Quick hits on WWE NXT

March 10, 2011|By Kevin Eck

WWE promised that NXT Season 5 – which debuted Tuesday night – would “be like nothing you’ve seen before.” Well, yes and no. The concept was new, but we’ve seen all the competitors before. The theme of this season is “redemption,” as six WWE rookies from past seasons of NXT are being given another chance. The rookie/pro pairings are as follows: Darren Young and Chavo Guerrero; Conor O’Brian and Vladimir Kozlov; Lucky Cannon and Tyson Kidd; Byron Saxton and Yoshi Tatsu; Jacob Novak and JTG; and Titus O’Neil and Hornswoggle. Yes, Hornswoggle. With the little guy on the show and the fact that we have six rookie retreads paired with enhancement-talent pros, it almost seems as if WWE is intentionally trying to drive viewers away from this show.

• If you thought the reward for winning the previous season of NXT was weak (a tag team title shot), get a load of this: This season’s winner gets ... a guaranteed spot on NXT Season 6!

• NXT Season 5 does have some redeeming qualities, however. The lovely Maryse has joined the show as Matt Striker’s co-host, and William Regal is doing color commentary alongside Todd Grisham. Regal admitted that he was a little nervous, but he actually did OK for it being his first night at the announce table. He was easy to listen to and insightful. And he was way better than Booker T. has been on Smackdown, although that really isn’t saying much.

• As far as picking a winner for this season, I liked Saxton in Season 5, so I’m going with him. To me, he and Young are the clear favorites.

• O’Brian has dropped his rat gimmick, which is a wise move. He came across well during his video package.

• Cannon was a bland babyface on Season 2, so I’m all for him being a heel, but I don’t think he has the personality to pull off wearing the feathery robe he had on Tuesday night. He wasn’t very believable when he was hitting on Maryse, either.

• Speaking of hitting on Maryse, that’s exactly what Tatsu was doing backstage. It was shades of Torrie Wilson and Tajiri.

• Young looked good in his win over Novak.

• The O’Neil-Cannon match was serviceable. After Hornswoggle’s interference cost Cannon the match, Regal said: “That lousy little swine. Why did he need to get involved?” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
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