And then there were five...
These eliminations did not surprise me, and here's why:
Michael Tarver - He was always in bottom in the voting and the best reaction he got from crowd was last night when he was eliminated. And by best reaction, I mean a reaction.
Daniel Bryan - As I pointed out when he was announced as a "Rookie," Bryan, better known as Bryan Danielson, had only been with the WWE for a few months. Now, he certainly wasn't a rookie in the wrestling industry, which could have meant WWE was trying to put him on the fast track. However, I also looked at as maybe he was just filler/decoy, you know, to give the up-and-comers more experience in their ranks to help train them. Maybe the WWE was using him to draw viewers. Maybe Danielson was using the WWE to make his name bigger. Those are the feelings I got after watching NXT evolve.
Since making the real name reveal last night, I also wonder if he will be hanging around on Raw or Smackdown and actually will be on the fast track, and that is why the format of the show changed... they'll have the one winner with all the perks, but just like Tough Enough and the Diva Search before it, and few will still end up with contracts.
Skip Sheffield - This guy just can't get a break. He was on Tough Enough 4 and was eliminated. Still, I like him. I don't think he should have been the winner, but he is strong supporting character, and if you don't have those strong supporting characters in your undercard, you really have to consider if it's worth paying money just for the main event. I think he'll be back also, just maybe a little while after this NXT season/series ends.
So, who do I think is going to win? I certainly like all four at the top (sorry, Darren, you're good, and I have the same feelings for you as Sheffield). I think David Otunga and Justin Gabriel have the most immediate potential.
Otunga may be another filler/decoy to promote NXT outside of the wrestling community (the man was on entertainment news programs promoting the show), but that also makes him a star with crossover potential. He can also do both heel and face, which is important for the writers.
Gabriel has the high flying impact fans love. He also has a face the marketing department will love. He has the FCW background, which shows he's made it through the ranks and may be someone the WWE wanted to expose to viewers before debuting him on Raw or Smackdown.
I think both Wade Barrett and Heath Slater have made an impact and can be stars, but I think Otunga and Gabriel are the ones who can legitimately mix it up with the big guys now.
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