Once again, WWE has made my job easy for me, not just because they cut one of the remaining seven rookies, but because after last night’s promos and wrestling matches, I found myself scratching my head, wondering exactly where I’d rank the guy who inevitably was cut. Based on their performances, my top four guys shifted, one nose-dove compared to his high NXT ranking, and one has entrenched himself at the bottom. So with one more down, here are my 1-through-6 rankings, with the designated NXT jobber firmly in place.
1) Kaval. I’m not saying this in a markish, “a pro said it so it must be true” sort of way, but the facts that Kaval got Cody Rhodes’ stamp of approval during a pre-taped promo and that WWE was willing to air that commendation by such an arrogant character show WWE’s willingness to portray the indy darling as a legitimate future main-roster member. He again shone in the ring, and his promo this week didn’t suck as bad as last week’s, despite Michael Cole’s protesting.
2) Alex Riley. Yep, Riley was overtaken this week. The shoe-in, the sure thing and the next breakout star… tried jumping on Eli Cottonwood’s back like a little kid at recess. Three times. His mic work was still superb, and he’s pretty much shown us exactly what we need to see in the ring by week 8 to know how well he can wrestle. But he needs to watch out for missteps like diving onto a 7-foot-1 giant who was apparently told to no-sell everyone else. It made Riley look weak, and the show-ending brawl with Michael McGillicutty didn’t help him regain much heat.
3) Percy Watson. Percy’s promo at the start of the show once again proved his talents on the mic and his ability to get the crowd behind him, you know what I’m sayin’? His pre-tape with the pros helped get over how athletic and charismatic he is, OH YEAH! And his match highlighted some of the little things he does well (even just slapping his opponent in the stomach while in a side headlock), even if his finisher is a little sloppy by WWE standards.
4) Husky Harris. Hey, Husky had a singles match where he looked good! His promo at the top of the show was funny and well-delivered, his sneer still gives him a facial expression that makes him stand out (as do the general expressions of the guys above Husky in this list, but definitely not the ones below him), and his T-shirt is bad-ass. Whether or not Husky Harris wins, I’d like to see him on Smackdown or possibly Raw when this competition is over; I may have found my new, albeit a little smaller, Vader!
5) Michael McGillicutty. Another cocky promo at the end of the show from the babyface McGillicutty. Maybe WWE has bigger things planned for McGillicutty after this, like a dastardly heel turn and a scathing promo on the fans. Otherwise, I don’t see how the arrogance of “I’m number one, I’m awesome, etc.” parlays into a successful babyface character at this stage in his young, still-being-exposed career. At least his finisher is cool, he didn’t look terrible against Eli Cottonwood (whose newfound promo ability will be sorely missed by this viewer), and he’s willing to take hard bumps.
6) Lucky Cannon. That promo he cut to kick off the show really zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…….. At least Eli Cottonwood amazingly, surprisingly and miraculously showed me two things that would make me want to tune in to see him again: His funny backstage promo with John “Hippopotamus Ziggles” Morrison, and his “MUSTACHE” T-shirt. Lucky Cannon shows me literally nothing, except what a pre-op looks like.