Eric’s Blog: Ranking the WWE NXT season 2 rookies (already)

eli cottonwood

"Did we seriously call up Eli Cottonwood for this?"

(PROGRAMMING NOTE: Make sure to check out Stunt Granny Audio #101 below for Jeremy and Eric’s complete thoughts on Monday Night Raw’s NXT invasion angle.)

During last night’s Stunt Granny Audio, Jeremy mentioned that the whole lot of us SG crew turned 180 degrees on WWE NXT season one rookie Michael Tarver, at first meeting him either with displeasure or disinterest, but transitioning to hoping for a major Monday Night Raw role for the much-improved youngster. Now we think he’s a bad-ass with a good promo, good enough in-ring ability and a look that makes Bad News Brown look like Good News McGee.

I thought I would start to keep on record my own personal pros poll (or in my case, an amateur poll) for NXT season two, of who I like and why, and who I don’t like and why. This way, in 12 weeks when the season ends, I can be held accountable for my thoughts. I’ll do my best to keep pre-formed opinions out of the formula and focus more on what WWE is showing us on screen, but I apologize if my desire to see the former Low Ki on free TV every week seeps into my objectivity a smidge.

1) Alex Riley. Jordan and I saw Riley wrestle a dark match before last year’s Labor Day Raw in Chicago, and he performed well there, well enough that I distinctly remember him. His pre-taped promo this week — an abridged version of which was shown last week — was brilliant, his in-ring plan to sneeze and pretend to be allergic to Matt Striker was fantastic and separated him from the pack, and he’s obviously 100 percent invested in his rich-kid/cocky-athlete character. Riley is at once hilarious and hate-able, something I enjoy in my WWE superstars. He’ll win, or at the very least make it a long way in this business.

2) Kaval. We all know him as Low Ki (or Senshi) and love his hard-hitting in-ring tactics. Seeing him go from strong-style bad-ass to Brooklyn thug during his run in Ring of Honor added another dimension to his character. But on NXT we’re seeing Kaval, a smaller but determined athlete who can’t fathom why he’s being sculpted for WWE stardom by two women. His excellent facials show it: He’s not too corny, but he’s definitely acting for the back row, which is key for the large-scale WWE production. His association with the women sets him apart immediately and makes him a focal point of this season, and more eyes on you is a positive thing. He was also able to cut the first of eight promos to end Tuesday’s show, which meant he was able to set the tone and didn’t have to worry about repeating others’ thoughts. Despite not wrestling last night, Kaval is off to a good start.

Charlie Murphy


3) Percy Watson. How hilarious is this guy? From his spirit-fingers intro to his Charlie-Murphy-as-a-pimp tooth-bearing facials to his Little Richard speech inflections to his all-around showmanship, Watson is a sure-fire WWE superstar. His wrestling ability seems OK and his float-over DDT finisher is alright for now, but in the land of character development, Watson, although playing a role that won’t elevate him to WrestleMania main event level, reigns supreme right alongside Alex Riley. And he wrestles in his friggin’ glasses! Everyone will remember and love that about him. WOOO-OOO-OOO!

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