Are you ready to “run”? WWE NXT 07/11/12 features the Full Sail debut of Bray Wyatt. What else? Who knows! Last week we didn’t even have a main event until moments before it started. Does anyone know what they’re doing yet? Probably not. Will we have another “Diva’s match”? Probably not. Will we learn anything about championships? Probably not. But, possibly the best version of Bray Wyatt to date is here. Let’s get to the recap!
WWE NXT 07/11/12 Recap
“Yes sir, we promised you a great main event tonight”, standard NXT opening credits, and we’re taped from Full Sail. Byron Saxton welcomes us to the show and the “game of musical chairs” that is 2012 NXT commentary continues as tonight’s team is Saxton and William Regal. I will admit this episode is the first that feels more like modern NXT. WWE has figured out how to put seats next to the entrance ramp, we have backstage promo segments, and actually have things get set up for next week. Still no women’s match though. Baby steps.
Regal on commentary continues to be aces as he tells us later tonight the Usos are taking on the “Main Event Players” in the main event. A Freudian slip about Young and O’Neil’s 2012 prospects on the main roster?
Tyson Kidd enters first for Match #1. Camacho (w/ Hunico) are out next. Regal tells us all about the Camacho / Hunico life debt, but last week it was Camacho biting off a man’s nose – this week, Camacho bit out a man’s eyeball. I imagine by the time we get to the August 2012 episodes, Regal will have escalated this to “Camacho pulled out a man’s beating heart and showed it to him”. Regal on commentary is a gift.
Match #1: Tyson Kidd vs. Camacho (w/ Hunico)
I didn’t expect much from this match, especially considering the “seven squash matches” format of previous episodes. This one actually goes around fifteen minutes and gets the first “this is awesome” chant from Full Sail. We’re clearly building Tyson Kidd now, who will eventually become a pretty big deal a few years down the road at NXT. Early on, Kidd gets the advantage and attempts to dive out of the ring onto Camacho and Hunico. He stops short and slides back into the ring. This, inexplicably, causes Hunico and Camacho to start arguing – which in turn causes the ref to eject Hunico from ringside. This confusion allows Kidd to successfully dive over the ropes and take out both men in a nice spot. With Hunico gone, Camacho starts going to work on Kidd’s midsection. Kidd eventually builds up a comeback (prompting that “this is awesome” chant) and hits a nice blockbuster off the ropes for 2. Kidd attempts to slap on the Sharpshooter, but this brings out Michael McGillicutty to cause a distraction. Camacho takes advantage and hits a DDT for the 3 count.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Some nice spots and decent storytelling. The “eject Hunico so McGillicutty can interfere later” spot was confusing, but probably the easiest way to pull that off in a match they decided needed to last longer than the standard 4 minutes matches were getting on earlier episodes.
Later tonight? The Usos vs. The Prime Time Players!
Next, last week’s Bray Wyatt vignette airs. He debuts next!
Back from break, that’s not Bray Wyatt! Nope, it’s Matt Striker backstage with a “returning from injury” Justin Gabriel. Justin says during his time off he decided he wants to make a statement in WWE and he can do that by becoming a champion – specifically a tag team champion. Well, you picked the wrong place to go for that, Justin, as there are no titles here! But wait, Matt Striker says that Gabriel can do just that next week when he faces Heath Slater in singles action. Uh, what? This whole conversation makes no sense.
Gabriel says he and Heath go way back, but regardless, Gabriel is here to make a statement. Heath enters and cuts a promo on Gabriel saying he’s been up at Raw embarrassing legends. Justin claims that the legends have been embarrassing Heath. Slater’s response is telling Gabriel he’s the One Man Band. Gabriel vows to embarrass Heath next week.
Well, despite the whole “championship” part, this is the kind of stuff NXT has needed up to this point and we’re finally there. Finally some reasons why these matches are happening!
Aiden English (w/ high energy entrance) is out next. Bray Wyatt follows. Wow, so Bray Wyatt’s entrance involves his still current theme playing at half volume while he rants and rambles. The phrase “in time, you’ll understand who I am” is uttered. Still waiting on that one, WWE. After Bray rants himself into the ring, he gets a standard introduction from the ring announcer which just felt weird.
Match #2: Aiden English vs. Bray Wyatt
Wyatt debut squash match. It is interesting to see some of the Wyatt tropes we’ve been accustomed to in their infancy here though. Wyatt does his first “upside down” thing by hanging his head off the apron and then rolling around. He dances with Aiden English ballroom-style before hitting him with the Sister Abigail. And, of course, the Sister Abigail is seen for the first time. This is a NXT where finishers are blockbusters and random DDTs. It stands out. Also, Bray Wyatt is over and gets cheered the entire time.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – If for nothing else, it’s entertaining to see the genesis of the Bray Wyatt character.
Up next? Our main event. I suppose when you decide to have some promo segments and give matches more than four minutes you only have three matches. I’m okay with this.
The ad break features a 2012 MITB hype video featuring a championship match between CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. Feels like a lifetime ago.
Meanwhile, Bradley Pierce is backstage with Richie Steamboat. Richie cuts a promo putting himself over and Leo Kruger enters. Leo calls himself the “King of Africa” and starts a shoving match. This escalates into a ref involved pull apart on the ground. Might we see these two in a match next week? That’d sure be a thing!
After that, a Raquel Diaz hype video airs. Apparently, she is on the “Exfoliating Ugliness” tour. The video refers to her as the “alpha female” and somewhere Jazzy Gabert’s ears are burning. I was like “what is this nonsense” until I Goolged “Raquel Diaz” and found out this is Shaul Guerrero so this could be better than it looks from this hype video. Anyway, she debuts next week. The way NXT is going so far, I expect her to beat some nobody named “Ashley Fliehr” in 45 seconds.
The Usos are out next for the main event. Musical Chairs Commentary continues as Jim Ross randomly joins the team for this match. The PTP are out last.
Match #3: The Usos vs. The Prime Time Players
This got some decent time, but it is a far cry from the incredible tag team stuff we’ll see on NXT three or four years later. It’s okay. Jimmy Uso goes in peril for most the match, finally gets the hot tag to Jey, but a “behind the ref’s back” double team gets the PTP the cheap victory. Your standard “heels win by nefarious means” tag team template is in play here. The Usos are pretty over for this era of Full Sail, and you can tell they’ll eventually be a thing, but we’re not quite there just yet.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – An average tag match. At times it felt like this went on a bit too long for what it ended up being.
We go off the air seeing the PTP celebrating on the ramp!