Jim Ross Welcomed Interim NXT General Manager Dusty Rhodes
I think many fans tend to forget, or might not even be aware, that JR served as the commentator for the first several episodes of NXT and truly brought some legitimacy to the show alongside William Regal. Meanwhile, Dusty was perfect in the role of general manager for NXT. He was announced as the interim GM, though he would run the show for the next year and a half.
Bo Dallas def. Rick Victor
This early incarnation of Dallas was a happy-go-lucky babyface that appeared to have a ton of promise. He has never been the most amazing wrestler, but he shined in short matches such as this and knew his limitations. He used the Spear as his finisher when he debuted, but that wouldn't last long. It's both interesting and fitting that he was the first NXT newcomer to be showcased considering he was a major cornerstone of the brand for the next two years.
Damien Sandow vs. Jason Jordan Went to a No Contest
Although Sandow was already a part of the main roster by this point, it was helpful for him to simultaneously appear in NXT to improve his in-ring and character work. He was doing this same shtick on SmackDown where he wouldn't wrestle because he would deem his opponents "unworthy." It was simple yet effective in allowing him to garner heat from the audience. I still say this was Sandow's best gimmick in WWE, even better than the Mizdow stuff years later.
The Ascension def. Mike Dalton and CJ Parker
I remember being completely captivated by The Ascension and their dark presence when they initially arrived in NXT. The video package that preceded their debut was really well done and they came across like stars, at least in my opinion. They would tweak the gimmick a bit later on, but what really killed the team's momentum was Kenneth Cameron getting fired in late 2012. This was a straightforward squash match that established them as a force to be reckoned with.
Tyson Kidd def. Michael McGillicutty
These two had a strong series of matches on the previous version of NXT (when it was basically WWE Superstars-lite), so it was only appropriate they headlined the first night of NXT's new era. Granted, it can be argued the show should have closed with two fresh faces battling it out, but Kidd and McGillicutty were still up-and-comers at this point and could always be counted on for a quality contest. This was no exception as they worked incredibly well together and produced a great match where the audience was engaged in the action. It's a shame neither of them amounted to much more in WWE, McGillicutty because of bad booking and Kidd because of an injury.
As a total reboot of NXT, this was an awesome episode that introduced viewers to the debuting stars of the brand, hyped up several stars and matches for the coming weeks, and was capped off by an excellent main event. I can not recommend this show enough, especially if you are currently watching the product and want a bit of background for those who built the brand from the ground up. Furthermore, the commentary team of Ross and Regal was phenomenal and added a lot to my enjoyment of the episode. I hadn't seen these shows since they originally aired five years ago, so I look forward to watching them all back on the WWE Network.
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