Five weeks have gone by since the new season of NXT started, and one rookie has already been eliminated. With Season 2 having lesser episodes than Season 1, the race to impress not only the pros but wrestling fans has placed a lot of pressure on the remaining 7 rookies. Now, let’s take a look at how the rookies really stack up:
Current Poll Results
Kaval: Ranked 1st. Win-Loss (1-3)
Much like Bryan Danielson, Kaval is an indie-wrestling veteran who has yet to make it in New York (WWE). Kaval started off strong in his matches against Alex Riely (week 2) and Eli Cottonwood (week 3), but he would simply be overpowered by his opponents. After week 3, Kaval’s NXT run appeared to be going down the same route as Daniel Bryan. But on week 4, Kaval picked up a major win for his team during a 6-man tag team match. However, Kaval suffered another loss to the hands of The Miz in week 5.
Weaknesses: Kaval may have all the innovative offense in the world, but he has a problem when it comes to picking his spots to capitalize on his opponents. Another factor is his deep monotone voice. He spews the same nonsense that Rey Mysterio Jr. does, despite being small he has a lot of heart.
My Ranking: 4th Place
Percy Watson: Ranked 2nd. Win-Loss (1-2)
Out of all the rookies in NXT history, no one has had such a wild gimmick than “Showtime” Percy Watson. he debuted big with a win over Husky Harris and Cody Rhodes in a tag team match. But he suffered a major loss to Michael McGuillicutty in week 5, after winning the Talk-the-Talk challenge. Next week, Percy will have the opportunity to host his own talk show segment. Which shouldn’t be hard seeing as MVP, host of The VIP Lounge, is his mentor.
Weaknesses: Percy is too gimmicky. He’s so busy jumping around and pandering to the crowd that he takes his focus off his opponents.
My Ranking: 5th Place
Michael McGillicutty: Ranked 3rd. Win-Loss (4-0)
He may not be carrying the Henning name, but his record on NXT is perfect. Week 2, in his debut match, Michael pinned Lucky Cannon with a spinning neckbreaker. The win could have been a fluke since Lucky appeared to have been sidetracked with Mark Henry. But week 3 rolled on and McGillicutty struck again with the spinning neckbreaker on Titus O’Neal. Week 4 was interesting because Kaval was remembered for picking up the victory in the 6-Man match over Alex Riley. But it was Michael McGillicutty who struck with the spinning neckbreaker, and set Riley up for Kaval’s finisher. And this past week, Michael pinned the No. 2 ranked rookie, Percy Watson.
The McGillicutty Name: Why is he not using Henning? How about the fact that Michael is not even his name? His name is Joe Henning, and McGillicutty is not even his mother’s maiden name. You cannot take everything that is said in WWE as fact. Reasons for this name change can be a number of things: 1) WWE didn’t want to tarnish the Henning name in case he didn’t win the competition, or some freak occurence; 2) WWE wanted a copyrightable name; 3) or Joe simply wanted a wrestling name.
Weaknesses: The more wins that McGillicutty stacks up, the more cocky he is of his wrestling abilities. He also name drops his wrestling lineage whenever he talks. Which was fine during his debut, but after five weeks of competition it is time to leave Henning behind and build a legacy for himself.
My Ranking: 1st Place
Alex Riley: Ranked 4th. Win-Loss (2-1)
The Varsity Villain had a strong showing in his first two matches: defeating Kaval in week 2 and Percey and MVP in tag team action in week 3. Yet, the last two weeks have not been good for Riley. He was pinned by Kaval in the 6-Man match, and then lost the Talk-the-Talk competition in week 5. He’s also injured thanks to Kaval’s finisher “The Warrior’s Way,” explaining why he was not in action this week.
Weaknesses: Alex Riley is a fierce competitor, and gets along well with his mentor. Who interestingly enough scolded Riley during their tag team match. Despite the scolding, Riley understands that Miz is looking out for his best interest. Aside from being injured by Kaval, who should have executed the move better, Riley may be without a weakness.
My Ranking: 2nd Place
Lucky Cannon: Ranked 5th. Win-Loss (1-3)
Lucky Cannon may have an inspirational life story that would trump Mickey Rourke’s The Wrestler, but when it comes to his win/loss record, he is anything but. In his debut, Lucky was pinned by McGillicutty in tag team action, and was then issued a match by Mark Henry to take on Cody Rhodes the following week. Cody then established a five-minute stipulation rule where if Lucky outlasted, or even pinned Rhodes, in five-minutes, then Lucky would win the match. Even though he lost, Lucky was impressive to even last over 3-minutes against a 3-year veteran. In week 4, Lucky managed to win a Keg-Carrying competition that granted him immunity from elimination. Lucky for him, he was not ranked dead last. The only victory that Lucky holds is being on the winning side of the 6-Man match which was won with a combination of McGillicutty and Kaval. He then lost again to Cody Rhodes and Husky Harris in tag team action.
Weaknesses: Lucky Cannon is barely hanging on to this competition. He was fortunate enough to win a keg-carrying competition, but it served no purpose as he wasn’t ranked last. Lucky is a good wrestler with plenty of potential, he just needs to discover that for himself.
My Ranking: 6th Place
Eli Cottonwood: Ranked 6th. Win-Loss (2-1)
Eli Cottonwood might as well have been gimmicked as Khali’s giant friend, because the man is just as tall as Khali and wears the same pants. Aside from being on the losing side of the 6-Man match, Eli dominated Zack Ryder and Titus O’Neal in his debut match, and defeated Kaval in singles competition.
Weaknesses: Eli Cottonwood’s biggest weakness is his mentor John Morrison. The Tuesday Night Delight has fallen off the radar since being drafted to RAW, and it can be seen how lack of air-time has effected him by his ridiculously awful input. If Eli can stray away from Morrison, or simply compete in more singles competition, then his chances of surviving a couple of more weeks will be better.
My Ranking: 7th Place
Husky Harris: Ranked 7th. Win-Loss (1-2)
This season’s Michael Tarver, Husky Harris is a rule bender who doesn’t want to play by the rules of Matt Striker. But unlike Tarver, Harris is not afraid to get his hands dirty. Tarver always spoke about wanting to make an impact by refusing to do any competition, but Harris actually made an impact by attacking Matt Striker during an all-Rookie interview segment. In weeks 1 and 4, Husky Harris lost to MVP and Percey Watson in a tag team match, and then lost to MVP in a singles match. But thanks to Cody Rhodes, Husky Harris was on the winning side against Mark Henry and Lucky Cannon this past week on NXT. The thing about Husky Harris, he’s not the typical wrestler. He doesn’t have the build of wrestlers outside of the Samoan heritage. He’s not Samoan, but his body-type and agility in the ring may beg to differ. The best way that Husky Harris has been described is “surprisingly athletic.”
Weaknesses: Yes, he scared Matt Striker. Big deal. That is no excuse for the win/loss record. If Husky Harris wishes to see Week 8, he better spend the next three weeks winning matches on his merit. Harris has a major attitude problem that he needs to correct. Because the rebellious phase didn’t work out for Michael Tarver, and neither will it work for Harris.
My Ranking: 3rd Place