WWE NXT: Kaval, Riley make impressive debuts
MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling
Tonight on WWE NXT: Two of the rookies with the most hype — Kaval and Alex Riley — get their first taste of action, and it comes against each other in what was probably the best all-rookie match in NXT history. Elsewhere, Michael McGuillicutty and Lucky Cannon debut in tag team action. Should be a good one!
And we are "LIVE!" from Raleigh, N.C. Michael Cole and Josh Mathews are our commentators and Matt Striker is our host. This show is presented in WWEHD (TV-PG,V).
Striker is in the ring and he brings out all the rookies. He then brings out the pros, and notably absent is The Miz, who is in Los Angeles for the E3 Expo.
Striker tells the pros to explain their actions last week, where they attacked all the rookies. MVP said it was an initiation. He says they paid for the Season 1 rookies, but it will make them better. MVP says with this season, they are going to do it the right way. He asks the rookies if they are ready to move forward and let bygones be bygones. They all shake hands and the crowd actually boos.
Striker asks Kaval and Alex Riley to step forward. Tonight, they will face each other, and it's next.
Match #1 - Alex Riley (Georgetown, Va.) vs. Kaval (Brooklyn, NY)
Before the match starts, Michelle McCool and Layla introduce Kaval and his video package.
Riley uses his size and strength early. They break and Kaval lights Riley up with kicks. Kaval charges Riley and he picks him up and drops him on the top rope.
We're back and Riley has Kaval in a chinlock. Then Riley hits a modified uranage on Kaval and goes back to the chinlock. Kaval fires up, though, and drops out of a sunset flip pin to give a double-stomp. Flying elbows for Kaval and he locks in a reverse guillotine choke with Riley in the ropes. He comes off the top with a kick but Riley gets out at two. Big kick to the chest for Kaval. Rolling kick lands for Kaval. He takes his time and instead goes to the top rope and misses the Warrior's Way. Riley grabs him and hits a TKO and that does it.
Winner via pinfall: Alex Riley
Striker is with Riley. He says The Miz is at a party in LA and told him he could take care of it himself. Striker goes to LayCool. McCool says Kaval did a good job, and that with their guidance, Kaval can be flawless.
Striker goes to Morrison, who says Miz is at the lipo consultation. Morrison says both did a good job of making an impression. He asks the crowd and they cheer. Zack Ryder is up next. He says he only cares about his own rookie and tells the new ring announcer (who has yet to be seen) to call him.
Backstage, Zack Ryder and Titus O'Neil make up.
Match #2 - Kofi Kingston (Ghana, West Africa) & Michel McGuillicutty (Champlin, Minn.) vs. Mark Henry (Silsbee, Texas) & Jason "Lucky" Cannon (New Port Richey, Fla.)
At first, the pros were going to start but McGuillicutty wants in against Henry. He gets press slammed rather quickly and brings in Cannon. McGuillicutty gets the best of Cannon and brings Kingston in. Kingston and McGuillicutty working well together. For those wondering, they explain McGuillicutty's name as saying it is his mother's maiden name. Dropkick sends Cannon rolling out of the ring. Henry moves over on the apron to check on his rookie and gets double dropkicked to the floor by both Kingston and McGuillicutty.
McGuillicutty working over Cannon's arm in the centre of the ring. Cannon fires out of it and hits a big boot. Cannon tags Henry, who comes in and works McGuillicutty. Cannon back in with a side headlock. McGuillicutty leap frogs Cannon but eats a shoulderblock on the other side. Things aren't looking good for McGuillicutty but he ducks a crossbody and hits a nice spinning neckbreaker to pick up the win for his team.
Winners via pinfall: Kofi Kingston & Michael McGuillicutty
Cody Rhodes cuts a promo on Lucky Cannon after the match when asked and Henry interjects and tells Rhodes if he feels so strongly, he should face Cannon one-on-one. Rhodes says Cannon would be "lucky" to last five minutes with him and says they'll do it next week. Striker asks Rhodes what to expect if he has a week to get ready and Rhodes hits Striker and sends him off the ramp.
I don't often commentate in this space, but tonight's show was terrific. Two good matches, and best of all, the four rookies who competed all looked good in terms of the in-ring action. The Riley/Kaval match was probably the longest one-on-one rookies match in the show's history and both men are now more over than they were before because of it. They both looked impressive. They are building things on this show and it is very well-booked. They keep it simple, which, in WWE these days, says a lot and really helps the product. From an in-ring perspective, if they give these guys time, keep the weaker rookies mainly in tag matches and highlight the ones that can work, this could be a highly successful season. Through two episodes, things are looking good.
Matt Bishop can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!.