Tonight was the premiere of NXT, and I've grown beyond tired of hearing about it being the "next evolution" and other buzzwords. They're trying something new, which is good, but unfortunately, I have to say it bored the living shit out of me and if it doesn't radically change soon, I can't see it being a success in the slightest bit. First off, the team of Cole and Matthews is weird. I've said for a while now that I think Matthews is much, much better than Todd Grisham and that he reminds me of a younger, more dedicated Michael Cole, and I get that they're going for the mentor/rookie kind of angle between these two as well, but it doesn't feel natural to hear Cole act as a heel. Having Striker as the host is a bit confusing to me as well. Why not give that position to Byron Saxton who doesn't seem to have a place right now? Striker has enough on his plate being the only entertaining and capable commentator for Smackdown as well as being the hybrid of Cole and Lawler for the ppv commentary. But when it comes to ancillary people, that's nowhere near as odd as the showcased talent...
Wade Barrett - He's being mentored by Chris Jericho, so you think he'd be someone that they're really banking on for the future. What confused me is how Cole and Matthews said that he's a lot like Jericho, because he's European and a bare-knuckle boxer. Huh? Since when is Jericho either of these things? Doesn't that sound a TAD more like William Regal? He hasn't been in the ring yet on the show, so I can't judge him there, but when it comes to everything else, I'm not thrilled. He wasn't exactly horrible on the mic but he certainly wasn't great and I'm hoping he actually develops a character beyond "bad guy". He's big...but history has shown us that just because someone has size doesn't mean he has talent.
Skip Sheffield - He was only in the background, but if he's seriously going to have a cowboy character, then you might as well write him off automatically. If Jimmy Wang Yang couldn't make it interesting, this guy won't.
Justin Gabriel - He, too, wasn't shown tonight, but I checked this guy out a little bit and he's got potential. He doesn't look too small, he moves fast, he's clean cut and handsome so that'll help him out with the audience, and the guy does a great 450 splash. Let's hope he's better than Matt Hardy, as we all know that that ship has sailed lol. Gabriel was described by Hardy as WWE's answer to AJ Styles. If anyone of these guys is going to make it, Justin's one of the guys I'd bet on.
Darren Young - He's a party boy character that is being mentored by CM Punk. Ok, it makes sense. It doesn't particularly help him that his entrance into the WWE audience is a quick squash, but maybe he's not supposed to be taken too seriously. He has an interesting look, but he wasn't in the ring long enough to really see anything to judge.
Michael Tarver - The guy can knock anyone out in 1.9 seconds but he doesn't just go for punches? I never liked gimmicks like that. He's a boxer. That's about it. Not sold yet.
Heath Slater - You can tell he wants to be Edge SO badly. Too bad he's incredibly boring in his promos. He has an ok look but nothing great, wasn't horrible in the ring but nothing stood out, so on and so forth. I need to see more from him before I would invest anything.
David Otunga - This guy's got a chance. He's big but not to a debilitating effect. He's seemingly comfortable in his promos and he's got a heel persona that people could probably grow to hate if he really amps up the smug attitude. He's definitely one of the guys I'd watch out for as a possible success.
Daniel Bryan - So I get my first good look at Bryan Danielson, a guy who is a supposed god to the indies, and I have to say...DUD. Seriously, how did this guy get such a highly regarded aura about him? His reputation far exceeds what he was showing me tonight. Does he stutter and act weird on the mic? Check. Is he about as small as Evan Bourne but with flab on his weird looking body? Check. He has a weird looking face to top it all off and he botched several moves in the ring tonight. Man, if this is their go-to-guy when it comes to NXT being impressive, I don't know who the hell is in charge. Not only does Bryan not look like a star, but he looks like he'd be some local jobber introduced while he's already in the ring and getting ready to be squashed by Ezekiel Jackson.
I was hoping NXT would be a cool change of pace and offer something fresh and interesting, but right now, they're not off to a good start. I mean hell, even the camera angles were weird and annoying tonight. If the WWE wants this to be a success...they need to change what "this" is.