For the handful of people out there who have been following WWE’s NXT program on Syfy, you got to see a segment long overdue on a WWE telecast. Before we get to that, though, let’s set the scene up.
First of all, I’m not one of those people who have been watching NXT. I catch the spoilers, but that’s about it. It’s not like Tough Enough was years ago which was an actual reality show that showed some of the inner workings of the business as we got to watch real rookies learn how to perform basic in-ring moves. I really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at the business in what was, by all appearances, an actual reality show.
NXT, on the other hand, still comes across as a cross between a regular WWE show and a scripted reality show where, for the most part, I’m sure they already have the winner planned out. For the most part, these guys aren’t rookies, just new to the WWE’s national audience. As was the case with one of the independent scene’s biggest names, Bryan Danielson, or Daniel Bryan to NXT viewers.
Here’s a guy who’s been having five-star matches all over the world for ten years, and yet had to take a backseat to his pro, the Miz, who was doing actual reality shows during that same time period. Granted, Miz has improved greatly and I’m actually started to enjoy the character, but, by all accounts, he’s likely not quite in Danielson’s league, from an in-ring perspective.
But, that brings us to WWE’s scripted reality show. Bryan had lost every match he had been in on NXT, losses, mind you, that he was booked to lose. Announcer Michael Cole, who’s pretty lousy, especially when compared to Jim Ross, was rarely kind to Bryan on commentary, essentially discounting his ten years of experience.
The week before the first elimination, when asked if he deserved to move on, Bryan answered that, if with win/loss record was a factor, then probably not. So, the following week, before the “official” pros vote was revealed, Bryan was eliminated due to the fact that he essentially admitted he didn’t belong there…based on comments relating to a predetermined win/loss record. That right there tells me that NXT is definitely no Tough Enough.
Then, I read the spoilers for this past week’s episode, and just had to tune in for this segment. Bryan was brought back for a few comments and showed quite a bit of fire in his promo. He even seemed to have the crowd’s support, though he still got little respect from Cole. Bryan then went into “shoot” mode, saying Cole was just a parrot who was being fed his lines through the headset by McMahon.
Then, Bryan went face-to-face with Cole and started a brief attack until the officials came out to break it up, calling him a “poor man’s J.R.” in the process. Granted, no one wants to see a match between the two, but it was still great to see Cole taking a few long overdue shots. And, while I know it was all set up in some booking meeting earlier in the week, it was still enough to make me a fan of Bryan Danielson, despite not getting to see much from him from an in-ring perspective.