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Before jumping into the report, it's worth noting WWE launched a new NXT website tonight, perhaps in anticipation of airing the remaining episodes of NXT Season Three online with Syfy only committed to five episodes.
WWE's third season of NXT with the all-Divas cast began with Michael Cole introducing the show. Cole and Josh Mathews were shown ringside to introduce the new season. Mathews said one word can describe this season: entertaining.
Matt Striker is still the host. Striker was in the ring and introduced the WWE Pros on stage. Kelly Kelly came out first and introduced Naomi. Cole said she sings, dances, and raps. The Bella Twins then brought out Jamie Keyes as their Rookie. Primo then introduced his Pro, A.J. Cole said she's his favorite. Alicia Fox then brought out the resident heel Diva, Maxine. Goldust was out fifth to round out the announced field. He warmly "premiered" the next breakout star, Aksana. Cole read the dating-service quality description.
Suddenly, Vickie Guerrero excused herself onto the stage. Vickie walked out sporting a suit and said she fired her Rookie Diva, Aloisia, last week. She had to learn the hard way - excuse me! She had to learn the hard way that she may be taller, but she will never be bigger than her. She introduced her brand new Rookie Diva, Kaitlyn. Mathews said Striker is "smitten" with Kaitlyn.
With all of the Rookies and Pros assembled in the ring, Striker said it's a long and arduous "three month journey" ahead for all of them. Striker read the tagline for WWE Divas and said they will all be tested for their mettle on being smart, strong, and sexy. Striker said 50 percent of the vote comes from the Pros and 50 percent from the fans.
Kaitlyn was up first to introduce herself. She said she was the girl who made mailboxes explode on the Fourth of July. She also gave guys their first kiss, then a wedgie two seconds later. She basically tried to get over that she's different than your typical Diva. Vickie Guerrero interrupted and said that sucked. She told her to do it again. Now. Kaitlyn re-introduced herself and sarcastically said she's so excited to have Vickie as her Pro. She vowed to give everyone wedgies. What demographic are they aiming for here?
Aksana was next. She has an accent. Oh no, another Kozlov with the double-double-e. She said she's a billion dollar baby from Lithuania. She's here to follow her heart and dreams. Aksana spoke in the third person here and talked up her Pro, Goldust. I imagine the wheels are turning on a Maryse and Aksana pairing already.
Maxine was next to mock Aksana's promo. She has a business sense, street sense, and common sense. The "What?" birds are out here. She talked up her qualities and said she is not average, which makes her a triple threat...in a skirt. "I am Maxine and the only position for me in WWE is at the top," she said.
A.J. was next. She did the babyface "worked so hard to get here" promo that made Cole sick. She said there isn't a single girl or "a damn thing that can stop A.J." Cole wanted to change his pick. Jamie Keyes, the former ring announcer, was next. She wants to be part of the "greatest entertainment in the world." What in the world does that even mean in the context of anything? Keyes said she'll work hard to get the job done. Cole accused her of reading off a teleprompter. At least she wasn't reading off a keyboard.
Naomi was next. WWE has been missing the "one and the only" Naomi. She won't be intimidated. After some cliches, Naomi said her actions are going to prove to be louder than words. She vowed to become the next break-out star. Rookie Diva #1 probably had the most normal promo, with Vickie enhancing her right off the bat. Up next is the first Rookie challenge.
[Commercial Break. A commercial spot aired for a UFC line of action figures, including Brock Lesnar. That was a surprise.]
Coming back from break, a plug for Smackdown moving to Syfy aired, followed by another trailer for John Cena's "Legendary" movie.
In-ring: Time for a competition. Striker said it's time for the first Rookie Divas challenge. They want to make a good first impression, but they will also have their first elimination in four weeks. Whoever wins has immunity from that. And the competition is...a dance-off. Apparently this is an audition for who can be Raw guest host arm candy. Striker said the Divas need a dance partner...Michael Cole. Conveniently, Cole had a black hat with a feather. He also had leg warmers. Mathews called this the most ridiculous thing he's ever seen. He dryly said Cole is an accomplished ballroom dancer. Cole and Naomi did something not quite describable, then Cole danced with Jamie next. Mathews noted Cole is wearing ballerina slippers. They had a PG dance, which drew the greatest line this show will probably ever have with Striker saying Cole looked like Clark Griswold from "European Vacation." So great.
Cole was given the hook, and in came Tony Chimel sporting a costume. Cue up more generic dance music for Chimel's routine with the Divas. After some fat jokes from the announcers, Chimel was given the hook. And for the last routine, Striker needed to find someone special and young, Josh Mathews. Mathews slid into the ring and did a slow dance routine with Aksana. Cole said it's awful. "This is brutal," Cole said. Kaitlyn was last to dance with Mathews. And cue up the awful house music for the sixth time.
With that out of the way, Striker polled the audience on who should be deemed the winner. Striker then polled the crowd on Striker, who was booed. He went for the funny saying, "Not as an announcer, but as a dancer." Naomi was deemed the winner of this and she gets immunity. Cole popped since he was her partner.
Up next: The first wrestling of the season will be Kelly Kelly and Naomi vs. Alicia and Maxine. I find it interesting that Kelly will be...leading the moves in the ring as a Pro this season.
Night of Champions plug: The Undertaker vs. World Hvt. champion Kane for the World Title at Night of Champions.
Pause: WWE just invested 30 minutes of prime time cable TV time into those two segments. It's (a) the mark of a company feeling no sense of urgency to make new stars with no real competition behind them, (b) knowing they're in a lameduck timeslot on NXT thanks to poor ratings this year, or (c) they really think this formula will help them find a new, marketable star for future use on WWE TV. As in, can you rise above the crap test?
1 -- KELLY KELLY & NAOMI vs. ALICIA FOX & MAXINE
Cole clarified this immunity deal that apparently whoever wins the most points over a four-week period will earn immunity on the first elimination episode, which would be the October 1 episode leading into the live premiere of Smackdown on Syfy. The announcers talked up Melina vs. Lay-Cool at Night of Champions. Suddenly, Naomi scored a roll up and Kelly's music played. There seemed to be some confusion, with Kelly's music playing to signal victory, but the action continued Cole and Mathews were dumbfounded by this turn of events. Naomi executed another suplex on Maxine and Tony Chimel eventually announced Kelly and Naomi as the winners.
WINNERS: Kelly & Naomi in 4:00. Naomi seems to be competent in the ring, which is a good sign. The match finish was a train wreck, but that was expected based on how this show has started off.
Still to come: Capture the Flag race.
This is the Big Show. He's coming to Syfy with his Knockout Punch. "Every Superstar has a big move, but the biggest move of all is Smackdown coming to Syfy," the voice-over man said.
Arena: Striker was with the six assembled Divas for the physical challenge of a Capture the Flag deal. He gave some instructions. And false start. They jumped the gun before Striker gave instructions, then he sent them off. Jamie did not capture a flag, therefore she is gone. A.J. lost the next round, so she's gone. Aksana was gone next. So, it's down to three Divas. Kaitlyn was gone next. The crowd was actually into this. One flag left between Naomi and Maxine. And Naomi won this, picking up a babyface pop. So, she has won two challenges to close in on immunity.
[Q4] Striker brought in Naomi for a post-flag-pulling interview. She caught her breath and said her athleticism has carried her through this. She vowed to keep rising to the top. ... Still to come: Goldust vs. Primo in mixed tag action with their respective Rookies. ... Pause #2: If they can turn Naomi into a marketable women's wrestler to fill an opening on Raw or Smackdown, this season of NXT could potentially be useful.
Announcers: Cole and Mathews were shown on-camera to hype John Cena's "Legendary" movie out on Friday. Mathews tried to sell the talking point that "only a few select theaters are showing the movie." Cole added that you, the discerning WWE viewer at home, can be one of the "elite viewers" of this movie. ... Legendary video: They aired the lengthy trailer on the movie that aired on Raw with sit-down interviews from the cast, including Cena.
Announcers: They went back to Cole and Sheamus to plug Night of Champions, including the Six-Pack Challenge that is only down to five wrestlers with Chris Jericho removed. As Jason Powell pointed out during the Livecast today, they don't have a shadowy silhouette to suggest a sixth member will be added. So, it's a Six-Pack Challenge by marketing name only.
Rookie video: Jamie Keyes was always active and extremely into fitness. She got into weightlifting via cheerleading and it's always been a part of her life since then. Before getting into wrestling, she was in nursing school. They included some FCW clips before Jamie dropped the "addiction" word on how passionate she is about WWE. She said Trish Stratus was her influence and she wants to mold herself after her.
In-ring: Goldust's music hit to bring out Goldust and Aksana for the TV main event. Mathews fed to a commercial as the "pair of blondes" completed their ring entrance.
[Q5 -- over-run] Next Monday on the "season premiere" of Raw: former champions collide between Randy Orton and John Cena. "Two of WWE's biggest Superstars. One epic match." Pause. Insert cheesy casino-sounding music. Plus, Raw Roulette!
2 -- GOLDUST & AKSANA vs. PRIMO & A.J. LEE
Primo came out with A.J. Lee one minute past the top of the hour to begin the main event. Cole talked down about "that goof" Aloisia in reference to Vickie Guerrero having to change her Pro this season. He followed by saying he thinks Vickie Guerrero will be like the Pat Summit of WWE. Cole also changed his pick to Naomi for who will win the season. Suddenly, A.J. busted out a face-plant bulldog for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: Primo & A.J. in 2:00. Not enough time for anyone to stand out.
Post-match: On cue, Vickie Guerrero excused herself into the proceedings and dragged her Rookie, Kaitlyn, to the ring by the arm. She wants Kaitlyn to give her introduction one more time. Cole said this is great tough love. Primo told Vickie to go away and not try to steal A.J.'s spotlight. Vickie said Primo might be used to "living with failure," but she hangs with success. A.J. then told Vickie to go away. Vickie told Kaitlyn to "sick her." After a brief scrap, A.J. "accidentally" shoved Kaitlyn onto Vickie. Vickie screamed and threw a fit as Kaitlyn tried to console Vickie on the way to the back. Cole, seemingly insincerely reading off a script, said it's been an "explosive beginning" to a new season of NXT. And they signed off.
-- So, what did you think of the debut of NXT Season Three? We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for an "NXT TV Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on NXT, email to email@example.com using our Feedback form.