before Cena was carted off on a stretcher.

With injuries to longtime key players Randy Orton, Triple H, Undertaker and the recent retirement of Shawn Michaels, the company desperately needs to create new stars and this was as creative a way as any to get over an entire stable of fresh new heels. (I couldn’t help but thing back to the WCW “invasion” and how amazing it could have been had WWE managed to get the big names like Sting and Goldberg to lead an assault like this.) The NXT attack had an unscripted, dangerous feel to it, which is exactly what the company has been lacking for several years now. Tonight’s closing segment was the best thing I’ve seen on RAW in a long time–almost good enough to make me forget about the embarrassingly bad comedy with the cast of the A-Team and the dance-off between Koslov and Santino. Almost.

  1. Chris
    June 7th, 2010 at 21:04 | #1

    As a fellow former Memphis mark, I couldn’t agree more. Give me more of THIS instead of the hard-to-watch comedy…to whom that appeals, I still can’t figure out. (I’m all for a LITTLE comic relief here and there, but sometimes Raw feels more like it’s trying to be Saturday Night Live.) This was a breath of fresh air that was badly needed.

  2. Sean D
    June 8th, 2010 at 04:39 | #2

    Here’s hoping the angle doesn’t fall apart quickly like the WCW Invasion and the pre-buyout Youth (Natural Born Thrillers?) vs Millionaires Club runs.

  3. admin
    June 8th, 2010 at 06:03 | #3

    The big question is, does the group collectively have the in-ring talent to pull this off? It’s going to take some creative booking to hide their shortcomings on the mic and in the ring, but they’re off to a hot start.

  4. Steve
    June 8th, 2010 at 06:41 | #4

    Best ending to a WWE show in a looooonnggg time. I agree with you on Michael Cole, Scott. His escape from the NXT was too conspicuous(sp). He’ll be perfect as their leader de facto. The “fued” with Daniel Bryan was practice for what’s about to come.

  5. June 8th, 2010 at 14:30 | #5

    Loved it. I really hope they don’t fuck it up. WWE is desperately lacking “cool”. I think it would feel more of the same if Michael Cole, or Vince, or someone else ends up being the figurehead. Let them just be fresh outlaws who destroy faces and heels.

    I also thought wow this is what the WCW invasion should have been.

  6. June 8th, 2010 at 19:14 | #6

    I definitely enjoyed this, nice touches include the partially masked Tarver being the first to appear on camera after the NXT winner Barret, and tearing the ring mat apart which I’ve never seen done in the WWE. Considering this though I do wonder how they will go on with future seasons of NXT considering the first bunch turned on the company, would make sense for them to stop the show in its tracks, but I just finished watching raw so I’ll have to catch NXT tomorrow.

  7. June 10th, 2010 at 10:23 | #7

    It was a really hot ending. I’m just concerned that the followup won’t be good. Striker almost sunk the angle all by himself on Tuesday’s NXT show.

  8. admin
    June 10th, 2010 at 13:07 | #8

    If this is a hint where the angle is headed, I like it a lot:

    From the Observer and Paul Philbin:

    The NXT invasion storyline continued at last night’s WWE developmental show in Melbourne, Florida. The main event was scheduled to be The Miz and Daniel Bryan vs. Christian and Heath Slater but that didn’t happen. The Miz’s music played before the match but nobody came out. Christian came out next and talked about what happened on RAW, then called out Heath Slater. Slater talked about how everything was good to start off on NXT but then Christian wouldn’t give him the answers so they lost the competition.

    Daniel Bryan then ran out and attacked Christian from behind. The Miz came down next and fought off the Rookies with Christian. Miz proposes that they do a Pros vs. Rookies match. Miz cut a babyface promo with Christian and worked the match as a face.

    The ending came when Miz and Christian were about to hit their finishers on the Rookies. All of the Season 1 Rookies rushed the ring and beat down Miz and Christian. The Rookies tore down the FCW ring before Bryan kicked Miz in the head and Slater hit the Killswitch on Christian. The Rookies left with the Pros laid out.

  9. David
    June 11th, 2010 at 14:08 | #9

    Couldn’t even get thru the clip, just seems like more of the same… the same stuff they’ve been shoveling for 10 years now. Even the pic above is a little… um, gay. They all look like they’ve been stamped out with a cookie-cutter… all ‘roided up, shaved down, in little leather panties… God, I miss wrestling.

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