Who makes the rain fall in Manchester, England? You. Still you.
In the shadow of the Union Jack, Striker is in the ring about to introduce our remaining Rookie Divas but that dream(?) is shattered when Goldust interrupts. Goldust has been a married man for a full seven days and he has nothing to show for it. He tried to call Aksana all week (and also kiss her) but she ignored all his calls. No consummation, then. Rough. Goldust calls his blushing bride out and she appears on the ramp with the Million Dollar Championship belt on her shoulder.
"What's the matter Goldust? Your heart broken? And honestly, did you think I loved you or someting?" Aksana doesn't need her husband anymore: all her immigration problems are over. She has her green card (incredible how quickly INS works when it's a work), so she can stay in the United States. And when she divorces Goldust, she gets half of the Million Dollar Championship, which amounts to a payoff of half a million dollars! That's brilliant! Except... But the belt isn't his! Or her's! But then again, possession is 9/10ths of the law. Aksana attempts to start a USA! chant, even though they're in England. Cole pleads to deaf ears to "Please stop with the USA chant.", which made Hacksaw Jim Duggan watching at home on nxt.wwe.com die a little inside. Goldust calls his wife a "Conniving little Lithuanian witch!" Cole: "Oh my! Not a witch!" Trish Stratus would roll her eyes at that one if she were watching in Toronto (which she can't until tomorrow, as I understand it.) Goldust gets a cheap pop for saying Manchester England!
Out comes Nadine with a microphone in hand. Nadine claims Aksana pulled the entire wedding angle to steal the spotlight. No, she did it to stay in the country! Aksana says if she gets sent back to Lithuania they will "Beat me with shovels!" and all her dreams won't come true. I wonder if anyone from the Lithuanian tourist board, if there is such a thing, watches NXT? Nadine won't stop talking; she calls Aksana a gold digger and phony. (How can she be a gold digger when she never mined Goldust?) Nadine calls out Aksana for a match. Cole: "NO!" Aksana asks her Pro Goldust what she should do. Goldust is incredulous: "Okay, wife." Kelly Kelly, never one to keep a straight face, cracks up in the background. Goldust's advice for his loving wife: "Get your butt kicked by Naomi tonight!"
Back from break, all the Rookie Divas are finally in the ring for the first Elimination Challenge: Arm Wrestling. The Manchester crowd gives AJ a polite pop, boos for Aksana, a big pop for Kaitlyn, and scattered boos but some distant cheers for Nadine. Striker tells us with only three episodes left, there will be an elimination next week. The arm wrestling is tournament-style and Striker says they have brackets, but we don't see the brackets. First up is AJ vs. Aksana. AJ is screwed here, being so scrawny. I'm disappointed Aksana does not do any of the classic heel arm wrestling bits of pretending to lock up twice, then pulling away, then the face pulls away to piss the heel off, then they actually arm wrestle. But that would just drag this segment out longer and if there's one thing Cole hates, it's these segments going longer than they have to. As AJ and Aksana lock up, Josh drops the obvious Over the Top reference. It's no contest; Aksana beats AJ handily (get it?) Kaitlyn, wearing a baseball cap backwards (which turns Josh on) seems to be made for this competition and proves it my squashing Nadine even faster than Aksana did AJ. Cole is asleep at the announce desk, and Kaitlyn even tries to wake him up. Josh: "It's been a long tour for Cole." Well, yeah, he works every single show. Kaitlyn vs. Aksana is the 60 minute Iron Man match of Arm Wrestling. Manchester chants "Kaitlyn!" Josh: "This is riveting." Even Hollywood Hogan would be impressed by the bulging bicep on Aksana's 12 inch python, brother. Aksana pulled Kaitlyn's hair twice and is disqualified but she would have lost anyway. Kaitlyn wins the challenge and Josh's support as he officially swaps his pick from AJ to Kaitlyn.
Nikki Bella vs. AJ in a Two Bellas Can Beat One AJ, But Not Tonight Match. As the Bellas make their entrance, we recap the recent events regarding Nikki Bella's apparent heel turn, though she only appears to be a heel on NXT. Brie rolled her eyes at Nikki's twin high five because she only seems to be wary of her sister on NXT. Josh clarifies that he likes AJ because "She reminds me of a young Josh Mathews." Cole: "I know, you used to be a girl." Who cares about the match? (It wasn't too terrible, just wrestled to almost dead silence except one person starting an AJ chant.) The commentary is the real star of the match: Cole speculates if Vince will do the commentary on Old School RAW. Josh: "He's in a coma." Cole: "That means his announcing will be just as bad as it was 20 years ago." Cole wants a toothpick to wash the bad taste of the show out of his mouth. Josh: "That isn't the show." You hear that? Josh insinuated Cole sucks cock. On the outside, Nikki and Brie have a confusing interaction where it seems like Nikki wants to activate Twin Magic and Brie is unclear about whether or not she wants to, but there's not even any need for it at that juncture and they're doing it in full view of the referee and Primo. Nikki gets back in the ring, yells at Primo and calls him a "freakin' idiot!" then gets rolled up and pinned by AJ. This sets Josh off to ask Logical Questions About Logic That Doesn't Exist: "Was there a switch made? Why was there need for a switch? Why didn't Brie have a problem with this last night? What's going on?" And that's why these announcers and this show are the best thing going today.
Our four remaining Rookie Diva hopefuls are back in the ring and back with them are everyone's favorite airhorns. The next Elimination Challenge is the High School Photo Challenge. Because, you know, Ric Flair would never have won 16+ World Championships if he couldn't identify Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, Sting, and Harley Race from their yearbook photos.
The photos and correct guesses were as follows (and I got them all right too except for the one everyone missed. What does that say about me? Never mind.):
AJ guessed Eve correctly. During which Cole asks, "Why is Matt screaming?" Also, Striker makes a joke about Kaitlyn's horn being broken that no one got.
AJ guessed Jack Swagger correctly. Cole: "Most of these guys are like three years removed from high school." I know, right? I often reflect that I'm older than 2/3 of the current WWE roster. It's depressing if I think about it, so I'll continue not to.
Nadine guessed John Cena correctly, and boos rain down from the crowd, but are the boos for Cena or Nadine? Probably Cena. Josh: "And John said he'd never be on NXT." Cole cracks up.
Kaitlyn claims she didn't look at the picture but guessed Chavo Guerrero correctly.
Kaitlyn's next guesses are "Dad" and Cody Rhodes (both wrong). Striker's clue: "This guy went to school with Moses." It's Jerry Lawler. See, I didn't recognize him without a hairy chest and a 14 year old on his lap.
Kaitlyn this time knows that the boy in the picture isn't her dad because it's Mark Henry.
We have a tie. I was excited because I thought there might be a return of the 1994 Bret Hart and Lex Luger Royal Rumble popularity contest, but no, a tiebreaker picture is put up instead. Kaitlyn and AJ horse around and get very physical in kind of a sexy way with their grabbing, wrasslin and hugging. Even Kaitlyn trying to cover AJ's mouth can't keep her from saying that it's John Morrison (obviously). As Nadine pouts and frowns in the background, AJ celebrates her win as she and Kaitlyn are now tied for Immunity.
Recap of last week's AJ and Primo secret confessions that never happened, leading to Dolph and Vickie standing behind a fake wall K-I-S-S-I-N-G, and Vickie storming in and taking the cake. Then recap of Vickie's big victory on Smackdown over Kaitlyn, tying their series 1-1. AND WE NEVER FIND OUT THIS WEEK IF AJ AND PRIMO EVER HAD THAT TALK AND EXCHANGED SECRETS.
Backstage, Vickie finds Kaitlyn, and I finally notice Kaitlyn's hair has grown longer since NXT3 started and it makes her look even prettier. They both claim Dolph said the other isn't half the woman she is, and Kaitlyn takes mocks the size of Vickie's ass again, which would make Molly Holly frown if she's home watching on wwe.nxt.com (but she isn't.) Vickie attacks Kaitlyn again, and Kaitlyn has got to do something about how Vickie is the queen of the no sell. Vickie no sells being rammed into a steel crate and then wipes Kaitlyn's pretty face all over the catering table. You'd think Kaitlyn could physically handle Vickie, but she just can't contain all that cougar.
It's main event time. I could watch an hour long show of Kelly Kelly just coming to the ring over and over in different outfits. Or how about we try no outfits? Huh? Why doesn't anyone listen to my suggestions?
Nadine vs. Aksana in A Main Event in Any Arena in the United Kingdom, This One To Be Exact. Aksana comes to the ring alone with "You Make The Rain Fall" as her music. Goldust comes out separately but stands in Naomi's corner next to Kelly, which incenses Cole. I agree, be the bigger golden man and stand by your manipulative, scheming, foreign wife who used you and wants nothing to do with you! Now, the match was interesting because it wasn't quite a trainwreck like we're used to on NXT3. Nadine's jumping flippy offense was generally sharp and Aksana is tougher and smoother in the ring than we'd ever seen before. But who cares, because the announcing was unreal. With Cole continually referencing his "good friend Paul", he and Josh annihilated kayfabe and talked openly about being produced and fed lines on their headsets from the back. At one point, Josh even told Cole to "Stop using pronouns!" (Read Countdown to Lockdown for Mick Foley's expose on how much Vince McMahon HATES pronouns!) Josh rips on Cole for trying to buddy up to the boys backstage, saying he's playing a character on the air, and trying to make them laugh with the lines he's fed. Then Cole even says, "I've been a puppet for thirteen years! Why stop now?" Meanwhile, Aksana does Goldust's drop punch and follows it up with a neckbreaker. But Nadine jumping kicks Aksana enough times to get the pin. As K2 and Nadine celebrate, Goldust sort of just circles the fallen, defeated Aksana and does nothing, while Cole yells: "Do your job as a husband!" Yeah, Dustin! Be a man and have sex with your wife in the middle of the ring!
And just like that, the show goes dark and ends at 10:50. I thought there'd be a tie-breaking Elimination Challenge but no, guess not. Shit, they're not even subtle: AJ and Kaitlyn both have Immunity! They're in it to win it, because we all know one of them is going to win it.
WWE Universe, Nadine or Aksana, go ahead and vote one of them off. Keep in mind, one of them is married to Goldust, is in possession of the Million Dollar Championship, could feud with Maryse, and is also blonde, white, and looks like Trish Stratus if you don't look at her too closely. And the other is Nadine. VOTE STARTING AT NOON TOMORROW ON WWE.COM, WWE UNIVERSE! Cheerio!
(edited by John Orquiola on 10.11.10 1239) @BackoftheHead
Originally posted by The King of KeithI have to say that these recaps are the best thing going on the interweb right now. I get excited to read these every Wednesday morning because they are so well written. Kudos!
I agree. Every Wednesday morning I get the Smackdown spoilers from DVDVR and this morning I clocked on their NXT thread to see what the latest was and immediately went "SHIT~!" as I realised I hadn't read Good 'Ol JO's recap first and averted my eyes.
Thanks everyone for the kind words. NXT3 and this little circle of pro-NXT3 lovers is the most fun I'm having with wrestling this year, and in many years.
Originally posted by Spiraling_ShapeWho is Cole's friend Paul? Is it Triple H?? Is he coming to NXT to squash everyone and make dick jokes?!? OMG!
Cole's good friend Paul has to be Triple H. It fits his MO (mocking Vince and dick jokes.) Plus Batista a few years ago made reference to his good friend Paul in a promo on Smackdown. It has to be the same good friend Paul. I wish *I* had a good friend Paul. I don't know anyone named Paul, much less a good friend named Paul who feeds jokes in my ear. I have to think of jokes all by myself.
I gotta say, I haven't been watching either TNA or WWE recently cause CM Punk is out and TNA is unbearable. I've been however reading these recaps and later watching the show itself. Props to Orquiola on these, as your recaps have me hooked. Now I watch the show and wait for the highlights you point out in the thread.
"Then you get to the locker room and they confront you and it's, 'Oh guys, I'm just a character, Michael Cole's just a character. What I say I'm being told to say, you can't beat me up, guys.'"
The commentary on this show. The commentary on this show. I think John was only able to cover about 1/5th of it, and I can't fault him because it was a landslide coming fast and furious. The combo of NXT apathy and international tour apathy sent things off the rails in a way that made previous interNXT episodes look as focused as Cole's Bosnia & Herzogovinian journalism. This must've been a show Vince wasn't even in the building for, and not just because Cole called him "Vince" and not "Mr. McMahon." This was a night of what we in this business of internet threads call "receipts" while they openly mocked and parodied Vince's headset direction:
Cole: "It is Naomi vs. Aksana. This simmering rivalry is just 45 minutes old. Will it be resolved?" Josh: "BIG FIGHT FEEL!" Cole: "We're gonna find out in just moments. They're on their feet! I've got goosebumps. Only -- on NXT!"
Josh: "This will go a long way in showing who will..." [a cover and two-count goes uncalled by Cole] Josh: "I stopped talking so that you can -- nevermind. Anyway." Cole: "We're not doing radio, pal!" Josh: "The Survivor Series can't get here soon enough. We need another announcer seminar in the worst way."
Three NXT immunity points say that "we're not doing radio" is a Vince line too.
What about, randomly during a resthold in AJ/Nikki, Josh: "Oh hey Cole, when's the next Haley's Comet?" Cole: "I dunno. 20 years."
Aksana being a horrible person but still wondering why people don't like her is pretty great. In the Aksana and Goldust interview, I believe Goldust had to deliver about half the lines Aksana forgot. "So what you're saying right now is ... it's all about Aksana?" "...exactly." "And so, the Million Dollar Title, you want that too right?"
David Otunga wears a Nexus armband over his suit, and his baby wears one too. When they roughhouse, I wonder how many times Otunga has potatoed his infant son. Ah ya burnt. Googoo me!
Originally posted by John OrquiolaIn the shadow of the Union Jack
NXT Missed opportunity #1: It would have been in the spirit of NXT to have the pyro that went off during this opening shot accidentally set the Union Jack on fire, inciting a crowd riot.
Originally posted by John OrquiolaAs AJ and Aksana lock up, Josh drops the obvious Over the Top reference.
Kaitlyn, of course, goes above and beyond, proving Josh right by actually turning her ballcap around to "Flip the Switch", Vintage Lincoln Hawk.
Originally posted by John OrquiolaJosh clarifies that he likes AJ because "She reminds me of a young Josh Mathews." Cole: "I know, you used to be a girl."
NXT Missed Opportunity #2: Cole's Friend Paul should have fed Cole a better line than "you used to be a girl." Maybe: "Why, because she's going to lose a WWE talent show, too?"
Originally posted by Justin ShapiroWhat about, what about the transcendent moment during the heatless AJ/Nikki match when some kind of virus scan update was announced over the PA system (0:50). May I have your attention please, I've received a vast virus database update from the general manager of NXT.
The actual computer announcement was: "AVAST! Virus Database Has Been Updated." This is the clearest clue yet to the identity of the Anonymous GM: Paul Birchell.
Originally posted by Justin ShapiroGoogoo me!
YES. I am in awe.
As usual, the recap and following commentary has been wonderfully thorough and thoroughly wonderful, but a few things I enjoyed that haven't been directly mentioned:
-Striker got to flex his acting muscles early on, as he valiantly tried to sell "WHAT?! Why is Goldust coming out?!" by looking to his left and right and furrowing his brow at the top of the show. The man is dedicated to his craft.
-While I personally think that Aksana is getting kind of a Raw deal here - keep in mind that she never claimed to love Goldust, and that she was living under the threat of being beaten with shovels - it is interesting to note that even Nikki Bella disapproved of Aksana's evil ways during the opening promo. Also, Michael Cole speaks Lithuanian.
-Primo, inspired by Striker's dedication to his character and their chosen craft, managed to work in a nice creepy double-take perv out while checking out Alicia Fox during the lone pan across the pros line.
-NXT Missed Opportunity #3: They have a band called Hail The Villain providing the PPV theme this month, but not a single "HAIL WARNING" crawl across the bottom of the screen. Maybe we have to wait for a WCW Saturday Night Throwback episode of NXT to get an Emory Hale cameo.
-Among the many amazing fourth wall breaking moments by Cole and Josh, two that I haven't seen mentioned are Josh dropping Cole's real name (he mentions receiving a text from Friend of NXT Yolanda Coulthard), and his completely out-of-nowhere, played sincere question to Cole much later of "Hey, do you think that Nick Dapalapadous guy is a real INS Officer?"
-NXT Missed Opportunity #4: During the Stand Up For WWE segments, Todd Grisham talked about meeting his wife through the WWE family. A few talking heads later, we get to Drew McIntyre, and he fails to say "I met my wife, who later beat me, here in the WWE!"
-Possibly the two best Cole quotes of the night, and perhaps the defining 2010 Year Of Cole quotes so far:
Michael Cole, pretending to be a computer: "AND I QUOTE, GO HOME!"
A chipper Michael Cole on NXT: "This show is horrible!"
Originally posted by Dr Unlikely"AND I QUOTE, GO HOME!"
Speaking of egregious breaches of kayfabe....except they DIDN'T go home after Cole said it, so the message never got to the combatants. I guess The Official doesn't have the pipeline from the commentary team to his earpiece like Striker does.
Fuck the gong, I want every NXT to have a virus database update.
Of course I also love John's making the rainfall every week to recap WWE's bestest show.
Another good show, Aksana put on a really strong show in the arm wrestling and I don't care what lines she forgot, she was still amazing. U-S-A! U-S-A! Vote for Linda!!
Josh Matthews wins MVP for stepping up to Cole's level in commentary and changing his support from phony AJ (has she accepted your X-Box friend request yet, John?) to Greatlyn. Kaitlyn also got a chuckle for what most people missed- her mocking Striker's lame joke with a sarcastic rimshot. Plus she looked freaking hot as all hell in daisy dukes and that tanktop...although I couldn't read exactly what it said. Young Sexy and WHAT?
Although AJ putting her leg up on Kaitlyn during their post-celebration hug makes me willing to forgive her not accepting John's friend request. Sorry Orq, but bros before hos doesn't apply to two hot chicks implied lesbianism.
I actually thought it was kind of clever. And whatever they are TRYING to do... at least it is something somewhat new. And they are putting time and money behind a newer face... and on a Raw with HHH, this is amazing indeed!