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WWE NXT: The heat is on
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling


Tonight on WWE NXT: Thins are heating up in the Land of Rookies. With the first elimination coming next week, the intensity rises and things boil over at the end of this week's challenge. In the ring, it's the battle of the winless: Daniel Bryan faces Michael Tarver and David Otunga gets his match with his pro, R-Truth. Should be a good one!

And we are "LIVE!" from Charleston, S.C. Michael Cole and Josh Mathews are our commentators. Matt Striker is our host. This show is presented in WWEHD (TV-PG, V)

We're ringside with Striker. He says next week, the next poll will be revealed and one of the rookies will be eliminated. Today's challenge is the Obstacle Course Challenge. The winner will receive an immunity pass and if they are they ranked 8th, the person ranked 7th will be the one eliminated.

So it's time for the challenge. Daniel Bryan, with his ribs taped courtesy of three Batista Bombs on Raw, it up first. It's not good for Bryan, who comes in at 2:45.5. As he crosses the finish line, his pro, The Miz, makes his way out. He goes on about how many things he could've done in the time it took Bryan to do the course. He says he's booked Bryan in a match against the only other winless rookie, Michael Tarver, next. He says if he loses, he can't see how the pros will keep him.

(Ads)

Match #1 - Daniel Bryan (Aberdeen, Wash.) vs. Michael Tarver (Akron, Ohio)

Tarver's newest shirt, his most redeeming value, is an nWo-style NXT shirt. I like it.

Per usual, Bryan comes out on fire but he is cut off by Tarver, who locks in a chinlock.

(Ads)

We're back and Tarver is still dominating. Bryan, though, fires up and jacks Tarver with about six kicks. He hits a flying forearm in the corner and a suplex but Tarver kicks out. Bryan locks in an armbar but Tarver slams his way out of it, hurting Bryan's ribs. Tarver then follows up with some slam for the pin. Tarver doesn't know what to do.

Winner via pinfall: Michael Tarver

Carlito adds insult to injury by drilling Bryan with the Backstabber right in front of The Miz.

Darren Young is backstage with the Straight Edge Society. CM Punk says Young needs to figure out who he wants to be. And if Young doesn't win the challenge, Punk is going to make the decision for him.

Heath Slater is up next. He comes in at 1:36.9. He is followed by Darren Young at 2:07.8.

(Ads)

More obstacle course fun. Justin Gabriel is impressive, going in 1:29.0. David Otunga is next. He had a good start but finished at 1:35.0.

Match #2 - David Otunga (Hollywood, Calif.) vs. R-Truth (Charlotte, NC)

Truth slaps Otunga to start but Otunga quickly takes over.

(Ads)

We're back and Otunga still is in control. Otunga locks in an abdominal stretch, but Truth reverses into one of his own. That fires Truth up and he hits the Lie Detector and that's all she wrote.

Winner via pinfall: R-Truth

Wade Barrett is next up. He fudges up on the monkey bars, failing twice on them before walking to the back. He is disqualified. Skip Sheffield is next. He overcomes a slow start to finish at 1:31.2.

(Ads)

Michael Tarver is the final one to go. He falls off the monkey bars twice and is falling behind quickly. He almost throws up the beverage he has to drink. Tarver can't finish the drink and is disqualified. Gabriel is the winner. He cuts a promo on Otunga. Otunga says he called Neilson and the numbers go up when he's on the screen. Striker then finds Tarver and asks him who he thinks should be eliminated next week and he admits he should be. He then goes rogue. Striker then asks Sheffield who he thinks should be eliminated and he says Tarver, who gets mad that Sheffield suggested such a thing, despite saying it himself seconds earlier. Slater also thinks Tarver should be gone. Back to Otunga and he is talking smack about Gabriel. Over to Barrett. He says he is the only man in the competition and thinks Tarver should be gone. Next is Bryan, who says he's the only one to not win a match, so he should be gone. Young is last. He goes up to every rookie and says he wants it more than them until he gets to Barrett, who pie-faces him. They get into a pull-apart brawl. This was probably the most convincing NXT segment to date.

Matt Bishop can be reached at bishop20@msu.edu. Please include your name and hometown. Click here to follow Matt on Twitter. And if you're interested in mixed martial arts, check out Matt's weekly podcast -- Lights Out Radio. Should be a good one!.