There's a lot of folks who's been worried about how the WWE was going to treat the former Bryan Danielson. I think after last night a lot of those worries should be assuaged, because regardless of what Michael Cole or The Miz said, NXT's Premiere Episode was the Daniel Bryan Show. The opening segment was built around this concept that Daniel Bryan has no "charisma" or "personality". And while he didn't set the world on fire, he more than held his own against the Miz verbally, and the crowd seemed to be into it. This idea of Daniel Bryan not having any charisma is kind of weird, but certainly manufactured. they cut up his hair and shaved his crazy stubble and they present him as vanilla. They wouldn't create this angle unless he did have charisma and they could build the show around his "growth" as a personality. They can say any growth in that department was because of the WWE and NXT not because of anything he had before. Do I care? Not really. I think there's too many guys on the roster that admire his work, and the fact that they built an entire episode around him as the hook is evidence that Daniel Bryan has a bright future. But enough about that.
WHO ARE THESE OTHER GUYS?
Heath Slater: another FCW guy. His little dance and head shaking is goofy as hell. But he doesn't look awful in the ring. It would be great if they could focus that goofy energy into something more defined. If the mentoring is actually legit backstage, Christian is a good guy to learn from. But who knows how much they even talk outside of this hour. If anything, he'd be a great white bread low card guy to get beat up by Mike Knox.
Michael Tarver: He has a great look and he didn't look awkward in the ring at all. Good body language. I'd like to see more of him, and I kind of wish he got to utilize that knock out skill in his debut. At least they showed him dropping a bunch of dudes in his hype video. It still kind of felt like showing a ticking time bomb and then not showing an explosion. It's rule, folks, look it up.
Darren Young: Wow, congrats Darren Young, your mentor doesn't care about you and Michael Otunga squashed your ass. Darren Young kind of reminds me Chuck Palumbo in Palumbo's debut in WCW on Worldwide. He had these cheetah shorts and a happy go lucky attitude. I think it was against Johnny Stamboli, who was also making his debut....but yeah, it's mostly a personality similarity. I bet he doesn't punch anything like him though.
David Otunga: This is where it's at folks. if anyone comes out of this show looking like a legit WWE Main Event kind of guy it's David Otunga. "Google Me". He's legit funny, and has a legit reason to act like a big deal. He's got a huge muscular body so he can step in the ring with other body builder types and not look outclassed. He didn't look so hot in the ring (even though he was in it for like a minute), but that never held too many folks back.
Wade Barrett: Looks like he can totally talk and fill time. He may not get to the point which is why Matt Striker had to jump him on the questions. But Chris Jericho was great at letting him get in a few words before cracking the whip. Don't know what else he'll have going for him, but I'm interested.
We didn't see: Matt Hardy's Justin Gabriel(who got hyped for next week) and Regal's Skip Sheffield (who wasn't mentioned).
I think this show is going to be great for nearly all of these guys. Daniel Bryan looked good against The World Champion. Otunga squashed one of his fellow rookies and Heath Slater can wobble his head. I'd also look for Chris Jericho to be the guy to make these guys look like stars. Just his stuff with Wade Barrett and Daniel made me feel like he's in this to make these guys look like stars. I'm sure the other guys are too, but he's in a much better position to make it happen then say, Matt Hardy.
JaeDMC'S NXT Rankings:
1. Daniel Bryan (Held his own against a World Champion)
2. David Otunga (Squashed another rookie)
3. Heath Slater (His team won)
4. Michael Tarver (Ate a pin but looked good tough while beating on Slater.)
5. Wade Barrett (Got in some good talk, and his Mentor is a winner)
6. Justin Gabriel (Next Week was hyped has his debut)
7. Michael Young (Got his ass handed to him by another Rookie. And his Mentor is apathetic.)
8. Skip Sheffield (I had to look him up because no one mentioned him on the show)